Monday, October 21, 2013

Special Convention Day 3- Sunday & Evening Gathering

Wow !!!  That's all I can say.  

   Well I guess I will say more for you guys.  Haha. Today we woke up and ate breakfast and planned enough time for Starbucks. BUT, when we got there at 6:20 am they were closed. It is suppose to be open 24 hrs. What?! There were people all around us with Starbucks cups in their hands. How did they get it? Well apparently they close at 6 am on Sunday. Kind of weird. Maybe tomorrow. Haha.
    We get on our bus and head to the convention and it is like all of the other convention days. Today though, more people were walking around handing out their goodies. The kids were so cute. It was like they were trick or treating almost. I say that because they had their little baggies opened and they would look up at you with their big brown eyes. They didn't even need to say anything, they knew which ones had the candy. Hehe.  One little girl made an impression on us. She was only 13 months and she was sooo tiny. She put her hand out to shake ours (with her grandma's prodding of course) and she waved. Her grandma asked "Where does Jehovah live?" And she raised her hand and pointed up.  So adorable. I have a picture of her so I'll have to include it. Although the picture doesn't do it justice.  Actually - ALL the pictures today don't do it justice. Words cant even describe either- so everyone needs to come to a Special / International Convention and experience it themselves. 
    In the morning when we got up to walk around to talk to people we only got about 10 feet, since it was so crowded and people could barely move past each other. I had an older Filipino sister actually pull on my arm to try to meet me. Crazy. And an older brother, when he met me, instead of shaking my hand, he took it and kissed it. Hahaha. You really feel like you're famous here. People trying to meet you and a million pictures (like paparazzi).  I'm pretty sure I had more pictures today that on my wedding day. LoL. Lunch break was the same way.
    Then the afternoon session started again and we got to see the drama again. That was neat to see here. It was the same, but I got more out of it this time. Maybe because I wasn't aweing over the costumes and wondering which brothers were playing the characters. They also fit the costumes better here. :)
    The last talk was by Brother Splane again. It was really good. We had the same one of course, but he used some different experiences that really touched home. He thanked all the Filipinos for their hard work over the last year, and also all the delegates for their hard work. He commended us for saving our money  for a long time and choosing to come here rather than take a fancy cruise somewhere. Awww how sweet. That almost made me cry. Like direct commendation from the Governing Body.
    Then he told us the stats about the convention attendances. I pluralized that because the program was tied in to local islands. At the actual convention we had about 7,460 people. But over all 49,000 people heard the program. Wow! And 71 people baptized at ours !!!! A total of 493 baptized overall (including the other places tied in). So after the session ended they clapped for such a long time. Some said they didn't want to stop because they didn't want it to end. But, unfortunately, we had to go. So so sad. 
    It was really packed on the way out and the Filipinos held up signs that said "See you in Paradise", "We will Miss You", and "See you on our Next Special Convetion". They were holding those signs up for a long time. And lined up to say goodbye. Some were crying. And they kept thanking us for coming. We had to find our good friends Toti Manny and give them big hugs before we left.
    We take our bus back to the hotel again and rest a little bit. In about an hour we have our evening gathering in a ballroom at our hotel. It is with the delegates from our hotel and some of the locals. 
    Everyone is dressed in formal attire and looked really nice. There were a lot of Filipinos in traditional dress. They start with a prayer and they had everyone from certain locations stand up when they announced their country. Example- Indonesia (a handful of people stood up), Vietnam (only a few people), Taiwan (a little bit more), and then USA (probably about 85% of the delegates) and Filipinos ! (About the same amount of  those from USA).  It was nice to see the break down of it all. 
    Then they interviewed a person from each country and they shared some stats about their congregations. The publisher count, amount of elders, pioneers , ect. and then shared an experience from the ministry. Then we ate dinner which was buffet style. And afterward they had a show planned for us. 
    They had around 5 songs and dances from the local culture. Oooooh, That is why they were dressed up! I get it now. Haha. After that they had us all sing the song 'Just see yourself , just see me too...' That was the tearjerker for the majority of them. (I actually didn't cry- guess I'm heartless. haha . But close! I just thought it was really really sweet and exciting and I can't wait to see them again in the new system and pictures myself being there and reuniting). After the song they said a prayer and it was time to say goodbye. 
    So many were really emotional and huggy and wanting to take more pictures. Lots of pictures! An hour after it ended people were still taking pictures - hilarious! It was really hard to leave though. Even though we have more time here it will be the last time seeing most of those people. Some of the tour guides we were used to seeing had to go back to work and pioneering (they took a week off for this). Also, some were from different provinces (or islands nearby). Some had to travel 2 hours to get back home that night. At about 10:40 pm we knew we should probably go upstairs to our room. Tomorrow we have to get up early again for a day trip with the group to a place called Corrigedor & Las Casas. 

From Indonesia. 

The 13 month old girl


Saying goodbye 

Evening gathering 

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