Sunday, July 13, 2014

My Last Full Week....Week 17

Oh my goodness! Hard to believe it's almost over! It seems so weird now to be going home. In a lot of ways this is home now. I whole life has changed. There are certain things I'm not sure I'll ever look at the same again. And I'm almost positive that i will try to greet everyone that I come across!

   So about my week. Monday Kaysh and I went out in service by ourselves. Emily had Chickungunya really bad and Mariah had to go to town to get her passport stamped. But we went to some of our calls. I had an awesome study with Kishma!!! Her mom sat in, the neighbor sat in, four kids sat in, and a baby! I showed the kids a Caleb video at the end and Kishma was so impressed that she's going to have me help her put them on her computer or her sister's phone. (they don't have internet to download the videos) We stopped at the Frances' to pick up some local goodies we had ordered. Then we visited Emmy. We came home and packed everything we possibly could!!!

   Tuesday was uneventful. Essentially, Kaysh and I had done all our calls in La Plaine the say before and it was too hot to go anywhere far. Wednesday was really nice! We got to work with the English girls again! I took Sabrina to Kishma's and we had another study! It was great again and she asked me to come back on Saturday. In the afternoon I got to go on Mariah's Bible studies. We ended by stopping at Crystalyn's for a short study. I love days of studies!

   Thursday we did our last round of laundry and cleaned up our place. Then we headed to the Kingdom hall. I couldn't stay for meeting. I was having horrible stomach pain! And I still can't figure out why. But Br. and Sis. Woodman drove me to their house to rest until the meeting was over and I could go home. That was so nice of them! Unfortunately I broke my perfect attendance record in Dominica.

   Friday I was feeling mostly better and we went to town for our final time! We ate baked goods first thing when we got there. Then we hit up the souvenir market. I've bought so much stuff from one of the girls that she gave me a free basket!!! They were all hugging us telling us to have a safe trip. Everyone there knows we are witnesses and really respect us. Next we went on an adventure to a furniture store. I know this sounds boring.....however there was glorious air conditioning and terrifically comfortable couches. It felt like the States. We tested the couches for over a half hour. Yes I'm aware how pathetic we've become! Haha. For lunch we had delicious shwarma. And we ended our day with juice at the ritzy Fort Young hotel. Twas a good day.

   We met the field service group from Delices on Saturday. They took us over to the territory in Morne Jaune to start invite work!!! We ended up having 14 publishers and we completed 3 territories! That's a lot considering how much walking is involved. I tried to visit Kishma but unfortunately she was busy doing wash because the rain had not allowed her to earlier in the week. But she was very excited for her study on Monday.

   Today was truly wonderful. It was our last meeting in La Roche. Of course that brought up bittersweet feelings. But the congregation was so warm and thankful in their goodbyes! Afterwards we went to Mariah's because she wanted to give us a special lunch to say goodbye. After a movie we all played uno together. In the middle of our game Mariah suggested we look outside. Kelvin and June had brought Auntie Sybil and Becky Didier over along with pizza and wings for dinner!!! It was a total surprise! They wanted to give a small going away party for us! They brought us coconut cheese to take home and Auntie Sybil made us hand stitched potholders!!!! It was so sweet! To end the day we cleaned out everything in our fridge and cupboards that we won't use to give to Mariah. I guess it's really happening.....we are coming home everyone!

Snapshots from Week 17

Monday, July 7, 2014

Sweet (Week) 16

So close to coming home now! I have my moments where I wish I was home right now. And then I have my moments where I wish I had 4 more months. It's definitely bittersweet. But one thing I know, this will not be my last need-greater trip!

   Monday started off the week in an interesting way. I woke up at 4:30am to the sound of a mini hurricane. And then we were awakened again at 6am by our landlord. I really don't even understand what he was trying to tell me. Too early. We met up with Emily for service, but somehow ended up hanging out with James and Nanci. All day. I got to help Nanci peel coffee beans. And James made us some delicious dinner! Once we came home I got to Skype into my family's Family Worship! It was so nice!

   Nanci drove us to Mourne Jaune on Tuesday for service. I got to work with her on some of her studies. In the afternoon we hung out with Emily for a bit. Then we came home to watch movies.

   Wednesday I worked with Mariah. First we went to her study, Bertha. Then we visited Annette, my study. She wanted me to also teach the four boys that were there. So after watching a Caleb video, we studied a bit out of the Good News brochure. They all participated! After lunch, Kaysh and I went to a few of her calls. Then we met up with Mariah and went on a study with her. Before reaching home we visited with our neighbors and bonded with their dogs, Jackie and Puppy.

   Thursday was just a bad day for me. Our landlord really enjoyed waking us up by using foul language towards his dogs. And he was confused about how we do our laundry and told us we weren't allowed to do more than one load a week. That is until he called Marvelyn. She got after him a bit so he let us continue. But still told us not to do too many loads in a row otherwise the washing machine would burn up. (While he was away in London and his wife was home we would do up to 6 loads in a row and never had a problem.) Oh well. What can you do? Meeting was nice though, and the locals keep telling us they're gonna miss us.

   Friday we worked on the assembly hall. We cleaned the inside for the Creole convention this weekend. After we finished, we said our final goodbyes to the brothers and sisters that we worked with on the assembly hall. We went to town, did what we had to, and left extremely tired. Came home and packed some more before skyping my parents.

   Saturday we enjoyed service in Grand Fond. I worked with a local sister named Stephanie. We found some interest at every door! A little girl wanted to come back to La Plaine with me whether she had to ride or walk! We came home for lunch then went to Montgomery's for a bit to hang out. When we came home we nachos and I studied. That was basically our day. Yesterday we went to meeting which was enjoyable as always. And we came home and ate a bunch of food. It wasn't a very eventful day.

   Well our time left is definitely reducing. It's crazy how quickly this went by! I miss my friends and family so much! I can't wait to see you all :)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Week 15...Tons of Fun!

Wow this week was crazy again! But it was so much fun! On Monday we packed up and cleaned the Hull's apartment. They made sure we got on the right bus and told us we are now their spiritual grandchildren. Then we headed into town to get our groceries and finish up souvenir shopping. So by the time the bus came to get us we had all of weekend bags, groceries for the next week and half, and souvenirs. We looked like we had enough stuff to last us a month!

   Tuesday Emily and I finally got to ride to Mourne Jaune! Montgomery's took us over and let us come on some of their calls and studies. Then in the afternoon we just ate lunch and hung out at their house. Kaysh had to stay home because she got Chikungunya!

   Wednesday Montgomery's took Emily, Mariah, and I to Delices to meet with the congregation for service. It was very nice! I worked with Shelby English and Marlin and Marlene Williams. The Williams just got back from visiting the states to help their families and they found that their home here in Dominica had been robbed. Robberies here are not common and the thieves were caught. However, the justice system is.....well it can be interesting. So they don't know if they will receive compensation for the stolen items. A few days later Marlene dropped her cellphone, went back to get it, and it had already been taken. Now because of family member's declining health they have to return to the states again. And just last night their house was struck by lightning (thunderstorms are also a rarity) and many of their appliances were fried. Amazingly they still plan on coming back to Dominica after handling their family responsibilities. But they would much appreciate prayers from the brothers and sisters!

  So back to Wednesday's events. We returned to La Plaine for some lunch and I enjoyed some upbuilding conversation with the Montgomery's. Then Em rejoined us to go over to the Castle Bruce congregation. What a blessing! The brothers and sisters were so kind to us. They meet in an elementary school. Even though they've been a congregation for about 5, maybe more, years they have never had a Kingdom hall. In fact, before they had a congregation they also had to meet with our congregation, La Roche. That was an hour and a half drive each way! Brothers and sisters all over Dominica still drive long distances to get to meetings and transport is not cheap, trust me. So you also have permission to pray that Jehovah bless the forming of new congregations and building of Kingdom halls in Dominica. Side note: almost every congregation here is DESPERATE for brothers!

   At the meeting we had the opportunity to meet more amazing examples. Two young sisters were visiting from Barbados to help out for a few weeks. They said even compared to Barbados the ministry here is incredible! We also had the opportunity to see two of my favorite people we've meet here, Jeff and Sang Mikel. I finally got to hear their story. They lived in California and just came here to visit. But when they realized the congregation only had 17 publishers they didn't see how they couldn't come back. So they went home and saved for a year before moving to Dominica to live. After two years their savings were dwindling and it appeared as though they would have to return to the states. However, Jehovah blessed them and they were appointed as special pioneers, which allowed them to stay in their assignment! About two months ago someone set their vehicle ablaze completely destroying it. They had saved money for several years to afford that van. And that was how many Bible students got to the meetings. The locals were so upset that this happened and were very afraid that the Mikel's would leave. Sang remarked to me that it never even crossed their minds to leave their assignment. For several weeks they walked from their home to the Kingdom hall, which is in the next village and up a mountain. Although Jehovah has blessed them with temporary transport, their request for a replacement vehicle is currently being processed. And the Prime Minister may be involved in the final decision. So again.....let's all keep them in our prayers.

   Thursday was meeting and there was less than 25 in attendance. Health issues have been affecting many lately. Friday was nice. Emily and I worked together all day. We had a hard time finding people home, but we enjoyed ourselves anyways! Especially because the Flavorite truck went all over and we finally got ice cream!!!! The gas stations have been out for weeks!

   Yesterday was so nice. Some of the friends from the Grand Bay congregation came to visit. Jacelyn Miller (the mom), Jemmique (the daughter), and Dilano (the son). I worked in service with Jacelyn and after a few really nice calls in territory we headed over to my study. It went AMAZING! She understood and accepted everything! And at the end she said that i could come more than once a week! After service Montgomery's had Kaysh and I for lunch with the Miller's. Afterwards we all went to the river to swim. It was super refreshing! Mariah, Kaysh, and I were able to go close to the mouth of the river abs could feel the waves of ocean coming in! Then we finished off the night by eating cake and playing Phase 10!

   And that brings us to today! Meeting in the morning where there were only two brothers so Mariah had to run mics. After a quick lunch, Em and I joined the Montgomery's to go to Roseau North for James' talk out. The hall is in town and is AIR CONDITIONED. I actually wasn't  enjoying the AC as much as I thought I would. It was cold! But the meeting was really nice anyways. It was really nice to meet even more brothers and sisters. So that was my week. And the closer it gets to leaving the more I feel torn between being super excited to come home and being sad to leave this beautiful island.

Pictures of Our Fifteenth Week

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Week 14...So Close to the End!

Aww what a week!!!! I'm so sorry I'm so late again! These last few weeks are going to be crazy busy so i might be late writing the rest of my blogs. We are doing exciting things every weekend.

   So last Monday Nanci made a big breakfast for all of us girls! Eggs, potatoes, sausage, grits, fried plantains, juice, and coffee! It was so amazing! Emily and I ended up hanging out there all day. It was a much needed day off. We ended up staying another night at Mariah and Emily's. Mariah was working so the rest of us did makeovers which was fun!

   Tuesday we walked all the way to Mourne Jaune. And it was very, very hot outside. After an hour and a half we made it there. We did a call for Nanci, then went to Em's bedridden study. While walking to the next call Em said, "I just wish someone would give us some fresh juice." We kept going and went to Kaysh's study. Then to a study with two women that Nanci and Emily started. Lastly, we stopped to show a girl a Caleb video. And guess what....? Her mom gave us juice! Jehovah gives us just what we need. On our way back we were so tired so we texted Nanci and when we got back to La Plaine she made us iced coffee and fried plantains! The Montgomery's are always super hospitable.

   Wednesday Em and I headed over to two of my studies. Both ended up being busy. So we walked down a track to a river a local had told us about. We couldn't get to the river because it was overgrown with bush. But a man who had passed through the river asked about what we were doing and ended up giving us a soursop! When i walked past my study's house she seen Emily carrying the soursop and felt bad so she have me one too!!! After a couple more attempts at calls we were exhausted and headed back for lunch. In the afternoon we walked to Case O Gowrie and did some calls and studies.

   On Thursday our landlord, Marvlyn, came down to check out the house to make sure she didn't have to being anything back from England. She was leaving on Saturday for a few months and she gets all her dishes, blankets, etc while she's there to being back with her. She was very impressed with how well we've kept the house. After her inspection we cooked all of our food for the weekend and packed our stuff. We said goodbye to Marvlyn and her daughter drove us down to Mariah and Emily's. We went to meeting and I had a talk with a young girl but Nanci had to sub for her so i had to rewrite the talk during the meeting. So nerve wracking! That night we stayed with Mariah and Emily.

   Friday was awesome. We went into town but got to sleep an hour longer than usual! After picking up a few quick groceries and getting money from the ATM we got on a bus to Portsmouth. The drive was amazing. Every part of this island looks different, yet beautiful in it's own way. We arrived at the Kingdom Hall and were greeted by the Hull's, an older missionary couple who opened up their guest apartment for us to stay in for the weekend. She is full of energy and so nice! She helped us get settled in and talked to us for a bit. Then us four girls went on a tour of the Indian River. They take you by a canoe down the river which is really cool. We saw crabs, iguanas, and birds. We got back to the apartment, which by the way is directly above the Kingdom Hall, and Sis Hull was just leaving to attend a funeral. So we walked downtown and got some ice cream. Portsmouth has a medical college with a lot of foreign students. I forgot that Americans think it's weird if you greet them as you walk past.

   Saturday was an early morning because we went to the local market with Sis Hull. We left at 6:30 am. But the fruits and veggies were so fresh and cheap! This market was 10x better than the one in Roseau. We returned to the apartment to finish getting ready and went down to meet for service. I worked with a local sister named Christine and we had a very successful morning. In the afternoon we walked down to the beach and swam for awhile. There were jellyfish in the water. Not super dangerous ones, but they still stung us. The locals call them "sea ants" because it feels more like fire ants biting you than a jellyfish sting.

  Sunday was also eventful! We went to meeting and had a very nice time. After meeting Sis Hull prepared lunch for us and it was very delicious. Then Br. Thomas came and took us and some others on a small tour of the area. We went to an old fort which was simply beautiful! Then we went to the North peak of the island where you can see the outline of Les Saints, Guadeloupe, and Marie Galante. When we made it back to the apartment, the Hull's had us over and told us all about their life. They have over 100 combined years in full time service. They told us many stories, including ones about how they discovered their love of bacon at Bethel! It was the perfect encouraging final night of our mini vacation!