Monday, 13 April 2015

Living where the need is greater .... Duran Ecuador...

So things have finally started to slow down.  Since I last wrote things have been so crazy, our friends keep telling us we look skinnier, more tired but happy. Hahaha, who knew the stress of moving somewhere new, the humidity and the new food could cause weight loss hahaha... 

Things have certainly changed for us.  We have been in Duran about a month. Our territory is very poor and although we tried to find a place to live in the territory we were unable to find anything suitable that had no issues like mold or having no water... Haha. But we did find a gated housing community not too far away from our territory, which has worked out well.. These are the luxuries we are enjoying living here in this community, water and electricity 24 hours a day... No, there's a few more perks but those two things were really what we found important.

What's Duran like? Hmm, it's close to Guayaquil, it's very humid and prone to flooding.  The area is very poor and can be dangerous if you don't take precautions. There's no treated water, in fact the water they do get only gets brought in 3 times a week. Anytime there's a storm which is at least once a week, the electricity goes out. "For one publisher there's a thousand Mosquitos" - comment from a CO, so Dengue is very high here. 

Our congregation territory is very diverse, we have a little bit of the city which is paved but we also have the areas they call swamps, which is exactly that. People have built above swamps. I asked why? They said, because no one owns the swamps so they're open to anyone who can build on top. We also have an area which looks more rural, they call this area pools because many years ago there were prawn harvesting pools that after years of abandonment have mangroves and plant life around it. But people still live above it so, we also preach there... being careful not to fall in.

I've really been amazed at where people can build... Yes, it's very sad to see their living conditions and their suffering to get by in this system, it makes our desire to reach these people even stronger, to let them know one day they won't have to fight so hard to get by... I remember a comment from the second last Gilead Graduation talk, "you will develop a thick skin", you really need to in these areas.. It's not just the people in the territory who are suffering, it's also our dear brothers and sisters.  Its sad to stand by and not be able to help as much as we would want to... It makes me feel so helpless, but Jehovah has helped us focus our thoughts on the things we can do... And that's what we are working hard to do... Focusing on that has given us much joy, it's a lesson we are learning from our brothers and sisters.

I've mentioned in the past that the truth in Ecuador is still young, but being in our new Congregation made me realize why the Branch would like more "Need Greaters" to move down. Apart from the need in the field, there's massive need within the Congregations. Let me give you some stats and explain why. 

We have 102 pubs, 25 reg pioneers, many many aux reg pioneers, 165 bible studies and growing each month, 4Ms's, 3 elders, weekly attendance of 169-170ppl, our Special Talk last week -  208ppl, our Memorial attendance 339 and they considered it low. (Last year it was over 400!) We have the blessing of  many young ones and many more kids. Our very loving Cong is made up of mainly young single mothers, or many families with unbelieving spouses, many spiritual widows, I couldn't believe how many young ones are in the truth all by themselves with no support of any family members...

Our sophisticated Video Setup...
With the truth being so young here, training is majorly needed, in fact that's one of Jeremy's main goals while we are here.  Our CO wants him to train, train, train!  That seems to be the same story in many Congregations - especially the coastal Congs that have not had any Need Greaters or Special Pioneers sent to. 

So far we have already started a few bible studies and are eagerly waiting to start many more, that's where our main source of joy comes from right! My first study - a little 10 year old girl, who's bright, cheeky and adorable! Seems like Jehovah blesses me with cute little girls to study with everywhere I go... Which I love, they're so much fun!
Memorial Night..
Here's an experience we heard yesterday from our Cong, a lady was living with her partner who was a police officer and their 3 yr old son. The lady accepted a bible study and loved what she was learning so she started to attend meetings. This caused major issues in the family, her partner would finish work and if he didn't find them at home he would come to the KH, drag them out, with his police uniform and all... This happened for a long time and sadly the lady started to loose heart thinking it would never change. She was scared things would get much worse for her and her little boy and made the decision to stop her study and meeting attendance. In hearing this her little 3 yr old boy looks up at her and tells her "mummy, why are you scared, let's go, we need to learn about Jehovah, don't be scared!"  So the lady kept on with her study and meeting attendance. Every time she thought about stopping her little boy would tell her the same thing.  Whenever her partner would want to cause her issues her little boy would jump to her defense. Eventually the lady progressed but sadly her partner after refusing to marry her eventually left. After years of struggling the lady could now make quick progress and was baptized last year in January, she is now a regular pioneer, her little boy, now 12 years old, got baptized shortly after and is now an auxiliary regular pioneer. Both are doing spiritually well..

There's much work to do be done here, so if your considering moving down and would like more of a challenge consider these areas.  By no means are they pretty areas to live in but the need here is much greater... The truth in these areas are booming and there's need for experienced Witnesses to help out.  Plus you can find comfortable homes close to these areas that are safe to live in so its not as bad as you may think.