MÉXICO - ENGLISH
CONVENTIONS IN MÉXICO-ENGLISH:
(COMMENTS FROM THE BROTHERS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES)
"There is a notable unique spirit present at all our assemblies in México-English."
"Be it the depth of experience in the Truth, the inherent warmth of our Mexican brothers who have made the effort to learn a new language in order to support this special work, or the excitement in being on the “ground floor” of this new facet of service in México -- whatever it is -- there is a notable unique spirit that is present at all our assemblies. This is not just our personal (and perhaps biased) opinion. For example: one of the Bethelite speakers who has served many years with his wife in the special pioneer service remarked that at this Convention -- his first in English -- he had never before experienced such a family spirit. There was wonderment in his eyes as he expressed himself. And he was not the only one who made such comments.
"...Not a district convention in the traditional sense--
But rather the LARGEST PIONEER MEETING WE'VE EVER ATTENDED!"
This is exactly how one needgreater couple expressed it, "The enthusiasm for the full-time work was so evident with each speaker, each person interviewed and in the audience itself that we just have to describe this event--not as a district convention in the traditional sense--but rather the LARGEST PIONEER MEETING WE'VE EVER ATTENDED!"
As in the past, this English convention in México touched hearts in ways that moved many to follow Jehovah’s lead to a new and unexpected path. For example, when a couple from Colorado first arrived the wife remarked, “I don’t know what my husband is thinking. I’m not moving anywhere. I have grandchildren in the States that I’d never be willing to leave.” Well, by Saturday night, this same sister was busily gathering information on the costs of rentals, utilities, etc. She had even urged her husband to complete the questionnaire given to those interested in making the move to México.
1st English District Convention in México - Nov 6-8, 1998
DRAMA: Families--Make Daily Bible Reading Your Way of Life!
The Stephen and Cathie Pérez family of San Antonio, Texas, stated flat out that they were immediately going back and “selling everything” -- even the new house that they hadn’t even moved into yet! With what goal? To serve wherever they could in México and help establish new English-speaking groups.
A Canadian family with children still at home made definite plans to “step into Macedonia.” After asking around, they chose the Tapatía Congregation in Guadalajara because of the large number of spiritually-minded young ones in that congregation, making plans that same week to look at house rentals while visiting Guadalajara.
"...we count it as an inestimable privilege to be a small part of this ground-breaking work. It's this spirit of appreciation for the door of opportunity we have stepped through which permeated our convention and drew us ever closer together."
"English Conventions in México are so unique...so exceptional!"
" English conventions in México are so unique. And what makes these theocratic gatherings in México so exceptional? In a word: the people. Yes, people who have willingly made great changes in their lives to support this ground-breaking preaching work in México. Virtually everyone here has either moved from another country or learned English in order to more fully give glory to our God Jehovah. Because of this extraordinary self-sacrificing spirit, a special bond has developed that supersedes cultural differences and enables us to focus intently on the work of establishing and cultivating this foreign-language territory. "
"For us, no words can adequately express to Jehovah and his earthly organization our heart-felt gratitude for the privilege of being at this convention. Without any doubt whatsoever, we all know that Jehovah's spirit was generously poured out upon each and every speaker, and upon the hearts of each and every listener. We rate this at the top of all the theocratic experiences we have ever had."
"The... spirit was nothing less than that of an International convention!"
"...to add to the encouragement always received at any district convention, there was the additional excitement of a grand reunion among many old friends. Add to that, the presence of friends from many different backgrounds, countries, the Bethels of México and New York, and even the Watchtower School of Gilead. The resulting spirit was nothing less than that of an international convention.
LOVING ASSISTANCE FROM THE BRANCH
A unique and very loving feature of many of the English District Conventions was the informal "Come to México Orientation meeting" offered as a kindness to the hundreds of brothers and sisters attending the convention, and were interested in serving where the need is great in México-English.
As can be imagined these informal meetings, as one pioneer put it, "were like large serving-where- the-need-is-great pioneer meetings" and were incredibly encouraging and motivating! In their talks, the circuit overseers from each of the circuits in "Mexidonia" and other elders that handled the talks, discussed the needs in México-English, areas where there is a specific need and answered the key questions that brothers generally have when thinking of going where the need is great.
For example: What about the climate? Where in the country to serve? Whether to start out in an established English congregation or an English group, still hosted by a Spanish congregation? What needs are there for elders? Sisters? Families?
For the benefit of those interested in moving to "Mexidonia", notes from some of these informal "Come to México Orientation meetings" as well as the "2006 Needs of the Circuit" talk are outlined here:
2006 Needs of the Circuit - June 2006
[Encouraging, helpful Information for those interested in serving in México-English]
"The work is BOOMING in México-English!" So began circuit overseer, Rick Malet-Veale, in his coverage of “Giving Attention to the Needs of the Circuit” at the assembly for Circuit #03-inglés in Morelia, Michoacán, México, in June 2006. He continued, "Just in this circuit, three new English congregations were formed beginning May lst: in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco (part of Guadalajara—the second English congregation in that city), in Pachuca, Hidalgo, and in Uruapan, Michoacán. Brother Malet-Veale stated that four groups are getting ready to be formed into congregations, and 5 new book study locations look very promising to become congregations in the not-too-distant future.
Brother Malet-Veale commended the many Mexicans who have stepped into a new culture and language in order to serve where there is a much greater need in their own country. At first, many of the Mexican brothers and sisters are timid to use their English, especially when preaching to other Mexicans. After all, it would be so much easier in their native Spanish. But Jehovah blesses all their self-sacrificing efforts. This point was clearly made in an interview with Sister Gabriela Domínguez of the Morelia inglés congregation. She stated that her motive to change to English was to teach honest-hearted ones the Bible in that language. But when she met Culem, she was hesitant because the Mexican Bible student spoke much better English than she did. Still, she decided to give it a try, and this did not go unnoticed by Jehovah. He blessed her humble efforts in a grand way: Culem was baptized at our last English district convention in August 2005.
"The average hours for publishers in the circuit is 16 per month. And 36% of this circuit are in the full-time work, with over 40% of the elders serving as regular or special pioneers. This has been consistent during the seven-year history of México English: about 35%-40% have served as either regular or special pioneers.
"It’s often been said that witnesses really have two ministries: the one of teaching and making disciples in the territory, and the one inside the congregation - attending to the needs of our local brothers. But in Mexidonia a very crucial third ministry has developed. It includes ministering to
the needs of our brothers from all around the world who are interested in the English activity in Mexidonia....When the brothers arrive, established needgreaters do what they can to show them around, help them adapt to the new country and its ways, and introduce them to the friends at their first assemblies here. And as with the other two ministries, Jehovah blesses all these efforts made by 'veteran Mexidonians' around the country."
The good news is being "preached in a foreign language to people who are responding in their second language. The majority of our territory consists of Mexicans listening to the good news in a language foreign to them. Needgreaters, therefore, fall into one of two groups:
1) English native-speakers who have chosen to move to Mexidonia and preach in a language foreign to that area of the world; or
2) Mexican witnesses who have chosen to learn a foreign language [English] and "step over into Mexidonia" to preach to their Mexican neighbors in that foreign language.
"As Jehovah speeds up the work in these ending times, His people are all striving to do their utmost in sanctifying His name all over the globe. In Mexidonia there is still a tremendous amount to do in this regard, and so we continue to beseech our heavenly father to kindly send in more workers as long as time still exists for that privilege to be experienced in this part of the world!"
GOOOCZ -- E-S-P Needed in México-English!
For all those interested in moving to Mexidonia: an informal meeting was held after Saturday’s afternoon session of the 2005 District Convention, with all three circuit overseers providing valuable advice and information about areas of greatest need.
Brother Lawrence Klein from Circuit ING-#01 began by holding up a sign with the acronym: GOOOCZ. What does it mean? Get Out Of Our Comfort Zone. Yes, that is what is required for a move to Mexidonia. He stated that everyone here is willing to extend themselves and that is why there were nearly 3,000 at the convention that day. He said that anywhere you go in México the need is the same: E–S–P. Elders, Servants, and Pioneers.
Brother Edmund Oxley, the newly appointed circuit overseer for Circuit ING-#02 emphasized one particularly interesting phenomenon of México inglés: many Mexicans have received a witness in Spanish for years without any results. Yet, when they hear the same message in English it tends to act as a fibrillator, “jump-starting” their spiritual interest and resulting in progressive Bible studies. Specifically, Brother Oxley said that León - inglés needs pioneers; the newly-formed Madero inglés congregation in Tampico needs elders (currently there is only one); and Ajijic is the largest bed and breakfast community of Americans outside the U.S. In that area there is a tremendous need.
There, it is the SPANISH brothers who have to canvass their territory because there is such an abundance of English. In fact, more baptisms in México inglés have come from the Ajijic inglés congregation than any other. He added that the new book study in Colima has 45 in attendance and described the territory in all border towns as “tremendous.”
Brother Malet-Veale from Circuit ING#03 advised those interested in receiving the blessings of serving in Mexidonia to consider two important things. One: the climate. All types of climate are available in this beautiful country. Choose which is best for you. Two: Decide if you want to start out in an established English congregation or a group, remembering that many of the English groups are part of Spanish congregations.
His very practical advice included the point that where you first serve in México does not have to be a decision “etched in stone.” In time, many move to other locations where there is even a greater need. And speaking of need, Brother Malet-Veale informed us that if approved, all the English congregations in the Yucatan peninsula (and currently a part of the Belize English District) will be incorporated into Circuit ING-#03 which will result in a total of 40 destinations within this newest English circuit. There is a great need, he emphasized, for brothers and sisters to help our dear Mexican English-speaking brothers to learn how to preach in English.
For all of Jehovah’s people everywhere in the world, Brother Louis Melin of Regiomontana inglés in Monterrey, Nuevo León provided vital counsel for our thoughtful consideration. In a discourse regarding goals, he wholeheartedly urged, “Regardless of what you’ve accomplished – do not stop there!” And in our beloved Mexidonia we feel particularly blessed because whether we’ve moved from another country or another language congregation, we have indeed Gotten Out Of Our Comfort Zone and not stopped there! To what end? To a pouring out of blessings upon us and, believe it or not, to a tasting of the real life as promised in God’s new world.
GREATEST NEED IN MÉXICO-ENGLISH IS FOR...
“THOSE THAT CAN HIT THE GROUND RUNNING, FIND THEIR NICHE, FIT IN, & GET UNDER THE YOKE!"
At the 2004 District Convention, the informal meeting for the benefit of those who were interested in serving in México English, Paul Polding of San Miguel de Allende Central Inglés Congregation stressed two important qualities necessary for those considering such a move:
1) the willing “send me” spirit of Isaiah (Isaiah 6:8), and
2) a disposition like Timothy so as to be useful in a specific assignment and in going where no one has gone before (Phil. 2:19, 20). We were told that when making plans to move here we should be determined to stick for awhile – that’s where the blessings are. There are now more than 75 locations of English activity throughout all of México, so there are many places to taste and see that Jehovah is truly good.
So how does one choose where to serve? Well, much depends on where one wants to live. México has places that are hot and dry, warm and wet, near perfect weather year-round. You name it, it’s here. Wherever you choose, you can make a difference.
The greatest need is for elders, pioneers, and their families who can “hit the ground running, find their niche, fit in, get under the yoke, and learn how to integrate into the culture of the brothers and sisters already here.” In other words, the invitation is really to those who want to come for spiritual reasons.
Each of the two circuit overseers was given an opportunity to briefly describe the specific needs in his circuit. Lawrence Klein, overseer for Circuit #01-Inglés which includes nine states of the western half of México, stressed that the branch would like to make the Baja a separate circuit, but first more willing hands are needed there.
Cristóbal de Dios, overseer for Circuit #02-Inglés, which includes the remaining 22 states of México, reviewed the growth in that circuit since it was formed in September 2002. At that time, there were nine congregations and seven groups. And now? Nineteen congregations, six groups, and eleven book study groups, with more forming every week. And not only in English. Chinese and French book study groups already exist. Soon there may be some in Korean, German, and other languages. Jehovah is just beginning to open those doors of opportunity as more willing workers with a disposition like Timothy’s are finding listening ears in several foreign languages spoken by residents of México.
" THOSE WHO ALWAYS SEE THE DOORS OPEN & THUS GO THROUGH!"
At the 2003 District Convention, the much-looked-forward-to informal meeting for those wanting to serve where the need is great, was held and Brother Paul Polding began by answering a question that many have had: Why does it seem that some brothers get so many privileges? He suggested that there are three types of publishers:needed there.
1. Those who don't see any doors of opportunity and are content to work in their local congregations. They are very valuable and much
2. Those who see the doors of opportunity, but don't view these doors as open to them personally.
3. Those who always see the doors open and thus go through. These are the ones who receive continuous privileges, one right after another.
"It is the publishers from this third group who make the move to México English, whether they come from a foreign country or from a Spanish congregation within México. They are hard workers who are serious, determined and focused in helping to find and build the foreign-territory here. "
Brother Polding continued on showing how these needgreaters have been blessed: "It was August1996, that the first English congregation in México was formed, in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, with less than 20 publishers. They only had the entire country as their territory! Now, just seven years later there are 26 congregations, 9 official groups, and 21 isolated book study groups divided into two circuits, with nearly 800 publishers! "
"Both circuit overseers estimate that only 10% of the territory in their circuits has been canvassed. Imagine, at least 90% of the country still untouched!