Monday, June 3, 2013

District convention

The trip back to Canada went smoothly. By now i was used to the pangas and the buses. I left the house at 4 in the morning, and arrived in Managua mid afternoon. I was met at the bus by some brothers in the english congregation there who i stayed with until it was time to go to the airport. I couldnt believe how cold it was in the airport, it was like walking into a freezer. Then i remembered how it felt coming into that same airport from canada... it really shows how your body changes to adapt to a different climate. Thankfully it was summertime back in Canada, so it was a fairly smooth transition.

By now it was July, and all of the district conventions i knew of in Canada were over in June. The conventions in Nicaragua (both spanish and english) were not until september. So i made it a matter of prayer to find a convention that i could afford to go to. I asked around to different brothers and the only clues i got were that there was possibly one coming up in Anchorage Alaska. Now, i have no reservations about a bit of travel, but its very expensive to get to alaska, and to stay in a hotel for 3 or 4 nights as well.

Then i heard of a family in a neighbouring congregation who were going to the convention in Mérida, Mexico in September. On top of that, they invited me to go with them and stay with them in a house they were renting. The family was considering moving to Mérida to serve in an english congregation there, so they were going to spend two weeks there in additon to the convention. And as it turns out, it was almost cheaper to fly there and back than to stay at a hotel in calgary for my own congregations district convention.

Mérida is the capital city of the Yucatan state of Mexico, and is located on the peninsula of the same name. Mérida has a reputation of being very clean, and having an abnormally low crime rate. The climate is tropical, having a dry season and a rainy season much like Nicaragua. It is said that the only flaw of Mérida is the heat. It regularly reaches 40 degrees celcius or higher during the day, and its a wet heat. That being said it is a fairly modern city so most buildings have air conditioning, including malls and cafes, so there is always a way to escape the heat if you really need to.

There were 5 of us travelling together, myself and the couple with their two children. The plane landed in Cancun, and we rented a car to make the 3 hour drive west to Mérida. The convention was held at a newly built assembly hall on the outskirts of the city. The program was especially encouraging for us, as there were many need greaters in the english district the program was tailored to that audience. The atmosphere was very upbuilding as well, since most of the people there were brothers who came from all over the world to serve in Mexico and they were all just as excited to be there as we were. Even though this convention was not in our home district, we all agreed that it felt like it was the convention that we were supposed to be at.

After the convention we spent the next two weeks exploring the Yucatan peninsula with the local brothers. We saw many tourist attractions but also a few hidden gems that the local brothers showed us. (Such as where to find the best tacos ive ever had).

After 4 months in Nicaragua i was quite honestly exhausted and was questioning wether i would do it again. But that convention, and being with that family in Mérida helped me to realize that this was my place in Jehovah's organization, at least for now. I belong in the field. When we got back to Canada this time my resolve was strengthened and i was determined to go back. I wrote a letter to the Mexico branch asking where i should go next, and started saving enough to stay in my next assignment for at least one year.

Unfortunately my letter never made it to the branch. I imagine it was lost in the mail, it was sent more than 6 months ago now and still no word. But that didnt matter. I had prayerfully set a date to leave for my next assignment, and was committed. I had my heart set on going back to Nicaragua, but after "calculating the cost" so to speak and considering possibities of making an income to prolong my time there i found that Mérida would be more practical.

So for the next 6 months i worked and did my best not to fall behind on my hours in field service. Working as much as i was and pioneering at the same time was difficult, i really didnt have much time to enjoy many of the things i missed while in Nicaragua, which is a fact that i remind myself of if I ever get homesick while away.

And that brings us to today. June 3rd 2013. I've been in Mérida for just over one month now, updating this blog from a cafe near the central park. The rainy season has just begun although its sunny right now. The family i travelled with in september will be arriving here in August.

Many things are similar here to Nicaragua, such as the heat, but i do miss Bluefields and the brothers there. The Yucatan has many of its own unique things to experience and im looking forward to having some new adventures here. Which of course i will write about on this blog.

The ministry here is great, im already conducting as many bible studies as i had in bluefields and finding the territory very productive. Im not just counting time here, im making time count.

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