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Friday, January 13, 2012

Thursday January 12, 2012

After service last night Chad and I met two brothers for dinner at Buffaluccos, the Mexican version of Buffalo Wild Wings. Jamie is one of the elders in the congregation here and his friend, Eudar was visiting from Veracruz. We feasted on Extreme wings and swapped stories of coming into the truth; each one was completely different. David joined us about an hour later when he completed service about at 9pm. Wow its great to be able to do return visits and studies until that late at night.

Today we spent in service with Loly Cavanaugh and her 2 year old son, Logan. What an encouraging story she has, but that's for another day. She is raising 3 kids and auxillary pioneering. We started the morning with some RV's and public witnessing in the Altabrisas Plaza. After about a half an hour of searching we found very few to speak with so Loly and I stepped into a coffee shop, Gloria Jean's. In asking if anyone spoke English, the manager overheard and came to the front as I was sharing a brochure with the clerk. He asked if everything was okay and I proceeded to share the January Awake on the Practicality of Honesty, he readily accepted both the magazines and an invitation to the meeting but said he would not be able to attend for awhile because the chain was still so new. Chad caught up with in time to order some coffee and a cookie for Logan. There wasn't any milk or cream out so we asked and again the manager came out is everything okay, we assured him that it was and we got some milk. It seemed though that he now felt more comfortable to talk. He talked about the company, his family, and even his background - he was born and raised in Turkey, living in England for a few years while studying world cultures decided to move to Mexico and just fell in love with the people. What a great conversation and return visit for a brother here in Villahermosa.

At ll:30am Loly and I did a return visit of mine only to find out she wasn't home, however, we had a great conversation with her brother, Carlos. Apparently he used to study the Bible with Carlos Barrios and said he really doesn't care for organized religion. So we shared Hebrews 10:24, 25 with him explaining how this is a loving arrangement to help others not just us, to keep in mind the day that is fast approaching. Which led to an explanation of the "day" meaning God's day to wipe out the wicked from the Earth. (Psalms 37:9) At the end of our discussion we were able to get phone and e-mail from him so Carlos could come back to set up visiting him again. He also urged that we continue to talk with his younger sister, Alejandra, because she needs direction for her life and encouragement.

Later we met up with Candace for lunch and a break at McDonald's. Logan needed some time to run and play. The air conditioning refreshed us and put us in the mood to informal some more. We went to Liverpool Mall and placed many tracts, magazines, and handbills. Chad and I both got return visits from it and wouldn't you know that of all places Chad found some one at the Apple Computer store :)

By the time we ended up back at home it was really time to leave again to walk back to the kingdom hall for the 5pm group. No one met, so we made our way back home trying to speak to ones along the way. Chad was able to find his return visit, Emelio, at the Crepas coffee shop near home. He was able to demonstrate a Bible study from the feature of the magazines. At this point we met back up with Candace to continue preaching this time in Plaza Cristal. We decided to take our first combie ride (6 pesos) and hope that 30 others weren't already crammed in the tiny van. We made it no problems and began to preach. As long as we were there at the grocery store we decided to pick up some items for dinner and head back home. What a long, great day!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tuesday 1/10/12

Ok, sorry for not posting for such a long time we have been crazy busy. Two weeks ago was the CO visit (David & Esther Moore) and they were training a pioneer couple as sub CO's (Tanner & Lauren Schwaderer) so we had the privilege of having 2 traveling couples. It was very encouraging to see a brother and sister the same age as Camille & I being trained to be CO's. Last week we condensed a week long trip into 3 days. We were going to leave on Monday but took a couple days to go in service in order to catch our breath from the CO visit. So we ended up condensing 650 miles into 3 days :-O. It was amazing though!

We first went to Huatulco in the State of Oxaca Went to the beach and the English Cong. meeting their, which they were just approved from a group as a congregation on Jan. 1st. The next day we slept in and went to the beach snorkeling. Beautiful!

Next we headed for Tuxtla Gutierrez in the State of Chiapas. We spent the night with Tanner & Lauren at their simple apartment.

The next morning we headed for San Cristóbal de las Casas still in the state of Chiapas. This city may sound familiar since it was featured on the cover of the January Study Edition Watchtower. We preached their with quite a few vendors and some foreigners who we came across. We also did a little shopping.

So thats the general overview of last week. I also forgot to mention in their it was announced last Monday on the 2nd that Villahermosa English will be submitting an application to Bethel to split into 2 congregations.

I will let Camille fill in the details of other experiences but the one that brought me here tonight is below.

So the experience that brought me here tonight is quite typical of the helpfulness of the people here:

So we were working a territory near a hospital today (which are practically free to use by anyone by the way) so their were many communities for the professionals to live in which we came upon this apartment complex and I yell out "Buenos Dias!"(which is how you knock on doors down here by the way) through the tall gate that keeps us from entering. We see a woman poke her head out of the door in the far back corner apartment. So I stumble through telling her in Spanish "We are looking for people who speak English." and Camille helps me out with "Does anyone here speak English?" referring to the entire apartment complex. The woman replies "Uno momento" (Just a minute) she puts her dog back into her apartment and gave us permission to come through the entrance while at the same time she has already began knocking on all the apartments doors for us to see if anyone was home that spoke English. After knocking on 6 or 7 doors she said in Spanish "Everyone was working." We thanked her for helping us and proceeded on our way while writing the place down as possibly some unconfirmed English speakers (UES) possibly living there. We joked as we left that we should have asked her to come along with us to preach since she already had began by knocking on all the doors for us.

Never ceases to amaze me the overall genuine sincerity and helpfulness of those we meet door to door for the first time, and with no reservations what so ever. Not saying their are not people you should be cautious of like any city the size of Lansing or Grand Rapids, MI but in general the experience above displays the experience very well.

Also around the corner from the apartments we ran into 4 Dr's that allowed us to interrupt their lunch to give a witness. We placed the magazines on Trustworthiness and acquired one mans email to follow up later (as the CO suggested getting phone numbers & emails while he was visiting).

A little further down the street we found 3 more people that spoke English one of which was home to talk to us. She said she was "Christian" and her husband was "Catholic" however she said she was interested in the magazines.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday Day 11

Here we are Friday afternoon exhausted but so encouraged to be here and adjusting well. This morning I got up a little early to help make a fresh salad and relieve Candace so that she could get dressed to meet the group. Ryan took Chad and I to the hall to meet the group. The entire group went to the Centro to look for English speakers. Lupita and I made arrangements to work together and right away we found an interested young man, Jorge. We discussed from the truth tract "What happens when we die?" He didn't understand why many say that God is loving but he will burn you forever. John Chapter 11 makes clear Jesus understanding of death, likening it to sleep, then reasoning that when you sleep you eventually wake up. The waking up is the promise for the future, but of paradise like conditions here on earth. Jorge readily exchanged e-mails with me and was interested in learning more so I gave him a handbill.

Meanwhile, Chad and Carlos Jr were trying to reason with a man on true religion. The man seemed to put much confidence in governments to fix the problems plaguing mankind. Carlos is a sharp young ministerial servant with a great reasoning ability, but no Bible texts could convince this man otherwise.

At lunch, David, Esther, Tanner, Lauren, Ryan, Candace, Chad and I talked about our experiences of coming into or taking to the truth. We enjoyed Philly Cheese steak sandwiches, salad, No Bake cookies and some Snyder's pretzels.... yum. It was great to hear of all the wonderful experiences from service, people we've known and all the obstacles they bypass to serve Jehovah. Tanner and David left early to go on a Shepherding call but we continued to enjoy the sisters company. We left before 3pm though to go back to the Centro to pick up Chad's contacts and meet the group by 3pm.

For the afternoon, Chad and I worked with a newly married couple Carlos Barrios and his wife, Bailey. I tried to find my call Joseph at the Cache store, only to find out that his Mom doesn't work there, she is either an owner or was visiting a worker. We did some return visits then of theirs.

Thursday Day 10

We met the group and all 4 of us were dispersed to different car groups. I got to work with the hall's coordinator and his wife, Bob and Joanne Shire. I again worked with Lauren but was partnered with Griselda and her 6 years old daughter, Adreana. It was a warm morning for searching UES's, but refreshing nonetheless to ask the Shires, from Saskatchewan, Canada, how they ended up in Mexico.

Chad worked with Carlos Sr, his wife, Lupita and Esther in the territory. Carlos left a note and tract in English for a UES unable to come to the door. They had a hard time finding ones at home so they met another group at the Centro. Esther was there serenaded by a man she was trying to reason with because he said he didn't like foreigners bringing religion into the country. She asked him, "Isn't that what the Spaniards did with Catholicism?" He didn't have a response.

For lunch Chad and I met and continued on working with the Shires. Later we met back with group for new arrangements to go public witnessing in Plaza Mega with Lauren and Chad while Tanner and Carlos Jr went on a study. Chad talked with 2 different men and was able to get both of their e-mail addresses. We finished a little early but in order to get ready for the Bible study program for meeting at 7pm.

After the meeting we all went to the store in order to pick up groceries as we were hosting the couples for Friday's lunch. Back home with a dinner of Subway and off to bed for all but Candace who stayed up until 2am cleaning and making No Bake cookies.

Wednesday Day 9

This week is whizzing right by. We met the group for service at 8:45am as arrangements are a minutes earlier with having the CO visit here. Our mission for the day was to obtain e-mails to better reach those seeking the truth but also prepare for Sunday, the holiday. I was put in a group with the two wives for the CO and sub CO in training, Esther and Lauren. We spent a good majority of our morning trying to return on homes where we had notes for an Unconfirmed English Speaker (UES). Esther and I were paired up to look for a woman Vivian. It led us on a wild goose chase, leading to a high rise office building, Schlumberger (they plan the construction of oil wells for the big companies that drill). Needless to say we did not find her, however, we were able to leave magazines with someone who did speak English, they did confirm that Vivian was on vacation and that is why we could not locate her. While Esther and I looked for her Lauren and Loles did other public witnessing in a fitness center. I learned the real meaning of informal or public witnessing working with them - always have your service bag with you no matter what!

Chad worked with Carlos Jr & Sr Alvarez along with the CO, David. They did territory searching for UES's. Along the way Chad found a dog that was barking a lot and as they walked away Carlos Sr grabbed Chad's leg giving him a good scare.

In the afternoon, Chad, Ryan, Candace, Fannie and I went to the Centro (Center of the City Market) and did public witnessing. As we went along asking for English speakers a young Japanese man approached me, Kosuke was his name. Apparently he is visiting Mexico with his friend who is doing some work for a month is a few different cities. He and is friend live in Australia though and don't speak much or any Spanish. He was happy just to speak English and of course was puzzled as to why a Gringo (or white person) was in Villahermosa. Asking him about the Bible and God he said he isn't sure. So I introduced myself, Fannie and asked for his name and his companion, then shared Psalms 83:18, what plainly states that God's name is Jehovah (in English). We talked about how we can get to know him by the Bible accounts helping us to build confidence in him. He accepted the latest magazines which talk about natural disasters and specifically about Japan. We exchanged e-mails to talk more about future events sharing Psalms 37:10, 11 on how God's kingdom will change conditions here on earth.

Chad spoke with a man born in the area, but now him, his wife, and 3 kids reside in Ohio. Although his family are devout Catholics, he doesn't have any desire for spiritual things. While Chad was talking to him, Candace called and told us she had found an eye Dr, who was a brother from Spanish. He was able to help Chad order contacts to be available in 2 days! :)

At 5:30pm we had the Pioneer meeting. How encouraging it is to be invited to share with the congregation, such encouragement based on 1 Thessalonians 5:19. We were all so tired after a long day we decided to get pizza to go nearby home.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesday Day 8

(Villahermosa is where we will be spending most of our time here you can click on the aforementioned city name to see where it is on the map.)

Candace, Chad and I went preaching this morning with the group from the hall. We all went into one territory to search for English speaking, which happened to be next to where we worked on Saturday. It was slightly raining but that didn't deter us. I worked with Teresa and Chad with Casper.

I was able to try to return on Diana, who Chad placed magazines with on Saturday morning. Teresa made up for my bad Spanish, when asking her grandma about her. She apparently lives in Veracruz during the week and comes home to help in the little store on weekends. I was able to leave her with my phone number if she wanted to try to call me and told her grandma I would try to find her then.

Chad found a high schooler, Moses, off on his two month break from school. He was able to talk with him about the meaning of natural disasters from the December magazines and arranged to return on Saturday to discuss how to make good friends. They spoke with him for a good 10 to 15 minutes.

The rain picked up forcing us to go elsewhere or go home. We decided to go to the new mall, Alta Brisas, and public witness. We placed quite a few magazines that way and as many shops are still setting up the crowds were light and we were able to take time with shop owners and workers. This also gave us an opportunity to look for contacts for Chad as he decided not to bring them, but now wants a pair. Most contacts are not kept in stock which made the time to get them 8-15 days; not good if we want to go one day next week to the beach.

We ran out of ones to speak with so we moved on to the plaza, Ol Meca. There we placed more tracts and magazines in English and Spanish. Candace and I were approached as we went from shop to shop by a woman who had lived in NYC for 3 years. Then as were in a Sally's Beauty Supply looking for hair dye supplies another woman, Silvia overheard us speaking in English and approached us to ask where we were from. She and her Witness husband live in Arkansas and are here in Villahermosa to visit family. She told us that she is learning at the meetings but they go one week to a Spanish congregation and one week to English back in the States. Silvia was surprised to hear that Candace lives here and that we would want to visit.

The best part of my day though was taking a peak in one of the fancier stores that I know from home, Cache. In asking if anyone spoke English, the shop owner pushed her 9yrs(?) old son out to speak with me. Joseph is learning at school and had an eagerness to practice speaking with me as I was with him. He told me he had just had his first exam from their Cambridge curriculum. I placed a tract with him on Will This World Survive and showed him the picture that God promises for the earth in the near future. We spoke of the weather and I showed him pictures of snow, on my phone. In waiting for the others to finish in other shops, he came out to find me and where he could learn more. I gave him a handbill to invite him to the meetings and told him, no collections taken but bring your Bible. We will see. :) I can't wait to return to speak with him.

We also had the start of the CO visit in which we have two couples for the week. A younger brother, Tanner (raised in Colorado) and his wife, Lauren (raised in Texas) are being trained to substitute. The current CO and his wife (David and Esther) are from London, England. Chad was asked to demonstrate how to use the Good News for All Nations brochure, last minute by Tanner. He and a brother we met last year, Carlos Barrillos, informed but entertained the congregation; apparently Chad is Chinese.

Funny experience of the day: Ryan accidently flushed a spoon down the toilet the other day when we were cleaning up blueing shampoo off the closet floor. Don't ask Candace- it's a sore spot. However, today the toilet was backing up so Ryan was plunging it and up pops the cleanest spoon you ever saw, literally. Needless to say the spoon was retrieved and thrown out. :)

Monday Day 7

Candace and I ended up staying up to talk all night, literally the sun was coming up. It is always nice to get to know our friends better and learn of their strengths and weaknesses to see what has made them the servant of Jehovah they are today.

As Mondays have no arrangements for service and also the special week of activity with the CO we did not go out in service. Ryan and Chad ran some errands and fixed things while Candace and I got some sleep, cleaned the apartment and then decided that we could handle cutting Candace's hair. (YouTube is amazing to learn so many things.) When we were done we all sat down together for a joined family worship.

More friends came over to hang out play games and get to know us better. Ryan and Candace were each asked to do a demo for the service meeting part so they also took the time to rehearse that with the brother giving the part, David and their partners Jeremiah and Loles.

Sunday Day 6

None of us slept well because there were fireworks all night long, so we slept in. Chad and Ryan worked hard all day on preparing information for the Circuit Overseer's visit which starts Tuesday. Chad updated about 15 territory cards while Ryan worked hard to help another brother do audits on the congregation's accounts. While the guys were busy Candace and I went for a walk down this beautiful park only to find that the gates were closed and we couldn't get in. (Maybe another day :)

We went to the meeting at 4pm where young brother Carlos Alvarez gave a beautiful discourse on God's Purpose For Mankind. There we got to meet many of the friends and be reunited with ones we met last year. It was a sad happy occasion because 5 of the pioneers have a special privilege of serving in a need greater capacity (called a pioneer route) in Costa Rica for 1 month on up to 6 months and they were leaving in the morning to make the 4 day trip by bus.

After the meeting we had some friends back to the apartment here. We played games and got to know some from the hall better.

Saturday Day 5

Chad, Ryan and I got started early in preaching with 3 other friends, Carlos Alvarez, Loles and Lupe. We met them in the park, but because of rain from the night not many were out in the streets yet. So we drove a few miles to an open air market and found many vendors opening their shops and a few people walking the streets with their coffee and newspapers. We all placed literature with various ones in both Spanish and English. I spoke a young woman and her mother in English, they were originally from Cuba. Although I was able to explain a little about the last days to her, she did not want any magazines or for me to read from the Bible.

We met the field service group at 9:30am and went to a territory across town. Traffic was so busy so it took us a while to get there. Chad and I worked together for half the morning searching for those who speak English. We stopped in at a family owned convenience store as we went along and found a young lady, Diana. She accepted the December magazines on Does God Cause Natural Disasters and Why the Bible Was Protected for Us Today. She told us that she was leaving for Vercruz on Monday so we probably would not find her again. How exciting we finally got to start our own conversation!! After that we switched partners, Chad to work with Carlos de La Cruz and me with his wife Yvette. We did not find anymore people at home after that, however, it was so encouraging to see them working so hard to learn English. (Many homes were vacant in the area due to the biggest flood in the history of Villahermosa back in 2007.)

For the afternoon, Chad, Ryan and I met a young man, Ociel, at a new coffee shop. He spoke English very well, but his accent was so thick that it at times was hard to understand him. We spoke with him about many things from future plans, how he learned English, his girlfriend from Miami, Florida and then to spiritual things. He was raised as a Catholic, but said there were many things he disagreed with 2 major things being infant baptism and tithing. He asked why does a baby need to be baptized, what sins has he committed that he would need cleansing. He didn't like the thought of tithing because the church used to send his father a bill in the mail even though they had not gone to that church in years. Ryan shared with him from Rev 22:17 that the invitation of learning about God is free and no one should be charging for this message. Ociel whole heartedly agreed. He accepted the latest magazines and a What Does the Bible Really teach book. He wasn't quite sure about a personal Bible study, but said he would look at the book and let Ryan know.

For the evening, the four of us Ryan, Candace, Chad and I went to visit some friends in their home for a study of the Watchtower. Jeremiah and Carina are a newly wed couple with much love for Jehovah and are working very hard to learn English for Him. When we finished our discussion Carina made ham and cheese crepes for snacks. Then the six of us played the game, sequence. Too much fun!

On our way home, people were lighting off fire crackers everywhere in the streets. They really get into celebrating Jesus "birthday." Because many houses are close to the streets the people had their backs to the house wall, standing on the side walk, throwing their fireworks into traffic. Can you say Crazy!?! Good thing it was only a mile or two from home.

Friday Day 4

Camille reporting here:

So it has been on and off busy here. Friday, Candace and I went in service in the morning. The guys stayed home and slept in while we did a study with a young woman, Tish. She taught herself to speak English because she would listen to the top 20 music charts and wanted to know what the songs meant. We met with her at her work as her family owns a medical supply store. We studied out of the Teach book chapter 8 on God's kingdom; she definitely sees the need for changes in the world's governments.

Later, we ate lunch with the Chad and Ryan then we all went out in service. Candace conducted a study for a sister who was out of town, with a young mother, Karen. The little girls were full of energy, the younger of the two, Tamara (4yrs) kept me busy while Candace conducted. Tamara wanted to try to follow along as we discussed who Jesus is and why people would be looking for him when he was identified as the Messiah. She had to show me her art project of balloons painted in various colors and textures, which included lentils. As she got bored she began to pick them off her picture and hand them to me, but I gave them back. The next thing I know is is putting them in a vase of flowers, making lentil soup? :)

We met for the service group at 5pm but no one came because many friends were on vacation. We tried some return visits but ran out after a bit so we decided to do some informal witnessing in one of the store plazas. We placed a magazine or two with some interested Spanish speaking ones. Because people were so preoccupied with the holidays we decided to go to another plaza, but we didn't find anyone to talk to there either. We got some groceries and went home then.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day 3

Had an excellent morning in service! Met with the group at 9a then Ryan, Candac, Paco, Camille & I went out into the field to Peter Paul's place (one of Ryan's Bible studies) young man probably in his early 20's with a strong Catholic background who is very honest, humble and hungry. His comments and questions were right on and well thought out . We covered the end of the chapter about Ransom in the Bible Teach book. And finished with a question he had: " Is just having faith enough to get you saved without any action. So we illustrated John 3:16 of "exercising" faith and what it means to physically exercise which requires action. He said that makes much more sense than the once saved always saved mentality many people believe.

Well thats one of the morsels so far. Its getting pretty warm prolly 80% humidity in the mid 80's right now and we need to run to Walmart to get some necessary things. An then spend some time with my Beautiful wife on our 6th anniversary. Adios for now.


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

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Saturday, August 01, 2009

North Carolina Sun. 7/26/09

Up again and out in the ministry. Kim & Joel have an afternoon meeting so off to the morning service meeting for everyone else while I got ready and met them for there weekly Sunday call at IHOP.... seems like there is a habit forming here. After IHOP Kim and Camille found a woman from Brooklyn, NY who was raised a Catholic but around 13 was turned off by the religion because she felt there were to many non biblical traditions. So they were there for about an hour answering numerous questions about who Jehovah is, the state of the dead, and the hope for the future. It ended up that she gave a donation for the Require brochure and a Bible that she wanted Kim to bring her. So between IHOP and that house that wrapped up the morning. So we went back to Kim & Joel’s for a few and then off to the Sunday talk and Bible study out of the Watchtower. After the meeting Camille, Kim, & I talked about going out and doing something since Joel left to drive an hour away for some elder business, but we ended up sticking around the place I watched a movie while Kim and Camille chatted and made dinner.

North Carolina Sat. 7/25/09

So we went out in the ministry in the morning with Joel, Kim, Camille, Jamie Race which is a young sister who is 10 yrs. old and Aux. pioneering this month. well sort of we actually went to IHOP for breakfast after the service meeting and then went out for about an hour. Joel’s excuse was that since Jamie had already finished her time for the month that we had to celebrate....:P.

After IHOP we worked a quite tall and winding road. The land has a lot more character around here than back home winding and sometimes steep roads. The people down here seem to be more respectful of the bible and appreciative of the work we do even if they aren’t interested. The older gentleman I spoke to greeted Joel and I with a handshake and must have said 2 or 3 times that he didn’t want to offend us but he wasn’t interested and then shook our hands again before we left.

Later that afternoon the Kim & Camille went to the store to pickup some items for the gathering we were having later while Joel and I talked about options for a new laptop for him. Later on we had a few friends from the Asheboro Cong. over to Kim & Joel’s place for some hotdogs, hamburgers, tunes, and some Apples to Apples. was fun especially terrorizing Devin (13) and Logan (6).