Sunday, 30 April 2017

The past six months!...

A traditional dance we performed for a friends farewell party
I know it's been a long time since we've written, but let me explain what's been going on. We've probably had the hardest six months or so that we've ever had in......well.....ever really LOL

So, what's been going on?

We've been so busy with Bethel, our Congregation, studies, witnessing and work. We had two Circuit Assemblies, two CO Visits, a World Head Quarters Rep Visit, Sara's wedding, Memorial, the writing Campaign and that's just the tip of it.... 

Bethel has been awesome and such a blessing! It's really what's kept us going... but I've found out working in the gardening department is so much tougher than I expected.... what's so tough about it? The humidity! We mow the grass, plant, trim, rake and more and all in crazy weather!

The gardening team is incredible though, they are such loving and self-sacrificing brothers and sisters who I'm learning a lot from... I'm slowly building muscle and getting used to the weather... I eat a lot more than I did before but have been losing weight, LOL! Being able to listen to morning worship and the family watchtower study for both of us has been such a nice privilege. It reminds us so much of Australia Bethel and all the amazing friendships we made there. Not too long ago the branch had the headquarters representative visit and we also had the privilege of receiving department talks. We loved it!

Jeremy on the roof of the Publications building

Our Congregation, still has two elders and with over 100 publishers mainly made up of spiritual widows, both Elders have their work cut out for them. Jeremy's looking after COBE and Secretary duties. The Congregation is stable though and growing with a lot of movement. 

We've had to pass on many of our studies since we started Bethel. It was sad to pass them on but there have been some new pioneers with the need for more studies so it worked out well. The studies we have held on to are doing really well, progressing slowly to baptism we hope.  

Out of everything our secular work has been the craziest during this time. I may have mentioned before that things in Duran cost a lot more than they did in Cuenca. So to stay in our assignment we had to work a little more to cover the bills. Jehovah has been very good to us and we've never lacked for anything. We remember hard working Ruth and the sacrifices she's made to serve Jehovah alongside Naomi. We also know that this schedule won't last forever and that Jehovah would eventually make the way out for us if we couldn't cope. So far though, apart from being busy, busy, busy, thanks to Jah we’re doing ok.

Our dear little puppy Bailey, (not so little these days) has also been a little sick but is slowly getting better. He lost a lot of weight but in the last few weeks, he's gained it back again. A good sign that his health is coming back.

Peter and Jay in the middle at our Gardening Dept welcome party
Jeremy's brother came to visit us, it was so great having him around, though it went by too quickly. We've missed them so much and have been eager for Jeremy's family to see where we are serving. Jay loved it! He loved the culture, the dancing (lol), the witnessing and the whole needgreater experience. We hope that next time the visit is for a little longer!

My sister, Sara, got married a few weeks ago. It was such an emotional and exciting time for my family. Made several trips to Cuenca, for dress fittings, bridal showers etc.... Jeremy was asked to give the wedding talk, first wedding talk he's ever given and it was in Spanish...hehehe.... Jeremy did such a good job, it was very romantic, reminded me a lot of our wedding talk Bro. Doug King did for us... We had many tune into the live feed for the ceremony and later on we got to catch up with family and friends we haven't seen in years. We welcome our new brother-in-law Andres to the family. He's a good man who will take good care of our beloved Sara. They met at pioneer school a while back, so that's always a good start to a relationship. We know Jehovah will continue to bless them as they navigate the world of married life. 

In other exciting news, my parents have been asked to attend SKE (School for Kingdom Evangelizers). They're so excited and were busy getting ready for it in the weeks before, they started April 10th. We keep wondering what assignment they'll have after they graduate...

Our sweet Debora will also be heading out to her own assignment soon, hopefully, close to us!.... It'll be nice to have close by.. We know she's also going to achieve great things with Jehovah's blessing. 

About a month or so ago we had a little bit of a car accident. The lesson we learned? Though the motorbike driver was at fault and he and his passenger crashed into us, we didn't get any compensation. Instead, we had to pay their medical bills and our own damage, they were even trying to get us to pay for the damage to the motorbike! Hmm... Although not ideal, that was the better choice than to have the car and motorbike impounded, pay for lawyers and then wait months until a court decided who was at fault. It would've been more expensive and worse in the long run. So what was the lesson we learned?... If you have a car accident be prepared to pay even though it may not have been your fault! Sad realities of the place we live in. 

Pioneer Meeting at the Assembly Hall 2017
Our CO visit was during March and was a nice boost for us. A few weeks ago we also enjoyed our Circuit Assembly and Regular Pioneer Circuit Meeting. Due to our massive number of pioneers we actually had to use the Assembly hall for our Circuit Pioneer Meeting, over 500 in attendance… The CO made the comment we have so many pioneers we can now start exporting our pioneers to other circuits with more need! LOL.... We welcome the 100 new pioneers this service year... Wow! I just realized all the Pioneer schools that will need to be done this year..

Jeremy had the privilege of giving the talk for the Memorial and Special Talk, the first one he's done in Spanish. Our Memorial was at 8.30pm and we had an attendance of 358!... not to mention the worldwide letter writing campaign we were asked to participate in. We certainly live in exciting times. 

We've had so many of the friends come visit us, most from the USA, Canada, and Australia... so many coming to check out serving in Ecuador, many of them deciding to come back... We've also said goodbye to many friends who've had to return back home...

Well, I think that sums up our months of activity. Hope we haven’t exhausted you! 

But… We're still alive! Going on two years in Duran.... and adjusting to the many changes happening within my family and to the outside world we have to live in.

Bailey contemplating life!

Our thoughts in recent times are with our dear brothers in Russia, we pray that Jehovah continues to provide them with his spirit to endure despite the unfavorable decision. No matter how busy we have been, very few things today compare to their endurance, faith, and love for Jehovah. We love you our dear brothers and sisters!