Monday, February 28, 2011

And Now For Something Completely Different....

Well, guess what I finally got to do again?
Visit Brighton!

It's been half a year since I moved over to Hopetown, so it was great going to the Brighton meeting again. I went because one of the couples living there, missionaries named Todd and Barbara Hollenbeck, had recently been reassigned to another congregation, so there was a going-away party for them (kind of sad most of the parties I go to here are going-away parties).

I figured, make a day of it and go to the meeting and all. Speaking of the meeting:

GREAT Watchtower lesson! My favorite thing about it was everyone made sure that they had prepared the songs in advance, and due to that, the singing was loud. It was like being back in North Athens!

Unfortunately, I had only told three people I was coming to the meeting, so most everyone else was mad at me for not saying ahead of time. Despite that, countless people were offering me lunch (yay!). What I finally wound up doing was going to a family's house, the Adams (yes, the Adams family. Stop laughing.). I don't know all of their names, but some were Daniel, Shemeniel, and Samuel (yes, Samuel Adams. Stop laughing.)
They ended up having a bunch of people over for lunch, and then shortly after we walked to the house where the party was going to be so we could help set up for it.

Dania Sharpe, Joshua Adams, Airmika Gaxiola, and some kid whose name I never got. This is in the Adams' home.
Joshua is a very hyper-active kid, so people kept yelling "Joshua, quit it!" I'm so used to hearing that, I kept assuming they meant me.....

Some members of the Adams family (I hear you laughing! Quit it!) kindly preparing more food for the guests who were there, and....
.... the youngest of the Adams, who seemed very interested in my camera, to the point that he kept grabbing it and moving it while I was trying to take pictures.

Anyway, the party went over nicely, and afterward the Sanches' invited to just stay the night with them, since it's a bit of a journey between Brighton and Hopetown. There were six people there that night (two Sanches' and four guests). That was a very fun night/morning.

 And now for something completely different....

On Thursday, I'm leaving for a while. In the interior there's a town called Lethem, and along with that there is a congregation and a smaller group nearby. Many times it's hard for them to come up to the coast for the assemblies and such, so every year the Special Assembly is taken to them. This year the Assembly there will be on Sunday, March 6. Many of the brother and sisters along the coastal areas will go down to support the assembly, to give talks, etc. So this year I'm going down with Tom and Michelle Sanches, and then after the assembly.....

We'll be going to a group of three villages nearby Lethem. As far as I understand it, one of the villages has been preached to before, but not for a while. The other two have never been visited by Witnesses.

So taking into account the Assembly, the preaching, and the traveling involved, we're probably going to be gone two and a half weeks (it may be shorter, may be longer). So expect total silence from me for that period of time.

So for now, bye! Hope to be back soon to tell you about it!

...... but not too soon.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Q & A Part Three

Okay, round three of Q & A. Quite a variety of questions this time around.

Q: What Do You Do For Entertainment?

A: The primary thing is: Movies. Almost all people who come here fill up their hard drives with movies and TV shows. Movies are the need-greater currency. Seriously, they are. When Tom Sanches drove me from Brighton to Hopetown, which is an expensive trip, he had me pay him back with five episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Another thing I personally do is play the guitar that Micaiah left behind here. It's named Jezebel. She's shown here being "played" by one of the Hopetown Boys, Jehu Cadogan (yes, it's Jehu and Jezebel).
 In case you're curious, the chord he's playing here is a Em7add11/A. Really, it is.

Surprisingly though, I really don't have that much spare time that I need to fill with entertainment. I have six calls of my own that require preparation, plus seven that Micaiah left behind for me to do while he's gone. On top of that there's the usual personal study, meeting preparation, cooking, cleaning, laundry, service, etc.... I've been kept pretty busy, which I'm glad about.

Q: What Are The Movie Theaters Like, If Any?

A: There is one movie theater, which is in the capital, Georgetown. It used to be an Opera House or some such thing. It can hold nearly a thousand! Tickets are $200 GYD ($1 US), and you see two movies. There's one screen, but they always do a double feature. I've never personally been there, on the basis that whenever I'm in G/Town they're showing garbage. But several others have gone, and said it's an amazing place.

One other thing that they have in Georgetown, which I HAVE done, is this....

Me, Sage, and a few others came here a few hours after the Zone Visit was over. That was a lot of fun. There was no jukebox or anything, like any good bowling alley SHOULD have, but the place was providing it's own music. It started off as Jamaican rap, but slowly it turned into Duran Duran and A-Ha. I have no idea how that happened.
(taaaaake ooooon meeeeee....... Take! On! Me!)

 Me with one of the sisters who was in our bowling group, Dania Sharpe (does it have an E on the end or not?)

Q: Is There Anything To Do Close To Where You Live Besides Climb Coconut Trees?

A:  Well, to get to the beach/Atlantic Ocean from my house, you turn left and walk three minutes. So that's something to do. One thing that happened recently though: We're in the middle of rainy season right now, so we're getting some serious flooding. Two days ago, Aaron Bakhsh comes over and says "Wanna fishing?"
So we did.
We were wanting to take some pictures, but there was way too much mud and water, and our cameras would've been pretty well destroyed. Mainly since this was net fishing, so to do it we were walking waist high through the aforementioned mud and water (plus, frequent slipping and tripping).
However, a little while later I walked back to where we were to take some pictures, so you can at least see the flood we're getting.

Q: Any Good Calls?

A: My best one is a man named Anil, a bicycle repairman. I like visiting him because he has the best questions. Another good thing about him is he actually uses the Bible when he asks questions. For instance, on a recent visit, he asked me if God foreordains everything, and then he read Ephesians 1:4,5, and then Romans 8:28-30.

THAT was a fun question to research (and no, I'm not giving you the answer)

A while ago I was scheduled to give the talk "Does Thomas Exclamtion at John 20:28 Prove That Jesus Is God?". A few days afterward, I went to visit Anil, and he asks me "Are these two scriptures saying that Jesus is God?" Then he read John 1:1 and John 20:28.

So, I wrote out the talk, and shared it with Anil. Then a few weeks later, I deliver the same thing at the meeting. That was very convenient.

Q: Can You Understand The People Yet?

A: Wha'u mean gyal? Da creole be easy fer speak 'n hear mon!

Q: What's The Food Like?

A: When I first decided to come here, everyone - myself included - was worried that I wouldn't eat anything. Everyone knows how picky I am regarding food. Well, I come here, and...

...I love it all! I have found ONE Guyanese dish that I don't like.
Generally, the food is inspired by Chinese food, with some Caribbean influences. If there's meat in it, it's either Curry or Pepperpot. But actually, meat is surprisingly rare. The easiest way to describe Guyanese food is presented in a simple chart below.

50% Vegetables
10% Fruit
10% Spices
25% Oil
5% Meat

Another staple of the Guyanese cuisine is called Roti. It's generally a breakfast thing. Just picture a thick floury burrito wrap. One other popular thing is called Bake. Really, it's a piece of Roti cooked like a doughnut. It's heavenly (Doesn't that sound fantastic?! A thick, deep-fried burrito?!)

The best thing about the food here, hands down, is the way they eat it. Here's a photo demonstrating....

The only way they ever use silverware is if there's guests over for dinner.

Well, that wraps it up for today. Remember, if you have any questions, feel free to pass them on. It's always good to hear from everyone. I like getting updates about Athens and Ohio just as much as you like stories of Guyana.

For instance, I keep hearing a lot about Dick Kasler and his illness these days. But I also hear that he's kept giving talks on the meeting.To Kasler: Keep up the good work!

Too, I've been told about all sorts of people in Athens that I've never met. Who is this Mike and Sarah of whom you speak? And then of course there's the new Wilson and Phoenix that I have yet to meet....

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Zone Visit!!

Wow. If I had to pick one word to describe the Zone Visit, that word would be "Wow".

One of the surprising things about it was it was actually very very short! A summary of the Watchtower by one of the Branch workers named Edsel Hazel, followed by a talk given by the Branch Overseer, Ricardo Hinds. His theme was "Where We Are Now, Where We're Going". He talked about the good aspects of the ministry here, such as the fact that we have 2,575 reporting publishers right now! By contrast, the two District Conventions this year had a total attendance of 6,500, and the Memorial last year had over 12,000!!

He also brought out though, the difficulties we're having. For instance, there are 45 congregations in Guyana, but a little over 100 elders. That averages to around 2 1/2 elders PER CONGREGATION. And there's even fewer ministerial servants.

Also, he talked about the recent news that the Guyana Branch will be merging with the branch in Trinidad. A story he related: "When we first heard about this, and me and my wife were told we'd be sent over to Trinidad, someone said to us 'Oh no!' I said 'Oh yes!' If it's Jehovah's direction, then it will turn out well for sure! Just think about it! Instead of Guyana being managed by the three dozen workers at our branch, we'll now have the hundreds who work in the Trinidad branch! Also, they have many more resources, so we'll be able to bring in more missionaries, process more applications for new brothers and sisters who want to serve here. We're not losing a branch. We're gaining a branch!"

So following the Watchtower and Brother Hinds' talk, we only had one more talk, which was delivered by our Zone Overseer. Come to think of it, I didn't get his name.

His part was mostly dealing with the theme "Live With Jehovah's Day in Mind", and he brought up a lot of the prophecies by the prophets Hosea-Malachi. He also had a lot of admonition for the locals to help out in the preaching as much as they could. This came up because many Guyanese have gotten into difficult financial times, and so they're leaving to the U.S, Canada, England, etc, trying to find better jobs. But the Zone Overseer repeatedly stressed the idea "The branch still sees fit to bring in all this help. It won't get any better if you leave. But if you stay, you're the ones who know the people, the culture. Try to find the circumstances to help in preaching as much as you can!"

Probably my favorite part of his talk was when he began talking about the foreign language field that's suddenly popping up. For years brothers and sisters here have been trying to start foreign language groups, but haven't been successful. But now we have three ASL groups started, along with the just-started Chinese group in Georgetown. And now at the Zone Visit, they announced the creation of a Portuguese group!

So there's an overall highlight of the highlights of the Zone Visit. The only problem with it was the stadium it was held in was mostly open air, as shown below...

That in itself isn't bad, except that five minutes into the meeting, it started to rain.
Most of the people sitting in the bottom rows stood up, and moved to the top where they could stand out of the rain.

When the Zone Overseer started his talk, it was during the peak of the storm. So he comes out on the stage (shown in the top picture), and starts his talk by saying "I've only been in this country two weeks, and I can already see why you call Guyana 'Land of Many Waters'."

Slight change of thought: After the last talk, the chairman comes out and, before announcing the closing song, says that there was a total of 5,300 in attendance. Keep in mind, there's 2,575 reporting publishers. So I what I realized as everyone stood to sing the final song....

Every single one of Jehovah's Witnesses, in the entire country, are all going to be singing together.

It was epic. And I have video to prove it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Weekend Update on Tuesday

In the past few days, we've had a few notable things happen. Primarily, the return of Dan and Sage from Orealla. Dan came back, only to leave again to go back to England. Sage is going to stick around for a bit, until a little after the Zone Visit (Zone Visit this weekend! Woo-hoo!)

Also, Sam has left for Suriname to get his visa extended (which I got a call from him today - he made it through without a problem. Lucky punk.), after which he'll begin his switch over to the Chinese congregation in Georgetown.

So we had a few fun days with most of the guys back together. In particular, POOL!

By the way, I've found out recently that all these guys either read this blog, or have friends/relatives that read it. So if you are a friend of one of them, I have a message you need to pass on to them.

Wear the eye patch.

Okay, that's all for now. Sorry. I'll try to do more Friday.