Thursday, April 11, 2013

Back To Belize Part (I forget the number)

Wow it has been a long time from the last post, sorry for the year delay but I will try to update you all with the progress that has been made in the Placencia Congregation. 

I remember almost 4 years back when I first came here to Placencia to help preach and try to start a group with only a few publishers that were need greaters. Now 4 years later we now have a thriving congregation of zealous preachers and most importantly local brothers and sisters now participating in the ministry, and many more studying with the goal of one day being a witness of Jehovah. In the congregation we now have 25 publishers with 14 pioneers and an average meeting attendance of 70 when the meetings first started here in Placencia we had a meetings attendance of about 15-20. Most recently we have had the first local brother appointed to serve as a ministerial servant, Rodger Arden. And for the memorial we had an attendance of 131. Now for a few ministry experiences.

Me and Gino took a trip out to the Cayes to relax, we were going out to a small island named Pumpkin Caye where we would fish, sleep and fish some more. The island was about 50 yards long 20 yards wide so we carried our pillows with us and slept on the breach. While on the island another sailing boat of 10 of fisherman were also seeking a place to sleep for the night, so they too decided to sleep on the island as well. While me and Gino were cooking our catch for the day to eat for supper I told him "I wish we would have brought some magazines to place with these guys but I thought we would be the only ones out here" Gino then said, "Well you have your Bible with you Derrick why dont you give them a little sermon. Ill let you knock this one out since you been baptized longest." I laughed and told him I would do it but I wanted to eat my fish first, so while Gino was finishing up cooking the fish I was preparing to give a talk for the fisherman and since it was memorial season decided to have the Memorial of Jesus Death as the subject. Gino in the meantime was talking to the captan and his crew would like to hear a Bible talk and the captan said he and his men would love to hear the talk. So while we were eating all the men were gathered together around us waiting for us to finish our fish so they could hear the talk, by the time we finished eating it had gotten dark, the the men brought a car battery out hooked some wires to it and a bulb and hung it over a tree so I could have some light to see the scriptures. I began the talk and explained the importance of the memorial, why Jesus came to die for us, why we needed a ransom, and the benefits and blessings of following Jesus and what he outlines us to do in the Bible. After about 30 minutes we then began to discuss what we had talked about in the Bible and the men thanked us very much for taking time to show them those things from the Bible. One man actually had a sister in Guatemala who was a witness and he said he knows this is the truth and he wants to do better and be more like her. The Captan told us how much he appreciated the talk and that he really appreciates the witnesses because every time they come to his house they are so patient with him and teach him something new from the Bible he has been studying from the Bible Teach book but because of work he is not able to study as much as he would like. He also said he is always impressed when he sees young children come to his house that can use the Bible so well. We then went to sleep and the next morning we invited the fisherman to examine the daily text with us and the memorial Bible Reading which they also enjoyed.

Another experience I had in the ministry was when we were working door to door in the ministry and found a lady who teaches at the school. We discussed how god did not create evil and how the Devil made his own choice and decided for himself to do bad. She really enjoyed the discussion and before I left she told us she teaches religion for 7-12 year olds at the School. I told her that we have a couple of books for kids in that age group and that she may find them useful to help in teaching her students about the Bible sense it can be a very difficult thing to teach. Her face lit up and she was very excited to see if she could receive the books so she could use them to teach. I later gave her the books and she was very appreciative to receive the books!

This one's from Ross Winkle:
Sometimes brothers have to face name calling and similar verbal abuse for being a Witness.  Today was probably the most strangest I've ever heard.  We were working house to house a few doors away from where a brother lives, and we approached a house with very loud radio blaring out.  It could be heard all the way down the street.  As I got near to the door to call out the 'DJ' was saying "and I am warning you all that there is a pirate in the village, imitating the Jehovah Witnesses, he wants to corrupt you all with dishonest practices! There is a pirate in the area!" Suddenly the music and DJ stops, and the door opens and a man holding a karaoke microphone opens the door.  He the proceeds to tell us that one of his neighbours - the baptised brother who lives a few homes away and was working house to house across the street - was dishonest and was calling himself a Witness!  He spun around and shut the door then turned the music back up and turned on his karaoke machine to shout out the same things again!  It was bizarre, but the brother handled it very calmly, he carried on.  The brother owns the land and the man has not paid rent for months, so the brother was in the process of going through the courts to get him evicted, and so the crazy man was venting his anger!  One of the neighbours told the brother that they were sick and tired of him and his loud music all day so they offered to 'get rid' of him - the brother politely stopped them.  It's a crazy village!

Tony Pinder, Rodger Arden and myself. Rodger was just appointed as a ministerial servant and Tony as an Elder.

How we fish in Belize, no pole just a line with a hook at the end and your finger. Just be careful that line doesn't cut your finger off ;)

One of the fish we had for dinner! They call this one Old Wife!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Keith, Brandon and myself just returned to Belize In December and have been here about a month so far. I wanted to update everyone so far on the Placencia Congregation. I suppose I can start by saying that in September after having our CO visit the CO recommended the Placencia Group as a congregation. This was very exciting news for everyone that has seen the group start out in a brothers living room to having the Branch recognize the group as an official congregation. The next step is that the congregation is still meeting at a community center for the village which is not suitable for the growing congregation, we ask that those of you who know about our congregation pray for a suitable place to meet. What we do know is that we will soon outgrow the community center and will need a place of our own, we have all been praying fervently and looking for Jehovah's direction on the matter. As far as meeting attendance goes we have been averaging about 60 for the Sunday Talk and Watchtower study and around 40 for our Congregation Bible Study and Theocratic School. There are now 32 publishers in the group and the average for ministry per publisher not including pioneers is 16.7 hours and average studies per publishers is 2. Now time for some field ministry experiences.

This one's from Derrick:
I was walking out heading into the field ministry and was saying hello to people as I was passing by which is the custom here. However as I was passing by one of the scuba shops a woman hauled for me and asked, "you got one of dem yellow books fo me?" I went over and spoke to her and described the bible teach book to her and she said, "yes dat is di one, I gave my one to my mother!" I told her that I didnt have a bible teach book with me but I promised to bring her back one. Next week as I was passing by to enter into the territory again I heard the lady holler for me again saying, "you bring me my yellow book?" I immediately apologized for not bringing it to her earlier and showed her the picture on pg. 83 and said this is the world we live in today then I flipped to page 35 and told her that this is the world that God wanted us to live in, which one would you want to live in. She immediately pointed to the picture on pg.35 and said, "Of course I want to live there, everyone is so happy and there is nothing bad going on there!" I sometimes find it hard to think of good ministry experiences to share on the blog because these are conversations that we have with people every single day, it really is encouraging that so many ones here are willing to discuss these wonderful truths about God's Word and that sometimes they are the ones that are calling you over to share a scriptural thought with them.

This one's from Brandon:
I have one experience that is just to good to keep to myself. One of the studies, began studying about a year and a half ago. Brother Martin and myself double teamed the study until he left for England i took over the study and we made it through half the Bible teach book studying about 3 times a week, he made it to all the meetings and was progressing quite well soon though it came time to leave back to the states but i was hopeful that the study was in good hands. Derrick studied with him for a wile after i was gone however he moved away. About a year goes by with no word about how this zealous study was doing until the district convention. Derrick, before the convention had begun, walked right past Anthony as if he didn't even recognize him, this was understandable sense before he had long hair in corn rows but now had cleaned himself up looking sharp as a tack! Indeed a brother had been studying with him in the place where he moved to ( About 5 hours from were we live in Belize) and made it all the way through the bible teach book and into the Gods love book. But the good part is yet to come. He was still living far away when i arrived here in Placencia about a month ago, or so i thought. On the night of the CO visit during the first week of our arrival after the final talk and prayer i turn my head around and there sitting 3 rows behind me is the Study! On the same exact day that we bussed into Placencia so did the study! One of my prayers to Jehovah was to see and study with him again, needles to say we are studying together and he is doing just fine! The power of prayer is simply wonderful!

This one's from Keith:

The territory here in belize is definitely bearing many fruits! With a growing number of publishers and the help of many zealous visitors, the english territory is being well covered and all are given a chance to here the "good news of the kingdom". So that has given many of us a chance to preach to some of the many spanish speaking people that are living within our territory. So here is an experience from preaching in a spanish speaking village.
While I was preaching door to door in a spanish village called Santa Cruz, we came across a house where a man was hammering at some wood and another man was sewing. Our spanish is very limited but we approached and tried our best. The man wasn't very open with us at first. In fact we were sure that we weren't going to get anywhere with our presentation but we kept trying. The man sewing seemed the friendliest so we tried speaking to him first. We introduced ourselves and and he told us that his name was Migel and his friends name is Steven. We opened up the truth tract, and while we were discussing a question, Steven stopped what he was doing and also began to listen. Before we knew it several kids and other woman gathered around to hear! After maybe 15 minuets of limping our way through a spanish presentation and conversation, Steven, realizing that were struggling with our spanish, speaks up and tries to speak to us in his best english. He tells us that he really loves the bible and has several questions for us! He then goes into his house and gets a New World Translation that he received from whiteness' he met while in the stats many years ago! With Jehovah's help we spent about an hour there answering questions and as we left we were giving hugs and promised to return in a week. Since then we have been returning every week, answering questions and discussing paragraphs in the Bible Teach book. Its been a challenge because our conversations are half in spanish and english but its very exciting to see people eager to hear bible truths and extremely appreciative for our efforts in speaking to them in there mother tung. Gracias Jehová!!

All work and no play makes us sad boys! Here is a pic of us taking a hike in the jungle!

This is a traditional dance done by the Garifuna people. It has much to do with the slave trade and they are actually dressed up as white people.

Ever ate Armidillo? This is one of the animals that the locals used to live off of several years ago, tastes pretty good!

Always check to see if your eating somebody's home, we found this worm living in our pepper we were going to use for salad.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Well the last post that was made was about 4 months ago, and a lot has been happening since then. Unfortunately I am awful at keeping the blog updated with information so I apologize for that, this will be another last post for at least another 3 months as I have once again returned to the states for a visit.

Some exciting news that happened was some seriously unassigned territory was done in May/June which I had the great privilege of participating in. It was preaching work to all the Cayes on the coast of Belize, and just off the coast of Placencia is where the majority of these Cayes were. Many of the Cayes have only a few people on them, for example somebody may own their own island whether a local or a foreigner and they usually have somebody living on it to watch over the caye. Our experiences were plenty, almost everybody we talked to we had a Bible Study with and encouraged them to continue to study their Bible Teach book after we would leave since we would not be able to regularly call on them, we also encouraged them to find us whenever they are on the mainland to receive more encouragement and literature, many we talked to of course offered hospitality which included places to stay (that way we didnt have to sleep on the boat), food, drinks, and even lobster! Of course not only were we fishing for men but also for dinner as well!

At the Sunday meetings we have still been getting around the 50-55 range which is great considering that this is the slow season. There is about 20-25 publishers in the group now so that taken into consideration about half of the ones at meetings are not baptized yet. One of the studies just became an unbaptized publisher and joined the school, his name is Gabriel and has been doing great! This last weekend we had our district convention where we had 3 from our group baptized, Rodger Arden, Siripohn Arden, and Stephanie Ojeda, this made the district convention that much more enjoyable.
I hope you enjoyed the update and a couple of experiences from this Blog, continue with the preaching work without let up - Matt 24:14.

The 1st picture is what a caye might look like, it could be very small with just one person living on it.

The 2nd picture is a brother catching his dinner while traveling from one Caye to the next.

The 3rd picture is Gabriel with his wife Stephanie who was just baptized.

The 4th Picture is of Rodger and Siripohn Ardne who were baptized at this last weeks district convention

This is the boat called "The Witness" we used this as our main boat which is owned by a brother, Gino Leslie, if we did not have hospitality by one of the persons on the Cayes then we would stay the night on "The Witness"

This was a smaller dingy which we used to get us on to the Cayes.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

There has been many wonderful blessings in the Placencia group in the last 3 months. I apologize for not updating the blog more regularly, but I will try my best to do so in the future. I figured I would update everyone about the happenings in the congregation. We have had many visitors from all around the world come down to help with the preaching work and as a result we have been getting 70-80 at the meetings on Sunday with the highest attendance of about 90. There has also been 3 more unbaptized publishers and 4 new ones join the school, Rodger and Siripohn, Alan, and Stephanie. We also just had our Circuit Assembly where Gino and Olga Leslie were baptized. The progress in the group is a clear sign that Jehovah is blessing the group and the help that all the visiting need greaters provided has helped the group immensely. Thats the happenings in the congregation and here is a quick experience from the field ministry.

"Gino and myself have been studying with a man named Anton. Anton is one of Ginos nephews and has never studied before. When Gino and myself first came to Anton to give him his Bible Teach book he thanked us and asked for us to return to study to book with him. When we returned next week we were shocked to see that Anton had pre-studied all the way to chapter 8 of the Bible Teach book with all his answers underlined. We then began to go over the first chapter of the Bible Teach book where he learned the correct name of Jehovah and his name in Hebrew YHWH, which he explained that he never knew that and truly appreciated that bible teaching. When we returned the following week Anton was building a new porch with steps leading down to a concrete slab, it was very touching to see that in the concrete slab was the name YHWH written in concrete for everyone to see. Anton has been really enjoying his studies and continues to tell us not to worry he will not give up on learning more about Jehovah. "

Rodger on the left with his wife Siripohn on the right.

Meetings have been very popular where the brothers have to stand in the back because of lack of seats.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Once again there has been a lot going on here on the small peninsula since we last updated, we had our district convention as well as a visit from the Circuit Overseer, Keith also made it back to Placencia a few weeks ago! There were 3 district conventions held in Belize and the one our group attended had 1,053 in attendance for the sunday program. Now a couple experiences from the ministry.

This one's from Derrick:
"There is one study we have neglected to mention in the blog so far that has been making great progress his name is Anthony. Anthony was found by brother Pollard back when we had the article on how to quit smoking. Anthony was just praying to God for help to stop smoking and a few moments later Brother Pollard approached Anthony in the door to door work and presented the magazine on how to quit smoking with Anthony. Anthony said from that point on I knew it was the Truth. Ever since then Anthony has been regular at the meetings and is progressing well. At the last meeting he attended he couldn't stop smiling so I went up to him and asked him how he was doing, he said "Man this is it, being at the meetings man it makes you feel like your really living." I told him well thats good and that the meetings were just a fraction of what the real life will be in the future he said, "Man I can not wait for that!"

This one's from Keith:
"Im now back in placencia and after being away for a few month it feels good to be back. The group is doing well and now with everyone having there convention and a recent co visit the atmosphere is zealous and hopeful. I was encouraged after the very first day of being back in the ministry. While in the door to door service I meet a young man working, doing some minor construction work. Though he was apprehensive at first, he and his two other friends became very interested with many outstanding questions. They kept attentive throughout my whole visit. To my surprise they all pulled out a note pad and pen and had begun writhing down notes, and keeping track of the scriptures i was reading to them! There questions all varied but they all loved the november watchtower. They all wanted to be happier. "We work hard, all the time" they said, "but we never seem to get happier". After a long while I said good bye and promised to return. So needless to say the encouragement goes both ways and seeing people in these last days listening to the good news is a great feeling."

We do hope that these experiences bring you encouragement in these last days. If you or anyone would be interested in serving where there is a greater need please speak to your local body of elders and the Circuit Overseer to see if you have the circumstances to expand your ministry in this way!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It has been a little while since we posted on the blog, as many of you know many of us working with the group returned in August and several other brothers and sisters went home for a visit during September to October time but now many of us are now back in Belize in the Placencia group. On the return to Placencia within a week we faced a hurricane that was heading south towards Placencia that some were worried about but began to head north as it was heading closer to shore so we experienced no damage or injuries on the peninsula. Where the hurricane hit the worst some brothers and sisters houses were damaged with 3 foot of flooding and roofs being blown off and at least 2 houses were destroyed but the RBC is already taken action to repair the homes and rebuild the brothers houses. As of now we have no reports of injury or death, thanks for your continued prayers for the brothers and sisters that were affected by the hurricane here in Belize.

Since I have not updated the blog for a while I figured it would be a good idea to include some information regarding the group to keep all those posted who read the blog as well an experience about our meetings.

This last Tuesday about 2 hours before meeting we found out that the community center that we are renting for our meetings was going to be used for preparation for the upcoming Halloween festivities for the week, so as an alternate meeting place we sent out a text to all the bible students and publishers that we will be having the meeting at brother and sister Kafka's patio. Almost all of the regular bible students were able to make the adjustment and proved the importance of the words found at Hebrews 10:24,25.

As for the group, the biggest news is that Gino and Olga are now unbaptized publishers and are enjoying every minute of the ministry. There next goal is baptism and they both look forward to continuing to develop there relationship with Jehovah. Since brother Hoban had to leave due to health problems a few months back a special pioneer couple has moved in to help with the group there names are Steve and Telma. We also have another family that moved here to serve for a year, there names are Angelo, Melanie and there two sons are Chandler who is 14 and Spencer who is 16 they will be a great help here as the group continues to grow. I hope that this blog continues to encourage those that are reading it and I will try to update more regularly as many have requested I do so, next week there will also be more experiences from the ministry.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

So things here in Placencia are still really busy and we are sorry its been so long since we have written a post. A lot of things have happened since we last wrote so we will try to fill you all in. First thing is that we have 2 new sisters from the territory and they have been mentioned in the blog before there names are Dashan and Carroll and they got baptized at the circuit assembly in March. Also, we are now holding all meetings here in Placencia where as before we were only holding the Sunday meetings. We also had our Memorial here in Placencia and had 75 in attendance. Lastly, we had to say goodbye to a few brothers and sisters that have been serving in Belize for a while now, the Hobans who have been here for over a year and a half had to return to the states due to some health problems they were a huge help here for the growing group as he was the only assigned elder here we will miss them very much. We also had to say goodbye to Seth and Keith (Keith will be returning for sure in a few months) with them also leaving the same week as the Hobans all of them have reached home safely and are doing well. We also have 2 new brothers that will be here for about 2 months and they are Timmy and Brandon! Things are growing here in Placencia and we will try to keep you posted more regularly, so now here are a few experiences.

This ones from Derrick:
My experience starts off with me going with Seth on one of his Studies. Seth was heading to his study Gubida but was not able to find him home so as we were leaving his house a man by the name of Claud was coming home (he lives with Gubida) we just said our hellos and goodbyes and left. Seth then said why dont you go offer him a study. I thought well might as well to see if he is interested. So we went up to me and asked Claud if he would be interested in studying the Bible. He said enthusiastically, "Oh man of course man I would Love a study thanks so much for coming by and asking!" He was so excited to have someone come up and offer him a study, he told us he would like to study so he can be a better person and help him to quit doing some of the things he knows God disapproves of. So we set up a time to meet and I meet him over at his work right when he gets off and we study. So far we have had 4 studies and he is showing a good appreciation for them.

This ones from Seth
Well, there has been much going on in the time here in Belize. So many things to relate, and near impossible to remember all of them. I'll do a little summary of neat experiences that I think have happened. First we'll start with some younger ones, who have a special place in my heart. My study Zerrick (10) and his brother Julius (7) have recently rehearsed all of their Bible books from Genesis to Revelation in order, without any need of consulting the the Table of Contents. It has helped them tremendously when they are looking for scriptures in there Bible. Next when we were in Seine Bight, I saw some kids there we study with, and noticed that they were getting made fun off, mostly due to the fact they were associating with the witnesses. At there study I asked them how they felt about this, the younger study named Davinci said, "It makes me feel bad!" I looked at his older brother and he got a big smile on his face and said, "I dont! I Just raise my hand and say 'THANK YOU! I'm proud to be a Wittness!'" That instantly brought an attitude change to his little brother, and really made my heart rejoice. I then shared with them some experiences of Jesus, and that he got made fun of too. The young ones are just so impressive, and i'll miss them a lot. To go on with other experiences, I was on my way to deliver a Bible to my study, I saw him on the road so I gave it to him there. Just as I was handing the Bible to him, the garbage truck was driving past. Then it suddenly stopped, and I saw the driver popping out of the huge truck and said, "Hey! Can i get one of those?" "Of course," I said. Then last month when we were offering the Watch Tower, "Has God Left Us?" we found a lady who was astounded when she read the title and said, "I was just wondering that question!" We had a nice conversation, and she gave us some free mango's. When I was coming out of a Bible Study there was a group of Rastafarians there waiting, stopped us. "Man we appreciate you guys a lot! Spreading the word! You guys aren't partial, and neither is God!" After thanking him for the compliment we were about to leave because it was late, and we hadn't eaten dinner yet. As we were leaving one of the three said, "Hey man, do you think you could leave us with a Proverb?" He started to recite one he had already been familiar with, and Brandon knew exactly where that verse was, so we opened up there and read him the whole thing. All of them had such big smiles on their faces, and as we were reading other Proverbs, one smiled to me and said, "We really appreciate this man!" After that they introduced themselves, again showing their appreciation with many kind words. My other Bible students are doing well, and the meetings are getting more lively with local comments.

As you can see there is a lot that happens, and unfortunately it can happen so often that you take it for-granted. But what I appreciate, and what I think all Kingdom Proclaimers can appreciate is that there is a reason why the end has not yet arrived. I will miss Belize, and look forward to seeing you all very soon!

Picture of the Memorial & those in attendance

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