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.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Special Pioneers?

   Our move to Jamaica just happened to coincide with Jamaica being merged into the U.S. branch territory. As a result many people upon meeting us seem to get all kinds of ideas as to why we are here. I have often been asked:  "Are you a missionary? special pioneer? from Bethel?" Yeah, right, if only they knew who they were talking to. I doubt anyone of such questionable character as mine would be granted such privileges. I mean I am pretty special (at least I think I am), and I am a pioneer but that's about the extent of it  :-)

   Usually when I start talking is when the questions arise. Apparently since we have arrived here I have developed an accent or so I am told. "You from foreign?" they will ask. "I hear you have an American accent." Funny I hadn't noticed, too busy trying to understand all the  Jamaican accents around me! Besides, I think I tawk like a poifectly nawmal New Yawka...

   Something special that has been going on however is the Special Metropolitan Public Witnessing Program that was started on the island last year. When I saw in the KM how this program was being done in only 13 cities in the branch territory it amazed me that Jamaica was selected at all. I mean we are talking cities like New York, D.C., Chicago and others. Major metropolises (or is it metropoli?) I think Manhattan alone has a larger  population than the whole island of Jamaica!

   We are privileged to have a share in this form of witnessing; although I must admit at first I was less than enthusiastic about it. When we were asked to participate I thought to myself: "it's just glorified street work, I don't want to do that."  I could not have been more wrong! Clearly I forgot who is driving the chariot!

   The SMPWP or "metro" as we like to refer to it has been nothing short of exciting. Imagine service with no not at homes. Imagine not having to approach anyone but people coming up to you...and asking for a study! We are enjoying such experiences each week as we share in metro.

   Jamaica has a deeply religious culture and most people read their Bibles regularly. It is not uncommon that when you start reading a verse, the householder is able to finish it. One of the unique differences about witnessing in Jamaica is that we get to witness to the young ones. Back home if you even look at a kid, the parent comes out screaming at you. Here, people send their kids out to you so you can teach them something about the Bible. This is especially evident in metro witnessing as we have many young ones stopping by the stands on their way to and from school. Some will get magazines, a number of them have asked for Bibles, some even have studies at the cart on their way home. It is a nice feeling to know that we are planting seeds of truth in tender young hearts, who knows where they may sprout and bear fruit?

somewhere beneath that pile of kids...
     Some recent experiences have shown us that fruitage may come sooner rather than later. One day a woman stopped by the cart and began looking at the literature displayed. When she was asked if she would like anything to read she said yes she would. She said her kids had been bringing home the magazines and books and she had been reading them. Now she wanted to know more for herself and she stopped by.

   Two preteen-age girls came by and asked Suzanne for Bibles. We try to gauge the young ones' interest before handing out Bibles so they are not wasted. So we inquire about what their favorite scripture is or something like that to be sure they really want to read it. So, when Suzanne asked the young girl she replied that she really did want the Bible. Her present Bible was a small one with only Psalms and the Greek scriptures in it. "How can I read Isaiah if it's not in my Bible?" she asked? She and her companion both got Bibles and Bible stories books. A few days later they returned and sang a little jingle they made up, thanking Suzanne for the books and saying that now that they have them,"they are not bored anymore."

...lies a missionary
    At times we joke among ourselves, saying we get "glimpses" into the spirit realm. We know the Devil would love to stop our work, but we can just picture Jehovah's angels forming a barricade around us; keeping us safe and drawing sheeplike ones to us. There have been a number of occasions where we will see someone passing us by and then all of a sudden as soon as they get near the cart they will yell out in a loud voice: "Jesus!" Please keep walking...and take your demons along with you thank you very much. There is one man who passes by regularly. He
never says anything, never looks our way but without fail as soon as he is within ten feet of the stand he just starts shouting: "you must repent for the Lord is coming! The kingdom of god is near!"  or something like that. And as soon as he passes he stops! With all that activity going on  around us, we are getting noticed.

   There is a young woman who has a cart and sells nuts and candies, situated next to us on the sidewalk. Each day she is around us we say hello, maybe talk briefly and go on our way. Little by little we noticed she kept creeping closer, looking at the literature, listening in when others would stop by and talk. One day she took a magazine, then a book, she got an invitation to the memorial, she attended the memorial. She had questions-we had answers. One of our sisters finally asked her if she would like a study and she said "well I'm never home." No problem, I mean after all she is right next to our cart on the street!

   Each week we seem to have some exciting experiences. We are enthusiastic about this form of preaching and think about it on a global scale. How many more persons will be reached by the public witnessing? As we think about how many times people pass us by each day and then one day, all of a sudden an article, a sign, or the color of the magazine catches their eye. What a witness is being given!  How many will come to know the truth by this means? Only Jehovah knows, we're just happy to be playing a small part in the work...and trying to hold on to the chariot as it rolls on! 

crazy homeless guy sat down by Tricia and Dani...

...then he started singing and clapping!
every once in a while we get a goat

happy at the end of the day