Busy month of May

May is over. It seems like it was only yesterday that the month was beginning. This month has been full of activity for sure. So what have we been up to? Well I have started to expand my ministry this month and it has been a lot of fun. Since I work during the week the weekends are full of service. One good thing about our congregation is that we have plenty of arrangements for service meetings during the week in the mornings and evenings. To be exact we have service meetings Tuesday thru Thursday during the week. Of course this doesn’t mean that we can’t make our own arrangements when there are no official service meetings. This is quite common here. At times when I have an opening in my schedule during the week I try to take the opportunity to support one of the mid week service meetings. These are typically held in the homes of the friends and are quite well supported. Thankfully, from where we live we can walk to the service meetings easily or take the metro. Kanicia and I try to incorporate walking and street witnessing as much as possible in our ministry. This has been a nice way to augment our time as well as talk to people that we may otherwise not encounter. It’s also fun to explore the city at the same time and as always when we are out and about and people can identify us as Jehovah’s Witnesses it serves as a nice witness. This month we have been looking into new places to preach that may have potential English speakers. Some of these include hostels. Near the Guggenheim museum there are several hostels that regularly host many visitors from the UK. We’ve been able to start magazine routes at some of these hostels including the one that we initially stayed in when we arrived in Bilbao. We’re also looking into preaching to the many university students that are here because of a study abroad program. There are over 200 students from all over the world that are studying here in Bilbao from other countries. Many of these ones speak English. I’m looking forward to continuing to expand my ministry in the summer months with Kanicia and the rest of the congregation. As these last days draw to a close it is truly exciting to see Jehovah drawing the desirable things of the nations into his house. What a grand privilege we have to be a part of this never to be repeated work.

This last month Kanicia and I have been very busy in the congregation with parts and demonstrations. It’s been nice to be used more in the hall and we are starting to realize that there is much work to do here. We have been in the hall now for about six months and it’s been a pleasure to see the spirit of the hall increase in joy. It seems that the friends are very appreciative of all of the hard work being done by the different ones such as the new elder and his wife since having arrived. In the short time that we’ve been in the hall there have been two new ministerial servants appointed. We’ve just had another couple who were announced last week as joining our hall. The brother served as a servant in his previous hall and will likely be announced shortly as a servant in our hall. We’ve also had another brother come over to our hall after having attended the Sunday meetings for months. So in six months or so we have gone from one servant to three and we are growing in numbers in general. The hall has also grown from three elders to four in the time that we have been here. Just before we arrived there were only two elders because one was serving where the need is great in Nicaragua. For personal reasons the elder and his wife who are also pioneers returned to Spain. It’s amazing how Jehovah always provides just what his people need in sometimes extraordinary and unexpected ways.

This month has been extremely busy at work. Since the academic year is coming to a close we have been busy administering placement tests for the students returning after summer. In addition to this I have picked up some new business and individual classes. June will no doubt be just as busy with the final exams for many of the students taking place then. Our academy will be open till the 3rd week of June.  Afterwards we will be heading to our regional convention in Madrid the last weekend of June. We are looking forward to the program very much as we are sure you all are as well. Kanicia has had a full schedule with her work as well. She’s been busy with her teaching classes during the week. She has students from many different countries such as France, Germany and even Turkey. She seems to be enjoying her job especially the flexibility that it provides her.

Posing on the last day with my class at the public school.
Posing on the last day with my class at the public school.

During May here in Europe the have something called European museum night. The European museum night is held every year on the Saturday closest to the International Museum Day. On this occasion, the closing time of the museums is postponed to approximately one in the morning, which allows the public to visit the participating museums by night, for free. By welcoming the public during the night, museums invite them to visit the collections in a different, unusual and more sensory way. Instead of staying open late some museums decide to have free admission during the day. Many countries in Europe participate and the event draws more than 2 million visitors. Thankfully, Spain has many museums participating including the Guggenheim Museum right here in Bilbao. We were really excited to take the opportunity to visit the Guggenheim which we have been wanting to do for months now. So after meeting on Sunday we headed over and spent most of the afternoon inside. The museum is very modern and many of the exhibits are interactive. We weren’t used to this but it was interesting to observe. The museum would be good for kids because they could play or interact with many of the exhibits. The current exhibition was profiling Yoko Ono and will be on display until September. We enjoyed our visit at the museum and the architecture inside is just as beautiful as it it is outside.

DSCN1753
Flower display outside the Guggenheim
DSCN1757
Amazing Guggenheim Architecture
DSCN1751
Inside the Guggenheim

We’ve been trying to show more hospitality to our new friends in the hall. So what better way to do this than to throw a small party in our apartment! Well we didn’t plan for it to be a party but one thing led to another and we ended up having 12 people over to our place not including ourselves. We had some couples from the hall including some new ones. We also had some single brothers and sisters. There also happened to be a couple from the UK visiting some friends in the hall and they ended up coming over as well. Kanicia had the idea of making a ‘Make your own’ hamburger themed meal. So we got a bunch of hamburger patties and laid out the normal fixings, lettuce, tomato, bacon, onion and cheese on the table for people to arrange their burgers as they wished. There were also fries to go with the burgers. She also made a nice pasta salad for first course. Kanicia made a really delicious watermelon lemonade which was a big hit. The friends brought over a range of desserts which was really appreciated. We were so happy that our apartment was able to comfortably accommodate everyone and we all had a great evening getting to know each other better. Its times like these that we are really thankful that we are part of Jehovah’s people. We look forward to having more gatherings at our home in the future.

DSCN1763 DSCN1762 DSCN1761 DSCN1764 DSCN1766 DSCN1765

These are some of the things that we have been up to in the month of May. We hope that you are all well and busy serving Jehovah and we look forward to sharing with you our experience at the Regional Convention and other adventures in the near future.