Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Indexing is a complicated and quite treacherous project. One mistake and you can send the group running all over your territory or worse yet risk having to redo everything. Doesn't sound that bad? Well, having to redo it could involve hundreds of pieces of information and days of wasted work! All caution aside, its the basis of building our territories and therefore an essential part of our preaching work, especially here in the English Congregation in Jarabacoa. Collecting all the information means being as thorough as possible, checking if a house is separate apartments or simply a two story house, determining how an alleyway should be mapped and wondering into all corners of our territory. That being said, it can be fun to explore, in the name of mapping of course! The other day I came across this old picture of us wandering into unknown territory to check the number of houses hiding behind the laundry!

Happy Belated New Service Year Everybody!!! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Not a typical Monday 'off'

So if anyone has served in the Dominican Republic, you know that Mondays are the unofficial day off. 
We never have service arrangements and we usually take advantage of a 'free' day to do something fun or clean the house or just hang out with friends. So today started with the usual Monday laziness. I couldn't shake off an intense feeling of tiredness and so today started off even lazier than normal! In fact, we only left the house to satisfy a desire for Rice Krispy treats. After making and devouring them, we fell into a sugar coma and took a nap on my front porch, right on the concrete floor! By the nighttime we decided to venture out to grab dinner. I decided to take a couple of my friends to try a local Dominican dish, called Yaroa, which I describe as the Dominican version of American junk food. YUM! Anyhow, we were sitting there eating and noticed a table over there was an American man sitting by himself. After a while, he comes over to us and says, "I noticed you were speaking English" and asked us what we were doing in the country. We started explaining and he asked if he could pull up a chair. Next thing you know we had talked for at least an hour with this guy, having an absolutely awesome conversation. We covered everything from the education Jehovah's Organization provides, how our meetings work, what happened in the garden of Eden, the future hope of the end of all suffering, and even the second death was mentioned! This guy, Aaron, was traveling around third world countries and has been in Jarabacoa for about a week. He mentioned that he had traveled before, after finishing school, as part of a post-grad program to assist in local charities. At the end of the conversation, he thanked us and told us that he really appreciated how we had talked, not like other Christians who had the more 'fire and brimstone' approach. At one point Issac, a brother serving in the ASL group, told him how his family learned the truth and the guy really liked hearing that. We also discussed why we felt the need to come to a third world country and about giving our God our best, the joys of our international brotherhood and the satisfaction of being able to share the Bible message with others and see how it benefited their lives. I think all of us enjoyed hearing each other share their feelings about that! After he left, we all sat around the table with the biggest smiles and talked about the fact that we clearly saw Jehovah's direction that led us to our conversation with Aaron. There were so many variables in our day that led to us being at that restaurant at that time, far too many to be coincidental and for that we thanked Jehovah to allow us to have such a wonderful experience. For example, yesterday we had discussed the possibility of going to the beach, but instead we ended up lazily at the house. When we finally made it out of the house, we walked to the Yaroa place but than decided we wanted to do something else first. There was even a get together that had been planned for tonight weeks in advance that was canceled at the last minute. All of these things led us to be in the right place at the right time with a tremendous witness as a result. If nothing happens with Aaron, I know we were all extremely grateful to share our faith and have such an incredible discussion. Amber leaves on Wednesday and after being here three weeks said that one call made her trip. All I can say is that Jehovah knows what we need exactly when we need it. What a wonderful way to start the week!

Monday, July 9, 2012

First Meeting In La Vega

Hi Everyone!

We have very very exciting news! This Sunday we had our first meeting in La Vega. Now if you have been following my blog for a while you know that we have been going to La Vega, a city about 45 minutes down the mountain to preach in English. It has been about a year since we started and this Sunday marked a milestone  . ..the first meeting in English! We had an attendance of 48, which included visitors from other cities and other language groups, possibly interested in helping us in the future! We had a wonderful talk by our circuit overseer about our self sacrificing spirit. What an encouraging talk to help us to continue to work hard where the need is greater, for instance in La Vega, where circumstances aren't as easy as Jarabacoa.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Safeguard Your Heart District Convention

Wow. That is one of the best words to describe this year's District Conventions. No worries I'm not going to spoil anything for you but this year's District Convention is absolutely amazing. I know we say that every year but I think it is 100% true this year. What I especially loved was the fact that we are now able to prepare for the District Convention. Let me tell you as one of the foremost forgetful hearers, being able to look up the scriptures beforehand was a real help. Now, I'm not bragging, to be honest I didn't do it on Friday and had to be reminded by the speakers to do so. When I did, wow, what a difference! Looking up the scriptures helped me to anticipate what was coming and when I heard those key scriptures given in the discourse I recognized them to help me remember later. How wonderful to be able to prepare our heart for our Convention programs from now on! On a special note, we had six people baptised at our English Convention. Six people! Who says DR doesn't need English? One of our dear new sisters was from our very own Jarabacoa English Congregation. From start to finish, we found her in the territory and last week watched her get baptised. I have goosebumps just thinking about it. We are sooo proud of her. For this one experience our work here is completely justified, but even better, that's the second person baptised in our congregation in a year and a half! I can imagine the smile on my face must be magnified 100 times over on Jehovah's. What joy this brings him and how he helps us keep going through spiritual banquets like 2012 district convention. All I can say . . .praise Jah!



Sunday, May 13, 2012

This doesn't happen everyday!

This morning I was walking to the service arrangements and a guy stopped me and asked me if I was one of Jehovah's Witnesses. Once I confirmed that I was he asked me, in spanish, what he needed to do to get a Bible study. So I asked him if he had studied before and he told me that he had but only for a little. So I asked him why he wanted to study now to which he answered that he wanted to learn the Bible's answers to some of his questions. So he gave me his information and I promised to pass it along. I hope that this turns into something but either way how exciting is that?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Service by motos!

Last Tuesday, a few of us decided to do service by moto. I was excited, since even though I've been in the country for months now this was my first time. Usually, we don't have enough transporation for everyone so we walk! So this particular morning we decided to pair off and do return visits by moto. We had a terrific morning! One of the sisters had been told by some friends who serve in Puerto Plata English that one of their Bible studies had moved to Jarabacoa but she didn't have any information yet. All we knew is that we were looking for a Chinese family who moved to Jarabacoa to start a resturant. So we went into the first Chinese Pico Pollo we could think of. The man pointed us to a new store that had opened up. However since we thought it was a resturant we went a few more places before we came back and tried the clothing store. Those however yielded nothing. We came back to the clothing store  and guess what? We found them! So Shelley went back and started the study the same day! How exciting is that? I can't imagine how amazed they were to see we found them just on a couple of pieces of information! Moving away doesn't mean Jehovah forgets you. Is there anything else like Jehovah's Organzation?



Sunday, April 29, 2012

Why so much suffering? Part II

So it took me a little while to meet back up with Yanilda, the woman from the school. The next day I went back at the time we had set up and she was in a business meeting. Interesting considering how we had just set up the return visit the day before right? Anyhow, I left a note and during the next week tried to catch her but was unsuccessful. So I called her one day and she told me that it she couldn't talk to me at the school anymore but that it would be better for me to go to her house. So I sent her an email and got the address, and when she sent them I knew right away where she lived! A miracle in itself considering our territory in this country where every alley way leads to an entire neighborhood. Anyhow, I went back Saturday to discuss the answer to the question brought up on our original conversation. I started by reading James 1:13 and 1 John 4:8 talking about the type of God Jehovah is. We discussed how sometimes as imperfect humans our own tendencies can harm us.  For example if I walked in front of a moto without looking and got hit what happens? Easy enough. Than we read Revelation 12 starting in verse 7 to 12 about how Satan has been hurled down to the earth, tying it in with the Lords' Prayer. It always gets me how people can recite that prayer so easily and yet miss all of its meaning. I asked her why do you pray for God's will to be done on earth as it has been done in heaven. The verse in Revelation explains why. Satan has been kicked out of heaven! Verse 12 says "Woe for the the earth" So at the end of it she says so you're saying that God is not the cause of our problems? I was so excited I almost shouted YES YOU GOT IT but instead I said What did the Bible say? So she asked why has God permitted it all this time? ALL the right questions. So I pulled out the Bible Teach book told her that this question was answered in the very first chapter. I had her read the paragraph where it says that religion leaders blame these things on God, than the paragraph about how Jehovah doesn't have to explain these things to us but he does. We made arrangements to talk about that question next week. She also asked me why it was important to go church, telling me basically sometimes she didn't feel like it but was going really important? So I showed her the article in the Young People Ask in the April magazines and told her that in order to make it a priority she really first had to understand the benefits. It was the perfect article for her! She is the sweetest thing and really had patience with me and my imperfect Spanish. This visit I learned much about her personality as well. While I was there, she introduced me to her family, three girls, one of whom was clearly Haitian. Now if you don't know much about the Dominican Republic, I might have to explain this. Dominicans do NOT like Haitians. Even though they share the same island Dominicans feel they are superior and treat Haitians really badly. Of course, there are exceptions to this but that is a general consensus. Anyhow, Yanilda tells me that the third little girl is her adopted daughter. She was a neighbor and friend of Yanilda's two daughters. About two months ago, her mom died. This little girl, doesn't know her father, and had no other family. At the funeral she asked Yanilda what she was going to do without a home, without family, without anything to her name. Yanilda told her you have a family and took her into her home. She told me what could else could I have done? She is my daughter now. She said this example too makes me wonder. If something bad happens to me, I'm an adult but how could this little girl be punished for something she did has done wrong? It's times like this I am so happy and thankful to know Jehovah, who has led us out of spiritual darkness! I can't wait to continue sharing the Bible's satisfying answers with her!