Let me tell you how this move took place.
Over a year ago we were accepted to serve as Bethel volunteers, with Jeremy working in Maintenance and me in Gardening. Serving at Bethel is so special. On our work days, we get to attend Morning Worship and can also benefit from the Bethel Watchtower study. We never thought we'd wind up helping in Bethel again, but Jehovah has made that privilege of service available to us and it has brought back lovely memories.
Since we lived about an hour away from Bethel we hit peak hour traffic both ways. Our journey to and from Bethel was long, stressful and dangerous. Since we were serving in a congregation with such a big need, we felt one day at Bethel was all we could do so we didn't neglect our congregation and our other responsibilities.
Things were about to change though... A few months ago we were asked to consider the possibility of serving at Bethel three days per week. At the time this seemed impossible and we almost turned it down on the spot, however, we asked for some time to think and meditate about our decision and see what direction Jehovah wanted us to take. In a way, we felt guilty about doing more in Bethel because it meant less time for our congregation and our ministry. There were so many other questions too, could we cope financially? Could we cope physically in our departments? What effect will it have on our ministry and Congregation? Wasn't our reason for coming to Ecuador to serve in the ministry?
We had to answer and overcome each of these questions, so we started with our preference.
The reason we came to serve in Ecuador kept coming to mind. The ministry! More time at Bethel meant less time in the ministry. However, we realized it's not about where we serve it's who we serve that's important. Making ourselves available to Jehovah doesn't mean we always get to choose our preferred avenue of service. If Jehovah wanted us to serve more at Bethel than that's what we would do. I suppose that's the true meaning of making yourself available and saying "here I am, send me!..." Who are we to say, but, not to Bethel... LOL... Plus, we did love Bethel so why were we hesitating? well, that brought us to the second point.
Jeremy was serving as the COBE and Secretary of the Congregation, including Jeremy there were only two elders for such a large congregation. What effect would us moving out have on them? After speaking to spiritual brothers at the Branch, we came to realize an important thing. The congregation is not ours to look after. I know it sounds like a very basic fact, but we were so concerned about the congregation that we had to remind ourselves that Jesus is the head of the congregation and we are not indispensable. If we were not around the congregation would not fall apart, it functioned well before we arrived and it would do the same if we had to leave. Jehovah and Jesus are always well aware of every congregation's needs and they would continue to look after it. We were encouraged to see it this way. If we stayed in our Congregation, yes, we would be supporting 115 publishers, but serving at Bethel we'd be helping support the 90,000+ publishers in the country. Which one had the greater need? Hhmm, ok! Now for the third issue, we faced.
Working more days at Bethel also meant fewer days for work. We were just earning enough to get by so how could we simplify even further to allow us more time to serve at Bethel? Our biggest expense was rent, moving and looking for cheaper accommodation was a given. We also looked at other ways to tighten our financial belt and came up with a budget that would allow us to give more to Jehovah.
So with all this in mind, we were ready to move. We accepted the number of days we had been asked to serve at Bethel and looked for a house as close as possible to the Branch. Since our focus would now be Bethel, we decided we would go to which every congregation our new house would be in. After searching nearby areas, in a short period of time and quite unexpectedly we found the perfect house. Turns out it's bigger than our previous house and for way less money! It's still in a gated community and even has a large backyard for our dog, Bailey, to run around in.
Everything moved pretty quickly after that and within a month we were in our new home.
We were also so happy to hear that shortly after our move, our CO had worked diligently for a new Elder to be assigned to our previous congregation, which means it is back to having two Elders.
Ahh, only Jehovah knows how things can be so easily fixed when we put him first. All that stress was really useless! Jehovah had a plan for us all along. We've seen his direction once again and we are so happy to be serving at his house in Ecuador. We trust that Jehovah will continue to help us accomplish our assignments as we place ourselves in his hands.