Sunday, April 29, 2012

Jam Packed Goodies

CIAOZITT EVERYBODY (our newest Italian Pidgin word) ! Ok, I had no idea what to call this Blog so I just went with that :0 . Your probably like what?! Huh? Or Aha! Exactly! Ok, who knows- There has just been so much going on EVERY SINGLE DAY we're here, and it's Greaat! It seems like just a few days in time, are weeks that have went by. And really- this week IS just Jam Packed With Goodies! So I've been trying to figure out a way to explain....or at least try to tell you just what's been going on here & what's coming up.... & came up with the idea of making a video/ and Blog mix up.... So I got an app on my IPad, and here's what I came up with, kinda an experiment, something a little different from what I've been doing-Hope you enjoy!!!.........

.....And Coming Back from there was just the beginning to a Jam Packed Goodies week......

Reason 1= We have our Circuit Overseers Visit! (Brother and sister Hodson, he is originally from Newcastle, England. Very cool and encouraging couple)

A) Had the privilege of hearings his talks.

B) Had the privilege to go to some special meetings.

C) Got assigned to work with him in service! ( Was nervous, yet so excited. I got to ask him personal questions about staying to serve here....which I will talk more about in another Blog...Anyhoo!)

D) Got invited to brother Humbles house to eat (African food, cheehee!) with brother and sister Hodson

E) As a family ( 5 Bruddahs of Casalecchio, yes Trevor you are one of da Bruddahs too) we got to feed the Hodsons yesterday! And I must say.... It was really good food! Some Shoyu Chicken, Grilled Salmon fillets, Rice- (Yes Hawaiians Rice!), and fresh Veggies. It was a lot of fun, and I must say we really got to know each other better (Hodsons and us)

F) Last night, Friday was our Public Talk and Congregation Bible Study! Yes , on the same night - Why?.............

Reason 2 for a Week of Jam Packed Goodies= Tomorrow is Italia's Zone Visit!!! How Awesome is that!

Had our last morning of field service with our Circuit Overseer today, and now I'm on the bus approaching my stop to home sweet home... and am I Stanko (no not stink, it means tired....ok maybe small kind stink too)! Anyways more updates to come very soon...& oh yeah next week will be a very exciting Jam Packin Goodies Week again! If you have any questions or suggestions on what I should post feel free to tell me in the comments part of this blog. Aloha!

(Written Saturday 04/28/12, but my iPad wasnt working properly so updated now )

Oh yeah, and it's HOTT here now! Weather totally just changed on us! And we got da newest Hawaiians in - CHEEHEE!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Welcome to My Next Chapter

"If a chapter is finished, then the next is NOW being written." The culmination of these past 4 weeks to the "T" -here in Italy, has journeyed me to this thought. And what a journey its been. So much has happened, did happen, & does happen every day.

So pack your bags, and come journey with me... as we see the conclusion to chapter one, of our Journey here, the beginning to something new....

First of all, the worst part about having friends, is having to leave them - or as I've found even worse, seeing them leave. I can see how hard it is for the congregation here to see new faces, make lifetime friends, and have to see them leave. This past Tuesday marked the day for 5 of our brothers and sisters from Hawaii, to go home. The interchange of encouragement felt here in Bologna because of their love and willing spirit of service to Jehovah brought much hugs and tears to us all. They were interviewed in the announcements on their last Service meeting last week, on what being here did for them, which was very enncouraging. Seeing the congregations reaction proved this. Being all here together for our first 3 weeks , started this Journey Amazingly. Micah, Stetson, Cooper, Joy, & I'moani , we will miss you ALL very much.

In the ministry I had a great 2nd study with Obinna. I decided to use the "Listen To God brochure" for our studies. What a simple and effective tool Jehovah has provided us with! After going over lesson 1, we were able to cover how bible studies on a one to one basis is NOT the only way to listen to God, but at our meetings too. Well he understood, because the very next day he attended our Wednesday night meeting! He has been regular to our Wednesday night meetings! This had brought me much joy to see.

Hmm, ok what else has been going on...?? Well, we had a fun time last weekend in Rome. Being where there was so much ties to so much bible hisory was pretty amazing. Oh, yeah & as of this past Tuesday, we've had a new addtion to our crew- Meet Luke everybody, a pioneer brother, also from Oahu. We've known each other for a long time, but its the first time we get to travel together, and are already getting to know each other on a different level (there's a picture of him at the end of this Blog). Good to have em' up here! I also got my haircut for the first time, from my good Chinese friends I went to last time- for only 8 euros, with shampoo! Another place wanted 25! So stoked about that! I gotta save money...

Finally, tonight will mark the start of moving back into the "Casalecchio House". Its the same house that I lived in last year. Currently, we are living with an awesome brother, who really showed us the Christian Love & hospitality by opening his home to us. We nicknamed him "The Moke" (for those of you from Hawaii you'd understand how funny it is) , and as you can see in this picture, I had the perfect shirt to give him! Thank you Burgo, you really made the start to our trip a great one! We'll be moving in with my two good friends, who are also here to preach Zech and Trevor. You'll find their websites at my links to the left as well. This next month really will be a whole new experience, a whole new chapter already being written as I write these words.

One of my favorite scriptures is in Lamentaions 3:22,23 where it says "It is the acts of loving-kindness of Jehovah...because his mercies will certainly not come to an end. They are new each morning." Yes, all thanks to Jehovah, we are able to wake up to so much new blessings each morning. All thanks to him , new journeys await, new experiences, new people, new chapters begin. Welcome to chapter two of my adventure here....

.......... And this is da new crew!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Most Important Day of the Year

HELLOOO EVERYBOODY!!! What an exciting, and emotional past week this has been for us as Jehovahs servants. So, two days ago on April 5, 2012- was our memorial, the most important day of the year. How was your memorial??! Awesome I'm sure. This was my first memorial in another country, and my first away from my home congregation. And it was AMAZING....

Well let me start off by saying the attendance for last years memorial here in Bologna was a good 74. That's great, knowing the congregation has 38 publishers. And keep in mind, that attendance was last year...before the refugee camp greatness all started. Well ladies and gentleman, brothers and sisters, how much did we have this past thursday?? ....... 135. YUP! That's more than 3 times the amount of publishers in our congregation. All thanks to the return visits and studies that came! That's almost double the amount of last years attendance!!

In the picture here to the right, you'll see my study Joseph, the first man I studied with from the refugee camp this past July. I was SO very happy to see him. He started by saying "I told you I was going to come!" Haha! He sat next to me in the first row. Here's what he said after the memorial....

There were so many studies and new faces there. It was encouraging to see how Jehovah has really blessed the congregation here in just one years time. How much work there is yet to do, and how Jehovah is really gathering a great crowd right as we near the very end.
As I walked outside the hotel of where our memorial was held to use the restroom, I saw a man standing there intently looking over to where we had our memorial, to where everyone was happily hugging and talking with one another. He was African. I had to go to the restroom, and didnt talk to him though. So as I'm in the restroom, it kept bothering me that I hadn't talked to him! So, I told myself, I would if he was still there. I quickly ran back to where he was...and he was there! Turns out he hadn't come to our memorial. He was from Ghana, and was very impressed to learn that we had those from Ghana, Nigeria, as well as other parts of Africa, with those from America, Germany, etc. there. He said "Its very nice to see blacks & whites together." I was able to tell him this event was all over the world, and that Jehovahs Wittness serve unitedly. I quickly grabbed an invitation and April Watchtower, and invited him to the special talk this sunday. He told me he couldn't make, because he was a professional soccer player on the Bologna team (staying at the hotel) and that they had practice. So, I told him about the bible study arrangement, and he wanted my number. AWESOME!.... The trippy thing, that I realized only later, was that when I was here last year I talked to him! Talked on the bus, and he was not interested. I remember because of the fact that he was on the soccer team here. But because of what he saw tonight, he was interested. AMAZING! So cool Jehovah let me see that! A GRREEAATTT night indeed.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Glimpse of A Missionary Life

Today was such an AMAZING day...period. I had a new study for the first time named Obinah. He is the first study I ever had at the "lower" refugee camp (Here in Bologna we refer to the camps as the upper and the lower, for the upper is on the top of a mountain and overlooks the city). We met him in a beautiful park across the street from the camp to study on a bench. I studied with him using the Listen to God brochure, talking about the memorial and why we should appreciate it. We got into very deep subjects as he asked very deep questions about other observances like easter and christmas, why did his church observe such, the history of such, who should partake of the memorial emblems, who is the 144,000 -just to name a few. After a great, solid, mind picking (talking about MY mind) study he left... and we stayed on the bench....waiting for the next man I would study with Chidi.
Once again explaining the usual important things PLUS many mind picking questions raised, like how do we know the 144,000 did not all go to heaven already? Explaining why he can't go to heaven, about what was the passover, how does he know if he is going to heaven or not. We sat on that bench studying in that park from the morning to afternoon for about 4 hours straight all together.... straight studying. Whew was I tired, and it was cold studying outside maybe in the 40s(f)...& hungry. But so worth it.
Then right after meeting for service - straight to another study, but got something to eat. Conducted one more study with a man named Daniel, we met in a warm mall and studied on a bench in there. His reading comprehension was not the best, so it was a good training for me to really try and explain things in a new simpler way. Gotta admit it was draining, but SO SO in a GOOD way. Especially since he is a very new study, explaining deep things without a foundation really calls for simplicity. He also asked questions like "Is it a crime, since my church in Nigeria observes this every week?" very sincerely. And also asked about other holidays like Easter.
Well after doing the full basic memorial study with him, plus answering his questions, it was evening time already, & I was drained... with a huge smile on my face! And in talking after studying with each of them, it sounds like all 3 men will be coming to the memorial! I told them I will be saving them a seat next to me! I just stayed out a whole day conducting 3 bible studies on very deep subjects- one after the other, with all very sincere, very appreciative, very sheep like men. I think this is how it feels to be a Missionary! To just constantly study with one person to the next, its tiring yet so satisfying and refreshing. For real, this is the life!

And..... Here's a random shot of Erik and me right now, haaa!

Goals. (written 4/2)

As a "Mother tongue" speaker of english, when we came here to Bologna, the brothers said they would use us to the full, and " squeeze us" so to speak for meeting parts. Coming here last year as ministerial servant I was given parts I had never done before, pretty much every type of part except that for elders...and public talks. The other brothers here were being sent all over Italy to give outgoing talks. I was not sent because I had not given one yet at my home congregation. Being that english is the foreign language, brothers that can give talks here are not many, so they are definitely happy to see a new face. So it was my goal to go home, ask my elders about it, get an outline, & put together a talk so if ever I came back to Bologna- I could be further used in this way. As of February 12, I did my first public talk on "What Is your Standing with God?".

And as of yesterday Sunday April 1st I gave my first outgoing talk ever, my second talk of my life, reaching my goal! I was sent to a city named Modena, known for Balsamic vinegar. It was such an amazing experience. The congregation there consisted of mostly africans and had about 110 in attendance. One of the bigger attendances in Italy. Some of the friends with me in Bologna came to support, which made the experience even better. The congregation was so appreciative for us coming, and really showed a brotherly love. After the meeting , we were invited to a nice gathering at a beautiful park where we got to talk more, and eat great African food! Check my pictures at the link to the left, to see more.

I almost didn't give the talk because this whole past week I wasn't feeling well with a real bad cough. But I was so close to reaching this goal I was determined to give it. Just prayed and left it in Jehovahs hands, and he helped me. What's nice, is when you give a talk and someone tells you how a specific point you said was just what they needed to hear. That's what makes it all SO worth it. Goal reached! Never thought my first outgoing talk would be in another country!

Monday, April 2, 2012

1st study - "Upper Camp"

I'm still not feeling the greatest, and its gotten colder here in Bologna and I wasn't going to go out in service today , but I did. And I'm so glad I did, because it was very productive! I met up with Zech & Trevor , and we all went to the "Upper Camp" for studies. Trevor found his study Taiwo.
Zech had a great study in the new listen to God brochure with his study. And I was able to study with the man whom I was very sad to leave the last time, Joseph. He was the first man I met, on the first day of going up to the refugee camp last year. So cool to be back here studying with him again!
He is such a great student, who asks great questions, and is very sincere. He has a family with 4 children back home in Ghana, but went to work in Libya for his family, until the war there. When you show him and reason with him from the truths found in the bible, no matter how he may have thought before, he takes what he learns seriously. Today we talked to him about the memorial , and appreciating Jehovahs gift of the ransom, and how its the mot important day of the year. Even though he before would take the emblems at his church, he was convinced after our study, that that's only for a select few, and not for him. He said at the end of the study, that because Jehovah has told us to remember this event, and to show his appreciation, "I WILL be there" he said strongly. I told him I'll be saving him a seat! I am so thankful to Jehovah for allowing me to study with this sheeplike individual once again, back here in Bologna. Productive day indeed!