The End of an Era…

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 will always be the day our lives changed forever. That was the day, or night rather, that we landed in Guyana South America. We knew very little about where we were headed. Our plan was to come serve for at least a year. Well, as it goes with most need greaters…here we are, now three years later and we are STILL here.

If you have followed our blog then you are quite familiar with all our adventures. We could not have known three years ago that this place would become our home. But here we are, October 2016 and we are still here. 

Over the years we have enjoyed sharing pictures and experiences with you all. However, as indicated by the title of this post, this must now come to an end. 

Our ministry in Bartica as of late has drastically increased. Bj and I have both taken on many new students. Our congregation also have become our true family meaning more time has been devoted to helping individual friends with various trials and situations. A week ago, we received an invitation to a special school which will commence in January. Prior to the start of school, some additional studying needs to be completed. After graduation from this school in March, it is expected that our load will increase even more. 

All of these reasons make keeping up with a blog very challenging. Through this blog we have kept in touch with many friends and family back home. But we have also met new friends!  We are so grateful for this as we have started many enduring friendships. So here is what we plan to do:

We will utilize our emails more and use the mobile apps that have proven very effective in staying in close contact with our friends. 

This will be our final post. The blog itself will stay available and online for current and future readers to enjoy. However, no new posts will be added after this one. Going forward, please feel free to email us at our joint email account: 

bjfescott@gmail.com

Also, if you have access to download the following app “whatsapp”, then we can text, send pics and/video to stay in touch.

We also use the app “voxer”, however it tends to use up more of our data.

If you download whatsapp, you can locate us, by adding our phone numbers to your mobile address book:

Please enter the numbers as:

(Fe) +592-680-2790

(Bj) +592-675-9686

A Magnificent Ministry! (This is gonna be a long one ;))

In the years we have been pioneering, it has always felt like July and August were the “wind down” months. Especially in August (the last month of the service year), it seem as though our ministry would slow down a bit. Not so this year! It has been our prayer all year that Jehovah sustain us here in our assignment so that we can stay in Guyana as long as possible before having to return home to work. Well Jehovah has surely kept us busy. We wanted to share a few outstanding experiences with you.

As you may know we live in the city of Bartica, but specifically in the neighborhood called 4 mile. This is because we live 4 miles outside of the central part of the city. Here we have a huge housing scheme that typically only gets worked during special campaigns. Well for the past two Saturdays Bj and I have worked it in door to door and have met with super success! So far we have about 15 return visits and out of that number 11 of them are potential studies! 

Today we came to a house where 4 children ranging from about 7-11 were gathered on the verandah. We shared the new magazine on how to harness bad habits with 3 of them admitting they had bad habits such as biting their nails, eating too much junk food, etc. After that they enjoyed watching the Caleb video on being truthful and each one took turns sharing what they learned from the video. Afterwards I showed them the Listen to God brochure and asked if they wanted one. They each said yes! So I gave them each a copy and they said I can come back Wednesday to start lesson 1 and show them another Caleb video.

Just down the road from them was a young lady named Maria who was just reaching her house at the same time we were. Again I shared the presentation on Habits and she reached for the magazine saying how much she liked reading our journals. She then said “when is the convention?” We were shocked by her question but sadly had to tell her she had missed it, as it was July 15th-17th.  But we told her about the upcoming circuit assembly in October and I plan to return to her in a few days to offer her a study.

Bj has been successful too in finding men at home, right here in our housing scheme. So far he has 4 potential students. He had an amazing study on Wednesday this week. A man named Orlando who is a barber and had enjoyed previous visits by witnesses in other parts of Guyana has settled down here in Bartica and agreed to a study. A few times Bj tried to pin him down to a study and it seemed the man was avoiding him. Finally, this week he told Bj to come by Wednesday evening at 5:30. When Bj arrived he was shocked to see the entire family sitting and ready for the study. This included Orlando’s two children ages 9 and 11 and his girlfriend and her young son. They all participated in the study of the first ten paragraphs of chapter 1 in the Teach Us book.

Sometimes our very own publishers in our congregation help us to have great service days! Bj was working in service with one of our new publishers, Jamela, who is seven years old. First of all, ever since she became a publisher she has been in service (with or without her mom) at least 2-3 times a week. One of those times she made a very bold confession to Bj:

Jamela: Brudda Bj, I don’t wanna have no kids!

BJ: Why don’t you want children?

Jamela: I don’t want them crying in my ears! I gan be like you and Sister Fe and not have no children!

BJ: What things do you see kids doing?

Jamela: Running out, behaving bad, doing all sorts of madness!

BJ: When will you have children?

Jamela: IN THE PARADISE EARTH!!!

Bj captured this hilarious exchange on video so if you have whatsapp, feel free to ask him for the video. You will absolutely adore her.

Another experience I had this week is a study I have with a lady named Lisa. Lisa loves the bible, but she cannot read. So we started studying the Listen to God brochure. As always, I have invited her to join us at the meetings but she has never been able to attend. About three weeks ago when I called on her she told me how she finally was able to get to the hall on Sunday morning but it was closed and no one was there. I told her we were all at the convention that day in Leonora, Guyana. She was very disappointed. Anyways yesterday I came for her study and we did two whole lessons in the brochure and then she said “I really want to come to the Kingdom Hall on Sunday.” So she asked me if I could call her at 9am tomorrow to remind her to get ready because many times she is busy caring for her children and washing and loses track of the time. So I am very anxious and excited to see if she will finally make it tomorrow. 

One more experience to share happened to me yesterday, I was able to give a great witness to a woman I am already studying with, named Nikita. At one point in our conversation yesterday I mentioned going “home” to the U.S. She gave me a weird look and asked “you not Guyanese?” I replied, “No, I’m from America.” She asks, “Yes, but you not born here?” I replied, “No, Nikita, I was born in Chicago…in the U.S.” She then says, “Oh, but your husband, he from here?” I shook my head and laughed “No, Nikita, we are both American, born and raised.” She then wanted to know why we have been here for so long then. So I explained that we are here to help people learn more from the Bible. I told her how we are happy that this year we were granted a 5 year visa so that we can come and go to Guyana freely for the next 5 years. I explained that the only reason we would go, though, is when we need to go home and make more money. She asked why would we need to go get more money and asked if our “church” wouldn’t pay for us to stay here. And this is when my loving partner, my friend Arlene interrupted and said “This sister and her husband don’t get paid to come here! They work and save their own money and pay their own expense to come here and help people like you learn the Bible! Don’t you see how much they love people! They pay their own rent and food and even their plane tickets here and everything they will need to live here for a year! They don’t work when they are here because they are too busy studying the bible with people!” I paused Arlene’s passionate reply to calmly explain how Bj and I sold everything we owned and came here. I explained that so far in 2014 and in 2015 we returned home a for a few months to save up our money and to buy supplies like toothpaste, shower gel and other needs for the home and that once we have enough money we commit to staying here in this country so we can help people. Nikita’s mouth hung open and she said “Wow, that really make me appreciate your hard work. All this time I thought you get paid. I never knew anyone to do something like this with their own money.”

We keep saying just how much work there is to do here, so many parts of our city that we can’t even get to. And there are even parts of our territory that would require a boat to go across the river to preach to those there. We are so thrilled to be here and to have so much to keep us busy. The other publishers in our congregation support us as best as they can. It is our hope and prayer that other friends will come and visit and spend some time here so they can also experience this fruitful ministry. Think about it, pray it about it, and feel free to contact us via email or whatsapp and ask whatever questions you want answers too…maybe soon we will have more publishers/pioneers to share all these potential studies with! 
Love, 

Bj and Fe

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​We celebrated our anniversary different this year.  We invited 4 couples from our hall over and shared an “italian dinner” with lasagna, homemade cheesy garlic bread, pasta salad with homemade dressing and for dessert: turtle brownies and chocolate chip cookies! 

I made a game called ME/HE/SHE !   

Each couple honestly answered questions about their mates and their relationship which gave us all laughter and jokes we will never forget! When asked a question the brothers had to admit if the culprit was ME or SHE  and the sisters had to answer if it was ME or HE. The VanKenics, Jacobs, Wards, and Burnetts have all given us an unforgettable 13th anniversary!

Our VERY FIRST Regional Convention….in Guyana!

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We are about 3 months shy of being here in Bartica, for 3 years! Of course, around this time in 2013, we were only thinking we would do this need greater thing for about a year…..well…here we are in 2016. Time really does fly when you are having fun. Each year we have been here we have become more and more convinced that this is where Jehovah wants us to be. A lot goes into being here though. A lot of back and forth. Pioneering here in Guyana for 70% of the year and then traveling back to Milwaukee during the summer to work and make more money to return back to Guyana. There are some advantages to coming “home” for the summer…

1. Seeing all our family and friends

2.Indulging in our favorite foods

3. Being able to do a little shopping

4. Attending the Regional Convention

So that is what we have been doing since the summer of 2014……until…….

Sooooo because we have never attended a convention here, we have been missing out on some things. Well this time when we came in November 2015, we prayed that our money would stretch so that we could maybe, just maybe, be able to attend a convention with our congregation. Well, Jehovah heard our pleas…

Now, we know majority of our friends and our families won’t attend their convention until next month, so relax, there will be no spoilers here…lol.

But we wanted to share some photos of our experience here.

Our convention was held outdoors at the Leonora Track and Field. 

What were our seats like? I’m glad you asked….lol

So as you see here, the facility is equipped with wooden benches. Many friends had portable stadium chairs as you can see pictured here, but the great majority  sat on some pillows and still enjoyed the convention! 

We were so excited to see our friends from our congregation! Many of them have saved all year for this. Bartica is an hour boat ride and then a 20 minute bus ride to Leonora. But as with all transportation here in Guyana, there are no schedules. So several friends woke up Friday morning at 3 or 4am in order to be on a 6am boat to arrive on time. 

These two troopers (pictured above) made that early morning sacrifice to be present!

To the left is our new SISTER TINA CLEMENTSON! She was baptized this weekend, and on my other side is Sis. Layne. Both of these sisters also traveled with 4 little ones…3 of which are pictured below with their beloved “brudda beeejay”

Pictured below is my young friend, Nickolita  Blair, a regular pioneer in East Ruimveldt Congregation. 

At one point during the weekend, we thought the rain was gonna get us, but it sprinkled just a few minutes and then it was finished.

Pictured below in the top left corner are us together with Dionne and Andrew Jordan, Daniel Samuels, and Yohan and Kadesha Letran…all special pioneers serving in Mahdia, Charity, and Linden.The bottom left photo is me reunited with my girls, Joanna and Analisa. I studied with them in Bartica last year before they relocated to Haslington. What a treat to see them since their assigned convention was 2 weeks ago in Berbice. On the right you will see Bj reunited with Akeela….his little friend we met while serving in Mahdia back in April.

Here I am with my height twin, Prudence. We met at an annual pioneer mtg in 2014.

We found Alan Burnett and his family during lunch….Sharda didn’t want to share with me 😁

Finally got a picture of one of my Bartica besties, Arlene and her husband Erwin. Arlene graciously sewed two comfy pillows for me and Bj to sit on for this weekend!

Samantha…my precious sister and her two babies! Samantha and I message each other every morning to discuss the days text. I love this girl so much!

I was FINALLY in the same place at the same time with my two favorite sisters. Dionne and Shellon. Shellon actually did my hair for the weekend and Dionne and her husband let us stay at their place and ride with them each day.

Hopefully you can tell from the smiles on our faces how much we enjoyed this convention here in Guyana. We have 2 more special events to look forward to in less than a month. Our 13th wedding anniversary is on August 1st and since this will be our first time celebrating our anniversary while staying in Guyana, we are gonna do something different. …stay tuned for that blog post. As well as one for Bj’s pioneer school which he is excited for. Second time around for him and he gets to experience it here in Guyana. 

We love all of you back home and appreciate all the emotional, financial, and spiritual support you have given us especially this year as we have endeavored to be here in our assignment as long as possible without interruption to leave.

New Address

Hello everyone! We moved!

A nice 2 bedroom apartment downstairs from a sister in our hall became available. One catch, an outdoor bathroom/shower. But guess what? It is not bad at all! We have moved and settled in. We still live in 4 mile housing scheme but it is truly nice to have our own bathroom again and to have a spare bedroom now for guests.
Speaking of guests…we had our very first guest from HOME! Our friend Aaliyah came and spent 3.5 weeks here in Bartica with us.

We enjoyed Tiperu Falls, Baganara resort for the day, she started 2 new bible studies for me, and we ate and ate…lol.

Right now we are preparing for the visit of our C.O. next week. This will be his last visit with our circuit. We also are getting ready for our convention which is in 2 weeks. This is such a monumental year for us, we have been serving here since 2013 and this will be our very first time attending the Regional Convention here! We are so excited!
Another big announcement is………..
Our congregation FINALLY got a landline phone installed in the hall. This has been 3 years in the making. Now this means we can finally get internet at the hall. We are praying very soon we can get a TV for our hall.
Well….till next time!

Mahdia…Micobie…and More!

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This fellow was crossing the road as we were driving home from service…

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Our service group that traveled to the remote villages L-R Andrew Jordan and his wife, Dionne, Akeela, Fe, Zeline (holding her daughter Ari) and her sister Shameena

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Same group…lol

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Fe with the 4 sisters from the Mahdia group.

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This is one of the girls I studied with while we were visiting. This is Maria and her son, Jaden.

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Here is the other publisher in Mahdia, Brother Thomas. He is 94 and the group meets behind his house.

So as you know after the assembly on April 17th we traveled to Mahdia, an interior region of Guyana. Mahdia has no established congregation, it has a group of 7 faithful publishers. If you recall, back in January our friends Andrew and Dionne were assigned to assist this group. So of course we were eager to visit our friends in their new assignment. Every time someone speaks of Mahdia they mention the fruitful territory. Some friends of ours were here last summer and were overloaded with bible studies. Well, the rumors were true! Here in Mahdia, you will end up with more studies than you can handle.

Because Mahdia is a gold mining town (like Bartica), it is deep in the interior. In fact, we rode a bus for 6 hours and even had to cross a river on a pontoon to enter the city. And aren’t talking a comfy Greyhound bus either. No we rode a mini bus with 4 Rastafarians and 2 other men for 6 hours over bumpy, pot hole filled, red dirt roads. When we arrived we were shown our accommodations which was our own apartment equipped with its own indoor bathroom. That in itself was a luxury since majority of the homes here do not have indoor plumbing. The apartment has a zinc roof which is a little different to what we are accustomed to. When the sun is out, you feel as though you are baking alive in this place…but when it rains, it is the most soothing sound that will put you into the deepest most contented sleep.

We spent the first night getting caught up with our gracious hosts who treated us to curry and coke! A Guyana favorite! They filled us in on how our next 3.5 weeks would go. We had never assisted a group before and had no idea what we were in for.

THE MEETINGS

For starters, Andrew is the only elder. The only other brother here is in his 90s and very limited in how he can assist. There are 4 baptized publishers who are sisters who are themselves still studying. And 1 unbaptized publisher who is currently going over her questions for baptism. Andrew and Dionne are very busy. On a normal week, Andrew will give the Sunday talk and conduct the Watchtower Study. Dionne, his wife, will use the recorded readings of the Watchtower for the paragraphs to be read. She also uses her phone to play the assigned songs for every meeting. On Thursdays, each of the sisters has a part on the Apply Yourself to the Ministry section EVERY WEEK. Also, Andrew again does majority of the parts. So of course he was so excited to have Bj’s assistance! He and Bj alternated giving the talk on Sunday with conducting the Watchtower. And they alternated parts on Thursday as well.

 

THE MINISTRY

Dionne had already prepared several students for me to conduct their bible study. Also, each day we went in service, we spent an hour just in door to door. That usually resulted in instant return visits and potential bible studies. The only problem is if we started the studies there wouldn’t be anyone who could take them on after we leave since everyone is already filled to the max. One exception was a lady named Abeke who happened to join in a conversation I was having with a neighbor who was asking me a lot of questions. Abeke came over and said “I have question. Why don’t ya’ll celebrate Christmas?” I asked her why does she celebrate Christmas. She explained that people say it’s Jesus’ birthday. So I asked her a few questions: Is December 25th actually the day Jesus was born? Do you remember ever reading a time when Jesus celebrated his birthday? In all the years he walked the earth, did he ever celebrate his mother’s, or siblings’ birthday? Did his apostles ever have a birthday party for Jesus?

She smiled and said “hmm, I don’t think so.”

So then she asked a few other questions and then said she wanted to get baptized. Yes, she said “I want to get baptized.” So I asked her why she wanted to get baptized and she explained that she wanted to stop living “this sinful life and get a real relationship with God.”

As a result, she took the What Can the Bible Teach Us book and as we left Mahdia she was currently in the middle of chapter 2. Dionne agreed to continue her study after my departure.

One of the highlights of our stay in Mahdia was the final Saturday of our stay. We traveled to two seldom worked territories in the towns of Micobie (my-co-bee) and Tumatumari (Chew-match-chew-marry).

These towns were about an hours drive away. This alone could have a blog post of it’s own. The interest there was AMAZING. At each house I went to, I read 1-2 scriptures, placed at least 3 magazines, and if there were children there I shared one of the Caleb and Sophia videos. AT EACH HOUSE! It was a total of 6 of us who went and we talked to so many people. Many individuals said “Must please come back more regularly”

Again, we had amazing experiences! Here are a few highlights:

One house I called inside and 3 little children came to the door.

FE: Mornin! Ya mommy home?

Children: No.

FE: Ya daddy home?

Children: No.

FE: Okay, well we are sharing a message from the Bible today. Do you think God has a name?

Children: (All look at each other and say “I don’t know”)

FE: Well, what is your name?

Little Girl: Britany

FE: Well, Britany, you have a name. I have a name. Fruit, animals, and even trees have names. So God has a name too! Listen carefully as I read this scripture, let me know if you hear God’s name. (READ Psalm 83:18) …So did you hear it? What is God’s name?

Children: Jehovah!

FE: Very good! Yes. God’s name is Jehovah! Now, do y’all wanna watch a quick video about manners?

Children: YES!

I played the Caleb video about Please and Thank you. Afterwards I thanked them for their time and they said “THANK YOU FOR THE VIDEO!”

Another awesome experience was an 80 year old couple that Bj met. They never knew God’s name, and so they learned finally at 80 years old that God’s name is Jehovah!

So….would you like to see some photos from our stay?

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This is me and Shameena, one of the publishers in the Mahdia group.

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This cutie pie is Akeela, who one day on our way to my bible study near the school, asked me “Do you walk to school by yourself?” I had only been there a week so I said “No, I can’t find the school by myself.” She looks at me and says “Oh…ya mommy carry you to school?” So then I asked, “Akeela, do you think I’m a kid?” She shook her head yes….lol. She said I thought “Brother Bj was your daddy”

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Here is the Kingdom Hall the Mahdia group meets in. A room added on to a brothers house.

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This was a typical service day for us trekking through the jungle.

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Here is a photo of an actual jaguar trap. As we told several friends, Mahdia has very active jaguars!!! They eat dogs at night.

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Dionne taking the lead down a trail leading to her study.

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This was us “monkeying around” one day in service! A householder’s pet monkey climbed up Dionne.

Long Awaited Post….

Ok, we promised this would be a big post!
First we will chat a little about our memorial. This year we had 150 in attendance and that was a beautiful turn out since we have about 37 active publishers. Of the many outstanding experiences, one we will share relates to Abina, the bus driver we mentioned in a previous post.

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Pictured in the top left photo wearing a white shirt, Abina is a bus driver who is very helpful when we need to be picked up on short notice.She will often go out of her way to help us out. On the day of the memorial Olivia (pictured with her husband David with Abina) called Abina and asked if she could pick us up for the memorial. This was important because this year the memorial fell on a holiday and busses were scarce. A total of 26 of us piled into an 18 passenger bus and to our surprise Abina and her friend joined us at the memorial!

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Okay so after the memorial we were back to our busy grind in the ministry.
Now usually once we get to this part of the year, our thoughts go towards….”so when are we heading home to work, again?….should we start looking for flights?…etc.
A few weeks prior to the memorial we had gotten the fantastic news that we had been approved for a 5 year visa here in Guyana, simply meaning that we are allowed to stay in the country for up to 5 years uninterrupted if we so desire. So to complete that process we would need to travel to town. We are happy to report that is going very well and everything should be finalized within the next few weeks.

Back in January we told yal about our friends Andrew and Dionne who had received an assignment in Mahdia, an interior region of Guyana. Well they recently invited us to come for a visit! Soooooo…..guess where we are headed for 3.5 weeks? Nope, guess again….nope…guess again….just kidding…Yes! Mahdia!
We have an exciting schedule ahead of us….we leave tomorrow morning for the 6 hour bus ride into Mahdia. We will be there until May. In May, our good friend Aaliyah is coming to visit for a month. After she leaves we have our C.O. visit and then the following month is our Regional Convention and then what happens?????

BJ GOES TO PIONEER SCHOOL!!!!!!!
We are thrilled that he was invited to attend school (2nd time around) right here in Guyana!!

So needless to say our “return home to work” has been pushed back to the fall this year for the first time ever. We have been enjoying some wonderful blessings and really seeing Jehovah’s direction and loving care this time around.
Let me share some photos we took today at our Imitate Jehovah Circuit Assembly.

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Me and my “height twin” Prudence

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Ok….lol…just a few more…

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This sister was our mom for the weekend. She actually is Andrew’s mommy and we stayed downstairs from her. She has fed us all weekend and just took care of us like her own children. Seriously,  she made our lunch for the assembly and everything! Sandra Jordan…we love her!

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Finally ran into Jean! It’s always great seeing our hometown friends.

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And BJ ran into Joshua Dorris, one of the construction servants we met when our Kingdom Hall was being built.

Well just a tid bit about Mahdia. There is currently no congregation there, just a group. And the group consists of 5 publishers. The territory we hear is like no other…like we are going just for a visit and Dionne informed me that she had 10 to 15 bible studies to give me since she has too many to care for.
So we are looking forward to assisting there for the next month. When we return we promise to tell you all about it and to include many pictures.
As always, we love you all and appreciate your continued support and encouragement.