Day One and Two at the Feast

Saturday, October 07, 2017
Cartagena, Bolivar, Colombia
It has been so busy here that I have not had time to keep up with my blog.  We had a very joyful first day of the Feast of Tabernacles.  Everyone enjoyed the free morning to get caught up on rest.  Many more have arrived.  I saw Rodolfo, who was coming from Bogotá.  He spent all day beginning at 9:30 AM in the airport, with continued delays.  His flight was delayed three times.  He finally arrived at the hotel at 2:30 AM.  The airlines, because of the Avianca strike, have been selling tickets for seats two and three times.  The one who actually pays the most for the seat gets on first, and the others are told, “Sorry, there is a problem and your flight is delayed.”  It has been frustrating for many, but they are just happy to be here.
Most brethren have arrived by the time of afternoon services.  Scott helped by translating the announcements, and I presented Offertory music.  Some more brethren arrive later on in the evening.  Blanca prepared a very enjoyable “Welcome Party” for all of us in the salon on Thursday evening.   We had group games and activities that we did.  There were some circle games, dances, and challenges.  Blanca’s enthusiasm is always infectious.
Then we had an activity where we were divided up into 4 groups.  Each group was given a small musical instrument, a bag of various things such as tissue paper, paper bow ties, foil ribbon, and colored cellophane.  Each group had to come up with a song to sing, prepare a dance for it, and make costumes with the bag of supplies.  We were given 10 minutes to prepare.  Then we were asked to present our song.  Each group was encouraged to be very enthusiastic and animated.  It was fun and hilarious to see the various creations.  Everyone laughed a lot and had a wonderful time.  Our “hats-off” to Blanca for a fantastic evening.
Because of the delays in travel and some people not getting permission off from work to come, we have had to do some rearranging in the schedule on almost a daily basis.  This has caused challenges for all, but everyone is working together to make things happen. Scott barely has a moment to relax as something is changing and we are problem solvers.
In the afternoon, the children have a Children’s Party.  I did not get to this activity.  Scott and I chose to go swimming on the beach with several other brethren.  Maryory was there for her first visit ever to the beach.  She has only one leg due to an accident about 20 years ago.  Scott and I helped her get into the sea.  She tried to walk with assistance, but getting past the breaking waves was challenging, so Scott and I picked her up and carried her out past the waves.  She had a glorious time.  She said, “I won’t be afraid of the water if you hold me!”…but her face said a little otherwise.  But after several minutes she relaxed in the water.
While we were out there, we saw Miguel come out to the beach with his walker.  He has a problem with his lower legs—no muscle control of them.  He was a mechanic and several years ago, a car fell on him and broken dozens of bones in his body.  He was determined to go swimming also.   It was his first time to the sea.  Oscar and Victor helped him get into the water.  He thoroughly enjoyed himself.  It makes me happy to help these people enjoy something that would be nearly impossible for them, and to see others helping them too.
After about 1 ½ hours, we were getting chilled.  It has been overcast every day that we have been in Cartagena.  We invited Jesus and Amparo, and Rocio and Oscar for a “Juan Valdez.” We showered and changed and met them in the lobby.  It was the first time that Rocio and Oscar had been to Juan Valdez.  We were happy to have shared in this little pleasure with them.
We returned to the Regatta for dinner.  After dinner, Scott gave the evening Bible Study, and I translated simultaneously for it. (Scott always gives a set of his notes in English and Spanish for the translators well ahead of time which helps a lot!) We had an excellent attendance at Bible Study where Scott covered the topic of “Here’s Why We Study God’s Word.”
We have been concerned about Hurricane Nate that was directly approaching our home in Alabama.  It started to form after we arrived in Cartagena, and there was nothing that we could do to prepare for the damage.  All have been praying for our home and all those others who have homes in the area.  Our neighbor, Brian, and another neighbor who I have only met once, have moved all our patio furniture into our home and garage.  Though we have just moved to Alabama, God has blessed us with caring neighbors. We are ever so grateful for them.



Thank you for taking care the time to share all of this with us. I hope you get some ⛅ soon! And I am praying for our brethre n in AL, MS,LA,&;FL.