Saturday, 30 August 2014

August Campaign Work...

Service Group first day of campaign
There's no doubt how special this month has been.  To know that all over the world our dear brothers and sisters have been focused on the same thing advertising our beautiful website

Here in Cuenca it's been a great success, many Congregations have finished their territory and are doing their second rounds now.  We've loved showing the videos and articles that are found there.  Because the internet can lag here we downloaded a lot of videos to our phones so we could show our Return Visits.

There was one lady in particular I've been visiting for a few weeks now, she's a neighbor of one of my current studies. She would come and join the study from time to time and just listen in, at times she had a few questions but was very hesitant to start her own study. I've been making a real effort to just call in when I was in the area to say hello and see how she has been, she owns a little hairdressing salon so it was easy to just pop my head in. Slowly I've been steering the conversation to spiritual matters, since she has kids I suggested she take a look at a Caleb video about why you shouldn't steal. She watched intently at the video and absolutely loved it (I mean who wouldn't right?) but she wanted to see more so I handed her the tract and showed her where she could go on the website to find them.

The next day I was walking past and briefly asked her if she had found them, she said "yes, we watched them with my kids", so I asked her which ones, and to my surprise she said "all of them, all the videos we could find". They loved the website and had spent hours going through it. So I thought it was the perfect time to offer her a bible study again, and this time she accepted.  Usually starting studies in Ecuador happens quickly within a few visits, some even on the first meeting. But with this lady it's taken me months...  In saying that, she mentioned she told her Mother about studying the bible with us and her mum had told her, "well now you have to decide what your going to follow, what they tell you or what you were brought up to believe..." I thought "oh no, here comes bad news..." I hesitantly asked her what she had replied and she said... "Well it's not bad to learn from the bible, and thats where they're  teaching me from, that's really what I want to know, what the bible says..." I thought what a great answer. Remember this happened only after her first study.... I hope the study continues and that she is able to benefit from our wonderful way of life too.

We had an older couple in our Congregation interviewed as part of this months KM part - Familia Trujillo.  They explained how the preaching work was done when it first started in Cuenca.  They've been here since the 80's and the Witnessing work was just starting to take hold in this city.  Cuenca is a highly religious city, it has over 50 churches, almost 20 just in our territory! The locals would call Cuenca the second Vatican, so the truth took a really long time to take hold here.  But they explained the changes they've seen in the people and the growth they've been a part of. They had studied with a young girl, the only one in their family and now she's a Pioneer sister who brought her own family into the truth, she is now married with older children who are also pioneering. What an amazing example they are of loyally serving Jehovah through out the years even when it wasn't easy.

Familia Trujillo being interviewed.

What else has happened this month? Well the majority are on school holidays during August, but start school again next week, so it's been real nice having many young ones coming out witnessing during the week. It's also been funny weather here... really really cold! I don't know if it's because we've adjusted to the nice climate and now we can't handle the cold anymore or if it's the effects of El NiƱo? But this is my third winter here and it's been horrible weather... The last couple of years I hadn't even realized it was winter... But this year there was a clear difference, even the local brothers and sisters said it has been the coldest they've seen... From September onwards it's meant to get warmer and it seems that way as during the last few days it's started to warm up...

Jeremy being interviewed as part of a KM part
Jeremy had the privilege of conducting the Watchtower study for a little while, he loved taking it, and his skills at conducting got better and better. He's Spanish has also improved a lot, he had a talk out the other week and gave one of the best talks so far, it was so natural and he used words I hadn't heard him use before. I kept thinking wow, Jeremy has been learning Spanish almost 10 years but it hasn't been till the last two that's he's language skills have really improved. The hardest thing for a brother who doesn't speak Spanish as his first language to master (in my view) is illustrations, they can be really difficult because you have to consider the culture as well, but Jeremy has become a fine public speaker in a language that's not his own. I was almost teary at seeing his progress haha, but this month has been very special to us that I've been teary most of the month haha - all happy tears by the way haha
Familia Sagbay first day in the field ministry

This month some of our studies took massive leaps for the truth. A family we study with became unbaptized publishers, we were hoping that they would want to join the school soon, but to our surprise they asked if they could start going out witnessing.  After we considered if they qualified, we all met with the Elders in our Cong and by the following week they accompanied us in the field ministry.  We were so happy! they're a young family, with two little girls and they are already working hard in bringing them up in the truth.

Future Publisher...

So, the baby finally fell asleep... how do we get them home without waking up baby Melody??? haha

Abigail is 9yrs old
A little girl I study with Abigail also became an unbaptized publisher this month. She's such a great young one to study with, I'm always amazed at how much she understands and how well she remembers. Ever since we were encouraged to teach our young ones deep truths, I've made a real effort to find ways to explain deep truths to her, in a way that she will understand. I'm so happy to see her progress and hope that she continues to grow spiritually. I absolutely love studying with young ones, they're like a little sponge ready to absorb bible truths. The Elders in our Congregation made an honorary pioneer form available for all the unbaptized publisher in our Cong - as part of the August Special Campaign, and she was so happy to be able to ask for this form.  I explained how it was a promise she made to Jehovah and how she needed to put it into prayer, I asked her if I could hear her make this prayer to Jehovah. WOW, I was left astounded at hearing her talk to Jehovah. It was by far the sweetest prayer I've heard... I thought, I could learn so much from the way she speaks to Jehovah....

Little Abigail sharing in the campaign work, wasn't scared of who she needed to talk to

This month marks two years since we've been in Ecuador. When we decided to serve overseas we though we would only cope for one.. My family encouraged us to try two years... They were so right! One year would have gone too quickly.. When we decided ok let's try two years, I was very scared we wouldn't last... But we made a promise to Jah and begged him to help us reach it... Now I look back and wonder what were we so afraid of? And only recently we've realized it's a fear of the unknown.. We came without really knowing what Congregation we'd end up in, where we would live, how sick we would get.. (Actually that really scared me) Jeremy tends to handle these moves really well, I on the other hand quite the opposite, I have never dealt well with change... I find it hard to move away from what I know and especially who I know.. So this move was very difficult but wow.. It's been two years and we made it! We fulfilled a promise we made to Jehovah and that has to be one of the best feelings in the world... As difficult as it was to make this move, there's nothing about it we would change... We have learnt so much, we've met incredible brothers and sisters, we've enjoyed year book type experiences and we've been blessed beyond what we ever imagined, to the point where we have decided to stay even longer!.... So begins the next chapter in our lives, what will come next? Where will we end up? That's entirely up to Jehovah now... and well... we still find it scary - the unknown, but maybe not as much... Hahaha

Here's a few random photos of the month.

A little door we found out witnessing that led the way to over 30 families living inside

Campaign Work at schools in our area

Had a lovely couple visit Cuenca from OZ... so lovely to meet them!

Crab day at my families house... they were SO GOOD!!

Santiagito doing a fine job of his bible reading.. 13yrs old