Monday, April 21, 2014

Memorial in Orealla

The preceding few days have been chock full of eventfulness. For one, when you enter Guyana they'll only give you a three month visa, after which you have to leave the country. Strangely enough, you can come back into the country the next day and get another three month visa and they're fine with it. Due to this, most need-greaters will hop over into Suriname for a few nights for a mini-vacation, then come back for another visa. Usually this is pretty easy, but for me staying in Orealla, it presents a huge headache. Here was my dilemma:

There are only two days you can get a boat to or from Orealla, and that's Thursday/Friday and Sunday/Monday (each one is an overnight trip). The other hitch was my visa expired the day of the Memorial (Monday, April 14). I couldn't go the week before due to a huge series of circumstances and whatnot, so it had to be the weekend of the Memorial, and I couldn't wait until after. Therefore, I was going to have to leave Orealla Thursday night, arrive on the coast Friday morning and go straight into Suriname, and stay until Saturday morning. Then back to the coast until Monday afternoon, at which point I'd have to pray like crazy that a boat would be able to get me back home before 6:30 when the Memorial began.

That's what was supposed to happen, but here's what actually happened...

After praying almost nonstop for three days, I get to the Suriname border Friday morning. While standing in the immigration line, a man yells out "Is anyone going back to Guyana today?"

I raise my hand. "Wait, I can do that?"

He says "Yeah. You needing a visa? You want to go back to Guyana on the next ferry?"

I say "Yes!"

The man, named Herrman, pulls me to the front of the line and lets me get checked through first, at which point he takes me right around to where I could board the ferry back to Guyana, which I had left mere minutes ago.

Herrman. Or possible an angel. Not sure.

So here I find myself on a ferry straight back into Guyana. I was overjoyed, but still cautious about getting back into Guyana. People have had problems before with immigration, so how would they react seeing I had left Guyana only to come straight back and......?!

"How long are you staying for?" asked the woman at Customs.

"Um, I'd like three months."

She stamps my passport, hands it back, and says "Enjoy your stay."

With my newly stamped three month visa, I was back in Guyana, and went straight back to where the Orealla boat was docked, with hours to spare before it went back home.

 In the intervening days, a few other interesting developments happened. For example, the three girls we had here a few weeks back returned to help with the Memorial invitation work, amongst other things, along with Tom Sanches coming down to give our Memorial talk for us. Naturally, we had them all joining us on a second Siparuta trip, which makes it the first time that we've ever been able to work Siparuta twice in one year! It was fantastic, because we had so many people going on this trip we filled up the entire boat. It was jam-packed with people.

This is of course not even showing the front two rows. All told, we had 16 Witnesses rammed into this little boat. Obviously, when you have this many Witnesses stuck together for an hour, it gets really loud. And fun as well. Time flew by.

After getting to the village, we split up into groups and set out trying to cover the whole village in a day. It's difficult to estimate how long it'll take anytime we go, since nobody seems to be sure of how many live in the village. Guesses range from 200 to 800. Nonetheless, we got there around 9-ish, but we weren't trying to blitz the territory or anything. Typically we do, since it gets worked so rarely, but since we had been there just a few weeks ago, there was much less pressure, and we were able to take our time and have extensive conversations with people, both about the Memorial and any other topic, really. After several hours of nonstop walking and preaching, we arrived at the conclusion we had finished covering the village. This was the sign it was now time to sit down and eat something, because seriously.

During this point, Tom and I started talking to a woman sitting in the benab with us (basically, a gazebo). As we were talking to her, she acted like she recognized us but couldn't remember from where. Finally we ask her name, and she says "Ruth", at which point Tom and I both shout "Christmas? Ruth Christmas?!"

She says yes, at which point she recognizes us as well. She was the one who had helped us when we first came to Siparuta, almost four years ago.

(Read all about it! Read all about it!

Tom Sanches preaching through lunch, because of course he is.

So that pretty well wrapped up the excitement until the Memorial itself. Which of course went wonderfully.

We did a major overhaul of the seating arrangements so that we could fit everyone who was expected to come. Typically our Kingdom Hall holds around 55, but we were able to arrange things so that we could seat 102.

As I've said before we have quite a serious problem in regard to not having enough qualified brothers in Orealla, so for the Memorial we had Tom Sanches giving the talk for us, while Lennox Johnston and I had to say the prayers for the emblems and then do the passing as well. It took quite a while, as you could probably guess from the amount of chairs you see in the picture (plus considering we had two people passing). But it all went without a hitch, and we had an excellent total of 90 in attendance. Not bad for a congregation of 23. I also think we set a record for highest number of white people at an Orealla Memorial ever.

And of course for the obligatory cute picture, here's a sampling of the kids who were there for the program.
The best thing about this pic is the kids on each end, Naomi and Dinoo. They aren't the children of Witnesses, or even Bible students. They each were contacted in door to door and decided of their own accord to come, without their parents or siblings or anything. Studies have been started with them both.

So that's the news. Maybe now after all this has finished things will slow back down and my life won't be a constant race to get the next thing done.

Ha! Of course it won't. I love it.


  1. "Like" I am creating my own like button for this post.

  2. Wonderful memorial turnout. Very encouraging. Keep up the good work.

  3. I just clicked Natalie's Like button about 10 times. :)

  4. We had 166 for the Memorial. How many did you have? I love your blogs Grandma

    1. We had 90. We're aiming for 100 next year!