Friday, January 28, 2011

Q & A Part Two: Field Service

Part two of the Question and Answer installments. This time it'll be all questions relating to field service. To start with:

Q. Are you assigned an individual territory like in Athens?
A. Actually, no. Everyone meets in the morning at a pre-arranged place in the area we'll be working that day. One brother keeps track of what's been worked, and schedules service for the next week. This is written on a paper that gets posted at the Kingdom Hall. Then when we meet in the morning, whoever leads out directs us which specific roads we work.

Q. How big is the territory, and how often is it covered?
A. We have a fairly small territory (it takes about half an hour to drive from one end to the other). It's all one main road, with occasional back roads, so it's easy to keep track of where you are in it.

Because of it's small-ish size, it gets worked every six weeks. The reason there's such a need for preachers here, though, is because it's not worked thoroughly. Everyone has so many studies and calls that we can't keep track of any new calls. So the territory gets worked, but we still need a lot of help.

Q. Is it hard to find people home?
A. When I was living in Brighton, we got so many people home (friendly people) that it was entirely possible to spend all morning in service and cover just three homes. In Hopetown, it's not quite that good. But we still get a lot more people home than you do in Athens.

Q. Do you do street witnessing, phone, business, etc?
 A. Businesses are just done along with the rest of the territory. Street witnessing is done very often (there's groups for it two afternoons per week).

Phone witnessing is not done at all. Almost everyone uses cell phones, so it'd be expensive to try to call a lot of people.

Okay, that's all for the questions. If you've got anymore, feel free to e-mail. It's always nice to hear from everyone!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Great Hopetown Migration

An interesting development: One month ago, Hopetown congregation had gotten up to six white boys- Sam, Micaiah, Me, Levi, Dan, and Sage. Since then, Dan and Sage have moved over into Orealla, and Levi went back to Ohio.

So this left me, Micaiah and Sam. But then, news came around that a Chinese group is trying to start in Georgetown, but they only had one brother, a ministerial servant, to take the lead in it. Not only that, but this brother had started learning Chinese three weeks ago! So this group is in need of serious help. As it turns out, Sam Peden had been in a Chinese congregation once! Without hesitation, Sam called up the brother to see about joining. Things are apparently working out and he'll move up there as soon as he gets back from an upcoming Suriname trip. Now they'll have TWO servants instead of just one.

It seems that there have been many attempts to start a Chinese group in Guyana, but there's never been enough people to support the group. Which is a shame, because Chinese is a huge field here. There's entire towns and suburbs of Chinese who move in, but there's been nobody to preach to them.

Until now.

So anyway, after Sam decided to move out, it's left just me and Micaiah in Hopetown. But then, Micaiah found a cheap plane ticket home, so he plans to rush to Ohio for two months to work and enjoy the snow, and then come back in time for the Memorial here.

So beginning February, I'll be the only white boy in Hopetown. This will be the first time in years that this has happened. Although Sage is going to come visit for a week in February, so I guess it doesn't completely count.

Speaking of Sage visiting, here's why he's coming to visit:
February 13th, we'll be having a Zone Visit! To describe simply what this is, it's like a National Convention. Every Witness in the country is invited to one really big meeting in Georgetown. I promise there'll be a blog entry all about it, with plenty of pictures.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Goodbye Levi & Sage

After a full month, the time has come for Levi Schulz and Sage Lamoreaux to depart from Hopetown.  Levi is heading back to Ohio, while Sage has managed to extend his stay another month and a half, but he will be switching over to the Orealla congregation (along with Dan Grazier). So I just wanted to use this opportunity to be able to share some of the unique things they've been able to experience. Number one:

Climbing the dreaded Coconut Trees!

(To be fair, this is Levi's third time in Guyana, so a lot of this stuff he's already done. But it's still fun.)

The dangers of the coconut tree....

And on the way back, we ran into this snake.
Surprisingly, this is THE FIRST snake I've seen since being here.

Another thing we got to do was visit several congregations, some nearby, some far away. The funnest was Fyrish.

And this is a couple in Fyrish who are from Chile (they even invited us to go snowboarding next winter in Chile with them)
Fernando and Cindi. They actually learned English just so they could come to Guyana to help preach.

After the meeting in Fyrish, we decided to join the field service group that was going out. Unfortunately, they were working a far-out territory, and they hadn't initially intended for us to work with them. So this was the solution:
Four fit in the trunk quite nicely.

Then of course, we have the recent Suriname trip. This is a park right next to a river. Fantastic view, and more cheap food than you can believe.

(okay, so a lot of this is stuff I've already talked about. I'm mainly doing this because I just got a hold of all Sage and Levi's pictures, so I'm spreading those around now)

Now we move on to the recent Orealla trip. The boat ride there:

 You can ride inside it, sling up a hammock and all, but that's not half as fun as riding on top of the boat all the way there. That way, you get to see views like this:

Sunset in Orealla

Followed by sunrise in Orealla

Since the Orealla trip, we've had a little time back home to enjoy.

Me and Sage cooking dinner


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Suriname/Branch Tour/Orealla/Siparuta/etc

Wow. This past week has been hectic. As I stated in the last post, we went over into Suriname, just to take a vacation. One of the highlights of the trip, we all agreed, was this:

Oops. What I mean is, THIS was the highlight of the trip.

The Suriname Branch Office! The Branch there is fairly small, though it's bigger than the Guyana branch.

Also, Suriname is smaller than Guyana, but they have to do a lot more work. For instance:
These are the frequently used languages in field service in the capital of Suriname. Dutch, Portugese, English, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Sranan Tongo, and some other language whose name escapes me.

The day after the branch tour, we wanted to find a Kingdom Hall nearby and go to a meeting. There was only meeting that night in walking distance, and it wasn't English. Instead, it was a Sranan Tongo congregation. Still, we went anyway.

Me and Micaiah went (Levi and sage were pooped out...), but we showed up pretty late. Student talk 3 was almost over. During the meeting, the attendant ran up to us and asked for names and what congregation we were from (an English speaking brother). Then, during announcements, he goes up on stage, interrupting the speaker, and whispers in his ear and hands the guy a paper. He leaves, and the speaker continues. Then amongst the stuff we couldn't understand, we hear "Gudfvrlp fewohife rkfqe podf Micaiah Jong dewazm lofg Yoshua Westfall!"


Then we hear "Olfesjef foejwqw mnqew gpfewonj pogr aqre gfezr!"

(Laughter, applause)

At that meeting we fully experienced the Worldwide Brotherhood. Two brothers go to a different continent, go to a meeting where we don't understand a word, and we're still treated by everyone as if we were lifelong friends. Where else do you find that?

Plus, they didn't mind that we hadn't shaved, and were wearing wrinkled dress shirts, dirty/stained jeans, and mud caked shoes!


After Suriname, we went straight over into Orealla (see a previous blog entry, don't know which one). The last visit, Tom Sanches, another brother named Martin Miguel and I worked in a faraway village named Siparuta. But after some investigating, Tom found that there's a lot of houses on the river next to it, so he organized a trip back to preach to those people.

The plan was to rent a boat and load up the brothers who wanted to join the trip, but the only boat available was a monster 20-seater. After debating what to do, Tom realized "Hey! We have only 7 people gathered to do this. Why not invite publishers from the nearby congregation Orealla to join us?"

Thus, our preaching group went from 7 to 18! And thanks to that, what was going to be 12-hour preaching was accomplished in 4 hours!

(right around this point, pictures are scarce. Orealla was having some major power problems while we were there.)

That's all I have pictures for now, but I do have two left to share. These show some souvenirs we picked up in Suriname.

Brace yourself....

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Back To Suriname/1 Or 2 Other Things

This past week has proved interesting. The two brothers staying with me and Micaiah wanted to cross over into Suriname to see what it was like.

We arrived Sunday, and as of Tuesday afternoon we're still here, planning to stay until Thursday morning.

While I have been taking plenty of pictures, I forgot to bring the cable that allows you to move the pics onto the computer. So here's the deal: I'll fill this space with other stuff, and write in detail about this Suriname trip later.


What I wanted to do here, basically, is recruit need-greaters.
Well, not quite. I want to make information available to help you decide if this is something you may be interested in trying.
For instance, ASL is a huge need in Guyana. There are many, many deaf people here because health care is lacking in most areas. This means that if someone gets an ear infection or some similar illness, chances are very high that it will damage or completely eliminate their ability to hear.
So this is the condition the country is faced with. In spite of all that, there is only one ASL congregation in the whole country. As far as I know, there are three different groups attempting to get established, but they're having a very hard time of it. Why? Not enough support for the ASL field. There are simply not enough need-greaters coming in to help out.
Now, I only know of three groups, but odds are there's many more trying to get started.

Also, Guyana has a huge Chinese population, the majority of whom either can't speak English, or don't speak it well. There are whole neighborhoods of nothing but Chinese-speaking people. But despite this, there is not one single Chinese congregation or group.

In fact, there are no foreign-language congregations in the entire country. There's many language groups among the Guyanese population, but no one to preach to them.

It's not just foreign language fields that are in need of help! I know brothers and sisters who have come from Spain, Russia, Holland, and Chile, and who learned English simply to come help in Guyana.
The last time I was at the branch, the District Overseer told me about all of this, but you know what he said after this?
"Surprisingly, that isn't where we have the greatest need in this country. What we need more than anything else is.................




There are at this point 14 congregations that need a new Kingdom Hall. That list is not including halls that need repaired or remodeled. For instance, our Kingdom Hall was built it the 1970's when the average meeting attendance was 30. At the last Sunday meeting, we had 150 show up. Imagine trying to fit that many people into a space about the size of the Library/Utility room in the North Athens hall. That is what the brothers and sisters in Hopetown have been dealing with for years.

In addition to Kingdom Halls, the branch has purchased land to build Guyana's first Assembly Hall. They've had the land for over 5 years now. But it hasn't been built. Why?
Not enough brothers experienced in construction. They've got the money for it, but not the hands.

Now, all this isn't even mentioning the help Suriname needs (in the fields of Chinese, Portugese, Sranan Tonga, Surimese Sign Language, ect.)

That's it for today. But I hope this information helps. There are so many ways you can help in not only this country, but anywhere. Just ask.

It's not that hard....