Thursday, October 23, 2003

Guyana - October, 2003

Greetings from Guyana!

Some friends recently reminded me of the dropping temperatures back home. What a reality check! To be honest, when I picture some of you walking around in jeans, sweaters, and winter coats it makes me want to chuckle. Trust me, I will not be seeing any stocking caps or long-underwear this year - the conditions in Guyana are sunny and hot – and it’s going to remain that way all year long! Personally, I think the easiest job in the world would be a Guyanese weather forecaster – for you have the same estimate 365 days a year: “It’s going to be 90 degrees and sunny, with a 50% chance of rain!”

The past month has been filled with wondrous blessings and exciting experiences. Let me give you some of the highlights: First off, I was given an incredible honor when invited to participate in the 260th Anniversary Celebration of the Lutheran Church in Guyana. It was an amazing event! As part of the festivities, Lutherans from all over the country migrated to the original resting place of the Guyanese Lutheran Church – located in the rural inland of Guyana at a site called Fort Nassau. The celebration, which was attended by approximately 200 people, included a worship service and the dedication of a new memorial. It was a privilege to take part in the event.

In order to get to Fort Nassau, I traveled with a group of about 90 people for seven hours from New Amsterdam down the Berbice River. The journey was more fun than the destination – it was something straight out of National Geographic! The “rural inland” of Guyana is sparsely populated - I only saw a few people paddling boats down the river – other than that, there were little signs of civilization. It was amazing to see virgin rainforest that was not logged out or polluted by industry. What a sight! Also, I saw a variety of tropical wildlife that I had only previously seen in books and videos. It was great! All in all, there was something about the scenery that gave me a deep peace of mind and cleared my thoughts of all problems and anxieties. It was fantastic.

In addition to my various responsibilities at church, I have found enough spare time to spread an additional gospel: the “good news” of American basketball! A couple weeks ago some members of the youth group helped me construct a basketball hoop and place it next to the church. (It was only a matter of time before I brought basketball to the church grounds!) The hoop has really spiced things up around church. Every day I have a group of children come by to chat and play ball. Granted, because of my various work obligations I am not able to play as much as they would like, (for some reason they don’t think Bible Studies and sermon preparation is as important as playing games!) but I am still able to get out a couple times a week. It’s a load of fun! They simply cannot believe that the minister would actually play sports! Amazing!

Another exciting event of the past month was the welcoming of a new roommate to my Guyanese bachelor pad. To be honest, it got a little boring living by myself, so I decided to invite a new friend to share the house. Let me tell you a bit about him: His name is “Peety”, he is about 8 inches tall, he has green feathers, he enjoys when I play Jimmy Buffet tunes on my guitar, and he loves to eat bananas, peppers, and guava. Granted, he doesn’t help with cleaning or dishes, and he isn’t much for theological conversation, but nonetheless I find him to be pretty good company. We have yet to get in any disagreements – and I don’t see any reason for arguments to arise in the future - so I think we are going to get a long quite well.

As you can see, everything down here continues to go extremely well. Although I miss you all very much, not a day goes by when I do not thank God for this opportunity. I love being able to experience this new culture. I love being able to minister with these people. I simply thank God that I am able to be here.

I look forward to your continues letters, Emails, and phone calls.

With peace, love, and God’s blessings,

Brian Konkol