Before I tell you about the Spanish circuit assembly we attended, let me give some updates with how we are doing.
When we first moved here, we came on a 3 month tourist visa- No explanation necessary for how long we could stay on that visa. Shortly after we arrived with met with our lawyers (a husband and wife, the husband is the brother of an elder in our congregation) to give them the necessary documents for the application for a 2 year visa. We were excited that just as our 3 month tourist visa expired, our 2 year visa was approved. We now all have Ecuadorian IDs and can stay for 2 years. We can also leave Ecuador to visit the states whenever we want. After 2 years, we can apply again for the same visa or we can apply for a permanent visa.
While we were still living in the states, Melanie went through training and received a English teaching certificate. Since we arrived in Ecuador (with said certificate in hand), she has been applying to companies that teach English online, primarily to young Chinese children. She had some promising prospects a couple times but nothing for sure. The needed job was kept as a matter of prayer and Mel was persistent with applying to many companies.
In the meantime, the lack of work allowed us more time to adjust to our new life and get settled properly (see a previous post). Then around the same time we received our approved visa, Melanie was hired by an excellent company. The job is perfect for our needs and Mel’s desired service and family schedule. The job is a gift from Jehovah.
Although the job is perfect for our needs and family schedule, it doesn’t come without some sacrifice, namely- super early mornings. Mel’s work hours are 5am to 9am M-F. So she has to get up at 4:30 in the morning. YES, 4:30 AM every weekday! The reason for such an early morning is the time difference between here and China. But she has adjusted well, and I too am learning to adjust to having to sleep in, to not having a job and just letting Mel bring home the bacon. It’s been a rough few weeks for me, but I think in time I will be able to handle these changes. :)
Actually, I am hoping to get hired by the same company in a little while. But for now, I’m using the time to work on my Spanish. Here’s Mel at the “office,” our dining room.
MEMORIAL CAMPAIGN & FIELD SERVICE & BIBLE STUDIES
Our territory is well covered, about every 2 months, so only brothers leading out for service can check out territories. A typical service day starts with the meeting for service at 8:45am. Tue - Thur the meetings are at different publisher’s homes. Monday we meet at the hall to go do el campo service. Last month I was asked to start leading this group out. So for each Monday I prepare for the meeting for service, then I translate it (using JW language app or JW library in Spanish and google translate), then I have Logan or Melanie check the translation for me and then practice it, especially the new words. This is turning out to be a wonderful blessing helping me with my Spanish.
After the meeting, we work our territory for that morning until it’s completed, about 1 hour to 1 1/2hr. Then the friends go and do RVs or bible studies. Now that we have been here a few months and have acquired some calls, we are able to make the day longer by doing our calls.
Recently, another brother and I called on a man that owns/works in a suit shop. I’ve been in the store before with the family to get Logan some stuff. We chatted for a bit and I placed a magazine. The man said he was studying with another brother at his home in the next town over. A couple days later I ran across the man walking down the road and he said he would prefer to study during the day at his shop and that the other brother had stopped coming by his home. He asked if I could study with him.
Of course I jumped at the chance and since then, we’ve had 2 studies. I take Logan with me to help with the Spanish because he’s basically Ecuadorian now 🙄😠. I prepare some auxiliary questions in advance and translate them to Spanish, but Logan helps me with the hard words. The man loves his study, and often exclaims how exciting the information is. Funny enough, after we read a scripture that he really appreciates, he says in English with a big goofy smile, “oooh my god!” I love his enthusiasm for learning the truth.
Another man I got in the territory has agreed to study as well. He owns/works in a leather store. Making and selling leather goods (like 77.2% of everyone in Cotacachi), like bags, belts..etc. I showed him the video, ‘Why does God allow suffering” and left him the Good news brochure. We set a date to start the study for next Tuesday. I can’t wait!
The memorial campaign has been going really well and a number of people have said they are coming. In fact, the turnout is typically so large that our congregation actually has the memorial at 2 locations. We divide the congregation and serving body in half and let the public pick which location they would like to attend. Here’s Logan and I taking a brief rest while Melanie makes a call.
CIRCUIT ASSEMBLY (finally- sorry)
Less than 2 weeks before our assigned assembly, we were notified that we could not have it at the location we had reserved. But thankfully another location was quickly found, however it needed some work. The owner agreed to let us use the facility for FREE, if we agreed to do some repairs. The facility was a gymnasium, much like a high school basketball court. But it was in terrible disrepair and had no functioning bathrooms. The only “functioning” bathrooms onsite were 2 temporary metal porta-johns outside- see below.
There was also only about 10 parking spots. Most of the friends don’t have cars, but there are a few per congregation and there would be 9 or 10 congregations attending. So the brothers poured some concrete ramps to allow the friends to park on the outdoors basketball court. For a week, groups of brothers and sisters would go to the facility to make repairs. New toilets were installed ( indoors! Ya!), sinks, handrails were painted and a number of other things. The day before the assembly we went to help with the final clean up. Here’s the boys standing outside the facility.
BYOCS- bring your own cleaning supplies. The facility had not been cleaned in sometime and was filthy. Bird poop was washed and scrubbed off walls and stairs, thousands of pieces of gum were hand scraped from the floor, the concrete stadium benches (no chairs) were mopped, and much more. To fill a bucket with water, a Dixie cup was filled (slowly due to bad water pressure) from a bathroom sink then dumped into the bucket. Repeat...Repeat...Repeat...until full.
Many hands by wonderful brothers and sisters worked tirelessly to clean, repair, and put together the stage, sound system and etc.
Sunday came and the friends filed in. The attendance being near 1,500 with 11 getting baptized in a pool at a local hotel.
Although the facility itself was nothing special to look at, once the friends arrived, it became a beautiful assembly hall!
It was exciting to see that 3 elders from our congregation had talks, along with Logan doing a demo and Melanie being interviewed. The videos are below.
After the assembly, deconstruction began and within a couple hours everything was torn down and loaded in trucks. Logan helped with the stage for a while.
Although it was a bit tiring sitting in the heat on concrete benches trying to understand Spanish, the effort was well worth it! No better place to be than with Jehovah’s people worshipping our God.
Now feeling encouraged and reenergized, it was time to get back to the memorial campaign that unifies us with our brothers, sisters, and family that live in different parts of the world.