COMING ENGLISH DISTRICT CONVENTIONS
(Announced in the March 2009 Our Kingdom Ministry - Printed in México)
HIGHLIGHTS OF 2006 ENGLISH DISTRICT CONVENTION IN MÉXICO
México - Querétaro, Aug. 18-20, 2006: “I am with you... to deliver you” so writes the prophet of Jehovah at Jeremiah 1:19. And for three exquisite days in Querétaro, those in attendance at the 9th English District Convention in México's history felt just that: a deliverance from the weighty cares and distresses of this present system of things. And with that “deliverance” came the joy of seeing and embracing faithful brothers and sisters from all over the Republic of México, as well as several foreign countries.
Yes, we eagerly came to be instructed at Jehovah’s overflowing spiritual table. And we had every confidence that we would be fed just the right food at the proper time. But, we also wondered, would it “feel” the same as the previous eight English district conventions in México? Would the blending of the self-sacrificing love of our Mexican brothers with the greater experience of the foreign brothers still produce an ambience that draws even those who do not understand the language? After all, we’ve grown: Mexidonia (Mexico English) is comprised of four circuits now, more than 60 congregations, at least 20 official groups, and seemingly countless book study groups. There are so many new faces, from so many different countries, and from such a variety of backgrounds. And so, we wondered.
But not for long.
Yes, thanks to Jehovah, that same spirit is still here – the one that transcends language, culture, background. The one that moves more than 40% of us to joyfully be in full-time service. That same spirit nearly electrifies the air itself. Just ask any of the 3,722 who attended (an 18.3% increase over last year’s peak of 3,146).
As we all work to put ourselves in line for everlasting deliverance, Jehovah kindly provides a taste of it even now, particularly for those faithful ones who have experienced especially painful distress.
Take for example our dear Sister Gloria Choperena. Brother Ron Ponton of Querétaro introduced her by softly stating, “Many of us here already know Gloria Choperena.” Why was that?
Not so very long ago her seven-year-old son, Inaki, was stricken with leukemia. And although his father was an unbeliever and once an opposer, Inaki bravely refused blood in accord with Jehovah’s commands as taught to him by his believing mother. But the monetary cost of treating his disease was prohibitive. The word went out, and literally thousands of pesos were deposited in the family’s account by brothers and sisters from all over the country. And for a time, Inaki rallied while receiving special medical treatment. Unfortunately, his improvement was temporary. When we received the news last year that Inaki lost his fight, we were all united in grief with a family most of us had never even met.
Sister Choperena stated unequivocally that this outpouring of support from the brothers along with Jehovah’s promise of a resurrection is what has sustained her and helped to deliver her from this most painful of distresses: the loss of a child. Apparently it had a similar effect on her 39-year-old husband, Conrado and her 12-year-old son, Andreas. Both had since dedicated their lives to Jehovah and were being baptized at this convention.
And speaking of baptisms: there were a total of 12 – ages 10 to 57 years. And what an especially poignant moment we witnessed when, after the prayer for the standing baptism candidates, the father Conrado, and son Andreas embraced. Then there was young Alejandro Jara of Aguascalientes in a neck brace and arm sling, having recently suffered an auto accident. Yet, he was still there !
“Look! A body of water; what prevents me from getting baptized?” (Acts 8:36)
"NOTHING!" exclaims Alejandro Jara.
The 38 program parts were delivered by 35 different speakers including all four circuit overseers from México English, three substitute circuit overseers, seven brothers from the México branch and two from the U.S. branch. Robert Tracy, Branch Committee Coordinator at México Bethel, and Maxwell Lloyd of the U.S. Branch Committee had the privilege of delivering multiple parts.
Throughout the entire convention the underlying theme of preparing for deliverance, putting ourselves in line to benefit from it to all eternity, staying the course towards that deliverance, and keeping in expectation of it permeated each and every part of the program.
In the convention’s concluding part, Brother Maxwell Lloyd pointedly stated, “We expected this convention and therefore we made plans ahead of time to attend. We prepared for it. We expect deliverance. But are we preparing for it? Does our faith really make a difference in every move we make? We should honestly ask ourselves: What adjustments do I have to make to do what I said I would do when I made my dedication to Jehovah?”
Some soul-searching questions, indeed. And to really bring this important point home, Brother Lloyd shared a memorable experience.
He told of two young sisters (fleshly and spiritual) from Russia who moved to Australia. These sisters were very gifted gymnasts - world-class, in fact, having won over 150 international medals between them. In Australia they attended a famous gymnastic training institute on scholarship and were preparing for the next Olympic games. But, something happened.
One night at their congregation’s service meeting, something was said from the platform that made them both really sense the urgency of our times, really understand how much more there is for all of us to do. That night they spoke with their mother and said, “What are we doing? What can we be thinking of? We need to make our decision now, this very night. Because if we go back to the institute tomorrow, there’s a chance they’ll talk us out of it. No, now is the time!”
That very night they made the decision to do what they vowed to do when they made their dedication to Jehovah. Presently, at the ages of 18 and 19 years, they are both regular pioneers and one is preparing to attend the Pioneer Service School. They chose to prepare for the expected deliverance, to stay the course towards it, and to keep in expectation of it.
Then, dear Brother Lloyd thoughtfully asked each one of us, “We always know we should reflect on what we’ve learned at these conventions, but too often we put it off until we end up doing very little reflecting at all. Why not follow the example of these two young sisters? Why not go home this VERY night and ask yourself: What adjustments do I have to make in order to do what I said I would do when I first made my dedication to Jehovah?” And he then lovingly reminded the parents in the audience of their godly responsibility to their children. “Don’t ever think he’s too young, he doesn’t understand. Truly, parents, just as the psalmist says at Psalm 127:1, unless Jehovah himself builds the house – unless Jehovah himself trains your children – it is to no avail. I almost want to beg you, parents, please."
And so, dear friends, thanks to Jehovah and the earthly part of his organization, our memorable life in Mexidonia continues to be just that: memorable. We are just ordinary people, but by the undeserved kindness of Jehovah, we are living that which is extraordinary! And some day - no matter what the day - the promised everlasting deliverance by a God who cannot lie will be more than just "at hand"; it will be a reality.
No matter where we are privileged to love and serve Jehovah, may we make preparation now and stay the course towards that deliverance, remembering that he is with us... to deliver us, all to his glory and the sanctification of his most beautiful name.