Just thought I would share some pictures of the Assembly Hall here in Cuenca. A pioneer sister in our congregation goes up one day a week after they read a letter several months ago asking for help from the friends. She invited me along so we went Wednesday afternoon. The Hall is about 30 minutes away on the outskirts of Cuenca, high on a hill, again gorgeous vistas that I cannot do justice to. There were 7 of us working including the assembly overseer and his wife, a sweet young couple who have lived there 7 years. We repainted parking lot stripes and helped drill and bolt seat cushions to their frames. I liked painting but drilling is really fun!
Ivonne, the sister I worked with, just moved here from a congregation in the rurals because of her mother’s health. Her older siblings are here and once her mom is settled in she plans to try and move to the Oriente, or what we in the States know as the Amazon jungle. She has served there a few times to help preach to the Shuar speaking people. The last time she went, in August, it took her and the group of Witnesses she was with 2 days of walking to reach the territory, plus a 9 hour drive from Cuenca. Whew! They slept on the floor of a local school but had to get up very early before the kids arrived. She told me the people are just hungering for the truth. It was a highlight of my week to work with her and hear her experiences. She’s been pioneering for 21 years, since she got out of high school and her, her mom, sisters and brothers have moved to different places to serve where the need was greater for years.
What makes this experience so unique is her father, who was in the truth, died when she was a little girl of maybe 3 or 4 years old, over 30 years ago. Her mother was 7 months pregnant with her youngest brother, her oldest brother was about 15 at the time and now he is an elder and serves on the Assembly Hall Committee. All six children, 3 boys and 3 girls are active in the truth. Ivonne, her mom and a couple of her family members support themselves and their full time ministry by baking cakes, etc. for local stores. They have a bakery attached to their house, and make a super yummy handheld cake called a quesadilla. Not to be confused with the savory Mexican quesadilla. When you come and visit we will be sure to get some! Am I always talking about food or what?