Malta Special Convention

We are so happy to share with you our experiences during these past several weeks. As we sit down to write this post we have come to the realization that this month marks two years of serving in Spain. Originally when we moved here we said that we would stay at least a year and if things worked out and we liked it we would stay longer. Well, as things have turned out moving to Spain has been one of the best things that we could have done for ourselves spiritually. We have been showered with blessings from Jehovah and have also seen his hand during difficult times.

 

Italy

A few weeks ago we went on vacation to Sicily, Italy followed by attending the special convention in Malta. It had been a long time since we had taken a proper vacation and we were certainly looking forward to it after a very busy service year. In Sicily we stayed in a small coastal town near the village of Taormina as well as in the big city of Catania. Both places were a lot of fun for different reasons. Taormina is a breathtaking, charming village perched on a mountain overlooking the sea. Everywhere you look you are presented with quaint streets and beautiful views. We were able to relax as we strolled leisurely along the narrow alleyways in search of the next cannoli or cappuccino to satisfy our taste buds. Sicily is a beautiful island and we would like to return someday. We had some new experiences such as trying horse meat which is typical in parts of Italy. After a few days in Italy we headed for our main destination the island of Malta.

 

taormina balcony
taormina balcony
vespas & alleys
vespas & alleys
religion in sicily
religion in sicily
slices & fountains
slices & fountains
paintings of taormina
paintings of taormina
taormina backdrops
taormina backdrops
making music
making music
catanias mascot
catanias mascot
catania architecture
catania architecture
taormina
taormina
dawn in catania
dawn in catania
first time horse eater
first time horse eater
catania lights
catania lights
spoiled for choice
spoiled for choice

Malta

This was our first time to a special or international convention so we weren’t quite sure what to expect but we knew that it would be unlike anything we could imagine. Upon arriving at the airport we were greeted by the brothers with welcome signs and big smiles. This was a wonderful start and it put us at ease right away. The hotel that we stayed at was a four-star hotel located on the waterfront. Apparently it was where the majority of brothers were staying which was a nice treat. The activities that the organization provided for the delegates were all so special and organized so well. Our first activity was to visit Dingli Cliffs which is an area in the west of Malta where the land mass plummets suddenly into the sea. We were able to gaze out into the Mediterranean sea and feel as if we were standing on the edge of the earth. The bus group was then taken to some beautiful gardens located nearby. We had a nice stroll and got to know some of the friends. After that we visited the ancient city of Mdina which is located on top of a hill as a form of protection from invaders. The city is built with limestone like many of the buildings in Malta. When you enter the gates of the city you feel as if you stepped back into Bible times and you can’t help but be taken in by the sheer beauty and charm of the place. After spending some time touring this lovely city we headed off for tea and some typical Maltese small bites in another stunning location. It was such a joy to get to know the other delegates from the countries of Israel, United States, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Australia. This was of course the highlight hearing how our dear brothers serve Jehovah despite challenges.

ldc love
ldc love
welcome sign
welcome sign
maltese friends
maltese friends
bahama friends
bahama friends
spanish friends
spanish friends
mdina alleys
mdina alleys
mdina architecture
mdina architecture
silent city
silent city
horses and churches
horses and churches
lost in mdina
lost in mdina
colors & pots
colors & pots
police station
police station
mdina alleys
mdina alleys
assembly entrance
assembly entrance

The next day was full of activity as we took a cruise that was provided only for the delegates and we toured around some of the attractions with a stop on the island of Comino. This island has what is called the blue lagoon which has some of the bluest water that we’ve ever seen. The next day was the long awaited convention. This was particularly special for the Maltese brothers and sisters who number only about 600. Some of them had never seen such a large group of witnesses together in one place in all their lives. The delegates totaled around 1,500 and the average attendance for the convention was around 2,600. It was obvious that the community in general was taking notice of all of this special activity since we could observe many visitors in attendance. We had brother Lösch as a visiting speaker. He gave talks all three days including the final talk on Sunday. In total there were 14 baptized on Saturday. As the days passed by we got the chance to see more and more traditional outfits of the friends. Many of these ones included the Maltese, Spanish, Portuguese and Americans. This was so heartwarming to see because it really emphasizes that we are a worldwide brotherhood. It is one thing to hear about these kinds of conventions from someone or to see pictures but it is something that must be experienced. If you have the opportunity to apply to a special or international convention we wholeheartedly recommend it!

 

clear waters
clear waters
blue lagoon
blue lagoon
spanish friends
spanish friends
colorado friends
colorado friends
maltese friends
maltese friends
malta gardens
malta gardens
israeli friends
israeli friends
portuguese friends
portuguese friends
maltese family
maltese family
puerto rican friends
puerto rican friends
assembly hall
assembly hall
vascos
vascos
spanish friends
spanish friends

During the week of the convention one of the local brothers who owns a restaurant on the waterfront closed it down and made it available only to the delegates for a special menu with some entertainment provided by the brothers. We were able to take advantage and visit the restaurant since it was in walking distance to our hotel. This was where Kanicia first tried rabbit and it was quite good especially prepared in the local Maltese style. All of the activity connected with the convention did not go unnoticed by the media. One of the local television stations did a favorable story on the convention and on Jehovah’s Witnesses. This was especially beneficial because many in the territory seem to have thought that Jehovah’s people were not international. There is also opposition that is created by the Catholic church. If you would like to watch the news report you can find it here on the official website of TV Malta. Since the archipelago of the three islands comprising the country of Malta (Malta, Gozo, Comino) only make up 400,000 people with a total size of 316 square kilometers word of the convention spread fast.

 

portuguese friends
portuguese friends
uk and ukranian friends
uk and ukranian friends
tagalog friends
tagalog friends
japanese friends
japanese friends
hotel room view
hotel room view
valleta waterfront
valleta waterfront
portuguese friends
portuguese friends
spanish friends
spanish friends
boat rides
boat rides
maltese children
maltese children

At the end of the convention many of the local brothers and delegates were sad to see it come to a close. The local brothers were so encouraged by the visit of the delegates. The next day we had our last event which was preaching with a local congregation as well as visiting the Malta Bethel. It was a joy to preach in the local territory even though our Maltese was limited. We split into small groups and we worked together with an older couple. We had practiced our presentations in Maltese and were able to share a few things with the householders. Kanicia was able to show one of the organizations videos in Maltese with a young man and an older woman. Both were appreciative of the Bible’s message. The older woman even kissed Kanicia thanking her for sharing such a message for free. I had a touching experience while at the door with an older lady. After offering her the family happiness tract she accepted it and then started to tell my service partner about some of things that she had recently experienced. She had recently lost her husband in death and has been dealing with a difficult situation with her children. She was overcome by her problems and began to cry at the door. As she was speaking in Maltese to my partner she actually took the time during all of this to apologize to me because she knew that I didn’t understand what she was saying. My partner shared Rev 21:4 with her and provided a listening ear. How true it is that people from all parts of the earth including the islands need to hear the good news of the Kingdom. During some free time that we had we decided to be adventurous and rent a kayak to paddle out to the island where Paul was said to have shipwrecked. We must admit that we were nervous because we had never been in a kayak before and we would be out at sea. But after some reassurance we set out in a two person kayak. We visited some beautiful caves, a nearby bay and finally after much effort we reached the island where Paul was shipwrecked. The trip was not easy because the winds were quite strong at times and often we seemed to be going no where as we paddled our arms out because of the currents. The last thing we wanted was to be pulled out to sea with no energy to get back. But before long we got the hang of it and our confidence grew as we finally reached our destination. These are experiences that we will cherish for a long time.

malta bethel
bethel
bethel
malta bible
malta bible
caleb & sophia
caleb & sophia
bethel treats
bethel treats
convention info
convention info
preaching
preaching
preaching
preaching
kayaks & caves
kayaks & caves
kayaks & caves
kayaks & caves
en route
en route
st. pauls island
st. pauls island
st pauls island
st pauls island

 

After the ministry we were taken to the beautiful Malta Bethel where we were treated with refreshments and a tour of the translation work being done there. Afterwards we were provided with a lovely spread of local desserts and coffee. During the following days more and more delegates began to leave Malta for other supplementary trips in France, Italy and Turkey. It was noticeable to us, as each morning in the dining room there were less and less brothers and sisters. The atmosphere was not the same and we missed the presence of all of our brothers and sisters. Now that we had some more freedom with our schedule and since we were staying an additional week after the convention ended we decided to explore Malta some more. On Wednesday we were able to attend the English meeting in Valleta. There we met many from the Britain LDC who are working in Malta to renovate the Bethel. The congregation was lively and had a wonderful spirit. We were able to visit the capital of Valleta which is more of an urban city with influences from the past. On our last day in Malta we took the ferry to visit the island of Gozo. This island is home to the Azure window which is a Limestone natural arch that was created after two limestone sea caves collapsed and is popular with scuba divers. Gozo is such a peaceful and quiet island. It was truly the most relaxed that we had been throughout the entire trip. There is one congregation on the island as well. As we left Malta on our flight back to the north of Spain we couldn’t help but be nothing but joyful and thankful to our great God Jehovah for all of the blessings that he shows towards us. Our time in Malta had been as if we had been allowed to preview life in the new world. It has truly been a life changing experience and it will forever shape how we view the worldwide brotherhood and our immense privilege to belong to this beautiful organization!

 

malta english meeting
malta english meeting
valletta cafe
valletta cafe
valleta architecture
valleta architecture
british influence
british influence
valleta streets
valleta streets
cannon defense
cannon defense
valleta columns
valleta columns
valleta gates
valleta gates
gozo balconies
gozo balconies
azure bay reflections
azure bay reflections
azure window
azure window
guard duty
guard duty
azure window
azure window
gozo architecture
gozo architecture
azure window
azure window
fungus rock
fungus rock

Needgreating

Since we are serving as needgreaters in Spain we always are cognizant of areas that need help whether for us or for others that may be looking for new assignments. That being said, Malta has eight congregations. Six in Maltese, one English and one Italian. There is also an English group on the island of Gozo as well as an Arabic group in the capital of Valleta. Malta has seen a large influx of people from other countries coming for work or fleeing conflict. As a result of this there are many language groups that need to be preached to such as Romanian, French, Bulgarian, Spanish, Portuguese and others. You can imagine that with only 600 publishers they just don’t have enough people to preach to all those in the territory. The English congregation in Valleta often receives many that come to help but they usually only stay for a few months because of some challenges with finding employment or for other reasons. In our experience Malta is not an expensive country.

 

They use the Euro and we found food, and accommodations to be reasonable. Some challenges that a needgreater would likely face would be finding employment. We have heard that the ones that have come to serve from abroad have had to be creative when it comes to providing for themselves. If you are thinking of expanding your ministry by reaching out to serve where the need is great we hope that you are able to reach your goals. Even if you are thinking of doing more by increasing you service hours, supporting foreign language or any other number of things doing so will no doubt bring you great joy. At times it may not be easy but can we really expect it to be easy to do more in Jehovah’s service in this wicked system? As we look back on two years of being here serving in Spain we have had challenging times as well as many blessings. In the end Jehovah has always made the way for us to continue. Consider seriously if you can do more with your circumstances and then work in harmony with your prayers and let Jehovah surprise you! These are some of the things that we observed and we hope that this information can be useful to anyone considering Malta or somewhere else as a place to serve.

 

We hope that you are all doing well and staying busy in Jehovah’s service and we look forward to sharing with you more experiences as the year continues.

13 Replies to “Malta Special Convention”

  1. Thank you for sharing this beautiful experience with us.. I was transported! Loved all the photos, you both look great!
    So happy you were able to experience a real taste of what Jehovah has in store for us. ?

    1. Thanks for sharing! I find your blog so encouraging and really appreciate the time you take to write it. Thanks again!

  2. All I can say is WOW WOW WOW! And thank you for taking the time out to share your experiences with us. It’s especially special and encouraging for me to hear of life serving Jehovah to the full. My health has declined so for right now I can’t to do as much as I would like to but I do appreciate getting to live through all of your experiences. I love and I am so proud of you both. May you both continue to serve Jehovah with the zeal and joy you have today forever ?

  3. I loved reading your experiences and seeing your wonderful photos of our Christian brotherhood! My husband and I have been praying about serving where the need is great and have been working out our circumstances to do so. Which areas of Spain have the greatest need.? We plan to write the branch in Barcelona. I’d love to hear from you about any suggestions you may have. Praying to Jehovah to help us make the best decision. Agape, Autumn

    1. Hello Autumn, we are glad that you have enjoyed reading our blog. It’s nice to hear about you and your husband arranging your circumstances in order to do more in Jehovah’s service. In regards to which areas in Spain have the greatest need it depends. Alot dedepnds on the language of the congregation that you would like to attend. There are many language groups and congregations here in Spain as well as on the Canary and Balearic islands. When we wrote the branch we specified the area that we wanted to serve as well as the language. This allowed them to recommend three congregations that fit our needs. I would recommend getting in mind a general area that you could see yourself serving in as well as the language. This will help you when you have your letter to the branch office sent. Some other factors to consider are what kind of need you are looking to fill. The first need most think of is in the field however there are also congregations that are in need of brothers including ones that are fluent in the language of the congregation that are willing to be used. These are just a few suggestions which hopefully can be of some help. We hope that you can both continue to work towards your goals.

  4. Hi There,

    So glad I found your blog! My wife and I are also talking about moving and serving where the need is greater and one of the places on our short list is Spain -specifically the north of Spain. As it happens, low cost air travel this Spring has made it possible for us to take a trip to Europe (our first), and will will be able to visit Bilbao for a day or two! We are hoping to see the area and attend a meeting. JW.ORG says the English midweek meeting is on Friday night, is that correct?

    – Many Thanks, Joshua

    1. Hi Joshua, its nice to hear that you and your family are thinking of expanding your ministry. I’m sure you would enjoy spending a day or two in Bilbao. The midweek meeting is on Friday at 7:45. Enjoy your time in Spain.

  5. We were excited to hear about your next assignment. We pray that your transition is going as smoothly as possible. We look forward to reading about it on your blog.

    1. Thanks guys! We appreciate that greatly!

  6. Lynne Spencer says:

    I have just watched the item on JW Broadcasting re the special Assembly in Malta last year. I came across your blog by accident. So happy I did, thank you. I went to Malta years ago before I came back into the truth, I must admit I didn’t really enjoy the holiday, but now I look at Malta through different eyes. Our dear brothers and sisters over there were overjoyed having so many come to spend time with them.
    Thank you for sharing your experience and the beautiful photos. May Jehovah bless you in you assignment.

    Christian Love
    From a sister in the UK
    Xxx

    1. Hi Lynne,

      It’s nice to hear about your history with Malta. It’s a beautiful country! We’re glad that you enjoy our blog.

  7. Thanks for sharing your experience in Spain! My wife and I are also looking at serving where the need is great. How is the preaching work in the Canary Islands since it’s also part of Spain? I ask because we have been thinking about traveling there to check it out.

    1. Hi, that’s nice to hear that you are both thinking of serving where the need is great possibly in Spain. I haven’t been to the Canary Islands so I can’t really comment on them. I’ve emailed you some details about two of the islands there that could possibly need help from past conversations with the CO. As always I would recommend writing to the Branch in order to get the most up to date answer. Best wishes on your plans!

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