Sunday, March 22, 2015

Trinidad Zone Visit / A New House

So you know how there was a big buzz about the U.S. Zone Visit this year? How all the Kingdom Halls were supposed to get internet access and a projector and all that fancy stuff so we could all be tied in together and see the Zone Visit (Branch Representative Visit? Regional circuit convention? I'm too far out of the loop on these things) and all get the same information at the same time, and it was awesome?

Well, turns out we weren't alone in that. All the congregations in Guyana got the exact same memo. Get connected to the internet and get a projector so we could all watch the visit for the Trinidad branch territory.

Now as incredibly exciting as all this was, this clearly presented a bit of an issue for us in Orealla, seeing as how I can barely even look at image files on the internet, let alone stream video. Nonetheless, we were told to test it out and see if it would possible for us to get this video stream. Despite some intense efforts on the part of our elders (and some very nearly successful attempts) we eventually realized the video would be out of our reach. However, a brother who was aiding many of the congregations in this told us that we could do a phone hook-up and at the very least hear the program.

Unfortunately (there's always one little 'unfortunately' in these stories) I was going out to the coast for various reasons the week beforehand. This really isn't an issue, aside from the fact that the boats here only run two days a week. So I would go back on the boat before the visit, right?

Nope! Turns out there was a Hindu holiday on the very day the boat was supposed to go, so I wound up being stranded on the coast until the day after the visit. On the plus side though, I was able to attend the visit with my original Guyana congregation (all together now!!) Brighton.

See? Wasn't joking about all the congregations getting projectors.

In case you all have forgotten what this place looks like....

The two Ashleys were upset I left them out of the picture, so they made me get another one to ensure equal consideration was given to all Ashleykind.

There Ashley, I got the picture. Satisfied? How about you Ashley?

It was a great program. A few interesting points I was able to jot down in my notes....

There are 164 congregations in the Trinidad branch territory, all of whom (they believe) were tied in to the program. 46 of these congregations are in Guyana, which has 3 circuits and 2,999 publishers (as the Branch Representative said "We're anxiously awaiting #3,000. Any moment now."). Amongst these 2,999 publishers Guyana has 364 regular pioneers, 54 special pioneers, 17 missionaries, and 54 need-greaters. The representative singled Guyana out as a country in great need of assistance, as evidenced by the amount of missionaries and such that are being sent in. He also highlighted the great rewards of serving here, such as the fact that Guyana is reporting over 4,000 Bible Studies each month, which of course averages out to every single publisher in the nation conducting at least one study.

He analyzed a few interesting features of Guyana as well, particularly the foreign language fields which have been blossoming lately. For example, there's the Baramita congregation, which is Carib language. They face a unique challenge in that there is no written form of Carib, so the branch has actually created a written version, so the publishers there must first teach interested ones how to read this language, even as they try to teach them the truth. However, things have been working out amazingly for them. For a congregation of only 68 publishers, two elders and two ministerial servants, they have an average of 226 attending the midweek meeting, with 225 coming for the weekend meeting. And for this last Memorial? Over 1,300!

Also blossoming has been the Chinese field in the Georgetown (capitol city) area, and the American Sign Language field which is scattered all throughout the country. Reminding everyone of the importance of supporting these growing fields, the representative read 1 Timothy 2:3,4 "This is fine and acceptable in the sight of our Savior, God, whose will is that all sorts of people should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth." Really, all sorts of people should obviously include the Chinese, the Amerindians, the deaf, etc.

Due to the growing foreign language fields, the ever present need for more publishers and pioneers to conduct studies with the English speakers, the huge need for appointed brothers to help build and strengthen the congregations, the representative made repeated pleas for as many as possible to come join us in the work here in Guyana. Many times in our publications and yearbooks, Guyana is referred to as "the pioneer's paradise". He encouraged everyone able to come here and see for themselves why it's called that.

Again, amazing program, and I'm glad I got to see it live. Also glad Orealla at least got to hear the program.

After I finally managed to get back to Orealla, I then set about on my new project, namely: move out of the Special Pioneer house and into my own place. Turns out, when you're living life as a need-greater, you don't really own much stuff. "Moving house" is more of "packing my one suitcase and chucking it onto a wheelbarrow". So in about 15 minutes, I was finished.

All my worldly possessions, minus clothes and books.

This house came with a TV. WITH A TV!! No DVD player though... :'(

Outside shot! No idea why there's a door leading to nowhere.

And a gorgeous expanse beneath to hang hammocks and laundry, even in the rain!! Huzzah!

The only slight learning curve with the new place (besides not having running water) is that now I have to rely on the village generator to provide electricity, which usually only runs for a few hours each evening. At the other house we have solar panels, so anytime you're struck with the fancy to turn on power you can. Now it's rather limited to just those few hours.

Or sometimes not at all, as I learned one evening while preparing a public talk...

But again, that's not too much of an issue, one gets used to it pretty quick. Okay, so the lack of running water is the issue then. I'll have to address that soon.

A rather fun event which came up this past week was, after having been in this house for only four days, a group from Rosignol congregation on the coast came in to spend the weekend. Unfortunately (there it is again, that pesky 'unfortunately') the place they'd originally arranged to stay turned out to be unavailable, two days before they arrived. So Dustin and I offered to let them stay by us for the duration of their trip. However, shortly after making that offer, we slowly realized "This is a two bedroom house. There's four of them coming in. Easy enough to fit them here, but.... where are we going to sleep??"

Turns out, that expanse under the house comes in handy even more than we'd expected!
And then the jaguars came....
 So it was a fun two days with the group. Had some delightful times swapping Guyana tales. Horror stories blended with positive experiences.

"And then Josh was all like 'AAAIGH GET THIS JAGUAR OFF OF ME!!'"

Then after two days, we shipped them back off to their homes. Which gives us all of tomorrow to relax and have some quiet before we head off for another Siparuta trip on Tuesday. Stay tuned to hear how that goes!

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