The Adventure Begins!

Where Does It Begin?

So at what point does 'serving where the need is greater' begin? I'm sure that for most any that have done so, it begins with a desire that is in place long before the physical part of the journey begins. So, for that reason, I decided that we would start chronicling our journey now, for multiple reasons:
  • have a journal to look back on later and reminisce
  • help others that are wanting to do the same
  • let family and friends know what's going on
  • keep the goal in front of us and on our minds
  • remind ourselves of how Jehovah is blessing us
So, since this is the first post, I am going to start with a little bio, a little history, a couple pictures, a bit about how we arrived at this decision and where we are at in the process of this journey.

A Little Bio, A Little History
I'm definitely not going to start at the very beginning, but just briefly - my wife Leiane (35) and I (Vincent, 35) were both raised as Jehovah's Witnesses. We first met in 1996, while I was in my senior year of high school. Shortly after graduating, I started pioneering in September of 1997. Just a month prior, in August, I was having my doubts about beginning pioneering because my car was in disrepair and I did not have any job prospects despite going on many job interviews. In August of 1997, amidst my cloud of doubt, I went to a quick-build in Murphy, North Carolina, USA and met Carlos Martinez, a brother who had just returned to South Carolina after having served at Bethel in the printery. He readily listened to my qualms and then greatly encouraged me to exercise faith that Jehovah would provide for all my needs if I put him first. After returning from the quick-build, and with renewed zeal, I submitted my pioneer application and started pioneering in September.

Did Jehovah provide? Yes, He did! Here is what Jehovah did, in just two weeks: a brother in our congregation fixed my car for the cost of the part needed (about $100); he did not charge any labor fee because he wanted to support my pioneering efforts – imagine that! I started a job at a local printing company that allowed me to work part-time (3 days a week) for what was previously a full-time position; I stayed in their employ for seven years. Also within these two weeks, I started to court my future wife, a young faithful sister who was also pioneering. So for my act of faith, Jehovah not only gave me what was needed, but more – much, much more. On October 16, 1999 I married this beautiful woman who became my best friend, greatest confidant, pioneer partner, book-smart financial manager and an outstanding mother to our children.

On our wedding day, October 16, 1999

Fast forward 16 years and I am serving as congregation elder and secretary and we have four children: Evie (13 this year), Izabel (10), Madisyn (8 this year) and Sebastian (3 this year). Leiane homeschools the three oldest and cares for the needs of the household (I think she prefers the title 'estate manager'). If you have ever heard the statement: "Behind every good elder is a great wife," know it to be absolutely true! A sentence or two cannot give her role in our family the weight it deserves, but know that any of 'this' would not be possible without her. Right now, I continue to work in the print media industry for secular work, and do freelance photography and graphic design, just enough to keep the bills paid. Our current lifestyle, while simple, does not allow us regular pioneer, though the desire has never left our hearts, so we do all we can including auxiliary pioneering together a couple times a year.

Family photo in January of 2013 

The Decision 
Leiane and I have always wanted to resume pioneering, but have usually relegated the reality of that 'dream' to a time when our children would be older. But that desire, along with growing dissatisfaction with the strenuous pace of life in the United States, increasing concern about raising our children in an atmosphere that breeds dependency on government and its infrastructures, the continual fall of morality, etc. made us desirous of making a change. We yearn for a simpler lifestyle and want to do all we can to make Jehovah's name known in this time of the end.

I think we were already at a 'tipping point' when we watched the August broadcast highlighting generosity, in particular the segment that featured the Williams family from England that moved to Cuenca, Ecuador (their story is at the 11:00 minute mark in the video). I know I've lost count and can't tell you how many times I've watched that segment already. There are so many things in it epitomize what I want – for my wife, my children, and most importantly my relationship with my Heavenly Father Jehovah. Immediately Leiane was drawn in, and after about a week, so was I. We immediately started praying and talking about it nonstop. On Friday, August 21, 2015 the body of elders in our congregation sent a letter to the service department approving us to serve where the need is greater along with our personal letter requesting recommendations of where to serve.

The Williams family from England now serving in Cuenca, Ecuador

Wheels Are In Motion 
While things are set in motion to progress, we are also being very cautious so as not to proceed so fast that we neglect preparing and 'counting the cost.' Currently we are waiting to hear back from the service department. After getting recommendations, we will start researching and planning the next steps. Part of that will involve getting together with a lot of our friends that have already done this and getting their recommendations and advice. Right now we are thinking that in about a year we will have nailed down a good plan of action and be ready to visit our destination for two weeks. Thereafter, we will finalize everything and move.

In the meantime, there are so many things we will need to consider:
  • passports and visas
  • training/education for possible employment
  • learning some of the destination language
    (though we are planning to serve in an English congregation)
  • selling the house
  • selling the cars
  • getting rid of 'stuff'
  • and so, so, so much more...
To all those that are supporting us and our decision, and to all those family and friends we will leave behind to carry on spreading the good news here: we love you and are already starting to miss you.

I think that's about enough for the first post. I will do my best to keep this blog updated, so check back and read on!

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