Monday, May 26, 2014

Farewell, Orealla

So, as usual, sorry about it being so long since the last update. Etc etc etc.

Okay, now that we've gotten all that out of the way, here's what's going on in a nutshell.

1. Kojo Burgan came back from the Bible School for Single Brothers in Trinidad about a week and a half ago, and is settling back in to his normal routine.

2. I'm about to depart Orealla to spend a little while on the coast until I return to Ohio to work, earn money, go to International Convention, and prepare for another (and longer) trip to Guyana.

Unfortunately, leaving means I won't be seeing this as part of my day-to-day life...

Happily though, I've been able to keep busy for the last few days, and keep my mind off the impending departure from paradise. One thing that was pretty awesome was having over a man from the village named Mitchell who is one of the only other guitar players around. We'd wanted to do something together for a while, but never had a chance to. But when news came I was leaving, he decided to set visiting us as a priority.

We spent a few hours playing each other's guitars and teaching each other various lessons we'd learned over time. This man is related to several of the ones in our congregation but has always avoided Witnesses in general, so we're considering this an important step in the right direction.

And of course due to my upcoming departure, there was a going-away party. In Guyana, these are a huge deal. It doesn't even matter if you'll only be gone a short while and then coming back, you'll get a whopper of a going away party.

See, in North Athens they're so used to me leaving all the time they all dress in orange as a symbol of my leaving...

Which I think makes much more sense than everyone throwing themselves into assembling a party for someone who'll probably be back in a few weeks.

But hey, I got cinnamon rolls out of it, so I'm not complaining.

And thus that leaves me here, Monday morning, awaiting the boat which will take me away to the coast so I can stay with Tom and Michelle Sanches for a few days until I head back to Ohio. It'll be interesting trying to ride in the boat when the weather is like this:

Maybe I should buy an umbrella.....

Sunday, May 4, 2014

'Pour Out Blessing Until There Is No More Want'

Malachi 3:10. "Test me out, please, in this respect,” Jehovah of armies has said, “whether I shall not open to YOU people the floodgates of the heavens and actually empty out upon YOU a blessing until there is no more want."

Living with the Guyanese gives you an interesting perspective on this verse. Allow me to explain...

This past weekend I had to go out to the coast to visit a bank so I could replenish my dwindling cash reserves. As simple as this sounds, it gets quite monotonous when you do it several times. Boat from Orealla to Skeldon - 7 hours. Bus from Skeldon to Rose Hall - 2 hours. Bus from Rose Hall to New Amsterdam - 1 hour. Stand in line at Scotia Bank. Get money. Then do the whole thing in reverse back to Orealla.

This time however, I didn't have to. When that group from Skeldon came to visit, they offered to take my bank card and give it to one of the elders from their congregation, who conveniently works in New Amsterdam. They would have him get my money out and then all I'd have to do is step off the boat, pick up cash, then do whatever I wanted to after that. I was pleased by this offer, and asked if there was anything I could do to express thanks.

"Could you bring us to or three pieces of cassava bread?"

"Um... okay."

So I began asking around the congregation if anyone had cassava bread that I could give to a sister in Skeldon. When I left for the boat, I had so much cassava bread that it filled up a backpack.

Of course, the insane generosity was far from finished. See, I now had around eight hours in Skeldon to kill, since I needn't go all the way to the bank. A brother who lives near the wharf offered to let me simply crash at his house. Within a few minutes I had been given cook-up rice, beans, chicken, Pepsi, roasted peanuts, Coke, two cups of coffee, and some drink I'd never heard of called Lemon Wash.

By this point, I no longer wanted anything else. And they kept giving me stuff. It eventually got to the point of saying "Please stop giving me food! I don't want anymore!"

I can't say that's the implication of the scripture (especially since the revised edition reads "nothing lacking", not "no more want"), but living with a people as incredibly generous as the Guyanese certainly gives you a unique look at that verse.