Friday, October 30, 2009

First Telephone Witnessing Group

Well after a long time organizing and trying to find phone numbers etc here (when you don't have street names let alone numbers on the houses - it is a bit difficult) our first group kicked off last night.
As you can see by the facial expressions of some  (jeje Fernando) - it was a little daunting to start off with but they ended up getting a couple of calls out of it. Everyone left happy and no doubt they gave the householders something new to think about.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mary Mary Quite Contrary!

Today I had to explain something that I have never had to explain in all my years witnessing in NZ. The veneration of Mary! Yes we have people who are Catholics in NZ but for some reason they are different to the Catholics we find here. I don't quite know why that would be. Anyhoo I knew this was coming up today so yesterday in my spanish lesson with Becky I asked her to go over how she would explain why Mary worship is not a biblical teaching. I was all prepared and it went really well. Now when it comes up again - and it will - I will be on the ball!
Mark has started an evening group here as the not-at-homes really do pile up. He is very happy because tonight was our largest group with 6 in total going out. They find the people much more relaxed at night and 9 times out of 10 the NAH can be marked off. I have not been with them yet as we have witnessing in the morning, 2 studies in the afternoon and by night time I just don't have the energy to move, especially as the next day we are up in the mountains witnessing. Oh it is a busy life!
We are getting really excited about Chad and Michele coming back next week (I was a little disappointed when I found out I was wrong about them coming home tomorrow)- it really has been too quiet around here without them. Just shows I really am not ready for an empty nest and yet in reality that has been my lot for the last2 or 3 years!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Customer service - there is none!

Coming from a banking background I am very interested in the banking system here. I know when I worked for the ANZ in NZ it was drummed into us - the customer comes first. Not so here - in fact I think what is drummed into them is to look as grumpy as you possibly can, never make small talk and try to keep your customers waiting in line for as long as possible! If you fill out the deposit slip wrong or have a tiny wee mistake (for instance you write the date wrong and cross it out) you are sent back to the writeup desk and subsequently to the back of the line. Moral of the story - get it right the first time.
Anyway the reason why we were in the bank is because we have decided to renew our visa for another 2 years and we had to deposit the money required  into an account - because we are cancelling our old visa before it runs out - it's a little more expensive (in fact the whole thing has put us back $USD600) but hey at least the wheels are rolling and it is now in Jehovahs hands as to whether we get back here or not.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Introduction time again.

I've said it before and I will say it again - one of the nicest things about being here is meeting different people from all over the world and hearing their stories. I have introduced you to Jordanne and Damaris before but the chica in the middle - maybe not. Her name is Miha (short for something - can't remember what) and she originally from Romania. She was telling us the other night that her parents won the visa lottery when she was ten so they were able to immigrate to America. Damaris then told us about her Dad - when he was about 4, his parents were in Germany at the time (orginally from Poland) and they were in line to get on a boat to Australia - however the boat got filled up and there was no room left so they got on the next boat - which happened to be to the States. A twist that changed everything - who knows we could have met her in Australia if things had gone as planned for her grandparents. Quite intriguing to me those kind of things happening.
Back to Miha - she is leaving to go home in a few days so it has been very nice getting to know her. Chao Chica - bien viaje!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Love is in the Air!

First of all a big HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to Michele's Mum and Dad. I hope you had a great time at your surprise party - I know a lot of plotting and scheming went into it! Looking forward to seeing Michele's photos of the event! This bunch of flowers is for you...
Talking of romance (well we kind of were) - it's been in the air here lately too. The other night we heard terrible singing and looked out the window to see a young chap serenading one of the girls that lives upstairs, from the street below. Apparently that is the done thing here to declare your love in song. I think this guy should have had lessons first though!

We are very excited because we have been invited to the the new assembly hall dedication at the Bethel in Guayaquil. The invitation is open to anyone who has been baptised over 30 years and we are two of just 3 in our congregation. That is at the end of October so looking forward to that privilege. It will be nice to get away for a night too as we have been so flat tack busy since Aaron left. Also as it is on the 31st of Oct - it will take my mind off the fact that I am missing out on 2 special occasions - 1- Ryan and Lizi'z engagement party in NZ and 2 - Aaron's graduation in Australia. Actually it is probably best that we are here and not in NZ because how would I make that choice between my two favorite sons?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

This is a photo of the attendees at the English Meeting. It is held every first Sunday of the month, as I have probably already told you, and we enjoy it very much. They also have the Congregation Bookstudy and Theocratic School but as yet are not quite big enough to form a congo. However it was announced the other day that they were conducting 10 studies in English as the moment (some of those in the photo's are students) so they are hopeful of further increase.

The girl on the far left hand side, standing, is a new import from the States. Her name is Damaris and she has come to help out in the Chinese field. There is an astounding amount of Chinese people here - 30,000 in Cuenca alone so the field is huge. Mark and I are hoping to talk Amanda into returning with us next year, if it works out, so that she can lend a hand too.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Bit of a wasted day today with me going into town to conduct one of Michele's studies only to find the shop (where the student was) closed up. One thing about the laws here - they are pretty strict with their paper work etc and if you don't comply with whatever they want - they can bang a sticker on the door and you can't trade for 2 weeks or more. Actually this girl is a reactivated witness and it's not so much as a study as a encouragement session and giving a listening ear to all her problems. And believe me problems she has - every week there seems to be another issue. They have been targeted by thieves twice in the shop (that's probably the reason they may not have complied with something - their laptop computer got stolen in one of the robberies), they have had thieves at their house and just two weeks ago her husband was beaten up by 4 men. He had some sort of accident or near accident (one of my problems is getting the story straight - especially when they get emotional when they are telling you a story, they just talk too fast for my brain to pick it all up correctly) and the next thing you know he was being attacked by the people in the other car. And now this! The poor things will be fed up to the gills!
Anyway even though it was a wasted trip for me - it is a beautiful day and I couldn't resist sitting in the park for 1/4 of an hour enjoying an icecream (oops I think I am supposed to be on WW - I'm such a failure!)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sometimes when you get to everyday life and things become mundane (for example - look at what I've been talking about lately - food, for goodness sake!) - you tend to forget you are in a foreign country but out of the blue they do something that would never be done in our country (well I guess it has - just not for crazy reasons). The teachers lately decided to strike - the reason being they did not what to comply with the law that they continued their education and took more courses in order to stay up to date! So when they strike here - they protest in a big way. Roads get blocked and fires get started. The students also got on the bandwagon and protested - not sure what about but they played havoc with the roads. To add to the mess, the campo (country) people decided they needed to voice their disapproval over some water law and all over the country last Sunday, roads again were blocked, fires started and stones thrown at passing cars etc. They seem to love to protest here and any excuse will do!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

mmm now that's more like it!

One thing that is wonderful about living here is the fresh vegetables and fruit available. Oh how I love going to the market and scouting round amongst the most delicious looking stuff - sadly we don't get a lot of time to go there and most of the time just go to the supermarket to load up - boring! Just occasionally I have time to try cooking something different - like the plate pictured. Homemade pita bread, Tabbouleh, Hummas and Greek meatballs - no less! The only thing missing was the feta cheese (actually olives were missing but who cares about them?). You can purchase feta cheese here but it is expensive and not that great so we don't bother with it much. I would love to try and make it but finding the rennet and other stuff you would need may be a little hard. They make a very nice queso blanco (white cheese) here and I have just found a recipe so I may try to make that soon. Mark says not to bother and to just go and buy it but really where's the fun in that?