First, pictures from the English circuit assembly last weekend in Quito (peak attendance 385) and a shout out to Wendy, I met the Gunns!
The day after the Assembly we visited Mitad Del Mundo, the Middle of the World, although they say it’s directly on the equator the actual location is up the street and around the corner…nice shops and cute little dancers from Loja province though! On the way we met some friends at the bus station engaged in public witnessing.
Dr. Seuss describes the past week I’ve had literally and figuratively. I am not even sure I wanted to write this post lest I sound like a Negative Nelly. The changes here are a bit (and a lot) overwhelming and stressful at times for both of us. Everything is different, the weather, the food, the language, the culture, my hair (yeah, my hair has been shedding like crazy and yes I am a bit vain about that…all my sistahs know what I’m talkin’ bout!) and just the systems to get things done. And although I embrace change and I love it here overall, at times all the variables get to me and at times they get to Chet. Watch out when life here gets to both of us at the same time but thankfully that’s not often.
This week was hard as we found out our visa requests have been denied and we have to get most of our paperwork ( ALL OF IT!!!) redone. I won’t bore you with details but the long and short of it is we are coming back to the States for about 3 weeks so I can get fingerprinted by the FBI, (No I am not a thug) and all our documents can be apostilled. Again. If you don’t know what that is…Count your blessings! We are actually looking forward to being in the States. A chance to see family, some friends perhaps and accomplish our paperwork in a timely fashion. And go to the consignment shops in Philly! Yay! Retail Therapy! We will fly into Washington, DC. the middle of November if not sooner.
Today big crocodile tears rolled down my face when the brother visiting from the branch told a joke during his talk and Chet and I just looked at each other…I knew it was something about a TV. It was like the straw that…you know. I wondered again, what are we doing here? Our fluency in the ministry, in the meetings and with most of the friends is very limited. However, after the meeting I met Brother Costa and his wife Betty. They have served at the branch in Guayaquil for 20 years. He is from Boston and she is from South Dakota. He said to me, “It is so good you are here! There is work to be done in English, but there is more work to be done in Spanish!” I said “Really??? I don’t feel like I’m doing anything!” He said “You’re already doing it! Smiling and hugging the friends goes beyond language…besides you are getting a taste of missionary life!” He went on to tell me that as missionaries 20 years or more ago he thought his transition to the language, culture, etc. would only be 6 months because they had classes before they came…not so, it was more like 3 or 4 years! He said they spoke “Tarzan/Jane Spanish” for a while! He encouraged both Chet and I in separate conversations not to give in or give up! The friends need to see our example, there is much work to be done here and it is vital to step up our personal study program, to make sure we feed ourselves spiritually. Hmm, I had just started my increased study program this week. And the new TV channel and JW language App are also blessings, huh?
Another encouragement is the wonderful circuit assembly in Quito we enjoyed last weekend. So as I think about transitioning for 3 or 4 years it seems daunting. I believe what will help me is to keep thinking about one of the talks the brother gave during the recent Gilead Graduation, “The Fruitage of the Spirit is Patience”. Yes, patience, taking one day at a time and being patient with Jehovah and myself!