Sunday, June 10, 2012

Dont forget ..... Knock at every door!

Why should we make sure to knock at every door, while we are in our ministry? Let me share with you and experience and maybe you will understand the title of this story.

Before moving to the Vilcabamaba and Malacatos area, we made a trip to investigate which of the areas / congregations we would be attending. We had written the branch and talked to the local Circuit overseer about the needs between the two areas, and he recommended Malacatos. So that is where we decided to attend. During the week we came to investigate, we attended the meetings of both congregations, as well, we went in our ministry or preaching work. While in Malacatos, the day we met with the group, there was only one other couple going in the work that day. A mother and her adult daughter, along with the daughters baby girl. As it turned out the territory was across the street and it covered several blocks.

We stared working in the territory, and at the first door the sisters told us that "no one is home so dont bother knocking". Hey who are we to say different, we're from the city, what do we know about country territory? .... So we go to the next door and the same story. And the next, you guessed it, the same story. Finally after the 4th door, I asked the sisters, how they know if the people were not at home. She explained that they are all at work, and with the lock on the gate, that meant they were not home..... Hey we are new here and only visiting, so I didn't get too smart with her, figuring she knows something I don't. But it did seemed to us, that people lock their doors even when they are home .... I don't know, for security reasons maybe? But who am I to say different? Well this went on for a few more doors, and then I told her I didn't feel comfortable not knocking, I mean after, all that is how we preach, right? Hey if they aren't home they aren't home, but we dont know that, if we dont knock. So we started preaching the old fashion way...... K N O C K I N G on doors. Lo and behold one of the doors where the sister told me "no one was at home" ..... "no one" comes walking out the door. I didn't believe my eyes, because this person wasn't at home!

So we start a conversation about the Ruler of the world, Who is it? Using the tract that poses that question. Of course the response was, as it is usually, ..... "God". The lady, named Rosa, didn't catch on right away to the scriptural evidence showing that it's Satan. But when she, did her eyes got as big a saucers. We told her we would be back after a few weeks when we moved to the area, to share more with her and she agreed. Move ahead 4 weeks ........


 We go back, (RV) and go back (RV) and go back and go .... well you get the idea. Not at home,  each time... well,  finally the sister in the introduction was right. Each time we would go back, some of the friends would tell us that she probably wasn't interested. But were not giving up, it was a good call and we going to find her..... finally we find...........


Her sister Piadad .... 17 years old and on her way to some school function, but she said she had time to talk. So I did the same presentation ,telling her that we spoke to her sister about the same subject, and here sister really enjoyed learning the answer to the question "Who really is the ruler of the world". When asked the question she gave the 99.99999% of the time response? ...... "God"... Then she read on in the tract, about how the bible never mentions in one place that God or Jesus are the rulers of this world. Now she was hooked. "Who is it then"? she asked ..... so we considered the scriptural evidence from John 12:31, 14:30 and 16:11.... but she still couldn't answer. So we went to Rev 12:7-9, 12 and her eyes get really big and she says "it's the devil, Satan". When we asked her who's personality the world reflects she said "the devils of course". Then we asked her why did Jesus teach us to pray for "Gods kingdom to come"? She says right away, very excitedly "because Satan rules the world right now" ...... Now here is the really cool thing... she says "it's obvious from the bible that Satan is the ruler of the world... Why dont our priests teach us that"?  .... Good question Piadad, maybe they dont know.... maybe they haven't studied much of the bible, maybe they only know their church teachings. We made arrangements to come back and explain more about Gods Kingdom and how it will do away with Satans rulership!  ...... Roll ahead one week, we go back to make the RV on the second sister Piadad and we meet......

Her sister Maria, and I think well it worked last time so I try it again... Who is really the ruler of this world? ................................

"The Devil" they always say "demonio" to refer to Satan, she is part of the .0000000001% that get the answer right. So I ask her if she has been talking to her sisters.... "no" she says innocently. Well how do you know that? .... You have been talking to your sisters about the subject and they shared what they learned, right?  "No". Well how do you know? .... "it's obvious dont you think" she says, "the world's a mess and it can't be under gods rulership"..... yes but did you know that the bible teaches us that Satan is the ruler of the world.... "no, that I didn't know.... Would you like to see what the bible says regarding Satan being the ruler of the world? "Yes" ...... so we show her all the scriptures we showed her sisters... Then, she asked us to wait for a minute and takes off. When she returns, she has a note pad and pencil and asks "where were those scriptures we read"? ... Then she says .......

What religion are you with? We are Jehovah's Witnesses, Maria ..... "You dont believe in the virgin do you"? Well we do believe that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was conceived, but dont believe that she was always a virgin. In fact did you know that the bible says that Jesus had brothers and sisters? She looks at us as if to say "what was that you said" so we said it again.... "where does it say that"?  So we showed her, as she adds the scriptural text to her list of scriptures.... then she asks,  "Why are there sooooo many religions"? Well Maria, that will have to wait until next time,  as my wife has an appointment to answer some questions another woman has about the bible.... "oh ok" she says. I ask her if we can come back next week and she says sure.

So who will we find on the next visit? There is one more sister and a brother in the family, that live in the home, we dont know where fruit will be found, but we are hoping that at least one, if not all, will share the same interest in the truth..... Stay tuned, ..... we are going to see where this leads!

I wrote this the week before... since then we called back and found Maria... answered her question, and then she had more questions and told us her next step was to get a Bible of her own. And when we go back the week that is coming, we will try to show her from the bible why we dont eat the wafer that supposedly represent the body of Christ.... She has a MILLION questions....

The preaching work here, is nothing short of amazing... If you speak Spanish or another foreign language, and have the circumstances, think about moving to a foreign country.... One famous man (Jesus) said "the harvest is great but the workers are few, therefore beg the master of the harvest to send more workers into the harvest". So that we do every day, ....  beg the master to send more workers.... please if you can, come here, or some other place, where the preaching work is incredible! And dont forget no matter where you are preaching ......


Knock at every door!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Wonderful teaching work in Catos, ...... uh Malacatos

Hello to all our family and friends.... even those we haven't met yet!

We are enjoying our move from Cuenca to Malacatos. I like to tease the friends staying that I prefer to call the town, Catos not Malacatos. For those of you that dont speak Spanish,  Mala means bad. So I like to tell the friends here, that I prefer to tell people that we live in Catos not Mala catos (or badcatos) They all laugh and shake their heads.

Service here is nothing less then superb. Good calls each day and several studies. It appears that the territory is coming into it's own right now. Lots of new ones coming to the meetings and making progress. Commenting regularly, sharing the truth with others and progressing toward being an unbaptized publishers.

One student (Jose) and his family, are studying with a couple from Holland that serve here.  (They are as poor as poor can be, but feel rich due to the knowledge they have attained) While they make their annual trip back to Holland for 3 months, we have the priveledge to care for the study with all the family members. The wife has lived a very hard life and has been treated very unjustly by family members, even having been stolen from, by her mother. When she was growing up it took some years for her to realize that her mother had given her to her uncle and his wife to raise. When she finally was 8-10 years of age, she found out what her mother did, and then her mother told her that she was a child that was not wanted. Her mother has always treated her with disdain, as a result she of course suffers from very low self esteem. The love of the friends has helped her tremendously to improve in this area of her life.

Her husband Jose started learning the truth a year and a half ago, and has been attending meetings ever since. He was the first to latch onto the truth, it caused problems in the family, due to changing his beliefs in harmony with the bible. The wife Rachel wanted to separate, due to the changes he made in his life, leaving behind the false doctrines of the catholic church. But then she finally agreed to a study of her own and started to learn the truth... she has been attending meetings since the memorial, along with Jose and their 3 children. Jose has left behind a serious drinking problem, due to his coming to know Jehovah. He tells me every time I see him how thankful he is that Jehovah has a people that shared the truth with him. Additionally he always expresses his appreciation for the truth itself, the knowledge he has received... as Jesus said, It has "set him free".

Then there are the children, Nixon and Lady. They are about 11 and 10 years of age. They study the book "Learning from the Great Teacher". The book, as many of you know, teaches lessons about how to conduct ourselves properly. They eat up the information each week and then make notes in a notebook about how they can apply the counsel in there lives. Very cute kids.

Attached is a photo of the family... it's not the best photo ever taken but hopefully you get the idea.

Jose, Nixon, Madeline, Rachel and Lady ....
I think Madeline (the little one) is suffering the after effects of eating a large piece of sugar cane.
We look forward to seeing them progress toward baptism.

I have another very interesting experience but will give this one a few days and then share it with you. Sorry for that one, I don't have any photos..... yet!


Monday, May 7, 2012

Ministry update from Vilcabamba and Malacatos

Well after 3 weeks we have some photos and videos of our current adventure, and thought you may find it of interest. Most of the territory here is out of town, and even in town, is what you might consider out of town (know what I mean? If not you'll have to come on down to understand) With all the photos and videos I have taken I just thought we should share some of our experiences of the ministry and with the friends we have come to know and have an appreciation for. 

Carol and Monica preaching "through the dust".  Literally!


The next day we were going to preach in the rural areas close to town ... but the main roads were closed due to a high school running competition... So off to the campos! We drove about 30 minutes and we finally got out and preached below is a video of the area. 



video







And in this photo a coconut palm tree, perhaps you can see that it has tires growing on its side. Why would a palm tree have tires growing on its side? 



I was working with Reneé that day... He has been in the truth for about 35 years... one of the originals here in Ecuador. Although we were in the ministry, he was in search of not only deserving ones that day, but also two platano plants (is that redundant? I think not!)  and when he found them offered to pay the man something for them, but of course he would take nothing. The mans son dug them up and then he put/cut them into manageable size... (translated meaning small enough to fit in the cargo area of our car... mud and all..... oh well)  

The generous plantation owner, Jorge (on the right) but you already knew that.... right?

Prepping them out for the trip home, watch out for the man with a machete in his hand.

Just before that escapade, we preached to a school teacher and her class and were able to use the white board to explain the truth.... That was fun .... I felt like the teacher.... Yeah! ... The little guy on the bottom left tried to get out of the photo ... he wasn't successful was he? ... Gotcha!





After finishing this area of about 20-30 homes.. (you would call them shacks) we headed back to town.... On the way we are driving and as we passed a group of workers, someone mentioned that sister Soila was in the group... so we went back and said hi... of course she was there with her workers clearing land and brush..... reaping bananas to sell in the market. 
(And yes that is a machete on her side.... Those things are everywhere here. Can't walk around without one.... I going to get one, just so I look the part.)





Of course after we greet her, the COOB has to get out of the car and into the story. Yes the man on the left is Ed Holdner he has been here for on and off some 38 years, when he and his wife haven't been here in Ecuador they have been in Mexico and Europe serving. (And yes in case your wondering that is a 49er football team hat and also notice NO ties in the ministry...... SWEET!) When he and his wife arrived in Malacatos just over 2 years ago, there were in attendance about 22, now on Saturday evening there is just short of 100 at the meetings... Imagine that! And the publisher count has doubled .... most of that from the territory.



Well the question is, how do you finish a day like that in the ministry? First thing you do, is get back and EAT! Thats what you would do right ? Then perhaps take a little nap! Or a long one depending on your likes! Then when you get up to the afternoon rain, lightly falling ...... you look out and see ...... 
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This turned into a double rainbow but I was out walking Gracie and didn't have my phone with me to catch it.... Sorry but, you'll just have to imagine it!




Saturday, April 21, 2012

Our move from Cuenca

Hello to all....

Since the last writing .... and when was that?  ..... Too long ago! Well maybe not for you. We have moved, last week to be exact. We didn't just move across town but across country ... well maybe not quite that far, but 4 hours from where we were located in Cuenca..... South, about 4 hours from the Peruvian border. What in the world.....? You may be asking, are you doing moving further away from the USA then closer.

Well Carol, my little thoroughbred had developed a nasty pulmonary problem "living in the city" (can you hear Stevie Wonder on that one?)  The doc said it was due to the dust and exhaust from the vehicles, mostly from the "big blue angels of death" or commonly known as "the buses". Then the doctor told her to stay off the streets...(how do you pioneer doing that?) and not to go out at night when the humidity levels increased. (and what time do we go to meetings?) Well you can see we needed to make a change. So we did. Contacted the branch about a few areas, and they gave us a response as to where the greater need was,so we took a few trips, and decided to move to the Malacatos congregation, south of Loja about 30 minutes.



video



Just in case the video isn't working for you here is a least a photo of the valley of Malacatos





The photos below are from Vilcabamba 




The territory is about as nice as it gets. Almost perfect weather (is there such a thing?) Nights nice and cool for sleeping and days in the upper 70s to low 80's with very low humidity. And greeeeeeen, greeeeen, greeeeen (pictures attached).


Malacatos is about 15 minutes from another famous place called Vilcabamba (valley of longevity) this place is like Mecca for those who want to get away from the world.... good thing about that is,  many of those who have that mentality, bring with them skills and services you would find in other parts of the world. Like what? You may be asking? .....


video


Like a french man and his Belgian wife who are purveyors of French breads and pastries. Baguettes fresh each day.... And we do enjoy them. Yes they are the real deal. The first time I met Román he was telling me that he made baguettes... I ask if they where good... he looked at me like are you kidding "I'M FRENCH" of course there good. Oooops .... sorry! .... Oh yeah .... those little rolls with the dark streak running through it ..... Chocolate croissants!



We found out yesterday that there is a guy that lives in the mountains that produces soft goat cheese ... Yes, like the kind you find in Trader Joe's or one of those type of places. Can't wait to get my lips on some of that stuff.

Last night we had excellent pizza.

Mexican food is available here from a man who's wife is from Mexico City, Mexico.

Im sure you have noticed that food is an important subject here.... Well it is where you are at too, right?

It's just that here in Ecuador, so far from a major metro area, the selections are more limited. Don't get me wrong, all the ingredients are here, but it's the putting them together that makes for good food. And with all the foreigners here in this area we have many things, that are hardly available in all of Ecuador. That is nice.

Ministry... well we hear it's really good and the last trip when we came here we had a really nice day in the service. So we are looking forward to getting out there and getting our own boatload of new studies...

It was sad leaving the Altiplano congregation in Cuenca, as there had been so much growth, not just with the amount of people but personal growth of the brothers in the congregation. Many new servants (6) and elders appointed (2), pioneers (4) and new ones that qualified to be unbaptized publishers (15),  newly baptized (5) during the 18 months we served in the congregation..... very nice to be a part of. We love those dear friends, and they appreciatively gave us a very nice send off.

Ill try to send a few more details of the area where we are living in other blogs....  But that gives you something to know about us for the time being.

Our love to you all, and may Jehovah continue to bless your service to him.