Two weeks on our own in Cuenca and we're loving it. The heart of the city is only 2-5 mins by taxi and we can even walk to it when the sun is out. Anytime we feel like Ecuadorian food it's just down the street. There are little home restaurants on every corner almost, three - just on our street, the food is really good and for $2.50 you get soup, a main dish (like rice with meat and beans), a juice and a small desert... amazing right... The restaurants in the city are open till 2am, the other day we went to a restaurant called Carbonazo they make parrilladas (BBQ'd meats), the plate we ordered was $15.00 for two people and it came with potatoes and unlimited salad. Like I said the food here is great and cheap!
Our apartment runs on gas (Hot Water / Oven) it costs $2.50 to refill if they come to you, however, if you go to them about $1.20. We've been using it for two weeks and have not refilled it yet (they are only the small tanks - about 20 litres probably), everyday a ute comes by beeping to let you know they're here, they swap your empty gas bottle for a full one and your set. Dad tells me we should only have to refill it once a month. We'll pay our water and electricity soon but from what my parents told me it's really cheap too.
The territory is fantastic. It's so easy to talk to people even when they're working they'll listen to you. At first I was a little worried about the amount of time the brothers stayed talking at a business, especially since our business witnessing back home is quick and fast paced, but here you can read them as many bible texts as you want, one lady was in the middle of cooking and she came out and told us, "I'm more than happy to talk about the bible with you, but only the bible.." she then went to get her bible out which was underlined and highlighted, we showed her the name of God from her own bible, she was so happy to learn God's name, a return visit was arranged.
This morning while witnessing we stopped for morning tea at a little coffee place, my partner an older sister needed a break and I was hungry so we had a quick coffee with humitas, they're so good, made out of corn, soon Jeremy and my brother (who is staying over at the moment) joined us, so we wouldn't waste any time we began talking to the man who was serving us, to my surprise he pulled up a chair close to us and sat down to listen. I began with the little tract Who really rules the world? he replied God, when we read 1 John 5:19 he was gobsmacked, he agreed that was the reason so much evil exists in the world, we also showed him Ps 37:9-11 about Jehovah's promise and John 17:3 the requirement for everlasting life. He listened very carefully and told us he enjoyed learning about the bible, so Jeremy will be going back to him to start a study hopefully... like a demo presentation! Yep, we're having a great time out witnessing, we'll post some more experiences soon... stay tuned.
About two months ago there was a restructuring of borders, congregations, circuits and districts all over Cuenca. All the brothers were encouraged to attend the congregation who's territory they resided in, many were living outside or far away from the congregations they were attending. It seems like it was becoming a problem, but obediently the brothers followed the council given and it meant that everyone moved around including the appointed brothers and pioneers. Our congregation alone is about over 80% new. It hasn't been easy for the brothers to leave behind their friends and family but slowly everyone is getting used to one another. With all the changes we've found many old studies, RV's, inactive and even disfellowshipped that the congregation was not aware of because of all the changes that took place. Jehovah is slowly showing us were they are. Its amazing to hear these studies tell us that they've continued their study alone, some even coming to meetings though they don't know anyone.
Since we don't have a car yet, a nice couple from our cong picks us up for the meetings. Its been really nice getting to know our brothers and sisters here, we have to keep in mind how young some are spiritually. At times I talk to them about the truth 10-15 years ago and they have no idea what I'm talking about, its only then they tell me they've only been in the truth a year or two but you wouldn't be able to tell.
Last weekend was our Circuit Assembly - our Circuit 1 has just been divided into 3 sections "A, B, C." In our section there are 6 congs \ each with 2 -3 elders for a combined number of 12, yep the same as in our old cong! Of the 6 congregations they all have less than 100 publishers approx, however the attendance on Sunday morning was over 950... lots of studies and visitors, you can see why they had to split the circuit as the assembly hall only seats about 2000. The fields are indeed white for harvesting here!
In our Pioneers Meeting which was a few weeks ago the Pioneers from the 3 sections of the circuit came together for a combined attendance of over 250 - talk about a buzz!
So that's all for now, we'll blog again soon xox