Wednesday, August 31, 2005

on this day, we went to burry our grandfather, my mom's dad. here we were at where my great grandparents were burried. she died at 28 from tuberculosis, leaving 3 girls and her husband, my grandfather. he died when i was about 12. he was in his 80's, i think. he never remarried. and before he died, he asked to be burried next to his wife.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

well, we are back. and what a weekend we had. it was a beautiful weekend. we got to see many old friends and meet new ones. it was interesting when we sang songs. as i would sing, i would stop for a couple of lines and just hear the brothers and sisters sing. it gave me goosebumps. the new publications are wonderful. Jehovah is making it so easy for us to serve him and help others to do the same. all we have to do is take that help (publications, meetings, assemblies) and use them. then there were 52 new brothers and sisters that have simbolized their dedication to Jehovah by baptizm. we had one of the members of the governing body with us that gave us excellent information and counsel. he introduced to us the new publication What does the Bible really teach? and that last talk he gave was amazing. he used maybe like 10-15 minutes to talk to the young people in english, knowing that for many of them, it is hard to learn the truth in spanish, when everything else around them, like school and this country is mainly in english. i couldn't even write notes during that part, because it was just so moving. i hope it touched the heart of every young person in that building to think about their futures with Jehovah and the blessings it will give them. and the drama. wow. brought a tear to our eyes. except for growing up with one beleiving parent, i could really relate to timothy. it showed how he had to face several influences until he chose the wisest thing to do with his life: to serve Jehovah to the fullest.

if there was one word to describe this weekend, it would be joy. we really got to see and experience once more spiritual paradise.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

well, this is the last picture i am posting until monday (and it's not even mine), due to the district convention we are going to this weekend. if you have already gone to this year's convention, hope you enjoyed it. and those of you that haven't gone, i'll see you there. :)

Friday, August 19, 2005

My pals on my computer screen at work. Their cool, but they talk to much.

This is an article that was in the San Antonio Express News last Friday....

Vianna Davila
Express-News Staff Writer

For every door that has opened for lifelong San Antonio Jehovah's Witness Joe Doctor III, plenty have slammed in his face.
He's learned not to take it personally.

As a so-called "publisher" — one who publicly identifies as a follower of Jehovah through a door-to-door ministry — Doctor is one of 6.5 million Witnesses worldwide who aim to reach every household at least once a year with one mission: to love thy neighbor and share Jehovah's kingdom.

"We know that every door we knock on is a challenge," said Doctor, 43. "If we talk to somebody one day and they are hostile, we feel in our hearts we've planted a seed."

With 85 English and Spanish Jehovah's Witness congregations in San Antonio, Witnesses ferry their message across city blocks with methodical perseverance and unyielding sincerity.

But the right to ring a doorbell or wedge their literature in a doorframe represents decades of hard-won battles.

"You may be irritated when somebody wakes you up on Saturday morning and knocks on your door," said Jehovah's Witness General Counsel Philip Brumley, based in New York. "But you might think on another hand, isn't it nice in this country we have a freedom to do that?"

A right to minister
Witnesses have successfully argued cases in front of the Supreme Court 48 times. One of their most prominent Witnesses and general counsels was Hayden Covington.

Covington was second only to Thurgood Marshall in the number of successful civil liberty cases he argued, many with far-reaching implications for all Americans, Brumley said.

Witnesses won cases that allowed them to distribute information without taxation, a precedent that later affected the right of newspapers to do the same, said Trinity University assistant communications professor Jennifer Jacobs Henderson.

They have argued that politicians might not have the right to canvas door-to-door and people could be forced to salute the American flag against their will, Brumley recalled.

The greatest blow to the religion in the United States came with the 1940 Supreme Court case Minersville School District vs. Gobitis, which said that Jehovah's Witness children could be forced to salute and pledge to the flag in school, a violation of their allegiance to Jehovah.

The ruling opened the door for Witness persecution across the country, said Henderson, who's writing a book on the religion's contribution to First Amendment rights. In Texas alone, there were mob beatings and an attempt to hang a Witness.

Minersville was overturned in 1943 with the case West Virginia Board of Education vs. Barnette, known as the flag salute case, Brumley said.

In a recent 2002 victory for Jehovah's Witnesses, the Court ruled that the city of Stratton, Ohio, could not force religious groups and political canvassers to obtain a permit before taking to the streets.

Both decisions weren't just boons for the Witnesses: it meant more rights for everyone, Brumley said, calling the religion and the paths Witnesses forged in the name of freedom of expression "a slice of the American pie."

But the right to sacrifice time for their religion, which began in the late 19th century with a focus on evangelism and the coming of the millenium, didn't come easily. Between 1935 and 1950, at least 10,000 Witnesses were arrested in the United States for their door-to-door ministry, Brumley said. They've had to fight for their right to refuse blood transfusions because Witnesses believe blood is sacred.

Abroad, the Nazis persecuted them during the Holocaust; at least 2,500 died in concentration camps, Brumley said.

Though they are Christian, many of their beliefs are different from those of other Christian groups. Their name originates in Isaiah 43:10, Brumley said: "'You are my witnesses,' is the utterance of Jehovah, 'even my servant whom I have chosen, in order that you may know and have faith in me.'"

Witnesses also believe Jehovah is the one and only true God and that Jesus is his son. They discount the idea of the Holy Trinity. Witnesses believe Earth will be restored to paradise, and unrepentant sinners do not face hell but cease to exist upon their death. They do not use religious symbols in their worship.

San Antonio Witness Vivian Riley, 59, remembers friends from San Antonio who were jailed when they refused to fight in the Vietnam War. Jehovah's Witnesses refuse to bear arms because doing so violates Jesus' commandment to love they neighbor, Brumley said. The 1953 case Dickinson vs. the United States clarified draft exemptions for ministers — all Witnesses are considered ministers, Brumley said.

"There's forces that like to restrict religions," Brumley said. "We are then obligated to push back in the other direction."

Perfected to a science
For Riley, the cases have only ensured her right to complete her mission: "If you saw a neighbor's house on fire, you'd run over, wouldn't you, to warn her. That's how we feel about our message."

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that God, through the Bible, instructs them to spread a message of love throughout the world. Brumley references Matthew 24:14: "And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come."

The well-known door-to-door ministry is a requirement of all Witnesses, and they have perfected their work to a science.

They carry laminated territory cards of individual neighborhoods and chronicle each house they visit on small sheets of paper, noting points of interest or concern in every household like "worried about crime" or "searching for the meaning of life."

Children are encouraged to publish, as are the elderly. Some publishers graduate to become "pioneers," who make a yearlong commitment to log 70 hours of ministry every month.

"This is something since I was younger that I've wanted to do," said Lisa Riley, 34, Vivian's daughter-in-law, who started her year of pioneering last September. "It's hard to explain. It's just been wonderful."

The time of publishing excludes the hours Witnesses spend in five meetings sprinkled throughout the week at each congregation's Kingdom Hall, the name for their gathering place.

Clearing up misperceptions also consumes a large part of their ministry: No, they are not Mormons. Yes, they can drink alcohol, in moderation. One woman who Doctor's wife, Kim, encountered thought Witnesses lived in communes and grew their own food. Witness David Casillas said he's had to politely ask his co-workers to remove his name from the office birthday list because Witnesses don't celebrate them.

"Nine times out of 10 they (people) are ignorant as to what our beliefs are," said Casillas, 39. But after some explanation, "they realize you're just like everyone else."

Converting isn't necessarily their goal, either, Doctor said. They don't want to shove the Bible down anyone's throat.

"We feel that if a person makes a decision that they do not want to follow God's principles and become a Jehovah's Witness at this particular moment, we still feel satisfied," Doctor said. "We feel we're doing God's will, preaching the good news to everyone."

Lisa Riley's daughter Jasmine, 11 and a publisher since she was 8, explains her tenacity like this: "There are so many more people that don't know about God's kingdom," Jasmine said.

'No Jehovah's Witnesses'
Though many of the big battles for Witnesses in the U.S. have been won, the day-to-day challenges continue.

On one Saturday morning spent publishing, Kim Doctor and another publisher knocked on a door on the city's Southwest Side. When it's opened they began with a Bible verse. "No thank you," said the woman who answered.

At the next house they encountered a sign pasted on one door: "Aqui somos catolicos" "We are a Catholic household."

Kim knocked and when she received no answer, left behind a pamphlet.

Other days the signs are clearer. In one neighborhood, she spotted a string of placards that specifically said "No Jehovah's Witnesses." Sometimes people call the police or yell obscenities. Kim once even heard a man murmur to his dog, "Sic 'em," as she and her fellow publishers passed.

It's all opposition they've learned to take in stride because they never know whose door could open and whose life they could change.

"We're not there to argue," Kim said. "We're there to share. And it's up to them if they want to listen or not."

Walter Garbut, 14, and August Torres, 8, go door-to-door as they volunteer as part of a team of Jehovah's Witnesses recently. Their group was on a weekend mission going through a neighborhood to talk to people about their faith.

David Casillas (left) and Joe Doctor III meet with Roger Casias (right) at his home recently after asking permission to talk to him about their religion. 'We feel we're doing God's will, preaching the good news to everyone,' Doctor says of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

a while back, we went to a friend's parents' anniversary at a restaurant called mamasitas. and in the room the party was at had a beautiful mural on one wall of this girl dancing. i couldn't take a good picture because it was dark and the lights of the room came out on the picture, but oh well, it was a nice mural anyway.

Monday, August 15, 2005

i took this one yesterday. it's from the romantic and poetic biblical book of.....

I found this from an old 'forward' that I had received, and thought it would be funny to post.

“It’s a guy thing.”
Means: “There is no rational thought pattern connected with it, and you have no chance at all of making it logical.”

“Uh huh”, “Sure Honey”, or “Yes, Dear…”
Means: Absolutely nothing. It’s a conditioned response.

“It would take too long to explain.”
Means: “I have no idea how it works.”

“Take a break, honey. You’re working too hard”.
Means: “I can’t hear the spurs game over the vacuum cleaner.” (i added "spurs" :)

“That’s interesting, dear.”
Means: “Are you still talking?”

“Oh, don’t fuss. I just cut myself. It’s no big deal.”
Means: “I have actually severed a limb, but I will bleed to death before I admit that I am hurt.”

“I can’t find it.”
Means: “It didn’t fall into my outstretched hands, so I’m completely clueless.”

“I heard you.”
Means: “I haven’t the foggiest clue what you just said."

But that's not all. I also have: "What a girl really mean", coming to a blog near you....

Friday, August 12, 2005

does anyone think that these funnies are funny? i crack up with these things. you know, i look at this picture and i can almost be certain that my mom did this to us when we were very young....

Thursday, August 11, 2005

ok, forget about the one i posted yesterday. that one had only 15. easy. this one has 32. actually, it had only 30, but i decided to add a couple more. if you think you are up to the challenge, find the names and email them to me. don't post them. (this goes especially to someone whom i will not name) j/k brother. here it is:

This is a most remarkable puzzle. It was found by a gentleman in an airplane seat pocket, on a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu, keeping him occupied for hours. He enjoyed it so much, he passed it on to some friends. One friend from Illinois worked on this while fishing from his johnboat. Another friend studied it while playing his banjo. Elaine Taylor, a columnist friend, was so intrigued by it she mentioned it in her weekly newspaper column. Another friend judges the job of solving this puzzle so involving, she brews a cup of tea to help her nerves. There will be some names that are really easy to spot. That's a fact. Some people, however, will soon find themselves in a jam, especially since the book names are not necessarily capitalized. Truthfully, from answers we get, we are forced to admit it usually takes a pretty long while to see some of them at the worst. Research has shown that something in our genes is responsible for the difficulty we have in seeing the books in this paragraph. During a recent fund raising event, which featured this puzzle, the Alpha Delta Phi lemonade booth set a new record. The local paper, The Chronicle, surveyed over 200 people who reported that this puzzle was one of the most difficult they had ever seen. One of those people was this guy of the name Dimitri Kiez. Ran from one side of the town to the other in excitement, when he finally figured it out after a week. But if you can get them all fast, you’re a real pro. Verbs, nouns, adjectives… remember, they can be anywhere. As Daniel Humana humbly puts it, "The books are all right here in plain view hidden from sight." Those able to find all of them will hear great lamentations from those who have to be shown. One revelation that may help is that books like Timothy and Samuel may occur without their numbers. Also, keep in mind, that punctuation and spaces in the middle are normal. A chipper attitude will help you compete really well against those who claim to know the answers. Remember, there is no need for a mad exodus; there really are 32 books of the Bible lurking somewhere in this paragraph waiting to be found.

OH, WHAT FUN!!! (email me for the answers)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I was going through my stuff and found this old game that I've done when I was a kid. See if you can figure it out:

Here’s a Bible game, which may not be as easy as it looks. But it will start you mind thinking. So, in this paragraph, are hidden the names of fifteen of the sixty-six books of the Bible. One is italicized to get you started. It’s a real lulu. Kept me looking so hard for the facts that I missed the REVELATION. I was in a jam, especially since the names were not capitalized. The truth will come to numbers of our readers. To others, it will be a real job. For all, it will be a most fascinating search. Yes. There will be some easy to spot; and others hard to judge, so we’ll admit, it usually results in loud lamentations when we can’t find them. One lady says she brews coffee while she puzzles over it. Remarkable, isn’t it?

Did anyone find all 15? Email me ( with the names you found.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

one day, our congregation went to this park and spent the day there. there was this one spot with humungous (spelling?) trees and i climbed one of them and took a few pictures from up there. it was nice and relaxing.... except for the time i almost fell.

Monday, August 08, 2005

this is another sunset i took a while back. if you look really close, you can see.... nothing.

Friday, August 05, 2005

i remember when we used to have our circuit assemblies here when we were younger. i don't really remember listening to the talks at the time. we would explore the place when we weren't supposed to and rub our shoes on the carpet and shock eachother. it was fun.