Words are going to fail me as I try to capture in written form, the awesome experience we enjoyed yesterday at Patterson, the education centre of Jehovah's Witnesses in Patterson New York........but I'll give it a try.......!
The facilities are impressive and extremely well maintained, beautiful. Set against the backdrop of majestic rolling hills they offer panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. The architecture is stunning.
We arrived around 11 and after wandering around the reception area for about 1/2 hour, looking at all the displays, we were met by Jesus......no really, Jeff, the Brother who had invited us for lunch & a tour, is the Brother who was used as the model for Jesus in the Greatest Man book. My Aunt had worked on the project with him. He is also now in the Timothy video (I think he plays "Silas"). What a lovely fellow!
We went straight up to the lunch room for an amazing meal of chicken fajitas with homemade salsa/spanish rice/roast baby carrots/bean salad & a light fluffy strawberry milkshake! What a feast.....how do all those bethelites stay so slim?? A member of the governing body was visiting (sat a couple of tables over) and we enjoyed having him direct the meal and then offer the dismissal prayer. The brother who opened the meal in prayer was awesome, I exaggerate not an iota when I say that he simply thanked Jehovah for the meal and good friends and then closed. Guess he was hungry! The entire lunch room giggled when he finished...and then dug in!
The biggest treat of the day was to come next, Jeff asked one of the instructors of Gilead if we could have a tour of it!!! An area considered "confidential". It was AMAZING! Let me back track a little here....bear with me....to tell you of a couple we had heard about who were serving in Nicaragua as need greaters, from Spain originally and were told that if they wanted to attend Gilead they would have to return to Spain and apply from there. I don't even remember who told us about them but we had heard this some time ago.......Back to the present.....When we met up with the instructor for Gilead he told us that we had to wait for another couple from Nicaragua we were like "no that's us, we're heading there" and then this couple walk in! The very couple we had heard of, on there way back to Spain, stopping to see Gilead on their way through......what's that chances of that!!
We then were treated to a tour of the facilities and shown some of the workbooks & material that were used. Brother Max Larsden from Brooklyn (branch committee) came through while we were there, telling us that that day marked 70 years for him at Bethel!! I can't even begin to express my appreciation for this amazing privilege! For Nikki to see it all meant a great deal to us!
The couple from Spain barely spoke any English and our Spanish is apparently not as fundamental as we thought ;) but we managed to communicate a great deal and we adored them. We hope our paths cross again. They gave us some very encouraging information about Nicaragua and begged us to go to the area they just left (Leon) as they say the need is huge. We will have to wait and see what the branch says when we arrive in just over a week. They told Gary this week that there is a new need developed that they want to discuss with us over coffee when we arrive. Exciting days.
As if this wasn't all enough, we then had the joy of having a Brother of the anointed show us around the art department. He is an amazing artist who has done many of the pictures we love so much in our literature. He is originally from Liverpool England. Last name Boyle....any relation Sean & Kathy?? :)
As if that weren't enough......we then met up with a Brother who had been friends with my family since I was a child (Ed Aljan) who gave us a personal tour of his department......Writing Correspondence!
After that we got to see the rest of the normal tour, while great, paled in comparison. We felt on such a high!!
I have so many amazing pictures of the day, I had trouble picking a handful to include with this post! If you want to see any in particular, shoot me off an e-mail and I will send it to you.
We arrived home around 6 pm. We felt so exhilarated and better prepared, bolstered for our trip ahead of us.
Next week I am going to concentrate on preparing for Nicaragua. First aid kit, some clothes (believe it or not Nikki appears to have shot up again and is not fitting into many of the summer things we bought) and then trying to narrow down the must have's for our suitcases. The branch this week provided us with the number of a new hotel opened near the branch by a Witness couple so we have changed our first night reservation the there, to be picked up the next day by the branch. It is a relief as my biggest concern was that first night and getting transportation so late at night from the airport. They are sending someone to meet us......it's all coming together!
Sorry for going on so long......so much continues to happen.....:)