Thursday, September 24, 2009

Surf Where the Need is Great

About 2 weeks ago a sister from Phuket, Thailand, called our Coordinator of Body of Elders (wow…that’s a mouthful) looking for us to come over to help find Deaf people in Phuket. Based on the consensus, there is about 500 or so deaf living in Phuket. The Circuit Overseer encouraged the friends there to learn Thai Sign Language and hunt around. So we thought it would be a great privilege to lend a hand in that virgin territory so off we went.

Now let me paint a picture for you. Tashi, the sister who called us, is from Texas, USA. She is serving in an English group in Phuket. Which in itself is just extending its own roots. She is a wonderful sister…young, feisty, Texan with Iranian blood…so you could imagine her zeal and youthful vigor. It was contagious and explosive like a nuclear bomb (no puns intended if you’re watching the current news on Iran). She is a great asset to the small group there. For us it was an extended privilege for various reasons…1. We found many Deaf, which we will explain later. 2. We did some English speaking territory (missed speaking a language we fully understand) and 3. We asked 2 recent additions to our small signing group in Krabi, two Japanese sisters (who came to help us with sign) to come with us. So you could imagine this conglomerate group 1. An Iranian Texan 2.Puerto Ricans from the Bronx, New York 3. Two , very proper, shy, quiet Japanese searching for English but most especially the Deaf. So you put those ingredients all together and then BOOM!!! Explosion….

With us we also had other wonderful brothers from Australia, UK, Japan, and a French speaking Italian family. All of them with a lot of experience, desire to serve and love for Jehovah…it doesn’t get any better than that. With some English work done, we headed out to search for the Deaf. On the first day out we met one woman and had a wonderful conversation with her in the city of Patong. Now keep this city in mind. She encouraged us to come back in the evening because that’s when the Deaf come out to work and sell things. So the next day we all decided, 1st the beach then to Preach…and there goes our title. We enjoyed a couple hours of Boogie Boardin’, swimming and catching some rays at one of the beautiful beaches in Phuket.

As the evening approached we headed back to the house and got ready for the ministry…search for Deaf. If you remember the place we were heading to was called Patong. Those who are not familiar with Phuket , as we definitely were not, would have realized that we were about to get a big surprise. We realized that we must have passed Lot, by the gates of Patong, because we walked in to a modern day Sodom and Gomorra. What we’re gonna describe now does not come close to what we saw…drinking, smoking, prostitutes, transvestites dancing on poles, people vomiting in the street in their druken stupor, old men with young Thai escorts…real life Sodom and Gomorra. You could really see why Jehovah needs to bring destruction to this system. But you probably asked yourself, what are we doing there? Well, in the first 30 minutes we found 8 Deaf, with good results. While we were searching for more, what kept creeping up in our minds were the poor Japanese sisters…in shock! Since Japanese are much more conservative. But they handled themselves well. With such positive turnout , we decided to head back again, after the meeting ,the next day. With more positive results. We ended up meeting 10 more. 3 of them where tourist from Sweden but were Iranian…so they got along well with Tashi...go figure! As you can see, there is so much work to be done in all Thailand…any volunteers!!!!!

By the way...the Bible reading went well...thank Jehovah and thanks for all your prayers!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Still Traveling...

We have to apologize to all our readers…we haven’t had internet for quite some time now. It's taken me, literally, 4 days to post this blog...that's how slow the internet is here. So please forgive us for being lost the last couple of months but hopefully now were back so here goes.... Where did we leave off? Oh…ok. Let’s back track a little.
Krabi…what an experience. We were there for the last 2 weeks in May. There were about 3 deaf people coming to the meetings and no one at the moment was available to interpret. So guess what, Jeff did the best he could and started interpreting the Congregation Bible Study, Ministry School and Service Meeting and also, the songs…so I thought to myself..oh oh what did we get ourselves into. Those were the toughest 2 weeks we’ve had for a while. We did manage to get all our service time done for the month within those 2 weeks…wow! That was definitely a plus.
We were only there for 2 weeks…we were called on a teaching assignment back in Bangkok for the month of June. This was cool. We stayed with about 20 Koreans. They were being home schooled. These students were sent to Thailand from Korea to learn English. We were provided room and board for the month. Three meals a day plus 2 breaks in between. Teaching was from Monday through Friday 9am -3pm, so we were still able to preach and attend the meetings…no problem! For those of you who are familiar with Korean food…we had gimchi, gimchi and more gimchi. We were all “ gimchied out “ by the end of the contract.

Before heading back to Krabi, we headed up North to Nong Khai to help in a Kingdom Hall build. The final result would be a Kingdom Hall / Assembly Hall. It was very hard work but fun…needed a massage afterwards. We hopefully look forward to more projects in the future.

Then, of course, back to the real work…Krabi. We’ve met so many deaf here. Now to get them to the meetings is another story. The deaf community here is actually bigger than we thought. Most of them are already familiar with our work. It’s trying to get them motivated, that’s the hard part. So we have our work cut out for us. Now we have, regularly attending meetings, 1 deaf young lady. Her name is Nok…means “bird” in Thai. Besides that we’ve done a little sightseeing, mode of transportation:motorbike. We've seen beaches, temples ,elephants, monkeys, stairs…1,237 of them, which we found out equals to 100 floors…don’t ask!!!

In August we had the privilege of attending the District Convention in Japan…in Spanish. We were soooo excited. This definitely was an awesome Convention…but for those who haven’t attended yet…I won’t say a word!!! While in Japan, we took advantage and visited the Bethel in Ebina City, saw Tokyo, Kyoto. Felt three earthquakes and camped out at the beach with fireworks going off through the night.

We then headed off to Shimonoseki to take the overnight ferry to South Korea… thought we were going back so soon…Once in South Korea we visited Seoul and Busan.

We wanted to give thanks to the brothers who opened their doors to us. We met so many of you who are working hard in Jehovah’s service. It was such an encouragement to hear your life stories. Thank you. By the pictures you can tell we enjoyed our trip very much….

Let's see...what else? Our convention, here in Thailand is not until the first week of October. It’ll be held in the town of Surat Thani. We already started handing out the invites around town. We’re looking forward to seeing how many deaf show up. On Saturday, we attended a community meeting in town for the deaf…as spies…we were curious to find out really how many deaf there are here in Krabi…we counted about 40-50 not counting those who didn’t show up. There is so much territory to cover for Sign Language, Thai and even English. Just the other day, we met an Indian man who traveled more than 18 hours by land to get to Krabi. We’ve met Nepalese and Burmese too. Jeff, being one of the only Spanish speaking brothers in Thailand, was asked to start corresponding to three Hispanic prisoners. It’s been very emotional reading their experiences but thanks to Jehovah, a study has been started with them through letter writing. We pray that they become one of Jehovah’s servants in the future.

We have so much to talk about. So many things left out. Time is very limited. Few trips planned ahead. We have plans to head to Phuket to help the friends there search for Deaf and maybe to the beautiful island of Ko Phi-Phi for our 5th wedding anniversary!! We also, in Jehovah's willing, plan to head out further south to Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Oh, by the way, Jeff has his first Bible Reading in Thai on Saturday the 19th...Pray for him...please!!!

Till next time...I'll let you know how he did:)