ACTS 16:9,10: And during the night a vision appeared to Paul: a certain Mac‧e‧do′ni‧an man was standing and entreating him and saying: “Step over into Mac‧e‧do′ni‧a and help us.” Now as soon as he had seen the vision, we sought to go forth into Mac‧e‧do′ni‧a, drawing the conclusion that God had summoned us to declare the good news to them.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Our First Memorial in Mexico

   So, what's your number? 70, that is how many were in attendance for the memorial this year for the Guasave English Congregation! When we take into account the visitors from the Spanish Congregation we still more than doubled the number of publishers (24) we presently have. This shows potential for the future!
   Our congregation was not the only one with strong attendance. The four Spanish language Congregations combined to meet at two separate venues and there were 503 and 330 in attendance at those places as well. When I asked how many publishers were in the congregations, I was told about 80, so again many visitors and potential for growth here in Guasave. Here are some photos from the Kingdom Hall clean up and the evening of the Memorial:

Brother Lopez has the roof covered...

...the window crew hard at work...

...the chairs were repaired...

...and light bulbs replaced.

Danielle and Daniela

an overflow crowd in the parking lot

Dani, Lizeth and Katia...

...stylin' of course!

...and so were Las Hermanas Lopez

Andrea and her dad were happy to be there too!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

How I Stopped Fighting and Learned to Love The Tortilla

"Give us today our bread for this day"...Matthew 6:11

   "Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated." So stated the Borg, the fearsome cyborg enemies of the Federation on the television series Star Trek TNG. Since coming to Mexico last year I have felt at times like I was on the bridge of a doomed Federation starship; desperately trying to get away while everyone around me wants to convince me to like tortillas.
   Don't get me wrong, I love Mexican culture as much as the next person; but I just wasn't into tortillas. Flour or corn it made no difference to me I really didn't like them. The Mexican friends can't Imagine a meal without them..."No tortillas?...But...we have to have tortillas!" Really?!! I mean would a baked potato every once in a while kill you? Besides, weren't tortillas basically the thin rubbery thingies that Taco Bell would wrap up their awful burritos with? (Admit it you Taco Bell fans, they don't taste good, they're just cheap and they're open late.) Give me a good plate of arroz con gandules or some habichuelas any day but TORTILLAS?!!, you can keep 'em!
   About a month ago however something changed in me. I began to go to the store and buy of all things...tortillas. When we'd go out for a bowl of Birria I began to look forward to the...tortillas. Slowly yet ever so surely my stance was softening. I was getting weak. I began to want, to crave, yes even long for the dreaded...TORTILLA!!!
   Okay, so I have totally caved in, but they are pretty tasty. I now even have my favorite tortilla shop, El Bocho Rojo, where I love the tortillas azucar. I buy two packs at time and keep one in the freezer, I mean, you never know when there may be a blizzard here in Guasave and keep me from enjoying my beloved tortillas azucar!
   So last week while working in field service Hermana Lopez let it slip out that she had invited Tonya, a needgreater from Texas, over to her house to make tortillas. "What?!!!" I was stunned! I have been here since last year and never once did she invite my family over to make tortillas. I thought we were friends Lilliana? "But, I thought you don't like tortillas?" she replied. Now where on earth did she ever get an idea like that? So this past Monday we were invited to the Lopez home to make tortillas:

"the quesadillas are ready"

we enjoyed refritos, panela, arroz and quesadillas made with homemade tortillas of course!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Truth Magnets

   " I have never had so many experiences like this before..." excitedly remarked Suzanne as she entered the car. Yes, we just enjoyed another thrilling day in the ministry. Things have picked up some steam of late so to speak. As of now there are seven needgreaters in the congregation and we have been able to much more effectively and thoroughly cover our territory. Each day we are finding people who not only speak English but are also spiritually hungry. I cannot describe the joy that resonates in the group when we recount our day and two or three of us are saying "...oh yeah, I had a good/great  conversation/call/study  this morning/ afternoon/evening too." "Oh, really how did it go?" "Well, this is what happened..."
    For example last week while walking in between doors in house to house work one of the buses pulled over to the where we were standing. We were waiting for him to pass by and assumed he thought we wanted to ride the bus and stopped for us. So, naturally we began apologizing for the misunderstanding. "Lo siento pero no necessitamos..." To which the driver replied: " Do you have the Atalaya, the new one?" After being handed the latest copies he thanked us and continued his route.
   About two Sundays ago during the Watch Tower study there was a knock on the door of the Kingdom Hall. When the door was open there entered a small framed older gentleman who came and sat down in the second row. After the meeting we were introduced to him and some of the local brothers mentioned they recognized him as someone who used to attend meetings years ago. In fact the gentleman himself told me he did attend meetings at one of the Spanish congregations about 10 years ago. Then a few weeks ago a sister from our congregation saw him while she was witnessing informally and invited him to attend the English meeting. Apparently in the intervening years this man has been attending various churches, searching, but has not found what he is looking for. Since coming to the Kingdom Hall two weeks ago he has not missed a meeting and he is having a bible study conducted with him several times per week!
   While Suzanne and I were recently engaged in house to house we came to a door and the householder greeted us with an especially warm and friendly smile. After introducing ourselves and explaining our purpose in visiting she informed us her daughter was learning English in school and could speak it well. She introduced us to her little girl of about 7 or 8 years old who could indeed speak English well. The mom then informed us that she too studied English when she attended University but had not spoken it for many years. We offered her a Great Teacher book to help her instruct her daughter and she accepted it. When we returned to bring the book both mom and daughter were waiting for us. To our surprise after demonstrating how to use the book the mother goes to her closet and pulls out a copy of the Bible Teach book in Spanish. She says that someone used to study with her in the past. "Well, we asked her would you like to study again?" "Yes! she replied" with a big smile on her face. Suzanne gave her an English Bible Teach book and after doing two paragraphs with her then, we arranged to return two days later  to continue the study. Two days later we returned and while conducting the study Suzanne noticed her book was underlined and remarked "oh, I must have given you an old book because it's already marked." "No..." she said"... I did that" showing us her book. She had studied and underlined the entire chapter! On the first study!! Later on during the study a neighbor came over to visit and we were introduced to her as "the people who gave her daughter the book about Jesus". Apparently her daughter has enjoyed The Great Teacher book so much she has been reading it with the daughter of the neighbor from across the street. Hmmm, another return visit in the making?
   Each time we share in the ministry we seem to be enjoying experiences like these. With Memorial season here and the enthusiasm it brings to the congregation, things are very much abuzz here in Guasave. As we walk down the streets whether in house to house, public witnessing or just shopping in the mercado, people are beginning to recognize us. Many times they know who we are and why we are here, other times we're explaining to folks just curious as to why there are now Americans here in their little town.
    To be honest at times all the attention gets a bit overwhelming. We sometimes would like just to be able to blend in or go to the store without being approached or having so much attention drawn on us. But when we start feeling that way we think about the chance it gives us to talk to others about Jehovah. We then are happy because we are enjoying a privilege of being used by Jehovah. We are like magnets, being used by Jehovah to attract people to his organization. Truth magnets indeed.