Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Rundown - Field Service

Aloha everybody! So I just realized, some of you who may be reading this, may have no idea what really went down the last time we went to Italy... & therefore, why I am so excited to be going back. "Do they really need help in the preaching work there?", you may ask. "Do those whom you preach to even speak English?", "Who are you preaching to?" "How did you end up way over there in Bologna, Italy anyway?"In all honesty, before we went last year- I had no idea what would be in store for us, & was asking the same first few questions myself. Well strap yourselves in-cause here it goes... "3 Months May-July. Need Greating.Italy. Let me know." After saving money for a while, always DREAMING of preaching in a foreign land, and seeing the world....this was the text I got. Jehovah answered my prayers...out of the blue...from a brother I hadn't seen or talked too in a while, & had only met a handful of times before! He wrote into a few countries (Germany, France,Spain, Italy) branches around the world asking to help the english speaking territories, left it in Jah's hands and everything just seemed to fall into place for us going to Italy from there. The brothers in the Bologna English congregation told us "COME! COME!"

When we got there, we found that being in the English congregation, its a lot like being in the Chinese congregation in Hawaii. It's a foreign language. So we're in a foreign language-but its our native tongue! That's the best part. So for the first 2 months we were there, our service mainly consisted of public wittnessing, searching for those who speak english- on the busses, the train stations, the sidewalks, the main "center" of Bologna "Piazza Maggiore"- everywhere. We came to learn that our main territory would be looking for Africans. Do they speak english? Why yes, they do! In many parts of Africa, such as Nigeria & Ghana for example, they are taught English, in that way they can communicate with other parts of Africa that may have a different tribal language than they have. So unless you overhear a loud American with a camera around his neck, field service is basically looking for Africans!
We also did something called "Research", which I've never done before this trip. Its basically getting a section of the city not researched yet, & searching all the doorbells of each house in that area. If one has an African or American name on it, you ask if anyone there speaks English ~ "Parlah Inglese?" If its a yes, you give a wittness, mark it down on the map, and BOOM- you've contributed in helping make the territory.House to house ministry would consist of going back to the houses already researched. Phew! Now that that's outta the way, now -to the good stuff! Yes ladies & gents. it gets WAY coooler!

OK, so like I said before the first 2 months we're like this. Research, Territory, & Public Wittnessing, looking mainly for Africans... UNTIL... You see another part of being in a foreign language field is getting them good ol' referrals. Yeah you know, the yellow form everybody forgets to fill out, even though we keep getting reminders to (I'm guilty). Yes that one! So in about our 3rd month there, we get a refferal to go look for a man named Abraham. 3 brothers went to go find this man, and just couldn't find the house (they thought) they were looking for. Its a good thing they had a car, because the refferal was at the top of a big mountain! Anyway, after not seeming to find (they thought) what they were looking for, no Abraham, but they turn their attention to another area up there on that mountain. Its a courtyard area...full of Africans! So "why not preach to them, since we're up here?" As they start to talk to a few, more & more start to gather around. Before you know it there's a bunch who wanted to learn, and in fact started studying right there on the spot!!

One man who didn't speak english, got frustrated that he couldn't learn, so a brother downloaded the bible teach book on his Ipad in Arabic. & he sat in as well! Then as many started to gather around, one man sees the referral sheet....and says, "I'm Abraham, I've been waiting for you for weeks!" It turns out they didn't find a house, because it was a house they were looking for. They found not a house...BUT A WHOLE REFUGEE CAMP!

Many here we're Africans who were living in Libya, during the time of the civil war uprising last year. They saw war firsthand, shootings, bombs, etc. right in their home towns, and had to leave everything to escape, actually getting shoved and crammed onto a ship heaaded across the ocean from the north tip of Africa to the boot of Italy. Conditions at sea we're very rough, in fact it was this same sea, that the Apostle Paul was shipwrecked! One of my studies told me out of the 600 that were on the same ship as him, only 200 survived. That's him on the picture to the right. Yes brothers and sisters, many of us will not come close to experiencing, hopefully, what these ones have gone through. Very sad indeed. Because of this many are very much willing and ready to study.

SO, 7 of us went back to this camp, all hoping for some productive studies. We could not have imagined how amazing it was gonna get. One brother told me to get ready, because its gonna get crazy. So we all went in started talking to a person, then some more would come by and want to learn as well, even asking for bibles and bible teach books, some saying they couldn't get preached to the previous time. You find an empty spot to sit down, & get into a deep, & I mean really amazing study. The questions come pouring out, and they are truly searching. All 7 of us walked out with new, great progressive bible studies that day. It was a truly eye watering sight, as I stopped while studing with a man on that first day, to see all 7 of us sitting down around the camp courtyard having a deep heart to heart study with someone who TRULY wants to learn about Jehovah. I'll never forget, when the man I was talking too, looked straight into my eyes and said "Please I want to learn what the bible teaches, I have so many questions".

I'll never forget the spiritual HIGH felt by all of us as we left the camp that day. The feeling of really seeing all those whom are still longing to learn about Jehovah, and who are searching for the hope that we already know of. I remember one brother even saying "I think this is what Paradise is going to be like". That gave me chicken skin. It was so Amazing. Felt like we were in a yearbook or something! There's no words to really describe how we felt that day.

From then on, it just got better. I would study with somone in a park, 3 others would walk by, sit in & ask if we could come back and study with them. "Here's my number" , they would say. It was like this all the time. Before we knew it we had so much people to study with, we didn't have time for door to door! Some started attending the meetings right away. Some wanted to study 3 times a week or more. Just a dream! And it was REAL!!!

From what I've heard recently, 2 buses had to be rented to go to the speacial day assembly, so 50 studies could come! The circuit overseer, when visiting the congregation with a little over 30 publishers, had 90 in attendance-because of the studies! He had never seen anything like this before! There is just so much work to be done, and the need for workers is greater than ever, not only in Bologna, but in all of Italy there are refugees!

Yes brothers and sisters, this is why I want to go back, and am SO GRATEFUL to Jehovah, for letting me return. To see all our friends again, and to get back into the very busy preaching work! The "harvest" is SO GREAT, and "white for harvesting". (Scroll down)

Yup, so that's what happened & is still happening now! Whew , that was a blast from the past, that was great to revisit! Hope you enjoyed reading this! Also don't forget to watch my videos at the links to the left of my last trip. It'll give you a better visual of what happened. You'll also find my pictures, and some links leading to the sites of the brothers I went with. I look now to prepare for the future, praying that we can be used by Jehovah to help anyone there once again.With that I'll bring this post to a close, & say MAHALO, GRAZIE, THANKS for reading everybody! Chehuu!! Italy here we come!!!

~ :)

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