Friday, August 21, 2015

"This Is a Miracle!" - From June til Now

Allow me to begin with apologies. The blog has remained dormant for several weeks (oh, actually months. Oops) due to some major technical issues with my laptop.

(i.e. It didn't turn on)

However, those issues have now been resolved, and therefore updating can resume! So, here's the three major events that have happened since this blog's near-demise.

Arrival of the Ohio Boys

I have three friends who had been interested in coming down to visit Guyana for a while, so finally on June 3rd they were able to make the trip down.

And Queeneth. Because of course.
The boys from L-R are Jake Walsh from Pennsylvania (okay, so they're not all from Ohio. Whatever), Gavin Stallard from Athens Ohio (my hometown), myself, and Neil Rogenski from Marietta Ohio.

They were able to come and stay for two months in my current congregation, Orealla. Now in case the delay in blog updates has caused you to forget what the situation is here, allow me to remind you of why these guys' presence was a big deal.

Orealla has two elders and two ministerial servants. In addition to them, there's only three other baptized brothers. So obviously, everybody is extremely busy during each meeting. Now when you consider that most of these men spend much of the week working to provide for their families, you probably realize there isn't much support through the week for field service.

Enter Jake and Gavin and Neil. Three qualified baptized brothers, all either ministerial servants or regular pioneers. The first meeting for field service they attended, as the elder finished arranging the groups for service, he paused and had a strange look on his face.

We ask what's wrong, and he says "I don't know who to ask to say prayer for us! There's too many brothers to choose from! This is a miracle!"

So then came their first meeting. The local body of appointed brothers all agreed that we'd give them the first week off so they could settle in. Naturally, by time the meeting came, they were all handling assignments. Between them they read for the the Congregation Bible Study, did Bible Highlights, talk 3, ran mics and adjusted the ones on stage.

Welcome to Orealla guys!

All in all, I think they enjoyed themselves (or so I'm guessing). Many new experiences for them while there! Among them living without running water or electricity in my house, learning to cook the local delicacies (invite them over and make them cook for you!), and traveling by boat to reach our whole territory.

Traveling by boat? You know what that means! Siparuta trip!

Load up a small speedboat with literature, lunch, and as many people as are willing to go, and head down the river for an hour until you come across the next village. Astonishingly, with the group we had, we were able to cover the entire village of 300 homes by noon!

My three favorite experiences from the day: since I've been to the village of Siparuta a few times already, I've accumulated some return visits there, so while the rest of the brothers and sisters worked territory, Neil and I focused solely on reaching my calls. The first was a man named James who had first been contacted by a need-greater the year before, who then took me to meet James so I could follow up on the interest. So this visit, when Neil and I arrived I took him into the Bible Teach book we'd left him and covered a few points. But when we were preparing to go, the man said "I wish I could understand the Bible." Naturally I talk about how the Teach book can help to understand it, but he replies "No, the words in it. When you read out of your Bible, I understood what it was saying, but mine I can't understand at all." He brings out a King James and shows it to us. He then adds "Do you have any of those Bibles you can give me? The gray ones you have?" I pause for a moment before reply "Well..... the only one I have is this one. But, um, if you really want one..." Before I finish speaking the Bible is out of my hands and in his.

Don't worry, I'll be visiting again as soon as I can.

The second experience from the day was a pleasant surprise. As we were walking towards another of my calls, we passed the village library. I remembered having gone in there nearly five years before during my visit to Siparuta (read all about it here!) I distinctly remember going in and leaving a variety of literature, primarily a Bible Teach book. I wondered, might it still be....?


So seeing that was a huge deal for me. Never thought I'd be finding results of my effort, still, five years on.

Which leads us to the third, and best, experience.

Brief back story: Memorial season of 2014 we went to Siparuta to invite everyone to Memorial. During that trip, we met a man named Raymond who expressed a desire for one of our "gray Bibles" as well, preferably one with large print. These are in very short supply in Guyana, so we promised him he'd get one, but warned it may take a while.

Fast forward to March 2015. After the incredibly long delay, we made it back to Siparuta with a large print, revised New World Translation. Raymond's house is the first we visit, but are very disappointed to see no one's home. So we set out for a normal Siparuta preaching day, but as we're wrapping up and ready to head back home to Orealla, I decide to visit Raymond's house once more. As we're still walking up to his house, he approaches from another direction. I say hello and begin reminding him of our previous visit. He looks confused, but I press on, even pulling out the Bible and showing him. He still looks confused, but as I open the Bible and show him the large print, his eyes shoot open and he gets a large smile. He grabs the Bible out of my hands, hugs it to his chest, and says "Even when I forget what I've prayed for, Jehovah reminds me."

Fast forward to June 2015, the visit I've been speaking of. Neil and I approach Raymond's house once more, and see him laying in a hammock on his porch. He sees us and invites us up. After talking with him a while, he told us "I was supposed to go out to the bush today for work, but this morning I just didn't feel like going. I had a strong desire to just stay at home. Now I know why."

We talked a lot and built on what the brothers had discussed the first time, and what I had talked with him about the last time. He and his wife are fervently using Jehovah's name now, and his wife has asked for another Bible because hers doesn't use his name as much.

He also asked for someone to come and study regularly with them, but especially his 21 year old son. His son had apparently asked to speak in their church the previous day, so the church allowed him. Raymond said "He went up and began explaining the Scriptures in such a way that we'd never heard before. It was clear and made sense and we could tell it was the truth. We asked after where he'd gotten all this information from, and he told me it was in that little yellow book you'd given us."
So things are going really well with him, along with the four other studies I've been visiting on each trip. Things are looking up for Siparuta.

Boarding the boat to leave Siparuta :'(
Nice hat though!!
 The remaining two months with the guys was pretty much that. Busy in the congregation, learning to adjust to no running water and barely functional electric, going on studies and whatnot. Need-greater life.

Which brings us to the second major event.

Historic Guyana Convention

July 10-12 saw Guyana enjoying their first Regional Convention with video screens!

No pic of the screen yet. I'm going for "dramatic buildup"!
There was some (what's the word?) kerfuffle prior to the convention setup. For several years we've held all our assemblies and conventions at the same location, Kennard Memorial Turf Club. Suddenly, a mere week before convention began, Kennard's backed out on us. Fortunately the committee was able to quickly find another suitable venue for our convention. The only downside of this is that since this venue hadn't been used by the Witnesses for a very long time, certain aspects of the site weren't up to standards. To counter this, we spent three entire days doing convention cleaning, doing everything from repainting all the benches to building entirely new restrooms.

And, I dunno, leaning? Not sure.
Nice hat again!
Of course, all the effort was worthwhile, and the convention went off beautifully. Especially the incorporation of the video displays!

And apologies for some of the pictures being washed out. My phone
(especially the camera) was also beginning to poop out around this time.
The most tragic part came three days after the assembly. Reason being that three days later I left Guyana to return to the U.S. to work and earn money for another trip back to Guyana. Which brings us to major event #3!

Back to the United States

Since being back in the States (which has been just over one month now) I've been in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Virginia. Hey, you go where there's work.

The most substantial part of my time in the States has been in Virginia taking part in a huge college apartment painting job. A crew of 15 or so all huddled in a brother's basement and spent two straight weeks of 15 hour workdays painting. Basically we woke up, went to work, and went to bed. For two weeks straight. My back has never hurt so much in my life.

Yes, I'm a wimp. Deal with it.

Nice basement though! But no hats.... :(

Then there's been about two weeks spent at my parent's house in Ohio, doing any other assorted odd jobs I can find in the area. And some general goofing off with my family as well...

In my home, there is just one law: Silly hats ONLY!!

Including some Guyanese cooking classes from me to my mother. So far it's all turned out well.

Cook-up rice, mango curry with chicken, and cassava bread.

Aaaaand of course the biggest project of all. Fixing this laptop.

Piece of cake!

But all in all, decent trip back to the States. And short too, since just yesterday I bought my ticket back home! I'll be flying out September 21st/22nd, just in time for our next assembly on October 10th!

There may or may not be another update before then. We'll see how it goes.

1 comment: