Although he had been very sick for some time, when a loved one passes away the sting of death is still there. We are sad that Dad is gone but relieved at the same time. His last months were filled with pain. Now though the pain is no more. He is simply sleeping peacefully, awaiting for Jehovah's call in the resurrection.
As painful as it was to lose Dad, we have had some joyous things as well. The ministry continues to be very productive here. In fact one of Suzanne's Bible students began sharing in the field last month. I must tell you about her because I think her efforts are pretty incredible.
|first day in field service|
Mitsy lives far from the Kingdom Hall, probably a good 25 minute drive up into the hills north of Kingston. She does not have transportation and there are no buses that go where she lives. Basically it's you have a car or you have to get a cab and then two buses to the Kingdom hall, if the buses are running that time of day. Additionally the drive there is up a winding, twisting, bumpy mountain country road with no guard rails of course. I really was reluctant to drive up there but when someone wants to serve Jehovah how could I say no?
Seeing that we would not be able to carry her to the KH, we thought it wise to encourage her to get there on her own. How though? Well here in JA in the country, it's still common for people to hitchhike. If you need a ride just go out and wave down a car. More often than not they'll stop for you and take you to the bottom of the hill. We encouraged Mitsy to get to the meetings on her own, as we would be away for a month and she needed to keep attending meetings. We encouraged her to view her efforts as her sacrifice to Jehovah. Was it his will for her to get to the meetings? Would he not answer her prayers for help in that regard? We prayed with her specifically about it and left for our trip. Did we mention to you that she wasn't employed at the time? Bus money would be an issue.
On our return to JA many of the friends told us excitedly how Mitsy had been a regular at the meetings while we were gone. She did it! But how we asked her? "I just went out to the road and begged a ride" she said. Who could say no to a mother and her kids "going to church" on a Sunday. Sometimes she would get a ride all the way there, sometimes she got to the bottom of the hill and had a 15 minute walk to the KH with her two daughters.
|Suzanne, Mitsy and Carly|
She has been consistent at meetings, comments regularly and talked of getting baptized. So recently we asked her her plans. She stated she soon wants to get baptized. "Well", we told her, "if you want to get baptized you need to be a publisher first." And so she has. It's been a joy to see her enthusiasm in the ministry and she is looking forward to her first assignment on the Theocratic Ministry School next week.
So I titled this post Joy and Pain. It's quite ironic in the span of a few weeks to experience a swing of emotions such as these. As joyful as the past weeks have been though we have some uncertainties before us. Our whole reason for being here in JA was to care for Suzanne's dad. Now that he has passed away our assignment is over. As enjoyable as the ministry here is there are a number of lands where there is still a great need for kingdom publishers. It has always been our desire to be fully involved in the work for as long as we can. But we have an enjoyable and productive ministry here. And there are still some congregations here with only one Elder who could use help. What to do? Do we look to step over into Macedonia abroad, or the Macedonia here in JA?