The target destination of the week was our district convention in Queretaro.
Queretaro is a pretty city with a colonial feel to it. The historic downtown area offers over 460 years of history through it’s aqueduct, temples, mansions, and palaces. We did not get to spend much time in the centro (downtown) area but we did drive by this beautiful aqueduct.
The aqueduct has 74 beautiful arches. It was built between 1726 and 1735 in order to bring drinking water to the city from the springs outside. It has a maximum height of 75 feet and is 3840 feet long. This was an ambitious undertaking and you can see it from all through town. Just beautiful. Love the stonework.
It capped off a wonderful week for us …amusement park, bethel and finally convention. We have been anticipating the convention all summer. After gleaning little tidbits here and there our appetite was whet for the program. And it did not disappoint!
If you have been reading about our escapades (how was that Becca?) here in Mexico you know that we have come to expect the unexpected… a couple weeks ago we received a letter in the cong that there is a concert scheduled for the Thursday night before convention and that we are not able to get inside to clean and set up until 11pm. Once the kiddos heard this letter they wanted to help! We talked it over and knew it would be difficult because everyone would be so tired. But it’s an opportunity to help out. And if you were a kid and had this opportunity, wouldn’t you think it was cool? We told the kiddos that they could only do this if they rested on Thursday afternoon. Well, they did! (a very unusual thing for our kiddos to do) They worked very hard and had a wonderful time. These pictures are taken around midnight. There were plenty of volunteers to get things taken care of so it went pretty quickly. The sound guys stayed the latest -around 2:30am. But the work got done and everything was ready for Friday morning.
Here are some things we noticed that are above and beyond the printed program…
- There was no one in the halls during the session. I know this since having little girls means we need to hit the restroom frequently. There were not even the normal signs we are used to (Please be seated) because they are not necessary. —That was interesting.
- There are a lot of families who have moved to help out here in Mexico. Mikee and I were surprised to see how many in attendance had families ranging in age from new babies right up to teens. —That is interesting.
- Every single person wore their name badge. The only exceptions were studies. Even before and after convention. —That was interesting.
- No matter where you go on this earth, you will feel at home with brothers and sisters. That is just the truth.
This was not an easy destination. Many congregations arrange buses. Those who do not travel by bus or plane usually travel with a group and the roads are very nice but they come at a cost and the tolls are not cheap. A lot of saving had been done in advance to cover the expenses of transportation, hotel, food, taxi, contributions. Still, there are a large number of Bible students in attendance who see the importance of the special occasion. And these costs include the day before and after convention -not just the Friday through Sunday.
We met friends who had to fly from Huatulco to Mexico City and take a bus for a couple hours to Queretaro.
In true “small world” fashion we had some super cool experiences…
When we were in Rhode Island, a friend asked me to look out for her friend Ari who was living somewhere near Mexico City. The country of Mexico is HUGE and Mexico City is 6 hours away. Even if we happened to be at the same convention what are the chances our paths would cross. Guess what? I was chatting with the sister sitting behind us and …you guessed it… SHE WAS ARI!!! Not only is that wonderful but she is so sweet and we have an instant bond. She sends a special hello to Mickie. 🙂
India’s friend Brooke is visiting from Oregon and was at the convention along with her mom and dad. Many years ago they had a good friend, Javier, who was in their congregation but had to leave the US and move back to Mexico. They had lost contact and never expected to see each other again. Brooke’s dad, Jim, was in the restroom and said hi to someone. Javier was in the stall (I know, kind of TMI) 😉 and recognized the voice even though he had not heard it in years and came out to find a very good old long lost friend.
It is amazing that you can be somewhere full of people you may have known for ages and they all feel like strangers OR you can be somewhere that is brand new and feel like you are among old friends.
An experience that was shared at the end of convention: a brother was walking to get a taxi and a man approached and asked, “Are you one of Jehovah’s Witnesses?” to which the brother replied, “Yes.” This man said, “I have been looking for you. I lived in Texas and studied 2 times but now I live in Queretaro. Thanks to your name badge I found you!” The brother asked what the man liked about his study and the man said, “I like the hope of God’s Kingdom.” Which is the theme of our convention.
This was an especially memorable convention for our family since Austin was one of the 22 that were baptized.
Do you have favorite memories of conventions? Do they usually include working hard?
Not only did Austin, India and Selena help out with the midnight crew on the Thursday before convention, they also had assisted with the take-down on Sunday afternoon. Gotta love hard working kids. Austin helped the sound guys with wires and equipment. India and Selena cleared the stage and surrounding area of every single piece of duct tape -which they made balls out of. There are opportunities here to share in theocratic activity that are not available to the kids back in the States because of age restrictions. Along with great need comes great privileges. These moments added to the very special week and they unanimously voted this the best convention ever!
We stayed up way too late each evening but just couldn’t tear ourselves away from time spent getting to know new friends. Finally on Monday we were able to sleep in a little later before enjoying a delicious breakfast.
And here are some pictures of friends. Do you see anyone you know?