MEXICO - ENGLISH
WHY ENGLISH IN MEXICO?
IS JEHOVAH REALLY BLESSING SUCH A WORK?
At 10:00 a.m. we see delegates being quietly directed to those seats at the back of the platform. And why is that?
We turn around and gaze in amazement at the completely filled auditorium. Never has this happened before. Knowing that the auditorium has a capacity of approximately 1,850 seats, our minds are racing to imagine what the peak attendance will be with the use of those extra seats. We are beginning to sense that Jehovah has more than answered our prayers.
Several personal experiences shared this morning highlighted how Jehovah has held back nothing good from those walking with him. For example, young Lindsey Malet-Veale has served in México with her family for 2-1/2 years. She was baptized at age 11 and began regular pioneering at age 12. Another significant age for Lindsey was when she turned two. At that time, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, requiring her to check her glucose level and take insulin injections several times daily. Despite that, she has served more than one-half of her life in countries where there is a greater need. And when a critical illness nearly took her life here two years ago, did she ever think of returning to Canada? Never! Her love for pioneering, for Jehovah, and the support of her spiritual family sustained her and convinced her that THIS is where Jehovah wants her to be!
And then there’s Brother and Sister Scott and Olga Looney who had a successful business in the States which they had tried to sell for four years in order to free up their time and expand their ministry. After visiting a family serving in México, they returned to San Antonio and earnestly prayed to Jehovah for direction. Did Jehovah hear? Did he answer? Two weeks later, the business was sold. Three months later they were serving in México.
The first of many unique announcements at our convention was made mid-morning on Friday. Edward Oxley of the Cafetalera Congregation in Xalapa, Veracruz, lovingly extended a very warm welcome to all the children and babies in our midst. He stated, “Until now, México English has been largely an adult group. But growing families have joined us and we want you young ones to know that we love you very much and are delighted you are here.”
In this morning’s keynote address, “Walk With God in Turbulent Times,” Felipe Pérez of the Mexican Branch made the important point that when we walk with God we are confident that we are walking in the right direction and that for a certainty, it is the best course to follow. But how can we be sure we are walking with God? One way is by his blessings.
And is he really blessing México English? Well, with the announcement of the first attendance figure there was little doubt: 2,056! Friends, this already surpassed last year’s peak by more than 650. Could Jehovah possibly have more blessings to pour upon us this weekend?
Please read on and see.
A unique feature of our district conventions is the Orientation Meeting (lovingly referred to as the “meeting after the meeting”) held for those who have interest 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!
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 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!
During the second day of the program we were reminded that walking with Jehovah is not the popular course but that it is always worth the price. And, what about México-English? To leave family, friends, familiar surroundings and country; to change to a foreign language congregation in one’s hometown, and struggle to express oneself, sometimes feeling useless. These too are often not the popular courses. Are they really worth the price? The last part of the convention delivered by Rick Malet-Veale of Querétaro provided the definitive answer.
To start, he invited all delegates and visitors in the lobby’s overflow seating and all working in the various departments to enter the main auditorium so we could be together as a family for the last talk, song, and prayer.
He reviewed a few experiences that occurred in the city the night before. “We owned Guanajuato last night, brothers, sisters, and friends. Everywhere the green badge identified us and everyone knew we were here.” How did the local people feel about that? One witness was told, “Congratulations! You are a beautiful religion.” Another heard, “We knew you because of your badge but also because of your dress and conduct.”
One brother attempted to witness to a German man in their hotel lobby and then remembered that a German brother was in that hotel. He ran to get him and introduced them to each other. It turns out they knew each other and had gone to the same school 20 years earlier in Germany. The interested man attended Saturday’s session but had to return to Germany. Email addresses were exchanged with the promise to stay in contact.
Then Brother Malet-Veale asked, “Why do we feel Jehovah is especially blessing México English? Well, there are 23 reasons.” With pens poised in our hands we readied ourselves to record them all. This proved to be unnecessary. He continued, “Brother, sisters, let me introduce you to all 23 reasons: the new members of our spiritual family who were baptized yesterday.” In an orderly manner all 23 walked onto the platform and received a thunderous ovation. From ages 10 to 60, there were 14 new brothers and 9 sisters, including two sets of twins. The previous peak number of baptisms at our district conventions was eight (in both years 2000 and 2003). Yes, 23 LIVING reasons that prove Jehovah wants us here!
And there is other proof! Two years ago, the formation of the 20th English congregation in México was announced at the district convention. Now there are 35 congregations (including the three which are counted as part of the Belize English District)– an increase of 75% in just those two years. Additionally there are nine official groups and 28 book study groups. Of these groups and book studies, nine are on the verge of being named congregations. What will happen in the NEXT two years?
And how did all this rapid growth come about? By Jehovah God kindly and generously blessing the efforts of many self-sacrificing brothers and sisters.
Brother Malet-Veale then reminded us that the reason we are here in México is to save lives and that to do so we must be beacons of hope and light to those in the territory. It’s true that people don’t come into the truth in México because of English, but it often gets their initial interest and many then begin to study and learn to love Jehovah. We must have uppermost in our mind that our utmost desire is to please Jehovah. All other things are of little importance.
And finally, the peak attendance? 2,507 – each and every one of us feeling that it was an inestimable privilege to be there, and that during these past three days there was no other place on earth we would have wanted to be!
After the closing prayer, thunderous applause filled the auditorium. But then we heard music, and the huge screen to the right of the platform filled with beautifully filmed scenes of the last three days. We all stood absolutely transfixed at this totally unexpected addition to our 7th district convention. For about twenty minutes we watched, remembered, smiled and even cried as many of us even sang along with the music. The video highlighted the incredible spiritual paradise we had all enjoyed and remains fixed in our hearts as an expression of gratitude to our beloved Jehovah.
What praise to him and what motivation to follow the counsel at Micah 4:5: “We, for our part, shall walk in the name of Jehovah our God to time indefinite, even forever.”
May that be the determination of us all who have been personally invited by Jehovah himself to walk with him now… and yes, even forever.
Agape,Jesús (Jess) & Marina Calderón
[Jess & Marina Calderón made the move from California in March 1999 to serve in México-English; first, in a little English group hosted by a Spanish congregation in Guadalajara. At that time, there were only six English congregations in the entire country. This little group became an official congregation in November of that same year. After 2-1/2 years in Guadalajara the Calderóns moved to Aguascalientes to assist another official English group; this one hosted by the Norte Spanish congregation. Two months later this group also became an English congregation. The Calderóns remained in Aguascalientes for 4-1/2 years. During this time an official English book study was started an hour and a half away in Zacatecas which, in time, also became an official English congregation. Partly due to encouragement of the circuit overseer and the fact thatAguascalientes had become a stable English congregation, in 2005 they moved to Colima as a relatively new official English book study there was in need of help. In January 2006, this little book study became an official English group hosted by the Spanish congregation Camino Real. Jess & Marina presently continue to serve with this group and the Congregación Camino Real.
Why English in México? Is Jehovah really blessing such a work? Does anyone have any doubt after reading the Calderón's enthusiastic letter recapping all the wonderful information about this at the México-English District Convention?
But what about México-English since then? Please read on...it only gets better!
JEHOVAH'S BLESSING UPON MÉXICO-ENGLISH !
Numbers often paint a very descriptive picture. For example, in Genesis 6:15 we are told exact measurements of the ark that Noah and his family were asked to construct. Just as those specific figures help us to envision the immensity of this life-saving vessel, so too, the numbers on the following chart and time-line below it, serve to paint an incredible picture of Jehovah's blessing upon Mexidonia [México English] during it short history from 1995 to 2006:
|Year||Peak Attendance||% Change||# Congregations||% Change|
* During these approximate 3 years, the English congregations in the Yucatan area of México were included in the Belize English circuit, so they were not included as congregations of México - English. They were included again in México-English beginning in March 2006.
In summary, due to Jehovah’s abundant blessing on México-English, in just eight very short years, while the peak attendance at the district convention increased 491%, the number of congregations in México-English increased by 900%!
LIST OF ENGLISH CONGREGATIONS & THEIR LOCATIONS www.needgreaters.com/MexicoEnglishCongregations.htm
WHEN & HOW DID JEHOVAH BEGIN TO ACTIVELY TURN
HIS ATTENTION TO THE ENGLISH-SPEAKING OF MÉXICO?
As we examine what took place between 1995 and 2006 in México the answer to this question becomes clear:
Continued at: www.Needgreaters.com/MexicoEnglishWhen.htm
The purpose of the Serving Where the Need is Great Web Page is simply to share many of the joys and experiences of needgreaters throughout the world. It has been prepared with the hope of encouraging all of Jehovah’s servants as well as motivating those who have the circumstances to reach out for this wonderful privilege of service. In no way is the information provided here a substitute for following the instructions of the Society which include contacting the Branch Office in the country in which you would like to serve.