Friday, November 13, 2009

My "Welcome to the Convention" Speech

I ran down this morning for a quick breakfast. There were so many trying to eat in the conference room, they sent me into the restaurant. It worked out good because they had a better selection. Evelyn (Janie Hill) was sitting by herself, so I sat with her. I asked her what she did last night. She was telling me that she was here for an international convention 16 years ago. She said that she met a Chliean sister at that convention in the food line that couldn't speak any English. The sister gave Evelyn a native hat, and they exchanged information. She said they kept in touch by mail for a few years, but eventually lost touch. She had kept her name, and a brother helped her use the internet to do a search on the internet for the sister. They found her name and address. Last night, she had a brother take her over to her house and surprise her. The sister remembered her. She still doesn't speak much English, so her daughter came over to translate. She said her son was a little boy at the time, and now he is all grown up. He is going to dance in a show that they are going to put on for the some of the groups this weekend. She is supposed to go over there I think tonight to have dinner with them. That was a great story to start the day.

The weather was great again today. After we got there and got seats, I decided I would try one more time to walk around with Destiny's Child. It didn't work. I couldn't give my stuff away around them. I ditched them fast. I told them I should have gone to Africa. I decided that i would have a little fun. I saw "Alma" working her way through the crowd. I went over to her and said "Hello, sister, how are you? Welcome to Chile?" in my best Spanish. She threw her arms around my neck and said hello. I whispered in her ear, "I'm from Tennessee." She pushed me back and looked at my tag. She's from Ohio, and we had a big laugh. After the candy started coming out, I got a little attention. Especially when they knew I could actually talk to them and understand them. I had this one sister come up to me and told me that he son wanted to tell me something. He was about 7 or 8. I squatted down where I could hear him, and he rattled off a "Welcome to the Convention" speech in great English. I had him do it again so I could video it. Another lump. I think that was one of the highlights of the day.

Before lunch, I was sitting there looking down waiting for the next talk to begin when I heard the brother start the talk. I looked up really fast because I thought he sounded just like my Circuit Overseer David Arencibia. It wasn't him, but when I looked back at the jumbo screen again, at the bottom it said, "Hermano Pedro Arencibia". It was his brother! I made my way out and down to the chairman's office to talk to him. He was as nice as David. A little older I think, but he definitely was an Arencibia. I wish I could have gotten to meet his wife because his wife is my C.O.'s wife's sister. Complicated I know. It gets better. There are three Arencibia brothers that are married to three fleshly sisters, and all three brothers are Spanish C.O.'s in the United States. Talk about some proud parents.

They interviewed a missionary couple from Korea that are serving as missionaries in Chile. They said that in their first assignment, many of the homes allowed their pigs and cows to roam free, entering and exiting the house during the study. She said that she could see the fleas jumping on her during the study, and she was covered in flea bites from head to toe. She said she must have developed an immunity to it because they don't bother her anymore. She said that she was in the Faulkland Islands and met a woman from Chile that was visiting there. She had a good conversation with her and left her a Bible Teach book. When she returned to her assignment seven months later, she met the woman again. The woman had contacted the Witnesses in Chile to request a study and had progressed so fast that she was already a publisher. So you never know what happens to your placements. Her husband said that the Chilean culture was hard at first. He said that where he is in Chile, the men greet each other with a handshake, a hug, and another hand shake. The women greet each other with a kiss. He said their was no contact on a greeting in Korea. She said that once they got used to it, it was hard for them to go back to the old way when they visited Korea again.

Brother Losch gave the final talk today which was the release of the new songbook. I have to say I think some of the new songs are even more beautiful in Spanish. I have to say, I had more than a lump in the throat when they played the new version of "I Want To". I don't know how we are going to be able to sing that song. The new songs are so emotional. The sister next to me was sobbing. I made it ok until the husky Chilean brother in front of me took off his glasses to wipe his face. There were 42,000 there today, and a combined 75,000 at all three convention sites. Tomorrow, we will be at a different site to meet different friends. We pulled out of the parking lot, and made our way down the street. The car and busloads of Chileans all waved at us. Some of them were in old Dotsun trucks with a bed cover with 6 or 8 in the back or in a loaded up mini van. Another reminder not to complain about anything on this trip.

We made our way back to the hotel and ate at a seafood restaurant in the same market we have been eating every night. To tell you the kind of time we had, the lady at the table behind us asked us if we could hold it down a bit. We didn't tell her that the waiter told us when we came in that her group was coming and that they are somewhat unruly.

On the way back to the hotel, we met a man from Canada. Paul was having a good discussion with him when I came into the hotel. I'm anxious to find out what they talked about.

Funny story of the day. We had seats under the cover for most of the day. There were some huge pigeons that were roosting above the people about 8 rows in front of me. The got to "acting up" up there, and a CD fell out of their nest on the people below. I don't know how they got that thing up there. Everybody underneath them put their umbrellas back up. One of the birds moved about 10 feet over and dropped a #2. Everybody was still watching them from the CD incident, and there was hugh gasp from the audience during the five second drop. I didn't see where it landed, but some more umbrellas came back up.

Well, that's all from today that I can think of. I'm anxious to meet the new group at the other arena tomorrow.

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