Hi everyone! It's been a while, but things have been crazy busy here in Nagua. Between all the usual day to day craziness, we've had our assemblies (English, Spanish and ASL) almost back to back, the ASL language class in in full swing and we've had a couple of new people, some visitors and some coming to stay, to help out. So time has been tight.

But that's not what I want to talk about today. Today, I'm going to share one of the highlights of my week. This is Oliver.

Oliver is the son of one of the more progressive Bible students in Nagua and he's 5 years old. Denise (my ASL preaching partner) has been studying with him for a while but now, he's invited his friends over. Now, Denise and I regularly study with 3-5 children a week and we've really been trying to amp up the studies to make them really memorable for the kids. Denise usually studies a lesson with the kids, and while she goes and studies with Oliver's mom, I think up a cool related activity to do with them.
I've gotten a lot of my ideas and activities from the awesome children's section on jw.org. I really did not know what amazing resources we had available for the kiddies, until I started exploring it for these kids. Since the youngest in my family is 13, the only time we ever venture into the children's section is when a new Caleb video comes out (no age is too old for Caleb and Sophia cuteness). So, I'm thinking I'm going to try and share the things we do each week, since I've also gotten a lot of my ideas from what other friends do with their children on family worship night, so maybe these ideas be passed along or serve as inspiration.

Two weeks ago, we decided to a lesson on sharing. We planned to watch the Caleb video and then cut out the car printables on jw.org, but when we got to Oliver's house, instead of the 3 kids we had studied with the week before, we now had 6. But we only had 3 car cut-outs, so we made a quick trip to the colmado (small general store) and bought some pieces of computer of paper, pasted them together, got some crayons out and let the kids make a track for the cars to run on, just like Caleb and Sophia in the video. The kids had a blast and they even had a little hand-on practice with sharing, since there were only a limited amount of art supplies.

With their finished work! 

Thanks to another needgreater blogger, I discovered this great website today, called Needgr8r.com. As you can probably tell by the name, the site's purpose is helping needgreaters get to their chosen assignments quicker, stay longer and be more productive.

Most needgreaters are always on the look out for online work. Though traveling back and forth between two homes might work for some, it can be tiring. Besides that, it is tough finding someone to take care of your bible students while you're gone, and no one really wants to leave their bible students for half a year. Teaching English online is actually something many needgreaters do here in DR, but not everyone has that option. But this site, needgr8r.com, may help them out with that.

For those who are familiar with sites like Odesk, this is basically the same thing, only it's run by JWs and made for just JWs. It is place that connects people looking for work with people who need work done.

There are three main categories to this site:


If you're a needgreater looking for freelance work, all you have to do is set up a profile with a brief review of your qualifications of whatever you are choosing to do and either wait for someone, that is looking up your area of work, to contact you or search the "find work" page (as seen above) and find something to apply for.


But, you might be looking for someone to get a job done instead. For this, after logging in, all you have to do is click the blue button on the top right corner of the screen, "post a job" and fill in the form with all the necessary information and wait for a needgreater to contact you. You also can go to the "find freelancers" page and either look for individual freelancers under "services" or look for online businesses that are owned and operated by needgreaters under "markets". 


 The "needslist" I find especially cool. It's sort of like a JW craigslist. All those little blue circles on the map are listings for various things. For example, there are three listings right now in the Dominican Republic. One is looking to buy a jeep in Rio San Juan, another is looking for roommates to move in with in Sosua and the third is looking for someone to housesit a 3 bedroom house in Jarabacoa for the months of March and April (Note: This is actually sounds like a pretty good opportunity for anyone wanting to try out the needgreater life for a couple of months. There is a lot of need in Jarabacoa.)

I think needgr8r.com is one of the best ideas I've heard in a long time but the problem is the site is still relatively new and not a lot of people have heard of it. Right now, there are about 100 needgreaters from all over looking for work but there are currently only 17 job listings. See the how that might not work?

So, to quote the website itself "Want to learn a new language, hobby or musical instrument? Need help with your accounts, formatting documents or writing reports? Do you or your children need tutoring in math, science, or computer skills? Could your business use admin assistance or other skills? Would you like help with personal items? A one time job or a few hours a week is very helpful to serving in foreign assignments, so learn more, post a job, and support a needgreater".

So, things have been keeping pleasantly busy these days. With the ASL class, two beach trips, the Visit to Bethel Headquarters special day on the 14th (is that how it's called in English?) and the circuit assembly, there will a lot to blog about.

One thing that I must blog now is something cool that happened last week. For about three weeks, there has been a local radio station running a talk radio program with the theme "What is the Bible's view on true Christians being involved in politics?" and apparently the host has been interviewing various pastors and religious leaders of the more popular religions in this area. So, we got our turn on last Monday. The host asked for someone to represent Jehovah's Witnesses on this topic and Bethel sent Brother Genao, a special pioneer who was actually one of the first brothers I met in DR, to do so.

It was an excellent discussion that lasted about 45 minutes and I later learned that the host cut out all the commercial breaks in the hour so our brother could have all the time he needed to explain the Bible's viewpoint.

Some of the questions the host asked were:

Since David, Daniel and Joseph all held positions of high authority in the political scheme of their time, does this mean that God approves of his people being involved in politics today?

If God used kings and politically involved people to carry out his will in the past, does that mean that he will use a true Christian, place them in a political position, use them for purpose and therefore, unite religion and politics?

The word "politics" does not appear in the Bible, but the words "kingdom" and "government" do, what is the difference between the two?

Why do god-fearing people or true Christians take the initiative, seeing how the world is today, to better the world now?

What is the official stand of Jehovah Witnesses about true Christians getting being involved in politics?

Brother Genao gave an excellent witness. My two favorite texts that he mentioned and that I felt especially drove the point home were 2 Samuel chapter 8:7, where Jehovah tells Samuel that Israel had rejected him because they were asking for a king and John 6:15, where Jesus, knowing that the people were about to make him king, left to the mountain alone to get away. These two texts really make it clear how both Jehovah and Jesus feel about politics.

Appropriately, January's magazine talks about the difference between human government and God's kingdom, so we are all armed and ready for the repercussions this radio interview might have. Hopefully I'll have some good experiences to blog about soon!

Hi everyone,
So a lot has happened since my last post, per usual.

First off, how about that yearbook?!! I was extremely excited when I saw the release on jw.org, no one, at least those who I know, knew that the yearbook was going to be about us this year and it was a wonderful surprise. I started reading it immediately...well, after flipping through the book to see if there was anyone I knew in the pictures...and it was amaaaaazing. There were so many encouraging an, frankly, jaw-dropping experiences and there was a really nice section dedicated to the foreign language fields here too, especially ASL and Creole. I'm just sad that the yearbooks now are only about half the size the use to be. I could have definitely gone for a couple more pages. 

Everyone in the Nagua ASL group and the friends who support it were very excited for page 136. I mean, look at that! Look at us being in the yearbook like that! We're an orange dot! 

Oooh, I have to tell you about ASL. I have been supporting the ASL group lot more lately and most recently, I have become a groupie. 

A groupie, you ask? Well, in an effort to bring more attention to the foreign language field, our Spanish CO, invited the ASL group to follow him to wherever congregation he might be that week on Saturdays and then the group and the whole congregation would do census.
See, we have a pretty good idea of the number of deaf persons in Nagua and surrounding campos but the territory for Nagua's ASL group is huge! The first week of the CO's arrangement, we visited the Rio San Juan congregation about two hours away by car and that's not even the farthest point of the territory. 

So every Saturday for a month now, I have been joining the group and we have been following the CO wherever he may go, censing the territory and finding deaf everywhere. We're thinking of getting t-shirts made: "P. CUEVAS DR TOUR" (P. Cuevas is our CO, btw). The efforts have definitely payed off though. In Rio San Juan, we found10 new deaf persons, in Payita, we found 5 and in El Factor we found 3. (I did have to skip the second week, when the group was schedueled to go to Cabrera, because of my Circuit Assembly) And besides finding new deaf, we teach the local congregation how to census, how to get the information we need for the territory when they find deaf persons and even little Sign. 

It's been really fun getting to visit different parts of the island and meeting new brothers and sisters, but that is not all that is happening with Nagua Sign. Exciting Thing #2 is that the group got assigned a Special Pioneer couple, bringing the official member count to 6. The Rogers are originally from the States but they had been serving for the past 5 years in DaJabon, which right on the border with Haiti, taking on the deaf territory there by themselves. They are a great and welcome help to the group and incredibly encouraging. Expect more on them later. And Exciting Thing #3 is that the ASL language course is coming to Nagua the week after Valentine's Day and I'm taking it along with my family and about 7 brother from the Nagua Spanish congregation. So definitely expect more about that later. 

On the Spanish side of my ministry, I am also doing well. I just started a Bible study with a old revisit who had disappeared on me for a while because of crazy job hours. After trying to reach her for a couple of weeks, I wrote her a letter and slid it under her door as a last effort. But it worked and a couple days later, she got in touch and we are now studying the BT book at her place of work. I also just found a promising revisit thanks to JW.org and Caleb. I definitely need to be using that website more often, it is literally a gift from God (really is).

Well, that's whats been going on and probably a whole lot of other things that I can't remember right now, but things are only getting started for this new year. We have the Spanish CO visit coming up in a week and the Special Bethel Headquarters Visit (have absolutely no idea what it's called in English, help me out?) and another circuit assembly in a month and the ASL class and a whoollleeee lot of preaching. Busy, busy, busy. But staying busy in Jehovah's service is the best kind of busy there is. 

:) Kat

Hello everyone, it's been too long :)
For those who asked, I'm doing fine, my family is doing fine and everything is a-ok and busy as usual here in the Dominican Republic.
So, I never thought keeping up a blog would be something particularly hard for me to do, but it turned out to be so. I just never seem to get around posting anything, either because of time or writer's block or just because I'm feeling just plain lazy (I know, shame on me, haha). So, I'm going to realistic and tell you that you are probably not going to see a post here again any time soon.  Update: I talked myself out of giving up the blog. The wonderful new yearbook made me want to give this another try. (I know, I'm a mess.)
I received some messages from some readers during the writing gap, which to be honest made me feel kind of good, haha. So, I now know that actual people read/stumbled upon this blog and if they would like to know what I'm up to, you can follow me on Instagram @katy_taco (don't laugh).
I've had Instagram for a while and it's sort of empty ( I think I'm just not good at updating things in general) but lately I've been adding some pictures. So, again, if anyone wants to see what I'm up to here in DR, feel free to check my "mini-blog" out. I promise interesting pictures of campo days, trilingual service days (spanish, creole, chinese), everyday ministry and congregation beach trips that will make you want to come visit me :)


Sooo, I've been sitting on this post for a while, never getting around to sitting down and typing it out or having the patience of dealing with our injured-turtle-speed internet connection. The last post I wrote about our ASL group (of 4 publishers) was two CO visits ago and A LOT has happened since then. Unfortunately, after the initial newness of the group wore off...Nagua congregation wasn't supporting it the way we should have. It mostly had to do with the fact that no one from the congregation had taken the ASL course and the majority of the congregation did not feel qualified to preach or help out with the ASL group. Our poor ASL group publishers had a lot to do and all our their own. Brother Encarnación and his wife quickly fixed this issue, though. Brother Encarnación is our second CO (we are so cool we get two COs!) especially assigned to our ASL group but the whole congregation greatly benefited from his visit.

On Thursday of CO Week, he gave a special talk, the topic being "How do we see our deaf brothers?”. The talk focused on how the Nagua congregation is like the ASL group's mother and has to support the group just like you have to give attention to, spend money on and feed a newborn baby. Likewise, Nagua had to give "attention" and "feed" our ASL group by preaching with the group, giving bible studies, helping out monetarily when the groups need TV repairs, etc.

He also talked about helping out with the attendance for the Sunday ASL meetings. This can be a little difficult since the Spanish meeting is on Saturday and many brothers set Sunday apart as a day to preach. But Brother Encarnación, stressed the importance of the attendance at the meeting which at the moment was only about 10, and how it not only encouraged our visitors but also our hardworking ASL group publishers.

This CO visit was exactly what the congregation needed. Brother Encarnación's talk and encouragement during the week was like a jump start to the congregation's heart (Aren't Jehovah's arrangements just perfect?). The following Sunday, which is the ASL Public Talk and Watchtower Study, had an attendance of 50 (!!!!) with 14 deaf, my bible study among them.

The 14 deaf that came to the Sunday Meeting

All of us 50 in attendance. 


I was really excited. My first time bringing a bible study to the kingdom hall and she being deaf! Remember Denise, the sister from my first ASL post? I've been going out with her every Tuesday for 9 hour service days (something I never thought I'd say) to visit all the deaf studies she has and sometimes to census of the area for about 2 months now. (I'll post more about ASL Tuesdays later). The very first day I went out with her, Denise gave me one of her return visits, crossed her arms, zipped her lips and left me to my own defenses and Charade skills  -talk about jumping right in!-  The return visit and now bible student's name is Lisbeth and she's 13. We are a funny pair because I don't know any sign and neither does she! In fact, that very first time I went to see her, Denise had taught me some animal signs so I could teach them to Lisbeth by pointing it out in My Book of Bible Stories.

When we went to go see her Lisbeth's aunt (who she lives with) was asking us why didn't we talk to her in Spanish. Denise explained to her that we were trying to help her learn to communicate. Lisbeth might know a little lip reading, but she really does not communicate with her family anywhere near the amount a 13-year old girl would want to. Lisbeth's family has a problem that a lot of family's with deaf children have here in DR. They refuse to see reality. They want so much to believe that their child is "normal" that they go on through life talking to a child that can't hear them. I met this one deaf girl that told me that her mom would go to the store and maybe tell her that she's leaving or whatever else. She told me (well, signed and was interpreted to me) "My mom forgets that I can't hear. I nod when I see her lips move but I really don't have any idea of what's she saying!" Another big problem here in DR is that people don't treat deaf as people, Sometimes even the family forgets the name of the deaf member! Everyone calls them "El Mudo" or "La Muda" (The Mute) and no one pays much attention to them.

Although obviously this is not the case for all the deaf, these two issues make it easy for a deaf child to grow up with very little communication skills. What's worse is that there is no school in Nagua that teaches deaf children past 3rd grade. Most of the adult deaf in the area grew up together and developed their own form of "street sign" but my bible student is the only teenage deaf in town.

But her intelligence makes up for her lack of communication skills. She learns the signs I teach her quickly and has almost memorized the alphabet and right now she's almost got her name down pat! name. Don't get me wrong: teaching ASL and Bible to a deaf person when you don't know almost any ASL yourself is hard and can leave you feeling helpless at times, but it's totally worth is when, after trying to sign something a million different ways, you can see that the person finally gets it.
Anyway, back to the congregation....we are all really fired up. My mother has started a bible study with one of our close neighbors, Elba. (She's in the bright blue leggings in the picture of the Sunday meeting.) And more brothers and sisters are supporting the group publishers by going out to preach with them and helping out during meetings, like manning the projector and DVD player. And every Friday, a group of 20 or so, meet at a Brother's house and prepare comments for the Watchtower study. We all chose a paragraph, learn the signs for the ideas we want to say and practice signing in front of the group. It's a lot of fun and is a great way to keep the group motivated.
ASL is on a roll!


On our last Friday meeting, Brother Mendoza, the elder in charge of the group, read this article from a 2012 Watchtower: What Did I Get Myself Into? . I find it to be a great source of encouragement for anyone wanting to serve anywhere or any language where the need is greater.

I've been a terrible blogger and I don't even want to calculate how many days it has been since I posted anything. So I wont. Instead, I'll tell you about the DR's new favorite conversation topic: the Chikungunya.

This might sound like a tasty Asian chicken soup (I mean, that's what it sounds like for me) but in reality, it's a nasty virus, close cousing to Dengue fever, that is sweeping through the Caribbean and is causing a bit of commotion in the Dominican Republic. 

It's trasmitted by mosquito bite - which is wonderful, because there are absoutely no mosquitos in DR (note my sarcastic typing). Really, we're in the middle of the rainy season (a.k.a mosquito season) and everyone seems to have gotten this virus. Those who have escaped it so far (like me) are just patiently waiting to start feeling the pain. There is no vaccine and thankfully, it's not fatal, but the symptoms are chronic fatigue, constant nausea, weird rashes, high fever, dizziness and disorientation and a whole lot of joint and back pain. So, whoever gets this will be sitting out service for at least two weeks, which is why I really, really, really, REALLY cannot get sick with this. I'm the tiniest bit behind on my hours and well...excuse me as I reapply my mosquito repellent. 

Now, pickup trucks are driving all over town fumigating. But then again, I don't know what's worse, the actual disease or the fumigating. It literally leaves me speechless seeing these trucks on the road and the motorists getting lost in the billowing white smoke clouds of mosquito-killing poison on the streets, disappearing in the cancer clouds. Don't know why I'm surprised really, Public Health isn't exactly #1 on DR's list of priorities...or #35.

On the bright side, this Chickungunya is a great conversation starter out in service. Most of the people either think this is the 11th plague from God or that the U.S government secretly covered the Dominican Republic in an airborne death cloud to murder all Dominicans. Though I'm not sure why the U.S government would do this, it's a great chance talk with the householder about Daniel 2:44 and how God's Kingdom will get rid of all those sneaky, murderous governments. With the householders that believe the Chickunguya is a divine punishment, we read James 1:13 and Ecclesiastes 9:11 and either conversation ties into how Jehovah will soon get rid of all sickness and what we should have to do to enjoy the future life that the Bible promises. 

A count three days ago states that there have been 5.000 confirmed cases of the Chickungunya virus in the Carribbean with new cases being reported in Haiti, the Dominican Republic (oh, goody.) and now Cuba every day. Things are a bit crazy...the Chickingunya here in the Carribbean, the Ebola outbreak in Guinea  ....everyday the words of Luke 21:11 are becoming more and more real. Won't it be great when "no resident will say: 'I am sick."? (Isaiah 33:24).

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