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