by Keilani Mazarelli
by Keilani Mazarelli
A couple of weeks ago we went to Las Galeras because my dad had a talk there. Then after the meeting we went to a beach called Playita with some other brothers. And that beach was BEAUTIFUL!!! And the water was sooo clear and warm, it was sooo nice! And there were restaurants there, there were drinks, and almost every body was eating coconut, and a lot more stuff. We had so much fun. and one of the sisters found a conch! ( by the way a conch is like a giant snail) Anyways, it was so cool!! And when I looked under that water there were fish surrounding me!! They were everywhere!! And we met some brothers from France, that we met at the Kingdom Hall and we spent time with them at the beach too. It was kinda hard to communicate because they barely knew English or Spanish but we did it! We had so much fun. Now THAT is my favorite beach.
Thanks Laura for this question. She asked:
How would you tell other young ones to prepare for the need-greater work?
These points helped me a lot during the moving process. I think these can help families, couples, and especially young ones, like me, to get ready to move where the need is great...
-Prayer. Probably the most important and most effective thing you can do. Talking to Jehovah about it- your worries, excitements, doubts- will definitely help. And if you ask for his help to keep you happy about it, he certainly will.
-Talk to your parents. Always telling your parents your thoughts about moving, helps them to help you. If they don't know you are scared of leaving or that you don't want to go, they won't be able to help you.
-Read about other experiences. Learning about other people your age who have done what you are going to do, like in the Watchtower, Awake! and even in JW Broadcasting, and reading about their great experiences, can help you get more excited about leaving.
-Look to your friends for encouragement. Talking to some close friends, WHO SUPPORT YOU about it, especially if you are more against moving, helps a lot. They can help encourage you to move where the need is great, even if they've never done it themselves. Talking about it to my friends helped me a lot. Even when we were sad about it, my friends always managed to keep positive, and so that helped me stay positive too.
-Keep an open mind. Try to be open to new things, to learn a new language, try new foods, meet new brothers etc. KEEP AN OPEN MIND!
-Get yourself excited (for real). Maybe read about the place you are going to. Think about the things you are excited about. Think about the good things of the place you are moving to.
-Talking to people who have also served where the need is great. This can help a lot. They can give you advice on what to do and what not to. They can tell you more or less how it'll feel and what might happen. One of my closest friends moved to Nashville a few years ago, he told me, "It's going to be very, very hard, and pretty weird for the first few weeks. But after you meet the brothers and get to know the place, I promise your gonna like it." He was right. The first few weeks were very hard, but after a while, I got more used to living here. I'm glad I talked to him, and to many other brothers because they helped me keep an open mind.
-Stay positive. Negative thoughts make things worse, so try to think about the good things about your situation. Thinking about the good things will help you keep an open, happy mind.
And just do it. DO IT! JUST DO IT! Jehovah is going to take care of you no matter what. Even if you don't like it, even if it's THE worst experience of your life, it will also be the best experience of your life. You will not regret it. If you decide "Hey it's not my thing", and go back home, you WILL be happy you did it and Jehovah will be happy too.
A couple of days ago we went to the need greater assembly, it was amazing! I met so many brothers and sisters from all around the world! Like Australia, Korea, Norway, and much more. And the assembly was in 2 languages! English and Russian! And there were 7 sisters that got baptized. And one of them was only 8 years old! It was amazing! And there was only 800 brothers and sisters that came to this assembly.
As long as it's for Jehovah, it doesn't matter what language you speak. This assembly was one of my favorite assemblies that I have gone to in a long time. I'm really going to miss this assembly, and all the brothers and sisters that I have met.
And I'm so glad that we got to make it to this assembly. And this assembly has really taught me that no matter what happens, always stay loyal to Jehovah.
This past weekend, we were in Santiago for the English convention.
I. Have. No. Words.
I'm positively certain, this was the best convention I've ever been to. It was just... AMAZING. The program was of course awesome, but meeting all those different brothers made it even better.
We met dozens of brothers from all over the world. Just in this past weekend, we met, (starting within the states) brothers from:
-Colombia and so many more.
It was truly astounding to see so many brothers from all over the world at this assembly. It was like a mini international convention. And seeing other need greaters doing the same thing we are, was just perfect.
First day, we met two awesome brothers from Australia, named Matthew and Jared. We instantly became really good friends. This was they're first time here in DR. They have only been here about four days and they are already thinking of coming back and moving here for a while. Maybe we will get to see them again.
Then we met an amazing family from Norway. They have three kids. The daughter, Josephine, is one of the sweetest people I've ever met. They moved here a few months ago and they are planning on staying here for another 2 years. Josephine, her younger brother Ferdinand and I became really good friends. I hope to be able to see them again soon.
Everyone always uses the term "what a small world", but a lot of people don't actually know how small it really is, especially in Jehovah's organization. We met lots of brothers from the states, but we met one sister named Sydney, that used to go to the same congregation with some brothers we know from back at home, apparently they've know each other since they were a lot younger.
What a small world!
I met a brother named Weston who is about my age, and has lived here for almost a year now in Bavaro English. His family is going to stay here for about another year. He was really nice, and it was really encouraging to see some one else my age doing the same thing I was.
The second day, I met a sister from Scotland, two brothers from Ireland and a family from Georgia. It was just so cool seeing so many brothers with different nationalities, colors, and not to mention the super awesome accents, being all in one place at once.
And all of us being need greaters, we had so much in common. Other families going through many of the same things we are, complications as well as blessings. Seeing young, single brothers and sisters moving where the need is great, even though they sometimes had to go through lots of hardships, was mind-blowing. But they all did it for Jehovah.
We did it for Jehovah.
Even though lots of them, including us, did go through discouraging times, and tough moments, we kept our minds fixed on Jehovah and did what we knew would be best.
The last day definitely had a very bittersweet feeling to it. Everyone was overjoyed to be able to be there, and seeing so many other need greaters from all over, coming to watch this convention together and encourage one another to keep going, serving Jehovah to our fullest. But having to say goodbye, was definitely pretty heartbreaking. No one wanted to leave. Yes... There were tears.
I was not ready to leave. Yea, yea everyone says that at every assembly, but I DID NOT WANT TO LEAVE. It felt horrible getting on that bus and driving away from this amazing convention and all those wonderful brothers.
Everyone was taking pictures, getting phone numbers and social medias so everyone could keep in touch, after we all went back home.
And you find yourself missing those people, that you've only known for such a small amount of time. Wanting to be with them as much as possible. Wanting to see them and talk to them, and share the same love you all have for Jehovah.
Because we are a family, even though we've only just met.
One gigantic, amazing, wonderful, hilarious, caring, beautiful, loving family of brothers and sisters from all over the globe.
And I'm certainly never going to forget any one of them.
Today I thought I could do something a little different.
Considering there are some people out there who read my blog, but don't know me very well, I thought I could talk a little about myself. Hobbies, favorite things, etc...
One of my favorite things to do is read. If I had to choose between going to the beach and staying in and reading my book, I would choose my book. I read an entire trilogy in a span of a week and a half and immediately started a new one.
It's like watching a movie, but it's in your head. Only it's better. Reading is definitely on the top of the list of my favorite things to do.
Yea yea, it might be cliche, but reading really does make me happy.
Along with reading, I love to write. Short stories, poems, and prompts are my favorite things to write. Whenever I get a cool idea for a story or a prompt, I try to get it on paper as fast as possible, because when writing, you want to write it down as quickly as possible before you forget it. Or else you might no get that idea back. I used to write comics with my best friend and she would draw the pictures for them. I always thought the idea of being a writer or a journalist was really cool, because that's something I really enjoy doing.
If I had to choose something I would be famous for, it would undoubtedly be for a book I wrote.
Every day, there is a 80% chance there will be my ukulele glued to my hand. I play it every single day and it annoys my dad sometimes. If I ever get in trouble, my punishment is no uke for the day or longer, and I truly suffer.
One time i kinda spaced out and I guess my brain thought i had a uke in my hands like i usually do, and I started playing 'air ukulele' at the beach for a good six seconds. I got some weird looks after that.
When people see me around my close friends, they tend to think i'm very "sociable" or "extroverted", but when it comes to meeting new people and the whole "hello nice to meet you. my name is..." bit, i'm pretty socially inept.
When we go out with people I don't know, or people i'm not exactly close with, I usually stay quiet, cause I despise 'small talk' and i'm not exceptional at thinking of questions to ask, or how to answer them myself on the spot... And It's not cause I'm uncomfortable or bored, I just sometimes get a little anxious and spaz out and I can't produce actual words. And really, I just like to observe rather than talk when it comes to people I don't know. Sometimes out in service it's very hard for me to speak to people, but even though I get anxious sometimes, Jehovah always helps me to get through it and teach people about him. And I always enjoy service. But trust me, once I get more comfortable around you, I never shut up.
And my friends can confirm.
One of my best subjects in school, is vocabulary. Which is ironic, considering I forget how to communicate when I'm around strangers. My friends get surprised because I'm "really articulate". Vocab is not my favorite subject, but that doesn't mean I don't pay attention during it. Not to mention I watch a lot of British T.V. shows. And because I like to write, it helps to know the "big words" when writing to make it sound more sophisticated.
My absolute least favorite subject, is math. Ever since I was little, Iv'e HATED math. And I'm unquestionably bad at it. I always have, and always will. I'm absolutely certain that math WILL BE THE DEATH OF ME.
Last but not least, SHERLOCK... 'Nuff said. :)
I got three of almost the same questions... about my favorite or best experience in the field ministry. So this one is for Mimi, Nikki and Wanda.
Every Friday we go out in service in the campo...
On this particular Friday, it was our family, one sister named Hannah, and two brothers named Gustavo and Ezequiel. My parents had to get on a small public guagua to get there, while me and Hannah rode with the brothers on their motorcycles.
It took us about 20 minutes to get to the territory. The territory was on the main road, and it was about two miles long, with many steep "hills". And by "hills", I mean mountains. And of course, those "hills" had the most houses...
Each set of partners got one "hill", and we had to finish as many houses as we could on it. My partner, Hannah, and I had probably the biggest "hill" out of everyone. It just kept going and going and going and going etc...
But of course, you gotta preach the word right?
So we go up, and up, and up some more, finding houses here and there, some pigs and donkeys and some other small animals I could not identify. It was overly muddy from the rain the night before, and to say we were walking on a "path" is a big overstatement. So even though it was dry, hot, and crazily sunny, we were sliding and twisting and almost slipping and falling on the damp mud.
A guy with a bunch of plantains on his shoulder and a machete, showed up out of nowhere and was cutting some more off the trees, and he decided to help us out and cut us another little "path" to walk on. Even though he randomly showed up out of the underbrush, and had a machete the size of Raquel, I decided to take my chances and speak to him. Either way, it would seem pretty rude not to, considering he took time to help us out.
I left him a tract, and asked if there were any other houses around, cause at the moment there weren't any. Then he pointed up. Straight up.
Me and Hannah looked up, to see the steep, muddy land that was an entire neighborhood of people. Only I was wondering how they got up there in the first place.
Yup, up the mountain of mud.
After talking about it, we decided, 'Hey, why not? It doesn't look like it will rain. We'll go up, come back down, no problem!' It took a pretty long while to make it up, slipping and grabbing onto trees and vines to pull ourselves up, all while highly regretting not wearing sneakers. It's at these moment where I truly detest wearing a dress. Pants would definitely help the climbing process but... nooooo I had to go and be a girl!
I'm getting off the subject, anyway....
Once we made it up, there were about seven or eight houses. On about the third house, I started feeling little bits of hot water on my face. Then I realized, it's starting to rain.
It only started drizzling but we still decided to go through the houses quickly. We were not taking any chances.
We were on the last house, and I was speaking with a very nice young woman, when the skies opened up and let loose. So the lady let us pull up a chair, and wait out the rain. Her house was right on the edge of sorta like a 10 foot drop to the floor, where there is another 6 foot drop to the "path". So you can see our "getting back down", dilemma.
While we waited, I managed to read her a few more scriptures of the Bible, and landed myself a return visit.
After the rain subsided, we thanked the lady, and headed out.
And by "headed out" I mean standing in front of her house and trying to figure out how in the world are we going to get back down.
We start climbing down the seemingly "less steep" side of the hill, backwards, while grabbing on to the muddy floor beneath us. We slowly maneuvered our way down,
about less than half way.
At one point Hannah decided to jump the rest of the way and try to land on her feet, without slipping and getting hurt. Luckily, she made it and didn't fall. Thank God, cause I was definitely not carrying her the rest of the way down.
I didn't jump, but my sandals sorta worked like socks on the hardwood floor. So I just slid down on my feet. After making it down the first drop, my feet were covered to the ankle in mud. It felt nasty, but we had to get down somehow.
About half way down the second little drop, we see Ezequiel and Gustavo walking up to come find us, cause apparently we had been gone a pretty long time. The boys just stood there giggling and watching and being completely and utterly useless while we made our way down.
"You need help?!" said Gustavo laughing. By the time we made it to the bottom, we were all laughing together, while we told the boys to stop making fun of us.
Ezequiel went to go find a stream or river to wash our feet. Luckily a very nice family let us use their outside faucet to wash them.
The rest of the way, the boys helped us walk down to the bottom.
Although me and Hannah were the most muddy, everybody else was soaked to the bone.
But we went on.
We met up with my family and the rest of us went up another "hill" altogether, where there were about ten more houses to do. Me and my dad were the highest up. I did about two houses when my shoes decided to spontaneously combust, and rip apart in three different places. They were completely useless now, and had walk back down barefoot.
At around the same time, my dad was starting to walk back down when a little boy runs up behind him, and my dad falls straight onto his butt. His pants were beige. The ground is not.
So that was the end of the service day for us, until we got stopped by a man, who was supposedly also "preaching" and telling us that "Jesus is coming" and "we need to be forgiven".... for 20 minutes. yadda yadda yadda.
Once he finished talking, we were leaving and I had to get on the motorcycle completely barefoot for a 20 minute drive. It wasn't too bad, although the floor was hot and I was getting weird looks from the people of the town. I got home, showered, seriously washed my feet, and took a long nap.
That was probably my favorite experience out in service, although it was a little was nuts. I wish I had more pictures of it. I definitely won't forget this day.
Last week, the brothers announced that Tuesday (the 16th) will be all day preaching in the campo. 8:45 to around 4 o'clock.
We got up that morning, ate breakfast, made lunch for later and went to the group. Almost the entire congregation went out that morning including some of the brothers from the sign language.
We had to get two guagua's, (one that a brother owned and one that we had to pay for) to get to the territory. The territory was the town of Los Cacaos, about a half an hour away from Samana. The whole group met at an outside basketball court to arrange the groups. Each group walked to a different part of the small town, then we all meet up for lunch...
At around 12 o'clock, we meet up at the top of a hill, and figured out where we were going to eat. Everyone decided it would be nice to eat at the river. We walked into the forest where there seemed to be no trace of water, until we found a little pool that connected to a river. The pool was small but deep. It could fit about five or six people at a time. Everyone sat at the edge of the water, on big rocks and a the top of the little hill right next to us. The water was cold like most rivers are and it looked unnaturally clear, almost as if you were looking a big round window looking down to the bottom of a big hole. If the water stood still enough, I bet you wouldn't be able to tell that there was even water there. Just a big hole with some rocks at the bottom.
We start eating. My family, thinking it would a simple lunch brought sandwiches and a bag of chips. While other families brought rice, beans, and chicken, empanadas, and mangu... we definitely did not understand their meaning of "lunch."
After we finished eating everyone went back to their groups, and finished the day.
Going out in service that day, and doing other things, sometimes makes me pretty homesick.
Just being in the campo makes me think, "Tania, would love this." Or going to the beach and being in the warm water thinking, "Rosio would love his beach," or "That looks like Carlos and Ashley's fish back home!" makes me miss my friends. Wishing they were all here with me, or I was back home with them. Sometimes even little things make me think about them a lot. "That shirt is Lisette's favorite color," "Aurelio has those same sunglasses," or "This was one of Nikki and Debbie's favorite places to eat!"
Even though we are only here for three more months, sometimes that sounds like forever. But I know that we are doing this for Jehovah, and I know I'll see them again soon.
And who knows? maybe some of them will come visit. *wink* *wink* :)
Do any of you have any questions for me? Something you'd like my point of view on? Please let me know and I will answer them in an upcoming post. :)
Last Sunday, we went to the American Sign Language Congregation, and my dad gave the talk. He gave it in Spanish, while another sister translated in ASL. It was really cool seeing her translate.
After, we went to another congregation in Las Pascualas. We had to take a guagua to get there. A guagua is like a mini bus or van that usually have enough room for around seven or eight people. Although it usually fits eight, they will put 15 people in one, maybe more! When you get a guagua, make sure to try to get a seat with a window, if not, you will be squished into fetus position and/or suffocate from the hot air.
They drive slow, so if anybody on the street needs a ride, they stop and let them on. On the way to Las Pascualas, it wasn't too bad. There was the diver, a lady with a baby, a study from the ASL congregation and us. I still got a window in case they decided to stop for any "hitchhikers". I made a smart choice. About four or five more people got on, and we squished together as much as we could. After about 30 minuets of warm, 'sweatiness' on the crowded bus, it was finally our time to get off.
At Las Pascualas, the meeting is at 4pm. Since the guagua's don't continue to run late in the evening, we had hospitality before the meeting. We went to brothers Jan (Yan) and Isabel's house for hospitality. We had an amazing Dominican home-cooked meal, called "La Bandera Dominicana". White rice, red beans, chicken, and a salad. It's a very simple dish. It's also the main dish of the country. But it was probably the best food I've had here yet. IT. WAS. FANTASTIC. I ate four full plates, and finished every single one.
The congregation is pretty small. There are only 25 publishers, 5 pioneers, and a lot of studies. It's so small, one brother, who is only 14, is in charge of the sound. It was very encouraging though, seeing such a small congregation have so many studies and seeing how brothers so young helping so much in the congregation.
The brother in charge of the sound, Lucas, and his family are from Germany. They have lived here for seven years! They went from German straight to Spanish. Lucas and his little sister, Lorena, are now learning English. I get didn't get to talk too them much, because we had to catch the guagua. They are a very nice family, and we are going to make plans to see them again.
We had to wait quite a bit of time before a guagua came by. But finally, around 7pm, it passed by. This time, there was probably 17 people on the guagua. My mom got to sit up front, Raquel was sort of thrown in the middle area where there really weren't any seats and my dad in one of the middle rows. I was stuck in the back, (luckily, with a window seat). There were three other kids that must've come back from a party. High on sugar or caffeine (or I don't know what) being all loud and giggly and talking about things I probably shouldn't repeat. I was so relieved to finally be dropped off at home.
Next week we should be going to the beach, but it's been so rainy we haven't been able go out anywhere. So I'll let you know how that goes. Bye!!
So these past few days have gone kinda slow...
My sisters, Nikki and Debbie, left Samana to Santo Domingo on Tuesday. Then left back to the states on Wednesday morning. It's weird waking up and not seeing Debbie sitting in the living room eating breakfast, or not seeing Nikki getting ready for service in the morning.
I already miss them a lot.
Last Sunday we had a "Going away party" for them. A lot of brothers came, and we had a lot of fun.
Yesterday we went to the ASL (American Sign Language) meeting. I even commented! (At least i tried). Raquel commented too. The brothers are very loving and really wanted to help us comment and understand the meeting. My dad has a talk at the sign language meeting on Sunday. A sister from the congregation is going to translate it from Spanish to sign. I'm nervous for him; but I'm not really sure why!
I really like the sign language congregation, and I might even start going regularly.
In this country on Mondays there is no service group or meetings. Some don't even work. The brothers take Monday as a "day off" or "relaxing" day. So this Monday, we are planning to go to the beach in Las Terrenas with some sisters that came to serve here from Oregon. Two of them, Cezanne and Jasmine, are in the sign language and the other, Hannah, is in the Spanish.
They have been to so many different places to serve. Jasmine has been to Ecuador, and Hannah has been to Ecuador, Ireland, and Croatia... and now they are all here to help serve. It's so cool how they have been able to to help in so many different countries and languages and they are all between the ages of 19 and 24! They are really cool sisters and I can't wait to get to know them better.
So it's been a month already! Woohoo! It has gone by pretty fast, but for some reason it feels like we've been here longer than that. We have already gotten to know the brothers very well, and we have gotten pretty close to them. It's very different here than back home, but I do like it.
My point of view has changed since we got here. I like it just as much as I thought I would, but for some different reasons. Of course I knew I was going to like the beaches and the food :) ...
I knew I would like the congregation. It's Jehovah's organization, of course you are going to have a good experience with any congregation you go to. But I feel so much love for these brothers and sisters!
I do like the congregation more than I thought I would. Both of them, Spanish and ASL. The brothers are so sweet and loving. I am really glad I got to experience this and am able to meet all these wonderful brothers.