It's been interesting for me to watch the progression of the Orealla congregation. I first ever visited in early September 2010, after I'd been in Guyana only two weeks. I would periodically visit for the following two years, and by October 2013 I was assigned there by the branch. Now that I'm spending all my time there, I decided to sit back and reflect on what had changed since my earliest visit. And I was frankly blown away by it...
For starters, I first attended one of their meetings shortly after the unexpected death of their sole elder, which left the congregation entirely on the shoulders of one ministerial servant, with only one other baptized brother to assist him. Now, we have two elders (one of whom was the aforementioned ministerial servant), plus two ministerial servants and four more qualified baptized brothers.
As for meeting attendance, well.... here's the attendance record from my first meeting there.
Yes. Five. And that 20 that you see represented the best attendance they'd had in months. However in present day, last Sunday we had 63! That's proven to be the average for Sunday meetings, and the lowest we've had for a midweek meeting recently was 30.
The congregation is now up to 31 publishers with 5 regular pioneers and one continuous auxiliary. On top of that, in the month of August we had 16 who participated in auxiliary pioneering.
One obstacle Orealla was facing on my first visit was having a limited territory. The territory itself is huge, but only a small amount is accessible. The rest of it is homes and farms that can be reached by boat on the river, or there is a large population in a village (Siparuta) which can be reached via a 3 hour walk through the jungle. But now, both those problems have been solved with the purchase of...
|In case you can't see, that's a small JW ORG printed on each green bench.|
This allows us to reach the village of Siparuta easily, and allows access to most of our river territory (we're still at this point testing the boundaries of the boat).
A huge plus of this is that now, instead of visiting the village once a year like we used to, we're visiting twice a month. Not only that, we've received approval from both the Circuit Overseer and the village itself to hold a meeting there once per month. We have yet to implement that due to our upcoming Circuit Assembly (this Saturday!) but stay tuned for updates in the coming weeks.
Of course, not all is perfect. We still deal with apathy from our territory on occasion, we still struggle to find our Bible students at home sometimes... we still have a Hello Kitty clock hanging in our Kingdom Hall...
|You thought I was joking, didn't you??|
But things are looking up. All in all, it has been an excellent reminder to me of how far the congregation has come, and how much further it can go if we keep putting forth the necessary effort. So, uh, back to work I guess.