Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Guyana - May, 2004

Greetings from Guyana!

The Month of May can be described in three words: 1) Rain, 2) Rain, and 3) Rain.

I am getting my first experience of what Guyanese call “May/June Rains”. To put it simply, this is the most rainfall I have seen in all my life! Nearly every day it drizzles, storms, or downpours for at least a couple hours. While in Wisconsin I use the saying, “It’s raining cats and dogs” when the weather gets intense, whereas here in Guyana I like to say, “It’s raining cats, dogs, cows, horses, pigs, and donkeys!” If it keeps raining at this rate, pretty soon I am going to imitate Noah and start building my own ark!

The large amount of rainfall would not be much of a problem if it weren’t for the deteriorating drainage systems in Guyana. (Since Guyana’s elevation is under sea level, it relies on an intricate arrangement of drains to flow water from the land back into the sea.) Because of pollution, poor maintenance, and overall carelessness, many of Guyana’s water drains are clogged and/or broken. The conditions get worse every year, so it leads to flooding in many areas (my front yard being one of them!). Where I live, if rain falls during the night I can expect to be greeted with 3-6 inches of water at my front steps. What a great way to start the day! I’ve tried my best to impersonate Moses and part the flooded waters, but to date it hasn’t worked. I’ll keep trying…

From May 2nd to the 4th, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Guyana enjoyed its annual convention. The gathering was held in the town of Skeldon, which is a beautiful settlement located on the eastern coast of Guyana - near the border with Suriname. I enjoyed the convention, for it was a wonderful opportunity to meet with pastors and parishioners from all over the country. We were able to discuss life and ministry, as well as the past, present, and future of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Guyana. (And of course, in our free time we all argued over the struggling West Indies cricket team!) All in all, the gathering left me excited about the direction the Church is heading, and it reminded me of how blessed I am to be working alongside such wonderful men and women.

During the past eight months I’ve been concentrating a great deal on encouraging people to consider a life in ministry. Specifically, I’ve been guest-preaching at churches throughout the country and trying my best to motivate others to take their faith more seriously. This process has required a lot of work (and some careful driving!), but I have already begun to see the fruits of these labors. In fact, during this past week I was approached by two young men who are now considering ordained ministry. They told me that they always thought you had to be “an old guy” in order to be a pastor, but now that they’ve seen a “young guy” working in the church (and having so much fun!), they now realize they don’t have to wait twenty years to answer God’s calling for their lives. This is certainly an exciting time! Guyana desperately needs more pastors, so I pray that these two young men will continue to pursue a life in ordained ministry. And of course, I pray that more people will follow in their footsteps.

Although my time in Guyana is beginning to run short, I believe God is going to do many great things during these next two months. I look forward to many more adventures to come, and when they happen, I’ll try my best to report them all to you!

Thank you for all your continued prayers and support. I look forward to hearing from you.

With peace, love, and God’s blessings,

Brian Konkol