Sunday, November 24, 2013

Visitors & Big News!

Hi there!

I have news, everyone - big news! Today at the meeting, Martin Doubon showed up. He is the coordinator of the La Florida congregation, and he only comes to our meetings to make announcements that only elders can make. So when he was called up to the stage for an announcement, I didn't know what to expect. I was really hoping that nobody was disfellowshipped, but instead, we received the best announcement we could have hoped for: Our local ministerial servant, Domingo, has been appointed as an elder!!!

He will now be serving as our coordinator. Everyone in the hall couldn't stop smiling. It's so encouraging! Jehovah has definitely answered our prayers. It relieves so much anxiety. There's still plenty of work to do, but at least we have a stable local elder now!

Besides that, my visitors from Maine arrived this past Monday! We've been having a blast so far. This past week, we spent a few hardcore days preaching in Ojo. I helped them prepare some Spanish presentations, and they've all done awesome with it. 

Ben placing his first tract.

Travis and I enjoying the cloudy day.

Me, Nicole, and Bree riding in Renee's tuk tuk to the service group.

These next four pictures are my absolute favorites from this week:
...Nicole placing a tract with a very friendly woman...

...Ben speaking with a man while doing some early-morning witnessing...

...Travis preaching to a shop owner...

...and Bree placing a tract with a very nice girl.

They've all done very well out in service, especially since we've had to walk to the outskirts of our territory every day this week to finish covering our tract campaign territory!

This is Sinforiano, one of my Bible studies. He can read very basically, but needed reading glasses. Renee gave me an old pair of glasses to bring to him. He said that he can see perfectly with them, and now he feels much more motivated to read the literature during his free time!

Today, we went to Ojo's double meeting. Once again, the Mainers gave it their all. They all commented for each part, and their comments were great!
They all sounded like native speakers!

We've had a lot of fun so far. I'll post more pictures after we visit Matagalpa this week!

Take care,


Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Little Taste of Spain

Hi all,

I am currently sitting on my couch at home finally taking a breather after the incredibly busy week we've just had in Ojo. We had the visit of our Circuit Overseer, Gerard Segales, and his wife, Rocio. Being that we only have three ministerial servants, I honestly was ready for the week to be over before it even started. Don't get me wrong - I was looking forward to the talks and ministry time, but I knew that we would have a LOT of work to do. Thankfully, though, the visit went really well!

Sidenote: I meant to take a lot of pictures throughout the week but I didn't really get the chance, so I'm just gonna disperse some service pictures I took this morning throughout this post so you don't get bored.

When we had our first meeting of the visit on Tuesday, I was really nervous. Gerard and Rocio are from Spain, and I knew that Spaniards have a very different accent than Nicaraguans - I just didn't know if I would be able to understand them or not! Considering I didn't understand our substitute C.O. at all, I wasn't sure how well this was gonna go. However, once Gerard got on stage to give his first talk, I understood him perfectly! I was very happy - I didn't have to strain my language skills to understand the talk! It was unbelievably refreshing. I felt like I was really getting something out of his talks instead of just focusing on understanding them. So even though we had a busy week ahead of us, I at least didn't have to worry about the language barrier.

Gerard and Rocio are also very personable and funny. They really make an effort to get to know everybody, and the congregation was very encouraged. Rocio likes to say some English words now and then; she always says, "Es muy nice!" or "Que nice!" It's hilarious. They were really helpful, and gave me rides when I needed them. Gerard also took the time to make sure I was doing okay physically and emotionally with all the work here, and that meant a lot. 

As a congregation, Gerard thinks we are doing excellent. Roberto and I were really surprised by this - we were thinking he was gonna reduce us to a group! On the contrary, he said, "I think you guys are doing fine without an elder!" He commended us servants for fulfilling our assignments diligently. He wants to train us to be able to handle this situation for a while, so he's given the three of us assignments. They can't officially be written down as none of us our elders, but Domingo will be doing the work of the Coordinator, Roberto will be doing the work of the Secretary, and I will be doing the work of the Service Overseer. It's a lot of work for sure, but I actually feel comfortable with that. He's said he's available if we ever have questions, and that we can contact other local congregations for matters that must be dealt with by official elders. We'll see how it goes.

I couldn't decide if I liked this picture in color or black and white, so I posted it twice. Bam.

It's understandable that he thinks our congregation is doing well. Since we changed our meeting schedule, our attendance has tremendously increased: our public talk and Watchtower study attendance has increased by 20%, and our book study, school, and service meeting attendance has gone up by 50%! We have 13 auxiliary pioneers for this month, which made for a really nice pioneer meeting. Also, three inactive publishers have been reactivated since the last visit. Very encouraging indeed!

Service went really well throughout the week. We covered a lot our territory for the tract campaign, which is awesome, considering our territory is huge and we can only get around on foot! Gerard came with me on one of my studies and that went great. This morning, we had a short service group at 8:00 before the meeting at 9:30, and we had a nice group. (That's what I've been posting pictures of throughout this entry. ;)

Roberto havin' a great time!

Before the pioneer meeting on Friday, we lost power at the Kingdom Hall, and it was still out this morning during their last meeting! It's a good thing Gerard speaks loudly. Without the ceiling fans, though, we were all sweating like pigs.
Getting ready for a hot, humid, and fanless Sunday meeting.

Gerard Segales giving the public talk.

Although the week was unbelievably busy, it was also very refreshing. I definitely feel a lot better about everything, and I think the congregation does too. Jehovah will keep taking care of us as long as we keep doing what we're doing! And who knows...maybe an elder will wanna come here eventually! 

Me with Gerard and Rocio.

It was very nice having the Segaleses around. Alas, the week is over, and I can finally take some time to relax. I'm heading down to Managua tomorrow morning to pick up my family and friends that will be visiting for the next three weeks. Can't wait to see them! 

Hope everyone is doing well.

Talk soon,


Friday, November 8, 2013

Kingdom News #38

Hi everyone,

Things are going well here! We have an incredible work load in the congregation, but we're adjusting to it. We'll be having our C.O. visit next week, which we're all looking forward to. In the meantime, we've been walking miles upon miles covering our territory for this month's tract campaign!

The format of this tract is perfect for our territory. It's simple, easy to read, and it does all the work for you. 

I never realized how cool it is that this campaign is being done worldwide until I saw photos of my friends in Ecuador and some from back home placing these tracts. I guess we kind of get accustomed to saying, "We're participating in a worldwide campaign" without really thinking anything of it. But when you think about how every single congregation worldwide is doing this, it's pretty incredible!

Part of our service group yesterday. Always a positive spirit among this congregation!

My friend Ervin placing a tract - and holding a sister's hat for some reason. 

I've been surprised by the response to this tract. Regarding the "Would you say yes, no, or maybe?" question, I was sure that everybody in our territory would say yes, since many of them are very familiar with the Bible. A lot of them have indeed said yes, but I've spoken with a few who have said no or who weren't sure. Thankfully, people here are very reasonable, and love when you show them truths from the scriptures, so you can have some nice discussions with it. For example, one woman I spoke with said that she didn't think it was possible, but when I showed her John 5:28 & 29, she was very intrigued and accepted the tract.

Speaking to a woman and her family.

Domingo (our third ministerial servant, the only local one) sharing a scripture. 

We've been working our outer territories first for this campaign, which has required a lot of walking long distances in the hot sun. Of course, it's been worth the effort. We've gotten to witness to people who don't get reached very often, so that has been very rewarding. We've also been able to discover really cool spots in our territory that I've never seen before, like this stream!
"I'm gonna hurt you if you don't give my camera back to me!"

Me discussing the tract with an old call of Stephane's yesterday. I know he doesn't seem that engaged in this photo, but we had a good chat!

Ervin started off by placing a tract with this man, but then they started having a really nice conversation. He eventually took out a copy of the Good News brochure and discussed a couple of questions. He offered the man a Bible study, which he readily accepted and is going to start next week! And I was paying attention the whole time! (It's okay if you don't believe me...)

Taking a rest at my favorite spot in our territory.

This campaign has been very encouraging thus far, and we're not even halfway through this month yet. I'm certainly looking forward to the rest of it. A refreshing ministry has really helped me to put things in perspective, and it makes all the other stresses much more bearable.

Hope you all are well. Thanks again for all your help and encouragement. Please continue to stay in touch, and I will do the same!

Talk soon,


Monday, November 4, 2013

Está Mejorando


I just wanted to write a quick update on how things are going here. In short, they're getting better! Each day has been getting easier and easier, which is all thanks to Jehovah. 

Last week, after cycling to Ojo's meeting on Sunday, I decided not to check in on the mechanic for the rest of the week, as I was tired of only getting bad news. So I went out to Ojo again to lead the ministry group on Wednesday. I decided to take a taxi out there that day, mainly because nobody has been showing up for service on Wednesdays and I didn't want to cycle all the way out only for no one to be there. Thankfully, though, someone was: Renata! 

Renata (or Renee, as we call her), is a pure Italian sister who resides in the States in a New York Bethel congregation. Her daughter Ashlee and son Kyle moved here years ago, and she moved here with them soon after. She has led quite the life, and has traveled here, there, and everywhere. She has been in Ojo for over two years now, and having her there has been a huge help. She conducts many studies and has helped a lot by using her experiences from Bethel. Ashlee recently moved to Matagalpa, and Renee just went to visit her there for a few weeks, leading us all to think that she would most likely join her in the move. However, I was surprised to see her at the ministry group with another sister, where she told me that she has decided to stay in Ojo for the time being. Very good news!

As far as transportation goes, Renee probably has the most unique form of it here: a tuk tuk. It's an interesting three-wheeler design, but it's served her well for getting out to Ojo! She's been able to use it to transport others, including public speakers, and help transport our literature order as well, so it's been a big help to everyone. I told her about the problem I've been having with the scooter, and she immediately told me that I could ride with her in the tuk tuk out to Ojo until further notice! I was extremely thankful for her generous offer. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. It works out pretty well, since we both have the same service days. I'm still hoping the scooter gets repaired, but for now, Jehovah is certainly providing. 

This is the tuk tuk! That's Renee in the front. With her generous spirit and VERY Italian attitude, she is a great help to the congregation. She herself has said that if somebody her age can handle serving here in Chinandega, then anyone can. It definitely proves that need-greating is something for everyone, not just us 20-year-olds!

It's been very refreshing being able to be back out in the ministry in Ojo again. I've picked up a few new studies already, and it's great to be with my congregation once again.

In other news, I had the privilege of conducting the Watchtower in Spanish for the first time yesterday. It went well! I've had a cold for the past week, so it was a bit of a struggle to get to the meeting - and conduct the study while coughing and sneezing the whole time - but it all went very well. Again, all thanks to Jehovah.

Like I said, it's still not easy, but you learn how to make the most out of your circumstances. And Jehovah gradually provides help in small doses. Thank you all again for your encouraging e-mails and calls these past couple of weeks. Please continue to stay in touch!

Talk soon,