If you had once told me that the most productive territory I would ever work would actually be a small village that gets worked every two weeks, I never would've believed you. Surely if you cover a territory that often you'll find all the possible interested people within a few weeks right? And then everyone else would just gradually grow to hate you and your visits, right?
Nope! Orealla and the neighboring village Siparuta continue to be the most productive territories I've ever done in my life. This has never been better evidenced than what happened in the last two weeks.
For starters, a longtime Bible study named Florine recently was appointed an unbaptized publisher, and then her daughter received approval for the same thing the next week. They went out in service for the first time ever two Saturdays ago.
|Chelesa and Florine Herman|
|Pictured: Everybody, sleepy.|
Along with the two of them, Florine's son Deon has spent several months now studying with a brother and he's begun making progress. In fact, he just received his first Bible reading assignment for a midweek meeting!
As if all that wasn't enough, there's a considerably long and complicated story involving one of my studies I'd like to share.
I believe I've mentioned Lorenzo before. This man in the village has a daughter named Shania who had begun studying, attending meetings, became publisher, gave talks, etc. Lorenzo came to the meeting when Shania had her first talk, but we didn't see him after that. So one day as we're passing by their house in service, I stop and ask Lorenzo if he's ever thought about studying the Bible. He says "Yes, but scheduling it is really difficult for me. Tell you what, if I come to your meetings on Sunday, could we just study right after meeting is over?"
Brilliant idea, I thought.
So we've been doing this for a few months now, and he, his wife, and their baby son now make it to all the weekend meetings and a lot of the midweek ones as well.
On top of this, I learned that Lorenzo has been preaching to his younger brother Brandon, so finally Brandon asks me if he can study too. On the very first study after we finish, Brandon asks if he can get JW Library so he can prepare for the meetings. He also asks if he's allowed to comment on Sunday.
This study went on for two weeks before this same Circuit Overseer visit, so I thought it fitting to bring CO along on the study. After an hour we finish, and someone from the congregation was passing by and asked me a question, so I walk over to talk with her. When I return, the CO has the Jehovah's Will brochure (I haven't given Brandon yet since we ran out. Don't worry, this oversight will be corrected soon!) and is showing Brandon what are elders, ministerial servants, pioneers, etc. As we walk away from the study, I ask the CO why he chose that piece in particular, since there's lots of other things that come before it. He replies "Brandon asked if he has to finish the Bible Teach book before he can get baptized. I told him no, but he would still have to finish the book. Then he started asking me what he can do in the congregation afterwards."
On top of all this, Brandon also told me and his older brother Lorenzo are now preaching to the next younger brother, and have convinced him to study too. This is on top of their youngest brother (aged 9) attending meetings with their mother, and another older brother who's already a Witness in Skeldon congregation. Five down, one more to go!
Another fun event during CO visit is naturally the aforementioned Siparuta trip. Since we've gotten the boat, it's opened up the opportunity to go to many people who never could've made it before. This was true for Mark Herman, who's been handicapped since age 8, and Ruth Hendricks who suffered a stroke about fifteen years ago. Just bring along a cart, and they get to have a share in the day too!
In the wheelchair is Mark, and standing next to him in the red is Ruth. Now, in the picture you'll see an older woman leaning on a cane to listen to Mark. This is Granny Genevieve, who is almost completely immobile. However, she knows Mark and Ruth from years back, and when she heard those two had made the effort to come the entire 3 hour trip to visit, she decided she was going to put forth the effort to walk over to see them. So the sister standing to the right in the pink shirt (Mark's mother Fiona) helped her up, and walked with her over to cart so Granny Genevieve could see Mark and Ruth. After a few minutes, Genevieve asks "So when will you build a Kingdom Hall over here so I can come to your meetings?"
The remainder of the CO visit went very well, with the Sunday meeting having an attendance somewhere in the range of 71-78. After meeting, there was a congregation day at the beach, which eventually resulted in the CO playing cricket with all the children in the hall.
|*insert Chariots of Fire theme song*|
Lots of progress to be made in the days ahead. As usual, stay tuned.