Sunday, January 29, 2012

Italy- Our Field Service

So far, things are going wonderfully in Italy. I'll let you guys in on my living arrangements, let you get to know the guys I'm living with a little more, and then I'll let you in some on how I feel about Italy itself in another post or so.

For now, let me tell you a little bit about how things go in service here, alright? You might actually really like this. I know I do, because of how refreshingly different it is.
Basically, the rundown on the Bologna English Congregation is as follows: It was set for the English territory, sure, but because of lack of support the congregation was almost canceled about a year ago (Arielle, feel free to correct me where need be, because we both know you'd be up for it, right?). This would have each member returning to their respective congregations instead of serving the English field, right? Right. But obviously, our little story doesn't end there. No, there is much more than that. Why else would I have come to Italy? Aside from the food, coffee, culture, history, adventure, sights, experiences, friends to make, etc etc. I was going to mention the women, but I realize that most of you don't know me well enough to know that I was kidding, and then you'd be offended, and I'd be confused but sympathetic. You would most likely judge me, and I would try to apologize, mentioning the fact that it was just a harmless joke. Then you'd say that it didn't make sense to mention something like that if I was just kidding and that I most likely was trying to cover over a priority in my life that should be readjusted, and even if I was kidding that it was inappropriate for me to make jokes like that when I should be encouraging the younger brothers to focus on God's Kingdom and setting a good example for others to follow. I would insist that it was a joke, and then we'd get into a debate about how it is totally fine to marry and still pursue God's Kingdom whole heartedly with a companion, where you would then mention the difficulties of marriage that I wouldn't possibly be able to understand due to my lack of experience. This would have me reply with saying that it is true I lack experience, but how everything has its challenges and blessings, and that if the two people strove to stick to Jehovah, then He would help them build a strong relationship both together and with Him, eventually being something that was highly beneficial if they did indeed decide to marry, and then you'd say that it is easier said then done, and then we'd end up getting coffee together.
This is where we can have coffee!
 So why don't we just skip all of that and jump right to the coffee part?

Okay. So the congregation was about to be cancelled. What happens then? War. With war comes refugees, English speaking ones at that. Thus, Italy is swarmed with English speakers, so they send them to all different parts of Italy. For those that arrive to live in refugee camps in Bologna, the English Congregation is given a brand new territory, swarming with interest and fruitfulness. This saved the English Congregation from Cancellation.
They are NOT from Africa.

So essentially, when we go in field, we look for those that are from Africa. If you don't know how to tell if they come from Africa or not, then you REALLY need to get out more. Anyway, this can be informally as we pass through the city, or we go to the territories looking for where they live. The thing is, though, that with the refugee camps, the brothers and sisters here are kept so busy preaching to the camps that they have great difficulty in covering the territory as well. One brother that joined because he heard about the camps said that when he was there for 6 months he had only gone in the official territory twice. Why? Because so much time is spent at the camps and on bible studies. Let me clarify as well what I mean by territory. Since it is the foreign language territory (English), all they are able to do is drive to where the map says a single dwelling is of an African name, find the apartment number, press the buzzer, and hope they are home. When they are done with that one, they walk for...maybe 45 mins or so to the next house, press the buzzer, and hope they're home. A whole morning spent talking to one person perhaps. Nice exercise, but not very productive.
She might be, I'm not sure.

So it comes to this. Approach someone in the city, and ask where they are from. Do it with a smile on your face, and it is less creepy. Or more, depending on your smile. You get to know how to tell where they come from, for instance the way they dress, the shade of their skin, the mannerism, etc etc. So far, I've mostly met people from Nigeria and Ghana. Some from Libya. So you ask them where they are from, show some personal interest, and basically just let them know why you're in Italy. Jehovah's Witness, sharing good news from the bible, ask them if they want to study. That is basically it in a nutshell.
Sure, there is more to it than that, like how they seem to always show up late to everything, but I was used to that from my time in Uganda. In fact, one of the wonderful things about the territory here in Italy is that it is so similar to Uganda, I don't have to experience difficulty with adjustments to my teaching style, speaking mannerisms, etc etc due to the fact that I have already learned how to adjust so as to best reach them. It is quite literally just as though I were still in Uganda, but in Italy instead. We can have a cappuccino while we study here, while in Uganda it was...different from that. :]

So there is a basic rundown on how things go in the field service here. I have possibly 3 studies so far. I have Taiwo, whom we met in the Upper Camp. I'll tell you more about him. Then I have Charles. I met him on the street, but he is from Florence and was just visiting. He came all the way to Bologna on his own JUST to meet with me so he can study. Basically that means I am going to try to get the Brothers in Florence to find him. Then finally I have Elvis (lol), a study handed to me from one of the Brothers here. I have also Efosa, but I haven't met him personally yet. He was also handed to me by the Brother. Paolo is the Brothers name. Any guesses as to what that is in English?

So for now, that is all I have. Whew, two serious posts in a row. I am on a serious roll, people! Stand back, you have no idea what I could do next!
Seriously, any questions, requests, etc etc, just let me know in the comments.
Oh, one quick disclaimer:

And with that note, I end this post! Enjoy, everyone, and thank you for reading!



  1. So what's funny is that you totally read our mind regarding the "women" comment... and the rest of the conversation might as well have happened. We're so happy you're enjoying your stay in Italy and that you have already studies. That is BRILLIANT! Regarding the requests... how about stopping being busy and keeping in constant, unending contact and replying instantly to our comments so that we're not spending all day F5-ing our browser invain?

  2. Tabi/Chris- I knew that at least you would get a kick out of that part, heh heh. Anyway, Italy is brilliant, truth be told. Off all the little trials so far, they are so far below my level of concern they hardly register. :]
    Maybe you could at least f5 every now and then. Just saying.

  3. Hope you are having fun playing in the snow! ! Well the party i wanted those pictures from you for has passed so no rush now! Haha

  4. Kimmie- Hey! be honest, I forgot. Eeeesh...

  5. I guess a free months bus pass and cell phone isn't enough to buy your friendship. (Or even an emailed pic) What exactly are you holding out for???

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