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.