Here's a guest post from our friend, Mikey! We'll miss you so much Mikey!!!
Where do I begin? Well, it started with a prayer that turned into a concert that led me to DR. Makes no sense, right? Right. Let me explain.
Preaching in a foreign country has been something that has always excited me. I was like 'foreign country, new experiences, cool!' But then the questions arose. How am I gonna get there? Who am I going to go with? Where will I stay?
So it was all just a thought, right? Then eventually it got to the point that I began to think, how can I do something without first taking the first steps? So I got my passport in August, and I asked Jehovah in prayer to bless it so that I may use it in His service. 2 months later, we're in October, and I get invited to a concert that I was actually gonna cancel on, but thankfully I went, because that's where I met my good ol' pal, Eloy. Remember overwhelming question number 2? Let me remind you: "Who am I gonna go with?" Well, check. I kinda crashed his plans, and it was kinda sketch because we just met, but he knew the Mazarellis, and I knew of the Mazarellis, so I'm like, 'it's legit'. And that's the beautiful thing about Jehovah's organization is that you can meet new people and it's as if you've known them forever.
So after a lot of whatsapp conversation, buying a plane ticket, waiting for the day to arrive, waking up at 2:30 am, trying to navigate through 3 airports, a taxi driver that couldn't drive, that called me Jackie Chan, that took us to a Metro, then a 4 hour trip to Puerto Plata... We finally made it!! Let me tell you that since then, the only thing that I regret is only staying here for 2 weeks, as in I wish I could stay longer. Everything has been so amazing, from the hospitality of the Mazarellis to the congregation and the preaching of both Spanish and English.
The first door I knocked on, the lady was so nice and invited us in, and I'm not used to that, and so I went in, obviously and gave my little presentation from the States, and when I finished she had the face of like "ok, so what else you gonna tell me?" And I was like "Woah, what do I do?" I was not prepared for this. But it's amazing because everyone wants to talk. Even when they're busy, if you say anything in regards to the Bible, they make time to listen. I've never showed so many videos. I was so accustomed to placing magazines, and worrying about placements and hours, and when it's like that, one tends to forget about how to just have a conversation using the Bible, and understanding the way people reason and understanding their viewpoint on certain matters. Here I was able to place many conversations, and that's something that I will definitely take back with me when I go home.
One doubt that weighed pretty heavy on my mind was that I really thought I would miss Starbucks, but Country Club Merengue really made up for it. So I encourage you to try it. If you miss Starbucks, get you a 'merengue'.
In these two weeks, I've made a ton of new friends, I was part of a loving congregation, I was able to preach to people instead of just talking to doors, I got in the ocean; thanks Vero (insert laughing emoji here), and I was able to experience an entirely different country, and atmosphere.
Would I do it again? Absolutely, in a heartbeat, no questions asked. If ... When... the opportunity arises for me to come and preach in another country, the Dominican Republic is definitely top on my list. I would come back to preach in Javillar in a heartbeat, or better said I will be back to preach in Javillar SOON!!
But until then, I leave this note to all the ones I have met here in DR: "Are ya'll religious? Because you are all the answers to all of my prayers."
UNTIL NEXT TIME!!!!!
hashtags of the trip:
So, we've been stateside for about 6 months now! We are currently waiting for our visas to arrive, they should be here anyday now. All the while we're starting to pack up our things and finalize things here. We are so ready to get back home!
Don't get us wrong..we love visiting our family and friends and eating all our favorite foods. We were even able to visit some new places and make some wonderful new friends that are like family now! But.....after being in the DR and living the life there we began to miss it, alot! We didn't think we'd be here this long, but life happens. This whole visa thing as well as trying to save money for it all has delayed our timeline.
Of course, its all good. We figure Jehovah knows what he's doing and he knows exactly what we're needing. We will get there when we get there. Although we're really hoping thats within the next week or two! lol! Our new apartment is waiting for us, not to mention our congregation and all our other friends down there! We certainly miss everyone and can't wait to get together with everyone.
It'll be exciting to get back and start 'working' again. Mainly in the congregation and our own territory. Of course we've kept up in the ministry here, but other than that we've basically been on a vacation from everything else. Congregation responsibilities, taking care of our own studies and rv's, etc. It'll be good to get back into a routine again.
We'll be needing a vehicle when we get back, so we're seeing whats out there but mainly leaving it in Jehovahs hands. Everything else should be back to normal though when we return.
As soon as we know when we're leaving we'll let everyone else know. We've constantly been getting asked that in the past couple weeks from friends here and in DR, lol!
Until then, take care!
Its been awhile since the last post, but we've been busy visiting so many friends and family as well as trying our best to get our papers together for our Visas. We arrived to Delaware in February and had a wonderful time seeing our families and friends. We attended the Iron Hill congregation again in Newark where my brother and his family goes. Since it was our second time back, we knew the congregation a lot better this time and all of the brothers remembered us. We were able to associate more with them including being together in the ministry.
We experienced the cold and snow as well, something we hadn't gone through in over a year! It was definitely something we had to adjust to again, although it didn't take long. We had the privilege of attending the circuit pioneer meeting at Turnersville Assembly Hall since we missed ours in DR. It was a great program to help us stay strong and firm in the faith as well as continue with joy in our pioneer service.
We also had a nice trip to Philadelphia with our old friends the Saracco's. We walked around the historic sites and went on a mini food tour-enjoying various cheesesteaks throughout the day! It was great! Definitely a day to remember. Soon after that we were getting ready to head down to Nashville, Tennessee to see the rest of our family and friends from our old congregation.
We are currently in Nashville now and its nice to be back seeing everyone again. We, however just returned from Oregon! Yes, Oregon. We spent a week there to attend the wedding of our dear Hannah. She was serving in the DR in Samana for 3 months while we were there. We became family and told her we would attend her wedding whenever that was....well, two years later it happened and we couldn't not attend! We definitely had to be there for her and we had a blast. We got to meet her family and many friends, as well as her, now, husband Jaden. What a great guy! We look forward to spending time with them in the future when we return.
We had the privilege of staying with the Ortiz family while we were there, and we can't say enough good things about them. They were such awesome hosts, showing us different parts of of Portland, taking us to try different foods and see different sights; including a trip up to beautiful Astoria! We ended the trip with a wonderful family worship watching the May broadcast. What a great broadcast it was! We had an Asian themed night of food as everyone brought something to share. It was a great night of physical and spiritual food. It was a great week of spiritual association as well as a fun time sightseeing Portland. Thanks to Hannah and Jaden for the invite, and thanks to Paul, Jen, Kira, and Cameron for the wonderful time we had there. We will definitely be back to visit!
Now that we are back in Nashville we will be concentrating on service and getting the rest of our paperwork finished. Sadly, things are getting harder and harder as far as the visa process in the DR. Not that we can't get it, but, it is getting more difficult and more expensive. As always we are trusting in Jehovah to help us with everything we need to do. He hasn't let us down yet! Our goal is to be back in DR sometime before the end of June, but depending on the visa process it may be longer. Whatever happens, we will do what we can and trust in Jehovah. Like the brother in the broadcast said..."Worrying doesn't accomplish anything"....we're not worried because we know Jehovah is there.
As always, thank you to everyone who supports us, especially with your words of encouragement and love.
Until our next blog post!
p.s. - We post many of our pics and experiences on our Instagram accounts. They are:
Please feel free to follow us!
After almost 7 and a half months, we will be leaving DR and heading back to the states for a couple months to take care of some things that will help us stay in our assignment. Also we'll be taking the time to see family and friends.
We have enjoyed our first months here in Puerto Plata. We have experienced great times and some bad times, but of course more good than bad. The bad times have always been taken care one way or another by Jehovah and we've learned more and more how important it is to have a positive attitude and to expect things to not always go the way we want. Being realistic and trusting in Jehovah has been such a help for us.
We have enjoyed being active in the ministry and meeting more and more new brothers and sisters all the time. Time has really flown by and its definitely bittersweet that we have to leave, even if its for a little bit. Now we're getting everything ready to leave in the next couple of weeks. Of course it was nice to have some visitors come and see us! Our first visitors were Tania and Roemary who were here for about two weeks. They had a really great time experiencing the preaching work down here and the beauty of the country. It was an eye opening experience for them seeing how life is down here and also how the foreigners adjust to help out the work.
Soon after my brother Ben and his family visited us also. We had a great time showing my nephews a whole new place, try new foods, and preach in another country and another language! They had a great time and so did we.
Now we're getting things ready to head back. We are excited to see everyone and eat some foods we really miss: Good burgers, Wingstop chicken wings, cheesesteaks, scrapple, BBQ, going to Wawa, and the list goes on, lol! We don't look forward to the frigid temps, hectic life, and paying an arm and a leg for everything,,, but, we'll be ok =)
Also, our apartment is free to rent starting in March. If anyone wants to visit of is actually looking for a place to live in Puerto Plata, definitely contact us and we'll give you more info =)
Until our next blog post, take care everyone!
Hello everyone! It’s already been almost 6 months since we've returned to the island and we have enjoyed being here serving Jehovah! Of course, like anyone, we have had our challenges and worries, but Jehovah has been there every time. Here are two quick examples of how Jehovah knows EXACTLY what we need at the appropriate time.
First, when we arrived here we had no car. We would've just taken taxi's and motos everywhere, and even though its fairly cheap, eventually that would've got a little costly. However, about a week or so within arriving, we got word of a need greater that was gone for the summer and left his car here and that might be willing to let us use it until he returned. We got his info and inquired about it and he lovingly let us use his car while he was away. He only asked that we take care of the routine maintenance! So, we had a car thanks to Jehovah! But, that's not all...the brother of course was returning, and he did return just last week. So, you may wonder, what were we going to do now since we'd have to give his car back.
Well, we knew he would be back at the beginning of December. Fortunately we had already put the word out that we'd be needing a vehicle soon and if anyone knew any info on where to get one for a good price to let us know.
About a week or so later a family, that serves here, said that their brother-in-law who had served here in the past, left his car at their house and it’s just been sitting not being used. They said they could ask him if it would be available. We said we’d appreciate that and see what would happen. So they get back to us not long after that and said that he would be willing to sell it since he probably won’t be coming back and didn’t want the car to just sit and not be used. We said great! Now, the brother was set on selling the car since it was a good reliable car and wanted to get a good price for it…understandable. We explained that we in no way had the money to buy the car outright, but if he was willing, we could work out a monthly payment plan or rental agreement. After the family told him what we could financially he came back with an answer….
He said that he really wanted to sell it.
However this is what he said, and these are his words: “…my plan is not to make money, I bought the truck for Jehovah’s service, and if they moved to the DR, like we did years ago to do more for Jehovah, he can have the truck for free. He can get it up and running and use it until he needs it.”
Needless to say, we were amazed and extremely grateful to him and of course to Jehovah! What better price can you get for a car?!?! =) We currently are using the car in Jehovah’s service.
Another experience that happened recently was this:
It was getting toward the end of the month and, like many others, things were getting low (food, money, etc.) We’ve all been there... waiting for our next payday. But of course, like most of us, we just did the best we could to make things stretch until we got paid again. We always had what we needed!!
One afternoon, out of the blue, I get this message from a sister that we knew from back home. She said that she pioneered for a long time and she also served as a need greater before, and knew that it wasn’t always easy, but living a self-sacrificing life for Jehovah, is the best there is! She mentioned that she came in to a sum of money and wanted to use it to help those putting Jehovah first, and wanted to send our family a monetary gift!
The amount was enough to fully restock our shelves with food and have some leftover to pay some other expenses... (like fixing up said car from above!) It came just at the right time! We couldn’t thank her enough! You know the story doesn't end there...
She wanted us to let her know if there was anyone else here that we thought might need some of the same assistance. We said there was. There is a family that recently moved to the island to serve but hadn’t been able to start working due to some complications that was out of their hands and they were struggling a little financially, as well as feeling a little discouraged. The sister said she’d like to help and sent them some money as well for us to give to them!
When we gave the money to the family and told them where it came from, they were flabbergasted! The sister began crying, (and so did Veronica, lol) and they couldn’t believe that just happened to them. We stressed to them that Jehovah knows exactly what we need and will use any means he sees fit, usually being our brothers and sisters, to provide for his faithful servants. They were so relieved and said that that gift certainly arrived at the perfect time!
So, we can truly say that we have experienced Jehovah’s hand time and time again while we’ve been down here, as brought out in Ephesians 6:8 and Hebrews 13:5.
We are continually trusting in Jehovah and doing all we can for him while we enjoy the privilege of serving in a foreign land. The only reason we are here and doing well is not because of us, but it's all Jehovah and his continual guidance, direction, and holy spirit!
Until the next blog post, take care everyone! =)
I'm so glad that our assemblies this year have, in part, the same theme... Don't Give Up!
It is such a timely reminder for everyone.
So last week, we had our circuit assembly... "No Se Rinda - Siga Haciendo Lo Que Esta Bien" ("Don't Give Up in Doing What Is Fine"). It was our first assembly with our new congregation and circuit. We met so many new friends. And the information was even better.
During several of the talks, I found myself being reminded why I wanted to get baptized and why I love Jehovah so much. After the assembly, we spent the following week in Jarabacoa with the Peverini Family. And after such a fulfilling assembly, we had an even more fulfilling week with our new 'framily'.
First, the drive up to Jarabacoa felt a bit long (especially after a long, hot day at the assembly). It was a drive up the mountain. We arrived at the house around 6:30pm. Had some dinner and chatted with the family... Great end to a wonderful day.
The rest of the week was so much fun. We all had a wonderful time.
So for a quick run down of the events and highlights - here you go:
*and the slide show attached gives you the run down of everything*
Rest in the morning... And then Jon, Kei, Raquel, Chris, Jabin and Weston went to Salto de Jimeneo. One of the waterfalls in Jarabacoa. They had a great time. It was quite the hike down to the waterfall and they got down there pretty easily. They had so much fun there and exploring. --pause-- The crazy part was the hike back up to get to the car. So much so that the littles needed to be carried up. It was rough. But everyone got up - eventually.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
A few great mornings and afternoons in service. Then we had some much needed 'do nothing for the rest of the day' time. It was wonderful! We cooked yummy food, had great conversation and enjoyed the quite time too.
Visited Jamaca de Dios and Salto de Baiguato. This waterfall was much easier to get to (I went to this one with the family lol). It was a beautiful, tranquil area. We got in the cold water and had fun climbing up to the top..... well, the kids did, not me :) We also went to the meeting with the Peverini's; we visited La Colonial congregation.
We had an early (a little earlier than the other days) start today. Since the plan was to go higher up the mountain and preach in the mountains. It was an amazing service day in the 'campo'. And I totally wish I could remember the name of the little towns we went to. The views were amazing... The ministry was better... We all had such a great time speaking with the people in these campos.
We ended our little getaway with another spiritual 'power punch'. We attend the English assembly in Santiago. It was the same assembly that we had the week before - Do Not Give Up in Doing What Is Fine.
What a day! It was a great program, just as the week before. But because of who else goes to this assembly, all those the English congregations in DR, but also pretty much all, or almost all, of the foreigners on the island. So it's almost as if we all have a connection from the start. The talks were amazing. And in several of the talks, the brothers gear the talks for the needs of the need greater.
During the same talk that just the week before made me remember and appreciate even more the reason why I wanted to dedicate my life to Jehovah, this time it made me remember and appreciate even more the reason why we have decided to move to this country and serve here.
We really appreciated seeing how Jehovah really blesses us now for doing his fine works, and we are all anxiously awaiting what we'll reap in the near future.
This full week was, needless to say, a truly amazing week.
ENJOY the pictures!!
Now we're back home and into our routine again. There are many things coming up for us in the next year and we're excited, but also waiting on Jehovah for answers to some of our needs. We have learned so much more here about waiting and trusting him in for EVERYTHING we need. Its not always easy but he hasn't disappointed us yet. We have all the same concerns as before. This is the case for us, as well as everyone else who has to make a living in this world.
Satan is continually doing things to discourage all of us and take us away from Jehovah; but our continual faith and trust in Him is so important. We've seen the blessings and how He takes care of us here in our assignment, as we try to help where the need is great.
We're excited to see what Jehovah has in store for us in the coming months!
We're the Mazarelli Family
Just a family of four trying to do our best. Our adventure to become Need-Greaters in the Dominican Republic is starting... and we want to share it with you.