Over the years we have had the privilege of visiting Brooklyn, Patterson and Walkill, as well as branches in Jamaica, Germany and here in DR. While they are all beautiful, I truly think the landscaping and design here in DR is absolutely the most stunning of all the sites we have visited.
Perhaps it is our excitement over being in country after so many months of planning. Or maybe it is simply the contrast between the grounds of the branch and the roads outside
( the branch here is located just off a highway of sorts). Whatever the reason, as soon as we walked through the gates we were in awe of the beauty of the branch here. Really though, why were we surprised? Should we not expect the house of our God Jehovah to be beautiful and awe inspiring?
The handsome grounds are matched only by the warmth with which we were received. We visited with and were interviewed by a Brother Pena from the Service Department. He got to know us a bit and was describing to us the needs here in the DR. So what are the needs? He showed us a map and said take your pick. Basically there is so much need here in the different fields (Spanish,Creole,English,Sign,Chinese,Russian) that you can go most anywhere in the country and be put to good use. He and all the family members we met really made us feel very welcome at Bethel. He made a point to say that Bethel was "our home" and the family was "there for us".Why do they feel that way? As Brother Pena explains, they realize that we don't have to volunteer to do needgreatering. The are highly appreciative of friends who are willing to sacrifice much to help further the preaching work here in the
|What time is lunch again?|
After our visit with Brother Pena we had a tour of the branch. On the site there is an open air assembly hall as well as the usual office, residence, and warehouse facilities. All of them of course were surrounded by the lush foliage on the grounds.
|Open Air Assembly Hall|
Before leaving we got to meet a family from Jarabacoa, which is up in the mountains about 2 hours north of here. They have 2 children, a son 14 and a daughter 17 and have lived in DR about 10 years or so. Ironically as we talked to them it seems as though they went through what we are now. They too lived in Florida, the husband worked full time, wife pioneered but felt like they wanted to do more. So they sold all and came here. They have been raising their children in the DR as a family of needgreaters. It impressed me so much! What better legacy, what better inheritance could you give to your children than to show them a life of self sacrifice in service to Jehovah? They even commented how on a trip back to Miami how the children did not like it there. I would imagine that those two will spend their lives in full time service of some type. Man! That just gets me pumped up! After meeting them we all were moved and more determined to make the most of the opportunity before us. So, we decided to do something out of the ordinary for us.
Although we are fairly regimented as a family we have decided to "throw caution to the wind". We are going to hop on a bus this weekend and head up to see the mountains in Jarabacoa and then move on to the city of Santiago. We want to make the most out of this visit and REALLY "spy out the land". Both have English Language congregations that we will spend some time with and visit. To get there we will ride on an intercity bus across the DR. Remember, we don't really speak Spanish so as soon as we open our mouths people usually say "ahh-Americanos". We also have never been to these places so we don't exactly know where we are going. We have made contact with the friends in these areas and they are going to look out for us. So......if somehow we don't make it back to Florida; nice knowing you all, see you in Paradise :-)
If we do make it back, then no doubt we'll have lots of pictures and a story to tell.
Personally, I'll take option B :-)