Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Welcome to Bologna-- We're here!

We made it!! Ok, I've been so itching to update this blog, and now that I FINALLY got internet, its on! Sorry everybody for taking so long. Ok...

Well, there's no words to describe just how AMAZING these past few days have been, & just how great it feels to be back. It seems that there is a "first for everything" , & although I've been here before, the "firsts for everything" has really been whats made these past few days so amazing. Seeing all the familiar sights for the first time again, the Kingdom Hall for the first time again, getting on the "Autobus" again to get around, "I really can't believe I'm here right now, it feels like a dream" ( been saying that a lot). But even more great, was the first time I saw each of our brothers and sisters once again. Right from the start, at the airport we were welcomed with big open hugs. Then at the first meeting for service , big open hugs, and again at the first meeting on sunday, with BIG open hugs and smiles. SO SO nice to see everyone again, I've missed them all. And its nice to see we're not being given the "what are you doing back" look! But, that we're both truly happy to see each other again.

Over these past 8 months in Hawaii, one of the biggest things constantly on my mind, was just how those whom we were able to study with the first time around were doing. We left these men with tears, knowing Jehovah would take care of them, yet sad thinking we may never see them again. I remember a number of them saying, in fact- we will see you in paradise! It was sad to leave. Well, on my first Saturday out in service, I had a "first" of returning to that very refugee camp! The camp that started it all. It was so unreal to be back up there. As we stepped out of the car I told my service partner Ejims, how I felt, and that I was hoping to see two men in particular again.

In less than 1 minute stepping out of that car, I looked back down to the roadside enterance of the camp, just outside the front gate- & saw them! The men we had studied with in the begining! I right away went towards them. One of them, Thomas, had a look of disblief, and waved back as I called to them from a distance. The other, Joseph, just starred and looked like he had no idea who I was. Then as I got about 5ft. from him and said, "Do you remember me", his eyes got so BIG and he shouted "JAVAN??!!!" as he ran up to me and gave me the biggest hug! I forgot he cannot see good without his glasses! That moment- made my trip. That moment made me remember and confirmed all the wonderful experiences we had here some months ago. There's no words to describe just how awesome that was. I thank Jehovah for letting me see them again. There's no greater work, that can give you so much satisfaction,where people appreciate you for the lifesaving message Jehovah brings.

I'll end this blog, with a story of one refugee. He was the first man, I was able to sit in on a study with back here in Bologna. His name is Kenneth. Kenneth was living in Libya when he was caught by Libyan soldiers, and was forced onto a ship, with not a full tank of gas, and pretty much no food or water. Terrible living conditions. He was told to sail to Italy or he would be killed. There were 350 refugees on that boat. Libya's way of getting at Italy, was not by bombing them but by sending thousands there on ships. Halfway across the ocean, the boat breaks down. As he is telling me this story, there is dead silence from the rest of us. He pauses with a very sad look in his eyes, and fear, like recalling this story is making him relive it again. Halfway across the mediterranean sea, the ship breaks down. Gas is leaking. Other ships pass by, and as they call out for help for their lives, the other ships just pass by. They don't care about these refugees. What happened next? He says "We began to pray to Jehovah, many of us began to pray to Jehovah". One of the men onboard the ship, then began to try and do anything to try and fix the ship . They tried to start the ship many times before, with failure.... Than after praying, it seems the boat started right up again. And although having little gas, somehow they made it to Italy. Kenneth says he knows how. "I believe... if it not for Jehovahs angel directing us", he says, "we should not have made it." He started saying this to us because we were studying about spirit creatures in the bible teach book. He knew Jehovah got him here so he could learn the truth.And how happy we were to be here with him now, seeing him so grateful to learn about Jehovah.

Yup, this is why we are here! Stay tuned more to come soon, about the meetings and such. Oh yeah, and we ended the day of service with brickoven homemade pizza by our Sicilian brothers and sisters in the countryside of the city in Imola! Jehovah provides! Ciao!!!

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