Monday, April 28, 2014

An Experience That Deserves It's Own Post

So this morning we made the long walk over to La Ronde. It was so hot and the walk was very hard. But Jehovah blessed our efforts. I placed a tract with a guy banned Asha and he told me he's baptist but would still love to discuss the Bible sometime. He also invited us to come to his house where he leads a youth group and tell the kids what we believe. After that we left.

   Kaysh and i sat on a bench nearby so i could write the call down. Meanwhile Em and Mariah went to a call and suggested we stay seated until they were done since it was so hot today. The man comes up to us with his Bible and asks to sit. He says "Three young people interested in the Bible. Let's choose a topic." So i told him to pick. He asked why we mentioned Jehovah at his door but never Jesus. After assuring him that we feel Jesus is very important he started discussing the trinity. He allowed us to show him why we don't believe in the trinity from the Bible. He agreed that the Bible is the only absolute truth and that any man can lie. After a few scriptures, he couldn't find the ones he wanted to so he told us he needed a few days and then he wanted a rematch. I told him he should get a piece of paper and write down all the scriptures he felt proved the trinity.
He then brought up being "once saved always saved". But he explained he feels that if u are supposedly "saved" and still do wrong that they were never really saved and deceived themselves. He then told us how he used to do drugs, drink, party, practice fornication, was addicted to porn. He feels he was "born again" in a symbolic sense through his baptism because he completely changed. After that we discussed how our religions are similar in some ways. And how Jehovah's witnesses have to prove the truth to themselves before baptism. We also told him that we don't stick to tradition. How we are willing to adjust our beliefs when we understand new things from the Bible. He respected that and told us that if his religion ever came between him and God he wouldn't be a baptist. I gave him the Bible teach book and told him to look up every scripture, and make notes about what questions he had or what things he disagreed with. He said he would definitely study it!

   At the end of the call he wanted to pray with us but we kindly refused. Then he wanted to know why on that! I told him i would do some research and bring it back within 2 weeks. He protested that it was too long. He gave us his number and said he would even come to our area if necessary. (he lives about a 45 minute walk from us). He was so genuine with his questions and is searching for truth. And i was so thankful to have Kaysh helping me as a service partner. Hopefully I'll have updates soon :)

6 Weeks! About One-Third of Our Trip

Wow. I really feel like this is my home now. Don't worry....not a permanent home I will come back to Michigan! It's just I'm really adjusted to life here. Everything feels normal now. Even the driver sitting on the right side feels normal. Sometimes I even forget about bacon and oreos now. Not very often though!  I'm not going to lie, life can be harder here than in the states sometimes. But seeing Jehovah's creation and blessing on our ministry is so worth it.

   A great example of that was Monday. Keep in mind that La Plaine is exceptionally hotter than most of the island. Right now the temperature is about 85-90º with very intense sun. Also bear in mind that the island is extremely mountainous. Those factors can make service exhausting. On Monday Kaysh was supposed to have several studies and I was supposed to have one. ALL of our studies flopped. We were so discouraged and tired at the end of the day. Fortunately,  Jehovah knew just what we needed. On our way back to our house we saw a little girl named Tia. We had talked to her that morning and she wanted to study right then! But she studies with someone else on Wednesdays so we told her to wait for them to study with her. So when we passed her on the road we just struck up a conversation with her. She is 10 years old and came to our memorial without her parents. She told us she wanted a ride to the Thursday night meeting!  We met her mother and aunt. Her aunt ended up being someone Kaysh had talked to just a few days before! It was so crazy how it all worked out. And it definitely gave us the boost we needed.

    Tuesday we got to go to two other nearby villages. Morne Jean (Mon Jon) and Rivere Cirique (River Sear-ick). We did a little territory and some of the Montgomery's calls. Nanci and I worked together. She placed a tract with a 7 year old girl named Kiala. Just a few minutes later we seen her again. Nanci offered her the "God's Friend" brochure and studied the first lesson with her. Kiala read AMAZINGLY for her age. And she understood every concept. That little girl was so incredibly sincere. In the afternoon I went to my study Crystalyn Jewels. She is such a sweetheart. She's older so I have to read to her. Sometimes that makes it difficult for her to retain the information. But we take it one thought at a time. I told that I wished she could come to the kingdom hall with us. She said she wishes that she could too. Unfortunately she is wheelchair bound. I still hope the truth will touch her heart.

   Wednesday we went in service. The day was pretty standard. Mariah had some nice studies I went with her on in the morning. And in the afternoon Kaysh and I did some calls. One of her calls was on our landlords aunt, Mary. She is older and very kind. She was telling us all about traditional dishes. We were able to share some positive thoughts for the future with her because there was a funeral in the village for a man who was only in his forties. He had been very sick for a long time with sickle cell. Kaysh shared a beautiful thought from Isaiah that Mary would also be able to apply to herself since she has arthritis.

   Thursday was supposed to be the day we sleep in a little and do our housework, including the wash. Neither of those things panned out. I woke up at 6 am to a very scary sounding announcement. Turns out they were just smoking the area for mosquitos. Fyi there's a mosquito transmitted illness going around called Chikungunya (chicken goon ya). It causes high fever and extremely bad joint pain. The sickness last one to two weeks but the effects can stay in your system for a year. Thankfully I was able to fall asleep again. But the laundry room was locked all day.  So none of the wash was done. Meeting was nice though.  Tia came and decided to sit next to me. She tried to look up every scripture and when they would ask questions she wanted me to show her the answer. At the end she asked what the thing they wanted us to go to was. I told her it was a convention but didn't have time to fully explain it.

  Friday was our town day.  We started work at the assembly hall around 8am. Nanci and I picked up the yard and removed dead palm branches. After 3 hours of work we left to do grocery shopping. We got through our shopping rather quickly so we burned time before our bus ride down at the tourist district. It's a market that sells local crafts.  The merchants guessed that we were peace core when they discovered that we live on the island. We explained that we are Jehovah's Witnesses.  Next thing you know,  we placed 4 tracts and were asked to return with magazines! We also got to have some local juice which was amazing, Kaysh and I treated ourselves and brought home coke, cereal and chocolate almond milk!

   Saturday I went with Montgomery's and Emily to do some calls and territory in Delices (Dell-ease). We had a nice time. Kaysh and I were planning on going in the afternoon but we were just too exhausted from the heat and there was some sort of obnoxious party going on in the village center. Today was good.  Br. Kelvin Woodman gave the special talk and did an excellent job.  He and his wife had us over for his hospitality! They made chicken,  rice, curry chick peas,  coleslaw, and green banana pie. I know that last one sounds odd, but trust me,  it taste like a mix between mashed potatoes and mac and cheese. They also gave us homemade local juice.  We provided the desserts.  We were there until 4:30 then they drove us home. It was very encouraging.

   It's amazing how Jehovah continues to bless our efforts.  Like I said, there are challenges. And I do miss everyone back home. But I wouldn't trade this experience for the world!  It's drawn me closer to Jehovah and the organization. I've learned so much about the world and myself. I've been able to help others get to know our great God. If anyone is thinking about serving where the need is greater, do it. You won't regret it.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

It's Already Been 5 Weeks!

This week went by insanely fast! We tried to go in service on Monday before the memorial. But no one else was going and we didn't have any calls that day. So.....we just hung out at Mariah's until lunch time.  Later we headed to the memorial. Our bus was full of studies!!! Many of them were children. We arrived at the kingdom hall early and got nice seats. But, as more people came in we were asked to move. The veranda was also full up. Kaysh and I sat on the stairs with a few others. It rained on us just a bit during the memorial. But we had an umbrella,  and trust me, nothing could've dampened my spirit. We said goodbye to the Brits as well.  I'm sure I'll see them again someday....perhaps soon! On our way home Nanci told us that Good Friday is a huge holiday here and no buses would be running to town and no business would be open. We usually do all our shopping on Friday. So we had to scramble to arrange something.

   Tuesday we thought we were going to town in the morning. But our plans changed unexpectedly. We were able to adjust and went in service instead. I even got to have a study with an older lady who can't read. Kaysh and I read to her. At the end she kissed me and called me "DooDoo". That's Patois for sweetheart.  We also had a lovely visit with the Montgomery's. They always make my day brighter. We called some drivers that night and arranged for a bus to take us to town! Wednesday we just went to town by ourselves for the first time. No big deal. It also marked a month since we left the US. We celebrated with some iced coffee. Thursday was also kind of boring.  Housework, internet issues and doing the wash. The highlight of our day was the meeting. Kaysh and I both got to be terrible service partners on a demo.

   Friday we didn't need to go to town so we went in service!  In the morning we walked to La Ronde. It's 45 minutes away but still part of La Plaine.  We all had pretty good conversations. After the 45 minutes back, we visited with James and Nanci. That afternoon we went out just the two of us.  Kaysh started two more bible studies.

   Saturday we went to Case O Gowrie. Mariah had an awesome study, I got to do Nanci's call for her, and we all enjoyed looking at the ocean for a while.  Kaysh and I came home a little bit early so she could fry some chicken.  The Montgomery's invited us over for chicken and waffles. My first experience with this food combination. Delish! We taught James all about dubstep, watched a movie,  and showed them some line dances! It was so much fun!!!!

   Today I went to meeting.  Poor Kaysh couldn't sleep last night. She stayed home to rest up because the exhaustion was making her sick. Thankfully she slept well while I was gone and felt better. We enjoyed each other's company so much this afternoon. Well, we always do. But today we were super giggly. We got a call from James around 8pm to go see a turtle lay eggs. We walked pretty far down a black sand beach. There was a huge leatherback sea turtle! We watched her lay her eggs and got pictures touching her! There are volunteers who watch over the turtles while they lay eggs so poachers don't slaughter them for meat. Then they take their eggs to a hatchery.  She weighed about 850 lbs, was about 5 ft long and laid 77 eggs! Perfect note to end the week!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Week Four Photographed

Week Four (Almost a Month Now!)

We had a crazy week!!! It started with service. It was nice as always. Kaysh conducted two Bible studies. Monday night James and Nanci Montgomery had the 16 Brits, Jared, Mariah, Emily, Kaysh, Sandy (Nanci's Bible study), and i over for a bbq! It was so encouraging to get to know all those friends better. I talked to one quite extensively about what may turn into my next need-greater trip, Jehovah willing of course. I also found out all the walking and sweating has already shaved about 5lbs off!

  Tuesday we took an "Island Tour" with one of the local bus drivers, Mr Alex (he also drives us to all of our meetings). We went with Jared, Emily, and Mariah. Mr. Alex took us to Freshwater Lake. Unfortunately it was way too cold for swimming. So we to Titou (tee-too) Gorge next. At first we just looked at it from above. Then we realized you were supposed to swim back into the gorge. The only problem was the water is 15ft deep! A French guy who was selling things told us how to navigate it. The water was cold so it took the wind out of you...but we swam it anyways! Oh man! Most amazing thing I've ever done! I got to climb a waterfall then jump off it! We were freezing though so thankfully the next stop was Screws. They have natural hot and cold sulfur pools. It was like a spa. We ended our day at Scottshead where the Caribbean and Atlantic meet. Once again it was beautiful.

   Wednesday wasn't super eventful. We slept in a bit and made pancakes before service. Nanci asked us to conduct one of her studies. Her study was very kind and a good student. Kaysh also got one of her studies home. My study was in the shower though. All in all a good day.

   We went to Emerald Pool Thursday. It was cool, we got to swim under the waterfall. But not long after we got there a ton of tourists arrived. I got to witness to quite a few of the tourists and a couple guides. One of the guides ended up being a sister! When the crowd cleared we had a mini dance party and did the wobble! That night we went to meeting where Kaysh and i both had talks.

  Friday we went to town (as we almost always do on Fridays). We took a bus from town to Champagne. That's where we got to go snorkeling!!! A fish smiled at Kaysh and I! We went back to town for lunch and grocery shopping. But Kaysh got really sick so we had to go home fairly quickly. On the bus i was able to witness to a guy from Guadeloupe.

   We took the day off service yesterday because Kaysh still wasn't feeling great. Nanci and James stopped in and gave us some cane juice to try! It's delicious like drinking liquid sugar! We also cooked a lot yesterday and did our wash. Marvelyn gave us some star fruit! Yummo!

   Today we went to meeting. After meeting we were gonna walk home but the Montgomery's were so kind to us and invited us over for lunch! We had an awesome time talking to them about their spiritual past. And they got to know more about us. They're company is always so encouraging. They're like our awesome aunt and uncle or something. Well tomorrow is memorial. Bet it'll be packed!!!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sorry! Week 3 Blog is Late!

So sorry I didn't post last night. Akayshia and I were at Mariah and Emily's. We had a little sleep over!

   So about our week...Monday was a great service day.  Kaysh had a very nice call to start the morning. Then we walked and did territory all the way to Case O Gowrie. In the morning alone we walked about ten miles!!!! So we went back to Mariah's and fueled up with some lunch and gatorade. We went to one of Mariah's studies in the afternoon. Her daughter Shonda, who also studies with Mariah,  told us that Delani had texted her to make sure we would come to her house next! Delani is the young girl who had looked up our website last week. She was a very good student. St the end she asked something Shonda had told her to ask me. She said "Is heaven and hell real?" Shonda had just asked Mariah that question and was told the answer from the Bible.  How cool is it that two 13 year olds are discussing the bible truths with each other!?

   On Tuesday we hung out for awhile at Mariah's. Then we tried to go to a bible study of Akayshia's. But her study was busy with company.  So following what we now believe was Jehovah's direction, we headed to get ice cream! On our way to the store we greeted a man. He just randomly asked if we were missionaries. We responded "yeah, kinda". So after asking where we are originally from,  he wanted to know if we were here for some big event. We told him no. But explained that the memorial was coming up and invited him. He is a roman Catholic and genuinely wanted to know why we don't commemorate it every week. We explained to the best of our ability. He understood but said,  "but don't you think it's better to show our appreciation once a week or everyday?" Kaysh very nicely compared it to a married couple.  They cherish their relationship everyday but only celebrate once a year. He still liked mass by the end of it. But he was willing for us to stop again! Also, we followed through and got ice cream.

   We did have our tests and trials this week.  Our Internet went out five nights in a row. We had to kill two of which we a-salted.  Ba dum tiss. We found fruit fly maggots in our trash can. And we had many cravings for American food. Thankfully we are now able to creatively entertain ourselves when the Internet is down. The slugs are gross,  but very slow and easy to kill.  The maggots were unable to survive bleach spray.  And we discovered lots of new Dominican snacks that can help us beat the oreo and dorito cravings.

  Friday we usually go to town. But since Mariah was picking Jared and Emily from the airport we didn't wanna go by ourselves. So we went in service all by ourselves for the first time!  It was an amazing day. Kaysh started two bible studies and I started one!!!

  Sunday was also great. We hiked to Victoria Falls.  Absolutely incredible. Also there were 62 people at meeting which is amazing considering that there's only 23 publishers.  There are 16 visitors from England.  It's so nice to have them. So that was my week.  I hope to have plenty more adventures to share.  Maybe I'll get to finally post on Sunday night again!