Monday, March 11, 2013

To Bolivia and Beyond

Hello all! We have had a busy week full of theocratic activity. Our new congregation has 2 service meetings a day every day except Monday and Wednesday which just have one service meeting.

We went to a special talk by the DO (congregation America was the host for the assembly), had the pioneer meeting and the 2 day assembly, and we volunteered to have a sister from Potosi come stay with us for the weekend..
 Blurry picture of the District Overseer Brother Gomez
 Super packed at the meeting-Standing room only. 
Made the singing super loud and beautiful though
 The special talk by Brother Gomez was about how we can spiritually healthy. His opening illustration was about how in the 50's in the US so many people had heart attacks because of their life style after the was... This concerned many witnesses about our health after we told them we use cars constantly for service in the states.. His 3 main topics were our spiritual diet, spiritual exercise, and rest. (The rest section was interesting because he said that the Challenger crash, Exxon Valdez, and Chernoybl were all partially caused because of fatigue by a worker or workers. It causes us to make bad decisions as well.)  Then he went on to talk about entering God's rest, how we shouldn't let the world influence us, and Helenism. (be impressed we understood that in Spanish!!).. He is a very good speaker and very natural on stage.

We didn't take many pictures of the pioneer meeting. Sorry. The theme was based on 2 Timothy 4:5 (i think, they didn't announce it but it was a definite theme) Keep Your Senses..
The needs of the pioneers was pretty interesting. It was mostly about use of questions. They need to have more point of view questions and additional questions for Bible studies. We have noticed that people talk a lot at the door and the householder doesn't talk much. (which Bolivians are timid and aren't too willing to speak up and tell their opinion at the door)
Our adorable sister Monica had a demo on the pioneer meeting about how to
 make door step studies switch to studying inside... I believe...

 The two day assembly was held just a few blocks down the street from us. 1400 in attendance and 8 baptized --7 sisters and 1 brother. The assembly paper programs were neat this year because they have all the review questions on the back so you can fill in the answers-- great idea because then when you want to share what the assembly was about with calls or Bible studies you can whip our your little review and share it! There were 5 main points for the Needs of the Circuit talk. (I am sharing only the needs of the circuit because I know you all will have the same program in a month) 
1. Pray for those who suffer persecution (for example countries where the work is under ban or greatly persecuted like Russia, brothers who serve time in prison because of refusing military service, discrimination, strong family opposition, or brothers and sisters in rural areas who are far from other witnesses)
2. Meeting Attendance (numbers are high for attendance because of interesting ones and Bible studies, not because of baptized witnesses)
3. Donations and distribution of Literature (The brothers here are great at asking for donations at the door but there is a bad habit where they imply that the donation is equal to the cost of the literature instead of it just going to the worldwide work. The other day Elise had a guy say 'I usually pay one peso for a Watchtower, right?' And if someone gives a big donation they offer them even more literature. This is dangerous especially because the nature our work is noncommercial and if the government thinks that the Organization is commercial then we could have another problem like the mess there was in France. Also we need to follow the Bible principle that we receive freely and should give freely.)
4. Daily Bible Reading (300 publishers went inactive this year--- personal study and Bible reading keep you in the truth)
5. Need for brothers to reach out (same point made at the Zone Visit)

  The assembly was held in a Colosseum for sports. (soccer generally-- its funny that they usually use basketball courts to play soccer.. shame) The floor was all shiny and special so there were attendants whose job was to look at sisters' shoes and tell them whether or not they are allowed walk on it. We weren't allowed! haha.
 Lunch is the biggest meal in Bolivia. People rarely eat a big dinner. So at lunch people whipped out dishes and passed out the food they brought for their families. Definitely different than the sandwiches we usually see people eat at assemblies. The family next to us were the cutest and had a giant meal with pork chops and rice and veggies that they brought (pictured below)

Another different thing here is that people will go outside to street venders and buy food and bring it it. We saw many walk in during the program with ice cream cones. (Did we tell you people were munching on snow cones at the Zone Visit??)

Kilet and all of her Bible studies that came to the assembly. She was playing 'mom' and passed out plates and dished up everyone their lunch
 This is a picture of the CO purposefully walking in front of our picture :)
We are with Monica and her sister Tatiana. Monica had an interview on one of the parts. She is the cutest ever and knows some English. Shes 26 (I think??) and has been pioneering for 11 years. She was so embarrassed when we told her how perfect she is. He sister is super sweet and is always smiling and happy. She always sees us and says 'Hola Chicas!! Todo bien??'  Love those girls.

 Carmen and us. Her dress was gorgeous and we called it a 'Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend' dress. Shes so cute all the time, very sweet and helps us get around constantly.
 Elisa and Veronica. We work with her and her sister Elvira in the ministry quite often.
 This is our dear sister Victoria from Potosi that stayed with us Thursday through Sunday. 

Potosi is the highest city in the world with La Paz being the second highest (still not sure if we'll visit it-- Elise would probably die from the elevation). She asked last minute with help with lodging for the assembly and we volunteered pretty last minute so that is how she got stuck with us. She was the sweetest sister ever. Shes a pioneer and is the only one in her family in the truth. Shes been in the truth now for 15 years and it was because of the truth that she learned how to read- she still can't write. A while back she took a bad fall and hurt her arm so she couldn't do much with it at all so in the morning she would ask us to help her with her hair. At one point she asked me how to work the lights in the bathroom and she was also amazing by our laptops and the internet. We also blew her mind with salad dressing and definitely converted her. We will introduce you all to her in the Paradise when we see her again. (and then we can speak the same language-- poor thing, there were times we had no idea what she was saying but most of the time we were okay)

At the assembly there was a sign language section. I took a video of them during the final song. I am sure everyone knows that the songs aren't translated word for word for different languages- they do keep the same meaning however. It is difficult to sing in another language and I constantly make a mess of it. During the songs at the assembly I was thinking how we know the songs well in English, a good number know it in French, everyone else knew them well in Spanish, and our dear deaf brothers and sisters know them well in Spanish Sign Language. And I can't wait until the new system when they will not only be able to hear the music that accompanies the words but we will all be able to unitedly sing the same song to Jehovah in the same language and do it well.

1 comment:

  1. Love the notes. . . .especially the local needs about praying for sisters in isolated areas. True, even the yearbooks and life stories often mention these faithful ones working territories where there are only one or no witnesses. So important.

    As for the singing. . . I can't wait til I can get the words right in ANY language!

    Great and encouraging!