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"A NEEDGREATER'S 'PREACHER'S PARADISE' " Comments by the Faithful & Discreet Slave class about those serving where the need is greater, specifically in their relationship to the progress of the worldwide Kingdom Preaching work: "What accounts for such progress? Many things. Missionaries trained at the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead and, more recently, upwards of 20,000 graduates of the Ministerial Training School have made a huge contribution. So have the many Witnesses who at their own expense have moved to lands where the need for Kingdom publishers is greater. Such self-sacrificing Christians—men and women, young and old, single and married—play a significant role in preaching the Kingdom message throughout the earth. They are greatly appreciated." Watchtower July 1, 2005, Pages 22-23 The Country's Name is derived from Nicarao, the name of the Nahuatl-speaking tribe which inhabited its shores and the Spanish word Agua, meaning water, due to the presence of two large lakes. Nicaragua is the largest nation in Central America and has one of the lowest populations. The country is bordered on the north by Honduras, and on the south by Costa Rica. Its western coastline is on Pacific Ocean, while its east side is on the Caribbean Sea... Religion: "Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion, claiming the allegiance of about 72.9% of the population. Approximately 15.1% of the populace are members of evangelical churches...There are also small communities of Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Mennonites, Jehovah's Witnesses, Unification Church members, Baha'is, and members in the Church of Scientology. Amerindian tribal religionists and spiritists also practice, usually combining elements of Christianity and African religions." [taken from The Encyclopedia of the Nations] The People: Most are Spanish-speaking mestizos—people of mixed American Indian and European ancestry. A small number of Monimbó and Subtiaba Indians live on the west coast, while the eastern region includes Miskito, Sumo, and Rama Indians, as well as Creoles and Afro-Caribs. The language: Spanish is the official language. Indigenous languages are also spoken. DESCRIPTION & HISTORY: "Nicaragua has rightly been described as a tropical paradise. Its eastern shores look out on the clear, turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. Its western coast is washed by waves rolling in from the mighty Pacific Ocean..." and so begins an incredibly interesting account about "Nicaragua" in the 1993 Yearbook of Jehovah's witnesses. IS THE NEED GREAT IN NICARAGUA? On Page 143, the 1993 Yearbook answers this question, stating, "In the last nine years, Nicaragua has also received 58 Gilead graduates, who are based in six missionary homes throughout the country. Their maturity has contributed to a healthy spiritual atmosphere in the congregations, and they have helped many youths view full-time service as a desirable goal. "Those who came to Nicaragua during the 1960’s and 1970’s to serve where the need was greater called it a preacher’s paradise. This still holds true today. A brother in the Service Department at the branch comments: "Nicaragua is still a country where publishers and pioneers determine how many Bible studies they will conduct, for there is so much interest." Understandably, many who are eager to help where the need is greater and who have counted the cost have inquired about serving in Nicaragua. In fact, by April 2002, 289 pioneers from 19 countries had moved there to help out. How grateful the local Witnesses are for all these harvest workers!—Matt. 9:37, 38." The Yearbook account continues with the fascinating account of how the preaching work was begun in Nicaragua, the challenges of the missionaries and other needgreaters throughout the years and how Jehovah blessed their efforts! It talks too about the opposition and natural disasters that Nicaragua has had to face and the wonderful worldwide brotherhood that came to its rescue. Be sure to read the rest of this account on Pages 66-149 2006 YEARBOOK: Pop: 5,600,000. Publishers: 19,000; Ratio: 1 pub. to every 297 persons; Congregations: 322 A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE IN THE MISSIONARY WORK! - In the Islands of Nicaragua - CENTRAL AMERICA'S FIRST FLOATING KINGDOM HALL! [A Letter from missionaries preaching in the Islands of Nicaragua] For this experience, please visit: www.Needgreaters.com/Missionaries.htm PAST EXPERIENCES: Aaron Perkinson is a needgreater from Chicago, Illinois, now serving in Nicaragua. Before going to Nicaragua, Aaron Perkinson served at Bethel - Patterson Educational Center- for 3 1/2 years (from 1990-1994). In 1993 he changed to a Spanish congregation in NY to learn the language and began investigating all the Spanish speaking countries to see where he should go to serve. In the meantime, he left Bethel and returned to Chicago and served as a regular pioneer in a Spanish congregation in the suburbs of Chicago. Within the year, he had made his decision on where to serve where the need is great and was on his way immediately! Aaron writes: "I am now serving in Nicaragua because of the great need here and I have the privilege of serving as a special pioneer. I originally came to Nicaragua in June of 1995. I started serving as a special on July 1, 1995. Shortly afterwards, I was invited to attend the 9th class of Ministerial Training School in El Salvador. Then, I was re-assigned to Nicaragua again as a special pioneer. "Some questions most commonly asked me from brothers & sisters interested in serving where the need is great in Nicaragua are: How many Bible studies do you have? Are studies easy to start? "Right now I have 16 Bible studies. The Require brochure has proved to be an awesome tool in finding sincere Bible students. Studies are so much easier to start with the brochure. And without spending months, we can see if they are sincere or not. The brochure lets people see in a very short time what Jehovah expects of His witnesses. They can make up their mind quickly as to whether they want to serve Jehovah or not. For example, although we are studying lesson 6, Juan Carlos has already asked me about why we don’t celebrate Christmas (he was reading ahead and captured that point). If they want to continue studying after the brochure, the study usually progresses very quickly. It has also helped to get people to the meetings a lot sooner. It is an incredible tool Jehovah has provided for the work of making disciples of Jesus. Is the need really great where you are? Do the brothers need help? "YES, WE COULD USE A LOT OF HELP!! There is a lot of interest here in this country and there is a great need for brothers to come and help study with all the interest, as well as to help out in the congregations. For example: Last Friday, I had the privilege of conducting the school, giving talk No.1 and No.4, giving the announcements and the two talks in the service meeting. Sunday, I gave the public talk and conducted the Watchtower. I was tired of talking, but I couldn't help thinking about the ears and brains of the poor brothers who had to listen to me. Obviously we have to rely heavily on Jehovah with so much responsibility! Do you have to wash your clothes by hand? "Some months of the year are very hot and dry. It doesn't rain sometimes from January to March. For that reason, the dust is ridiculous and causes much discomfort. When brothers return from field service, their collars are often extremely dirty. Also, my eyebrows and faces can be covered with a thick film of dirt. At times, it is a bit difficult to clean clothes well. Where I am you have to wash each piece by hand. With a brush and a bar of laundry soap. Every morning, I iron two or three items. That's how the week goes and how I keep my clothes clean. What is the daily schedule generally like? "Monday is the day we take off from the field service activities. (In many countries where there are missionaries, the congregations adopt the missionary schedule of having Mondays off). From Tuesday to Sunday we start field service at 7:45 a.m. as we leave the house. We usually offer tracts to the people that are in the street. At 8:30 a.m. we have the meeting for field service with the congregation. "At noon, we eat lunch. In the afternoon my partner begin service at 2 o'clock, going our separate ways to conduct Bible studies. As in many countries, the people take off noontime to 2 o'clock for lunch, many businesses closing during those hours. At 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday we have another meeting for field service and go out for an hour in the evening. Tuesday's and Friday's we have our meetings at 6:00 p.m. With this schedule it is not difficult to reach our goal of 140 hours every month. Are there many English-speaking folks here? Any English congregations? "On the east coast of Nicaragua, there is a large population of English speaking people. That is the only place where there is an English speaking congregation. It is a Caribbean style English (like Jamaica "mon"). "Among the Bethelites at the branch, there are many that speak English. The branch coordinator is from Ireland. The head of the Service Department is from Germany and his wife is from Panama. Both speak English. "There is another couple there, Ken and Sharon Bryan, who have served in Nicaragua for more than 25 years. Of course there are others as well. There are a lot of missionaries here in Nicaragua who all speak English. In Estelí, where I am currently assigned, there are 9 foreigners serving here, all of which speak English. In most of the major cities here there are brothers who speak English. Thus for needgreaters moving here, there is lots of help available for assistance in knowing how to learn Spanish and to get settled. Is it difficult to learn Spanish? "Learning a foreign language requires a lot of work...time and patience, but is a joyful process when you are learning it with the purpose of helping so many interested persons learn the truth!. In regard to myself, I did not find it a struggle nor do most needgreaters. I enjoyed the mental challenge and the satisfaction of making progress. I have never found any other personal project so satisfying as learning another language--Spanish! The spiritual blessings are even greater. Imagine being able to teach the Bible Truth to people in a new language that you had not known previously, and see many of these persons make progress and become part of Jehovah's people! That's a grand privilege! What are the people like in Nicaragua? "There are variations in the personalities of the people according to where they live. All my experiences with the Nicaraguan people are good ones. Generally speaking, they are very hospitable. As we go preaching, it is rare that a person would have to stand and preach at the doors the whole morning. Almost everyone invites you in to their house and offers you a seat. "After forming a friendship, the people are even more hospitable, sharing their food or drinks with us. For instance many Bible studies invite me to eat with them from time to time. Others offer a Pepsi or a fruit drink. "It is a very nice experience to listen to their comments about how life was 25 years ago in Nicaragua. They tell about how, if someone slaughtered a hog or cow, they always set aside portions for all their neighbors. If someone went to buy bananas or eggs, the seller gave the person 2 or 3 times more the amount that they were going to buy (for the same amount of money). In the past, it was customary for all the children to come and greet the older members of the family (including older brothers and sisters) and any visitors with their hands crossed (or folded). They would say their greeting that way. Well, the years of war and political oppression as well as the influence of the Western culture have done their damage to the customs of these beautiful people. "Soon, however, those days will return to Nicaragua and the whole world. That's why I am here preaching. There area lot of sincere and good-hearted people here in Nicaragua that have yet to become servants of Jehovah. What is the typical diet? The Nicaragua diet is fairly simple. Beans and rice can be find in almost all the meals. There is a combination of the two that is called "gallo pinto". It can be accompanied by a tortilla (made by hand every day of course) and a type of local cheese or cream. That's a typical supper for the Nicaraguans. Soup, nacatamales (corn mush--kind of--stuffed with rice, potatoes, pork and spices and then wrapped in a banana leaf and cooked for several hours) and other typical plates are popular on the weekends. On the street, you can find enchiladas (Nicaragua style), stuffed potatoes, tacos (Nicaragua style), grilled meat, salad, etc. The salad is simple--shredded cabbage with vinegar and salt. It is a great combination with the other food. My favorite plate here in Nicaragua is the following: scrambled eggs cooked with tomato, onion and green pepper, gallo pinto, a fried ripe plantano (it's sweet--like a banana) and cheese (crude or fried). Then there are a great variety of juice drinks that the people make. There are many fruits that I never knew existed before coming here. They are delicious though! One of my favorite drinks is muskmelon with orange. It is sooooo good!!! How do you get around in Nicaragua? Do you have to have a car? Are there buses? "How do I get around? Walk, walk, walk. I am in great shape here because we have to walk quite a bit. When I go to our isolated group in San Juan de Limay, I go by bus. The problem is that it leaves at 7:00 a.m. and gets there at 10:00 a.m. Then it turns around and comes back at 1:00 p.m. and arrives at 4:00 p.m. Thus to accomplish anything I have to stay overnight (which I do). For that reason I am thinking about purchasing a motorcycle to be able to do that trip more effectively. As far as the other travel goes, here in town the taxis are pretty economical and there is a small bus system. Going to any other point in Nicaragua is generally not difficult. There is an extensive bus network although one is at the mercy of the schedules. What do you do for recreation? "I do enjoy going out to eat and associating with the brothers. The only thing is that the majority of the local brothers don't have the luxury of eating out very much. At other times we share meals in the houses of the brothers or in our house. "I like going swimming and going to the beach. I also like to dance a lot. Sometimes we have social gatherings where we associate and dance. "Once we had an awesome day! The Bethel family invited all of the construction workers and the foreigners serving here in Nicaragua to a picnic at the beach. They had a private house and stretch of beach with baseball, volleyball, body-surfing (even a few boogie-boards), food, music, and a consideration of the Watchtower. I'm not sure how many were there, but I will say about 200. "What joy it was to be together with many that I hadn't seen in almost a year. Of course there were many that I had never met. There were brothers from Denmark, Germany, Spain, Finland, Sweden, England, Canada, U.S. (California, Nebraska, Chicago, New York), Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica and of course Nicaragua. I would be very happy to hear from other brothers interested in possibly serving where the need is great here! Anyone can feel free to contact me concerning any questions they may have: Aaron Perkinson Needgreaters@gmail.com Fuente: