It goes without saying that I have been missing in action for a little over two months now, so before I begin I apologize for seemingly lacking interest in my blog. I assure you that is not the case. With school, pioneering, ASL, and working it seems I have no time at all! Late at night before I drift to sleep, however, I do read you guys posts and they always inspire me. So along with my apology I want to say thank you, for continuing to post regardless of how busy you are and how crazy life may be; I sincerely enjoy reading your posts. That being said, I will make more of an effort to post despite my circumstances.
This New Year has brought a lot of changes. Lately I have been thinking about our recent branch visit in which brother Herd, a member of the Governing Body, gave the talk entitled How the Time Does Fly. In his talk he described how quickly time passes for God’s people because we have plenty to do in his work. Now more than ever I am finding that to be true. I cannot believe it is already February – next thing you know it will be December and then 2015 will be over! Not that I’m in any hurry…
Speaking of changes that have taken place, here are the biggest ones that have occurred for me:
- I got a second job
- I started attending the ASL congregation in an effort to learn the language
Having a second job was not something I ever thought about doing or really had any interest in. I figured I was busy enough as it was. Prior to my second job I was only working at a Writing Center in the university I attend. That is a laid back job since I am only waiting for people to make appointments and come see me. Though we also take walk-ins, it am generally hardly busy. I consider that job as my down time, pretty much getting paid to study my Watchtower, do homework, or my Bible reading. That was very convenient for me as a student. However, that kind of job has its drawbacks, namely, when school is out for break (e.g. winter, summer, spring break) I am out of work which equals no pay. Those of you who have a car and other responsibilities can understand the effect two weeks of no work can have. I am pretty good about managing my money, but it still was not an idea I could stomach. In addition, my school is about 20 minutes from home, and though I save time by not having to travel a further distance to an off-campus job, it was still quite a drive having to commute there every day. The daily commute I was making my first semester was because I didn’t have the chance to plan my own schedule, so I had classes every day and figured I’d work at the school on the days I was up there. This semester, however, I decided to plan my schedule myself and focus it around my pioneer schedule. As a result, I am only going to school two, sometimes three, days a week. It no longer made sense to be making such a commute to go to work daily. I vividly remember last semester having to rush to school at 8 a.m., rush back home to conduct a study, and rush back to school for work. Let’s just say my gas tank and wallet did not like that very much. To make a long story short, I learned about an opportunity to work at a preschool that is literally ten minutes from home, not to mention that I am an Education major so it will definitely give me the experience I need. I prayerfully considered it and talked about it with my parents. We decided that on the days I would be in school I would work at the Writing Center, and on the days I wouldn’t be in school (my field service days) Wednesday – Friday I would work at the preschool. I am completely satisfied with my new schedule and absolutely in love with my preschool job! I wish I could work there every day, but I know that it is wise to keep my “down time” job so that I can actually get other things done. I can still go in service in the morning and work in the afternoon, without having to come home too late. All in all I work about 25 hours a week, which works out fine.
Here are some shots of the preschool:
My next and possibly biggest change I have made this year is learning American Sign Language (ASL). It all began when I and some friends took a trip to Oklahoma to do seldom worked territory back in December 2014. I have been meaning to write about this trip but it is a little late now. It was one of the highlights of 2014 and gave me a completely different outlook on my ministry. Prior to this I had only worked unassigned territory once in Corsicana, Texas, but that was many years ago. This trip was so encouraging because everyone that went were pioneers, some of whom were 14 and 15 years old who were in their third and fourth year pioneering. Many of them were too young to even attend pioneer school and by the time they would be old enough to attend without needing a parent in full-time service to accompany them they would be eligible to go for their second time. As a new pioneer it was a very humbling experience to see such young ones using their youth to serve Jehovah. I was impressed beyond belief and grateful to Jehovah for allowing me to have such an opportunity to accompany such a great group of His servants. We were there for three days, but I learned a lot in that one weekend. The congregation that hosted us was filled with elderly witnesses. Words cannot describe how thankful they were to have us join them in the ministry. On Saturday, when we went out in field service, it snowed! Being from Texas, where we get clear, icy, wanna-be snow, we were excited to see huge globs of fluffy snow! It was the most beautiful sight. The brothers and sisters there were not nearly as impressed as we were; they were actually dreading going out into the snow – until they saw our reaction that is. They remarked that when they saw how enthusiastic we were about it their moods brightened; they were glad to see that we didn’t let the snow dampen our day. The territory was nice and responsive. (I guess I am writing about this trip after all.)
To get to the point, while on the trip I was impressed by a particular pair of siblings. The brother and sister, teenagers though they were, have been regular pioneering for several years and the brother was a ministerial servant. At such a young age, and coming from such a rough parental background, their stand for Jehovah almost moved me to tears. They joined the ASL group and had been learning the language, even moving homes to a new town to help the nearby ASL congregation when their circuit overseer asked them to help out an English congregation 40 minutes away. Of course they willingly made the sacrifice though it was inconvenient for them. I and the young sister talked a lot and I got to know her well; I wonder if she knew how impressed I was by her faith. Anyway, their experience and willingness to learn another language got me thinking: I have an ASL congregation that meets right in my local Kingdom Hall which I do not have to move houses or make a long commute to attend. I have been wanting to learn a new language, and I used to attend their meetings in the past. Their meeting times on Monday and Saturday allow me to still make it to my meetings and family worship night – what is stopping me from doing it now?
When I got back to Dallas I made it a goal to attend the meetings for one month, January to February, and see if I could make it work. Needless to say, I fell in love with it. My trial month is over, but I have decided that I am staying. It has not been an easy commitment, but nothing good comes easy. Studying and preparing for two meeting while trying to pioneer and work and go to school has been hard. But every time I attend their meeting I am so encouraged by the friends and moved to tears that I know that there is no way I can stop now. It has truly helped me to see firsthand that Jehovah cares for all his servants, and makes sure that the good news can reach them no matter their language, culture, and limitation. The friends have stressed the importance of remaining humble and relying on Jehovah, which I feel are things that I can always work on. The hall is very small, which means there is room to grow and reach out. Many of those who have joined the congregation are relatively new, having been there for only a year or two and some as few as a couple of months. There are also many who are trying to learn like I am. The friends who have been there for a long time have been more than willing to help. I am repeatedly reminded to make friends with the deaf, ask them for help, and not compare my progress to others. I try to keep these things in mind and hope to continue making progress until I can one day officially join the congregation.
Sometimes I feel like I bite off more than I can chew, over-committing myself to different things. But as my sister so kindly reminded me, if I am always looking for a convenient time to do something then I will never have the time. I know as an imperfect person, nothing is possible on my own initiative, but all things are possible with Jehovah. I know that for me personally, I am much better off when I am busy, “always having plenty to do in the work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58), than when I am idle. I pray for His continued support as I strive to do give Him my best.
In conclusion, here are some snaps from my amazing trip to Oklahoma: