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.