|Guayaquil Assembly Hall - Bethel Grounds|
Many had traveled far and wide to come to a very special Regional Convention in Ecuador. we posted lots of photos on Instagram about all 3 days and everyone we met. We couldn't believe how many families are making the move to serve where the need is great. There were so many families with children, others were retiring here in Ecuador. So many different walks of life and yet they had all arranged their circumstances to serve here.
The weather contributed to the pleasantness of the Convention. The humidity in Guayaquil has certainly died down, and being surrounded by beautiful Bethel gardens made it feel like a paradise oasis. We had excitement, we had tears, we had laughs as we worshiped Jehovah together so far away from what we all called home once. Many couldn't believe they were finally here, but we all felt the immense privilege of being among so many experienced missionaries and need greaters that have been here for decades.
I will not go into too much of the program as many have not had theirs yet, but since the experiences are all different we though it should be ok to share some of the experiences and interviews we had at ours, these are just some of our favorites.
Follow Jesus Pattern: Keep on asking, seeking and knocking
A missionary sister serving in a Quichua congregation injured her back while on a construction project. She immediately went to see a doctor but she got told it would eventually go away and that nothing was really wrong. But within a short time the pain intensified to the point where she couldn't walk or sit for a long period of time. She would often go to the back of the second school during the meetings and lay down on the floor with her legs up on the table, crying from the intense pain. She didn't know what to do and along with her husband continued praying to Jehovah to help them cope and find a solution. When they had a visit from the Circuit Overseer, they encouraged them to have a second opinion seeing how much pain she was in and took her and her husband to have tests, this time they found she had several spinal hernias. Now, they had to decide what treatment options they would choose, as these can be very dangerous and can lead to becoming paralyzed. They prayed to Jehovah again confident that he would help them make the right decision. Thanks to our brotherhood and a suggestion from someone who had gone thru the same thing, they finally decided on a laser treatment operation which was a complete success, she is now back on her feet and working hard for Jehovah again.
A sister, who grew up in the deep south of Alabama US, many times had to run for her life because of the colour of her skin. This left her feeling worthless, however she came into contact with the Witnesses and began to attend meetings. When she saw that everyone got along no matter what skin colour they had, it made her think we were nothing but a bunch of phony's... With time though she realized the love they had for each other and the way they treated each other was real and that they were "genuine leather". Now that she's come into the truth, she feels free and with tears in her eyes she said she "learned to love".
The speaker opened up his talk by saying.... "Giving a baptism talk without any candidates is like giving a marriage talk without the bride and groom. But thankfully we have a candidate". - everyone broke into applause. "13 yr old, Charlie", His father would have the privilege of being the one to baptize him so "Like Jesus the first words you will hear will be your fathers, you too will have that experience".... "I asked if mum and dad had pushed you to make this decision? and he replied "No", Charlie wanted to completely devote his life to Jehovah out of his own free will".
For some reason there was no water at the Assembly Hall this morning so they weren't able to fill the pool with water, so what did the brothers do? They called in a water truck and filled the pool that way!... No problem here, we make do!
Interview- A career couple had been working for the same corporation for a number of years, they had started to work almost 65 hours per week. They had been self reliant for so long that letting go of that and allowing Jehovah to take care of them was very difficult for them. In 2007 they sold their brand new home and moved into a smaller house with the goal that it would free them to serve Jehovah full time. They have seen Jehovah's blessing and support and are now serving where there's more need.
A couple were interviewed about the problems they had faced, they struggled with balancing daily life issues while keeping up the spirituality of their children, when their sons got into trouble, the father was put into a position of having to step down from serving as an MS. This was a real wake up call for them and they quickly acted to resolve the situation. They decided that moving to serve where the need is great would help them gain their balance again with their children and allow them to focus as a family on their spiritual needs and that of others. They sold their business, their home and made the move. This was the best decision they ever made, one of their son's is now happily married to a pioneer sister and both have recently been invited to attend the SKE. Their other son has been invited to work at the Warwick project.
Because there are so many need greaters that attend this Convention and there are many more who purposely attend while they also 'spy out the land', much of the material is focused on helping them make that decision, helping us stay in our assignment and also not to lose our focus. This system no matter where we are is designed to null us to sleep and because of that we were encouraged that just because we have already moved to where the need is greater not to stop asking Can I move again? Is there a place where I can go where there's even more need?
We loved all 3 days - especially the last Friday talk, although it was aimed at inactive fellow believers, it really touched my heart.
The peak attendance was Sunday with 1082.
I find that every year I repeat the same statement, "this was the best convention ever!" and yet every year it's definitely true...
Can't wait for next year again.
|Bethel Applicants Meeting|
|Friendly Iguanas used to friendly Witnesses, you see them around everywhere|
|See anyone you recognize??|
|Our car group and current house guests|
|Arlington International Convention Reunion - we all met during the International, one year later we are all serving together in Ecuador|