By Guest Indiana
BY: MICHAEL YOUNG 7:30 AM ON JUNE 15, 2019
Excavation and the insertion of pilings have commenced for a new 26-story, mixed-use structure at 30 Front Street in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Hill West Architects will be responsible for the design, while Fortis Property Group is the developer of the 360,000-square-foot project that will stand 270 feet tall and come with 74 apartments, averaging 2,400 square feet apiece.
Photos were taken by Tectonic and show the current state of construction.
The site was previously occupied by a parking lot for the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ former headquarters, famous for its prominent Watchtower sign. The plot at 30 Front Street was the last piece of real estate the group sold off, which concluded a seven-year process of relocating to Warwick, New York.
Read more: https://newyorkyimby.com/2019/06/excavation-begins-for-26-story-tower-at-30-front-street-in-dumbo-brooklyn.html
By Guest Indiana
The annual event is expected to bring in more than $3 million in revenues for local businesses
WRITTEN BY HOLLY HERMAN
READING, PA —
By midmorning Saturday, more than 500 volunteers checked in to the Santander Arena, scrubbing the arena to make it spotless for the 14th annual Jehovah's Witness annual conference in downtown Reading.
“We love coming to Reading,” Kelvin Wilson, convention spokesman said, walking through the arena, greeting volunteers. “It's beautiful here. We will be worshipping here for the next three weekends. We stay in the hotels and dine in the restaurants.
Wilson said members have booked more than 2,500 hotel nights for the event, bringing an estimated $3 million in revenues for downtown businesses.
“We are getting ready to worship here,” Wilson said, noting the volunteers are also cleaning the parking garage for the arena and spruced up the landscaping.
By the day's end, more than 800 volunteers from 120 congregations throughout southeastern and central Pennsylvania cleansed the stadium to prepare for three weekends of family festivities and worship.
This year's convention theme, “Love Never Fails,” focuses on loving thy neighbors.
Read more: https://www.readingeagle.com/news/article/more-than-800-volunteers-scrub-santander-arena-for-jehovahs-witness-convention
By Guest Indiana
La policía de Houston arrestó a un hombre que se presume está detrás de la desaparicón de no menos 31 persona en la década pasada.
Ivan Fedorovitch Yanukovych, de 56 años de edad, podrías ser vinculado a un número de misteriosas desapariciones en el área, creen los oficiales.
Yanukovych fue interrogado por la policía después de que los vecinos se quejaran de que él estaba usando una sierra la noche pasada, y reportaron que el hombre estaba «cubierto de sangre.»
Cuando la policía llegó a la escena, Yanukovich fue encontrado descuartizando un cuerpo en su garage y preparando lo que los oficiales describieron como «una gran cantidad de carne molida» mezclada con «especias aromáticas.»
By Guest Indiana
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A state agency has determined that the Montana Women's Prison discriminated against an inmate on the basis of religion.
The Billings Gazette reports that the Montana Human Rights Bureau found in February there was "reasonable cause" to believe there was discrimination against Mayson Simmons.
Simmons' complaint filed in August says the Department of Corrections and the prison in Billings violated the law by allowing inmates of other religious faiths to use a prison chapel for services while denying access to Jehovah's Witnesses.
The bureau says it did not find sufficient evidence to back up Simmons' claims she was denied a Jehovah's Witness bible or that she was discriminated against based on her gender and a disability.
Prison officials deny any discrimination occurred.
The case will proceed to a formal hearing.
By Guest Indiana
Local and federal authorities are investigating a string of acts of violence against Jehovah’s Witness houses of worship in Washington state ― including multiple suspected arsons.
The latest attack gutted a Jehovah’s Witness building in the city of Lacey, near Olympia. The fire reportedly broke out . No injuries were reported, but the building was deemed a total loss, .
The Seattle division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has .
BREAKING: A fire has destroyed the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Lacey. This is the SIXTH attack on Kingdom Hall’s in Thurston County since March. Five fires, one shooting.
— Alex Rozier ()
The fire in Lacey brings the total number of attacks in Thurston County against Jehovah’s Witness centers, called kingdom halls, to six this year, . In March, arson caused minor damage at kingdom halls in Tumwater and Olympia. Four months later, a blaze worship space. In August investigators discovered a fake bomb at a kingdom hall in Yelm, . The incident was determined to be an attempted arson.
In May someone shot about 35 rifle rounds into the Yelm center, causing more than $10,000 in property damage, .
Jason Chudy, a spokesperson for the ATF’s Seattle field division, told HuffPost that the organization believes all the incidents could be related. The attacks were probably “meant to send a message,” he said.
“We believe that the suspect or suspects has or have a grievance related to the Jehovah’s Witness community, or about another issue they think is important,” he wrote in an email. “Before these fires, the person or persons involved are likely to have shared these strong feelings with others through comments and conversation.”
Chudy said the ATF also believes that the suspect or suspects may have exhibited changes in behavior in the hours, days, weeks or months since the fires, including unexplained injuries, changes in normal routines and dramatic and unexplained altering of physical appearance.
The ATF is investigating the incidents, along with Thurston County police. Investigators are offering $36,000 in combined rewards for information that leads to a suspect’s capture.
During a press conference on Friday, Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza urged the public to call in with tips.
“It makes you feel really ill,” . “How frustrating is it that people who find a solemn place of worship, and now it’s being destroyed?”
Dan Woollett, a member of the kingdom hall in Lacey, that the important thing is that congregants are safe.
“It’s just a building ― buildings can be replaced,” he said. “Things can be redone. So we just move ahead with the ministry that we have that we’re involved with.”
By Guest Indiana
On Tuesday, we asked ex-JW activist Lloyd Evans about the Jehovah’s Witness view on climate change, since it’s an organization so centered around the idea of global catastrophe. Lloyd explained that because the planet was in Jehovah’s hands, Witnesses tended not to be concerned about environmental issues. We then received a rebuttal from Rob, a Witness who disagreed, and we’re very happy to publish his message to us, with his permission…
The main point I am rebutting is this quote from Lloyd: “Jehovah’s Witnesses mostly have a very laid back approach to environmental concerns. They point to issues like global warming and damage to the environment as evidence that humans are incapable of ruling themselves….”
Jehovah’s Witnesses, in fact, do have an active interest in environment, and encourage members to take action to reduce the negative affects we have on the environment. Consider one of our journals, the Awake! magazine, from 2007:
The Bible assures us that every trace of the damage caused by man will be undone when God ‘makes all things new.’ (Revelation 21:5) However, we should not conclude that since God will in time restore the earth, our actions now do not matter. They do!
That article further states that we are not indifferent to the earth’s plight:
Jehovah God made the earth to be a gardenlike home for mankind. He pronounced all of his work to be “very good” and assigned man “to cultivate [the earth] and to take care of it.” (Genesis 1:28, 31; 2:15) How does God feel about earth’s present condition? Clearly, he is deeply offended by man’s mismanagement, for Revelation 11:18 foretells that he will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” So we should not be indifferent to the earth’s plight.
Lastly, steps are given in this same article that we can or should take, to reduce the negative impact on our environment.
It is proper, though, for us to consider the environmental impact of our choices in such areas as household purchases, transportation, and recreation. For example, some choose to purchase products that have been produced or that operate in ways that minimize damage to the environment. Others strive to reduce their share in activities that create pollution or unduly consume natural resources.
This does not represent disinterest in climate change, or feigning interest in it. This is actively discussing ways to minimize our own environmental impact.
So yes, Jehovah’s Witnesses do in fact believe that God will undo climate change once and for all, but this does not mean we are indifferent or apathetic, as the article above shows.
Lastly, Jehovah’s Witnesses’ buildings received the highest possible rating of Four Green Globes for all seven of their buildings, for environmental efficiency.
Really, the best way to show concern for our planet is to reduce the impact we have. Jehovah’s Witnesses build so to have the least negative impact as they possibly can.
So whoever is suggesting that Jehovah’s Witnesses are apathetic to our environmental concerns is ignoring what’s in print, and how we construct our buildings, and the recognition we receive from authoritative environmental agencies.
By Guest Indiana
EATONVILLE, WA - Pierce County firefighters battled a 15-acre brush fire near Eatonville on Wednesday night, one of dozens of fires that have broken out across Western Washington amid record-breaking March heat.
Wednesday's fire near Eatonville burned near the intersection of SR 702 and Jackson Road, which is just west of SR 7 near the Jehovah's Witnesses temple.
"Firefighters urge residents on Jackson Road to evacuate as this fire continues to grow," the Pierce County Firefighters union wrote on Twitter.
Washington State Patrol officers were heading to the scene to assist with traffic control.
On top warm temperatures, strong breezes have blown steadily since Monday, feeding and spreading fires.
By Guest Indiana
Were you or a loved one sexually abused by Gonzalo Campos, an elder with various Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations in the San Diego area?
Legal Support For Alleged Victims Of Gonzalo Campos
After admitting to molesting at least 8 children during the 1980s and 1990s, Campos fled to Mexico, evading criminal justice here in California, but some sexual abuse survivors may still be eligible to file suit against the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York.
The Watchtower, the national organization for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, has already settled at least two lawsuits involving Campos’ misconduct. In March 2018, the organization came to terms with two of Campos’ victims, men who claimed the elder abused them decades ago. Neither the Watchtower nor the plaintiffs are allowed to disclose details of the settlement.
Experienced Attorneys Launch Full Investigation
Our compassionate sexual abuse attorneys believe that other victims of Campos may still be able to pursue justice, accountability and compensation by filing a civil lawsuit. We have opened a full investigation into the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society to understand how Campos was allowed to remain around children, even after serious sexual abuse allegations had been filed against him.
We understand the powerful storm of emotions that sexual abuse can cause. You may still be struggling to deal with painful feelings of embarrassment and shame, rage or depression. You do not have to go through this alone. Our committed legal team is here to help.
You may have powerful legal options. The prospect of stepping forward to report the abuse may seem terrifying, but it can be a powerful step on the road to recovery. You deserve justice. You may also be entitled to financial compensation. Filing a civil lawsuit can help you take control of this terrible situation. The Watchtower should be held accountable.
Watchtower Hit By Court Penalty For Withholding Evidence
The Watchtower has already been accused of hindering investigations into allegations of child sexual abuse. In the cases involving Gonzalo Campos, the Watchtower was ordered to pay a penalty of $4,000 every day because it refused to turn over internal documents containing information about church leaders who had been accused of child sexual abuse.
This was not the first time the Watchtower failed to stand up for sexual abuse survivors.
Critics say Gonzalo Campos was allowed to abuse at least 8 children in San Diego between 1982 and 1995, even though the Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations he belonged to were aware of his misconduct. After abusing a 7-year-old in 1994, Campos was removed from the Church, but he was reinstated by church elders who claimed he was a changed man.
In their lawsuits, two men who said they had been abused by Campos accused church elders of knowing about Campos’ misconduct as early as 1982, but covering it up and allowing him to continue working with young children. We believe the victims.
By Guest Indiana
Butterbean the French bulldog was the focus of a case of disorderly conduct in Marathon.
MARATHON, Fla. - Man's best friend also proved to be his best accomplice in the case of a Marathon man and his French bulldog Butterbean.
Edgar Wallis Jones, 59, was walking his dog on Sombrero Beach Feb. 6 at 11:30 a.m. Jones approached a Jehovah's Witness who had a cart filled with religious literature set up near a pavilion.
He told the man that he was not allowed on city or state property with religious books. The victim responded that he had a permit and that they were free.
By Guest Nicole SG
Matrimonio testigo de Jehová en Tulsa
solicitamos apartamento en renta de dos cuartos para mudarnos mi esposa y yo, somos testigos de Jehova de Venezuela y podemos pagar 600 dolares mensuales.
By Guest Nicole
Legislators ‘need to stopÂ’ working for institutions
Dave Kohler, of Allentown, was abused by an ordained minister in the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in November 1965. He was 9 years old.Â
When Kohler was 17, his abuser told him to never talk about the abuse again.Â
Â“So I obeyed and kept my mouth shut,Â” Kohler said.Â
HeÂ’s been coming to Harrisburg for about five years to show his support for statute of limitations reform. Â“Individuals vote them in, and then they work for institutions,Â” Kohler said of the state legislators. Â“That needs to stop.Â”
If reform is passed that would allow Kohler the opportunity to sue his abuser, Kohler said he knows what he would do with any money he could collect.
Â“I will hopefully be able to afford therapy,Â” he said.
Dave Kohler, who said he was abused by an ordained minister in the Jehovah's Witnesses in Kutztown and Emmaus, talks about his experience, during the demonstration for statute of limitations reform to the state's childhood sexual abuse laws at the state capitol in Harrisburg on Monday.Â (Photo: Paul Kuehnel, York Daily Record)
By Guest Nicole
Los testigos de Jehová deben pagar $ 35 millones a una mujer que dice que la organización nacional de la iglesia ordenó a los miembros del clero de Montana no denunciar su abuso sexual como un niño a manos de un miembro de la congregación, dictaminó un jurado en un veredicto.
Un juez debe revisar la pena y la organización nacional de testigos de Jehová, la Sociedad Watchtower Bible and Tract de Nueva York, planea apelar.
Aún así, los abogados de la mujer de 21 años de edad dicen que el veredicto del miércoles envía un mensaje a la iglesia para informar el abuso infantil a autoridades externas.
"Afortunadamente ese mensaje es lo suficientemente fuerte como para que la organización cambie sus prioridades de manera que comiencen a priorizar la seguridad de los niños para que no se abuse de otros niños en el futuro", dijo el abogado Neil Smith el jueves.
La Oficina de Información Pública en la Sede Mundial de los Testigos de Jehová respondió al veredicto con una declaración sin firma.
"Los testigos de Jehová aborrecen el abuso infantil y se esfuerzan por proteger a los niños de tales actos. La Watchtower está buscando una revisión de apelación", dijo.
El caso de Montana es uno de los muchos que se han presentado en todo el país durante la última década en los que se alega que los testigos de Jehová administraron mal o encubrieron el abuso sexual de menores.
El caso que provocó el fallo del miércoles involucró a dos mujeres, ahora de 32 y 21 años, que alegan que un miembro de su familia abusó sexualmente de ellas y de un tercer miembro de la familia en Thompson Falls en los años 1990 y 2000.
Las mujeres dicen que denunciaron el abuso a los ancianos de la iglesia, quienes manejaron el asunto internamente después de consultar con la organización nacional.
Los ancianos expulsaron al abusador de la congregación en 2004 y luego lo reinstalaron el año siguiente, según la demanda, y el abuso de la niña que ahora tiene 21 años continuó.
La demanda alegaba que las organizaciones locales y nacionales de testigos de Jehová fueron negligentes y violaron una ley de Montana que les obliga a denunciar abusos a autoridades externas.
"Su sede nacional, llamada Watchtower, controlan cuándo y si alguien dentro de su organización informa abuso infantil", dijo Smith. "La Watchtower instruyó a todos los involucrados que no informaran el asunto a las autoridades".
Los abogados de los Testigos de Jehová dijeron en documentos judiciales que la ley de Montana exime a los ancianos de informar "procedimientos eclesiásticos internos sobre el grave pecado de un miembro de una congregación".
La iglesia también sostuvo que la organización nacional no es responsable de las acciones de los ancianos de Thompson Falls, y que ha pasado demasiado tiempo para que las mujeres demanden.
El jurado otorgó a la mujer de 21 años $ 4 millones por sus lesiones, más $ 30 millones en daños punitivos contra Watchtower y $ 1 millón en daños punitivos contra la Congregación Cristiana de los Testigos de Jehová, otra corporación de testigos de Jehová que se comunica con las congregaciones de los Estados Unidos.
El premio monetario debe ser revisado por el juez de primera instancia y podría reducirse. Una ley de Montana limita los premios de daños punitivos al 3 por ciento del valor neto de una compañía o $ 10 millones, lo que sea menor. Una demanda legal a esa ley está pendiente ante la Corte Suprema de Montana.
El jurado desestimó las afirmaciones de que la iglesia debería haber denunciado el abuso de la segunda mujer por parte del mismo miembro de la congregación. Los miembros del jurado concluyeron que los ancianos de la iglesia no recibieron el aviso del abuso de la mujer de 32 años de edad en 1998, como ella dijo, y por lo tanto no tenían el deber de informar a las autoridades.
El tercer miembro de la familia que alegó abuso no fue demandante en la demanda.
The Associated Press generalmente no nombra a personas que dicen ser víctimas de un delito sexual.
By Guest Nicole
Mitchell es una republicana registrado que ha dado conferencias en EEUU sobre investigaciones de agresiones sexuales. Pero su carrera en la oficina del fiscal del condado de Maricopa no ha estado sin controversia: fue criticada en 2011 cuando un miembro de los Testigos de Jehová que admitió haber abusado sexualmente de un adolescente varias veces sólo pasó seis meses en la cárcel del condado.
Y en 2003, su oficina fue criticada después de que se negó a enjuiciar al esposo de una mujer tetrapléjica que lo acusó de abuso doméstico. En ese momento, Mitchell le dijo a Phoenix New Times que cuestionó la credibilidad de la mujer después de negar haber sido abusada y decir que sí lo fue luego que solicitó el divorcio.
En una declaración, el abogado del condado de Maricopa, Bill Montgomery, calmó las dudas sobre si Mitchell era la persona adecuada para la audiencia del jueves.
"El pueblo estadounidense puede estar seguro de que la experiencia de Rachel Mitchell como fiscal concienzuda, entrenada para buscar justicia, proteger a las víctimas y buscar la verdad ayudará al Comité Judicial del Senado a realizar su importante tarea", dijo.
By Guest Nicole
By Guest Nicole
Impact of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico, public power supply devastated
PUERTO RICO Besides injury, not one of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Puerto Rico were affected by what has been described as the most devastating Hurricane in the history of the Carribean.
Hurricane Maria which made land fall in Puerto Rico as a category 4 storm killed 16 people, Governor Ricardo Rosello of Puerto Rico has said. The hurricane disrupted communication and power supply, effectively cutting off Puerto Rico from civilisation.
Insured loses is currently put at about $40 to $85 billion. But despite this devastation, Jehovah, their God preserved his people alive. Only one person was injured, the JWs said inna statement.
Â“As of September 25, 2017, information from 15 of the 19 circuit overseers in Puerto Rico has been received and only one injury has been reported among our brothers as a result of Hurricane Maria.
Â“We have yet to receive updates from the four circuit overseers on the west side of the island, since communication has not been possible. Brothers from nearby circuits have been acquiring motorbikes and all-terrain vehicles in order to travel to the west side to assess the situationÂ”, they said, adding Â“We continue to keep our dear brothers and sisters in our prayers.Â—James 5:16Â”.
September 9 2017
? California is on fire.
?Â Oregon is on fire.
?Â Washington is on fire.
?Â British Columbia is on fire.
?Â Alberta is on fire
?Â Montana is on fire.
?Â Nova Scotia is on fire.
?Â Greece is on fire.
?Â Brazil is on fire.
?Â Portugal is on fire.
?Â Algeria is on fire.
?Â Tunisia is on fire.
?Â Greenland is on fire.
?Â The Sakha Republic of Russia is on fire.
?Â Siberia is on fire.
??Texas is under water
??Â India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, experience record monsoons and massive death toll.
??Â Sierra Leone and Niger experienced massive floods, mudslides, and deaths in the thousands.
?Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia are crushed in the death grip of a triple digit heat wave, dubbed Lucifer.
?Southern California continues to swelter under triple digit heat that shows no sign of letting up.
?In usually chilly August, the city of San Francisco shatters all-time record at 106 degrees, while it reaches 115 degrees south of the city. Northern California continues to bake in the triple digits.
((?)) Yellowstone volcano is hit with earthquake swarm of over 2,300 tremors since June, recording a 4.4 quake on June 15, 2017 and 3.3 quake on August 21, 2017.
((?)) 5.3 earthquake rumbles through Idaho
((?)) Japan earthquake 6.1 possible tsunami.
((?)) Mexico earthquake 8.2 imminent tsunami. Beach lines are receded at least 50+ meters
?Hurricanes Harvey, Irma (biggest ever recorded), Jose and Katia are barreling around the Atlantic with 8 more potentials forming.
And last but not least an X10 C.M.E solar flare last night . The highest recorded solar flare ever!
All these disasters can batter us but never break us, if we stay loyal and faithful to Jehovah. Are we prepared for a natural disaster?
Read this article for some comforting news:<<<click
Thanks to "Grieving Tho Comforted With Jesus"-page.
By Guest Nicole
Estimates of Harvey’s cost vary, withÂ someÂ predicting that the storm will be the most expensive in U.S. history at over $190 billion, surpassing Hurricane Katrina. (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationÂ estimatesKatrina to have cost around $160 billion.) If that ends up being the case, it would greatly increase the total cost of billion-dollar-plus events since 1980.Â OthersÂ predict that the cost will be closer to that of Superstorm Sandy, at around $70-90 billion.
Read more:Â https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/hurricane-harveys-impact-and-how-it-compares-to-other-storms/
‘Biggest tragedy in years’: At least 62 killed, 59 injured in Portugal forest fires (PHOTOS, VIDEO)...By TheWorldNewsOrg
via TheWorldNewsOrgWorld News
By The Librarian
Jehovah’s Witnesses are involved in ongoing relief work to repair hundreds of homes following a devastating typhoon that struck the Philippines at the end of 2016.
By The Librarian
Hundreds of people where killed in the mudslide but only the three were members of the JW. However, five JW families also lost their homes.
A statement from the headquarters in New York revealed that Jehovah’s Witnesses have begun relief work to provide food, potable water, gasoline, and lodging to victims, and providing spiritual support.
“The branch office is continuing to monitor the situation and support the ongoing relief efforts”, the statement said.
See full statement below.
“During the early morning hours of Saturday, April 1, 2017, three rivers overflowed near the city of Mocoa, the capital of the Colombian province Putumayo, causing devastating mudslides that killed hundreds.
“Unfortunately, the Colombia branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses reports that two of Jehovah’s Witnesses died in the disaster and one other is missing.
“Additionally, five Witness families lost their homes. Jehovah’s Witnesses have begun relief work to provide food, potable water, gasoline, and lodging to victims, and Witness elders are providing spiritual support. The branch office is continuing to monitor the situation and support the ongoing relief efforts”.
By Guest Nicole
These pioneers died on November 22 after the collapse caused by Tropical Storm Otto in Panama
By Guest Nicole
SIXTY-seven-year old Soloveni Turogo and his wife, Amelia, are proud owners of a three-bedroom cyclone-proof home, complete with an adjacent kitchen and bathroom, thanks to a group of volunteers who descended on their Delakavula settlement in northern Viti Levu for three months to live and rebuild their home for free.
The elderly couple, who live with their children and grandchildren in this largely sugarcane growing village, attend the local Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses at Dobuilevu, located along the Kings Rd, about 30 kilometres from Rakiraki town.
They, together with 16 other families in the area who lost their homes during Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston last February, are now proud owners of new houses built from floor to roof by a team of builders and helpers comprising local as well as overseas-based volunteers.
None of these volunteers got paid for their efforts, nor were the owners of the homes ranging one to two and three bedroom houses paid a single cent. The builders arrived with their own tents to sleep in, and food, which they happily shared with their local hosts.
Volunteers like Ryan Herman and his wife, who were in New Zealand when they heard of the devastation Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston caused in Fiji. The couple was also involved in similar rehabilitation work in the Philippines, as well as in Vanuatu.
At the height of the church's reconstruction project, some 18 volunteers, some of them couples, travelled to Fiji from Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, the US and Vanuatu. They all paid for their own return travel.
In addition to assisting with the rebuilding of 17 homes in Dobuilevu, church volunteers have also completed 14 new cyclone-proof homes for church members on Koro in Lomaiviti. A group of builders and helpers spent three months on Koro. Building of these homes, comprising corrugated iron walls and concrete or timber floors continued this month at Nayawalevu, in the hinterlands of Ra Province, Ba, Tavua, Tailevu, Ovalau and Vanuabalavu in Lau Province.
"Straight after Cyclone Winston struck, our team of volunteers visited our brothers and sisters who were badly affected," explains Frank Coffin, co-ordinator of the local branch of Jehovah's Witnesses of Fiji.
"In their visits to Vanuabalavu, Taveuni, Koro, Ovalau and the northern and western regions of Viti Levu, not only were emergency supplies of food, water, clothing and temporary shelter distributed, but our teams also carried out assessments of the damage.
"This set the stage for the second phase of our assistance, where teams of local builders were dispatched to affected areas to carry out immediate repairs to homes that needed repairing. This has also been completed and now the team is into the third phase, which is the construction of homes for about 60 families in the cyclone ravaged regions."
For home construction, the church has commandeered half of the local Kingdom Hall compound in Vatuwaqa, near Suva, to act as the central home construction site.
A team of 25 volunteers constructed prefab homes at this site.
Once completed, these home frames are trucked to the building sites where teams of volunteers help erect the houses in no time. The entire reconstruction program from the design of the home phase to construction has all been done on a voluntary basis. Building engineers were consulted in the designs of the houses to make them strong and secure.
"It's quite a full-on operation, requiring constant co-ordination and management," says Mr Coffin.
"As to be expected sourcing housing materials has been a huge challenge, but with persistence and patience, assistance by various government departments, and not to mention Jehovah God's blessings, our teams are well on their way to providing a good strong and safe home for those who need them."
Materials for a one bedroom home is estimated to cost $US5500 ($F11,300) while a three bedroom house is costing US$10,000 ($F20,580), with funding provided through voluntary contributions by the church's world headquarters in Brooklyn, New York.
Mr Coffin added that some of the families affected badly and had initially applied for the Fijian Government's Help for Home initiative, have returned their M-Paisa cards to the Ministry of Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation.
"It is a loving gesture on the part of these members who were left homeless by TC Winston, as returning their M-Paisa cards would allow the Fijian Government to offer assistance to a lot more people who also needed help.
"We are also so grateful to our many brothers and sisters from overseas who answered our call for help, and gave of their own time, skills and resources to fly to Fiji at their own cost, to help us in our time of need.
"I speak on behalf of my brothers and sisters in Fiji, especially the hundreds of families among us who lost their homes and livelihood during Cyclone Winston in thanking the loving support and oversight from our governing body in the United States and the blessings and comfort of the God we serve, Jehovah."
* CORRECTION: A picture that appeared on Page 5 of our 8-page Winston liftout last week stated that it was a house being built by Habitat for Humanity. The house is in fact being built by volunteers and members of local Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. We regret any inconvenience caused.
By Guest Nicole
Please let us pray for our brothers and sisters in Haiti after the hurricane Matthew. For three days we couldn't have any news from them because there wasn't any cellphone service in the south part of the country. Last night we finally received the news that no one died, but almost every house in Camp-Perrin is destroyed. In the picture is their Kingdom Hall. The rooftop is gone, leaving everything inside wet and broken.
By Guest Nicole
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