Welcome to Michael and Lara's Ministry Updates from Guyana! (AKA "Mike and Lara" AKA Myk-en-Lara" :-) We Love to keep in touch with all our family and friends, but its difficult when we are so far away, and our internet here is not so reliable. So we will post our experiences and pictures on this site for everyone!

If you want to be notified of any updates by email, submit your email in the box in the column to the right. Or your can "Follow" this blog by clicking the "Join this Site" Button just a little further down on the right. This helps us know who is reading and commenting! Thanks so much and Enjoy!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Circuit Assembly

If anyone is interested we now have Skype. Our ID is "Michael and Lara Alston". Sometimes our internet is too slow for Skype but we also have Yahoo Instant Messenger. Our ID is "Mykenlara04". If you would like to talk please let us know my email and we will log on if possible. Also remember, we are now 4 hours ahead of Oregon.

We had our assembly last weekend. It was held in a school in the town of New Amsterdam. Peak attendance on Sunday was nearly 1,000! There are 2 circuits in Guyana. It was a wonderful assembly (the same one given in Oregon earlier this year). The friends opened both mornings with loud and lively discussion and even louder singing. What a wonderful international brotherhood we are apart of!

As you can see, an assembly hall is badly needed in the country. The bathroom has no running water so you can just imagine how pleasant it was by the end of the day.

This is outside of the school. The main sitting area visible to the stage is not large enough so many are sitting in other classrooms (sitting at desks) around the school just listening.

This is the stage they made for the occasion. Pretty huh? The brother in the center of the picture is our new CO, Brother Rainee. Him and his wife were missionaries in Guyana before circuit work. They are very very nice and a huge blessing. We look forward to their visit (our first in Guyana) the beginning of Jan.

Here is the rest of that same room where the stage is. Find a seat!

From right to left: Chris Hayes ( need-greater elder in our cong), Melissa Coza (missionary sister from nearby cong), Kaylee Budden (special pioneer in ASL), sister on the stairs is Naomi Hayes (Chris' wife). Those are Guyanese brooms in their hands.

Michelle and Tom talking with 2 young sisters we met at the assembly. Very nice!

Service Experiences

Recent service experiences told by Lara:


Some of you may remember a couple months back I met a woman in the ministry that was having serious problems with demons. She started to study and use Jehovah’s name, which proved to be a great protection for her, however, after just a couple studies she discontinued her studies. A few weeks ago I paid her a visit and we had a wonderful discussion. Soon after meeting me it seems that a local “Christian” church visited her also and offered to pick her up for church every Sunday. Since transportation is considered expensive here, that is a very tempting offer for many. Since she began attending this church she thought she was sufficiently fulfilling her spiritual need which explained why she stopped studying with me. She admitted that she was once again having attacks by the demons. We discussed the need for her to remove all objects once used in her Hindu worship, etc. She destroyed the objects soon after our study. We had 2 more wonderful studies. Because she has already grown attached to her new church we really have a fight on our hands to help her see that all who claim to be Christian are not the same. Our last study on Saturday was ground breaking. Since she started her studies the attacks by the demons have grown steadily worse. We once again discussed making sure all objects in demon worship have been destroyed. Long story short, I learn that the ring she is wearing on her hand was previously used in demon worship ceremonies. She was shocked to realize that a demon could attach itself to a small, simple object. Her eyes got large with shock, she jerked the ring off her hand, abruptly stood up and walked to the edge of her property and hurled the ring as far as she could. As she was doing this I prayed silently, begging Jehovah that the ring stays where it landed. I did not want to witness any demon activity! Fortunately nothing happened after she did this. I explained to her that standing up to demons will take much work and that it may take a while to rid her home of all objects. It may still not be enough because she has already dedicated the home and property to the demons. She understands that she may need to move if she ever wants to free herself from them.

Since she wants to “convert” to “Christianity” she is embracing false teachings like the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. I noticed a new cross around her neck that day and asked her about it. We had a discussion about the origins of the cross. She was hurt and disgusted that she was wearing this symbol around her neck. She asked if Jehovah would forgive her since all she was trying to do was show her faith and appreciation for the Ransom. Her honest words and the pain of betrayal in her eyes made me want to cry. She then asked why her minister that morning at church had not told her same thing when he saw her new necklace. Yes, she is learning there is a big difference between us and other so-called Christian churches. At the end of the study she took the cross necklace off and said she would dispose of it.


A challenge here is meeting many that are illiterate or can hardly read. And even for those who can ready, their reading comprehension is very low. Even for many who are very intelligent, they are unable to grasp simple points. So simply reading the Bible Teach book to them and discussing main points is extremely difficult or nearly pointless. Also many have Hindu background and have never learned anything about the Bible. They may not know who Adam and Eve were or even Jesus. Last week I had 2 Bible studies in a row that are illiterate. Amazingly enough I had a local sister with me who was very helpful in helping to convey ideas to them in a way they could understand. Something that I had been struggling with for some time. The sister made some wonderful recommendations for me to implement in the studies and it worked great! Here are two experiences that I had.

I recently started studying with a 14-year-old Hindu girl who is illiterate. She dropped out of school a year ago since she was unable to do the work. This is a very common problem here. We talked about how she can be Jehovah’s friend. She absolutely beams at the prospects of living forever in a paradise earth. We brought “Look I am making all things new” brochure that starts in Genesis and goes all the way to Revelation. I has wonderful pictures and small captions. I also brought her a book that the society has that I never knew, about how to teach people to read and write! Its wonderful. I showed the same brochure and teaching manual to another family I study with, the husband is illiterate and the wife and children can barely read. They loved the idea of learning in this way. I could see in just one study that they finally were clearly grasping points that I have been struggling to help them understand for some time now.

I am very excited to watch their progress.


The last experience I would like to share is with a woman that another bible student’s sister in law. Several times this woman came over when we were having our study. She has a very strong personality and is somewhat argumentative. In one discussion I actually had to tell her either she calm down and leave or I would. After a couple conversations with her she started to loosen up and listen. After one such study she actually apologized for regularly interrupting the study and asked if I could come to her home for her own studies. I was shocked and a little suspicious. Our first study was last week. Her ex-husband was also there. I learned that he is a baptized witness living in another country that had come to visit his 12 yr old son. Come to find out, he is not very active. This did not give the woman a very good witness to Jehovah’s people. Her disposition that day was unbelievably kind and humble. I would hardly believe I was talking to the same woman. She is very active in her church and has a well studied Bible with many notes in the margins. I want with the goal of talking about God’s Kingdom and what we are really praying for in the Lord’s Prayer at Matt 6. This led to one of the best Bible discussions I have ever ever ever had! We talked mostly about who then would stay on earth and who would go to heaven. In the beginning of the discussion she was positive she was destined for heaven and by the end she humbly acknowledged she wanted to stay on the earth forever and that she felt this was the truth. I wish I could describe her face and body language. It was very clear to me that Jehovah had opened her heart and she was humble enough to accept it.

I hope this gives you a glimpse into the ministry here. The Watchtower study this past Sunday was talking about Divine Education. One of the last paragraphs was talking about how much it strengthens our faith when we see Jehovah’s support in the ministry. We experience that every single day.

Last Friday we had our yearly Pioneer Meeting. It was the best one any of us could remember. Something I deeply loved was the excitement and attitude for the ministry. When there are many people still wanting to study the Bible there is so much that we learned in the meeting that we can apply immediately. It also gave everyone in the audience a greater sense of urgency because the field here is so ripe for harvesting and the need for more pioneers to come to the country is so great. It gave all need-greaters extra encouragement to stay here and to encourage more to come.

There are so many other experiences I would love to share. The experiences are endless.