Friday, September 24, 2010

2 more sleeps ........

.......But before we're ready to leave for New York, we have much to do. It's been a very hectic last 10 days. I tho't Mexican life was suppose to be simpler - mind you I do manage to get my siesta in there tho' it's usually a collapse from heat fatigue. That's right, the heat has only let up a bit being around 27-30 daily, cooling off some in the night, and still quite humid.

So last Friday Paul & I organized as many as we could - about 7 were able to help - and we painted the outside of our Kingdom Hall. Rolling over that deliberately grooved cement takes a lot of effort to get the paint mushed into the creases. This also entailed a lot of preparation such as removal of a big cedar shrub that was always shedding by the front door, and cement damage repair, sweeping, scrubbing the outside tile floor, etc. etc. so thankful we were working on the shady side of the hall. At the end of the day we were all pretty happy with the results, tired, and a little more bonded. We have 2 palm trees that are being donated, one for each side of the entrance. Then, Tuesday, the big day ---- we put up our English sign announcing that this is the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. It is the first sign our hall has had. We also have a smaller one at the front door, giving our meeting times. It looks beautiful! Everyone is so proud.
The next day, Saturday, there was an early ring at the gate and guess what? they were here to install the kitchen cabinets. Yahoo! ..... I think. Well, they removed the portable sink, taps, and bit of cupboard that went with the unit.....and I haven't had a sink nor water in the kitchen since. The granite guys came Monday to measure for the countertops and I was told that the rest of the kitchen cupboards & counters would not be coming 'til Saturday - tomorrow. By Tuesday I put up a real fuss, Paul phoned Pedro who phoned Armando and he and his crew showed up Wednesday & Thursday, working on the cabinets but still not sink. Each day we were left with dust & shavings and everything not dispensible for existance on the kitchen table. Each night we dusted, vacuumed & mopped and next day it would start again. Wednesday night a Sister, her husband & baby came over with mole for us - Chocolate Chicken. Sooooo delicious and kind.
Miriam arrived safely and well with all her goodies during the commotion Monday night. How wonderful to see her. The 3 of us manage to keep each other going in this construction zone and still find time for service, study, meetings, and enjoying some good eating experiences and fun.
Today Miriam had the first of her dental work done. She is having a lot done and the cost is amazingly low and she is very comfortable and confident with the woman dentist's ability. She had a 2 hour appt. today and did fine.
Now it's late & I need some sleep. My little gem of a hairdresser, a sister named Claire whose shop is literally around the corner, is giving me a french manicure tomorrow. She has given me a great haircut, one of the best I've ever had, and the color/tinting is really good. I am so fortunate to meet up with such a great little gal. She even came over and gave me a pedicure the other day, amongst all the mess. She and her husband are being 'courted' by us to come to the English. Her English is quite good, while her husband loves it and wants to learn. They have a 1 yr old baby, too. They have started to come to our Thursday night mtgs. as they want to continue in Spanish for a while - which is recommended when making such a transition. They also are such a willing couple. Today, when Paul couldn't pick Miriam up at the dentist they offered to phone to find out when she'd be ready and bring her home. Such things are so appreciated by us. I am still not driving here in Mexico and Miriam will be the first to tell you why. But I digressed......I haven't packed yet, tho' I've figured out a few outfits. We are travelling with one suitcase only, as all 6 of us [the other 4 are the Hymers] are renting a minivan and have to get all our accumulated luggage in the vehicle along with 6 bodies. Should be cozy!
Started a new Bible study today. Just like that. I find myself asking questions when they agree to a study, like, 'are you sure?' Isn't that stupid? Haven't read that one in the KM. Anyway, 2 blocks away from our house is a neat little house that no one lives in. 2 elderly Spanish sisters - one reminds me of Baba - cook there everyday and their food is wonderful. Took Miriam for lunch there on Wednesday and she couldn't exclaim enough about it. The food that is prepared is usually for take-out and it's surprising to watch the number of women coming into this little house buying their family dinner. It is cheap and the place is clean. A lunch costs 20 - 30 pesos. $1.50-$2.50. Anywaz, while we were eating that day, a young woman came in and I recognized her as the daughter of the family next door who run and live in the little corner store. Her name is Myra, she is 24. I had already learned that as kids, she and her brother [now 18] used to go to mtgs with their grandparents in the Sierra. They have since died. Apparently a lot of the family is in the Truth. But the mother, Naomi who runs the store with her husband is not in the Truth and doesn't speak English tho' the kids do, told me all this thru a translator. She indicated that her daughter would like to go to English meetings. So. When Myra came into the restaurant on Wednesday, I spoke up and I introduced myself as we'd never really met. She knew who I was. She had a wonderfully big warm smile for me. I was encouraged so I said that I'd heard that she'd gone to the KH with her grandparents, and that she'd perhaps like to come to our English mtgs. She said yes she would. I'm thinking I'm leaving for NY in 4 days, therefore I asked if she'd like to come Thursday, I could pick her up and so it was arranged. After we finished eating, I went into the store to introduce Miriam to Naomi and met Myra's brother Carlos. He also spoke English. Both the parents were at the till. I said that I'd just invited his sister to our mtg, would he like to come, too? he said Yes! That's when I said 'Are you sure?' well, they were dressed & waiting for us at 6:30. They enjoyed the mtg it seems, were extended warm welcomes and encouraged to come again. They both looked up all the Scriptures & sang the song, and during the prayer Myra put her hand over her brother's. I was touched. That night Paul & I arranged for each of the kids to come over the next day. That was today. They both have a Bible study set up, Myra with me and Carlos with Paul & Miguel. They each had a specific chapter that interested them and I'll start my study with Myra 2 weeks from today. Then, daring not to go to far, I asked if she tho't she'd like to go to any mtg while we were away. She said yes, her cousin in Spanish Cong in Chihuahua was going to come Sunday morning and take them to our English KH. She'd even made her own arrangements for herself & bro to attend. How thrilled I was to hear this. So Paul printed out 2 copies of the WT for Sunday and I know the congregation will take good care of them while we're away. This is just a typical e.g. of how easy it is to start studies here. Can't wait for you to come down and share these experiences with us.
Hope this narration has been easier to follow than for me to type. I'm reeeeeaaaaaally tired now and must close off. Tomorrow will be a big day and a lot has to be accomplished.
Our greetings, love and prayers continue to you all.

Monday, July 26, 2010

July 26 - hello to everyone, and here's an update for you.

The lightning flashed
The thunder roared,
The whole world was shaken.
The little pig curled up his tail
and ran to save his bacon!

.....and that pretty well sums it up for the recent Delicias weather report. Lately in the early evening we'll have the wildest lighning, thunder and rain storms I've ever experienced. Saturday night I went out the front door to have a look and our road was a river with about 3 inches of water rushing by. Good thing our curb is 6 inches high, eh? Paul was still on his way home from giving his talk in Chihuahua and experienced worse flooding than that. [He went with Miguel who gave his talk in another English cong. at the same time and I chose to stay home this time.] We are sure thankful for our truck in so many ways. So earlier in the day, Saturday, it was incredibly hot 'n muggy. Remember, Paula, how damp our clothes were when we stayed in Princeton, Kaui [?] a few years back? Well, that is how damp things are upstairs. I think we're going to have to look into getting a de-humidifier. Anyway, the roof actually sprang a few leaks from the last storm but the good news is that it's cooled off considerably.

Otherwise? How are we doing as some of you are asking us? Yes, I'd say we're coping well, tho' there are days when it really drives me crazy that I still don't have a kitchen other than 2 appliances and a sewing cabinet countertop. All my dishes are still in boxes except for the few that sit precariously on the ledge. Thus I've learned that I can do with a lot less with a lot of things. I need a light over the sink in the kitchen as the room is quite dark at night which Miguel will put in for me sometime. The 2 bathrooms are still waiting for the electrician to come back to install a light fixture above the sinks & the 2nd bathroom needs the ceiling finished and the door frame put on, but otherwise they are lovely bathrooms. We still have not successfully set up the satellite dish to make the connection with the BC satellite. Paul's very frustrated with it as he doesn't know what the source of the problem is. So, no TV, no English mags., no music stations either, tho' Scott gave me an iPod that has 350 songs on it that he downloaded for me. I've listened to it often. Our few DVD's don't work on the Mexican DVD player that we bought as the machine is coded to only play stuff made down here. But thankfully, the Society's DVDs work just fine. It may sound like I'm complaining, but I'm not, I'm just stating some facts about our life here. There's other piddley things that I try not to dwell on and, instead, fix what I can. All in all, our place is beginning to feel like our home. Until a week ago, I would still wake up and momentarily wonder if I was really living in Mexico or was I home in White Rock? So I guess this is all quite an adjustment. But I wouldn't change it. We are really happy here. Jehovah blesses us every day.

Paul & I planted 4 palm trees in our back garden on Saturday! Wow! I never tho't I'd have a palm tree in this old world. My back yard which is tiny, has 16' high cement block walls with another 6' of wire fence on top of that. So. The palm trees, which are the kind that have long bowed branches - there's 2 of this kind with about 4 branches on each - sway over like huge ostrich feathers. They come up to the top of the concrete. Paul & I are amazed at the transformation. For the benefit of my siblings, I want to say that I couldn't help but think ahead to a time when Mom & I will plant a palm tree together. I'm sure she never got to do so and, as I often do, my tho'ts when I'm gardening turn to my family. Miss you and love you all. We also have a small lime tree that had some limes on it and since planting it has produced flowers - so it's happy, 3 bougainvilleas - one orange two salmon. Sure hope we don't move anytime soon. Everything seems to grow so easily here, even my 2 little rose bushes in the front are flourishing. So, as you know me, this little bit of garden makes me quite content. There are many nurseries around here, and I don't know if it's a good thing or not as it means I've spent some time at these places, but they all know me now. The last one where we bought the palm trees, remembered that I love scented plants and as we were leaving he gave me a beautiful gardenia plant.

Recently we even found a man selling hammocks at La Presa, the big water dam here in Delicias, where we went a few Sundays ago for a congregation outing after the C.O.'s visit. When the vendor saw we were interested, he quickly tied a hammock between 2 trees so that this tall brother could try it out making sure it's long enough for Scott, Brad, Bill....then I tried it out, too. Very nice! I think someone took a picture. And I can see one or two spots where we can suspend the hammock in the back forty. It might even hold two, we'll have it ready for your arrival. By the way, it was very, very hot that day at La Presa. Below the dam there's lots of day parking spots under the trees, most of them being taken by the time we all got there. But we found a rough spot, enough to spead a blanket and share our food. There was a stage set up with a band & singers playing some great Mexican music. Enjoyable.

The day after our Circuit Overseer's stay - which was one of the most encouraging weeks of my life - the crew came and installed our bedroom closet. So more dust, dirt and drilling but what a closet! It's more like a wall unit. The organization sections are very efficient, quite beyond expectation and worth waiting for. It's floor to ceiling, stretches the full width of the wall about 14'. The dark chocolate seemed a bit overpowering at first, but with a few exposed shelves without doors, I'm very happy with it. What a relief to be able to hang up our clothes, every woman should go thru this at least once in her life! I had so much stuff hanging on backs of doors, I could not find anything. There were 19 of Paul's shirts that were so wrinkled from the box. Then one day we were driving somewhere in the city, and noticed this open-aired place, with a roof and a wall or 2, that did just ironing. Of course, no English but I manage just fine. So I took the shirts, on hangars, and they did a really nice job for 95 pecos, which is about $7.50.

Bringing you up to yesterday, Sunday, we had a wonderful attendance. Remember the day we started 7 Bible studies in Meoqui? Well, 3 of those studies have started attending the meetings. One of them, Irene, I just finally contacted face to face on Friday. Her brother, Mario started studying with Miguel and attending right away. He's unbaptized, 20ish. Irene, his sister, baptized, knew I was trying to find her but she was finishing up a part-time census job. She left a msg. for me to come to meet her at her work, which I did. So we didn't waste time. I asked what I could do for her [she speaks good English] and we set-up a study program. She came yesterday, too with her 2 little kids. Actually there were 8 that were at the mtg as a result of that one day in service. Heraldo [?] the forklift driver that Paul met that lives in Delicias, has had only one study, I think, and he came yesterday, too. He had trouble figuring out how a songbook worked, so when Paul explained after the mtg, he said he'd know for next time so that he could sing. I can't tell you how amazing these little things are to us.

Meoqui, about 30 minutes away, seems to have a lot of English that we manage to find. Spanish people are very helpful to us and they will even walk us to a business in the street where there is a clerk that speaks Engllish. So I have 3 studies in various stages in Meoqui, and 2 more that I started here in Delicias. Then some of the sisters in the congregation are asking me to take over calls and start studies as they feel their English isn't good enough to conduct a progressive study. 2 of such calls were turned over to me on Thursday, one of which I started the study on the spot. The other wasn't home. So, we've been here barely 2 months and I can see that I cannot handle all of these Bible studies. And, we haven't even barely scratched the surface of the door to door work in the territory.

I'm quite liking this city, tho' Paul finds the driving nerve wracking as they zoom around you, cut you off, and pretty much drive like maniacs. The watermelon, peaches, leechy nuts, cantalope and grapes are at their peak and you can't go far without seeing a pick-up truck parked for the day alongside the road, selling such. There's a fellow that parks at our Park across the street every day but Sunday. I often buy watermelon from him - 10 pecos for a large, delicious sandia which is about 80 cents.

Paul is in Chihuahua, for the next 3 days, leaving here at 6:30 a.m. to be at the Norte KH to work with the other elder to overseer the pioneer school - coffee breaks, lunch, etc. I guess he'll be home around 5 or 6. Apparently there were no other elders to come forward these 3 days to help out. We are certainly being used here. I can hardly wait til he gets home as he'll have lots of English/Spanish lessons to share from the seasoned English brothers!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

July 5-11: The week of Tony & Flor[esita] Contreras

Well, its Saturday, July 10, and its been a busy week. The CO, Antonio Contreras & his wife Flor, have been staying with us and visiting the cong.

We had a group of 10 out in FS Friday, went to a nearby little (pop. 30,000) very old town named Meoqui,(its just a few minutes up the road.), went door to door, and business to business asking for anyone that speaks English, and our group started 7 English bible studies in two hours. This was an exceptional morning, as we sometimes don't find anyone to talk to, but today it was a highlight in the congregation's short history!

One workplace, the boss said the forklift driver spoke English, so I approached him and of course couldn't take much of his time with the boss watching, but briefly told him about our work, gave him the tract Do You Want to Know the Truth, gave him a handbill inviting him to the meetings, and he said, Yes, I would like to take my family to that! It reinforces to me that Jehovah's spirit is on the work, because why else would he want to come to our meetings when it really doesn't make any sense, as he didn't even really know much of anything about us or our meetings... Really, why would he want to come, I asked myself. Only because Jehovah's spirit was drawing him.
Then a Spanish sister on the street said to us, there's an inactive family that speaks both languages, and she gave us a little handdrawn map to find them. We went, and the guy agreed right away to come to our meeting this weekend in English, and he accepted a bible study, Fridays at 4 pm. Just like that. His name is Mario, and he came to our meeting tonight, the day after meeting him. Then Sandi met a young man in his twentys in a store, who talked with her, accepted the offer of a study, and she arranged for us to meet him, I am not sure when. The the CO went into a corner store, met a lady who lived in the US for 18 years, and she accepted the offer of a study. He gave it over to one of the pioneer sisters. The whole morning was like that.

Here the 10 Witnesses go to the terr. in 3 cars, then get out and gather on the street, talking, arranging, chatting with people, etc. In Canada I would be mortified at the spectacle, but here its normal, and people don't mind. Its just one of the many differences we are adjusting to. A group of 10 publishers walking together thru a territory, standing on a corner, and the CO is in the middle of it all. Not in Canada. In Canada we are discreet! Down here, I somehow enjoy the public show of our arrival. I am sure if it irritated the community the brothers would change the way they do things, so it must just be a normal part of street life in this part of the world, the presence of the Testigos! People are very friendly when we tell them who we are, there's little if any hostility from people in general.

I also got clarification re. territories from the CO. that we go door to door, do not take NH records, except of English calls that are NH. Like if someone says the neighbour is able to speak English, and they are NH, so we take note of the NH. But we are to speed up the terr. coverage. So we don't really need terr. cards of the whole city, only terr. with english calls, so eventually we will have a "book" of maybe 500 English doors, and only work those doors, unless we don't have enough to do with that and studies, and RVs etc, then we could go back to general canvassing for English. I get the picture better now.

Well, its been a great week with the CO and his wife staying with us. They came into town on a bus, and are leaving Monday on a bus for Durango, then the next week a 27 hour bus trip back to Tijuana, where they pioneer when not subbing in the circuit work. They are absolutely great people, and his life story is so amazing I can't put it all here right now. At 16, visited Witness relatives in the US and got the Truth, was baptized, and never looked back. He pioneered many places, found the right wife when in his late twenties, pioneered in Belize for 3 years in Spanish of course, pioneered outside Cancun and elsewhere, but he never spoke English until two years ago. That's right, only two years learning English, and he is subbing as a Circuit overseer again. He has spent well over 2000 hours listening to the recordings of the publications in English over the last couple of years. A very dedicated brother, yet a great sense of balance and humour. His wife grew up as one of 5 daughters of a couple who picked strawberries for a living, that's right, and so the CO and his wife are humble enough to do anything for a living when they are pioneering in Tijuana, like she has some kind of a job, but he goes on Craigslist daily and gets casual work when he needs it, usually averages 2 days work a week doing anything at all. And they are both so young, 36 and around 28, and good-looking, well dressed, sucessful, and focused on the service of Jehovah. His talks are so heartfelt, so warm, it lights your heart, yet he feels he cannot express himself from the heart yet. Maybe another couple of years, he says. But we felt his talks were so encouraging, and we have enjoyed so much having them with us for the week. She cooked a couple of Mexican meals here, and we had all breakfasts and dinners here, and the cong. provided Lunches each day. Its been a great week, we had our Sunday meeting Saturday, today, at 6 pm, as we thought he would be travelling Sunday to the next town. But they leave Monday morning, so Sunday morning after Field Service, the whole cong., and the CO and his wife, and one of the new students we met Friday who came to the meeting tonight, are all going to a picnic at a nearby dam called Lapresa, or something. I haven't seen it, but they all want to go. So we'll go.

As to the house, the second bathroom was finished finally, except for the ceiling, while the CO was here and using it daily. But its done. Now we still don't have closets or kitchen cabinets. We hear they are made, and ready, so the dysfunctional carpenter will someday arrive and finish his work. Then we will be done with tradesmen coming and going. But, it really is a lovely house, we love it, and Trooper loves his park across the street. We are so fortunate to have such a nice place to call home, so far away from home.

Sept. 26 we fly to New York for a week, meeting Hymers there and attending the Annual Meeting Oct. 2. At the end of October is our District Convention, 9 hours away at Monterrey, Mexico. (South East of here)

We intend to return to White Rock in mid December, take care of some business, and stay until maybe Jan. 8 or so.

Thanks for reading our stories, and may you all stay in Jehovah's love.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Monday July 5th, starting the C.O.'s visit

"Thank God you called!" those were the first words Ricardo said when Paul phoned him yesterday. Remember Ricardo? He's the one that helped Paul out when ordering at the DQ counter a few weeks back. A conversation was started up that led to talking about the Truth. It turned out Ricardo had studied in the past and attended meetings. He felt his encounter with Paul was no accident and wanted to 'come back to the meetings'. They exchanged phone numbers and I guess Ricardo lost ours. He'd been to the DQ 3 times hoping to find us! Who knew?
On Saturday Paul & Miguel went to see the salesman who sold us our appliances. He spoke good English & Paul had spent quite a bit of time witnessing to him. So they went back to see him and it turns out he's been trying to talk his wife [they have a new baby] into coming to our Kingdom Hall.
Going back a full week, Mary & Arnold, our first Bible Study, came to our meeting on Sunday. You should have seen the happy faces of our little congregation when they walked thru the door! We are growing! They could only stay an hour but enjoyed the meeting so much. They were both looking up scriptures as fast as they could and Mary was writing each one on a scrap of paper to reread. She was even writing all the texts we read in the WT. Finally I just told her I'd give her the magazine [it was our last study article]. They were so excited to be there. They came just before the mtg. started but everyone took a moment and came up and shook hands and greeted these very special new ones from the territory. Just the morning before, Saturday, we'd had our Bible study with them. We'd look up a particular Scripture and Mary would note and say she really like this one, and this one, etc. I've never been to a study where I could say that the students were just 'eating it up'! How thrilling for us.
So this is what we came for, isn't it. And we are receiving many spiritual blessings in so many different ways. For example, around suppertime today the substitute C.O. and his wife arrive, by bus. They are currently living in Tijuana. They fly to Chihuahua and bus the rest of the way. So this is an experience not had by many on the West Coast since the '70s, and our first. I'm quite looking forward to their visitand so glad his wife is coming as we were told she had to work. I'll try to post a summary next Sunday or Monday nite.
In the meantime, to be honest, there are days that Paul & I feel frustrated. I don't have a problem wading into conversation with Spanish vendors 'tho Paul does, and I always manage to get the items I want. e.g. there's a pick-up truck that sits up the street all day with watermelon or canalope. I got 1 of each on Friday for 15 pecos or $1.20. Yesterday I bought fresh peaches and 4 delicious leachy nuts [?]. Then I got a dinner at Super Pollo which is our Sunday treat: 1 1/2 bbq'd chicken, 2homemade salsa, hot tortillas, 2 foil wrapped hot mashed potatoes with melted cheese, 2 bbq'd onions, 1 chili pepper, 1 pkg raw onion, tortilla chips and a coka for $143 pecos, or about $11. I even asked what time they open on Sunday as next week the congregation is planning a picnic to La Pressa - the dam that is supposed to be so sensational. Perhaps the C.O. and his wife will come, tho' they usually travel on Sundays therefore we have our talk/WT on Saturday at 6 this week coming. So we've sort of got a free day as others may work on a Saturday.
Well, I'm going to end this blog in a few minutes. Because I always have so much to say, I keep putting off tackling it.
But concerning the the frustrations, suffice to say that we still don't have any closets, or kitchen cupboards or shelves of any sort. We bought a bit of cheap shelving for the Bathroom and laundry room that Miguel will put up today. Paul mangled several bits trying to drill holes in this concrete. The 2nd bathroom is not finished and our guests come tonight. The sink & flush are working, and a shower can be used with a curtain. The screen/window will be put in tomorrow, which will stop the mosquitoes from sailing in from the park, and the shower doors. I don't know when the electrician will appear to hook up the lights, and when the ceiling guy will finish. But we'll mop it down this morning and hope to make it look presentable. [I even broke down and bought the unforgiveable - a johnny pole!] $27 at Walmart for a decent one. Later today I'll also try to find a few more dinner plates so we can all eat on the same dishes. We also get our entertainment unit today. I settled on something very ordinary as I have little means to hunt for something different. But that won't be tweaked until we get the satellite dish up and the new wires threaded. So there's lots of things that we are still waiting on. But.....we planted quite a bit of stuff including a small leafed, nicely shaped maple tree in the front. So the garden front & back is look fine. Also found a lovely bird bath for cheep [heh heh]. Too bad the birds haven't found it yet! My water feature is set-up and I just love it! It makes such a refreshing sound. It's on all the time. I bought a large stephanossis [?] vine [I had those flowers in my wedding corsage] it is growing up a white trellis meant as a fence, and there's twinkly lites around it, of course, and is very inviting in the evening, esp. We also found a glider bench at Home Depot, room for two so when you come to visit we can drink our coffee on it together [or coronas]. One last thing, did I mention that 2 birds built a nest the week we moved in? It's on the top of the next door wall, and can only be seen from our bedroom window. I think the birds are doves, their call is 'coo coo'. Anyway, we have 3 babies! One of them woke me up around 6 this morning. I'm not sure if he fell out or not, as I can only see 2. They'll be ready to fly away soon. You know how much I've enjoyed watching this little family close-up. It is a gift that I thank Jehovah for.
We shoveled out all the boxes and loose clothes out of the guest room and put it together and I think it looks quite inviting. Today, at 9:30 {?} we get delivery of 2 nite tables, a round table [like in a hotel] and our shaker headboard painted and re-covered posts to make it match the other pieces. A brother has a furniture bldg. business and has this ready for us now. I think it will pull the room together.
Well, it's 8:45 and we expect our entertainment unit delivered at 9. I hope that was a.m. so I better get dressed.
Love to you all, and thank you for your e-mails and messages of missing us. I miss you all very much but I'm not home sick- I'm so thankful. We have a very busy week ahead but will look to see if you have posted any comments. Let us know how you are all doing and pass this on to anyone who is interested. May Jehovah bless you all and keep us all safe in these very last days.

Monday, June 21, 2010

June 19 Update (from Paul)

Our Cir. Assembly was this weekend, in Chihuahua, and our Dist. Conv. is Oct. 29-31

I would have to say the highlight of our cir. assembly was the people! There was quite a number from the famous, or infamous, Juarez, which is across the border from El Paso, and described as one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Often 5-10 murders per day. When we crossed the border, the brothers instructed me to not pull my trailer thru town, but to cross at another border crossing 30 min. away.

Anyway, the most spiritual people, the most zealous, at our cir. assembly were from Juarez. Families, whole families, pioneering, even the dad who works fulltime. Girls who have been pioneering from the age of 12. We have a photo of a group of the Juarez friends, very happy bunch, and I will email it to some of you to distribute to the friends there, as they need to see the real face of Juarez, the beautiful face of Juarez, Jehovah's people. There are either 2 or 4 English congs. there,(I'm not sure), in addition to the Spanish congs. Now that I have met those friends, I am determined to go there, with an escort, to give talks. Earlier I did not plan to accept their invitations, but now I will go for sure. If they can trust in Jehovah to go out in the ministry daily there in Juarez, I can surely go there and give talks. (Its 5 hours drive from our place, and they have difficulty getting speakers, the CO told me even the brothers across the bridge in El Paso will not go there to give talks. (A pioneer sister said its not so bad, sometimes they will be told something bad will happen in a certain neighbourhood, and to stay away, so they do, and instead work that territory a few days later after the bodies have been cleaned up. Its always battles between drug cartels, and also the police are in the middle of it of course, but Jehovah's people are neutral in any war, and people know it.

Brother Koch (?) of the Governing Body recently dedicated the new Assembly Hall in Juarez, and he said he has been to many parts of the world where there are wars, and yet Witnesses continue to do our work, and you know, they had planned to put him in a hotel across the bridge in El Paso Texas, and he refused, he insisted in staying the night in Juarez. So if he can do that, and inspire the friends there, then surely I can go give a talk there from time to time and also encourage the brothers and sisters. If they can live there, surely I can visit for a few hours.

Anyway, listening to these Mexican people in the English congs. of our half of the circuit, it was so inspiring. Their language skills are questionable at best for probably 75% of those in attendence, even the speakers, yet they are out looking for people who want to study in English. Amazing, to see what Jehovah is doing down here. It brings tears to your eyes to listen to these Mexican friends, so sincere, so humble, like the single mother whose 13 yr. old son was baptized, and whose 15 yr. old son takes one of the midweek FS groups each week, and she works full time, and auxiliary pioneers to set an example, and yes she lives in Juarez. I approached her to commend her after the program, and she was so shy she could hardly make eye contact with this stranger, this foreigner. And the Filipino girl who came to Mexico alone from her country, to work in a factory, and she doesn`t speak Spanish, and when she told her coworkers she had a ``family` there, they could not believe her, so she brought 9 coworkers to the Memorial, and they saw her family, her English congregation. And yes, she`s in Juarez.

As uncomfortable as I am with the environment, heat as well as communication difficulties, Sandi and I are overwhelmed by the friends. In our cong. in Delicias people come to our door every day, and phone us every day, just to ask if we need help with anything. A sister took Sandi to the local grocery store, to show her how to shop, since products are different, labeling is mostly spanish only, and in the produce dept. we don`t sometimes even recoqnize some things. So this sister with a 7 month little boy, the only child in our cong., took Sandi shopping. As well, when we had to buy a bed, she went with us to help translate, when we bought different items for our new house there was always someone from the cong. with us, just to take care of us. It is so overwhelming that today, Sandi said to me, `Why us... Why are we so special` and of course the answer is we`re not special, it is they who are special.

Last Sunday late afternoon we invited most of the cong. over to our house, and some brought their relatives who are in the Spanish cong. so we had about 25 people here who mostly couldn`t talk with us. But the story is, right outside the house, a drunk driver with no insurance smashed into the wheel of my Explorer, which was not in its place inside our garage, unfortunately. He broke the suspension and steering parts of the front end, but never even scratched the paint, but anyway the police had to come, etc, and it would have been difficult for me to know the process, but I had to even go to the police station, and I had my buddy Miguel who is my constant friend and interpretor, as well an another brother, an elder from spanish, accompany me to the police station, they both know some of the police, they stuck up for my rights, helped me make a written report of what happened, it had to be in Spanish, and what other foreigner would have someone to trust in a situation like that. But all went well, the insurance guy who was at my door the next morning at 7:30 am. was able to squeeze the repair money out of the uninsured driver, and its interesting that that guy was held in jail until I was satisfied, and he would not get his own vehicle back until I was satisfied, and signed a paper saying so. You see, I had a $500 deductible, and the repairs were in that range, so him having no insurance I would have had to pay the deductible, and the insurance company would likely have never collected from him, like getting blood from a stone. But the way they do it, while he is in jail, they had his father, his employer,and police all involved, to pressure him to borrow the money from someone to pay the damages, so that I wouldn`t have to pay the deductible, and they wouldn`t have to try collecting from him later. It worked, and my vehicle was as good as new 5 days later, and the guy got out of jail and got his beatup old car back. So that`s the Mexican way in a car accident when the other guy has no insurance, and without the help and support of the local brothers, I would have been lost in that process. (All those negotiations with the guy took place in the police station, with police in attendence, and brothers speaking in my behalf since the whole thing was in spanish only...........! Never complain about ICBC!)

Well, thank you for reading my rambling, and give our love to our very-much-loved Canadian brothers and sisters, who we think of every day. A move like this just drives home the point of how much we need our diversified world-wide brotherhood, those who are new to us and those with whom we have a solid history of serving together for many years, in White Rock and elsewhere.

Feel free to share any of this that may be remotely interesting to any. We love you all.

Love from Paul and Sandi

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tuesday June 1

Today its June 1, and Sandi has Paul doing the writing today. Our two-year lease on this new house technically begins today, but we have not moved in yet.
Our time with the little English cong is quite enjoyable. We have been in the door-to-door work, always with a Spanish speaking publisher, but we just ask if anyone speaks English, and usually in the course of the morning we will find one or two. Lots of not homes here too. I have been going over baptism questions with a shy 15 yr old girl named Annalouisa, and the Circuit Assembly is in Chihuahua city June 19 and 20. Its only one hour drive to get there. Its in a hotel, and we expect attendance of around 300.
In the cong. They need me on the platform even tho my suits are still in the trailer, so I took the WT last Sunday in shirtsleeves again, I have two or more parts each Thursday, and next Thursday I begin my career as the Coordinator, the TMS Overseer, taking the CBS every couple of weeks, plus BH talks and a SM part every week. It looks like I have to give a public talk every third week. Its hard to get visiting speakers to come here, so if any of you brothers ever come to visit us here in Delicias-Ingles congregation, bring along some talk outlines. We have a wonderful young single elder (38) here named Miguel Garcia, who has been a real workhorse for the past several months, holding everything together. He will now serve as the Secretary and the Service Overseer, and he cares for the maintenence of the Kingdom Hall, and he schedules the public talks, so he is still very busy even with me here. He has also spent many hours taking us around on our shopping errands, and is available any time we need him. Also, there`s a serious and hardworking young ministerial servant named Alexis Soto, who calls me every day asking if there`s anything he can do for us. And the girls in the cong are poised to come and clean our house after the builder does his final cleaning, just to be just we have a spotless house to move into. They treat us so wonderfully its hard to put it into words. The cong plans to have a housewarming party at our house after we are settled, and in the immediate neighbourhood of our new house there`s at least 10 families of Witnesses in the Spanish congregations that plan to have a party to welcome us to the neighbourhood. Its quite overwhelming, we`re the first foreigners to come here, I guess.
Sandi has mentioned that we have several calls to develop already. And when out and about doing errands and buying stuff for the house, we have met some who speak English. Mexicans who lived in the US in the past, mostly. The Faithful Slave has found there's a tendency to take the message more seriously from an English speaking foreigner for some unknown reason, if they understand English, so that is why we're encouraged to be here, I guess.
But at the DQ (yes, we found a DQ!) I met a guy named Ricardo who offered to help me as I struggled at the counter to say milkshake in Spanish, and he had his two beautiful little girls with him. His English was real good, and he's a computer systems designer here. We witnessed to him in the nice airconditioned DQ, and it turns out he studied the Knowledge book in the US, was deported for having 80 kilos of cocaine in his possession (!) he then studied in Tijuana and elsewhere up to 2004, but not since then. He rebuilt his live down here in Delicias as a respectable guy married now with kids, and he said he felt it was not an accident that he met us at the DQ counter. He said Jehovah was telling him it was time to get back to the meetings again! We agreed, and gave him a Bible Teach book and an invitation to the meeting, as well as we exchanged phone numbers. So what do you think............on real hot days in FS I'll just go sit in the DQ and read an English Watchtower and wait for the sheep to come in? Did I mention I've lost weight already down here? Its either the heat or the light Mexican meals we eat, as we don't really eat much before we're full, and for me there's no McDonalds in town.....................
We should be in to the house by Thursday, except that's a meeting day so we'll see if its practical to do it that day. But as you can imagine, watching the expert tile installer do his job is like watching paint dry. It takes all our patience. He was finishing the staircase yesterday, and then its only the second bathroom that still needs tiling, everything else is done. Even the two-car garage has a tiled floor.
When I say everything else is done, I mean the tile. There is lots more to complete, but we will move in anyway. The fridge and stove and washer and dryer were delivered either last night or today. But there's no kitchen cabinets for a couple of weeks! And no clothes-closets yet! (See, the house is made of concrete, and the closets are build of wood later, so there's three closets that aren't made yet, but hopefully they won't make too much of a mess when they build them after we're in the house........... We'll manage. Its my first experience with a clothes dryer that is a combo of gas and electric. They don't use 220V for dryers here, its 120V that runs the electric part, and then propane gas that heats the thing. Apparently it works well. Propane also fuels the stove, and the hot water boiler that is installed. So there's a big propane tank that is mounted in sort of a hidden spot up high on the side of the house, and a guy comes with a truck, and a ladder, to fill it when needed. In cooler months like Jan and Feb the heat system also runs on the propane. So there's no natural gas here, but the propane is quite cheap they say.
We have the phone company installing a line to the house tomorrow, providing high-speed internet as well. This is also almost 50% cheaper than White Rock, and the ADSL highspeed internet is quite a bit faster here. Our new home phone number is 639-470-5657. So from Canada dial 011-52-639-470-5657. If you call us, we can hang up and call you back on our almost free cell phone plan. Then it won't cost you anything. We talked to Paula the other day, and checked how much that call cost, and for 22 minutes it cost us less than 60 cents! And of course our internet email addresses remain the same,, and
We found finally a furniture store that has great Mexican stuff, harder to find that you would think. Most furniture stores look like the Brick, American type furniture, but we found a store in a little town near here called Meoqui. We got a dining room table made of marble, with a chocolate brown base, the marble closely matches the tiles in the dining area. The six chairs are chocolate brown leather with a suede stripe. We also got a master bedroom set of Mexican pine, quite nice. And there were a lot of unique pieces of decorative stuff that was very inexpensive, so we can put together a neat place even though the designer of the house had “modern” in mind, I think. (Like a dropped ceiling in the living room with indirect lighting all around, and a recessed ceiling in the kitchen.) The bed we brought from Canada, and the dresser, will go into the guest bedroom, and we got some pieces for that room that will make the Circuit overseer quite comfortable in July, and all our Canadian visitors will enjoy it too. I also found a nice desk for my office, and the price was the exact amount that Maritza paid me for my big desk back in Canada when we moved. So that was nice, this desk is smaller of course, but its beautiful, from that Mexican furniture store in Meoqui. They are delivering all this Mexican stuff Saturday or Monday. That probably means Tuesday................
There's one A/C system for upstairs, and one for downstairs, and the house is also insulated, and has thermoglass windows. It was quite cool yesterday even without any a/c on. Likely only the upstairs will need to have the a/c on.
Well, so much for my longwinded story, so we'll write again in a few days.

Our love to all
Paul and Sandi Cameron
Delicias-Ingles Congregation
Delicias, Chihuahua, Mexico.

Monday, May 24, 2010

update to Monday morning, May 24th

Cardenas, Chihuahua, Mexico

It's Monday morning and it's another sunny day. The rooster is crowing and every now and then the 2 hens come singing by my back door looking for another scrap, the unfamiliar birds are chirping away, the remains of late last night's wind storm is strewn about in the yard. At 10:30 there's still a cool breeze coming in the screened front door keeping Paul & I quite comfortable in this little oasis from the heat. Trooper is alert for that cat that may come by again any minute. I just hope that the locked screen door holds. On the other hand, he was quite disconcerted when the rooster strutted by and crowed in his face.

Since we last 'blogged' our life has a bit of routine, thanks to the 2 meetings and Saturday/Sunday morning service. Where we would be I don't know if it wasn't for the GPS. Once in the city, there are no visible land marks, except for the sun which tends to keep moving. There are big traffic circles everywhere with 6-8 roads running off it. The circles are so big, we have to count which street to turn down as the GPS usually isn't quite up to speed. And you know Five Corners in White Rock? Well, here it's eight corners! And some have ALTO and some don't! We always feel we're risking our neck when we boot it across an intersection. However, drivers are courteous but don't wait for any Canadian that hesitates, that's for sure. We'll get the hang of it.

Just about every day we go to the house and are happy to see the gradual progress. As of this Wednesday it will be four weeks that we've been 'living out of a suitcase' ~ a little longer than we tho't. Consequently, until we can move in, we are in limbo, out of our comfort zone. Every day sees us running back & forth from Cardenas to Delicias so the mileage is noticeable, plus it's usually the time of day when it's really hot. We're so thankful to retreat into this little air-conditioned house.

Today, we're going to leave shortly and take Trooper tho' it's not always easy because of the heat. However, he likes his park across the street from the house – we'll have to give it a name – and we don't have much else to do except go to Alexis' house to connect with the internet and send this blog and a few e-mails, etc. The Soto's, Alexis family, are terrified of dogs but they are getting very comfortable with him. Marie, the mom, invites him into the shaded carport and gingerly brings him water when we go inside.

Found a great place to buy delicious BBQ'd chicken after the meeting yesterday. It also came with separate side orders of yummy mashed potatoes, and a few other choices. We entered it in the GPS so that we will find it again.

As to the main reason we're here, we have three potential Bible studies! The first is an older couple that we called on back in January. They welcomed us with open arms Sunday morning, and are very pleased that we will come back later this week to start our discussions about what the Bible really teaches. The second is a 18 yr old boy, (who is 6'5” and has a pretty good beard) his name is Julio and he came to the meeting Thursday with his Mom, who is inactive. The other elder noticed that he seemed to take to Paul, and he usually goes outside right away but this time he kept hanging around to talk to Paul. They talked about his family, even music, and the kinds of governments in Canada and the US, and then Paul told him he really needs to have his own Bible study. At first he hesitated, but then seemed more open to the idea. Paul invited to come over to our new house when its ready. Paul plans to take Julio along as a guide and interpreter when he has to go to other towns to give talks in the future. We'll see how that one goes. And as for me, Saturday Miguel the other elder was doing approach work somewhere, and he talked to a man who said he had a friend who really needs to talk to Jehovah's Witnesses. She is a 38 yr old American from Florida and he gave Miguel her address. Sounds a little strange, but we follow up on everyone. So calling at her house, there was no one home, and we left a note with Miguel's phone number. She soon phoned, and agreed for us to go call on her. She even asked about the meetings. So I will try to develop this call.
Miguel feels that in just the one week that we 'foreigners' have been here, there are signs things are starting to move forward. A couple in Spanish who speak English quite well heard we have arrived and they are going to think about coming into English now. But most important is the folks in the territory who we are looking for. Miguel says they are impressed with Canadians who would move down here just to help them learn the Truth in English.
We have enjoyed the meeting Thursday and Sunday. Paul has his suits and jackets somewhere in the trailer still, so he is in shirtsleeves, but they still need him on the platform.
The local Spanish congs. Had their circuit assembly Sat. And Sunday, and they used an open-air baseball stadium. They get it free in exchange for cleaning the place up. There is a roof over most of the seating, and that's good because it has been 38 degrees celsius.

Well, I'll try to blog a little more often as these are becoming increasingly lengthy. Until we get the internet set up, I type it up in a document first, then paste. Kinda not the same.

Hope to see some e-mails from you when I get to Soto's house. May Jehovah keep you safe and bless you all as He is us.