Friday, July 21, 2017

"Don't Give Up!" - 2017 Regional Convention

Let's play a game. See if you can guess how many blog posts I've done.

Now that we've got the jocularity out of the way, on to the news. As you likely guessed from the title of this post, Guyana recently got to enjoy the "Don't Give Up!" Regional Convention. Thankfully, this time there was none of the usual nonsense we go through regarding the boats getting us out (for stories like that, see literally any other blog post I've ever done about assembly or convention season). This time, it actually went better than we could've expected!

See, the boats usually take us out Thursday night, so they land early Friday morning, which leaves a scant few hours available to get to the homes we're staying at, unpack, iron out wrinkles and all, and then book it over to the convention venue. This year, a boat was traveling out Wednesday night, so most of the congregation got to land Thursday morning and have an entire relaxing day to get settled and prepare for convention the following day. Additionally, we were able to find homes for a lot of the brothers and sisters to stay in so they could be closer to the convention location, and thus not have to travel so long, and also pay less in bus fare.

As was usual for me, however, I and a few others came out Sunday night/Monday morning. There was a three day cleaning planned, but I for various reasons couldn't make it to the first two. By time I got there on Thursday, the final for cleaning, most of the work was done. All that remained was getting the stage set up and hooking up the video and audio equipment.

This raises an interesting detail: last two years we've rented everything from a company and they've sent two employees to help us out during the program. That setup changed this year. Turns out someone donated almost all the equipment to the Branch office for use in Guyana, and this equipment was better than what we'd used last two years. The only slight hitch in this is that we no longer have the two specialists from the company to give us a hand in case of accidents or glitches. But not to worry, as there's a crew of brothers from Georgetown who do this kind of stuff for work, so they came down to work with us to figure out how to get it set up properly. In the midst of this process, the convention overseer gathers two brothers and myself and tells us "Pay close attention. They're only here this year, so next year you three are doing this."

Pray for me.

Yes, someone saw this trio and thought to themselves "They look like people I'd trust with $5 million of fragile equipment."

Thankfully though, everything was set up nicely and the test late Thursday showed no signs of worry.

Now if you're a regular reader of this blog, you can probably tell when I'm setting up for a disaster or some such thing. Amazingly though, the story does not take a turn for the worse. At all. It continued running smoothly throughout the program. The closest thing we had to a problem was when we arrived Friday morning and saw the overnight rain had caused some minor flooding, so we had to elevate the wires, speakers, and other items with a variety of hastily assembled mounts. None of us had come to the convention intending to wade through water, so we didn't have long boots or anything of the kind. Thus, Ohio logic quickly wins out...

You can take the boy out of Ohio, but...

I never thought I'd get to play in the mud, barefoot, during a convention program, and call it sacred service. Scratch one off the bucket list.

As I said before, aside from this the program went incredibly smoothly. I'm not going to share specific points from it, because duh. However, there was one illustration that was used which was so good I simply must share it (and I feel I safely can, as it was a personal experience by the brother, and therefore I can be sure of not copying and distributing material from the branch outlines).

The brother was speaking of 2 Corinthians 4:7 where it tells us "... so that the power beyond what is normal may be God's and not from us."

To illustrate it, he referred to the frequently muddy roads and hills found in these parts. He said he had seen a large hill that, because of heavy rains, had become saturated with mud, to the point where any vehicle attempting to traverse it couldn't reach the top. Happily, there was a bulldozer nearby which had the power to make it to the top. So what would happen is each truck would rev up, accelerate forward, and see how far up this impassable hill it could go. Once it finally got stuck, once it could finally go no further, the bulldozer would come behind it and push it the rest of the way up. Naturally, every vehicle reached different heights. Some were nearly to the top, some could barely get started. But each one made it over the top because the bulldozer pushed them.

Of course, the bulldozer didn't push them from the bottom. Each one had to go as far as it could, but no matter how far they got, they could be sure that after they'd put in their best, the bulldozer would take it from there.

The brother then applied this to that verse. The power that is normal is how far we can make it up whatever our respective "hill" is. Once we've used that up, then Jehovah provides the rest. So as long as we put in our best first, we can be sure to make it over the hill.

Alright, plagiarism over.

After all three days had finished, a group of eleven of us went over to a newly built restaurant in Skeldon that we'd all been wanting to try. This place is clearly too fancy for me.

"Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack!"
They use FORKS in this place. Clearly not my scene.
You may spy, all the way to the right, one of my former roommates Kojo seated. He came down for a visit, all the way from .... um, wherever he's living now. I should've checked my records before starting this. Anyway, it was a long travel, and we weren't expecting to see him for this, so it came as a welcome surprise.

So after an entirely stress free, problem free, easy, relaxing, and superbly enjoyable week out, I'm now back home in Orealla, and awoke this morning to yet another piece of shockingly good news. I believe next blog post will have some information about it. Stay tuned. Seriously. This is super exciting.