We are all very excited about the convention. This is something the brothers have been planning for nearly 2 years. Since we are residents of Quito, we have prepared this blog post as seen from "our perspective" (as hosts).
We hope you enjoy our pictures and video clips. Please don't forget to leave your comment at the bottom, whether you were here or not!
This was the first time in history Ecuador has had such a large convention. There were 13 venues tied in with 20 gigantic screens all across the country including Galápagos Islands.
Airport ReceptionOver the course of 4 days, 3000 delegates arrived from nearly 30 countries at the UIO international airport.
|Welcoming committee at the Quito, Ecuador International Airport|
|Talented brothers entertained delegated right as the arrived at the airport.|
Here they're playing Kingdom Songs with local instruments.
Preparing the StadiumLittle is said about the "behind the scenes" work that goes on to make sure the convention is a success. Literally thousands of happy volunteers from Quito were involved in this work, as you can see:
|Preparing to provide audio in 3 simultaneous languages|
|Dozens of change rooms for baptism candidates were set up|
|Gargantuan TV screen were set up in all of the 13 venues across Ecuador|
|Volunteers worked well in to the night right up until the day before the convention|
|The local news took note of our efforts|
Mitad del Mundo TourAt the Middle of the World monument in Quito, there wasn't a dry eye as 100s of local brothers and sisters showed up to greet and cheer on the arriving delegates. Unforgettable moments!
|Standing with one foot in the Northern Hemisphere and one in the South|
|Whole families came to welcome the delegates|
|Tours were very well organized|
|Local TV news services took note!|
The guidesThe tours in Quito were a massive undertaking on the part of the brothers. Two hundred bilingual brothers and sisters from the area volunteered and were trained to give the tours in Spanish, English and French. Countless days were spent rehearsing the tours.
|Our 200 intrepid tour guides take a break at Mitad del Mundo|
Colonial Quito TourOnce again, 100s of local brothers and sisters came to welcome the delegates.
|Welcoming delegates at "Plaza Grande"|
|Rincón la Ronda|
Preaching with the Local Brothers and SistersMany congregations had the privilege of taking delegates in the field ministry here in Quito. Everything was super organized. Territories and witnessing partners were all set up well in advance. Before the service arrangement, each delegate and the local brother or sister they were to preach with had their names on the back of their seat with color coding.
The Kingdom Halls were then set up for a little "surprise lunch" after the ministry. After everyone left for service, the Kingdom Halls were transformed into veritable high-class restaurants. It was unreal! All the chairs were covered, tables set up, waiters dressed in bow-ties.... They even added drapes to the windows! It was such an exciting and eventful week. Jehovah is awesome!
|Buen provecho! Yummy typical cuisine.|
Special Social FunctionAll throughout the special week, the 3000 delegates gradually had their turn to watch some special entertainment programs that the brothers prepared. Months of preparations and rehearsals went in to this high quality entertainment along with field experiences and interviews with missionaries from Ecuador and other countries. There was not a dry eye in the room by the time the program ended.
|Among those interviewed were these two sisters: Laura and Maria. They shared|
their experience. Please read their story in the February 15, 2000 Watchtower, p. 8, 9
"Small Bodies Big Hearts". Guaranteed to help us re-evaluate our focus.
The ConventionOver 3000 delegates from almost 30 counties stayed in about 30 hotels for the International Convention in Quito. The peak attendance for all venues in the country was 148,246.
Sessions in QuichuaOf the four stages, one was in the Quichua language. The Quichua brothers and sisters listened to key talks in their mother tongue. Also, all of Anthony Morris' and Robert Ciranko's talks were interpreted for them into Quichua.
|Enjoying the program despite heavy rain and harsh sun|
|During the last talk on Sunday, Brother Morris had all of the field missionaries serving in foreign assignments come out.|
Cooperation from the AuthoritiesThere were about 80 tourist class buses to transport the delegates to the convention each day from about 30 hotels. Imagine that the police provided escorts for all these buses! The motorcade got to run all the red lights with the help of the police. All of this came about because the chief of police was given an invitation to the convention. He was so moved that he arranged for this each of the 3 days. This is something the city has never seen. Gotta love Jehovah's organization!
Ecuadorean Sign Language SessionsOur deaf-mute brothers and sisters certainly weren't left out. They had their own special stage and enjoyed the program with talks in Ecuadorean Sign Language (or interpretations of the Spanish talks). In the sign language here in Ecuador, instead of clapping hands for applause, the deaf raise their hands in the air and shake them back and forth. Well..., check out the cute way that there were able to amplify their applause so that all in attendance could "hear" them even from the other side of the stadium!
Greetings and Signs of Appreciation from the Local Brothers and Sisters
|While we sang "See Yourself When All Is New" this congregation put the message in Spanish (the first line of the song). |
When they flipped over their letters, the same message came out in English (see next picture). It was very cute.
Happy Delegates!Singing, clapping, cheering and waving went on for a good hour after the convention ended. Truly an experience none of us will ever forget!
|Very cute: These are deaf-mute brothers and sisters.|
This was there way of saying "WELCOME!" very loudly.
Other venuesThe whole country of Ecuador was united with us for the convention, even the Galapagos Islands. The various satellite venues were tied in with closed-circuit television.
- Galapagos (venues on two islands)
- Guayaquil (two different stadiums)
- Lago Agrio
- Santo Domingo
- Guayaquil Assembly Hall
- Quito Assembly Hall
|Arrangements were made for the elderly and infirm to see and hear the program from the Quito Assembly Hall|
|At one point during the final day, we attendees in Quito got to send|
our love and greetings to the other venues via live video feed
BaptismIn Quito there were six large pools and a total of 499 got baptized in Quito.
Added to these, are the new ones that were baptized in all the simultaneous venues throughout Ecuador. By the end of the lunch hour, 2020 new disciples were baptized throughout the country. That worked out to about 67 new brothers and sisters getting baptized every minute throughout the country during the half hour that it took.
Noteworthy baptism statistics:
- Youngest: 6 years old
- Eldest: 98 years old
- Total baptized in Quito: 499
- Total baptized nationwide: 2020
Exciting new milestone:Also, we were excited to learn that a new milestone was reached. After several years reaching out to minority language groups in the country, the first ever native Sachila-speaking brother was baptized this day.
|Although they got the numbers wrong, newspapers across the country took note!|
Jehovah’s Witnesses making history again!We were featured in various newspapers and online news services from Ecuador, sometimes on the front page. Some articles explained some of our Bible-based beliefs. “Organized”, “well dressed”, and “friendly international organization” were some of the descriptions commonly used. “Do all things for God’s glory.” 1 Cor. 10:31
We were even on several TV news programs:
Links to online newspaper articles:
- Estadio de Liga de Quito listo para recibir a delegados extranjeros
- 800 personas se bautizaron como Testigos de Jehová en Quito
- Encuentro de Testigos de Jehová en Quito, Guayaquil e Ibarra
- Testigos de Jehová en encuentro internacional
- Testigos de Jehová preparan asamblea nacional
- Los Testigos en Quito
- El 2015 inicia con noticias positivas para el turismo
Bethel TourMany delegates were privileged to fly out our branch in Ecuador for a Bethel Tour.
|Waitresses at the Ecuador Bethel branch helping international convention delegates.|
Small Tokens of Love and AppreciationFor many months before the convention started, the congregations here had work bees to make gifts to give to the delegates. At the same time, delegates brought gifts too. Here are some examples.
|(One dollar note included for size comparison)|