Saturday, January 18, 2014

Safe in Thailand

So I arrived in Pattaya, a few days ago on Tuesday evening.  Tired and coughing from Yangon, Myanmar, Caroline, Camille and I pulled up a seat at the local soup street food joint.  I ordered Pad Thai from a neighboring vendor.  Though a smaller portion than at home, it was delicious and only cost 40 Baht or $1.22 for dinner. Awesome!  I might get used to this place.

We've gone out in service 3 times so far.  I've met people from France, Russia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Finland, India and locals Thai of course.  We attended the English meeting on Thursday night and shared the hall with the thriving Russian group.  Last night we attended the Thai meeting and we joined by the lively Sign group.  There's much work to be done here.

Service consists of hopping on the back of a motorbike and heading to the territory which can be between 5 and 20 minutes away.  We do everything: the houses, business, restaurants, shacks, you name it.  We end up speaking more Thai than English but there's a lot of interest to cultivate.  Many people do not know who Jehovah's Witnesses are, so it's not uncommon to introduce yourself as a Witness and refrain from using the words volunteer or Bible, quite different than home.

So far the lowest I've paid for a meal has been 10 Baht or 30 cents and the highest was $2.74 for a large pork and noodle soup and a Bubble Tea, obviously a splurge.  The beach about 20 minutes away is beautiful.  I haven't seen the close one yet.

Currently we're staying at a guest home for 7000 Baht, however I am praying to get into a 2500 Baht single room with bathroom and back porch still within walking distance of the Kingdom Hall.  So far I've met 2 Thai people that have given me their emails and I've placed literature electronically with them.  I've written down at least 12 people to return on next week.  A decent percentage were Muslim.  I've sat in on one study so far conducted by a Korean brother whose been serving here for 4 years and speaks Thai fluently.  It was with an 82 year old man and his 10 year old grand daughter from the Good News Brochure.

Thai service partner

Some yummy fruit


Another RV

Sleeping ?pig? ?wild boar?

An idea of what language I will be learning..

I'm excited and hopeful for the future.  We'll see how everything unfolds!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Calm and Cool


Today was cool.  Benedetto attended the meeting and afterward we did one hour of telephone witnessing.  After this we (Naomi, Francesco and I) traveled to an elder’s house for dinner.  We enjoyed lasganga, veggies and a lovely fruit salad dessert.  It didn’t end there- we enjoyed a consideration of the Jeremiah book for the coming week’s Congregation Bible Study and a rock-classical concert on DVD.  Before we knew it- it was 10:30PM! We had spent all day with the couple.  We graciously thanked them and headed home.


This morning I went out in Portuguese service for an hour before feeling sick and needing to go home.  I slept until 2:30pm.  I woke up just in time to head to the beach for public witnessing.  For some reason today everyone was CRAZY.  I found out later- that it was a National Holiday- Teacher’s Day or something.  Anyhow, I encountered numerous drunk people- a high hippie who wanted to impart positive energy to me and a homeless Argentinian lad who was the only one In his right mind to actually receive the magazines.
Tonight we had meeting since the English had their C.O.


I spent the night with Thiane so I went out in Portuguese service with her.  We met an evangelical woman who wanted to teach me rather than listen to sound counsel from the Bible and a sad ex-drug addict for has a disabled son and has spiritism problems.  After unsuccessfully searching for an Italian couple, I sat in on an 85 year old study of Thiane.  All in all it was a good morning.

After service we ate a typical Brazlian lunch of rice, beans and meat and took a much-needed nap.  Thiane called me at 4pm and woke  me up- she had a “present” for me.  Thiane owns a clothing shop next to her aunt’s beauty parlor.  Her aunt sat me down in her chair and washed me hair, conditioned it and blow dried it. Up until this point everything was fine.  Once she pulled out the flat iron- I should have stopped her.  But I didn’t. L She DID not get my hair straight and I had the English meeting to attend in less than 2 hours! After a panic attack I settled for a black scarf. 

Somehow I got compliments at the meeting.  One brother said he liked my “Pirate Look”, I don’t know what that was supposed to mean… shrug
The English meeting was excellent and the Circuit Overseer was from Holland.


Today we went out in Italian service in the morning.  We did addresses and left some magazines at hotels and did return visits.  It was a nice morning.

Lunch was interesting- while I was suggesting $7RL a plate places somehow we end up at the fancy smancy place and guess what gets orderd. FILET MIGNON! I almost hit the floor!  Somehow I didn’t have to pay- but I still shuddered at the thought of how much money just got blown an a random lunch on a Wednesday…sigh…

After I met up with Claire and Alex and Francesco at 4:45pm and we did return visits.  One visit in particular was my UK Missionary from last week!  He buzzed us in…strange.  I go up and he’s at the door with his baby in his arms…he thought we were his wife. NOPE!  But anyways he lets us in and we consider the 2nd paragraph about death and resurrection.  He has the question: how do the ones that get to go to heaven- know that they have that hope.  Great!  I show him the Bible Teach and offer to return to answer his question. One more visit like this and I can count a  STUDY!

Later, we go to a sister’s apartment to consider the Watchtower together.  We leave at almost midnight.  Not only was the study great but the association was even better!  WE shared how we came into the Truth and stories about our home congregations.


Today I ventured on my own to Thiane’s house.  I got LOST. The 30min trip took 90 min!  Finally I reached the supermarket by her house.  WE arrived at the Couple’s School exactly at 8:15am PERFECT!  WE washed and washed dished until lunch.  Then we washed some more!  The experience was great however and I can’t wait to go back next week!

Later, I attended the C.O. visit with the English while the Italians friends had  a CRAB PARTY.  Man was I upset when Naomi forgot to bring my crab home.  Grrr!


This morning we went out to Italian service only to find that it was just Naomi and I.  Therefore, we met with the English who had the C.O.  WE enjoyed a nice morning and 2 sisters and ended around 11am.  I spent the rest of the day chilling… shopping..and cleaning…

We met the Italians at 7:30pm at the beach.  We have a new couple!  Claudio and Sarah from London who are Italian.  They are a young couple who has previously served in Sierra Leone and now are here in Fortaleza for 6 months!  Awesome!!  After 9pm we went to a return visit who part-owns a Pizzaria and enjoyed Fortaleza’s Best Pizza.  IT wasn’t bad.


This morning I worked with a group that did local calls.  Today was a little bit crazy because there was a Catholic concert at the beach so traffic was crazy and people were excited.

For lunch we went to an elder’ house and Naomi made pasta while I made a salad.  IT was delicious!
After we met up for the afternoon group.  I ended up with Alex and Ederlando without a GPS.  After 2 calls- we went to McDonald’s and then gave up on searching for the next address in the dark since it wasn’t in a great area.

We went to a brother’s house after to eat Pastels.  IT was great!

This week was calm cool and collected!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Molto Occupato


Today, we attended the meeting and listened to an exhilarating talk given by our one and only Francesco.  It was great!  After, we enjoyed a Watchtower study consideration from our newly returned elder, Mauricio.  He and his wife just got back from a tour of Italy and France that lasted 3 weeks.  They were celebrating their 25th Wedding Anniversary- how sweet. J

After I skipped out on telephone witnessing (sorry folks) and went to a 1 hr away beach with the sisters from the Spanish congregation.  We enjoyed fried fish and huge waves!
After I returned home and rested up a bit and rejoined the girls at a local beach and we played Mafia.  Guess who was the narrator? Me!  I barely speak either Portuguese or Spanish- but somehow everyone enjoyed the game and they successfully beat the Mafia.

Later I went to work online and ended at 10:30am Monday morning.


Obviously I slept for a bunch of the day.  I managed to make it to the beach for Public Witnessing with Marcia at 4:00pm.  Later Marcia got traded for 1 sister from the English and another from the Italian group.  During all this switching around- I met Benedetto.  He is here on vacation from Italy and I simply said Bouna Sera.  Since I was with the trolley which is stuffed with our publications- he knew why I was greeting him.  What I come to find out is that he prayed to Jehovah that morning for help… Long story short, he used to study and wanted to attend meetings here and had no idea there was an Italian group here in Fortaleza.  I invited him to the meeting and offered to pick him up.  Hope he shows up!  We ended up staying at the beach until 9pm!


This morning we did Italian territory and found an Italian man who’s lived here for 70 year.  Dare I say he’s more Brazilian than Italian?  Turns out that is the case- after a misdirected conversation with Francesco, we leave him with the magazine in Portuguese.  However, the man was very kind and invited us in and attempted to consider chapter 2 of the Bible Teach Book.  (Side note: Don’t ask me why home boy has the Proclaimers Book, Insight Book and loads of our publications in Portuguese, Spanish and Italian, lol)  After service, since we were exhausted from the heat and no-one wanted to cook- we ate at a delicious Sushi Buffet near our home that cost $2.29 or roughly $1USD per 100 grams.  I ate abundantly for about $6USD!  After I went home and napped and was back up by 2:30pm to join a pioneer sister on her studies. 
While waiting for her study who works in a dress-shop the nearby shop-owner from Spain invited us in.  We sat down and chatted about the bible and listened to his reasoning about the human spirit and reincarnation.  He said he would welcome another visit- so we’ll definitely direct the Spanish brothers to him.  After we went to conduct Marcia’s study.  The trouble is- I almost blacked out from I guess heat exhaustion so I ended home by 3:30pm L  I don’t know what happened! But I felt extremely weak, hot, I had a head-ache and my vision went dark.  Obviously I drank water and slept for the next 3 hours straight.  I woke up just in time to do a little Italian homework and head off to the Italian class at 7:30pm.  It was a fun class since we were back up in numbers, last week was 6, today was 10.

After class we enjoyed pizza with the returned coupled from Italy and listened to perfectly timed and much-needed encouragement.  The wife simply asked: “How are you girls doing?  Are you happy here?  Is everything OK?  I know its hard being in a space that’s not your own, do you need anything?”  That’s all I needed to express myself, because while the ministry, landscape and local friends are amazing, I was feeling neither physically well- obviously- nor emotionally well.  *Note* Think carefully before planning an EXTENDED stay in a small space…I know this is all we can afford- but I might work the extra day if I need to – in order to have a just a tad bit more space….if you know what I mean…


Today I had the privilege of working at the couple’s school!  I had the same responsibilities as last time except I knew everyone already so I enjoyed a relaxed and fun work atmosphere with great sisters!  Lunch was stupendous!  Thanks to my little episode yesterday I was told to rest.  So I went outside to sit in a rocking chair to do some Bible reading.  As a result I ended up meeting a special pioneer couple that was visiting the Assembly Hall.  They were so sweet. They were in their 5th assignment and had only been married 8 years.  The sister explained that they both were single-appointed special pioneers from different areas and someone suggested that they meet.  So they wrote letters to each other and ended up getting married and continuing to serve together.  That’s about the most romantic thing I’ve ever heard.
At lunch though, I heard something even better.  A couple who spoke English explained that the brother had made a list and served as a single person up until age 28 in a foreign language field.  When he met his wife who was 10 years older than him, he knew she was the one because she was the list and they dated, got engaged and married within 6 months after having known each other for over 1 year and 1/2.  Now they are together at the Couple’s school awaiting their assignment.  So cute!

Then my friend, who brought me to the School, tells me her marriage story.  She got married at 16- but had already been attending meetings and had gotten baptized while her parents went inactive.  She was basically alone in the truth and was already working to support herself.  Therefore she wasn’t a naive 16 year old but a rather mature one.  She and her husband have 2 daughters serving Jehovah and they now serve in the Italian field, him as an elder and her as a pioneer.  3 very different ways or finding mates and 3 great outcomes. Interesting…

After the school I washed clothes, painted my nails and made a delicious salad with my veggies from last week.  I combined beets, carrots, onions, an apple, honey, vinegar, salt, pepper, olive oil and lime juice and zest for a tasty yet healthy treat.


Thiane joins us this morning and we do territory and return visits.  Honestly something awesome probably happened by I really CANNOT remember!  I only remember leaving magazines at hotels in various languages such as German and English.

Later I met English at 3:15pm.  There were only 2 sisters and they were going to walk to do territory.  Good thing I showed up with the car.  Everyone was not at home or away in their home country today.. WHY??? Between a few addresses we looked at a few apartments- prices ranged from $600RL/month with no furniture to $1200RL with everything (flat screen TV, Panini grill- you name it)…  Finally we reach our last address since it was getting dark.  The address was 1 such and such street with an apartment number.  There was no #1, the lowest number was 31.  After asking at 3 buildings we were thinking to give up…finally at a 4th- a passerby overheard us say the name of the person.  She knew him and pointed out the building across the street- it was number 263…so odd!  Any who, we go and ring the bell- at least the apartment # is the same as what we have written.  A man answers- I take the door because he’s from the UK, a missionary and supposedly nice.  The last time he was contacted was in March by Special Pioneers who no longer serve in Fortaleza.  For whatever reason- I switch up my presentation. Beeepppp.. “Hello.  Do you speak English?  My name is Alana and I am working with a local group that reaches out to foreigners in the area, Do you think you will ever see your dead loved ones again?”  Hey – it just happens to the topic on the back of the Oct. WT.  He says, “1 minute..” Seconds later he appears at the gate.  We consider the 1st paragraph and read all the scriptures.  He asks but where will we be resurrected to?  As his wife and 3 kids pull up- I point out the next sub heading- What will the resurrection be like… He agrees to another visit to answer his question.  Just like that I got my first English speaking visit! How awesome was that!?

After the girls from English head to the beach for night witnessing and I head home.  I have a talk tonight and guess who’s coming to the meeting and needs a ride? Benedetto!  Francesco, Naomi and Priscilla join me to pick him up.  He’s ready with white shirt and tie, clean-shaven and tennis shoes. But he made it!  I give the Number 2 talk and guess what my setting is? Beach witnessing.  Pretty realistic- I think.. Thiane was an awesome house-holder and when I didn’t stick to the script- she kept it going!

During the meeting we have an announcement that Paira Central, our congregation, has received a new special pioneer couple that will be handling the Chinese field.  They are a bright-eyed young couple from Brasilia.  After the meeting they join us for gelato with Benedetto.  Of course we choose an Italian place to satisfy our sweet tooth.  At 11pm or so the couple bids us goodnight as the owner of the place pulls up a chair.  For over an hour we have a bible based discussion all in Italian about the current state of affairs- increase in violence, the economy and overall shift for the worst on a global scale.  At midnight we wave good night and the owner leaves with the brochure A Book for All People.  What an amazingly LONG DAY!


Somehow I actually wake up in time to do service at 8:45.  This morning we hit a gold mine of Italians at an Italian cafĂ©.  We encountered 4 upon arrival.  1 was depressed due to the death of a sibling and was near tears and listened intently to Francesco.  He agreed to attend a meeting and said he would like to receive a visit to speak further.  We noted his residence info and promised to stop by before Sunday.  After we realized that we needed 15 more minutes to make 3 hours.  So what do we do?  We head to the beach.  Literally as we step foot on the beach 2 young Italians walk by… After a pleasant interchange and leaving a tract and a magazine, guess what time it was? 12! Lol

The English group was at 3:30pm and we went on the hunt to find hidden or badly- recorded addresses.  I abruptly had to stop when I received a call from the insurance company for the car that I am borrowing.  They needed to take pictures of the car- so I stopped before 5pm.  After that got sorted out I accompanied Francesco and Alex on a bible study of the owner of the best Italian restaurant in Fortaleza!  Tonight was the 3rd time- you go head Francesco!  After we met the friends at the beach and divided into pairs. I was with Alex and I bought my first Fortaleza keepsake- a huge hammock for only $35RL.  In the meantime we found a few Italians and bunch of misses- sometimes my hunches can be SO OFF. Lol
After service we ate at Habib’s.  A fast-food like restaurant that serves middle-eastern style food and 
burgers- weird combination if you ask me.  I don’t have to do back…L


Today, we had enough people to have 2 car groups!  We do far away territory and don’t find anyone L  After lunch at the Japanese Market, a new photo for my CAN you NAME the FRUIT collection, and a rest we regroup at 3:45pm.  This time we have 10 people wow!  We find an Italian man who owns a restaurant that combines Brazilian and Italian food- definitely made a note to go back- not to preach but to eat.  He was working that churassco like a native and he’s only been living here for 1 and ½ years!  We try to visit the depressed man to confirm for tomorrow’s meeting- but he wasn’t in L  At 7pm we regroup for beach witnessing and we end up eating Subway(not met for crying out loud) and shrimp!! I totally suggested the shrimp!  $12RL for 500 grams of garlic soaked shrimp!! YUMMY! A funny incident was Clea-one of the sister was convinced not 3 but 4x that certain people were Italian- but instead we met people from Sao Paolo, Portugal and Fortaleza! Yikes! Lol

Tonight I will sleep well!  It has been a full week! Only 30 something more days to go!

(Sad note- today I went to wash the car and dropped my Samsung Galaxy in the bucket of water- WHY??) It is resting in a container of rice.  If I can revive it, I can post the pictures from this week!

sisters working at couples school

me and special pioneer I met on my break

food at couples school

lunch at couples school. we get to sit with the couples! and listen to morning worship!

young brother who took the lead in the absence of the couple who usually does
beach day on Sunday

Meeting Thursday night, guess which is my beach buddy...

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Were on FIRE!


Last day of the C.O. visit, so we met as a group in the morning for service. Today I drove and used my nifty map to find the streets! Woo hoo! No GPS needed! They were all not at home- but we were successful.  The only problem was that after service when I decided to “feel” my way home I almost gave the native sister a heart attack because I we took a highway that had NO END and then I had to turn around in a Farvela!  Yikes! But we made it out OK.

After lunch and a nap I joined the sisters in the Spanish congregation for what I thought would be a stroll on the beach, instead we roller bladed at the beach.  Not necessarily my strength- but I survived and made it in time for our evening meeting with the abbreviated WT and encouraging talk from the C.O. (Honestly I am going in English again in a few weeks- because I was lost most of the time).
I started working online at midnight and finished at 8am whew!


I woke up in time to do trolley witnessing with Marcia at 3:30pm.  Today was interesting because we had 3 very interesting interactions.  The first was with 2 young Italian guys from Sardania on vacation.  I was rolling the trolley to sunny spot so the sister and I could take the photos below.  What ended up happening was I walking behind the Italian with the trolley.  So I said in Italian “ Boun giorno.  Non sono segiendo voi, sembra, pero non e vero.”  Then 1 of them turned and said are you speaking to me?  I replied, yes you speak Italian don’t do? (This was all in Italian)  She I parked the trolley and we chatted for a few minutes.  We talked about traveling, Italy America, places he had visited that I hoped, the differences between Fortaleza and Miami, everything except the bible.  That’s why I like the trolley- it’s clear as day who we are.  After a few minutes, Marcia asked him would he like something to read in Italian, he quickly refused and said he knew all about Jehovah’s Witnesses from being in Italy and that he was all good.  That pretty much shut down the conversation, but I can’t remember how but somehow his friend ended up with the Pornography magazine in his hand.  After this I waved goodbye and told them to enjoy their stay here in Fortaleza.  (See Friday to see how this interaction continued…)

Another funny interaction was when the sister went to buy 2 green coconuts for us to drink- a guy passed by the trolley and waved.  I waved back.  He approached me and asked for a picture with me. (In English).  I asked him why?  He then started fiddling with the magazines on the trolley saying he has them at home.  They were September magazines, so I reached into my personal bag and offered him October.  As I was reaching, he ran away!  When the sister returned I remarked that unordinary things always seemed to happen at the trolley when she stepped away lol.

That night I stayed at the beach until 7:30pm when the Italian met up with us.  We preached at the beach until 9:00pm. 


This morning we went out in Italian and did search work near the beach.  We left magazines in the buildings and hotels where Italians lived or would frequent.  On the street I see a foreigner and ask him what language he speaks.  Then I immediately realize that he has an Italian Watchtower in his hand- oh no the only sister have already talked with him! He engages in conversation about being a foreigner here and the low level of security and in general life in Brazil.  Meanwhile the other sisters catch up to us.  Then through conversing he reveals that he has studied the Bible before and was stumbled because someone told him that only baptized Witnesses would be saved in Armageddon.  We compositely share scriptures with him, show him the website, since one sister had her Tablet, and another sister shares her personal experience about when she had stopped serving Jehovah and how she came back…it was amazing!  And the whole conversation was in ITALIAN!  He really was listening and I hope he really examines the scriptures and can come to the true conclusion not just what someone said.  He seemed to be really sincere.

Later, after lunch and a nap I met with Marcia and did her Portuguese bible studies.  Later we had Italian class and although we were only 6- we had a great time.  Naomi upped the ante with a power point based game to help practice feminine and masculine words.  Man, there are so many exceptions!  Whew! And we started the verbs essere and avere and ALL the 16 tenses! Crazy!


Another nice morning in Italian service.  This morning we did weekday not at homes.  We go to one building and the Italian guy is actually home and what’s more, he invites us up!  We meet in the hallway and Francisco starts a study. Just like that! They discussed the entire first chapter of the Require Brochure and read ALL THE SCRIPTURES!  There are 6 scriptures in those 3 paragraphs.  Matteo was super friendly and said that he wanted to continue!  After that experience we were “done” in terms of if everyone else slammed the door on us- we were content.  But the day doesn’t stop there!  We do a call kind of far away in Paira del Futuro- and when we were about to finish I remember a lead that someone at the mall gave us- when we first did census 2 weeks ago.  There was a Pousada called Alegria.  Lo and behold we meet Andrea.  Rough at first but kind in the end.  While he didn’t except anything he invited us for pizza- which we definitely will do! 

Afternoon service was at 3pm- we do 2 hours, and 1 entire hour was spent waiting in the car with another sister. Why? Because Francisco started ANOTHER STUDY with an older Italian man in the Bible Teach Book!  Today we were just on fire!

At the end of the day we go on first night-time outing.  I try for the first time draft wine- it’s a combo of beer and wine that only 1 restaurant has on tap.  It was interesting… J But the Parmesan sausage was definitely on point.  We also met a couple and sister from the Spanish congregation.  Nice way to end a spiritually exhilarating day!


We hit the streets again, and this time we do search work again.  Francisco and I literally encounter Italian after Italian and the majority listened.  He is going to have so many visits and studies- hopefully he won’t leave!  In 1.5 hours we met 6 native Italians.


In the morning we do a mix of Italian and Portuguese.  When Naomi broke off to do her study I visited the local fruit and veggie market.  So much better than the supermarket!  There was so much variety and for  $4.09 I bought a bag of cashews, beets, peppers, and Macaraua (the sleep inducing fruit).
At 12’o’clock we get invited to lunch with an elder and his wife and it was SPECTACULAR!  It was a Rodizio restaurant.  We just did the buffet- but for $2.99/ 100 grams which is $1.35 USD, we ate seafood, salad, sushi, rice dishes, pasta dishes, pickled stuff, fried stuff, you name it they had it!  Then we got to the meats!  I had lamb, sausage and rare meat. SOOO GOOD! Then the dessert cart came- that Cashew cake was sooooo delicious!  After, I barely wanted to go back out- lol.  But I met with the English and drove for them since no one had a car. 

At 7:30 we met with the Italians at the beach and guess who we see basically at 7:30 on the dot? My 2 buddies from Monday.  They immediately approach me and the group and shake hands and introduce themselves. Whoa! I was in shock.  Guess who starts talking about the bible?  The one who rejected the magazines!  He and his friend talk for over an hr!  His friend sort of hung back while Fabio approached me.  He dives into a discussion about why God permits suffering and he wants 5 minute answer.  You know that didn’t happen.  40 minutes into the conversation, I walk over to his friend who had pretty much wrapped up whatever he was speaking about with 2 brothers from our group and I tell him it’s going to be awhile because his friend asked a deep question.  I tell him that Fabio wants to know about suffering, and then he explains to me that it’s the hand on the “Who Really Controls the World” tract.  I was impressed- he had actually learned something well enough to tell others!  20 minutes later Fabio waves good bye and I notice that he has the Bible Teach Book in hand and we overhear his friend ask him as they walk away- so what they say?  They were bound to have some deep conversation later on that night!  Mind you all this was in Italian!  You tell me if there’s need in Fortaleza in Italian or not..


Today was different.  We met at 8am because we actually worked WITH the Portuguese congregation. Why? Because we combined to do census work all together!  With 50 people out- we definitely covered way more than our measly 16.  Later we’ll hear about the ones found from this concerted effort- but I am confident it yielded fruit.  We also were instructed to ask for foreigners in general- not just Italians since we received a couple who are here specifically to start up the Chinese and Korea field! Awesome!

After service we had a “festa” with pasta, guacamole (me), a cake, sausage, rice, a pool, brief samba lessons and lots of laughter and Italian.  It was great!
the fruit of sweet dreams
my treats from the market
elder and wife who invited us to lunch
draft wine
public witnessing
my and CO wife
francesco in service
territory if you look close you can see the ocean

Sunday, October 6, 2013

1 Month Already!

Today we went out in service as usual in Italian.  We found a lot of not at homes, but the work just keeps pressing forward!  At night we did our Watchtowers together at a couple’s house and after we went to a brother’s home who serves a Brazilian treat. It was basically chicken soup over rice.  I thought it was very tasty- and here we met a couple that is very interested in learning and supporting the Italian group.  We invited them to the meeting tomorrow.  Hope they make it!

Today we had a wonderful meeting and we surprisingly had a speaker from Italy.  No-one knew this particular family was in town- we happily accepted the brother’s invitation to give our public talk!  After the meeting we had a small meeting as a group to discuss service plans.  There is a need to do census, so we were trying to figure out days and times.  Basically we have support in the morning but the afternoons when more people are home- we don’t have a carL.  Oh well… After this we went to the beach with the couple who were invited last night! They made it!  We went to Plaia Futuro and enjoyed food and drinks right on the sand and after took a dip into the strong waves!  What a delightful evening!

Today we had service, service and more service.  I did telephone witnessing in Portuguese and we conducted a Portuguese study with a woman who is married to an Italian.  We watched the 1st part of the Guiding Light series.  Cathia had many questions and was amazed to learn that the Watchtower has been in print since 1879!  We have a long theocratic history indeed!  After as we was giving us a ride to our home so did the most incredible and gracious gesture I have ever experienced!  Since she in going to Italy in 2 days and will be gone for a month, she offered us her car to use in the Italian field.  What a blessing from Jehovah!  That was literally just the thing 24 hours ago we were saying that we needed!  We gladly accepted and can’t wait to do more census of Italians in the coming month!

Today was the first day of the Circuit Overseer visit in Portuguese.  So I went out with the English congregation in the afternoon and we had our visit at 7:30pm instead of the Italian class. The C.O. and his wife are from Sao Paolo and boy does he speak FAST!!!  I didn’t understand a thing!  But they seem to be very friendly, zealous and laid-back. 

Today was such a privilege!  I was able to company a pioneer sister to help serve and prepare food for the COUPLES SCHOOL that they are holding here in Fortaleza at the Assembly Hall.  At 6am she picked me up and at 7am we were working!  Our crew consisted of 7 sisters and 1 brother.  For breakfast, we ate bread, ham, cheese, coffee, a cake the brother prepared and Papaya.  Simple yet delicious!  The awesome thing about Couples School is that it is just like Bethel!  So the helpers were able to sit and eat with the couples.  This included prayer and morning worship.  They read the text and 2 people were assigned to give a 1 minute comment.  After eating for a little, we considered a portion of the Year Book.  I met a couple who speaks English! The husband is from the UK and the wife is Brazilian.  They were going to move to Fortaleza to assist the English congregation in our hall, but were called to the school instead!  After the 2 months of intense training, they hope to return to their original assignment.  After breakfast we cleaned and started getting ready for lunch.  We served meat, beans, rice, salad and carrots. Yum!  After lunch I received a tour of the Assembly Hall.  It can seat over 2000 people and next door was the property of a brother whose house they converted into “dorms”.  Here the couples who attend the school stay during their training. 

After the hard day’s work we returned to the city and I picked up the car.  Whoa!  I almost died like 4 times on the short 8 minute drive home!  First of all there are too many 1-ways for no reason! Second, everyone is in the biggest rush!  No wonder Carbone drives the way he does!  No one respects the lanes and stop signs.  After almost having a heart attack I parked the car in our garage and didn’t touch it for the next 2 days!

At night we had an all-girls Watchtower study with the girls from the English congregation.  Afterwards, Naomi made pesto pasta and we giggled until midnight. (Our poor neighbors..)

Today I did service with the Portuguese and the C.O.  We only used the new tracts that we received at the District Convention.  At the last door we reactivated a young man’s study.  Those long 2 hours in the sun were worth it!  In the afternoon I went out with the English.  I took the bus for the first time!  It wasn’t too crazy and I arrived to the group only 5 minutes late.  After service I decided to forego the bus and join the sister’s on their walk to the beach and then catch a bus from there.  That never happened!!! I ended up walking half-running the 45 minute walk home and it was getting dark!  I was so nervous but determined to not give up and hire a taxi.  I made it just in time for a quick shower and then the meeting.  But man did my legs hurt!

The talk was about sleeping spiritually, that’s all I understood lol.  Obviously I will be attending the English C.O. visit in 2 weeks. 

Today we did more Portuguese service.  The last door we met a Universal religion adherent.  The woman was very excited about the Bible and “preached” to us.  After literally discussing Geneses to Revelations my companion left the husband with a question about Daniel’s vision of the statue of the world powers and what each part stood for...that got his attention.  Then, we excused ourselves, since we were there for an hour.  I can’t wait to go back with the sister and see the man’s reaction when he learns about Daniel’s prophecy.  After preaching with this sister, who has been baptized since the 70s I was moved to do more deep research.  What a great example she is!

Later today I joined the English group briefly before attending the Portuguese Pioneer Meeting.  We found a French speaking man at the beach.  Also while waiting I was tempted to buy some Tapioca from the vendor in front of the Kingdom Hall- it’s less than 1 RL for 1!  (That’s less than 50 cents!)
The meeting was great!  I actually was able to take notes.  The C.O. planted the idea in my mind of a sort-of personal territory.  Here they don’t take note-at-homes.  So what you can do is note the houses that were not at home and return the same day at a later hour.  In this way- it’s your personal territory.  I never thought about going back in the same day before.  I will put this into action this week!

After the meeting we did some beach witnessing looking for Italians.  It was a long yet fulfilling day!

Today we met only with the Italian and did far away territory.  During the meeting we were urged to really focus on bible studies.  Since Francisco is with us, practically every door was a potential return visit for him- since our territory is 99% men.  It’s great to have him here- hint hint for any brother who speak Italian regardless of age- there’s SERIOUS NEED here.

After service we decided to continue and do some search work at the mall.  Guess who was the driver? Me!!! Oh Deus!  First, we ate at buffet that was 7RL or $3.18 for a plate that you could stack as high as you could and glass of fresh mango juice.  Of course somehow I manage to choose the one meat dish that is cooked with chicken blood!  Gross!  To avoid compromising obvious Bible principles I got the owner to let me throw it away and I replaced it with yummy sausage!  Then it was off to the mall.  These crazy Brazilians, Thiane to be specific J had me doing all kinds of crazy maneuvers.  One was they had me drive over a highway divider! Mama mia!  At the mall we spend 2 hours looking for Italians.  We found a few leads and Francisco even found 1 guy.   It was fun and a break from the hot sun.

At night we went to a brother’s house that serves Pastel.  Yummy! Yummy!  His driveway and backyard were stuffed with brothers.  At $3RL a pop or $1.36 I couldn’t complain.  I was full from just 1 and a half!  We met many new brothers and sisters and enjoyed the evening.

Beach Day
 Fish we Ate at the Beach
Grocery Shopping with Francisco, Thiane, Vera and Naomi

View from the Bible Study's house who gave us the Car

Marcia conducting her portuguese study

Me at Couples SChool (sorry it's dark)

All girls WT study

NAomi made Pesto
Service during CO visit

Sister I worked with in Portuguese Ministry

Tapioca on the street

Brother frying up some Pastel
The pre-made Pastel

Enjoying the Pastel with Fransisco, Thiago, Alex and Naomi

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Balls Keeps Rolling

Today was awesome!  We did service in the morning and ate and shopped at a Japanese market for lunch.  Here we had sushi, crab, fried cheese, salmon sashimi, you name it, they had it and it was fresh! After we went grocery shopping at the accompanying market.  Here I discovered new fruits and vegetables such as the 2 shown below.  I still don’t know what that green fruit it, but the red and yellow one is cashew (caju), the fruit juice I discovered exactly one week ago, and it’s delicious!  I bought some fresh ingredients for the upcoming week.  After a nap we met the afternoon group.  The first call we go to do is an Italian woman who answers the door in a towel.  She invites us in and we sit and talk for at least an hour.  We drink coffee and share our beliefs.  Literally share.  She’s agnostic and a materialist.  After pleasant conversation and a few scriptures, which she read and compared with her bible and the New Word Translation, we parted ways.  But before saying goodbye she gave us her email to help Naomi teach the Italian course because she has years of experience translating from Portuguese to Italian since she has lived in Fortaleza for 24 years.  This woman has also established 2 schools in Farfalas.  I will try to take a picture of this type of area so you can see.  But it is an area that is very poor and snakes back and forth behind properly built storefronts or housing.  It is sort of an unseen world that is very dangerous and I would not even be permitted to speak English inside of, much less take a picture.  We’ll see what I can manage.  Since it became dark we did one closer visit and then ended for the day.  We received a phone call that Vera and Thiago were waiting for us at our home.  Naomi helped Thiago with his pronunciation since he has to do the reading of the Watchtower tomorrow.  We went out for Gelato after, yum!

Today has been nice and relaxing.  A brother from Bologna gave the talk about God’s eye’s seeing everything.  Very deep!  After we had a festa at Marcia and Dima’s house.  I made my secret punch to share.  Any in my home congregation knows what that entails.  Of course this one was Brazilian style and featured fresh young coconut water, mango pulp and coconut gelato…  We talked and laughed over tons of Brazilian treats, sausage, red meat, rice and beans with cheese, salad, white rice and 2 delicious homemade desserts.  I don’t know all that ate; I just know that I was very satisfied afterward!

Later, in my poor Portuguese I made plans with a delightful couple that is visiting from Sao Paolo to go out to dinner with some in the Portuguese congregation after the meeting.  Here I got to try a Pastel, a Brazilian “fast food” that is like a fried hot pocket that you can fill with all sorts of treats.  For about $3.50 USD you can have a Pastel filled with 3 items, I choose Carne de Sol and cheese only, and a natural fruit juice, I got my Caju! 

Finally a day off! A pioneer sister we worked out in service with on Friday, picked us up at 7am and brought us to the house of a sister who drove us to Beach Park, a famous water-park in Fortaleza.  But we didn’t go to Beach Park; we were right NEXT TO it.  We hung out at a 4 star resort, sun bathed, tested out the strong waves of the ocean, participated in a water-aerobics class and basically chilled ALL DAY.  It was great!  After we went to Tapioca Land, (that’s not really what it’s called).  But it’s a place where there are 20 Tapioca Restaurants all in one area.  I got shrimp and cheese tapioca, Naomi, chocolate and the sister, Tuna. Yum!

Later, we went to dinner at a bible study’s home who is married to an ITALIAN! This was huge because the sister who studies with her has never even met the husband before!  So we were friendly and ended the night on a nice pleasant note!

Back to the hit the street!  Today we had a nice group of Italians out!  We canceled a ton of business addresses and did return visits in the afternoon.  Italian class was at 7:30pm.  Naomi did an awesome job and everyone was so engaged that when the English meeting finished with prayer at 9:15pm- we were still going!  We played a game where we used our homework assignment to find theocratic words for each letter of the alphabet to compete with each other to see who found the most unique words.  My last minute attempt to find words using the Watchtower Library did not help us win. L   Man, did it get competitive!  Also we learned Italian definite and indefinite articles.  Not as easy as in English, I can assure you that!

Today we did Portuguese service and I started a study, this time with a girl!  I used the Good News Brochure and we did the first question about God’s Purpose for the Earth- she chose the topic herself!  Let’s hope I am able to communicate with her as the study goes on!  We ended up at an elder’s home to wash clothes and were treated to a surprise anti-typical Brazilian dinner- SASHIMI!  It was soooooo good and so simple!  We had Salmon and Tilapia! 

Today I did Portuguese in the morning and English service in the afternoon.  Both were great!  In Portuguese we did a lot of businesses and Naomi started her first Portuguese study with a shop-keeper.  Later in English I met a sister from Holland who speaks Dutch and helps out with the English congregation here.  (See there’s need for all language in English because they cover ALL the foreigners.)  A funny story from English service was that the brother asked me if I could speak with a guard in Portuguese to ask for this Dutch guy, and I assured him that I could.  I get to the complex and ask to see Joao Walter.  I ask him several times in fact.  

As I started to get a little frustrated because I’m pretty sure that my pronunciation is pretty good, I find out that Joao Walter is the STREET that we’re on!  Pretty embarrassing, then to make things worse, when he asks what apartment number, I keep repeating 2200, but guess what? That’s the # of the building that we’re at!  I was a hot mess but he took the territory from me and figured out who we were trying to reach.  Whew, just when you think you know a language, the rug gets snatched out from under you!
Tonight at the meeting, I commented for the first time in Portuguese.  Since we only have the Jeremiah Book in Italian I refuse to keep silent for the remainder of the meeting for I got myself together a simple bible-highlights comment and I said it! Ironically it was on 2 Corinthians 10:13, which I’m not exactly applying since we’re preaching in Italian, Portuguese and English lol. J

2 new changes have occurred to allow us to have our own meeting for field service in Italian…Francisco a brother from Napoli arrived and Alex, has moved 13 blocks from the Kingdom Hall, a far cry from the 40 minutes away he used to live.  So we did our own thing today. We did census at 2 shopping malls and found Italians! It was a bit different but fun and productive none the less.  Later we did our usual beach witnessing at night and afterwards got to experience Brazilian Pizza!  Way different than Italian style.  The Brazilians like to heap tons of toppings on their pizza which requires you to eat it with a knife and fork.  Some toppings were egg, ham and cheese, while another pizza had potatoes, broccoli and cheese.  Very tasty!

Italian Homework
Sushi Dinner at Dima's house
Tapioca Place
Resort we hung out at FOR FREE
Festa after brother gave talk
Thiago praticing WT reading
Unknown fruit
Eating at Japanese market
Woman making Tapioca