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, April 24, 2010

Rupununi Expedition


A Few Days after the SAD we embarked on a weeklong expedition to Four small villages in the valley south of Lethem called the Rupununi. Tom, Alton and 4 other brothers went through this area in the spring of 2009 and reached about 9 villages. But there were a few villages they had to pass on the way back.

This trip was very easy going and slow paced compared to the last one we took through the Pakaraima Mountains. So we were able to enjoy the ministry a lot more even spending more time studying with the villagers. For More information on the interior of Guyana and previous trips click HERE to view an older post.

As in all of the past expeditions, our Theme was to Glorify Jehovah’s Name since in most of the villages,  few have ever heard God’s name. We came equipped with about 7 Boxes of Literature including lots of Bible Teach books and NWT Bibles. On the last trip we spent at least a day preparing and setting up the truck but since the trip was shorter we just tossed all our supplies and literature in the truck and Headed out.


- - No Canopy this time… “Wear Sunscreen!” - -



- - Crossing the Rock Bridge. (This is Usually a river during the Rainy season) - -

- - Rupununi Savanna - -
 


 
- - Sand Creek Village - -           Population: 880 aprox.


As the name indicates this village was quite sandy but it was also very green and lush at the time we came through. Since its only four hours away from the huge village of Lethem they had a lot more amenities compared to most villages. They even had a Village Generator, which gave us power and lights for one Night!

- - Real "Cow" Boys - -

We got a late start that day so we got into the village a few hours before sunset, but we were able to cover a lot of the outskirts.

- - After four hours of driving, we were a little tired and a little crispy... But ready to Preach! - -

The first house I went to, the woman walked from her house to meet me and find out who we were. I explained, “We are bible teachers sharing news and books about the bible”. She gathered her family and children and they sat and listen while explained about Jehovah. I left them a Bible Stories book, Bible Teach book, some magazines and a Bible. When I came back through the area, about an hour later, there they still were reading their new books and magazines!

At another house nearby I talked to a Older man and his Son, Bernadine and Derek Johns. They understood the bible very well and we had a great discussion about Gods purpose for the earth and who would be on it. Bernadine asked specifically “Do all people go to heaven?” and thankfully I had the Watchtower on “Do All Good People Go to heaven”. He especially liked the picture inside of life in the paradise earth.
   He also asked about my Bible and what the column in the middle was. I explained the cross reference and he said “I could use a bible like that for studying!” When I offered him one he said “You would give this to me?” with a big smile.




The next day we woke up to pouring rain which was slightly annoying since we had no umbrellas! Thankfully it let up after a few hours, not before we collected a bunch of it for drinking water. Alton even went and showered under a storm drain, which he said is “the best way to shower!”


I called on a Mother and daughter that really stood out to me, Jocelyn and Athena Gibbs. First of all they were all smiles and kept laughing to each other. After the daughter fetched a bench for us, they both sat and listened to my presentation. If I asked either of them a question they would laugh, and when I commented on Athena being named after a Greek goddess they both laughed even more. (All of us noticed after visiting these villages that most seemed to have a great sense of humor, which was highly unusual for these super-shy Amer-Indians.)
   Anyway, after I had finished they asked me if I had any family happiness books, to which I sadly replied no. Then the Daughter asked if I had any Young people ask books, which I also did not have. I was amazed they knew so many of our books and I asked them where did they hear about them? They said a man who is working on the building nearby let them borrow some books. They brought out the old Green Family book and the red youth books from years ago! Both were very well used with tape on the bindings. They didn’t know if the man who lent the books to them was a witness but they told me “He wants the books back soon, but we don’t want to give them back!” I couldn’t help but laugh at their honest love for learning and I loaded them up with some new books to read. And yes, they laughed when I gave them the books.

I had to take a picture of them but the mother was so embarrassed and kept saying, “Oh my, look at our condition! Look at our condition!”

- - Athena and Jocelyn Gibbs - -



I had spoken to the former Captain of the village that morning and he told me that their village badly needed people like us to come and teach the bible. He went on to explain that there are a lot of problems lately including drunkenness and domestic violence. They even started a survey in the entire village to find out if any families had been dealing with violence in the home. Strangely enough they sent children around to do the survey!

I thanked him for letting us know about it, and that we would try to keep that in mind when preaching. He asked if we could also come visit his family and talk to them for a while but it would have to be later in the day because he was leaving that morning.

I didn’t find him home that day but in the morning he came to where we were staying and again asked if someone could come talk with his family. So I came to his home and we had about an hour discussion about the key to happiness, what Gods Kingdom is and Gods Original purpose for Mankind. He also had questions about the soul, the origin of Satan and spiritual maturity. Afterward he admitted that they read the bible but without someone to explain the scriptures to them they were not learning. He said “These things we talked about are all new to me, even though they are in the bible.” I explained how he could use the books I was giving him to teach himself more about the bible. And I encouraged him to try to share what he would be learning with others. When I showed him the “Jehovah’s Day” book he especially liked the scripture in 1 Corinthians about how “the time left is reduced”. He even said “I will use this book to scare people in the village!” But I explained to him that Jehovah wants people to learn, not because they are scared but because they honestly want to out of love. He repeatedly asked to have more teachers come to their village, and many others asked the same throughout the village.




On the way to the next village some ominous clouds apear ahead of us so Tom and Alton quickly got the tarp and told us to hold it over our heads, "Just in Case". Low and behold the rain came seconds later and poured for about 20 minutes. We were both laughing in the back of the truck holding onto this tarp trying desperately not to get wet!

- - Jehovah Provides Shelter! - -

- - Too Busy?  This guy stopped to talk to us and accept Literature, the whole time he was holding his pack on his Head! - -



- - Rupunau Village - -            Population: 300 aprox.


After we covered Sand Creek we continued on to the next village called Rupunau, which means “Bushy hills with Pumb trees.”

   Now even though this village had much fewer people it was much more rural and very spread out over a few miles of Savanna. So as we drove though it we were trying to figure out how we could cover it on foot and with only four brothers. We eventually decided that two brothers would start on one end of the village with the truck and do the outskirts while two others would travel on foot around the most populated area.



We got started the next day after our morning worship, which included several school children who sat nearby and listened.

- - After our meeting we gave them a Bible teach book which they quickly started Reading - -


The second house I went to that day was a very nice couple named Valentine and Julia Wilson. A friend of theirs, Noel Indach also sat in on the discussion. They had two daughters; I believe both were less than 10 years old. After I had given my usual presentation they thanked me for coming and explaining the bible to them. They said their village needed more people like us to come and that their family loved reading the bible but they couldn’t understand a lot of it. Julia also told me that they would try to learn more by listening to a radio broadcast of a preacher who would talk about the bible. But they said, “He talks so fast, we can never find the scripture in time!” Still they would regularly try to listen and learn.

Valentine asked if I had any books that are good for children since their two daughters were always asking them to read them the bible, and would ask questions about it. He said they were really struggling to answer their daughters questions now that they are getting older. He said one daughter would often pick up magazines or papers that she would find around the village and bring it home to read. He went to get one of them and brought out a tattered “Satisfying Life” brochure, and an older issue of the watchtower. I explained that Jehovah’s Witnesses published both these magazines, and by chance, the watchtower had a picture of the Bible Stories and Bible Teach books right on the inside!
   They were very excited to have so much to read now and before we finished I conducted a short study with them to show them how to teach themselves. They also asked if I could go visit their adopted son who lived just down the road.

- - Noel Indach, Valentine and Julia Wilson - -

   When I found their son, Festus, he invited me in and after a short explanation of our visit I asked him if he ever had any questions about the bible. He said “Yes, do you know what are ‘the Last days?’” I was surprised he even had a question as most never do, so I explained where that term is found in the bible and what it means. That we are living in the last days right now, so we must try to take advantage of it to learn while we still can. He then asked “What is Babylon the Great?” Which I was even more surprised by and I had to ask him where he heard it. So he went and got a newsletter, which had some religious propaganda about the pope and catholic churches. They even had a section on Babylon the Great, which was very ironic. It’s amazing to see how Satan is trying so hard to confuse people, especially in these remote areas.
   So I tried to briefly explain from revelation about Babylon the Great, but I could tell he was getting confused, so I emphasized that soon Jehovah will remove all wicked religions that are spreading false teachings and causing so many problems. He strongly agreed saying “Yes they are hiding the truth from us.” I asked him to explain what he meant, and he told me that just recently he and his girlfriend had decided not to go to their local church anymore because they are practicing Idolatry. I was so amazed by this since its no little thing to stand off from a church out there. These villages are so small; if you aren’t part of the church you will be shunned.
   This is pretty much what they had been going through for the past few months. By now his girlfriend, Matilda, joined us and explained that she had helped out in the church since she was very little but she just couldn’t bring herself to ignore the hypocrisy and idolatry anymore. She kept saying with her hand to her chest, “I just feel wrong inside, it felt wrong to keep going!” She said they had tried to explain to others in the village what was going on, and how it was wrong in the bible, but no one would listen to them, not even their adoptive parents. (Both of them had lost their real parents). Festus also explained that the pastor of the church was not a good man, and that he would often come to the church drunk. He was also very upset that the pastor would never teach the bible. They would often sing songs but never explain or discuss the scriptures. So he they both decided to learn on their own about the bible. They even felt so strongly that they refused to get married because they would have to get married in the church!
   I so overwhelmed by their honest zeal and desire to learn the truth, I had difficulty holding it together at this point. I expressed to them how amazing their example was to the village, and even though they seemed alone its important to stand up for what you know is right. I reminded them that all of Jesus disciples were strongly opposed and ridiculed by the people and religious teachers of that day. And even though I wasn’t there to tell them what church to go to or not to go to, if their conscience was moving them, they must not ignore it. I explained that the best way to keep strong right now would be to continue to learn the truth about the bible and to pray for Jehovah to guide them by his Spirit. So I asked if they had been praying and how. He recited a prayer that he would give each night, very similar to the Lords prayer. So I taught him to pray for specific help, and always to pray in Jesus name. I said “The more you learn from the bible, the easier it will become to make the right choice”. To which he said “Yes but we’ve already made our choice”.

- - Festus and Matilda - -


Afterward they both thanked my repeatedly for coming and as I left I asked if there were any other questions they had and Festus said “Yes, when are you coming back?” So I told him we would come back as soon as possible but in the meantime I could also communicate by letter. So we exchanged information and I will be trying to keep in touch with them from the coast.

Walking away from this call I had to say a quick prayer to Jehovah, thanking him for allowing me to witness to this amazing couple. Its hard to say what will come of these visits, but for now, just talking to people who are making such a zealous and honest search for truth is a privilege beyond compare. Add to this the beautiful scenery in these Villages, the simple routine, and humble people, and you’ve got a recipe for an incredible spiritual boost!



- - Got a Heavy Load? - -
 


This was a very successful trip even though it was short. And in Four days the Four of us were able to place:

78 Brochures


130 Truth Tracts


260 magazines


353 Books

There are more Interior trips coming up in the future for any who would like a taste of some real caffeine, "Spiritual Caffeine" But even if you don't come to Guyana, there are other places that can provide a Fruitful Ministry. It may simply require stepping outside of that "Comfort Zone"
   And if you are thinking like we did, that it just seems too hard, or too far away, or you are too young or too old, keep in mind that many of Jehovah's servants throughout the bible thought the same thing. Even Jeremiah had strong doubts since he was not a seasoned prophet or evangelist. Yet Jehovah still used him, and afterward Jeremiah said, "You have fooled me, O Jehovah, so that I was fooled. You have used your strength against me, so that you prevailed"
   Jeremiah was so sure that he would fail in his mission, that there was no way he could succeed. Yet with Jehovah's strength, Jeremiah was successful despite immense obstacles. Imagine how surprised or "Fooled" he must have felt after being so sure of his deficiency. Likewise today Jehovah invites anyone who is willing to serve him. Willingness being the key, as without Jehovah, none of us would succeed, even in seemingly simple tasks. So the question is, will we Allow ourselves to be Fooled by Jehovah? This may seem strange at first, but it makes sense! Just a thought we really appreciated from the recent Pioneer meeting, since all of us are so often Self-Doubting. =)

Anyway, thanks everyone for reading and for the encouraging comments! We hope that these few experiences will lighten your day and perhaps stir up some positive feelings for Jehovah.
   Also, to the many who have contacted us about serving here or else where, and others who are thinking about it, please feel free to email us! Just hearing about your plans is always a welcome boost and motivation to keep going!

Mike and Lara


5 comments:

  1. Wow! Amazing! And how in the world is it possible that Mathilda has an Ed Hardy t-shirt?! Weird. What an awesome uplifting experience. I'm so excited for you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Funny, I was about to ask the same thing....

    ReplyDelete
  3. You guys,
    I love this experience. I can just see it happening in my mind. What a wonderful way and place to use your youth and vigor for Jehovah. It must be so amazing to see how humble and hungry the people of that country are for spiritual truths. We just had our special assembly day and one of the questions that Br. Pierce from Bethel said that we might be asked when this system is over is how did you use your time at the end of the system of things, what were you doing. What an answer you will really have! You encourage us so much and make Jehovah's hearts truly, truly glad. Thank you so much!

    Gwen

    ReplyDelete
  4. Darlene ValentineMay 3, 2010 at 10:24 AM

    Each post is so interesting. Loved hearing about the interest in those little villages. People seem so humble there. Such a contrast to what we normally find here. You are needed so badly there and you are certainly using your time wisely to find those searching for the truth. You could write a book with all of the wonderful experiences you are having. Thanks for sharing with us once again.

    Looking forward to next time. You are loved and missed by us all.

    ReplyDelete
  5. we loved the experience of Festus, and Matilda. What courge they have with such little knowledge. Really loved this blog,with all the experiences.Keep them comming!

    ReplyDelete