Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bible Studies (part 1)

I just wanted to do a little post about the studies I have going on right now. Hopefully this will be a two-parter and on our journey back to the states we will fill you guys in on how they're doing, show pictures, and give experiences about the new studies we started after this post.

1. Our Daycare
This is the study I started the first day we went out in service in Bolivia. These kids are still going good. Some of the shyest kids aren't afraid of us anymore and immediately scream 'Jehovah' when we asked questions-even if it isn't always the right answer. We have them relatively trained, so much so that one day the helper man who worked there got up to do something while I was reading and one kid started yelling at him 'Sit down and listen!!!' 

February 27th we switched congregations so we had to restart with new calls in a new territory that we weren't that familiar with. And remember that from March 1st-26 was the invitation work for the Memorial. However, when our congregation ordered their Memorial invites they were still united with another congregation. So when Memorial time came, they had two congregations and only enough invites for one. Obviously we ran out of invitations rather quickly- especially with all the extra auxiliary pioneers. We switched to giving people a verbal invitation and if the call went super well we could place magazines if we wanted. Accumulating calls has been a little slow- but it is definitely happening. We do think that the time with the invitations helped our Spanish a ton because we could spend more time talking to the brothers and sisters.

On our first day of service in the new congregation I talked to 3 people who all live on the same street and they are all studying now: Liselda, Miriam, and Naida. 

2. Liselda is in her mid-twenties. On the initial visit I asked her if she thought we would ever see a day without suffering. She said yes but didn't know how. Then shared the hope in Psalms 37. Then ask what we need to do in order to obtain that future- shared John 17:3. I left with her a little tract about suffering (didn't have much else on me) but also showed her the Good New's brochure and asked her which question she would like to find the answer to. She chose 'What hope is there for the dead?' We have already finished that section and moved on to God's purpose for the earth. I also found out recently that she is 3 months pregnant! She is the one who sells 'tucumanas' out of her house (Elise put up a picture of her house on a previous post). She is pretty shy but always gets the point of what we discuss. We stand at her doorstep and study on Sundays because that is when she isn't working. 

3. Miriam is a young girl in her teens. Her study began the same way as Liselda except she didn't think we would see a day without suffering. So far we have gone over the purpose for the earth in the good news brochure and now have switched to the Bible Teach Book. She usually can study for about an hour while sitting in front of her door (this will make more sense in the future when we have pictures). She is usually more willing to speak up about what she thinks and is usually in her pajamas (she has class in the afternoon so we always study in the morning). She calls me out every time there is a long scripture that I don't want to read in Spanish and makes one of us read it because we need the practice. She also has a kitten that Elise loves to look at. 

4. Naida is probably around 13. On the initial call we taught her God's name. Since then we have been going through the truth tract because she doesn't have much time to spare. For being as young as she is she is willing to speak up about spiritual subject. Last time on the study we got stuck on what happens after death, so next time we are going into the Teach Book where it breaks it down a lot more so hopefully she can grasp it. 

5. Senovia is in her early 30s (I think). I met her in the invitation work. We were out of invites so I was giving her all the information verbally and she seemed interested in what I had to say. I then asked her why Jesus died. She said 'For our sins.' And I asked her what that meant- are we perfect and sinless now? She said 'Of course not.' I asked her again what his death meant for us. She said she didn't know. Since then we've gone over the section about Jesus in the Good News brochure and turns out she has a Teach Book (and a song book-- not sure how that happened) in Quechua already. We only answer a question or two at a time because she is always cooking or something. 

6. Lydia works in a pharmacy. Here they don't split up houses and businesses into separate territories, you just do it all at once. I caught her one day when she was working and her daughter was with her. I showed her the truth tract and asked which question interested her the most. She chose 'How can I find real happiness' and we went over it together. Her comments were very sweet and heartfelt. I showed her the good news brochure and how it doesn't take much time to consider together. In response she told me her complete work schedule and told me to come whenever. I have been trying to visit her twice a week because we don't have much time left in the country. In the Good News brochure she chose the subject about how we can draw close to God. We study together right there at the counter and pause when customers come in- unashamed she helps them quickly so she can get back to the study. She shocked us today with her definition of faith- it was right on and beautiful. You can really tell she is very conscious of her spiritual need and she is ALWAYS right with her answers. Next time she asked if we can talk about a hope for the dead 

7. Daniella isn't an official study yet but hopefully by tomorrow afternoon she will be. I think she is in high school. I knocked on her door one day and she popped her head out of the second story window and asked how she could help us. We told her we wanted to share a thought for the Bible with her and she said 'Just a minute!!' and ran downstairs to talk to us. I was able to place magazines with her and promised to come back to talk about what hope for the future Jesus' ransom and resurrection provide. I asked what day I could return and she said 2 days later. 2 days later Elise and I ventured alone to the territory to find her house. Her house doesn't have a number so I wrote down the number of the house next door. When we got to the street I recognized the door but it had a different number next to it. I figured I was wrong and knocked- nobody. Tried next door- nobody. Went away defeated. We decided to try another day and this time I got people home at both doors- neither knew of a Daniella. At Elise's suggesting we walked down the street to the number I had written down initially and we knocked on a door (that looked identical to the one up the street in my defense) and a girl on the second story popped her head out to see us and then came running down stairs. I asked her if she had a few minutes to talk and she told me 'I only have an hour.' We went over some of the good news brochure about a hope for earth and after each question I would ask her if she wanted to stop or continue. She always wanted to continue. We finished the whole section together. I asked her at one point if she thought we were living in the last days and she said yes. I asked her why and she proceeded to tell me all the aspects of the sign that Jesus gave in Matthew 24. I was shocked and relieved that we didn't have to read that whole passage in Spanish. Her answers shock us often- very right on and it is obvious the truth makes a lot of sense to her. Like 'Why do you think the people in Micah 4 don't participate in war?' her answer 'Because they follow the Bible' (as if it were a stupid question). And my favorite was 'Do you think Armageddon is a good thing?' (after not talking about it at allllll) and quickly she said 'It's good! God will definitely win in the end.' 

This last one isn't my study but it was a fun experience. It was 7pm on Monday and Elise and I were working in the group for evening witnessing. We were working door to door and we went into an internet cafe. The man was very busy but he said I could share my thought from the Bible. I shared Mark 12 about the greatest commandment- to love God and neighbor. Then I showed him the magazines for March (Watchtower article about draw closes to God and #5 in the Bible principles for Dad's in the Awake) and he said he already had the Watchtower- someone had visited his house on Sunday- but he did want the Awake. Then he explained how frustrating it was that we just visit and leave him things to read when what he really wants is someone to regularly visit him and talk about the Bible. I told him we do that too and showed him the Good News brochure and how it is designed. He liked the idea of answering a Bible question in 10 or 15 minutes and we scheduled a time for the following Monday. (I told him we were leaving the country but we have a friend who can come). We then ran to the closest brother and handed it over to him. 

Elise had a funny experience last night. We were walking home from meeting and were a block from our house when we heard a man screaming 'Jehovah's Witnesses!!!' We turned and answered 'Yes?' The man went up to Elise and said 'I want the magazines. I am drunk. But I still want the magazines.' That night we had just had the part about the magazines so Elise had them out ready to hand over. Then we ran away from the man drenched in alcohol. :)

That is about it for studies. Right now. We are still accumulating calls (which we do on our own, groups don't meet to do them) so hopefully more good will come from it. Jehovah is definitely blessing with us with the opportunity to be used down here in Bolivia.

PS-- we changed the layout a little to make it easier to read-- Did it work?
If not, do you have a suggestion?


  1. So very fun and encouraging!! But, did someone else take over with the daycare kids? Love you guys!!

  2. Of course!(we didn't want to give them up) but we do have someone lined up to take over when we leave. Love you too!

  3. I find the white/grey background harder on the eyes. . . .

    I LOVE the experiences with your Bible studies and agree we would love to have them come back with you! I am sure that we will all have a nice chat after Armageddon. I am so glad you have stepped up for Jehovah to use you and He so clearly is. Enjoy every day and every person in service. Jehovah will continue to bless you!

  4. looking forward to part 2 . . .