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.
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.