Sunday, November 30, 2014

Further Adventures of JW Broadcasting!

Gonna be totally honest, got no good pictures to go along with the stories this time. So here's a photo of the typical attendance at an Orealla meeting.

Unrelated pic alert!

Now then, as you may remember from the last blog entry, we've been trying to ensure everybody here gets to see both the JW Broadcasting videos that have been released. Our initial attempt was showing the videos at our Kingdom Hall, as I'd shared the photo of. Most of the congregation was able to attend and see them, but there were a few unable to make it. In addition to that, several publishers in our hall had studies and calls they wanted to share it with as well. So we copied the files onto Kojo's laptop and either took the video to the people's homes, or simply invited them to our house to watch them all.

Probably my favorite experience from this so far comes from a man named Martin. He's studies off and on with the Witnesses for years, but has never quite been able to become a Witness himself, despite now being in his 60's. Unsurprisingly, he's rather upset about this.

So a few days back Kojo invited him to our home and played the October video for him. Of course, this is the one where they interview the man who got baptized at the age of 87, and even now at 91 is serving as a regular pioneer and a minsterial servant.

After the interview finished, Martin turned to us with a huge smile and said "I'm just a teenager!"
And has not missed a meeting since.

Unrelated picture of a huge tree! And Kojo!

Another man named Frederick, of a similar age, has recently begun studying. For a while he's been viewed in a negative light by most of the village, but a few months ago he suffered a stroke and was sure he was going to die. Amazingly, he's recovered completely, and is now attempting to change his life but is still overshadowed by his past.

This man too viewed the interview of the 91 year old man, but the part that caught his attention was the man saying how his old friends couldn't believe the change. "He's a Witness, and baptized? Why if he can do it, anybody can!"

Of course following that interview is the music video of how serving Jehovah is the best life ever. Both of those put together seemed to have an impact on him. In fact, he'll be coming to our house in a few hours for a Bible study, so hopefully we'll have a chance to show him the November program as well.

So that's been a lot of the week. Tracking down each person associated with the congregation here and ensuring everyone gets a chance to see it, whether special pioneer or fresh student. Now we're just planning on how to get the December broadcast so we can do this all over again next month. It'll likely involve Charlie or I leaving the village to go to the coast where we can get more reliable internet. Takes a lot of bandwidth to download a 55-minute High-Def video.

And to conclude, I'll share another unrelated picture of two-year old Kate wearing a pair of tiny John Lennon sunglasses.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Walk To Siparuta / JW Broadcasting

Let's seen if one of our more astute readers can recognize what's happening in this photograph...

Oh wait, I gave it away in the title, didn't I? Ah well.

For those of you who may be new to this blog, allow me to explain. Orealla is a small village with a small congregation right off one of the largest rivers in Guyana. Our assigned territory is the village of Orealla which gets worked frequently. However, we also have any homes along the river, and a neighboring village called Siparuta. Unfortunately, Siparuta gets worked very rarely due to it being a three hour hike away. Through the jungle. It gets worked only when we have enough intrepid hikers to make the journey. As difficult as a three hour walk is, it's even worse when the entire path looks like this:

And so on an so forth. Then you do this again on the way back home. Naturally this is not a desirable situation to endure, but what else are you gonna do? We have rented a boat a few times before to get us to the village, but that gets very expensive very quickly.

Fortunately this time around, we had worked out a new idea. There was a boat that was going to be going from Siparuta to Orealla later in the day, so we could make the hike and then ride the boat back when we were done. Free passage too!

So therefore we set out at 6:30 in the morning so we could reach the village early enough in the day to work as much as possible. When we arrived we learned the boat was going to be leaving a bit earlier than we'd thought, so we wouldn't have enough time to cover the whole village (of 400+ plus people), but we were still able to work most of the downhill segment of Siparuta (the village is split evenly between an uphill region and a downhill region).

We were also able to talk to some interesting people and have a few good experiences. Kojo spent nearly half the time there sharing the Young People ask books with two young men in the village, showing them what the books covered, Bible principles they used, etc. We were also able to introduce the Caleb & Sophia videos to some new audiences....

 Then finally, hitching a (free!) ride home with Neil....

Another recent experience: Orealla is still very much an Amerindian village, to the point where electricity is still fairly new. There's only one radio. Cell phones were introduced only this year. Due to this, internet is out of reach for almost the entirety of the residents. While this lack of distractions can be nice at times, this does tend to leave people without the ability to easily access and the new JW Broadcasting videos. What to do about this? Simple!

Before coming back to Guyana I was able to get the October and November programs saved to my computer, so Saturday we invited the congregation to a very informal gathering where we set up a computer monitor on the stage (seen above) and showed the programs. Due to the weather, a few couldn't make it so we've been inviting them over to our house at a time they can make it, or taking a laptop to their own house and showing them then.

Of course December is approaching, and with that a new Broadcast video, so we're going to send someone out to the coast where there's better internet and have them try to get the video so we can continue this.

So that's all for now. Stay tuned for the gripping saga of my battle with a vicious man-eating Orangutan.
(Not really. I just need an exciting conclusion for this entry).

Until next time!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Well Hello Again, Orealla!

So. This has been an interesting week.

Thursday: Awoke at 5 AM (or so) to head out to JFK. We worked out it would be cheaper to drive to New York and fly out of there than to fly out of Columbus. We stopped along the way to pick up a brother named Charlie Brohard who will be staying in Guyana for five weeks.

We got to Wallkill at about 6 PM and settled in for the night.

Friday: Spent most of the day with my cousin and made the most of our time at Wallkill. Took a tour of the facility, ate lunch with the family, and picked up all the literature we could for various Guyanese congregations.

Then we eventually got on our way to the airport, with plenty of time to catch out 11:55 PM flight.

Saturday: Not entirely sure what all happened on Saturday. I didn't really sleep so much on the plane (great in-flight movie) so my memories are in general pretty foggy. We did have a good time at the Trinidad airport where we made a connecting flight. Right after landing we headed to a coffee shop inside the building. As we sat there, Charlie was going over one of his public talks, and a couple walks up to us and says "Are you guys Witnesses?". Turns out they're publishers from Trinidad who were on their way to New York for.... something. We asked their names, and they said.... something. Like I said, bad sleep, foggy memories, etc.

Later on we got through security and all and made it to our departure gate. Charlie resumes going over his talk, and a couple sitting nearby asks "Are you guys Witnesses?". THESE ones were named BJ and Fee (short for Felicia, I'm assuming). Not only do I remember their names, I even got a picture of them! So maybe that makes up for forgetting the other two? I dunno, it averages out.

Turns out they're need-greaters from Wisconsin on their way to a congregation in Guyana called Bartica (which some readers may know as the congregation that Roman goes to. Just tossin' that out there). Naturally we swapped stories about how horribly cold our families are going to be in the coming weeks. Because sitting in an airport for seven hours does that to you.

So after a good long while with them, we boarded our plane and we landed in Georgetown, Guyana at around 2 PM. Fortunately, we had hired a taxi ahead of time, so he was there and waiting to drive us straight to where we were staying, with a brother named Lourensco (pronounced Lorenzo). He stuffed us full of food. And we went to bed very very early due to the amount of flying and traveling over the previous days.

Sunday: Since we were staying in Brighton's territory, we naturally went to Brighton's meeting Sunday morning. Got to see Tom & Michelle Sanches again, along with all the others in the congregation I knew, plus a few new ones which is always nice. Most of the remaining day was spent just chilling, for lack of a better word. Lourensco's house is good for that.

Monday: According to the others in the house, I was asleep until 10, which knowing me, I have no reason to doubt. We learned the boat for Orealla wasn't leaving until 10:30 that night, so we had plenty of time to get needed shopping done. However, Lourensco had errands to run all day, so offered to pick us up the things we needed. Therefore, more chilling. At least until 8, when we left for the boat.

Tuesday: We arrived! Finally.

Came in at about 5 AM this morning and have been settling in nicely. Digging through all my stuff that I brought and all I left behind. And realized I didn't do a blog update yet. So there you go. The next should be coming soon once we get settled into a good routine and start getting studies and all.

So, uh..... there you go.