Thursday, March 3, 2016

Preparations For Memorial

Big, big, big news this time around! After years of trying, we've finally been able to establish something for this year. Namely, two Memorial observations! One in Orealla, and a second simultaneous one in our neighbor village Siparuta. This has been impossible up to now due to the severe lack of brothers in our area (and in all the other congregations in Guyana) so we could barely even cover all the responsibilities for one Memorial. This year however, we've been able to snag someone from overseas to come in to aid us. Fella named Bruce Westfall, not sure if that'll ring a bell for anyone.

Even this though, we weren't sure would cover it, until finally all the brothers involved agreed to go ahead and pitch in even more so than usual so we could still hold both programs at the same time. This will lead to some of us handling three or four assignments at once, but we're confident that we can get it done. Here's hoping! And lots and lots and lots of nonstop praying.

Anyway, we of course need to have an invitation campaign in order to let everyone know what's coming up, and today was the beginning of our Memorial campaign over that side, so here's the stories of what happened.

For starters, the reason we've been so eager to get over there for a Memorial is due to the amazing response we get in the ministry each time we go. We've gone for each Memorial campaign the last three years, and each time the reaction from people was the same.

"It's so hard to get over to Orealla. When are you going to start a Kingdom Hall over here so we can come all the time?"

I'm not even joking about that. Unfortunately though, only a small handful could make it each time to the Memorial in Orealla. So today, we go with fancy schmancy invitations that listed date and time in two locations. The Orealla Kingdom Hall and the Siparuta Health Centre. The first door I took was Raymond (whom I have spoken of in several previous blog entries on Siparuta), and as I was showing him the invitation, and he immediately recognized what it was. But then after seeing his recognition, I opened it to the inside and pointed out "Not only is it in Orealla this year, but we're having it here in Siparuta too." His eyes popped out of his head (not literally) and he shouted "It's here this year? Finally! I'll be there!"

Next house my partner Geno takes the door. He points out the two locations to the woman, and her eyes pop out and she shouts "It's here this year? Of course I'll come!"

This happened at nearly every single door.

In fact, remember how we were instructed to offer the March Watchtower at any door where they showed interest? Well, that became every house we took. We also showed the Memorial video at about 80% of the houses.

Geno walking away from a house, disappointed at
only placing an invitation and Watchtower.

I pointed this out to him, how at every door we had covered the options for what to do on an initial call during the campaign. Immediately after this we took a house where a man was swinging in a hammock reading a book. As he sees us approaching, he puts his book down and gives us his attention. As Geno talks with the man, I kept getting brief glimpses of the book as the hammock swung. It seemed decidedly small and yellow. Finally my curiosity got the better of me and I asked what book he had. He holds up a copy of What Does the Bible Really Teach? After recovering from my brief shock, I pointed him to pages 206-208 in the appendix on the Lord's Evening Meal and encouraged him to read more on it after we'd left.

"Sigh... only 9 placements at the last 3 doors."

There was also one house where we were invited inside and did the (by this point) usual routine - invite, video, Watchtower, promise to return - and then prepared to leave. The people there looked shocked and brought out a Teach Book and New World Translation and asked "But aren't you going to study with us?"

See, this is why we need to start a Kingdom Hall over there...

On that note, the top priority on each of these trips has become to visit a woman by the name of Yanet. She had lived in Suriname before and nearly become a publisher when her husband's work moved them back to Siparuta, their original home. Thus being away from a congregation for so long she wasn't able to progress further, much to her own disappointment. She's in fact the one in Siparuta who's helping to put the Memorial together. She works at the Health Centre there and was the one able to secure it for us as the site for the meeting. So after we finished covering the village (the whole village, top to bottom) today, she took us all over so we could take a better look at it and see what would be needed in preparation.

Note to dad: Memorize what this place looks like.

As excited as we are to have this set up, it is gonna take a lot of work to get it ready. Since it's a Health Centre and not exactly built for public speaking, we'll need to set up a basic sound system and find a way to get a lot more chairs. At first we were estimating about a dozen total would be attending the Memorial, which would easily fit on the benches there (which can hold about 25 or so). But after the ridiculous reception of the campaign work today, it could easily get to 40 or more.

Oh yes, and it's mostly outdoor. Has a roof, but still.
(The red hat is the woman helping us, Yanet)

So after getting a good look at the place and figuring out what work needs done, it was time to head back to Orealla. We were absolutely exhausted, but excited about the coming weeks, and happy in a job well done.

In a closing note, yes I reference lots of older posts about trips to Siparuta and all. If you don't feel like digging through a lot of old posts, then use this handy list of links.

My first trip there, September 2010
My second time, with some river witnessing thrown in, January 2011
A very brief mention of a trip there, March 2014
My favorite trip so far, where we re-encountered an old friend, April 2014
The last time we walked to Siparuta, November 2014
Where the saga of Raymond and James begins, May 2015
Further details on Raymond and James, November 2015


  1. What are the names of the group in the boat?

    1. From L-R, front to back:
      Sigmund and Amanda McKenzie
      Kim and Lennox Johnston
      Geno Chacon and Ford Prefect

  2. So happy everything seems to be falling into place... (with a lot of work and prayer I am sure!!)

  3. Oh no! I heard your blog might get HIJACKED!!!! IS THAT TRUE? That some Anderson cooperish old dude is going to post his adventurous adventure on the revered nutso blog. Sure hope it is interesting ( and posted WAY MORE FREQUENTLY ) than current standards.

  4. JOSH! I was just thinking to myself what my crazy awesome friend Josh was up to and managed to unearth your blog. Happy to see you're still updating (however infrequently) and still serving in Orealla/Siparuta. I love this update on Siparuta and you guys have a boat to get there now?! Awesome! In my day you had to travel barefoot uphill 10 miles to get there. 😜 But there was always SO MUCH interest. I'm happy everybody there is still getting Jehovah's word and are able to share in the memorial this year. My goodness, how I miss that life.

    1. Oh, we had to do it in my day too. That's why we got a boat.
      And it's 18 miles...