2/20/14 ~

We've had new visitors in our congregation! They're missionaries...just not the kind we were expecting to see.  Here is a nice experience that I'd thought I'd share with you.

A progressive bible student of a regular pioneer in our hall was getting ready to attend the meeting when a pair of Mormons called on her door. There are many Mormon missionaries here in the Dominican Republic and you see them out and about a lot during afternoon service and at night. The bible student said she was sorry she could not attend to them because she was just leaving to go attend the meeting at the Kingdom Hall. The two Mormon missionaries said that was fine and could they come with her. She agreed and brought them along with her to the meeting. At first, all of us at the hall were a little surprised but as usual, we gave them a warm welcome. My mother and I approached them and learned that they had only been in DR for a year. One of them, from Utah, was so glad we spoke English and all of us chatted until the meeting started. In the meeting, we analyzed the Yearbook and both of the missionaries were so impressed with the number of witnesses in the Dominican Republic (36,000+), seeing as the number of Mormons are only 800 or so. One of them even raised their hand when the conductor asked for comments. After the meeting, we spoke a bit more with them and one of the missionaries mentioned that where he was from (Guatemala) he had hardly ever received visits from the witnesses and he seemed to be very interested. A young brother gave the missionaries a bible and a Bible Teach book.

The next meeting was another surprise, our missionaries came back and brought two more of their friends! The brothers joked that the next meeting there would be eight, then sixteen and keep doubling until the meetings would just be a sea of black and white. They all sat together in the front row and during the Watchtower study, the missionary from Guatemala raised his hand again and this time the conductor gave him a chance. He answered from the Watchtower and even used his own words a bit. We were all very impressed with their interest.

(Here comes the moral of the story!) This is great to remind us to never underestimate someone's interest in the truth just because they belong to another religious group.
Sadly, the number of our Mormon visitors did not double, and we hardly see any of them again, though when we do, they always offer friendly small talk. We did hear that the missionary from Guatemala, who had shown the most interest, had been transferred to Santiago. Nonetheless, we all feel good knowing that a seed has been planted and if any of them has a sincere interest in the truth, Jehovah will take care of it. (1 Cor. 3:6).

So, what do you think about our visitors?

2/12/14 ~

Today's meeting was definitely exciting! We started off our CO visit and the new ASL group officially joined our congregation! 

These pictures aren't really that good, but I was so deathly afraid that the CO (up on the stage) was going to look over at the exact same moment I took out my camera...or that the camera would malfunction and blind everyone with the flash. *shudder*
 The sister who is interpreting is called Denise and she has been with ASL the longest. Before the official class was given, she was hard at work practically leading the small group all by her lonesome. Thankfully, she can let her hands rest because the couple sitting in the front row, now take turns with her signing, though they are learning as well.
Anyway, as you can see the ASL group is really small. Only 12 people (5 are present in the picture), 7 of which are hearing brothers that have come to help out. The CO dedicated part of his talk to welcome the ASL group and basically ordered us to do everything in our power to help the group out. Our CO is very enthusiastic. He also mentioned that there are about 100 deaf people in Nagua, so you can imagine the big job this group has ahead of them. After the meeting, a large part of the congregation gathered around the group to greet them and the visitors got together and decided all our sign names (Mine is the letter K and motioning to my glasses.) A couple of friends and I have been getting together to learn Sign by ourselves since we were not able to take the official class given by the Society so it was fun finally being able to get some real-world practice and trying to have conversations with our new congregation members. We ended up learning a few more signs, too. I plan on joining the group to preach at least once a week, so stay tuned on more ASL adventures.

The CO's talk was very encouraging, the topic being "How to achieve an obedient heart." He gave 4 steps to do this:
1) (1 Thessa. 5:17) Pray constantly.
2) (Heb. 4:12) Meditate or reflect on our daily Bible reading.
3) (Prov. 15:32) Accept and put into practice with humility any advice or censure given to us.
4) (2 Kings 10:15, 16) Endeavor to find friends who love and serve Jehovah. Which plays on the advice given to us in Prov. 13:20.
Pretty good stuff, eh?

He also shared some congregation stats. Nagua has been growing fast! We had 65 publishers and a max. attendance of 99 for his last visit, now we have 82 publishers and today's attendance was 130! We have 6 new publishers and 2 new regular pioneers which makes 23% of our congregation pioneers. We also have 131 bible studies being conducted! So, all of you out there reading this, come and visit and join in on the boom.

OOOooh, last thing before I go to bed, at the meeting we heard news of the new tract campaign going to take place in August. A brand new tract called (keep in mind, I'm translating) "Where to find the answers to the big questions of life?" will be distributed and the Governing Body has set the goal that, with the campaign, August will set a new service record of all time! It really is exciting to see how quickly Jehovah is moving the organization along!

Okay, I lied. This is the last thing. I just checked jw.org and read the new article about how now our beautiful site is available in 300 languages! That tops Wikipedia by 13. And not only that but jw.org ranks second on a popular global internet tracking site in the religion category. Just imagining all the hard work our brothers put into translating and writing the 200,000+ pages jw.org has to offer, exhausts me. No other organization in the world comes close!

That's all for now! Good night!

2/11/14 ~
This day has been kinda slow, there is a huelga (strike) today and tomorrow and the elders mentioned, in the meeting on Tuesday, that it's wise to stay at home (Prov. 22:3). Not that there are riots in the street...but it's better to be safe than sorry.
So, since today is a slow day, I wanted to share a little more detail of where I am living.
After seeing that the Society was giving a lot of emphasis on passing on to Macedonia and serving where the need is great. My family and I decided to move to the Dominican Republic to increase our service to Jehovah. Why did we choose DR? 1) We knew there a was a lot of need here and 2) my father is from the country and we thought that would help us adapt easier. We moved here on the first of September of 2011. After staying two months in Yuna (more on that place later), we moved to San Fransisco de Macoris, about forty-five minutes from where I am living now. S.F.M is considered to be the third biggest city in the island, though it's not much more than a large town, no skyscrapers or anything. S.F.M is home to 20 congregations, 2 of which are foreign language (ASL and Haitian Creole). We stayed in S.F.M for two years, while we adapted and learned how things work on the island (Though my father is Dominican, needless to say, things had changed a lot since he lived here 30 years ago). A couple of months ago, our CO approached my dad and suggested we move here to Nagua, where there was more need with only two congregations and a whole lot of territory.
So here we are! I have to say I like Nagua much better than S.F.M, it is much cleaner and less boisterous than S.F.M. But the general attitude of the people are the same as everywhere I have been in Dominican Republic, eager to listen to the good news. The majority of people here a very religious and are always ready to escuchar de Dios (listen about God). They almost always invite the witnesses in and pull out plastic chairs for us to sit on. They will often offer something to drink, which is highly appreciated with this heat, and a few brothers have even been "forced" to have a lunch. Jehovah's name is everywhere here, on trucks, public buses, law firms... all in all, it is a treat to be able to speak to these people so interested in spiritual matters.
The congregation in which we are assigned to has 82 publishers and 19 regular pioneers, which is nowhere near enough to cover the immense territory we have. Also, starting this week, we have the new ASL group joining us on our Wednesday meeting, so expect to hear about that group many times in the future.
Well, that's all for now!

With my few several attempts to start a blog, I have learned that first posts are extremely awkward. I have no idea what to say, I don't know whether to jump right into things or to repeat what I wrote in the About Me page. So, I'm just going to get this post out of the way and just say hello to anyone out there that is reading this. Hope you stick around.
<3 Kat

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