Philippines Pt. 6 – Special Convention

Finally it was time for the convention – and the reason we had traveled all the way to the other side of the world.  For three days we attended the Ang Salita ng Diyos ay Katotohanan (God’s Word is Truth) Special Convention.

DC44

DC111

We were foreigners in a far off land.

Inside Cuneta Astrodome

Inside Cuneta Astrodome

There were about 7,000 in attendance each day, made up of some of the local Jehovah’s Witnesses, as well as the delegates from the United States, Indonesia, and Taiwan.  We enjoyed not only the program, but also getting to know one another before and after the sessions, and during lunch.  The majority of the program was in Tagalog, but the local brothers had received special permission from the Philippines government to broadcast a translation in English over the radio.

Chinese speaking friends from Taiwan.

Chinese speaking friends from Taiwan. They gave us beautiful chopsticks, handmade bookmarks, and cookies as gifts.

New friends from Texas.  And easily the tallest group in the building.

New friends from Texas. And easily the tallest group in the building – each of them over 6 feet.

At a little over 5'4", I'm short at home.  But in the Philippines I'm a giant!

At a little over 5’4″, I’m short at home. But in the Philippines I’m a giant!

This is Riley.  He is from our host congregation, Malibay.  Him and his mom found us everyday for lots of hugs and pictures.  We love this family!

This is Riley. He is from our host congregation, Malibay. Him and his mom found us everyday for lots of hugs and pictures. We love this family!

We shared gifts too - pictures from home, and artwork from the kids in some of the Reno, NV congregations.

We shared gifts too – pictures from home, and artwork from the kids in some of the Reno, NV congregations.

Conventions are an opportunity for those who desire, and who qualify, to get baptized as one of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Conventions are an opportunity for those who desire, and who qualify, to get baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

David Splane, a member of the Governing Body, from the world headquarters in Brooklyn, NY, releasing a new Bible study aid.  On the stage with a translator.

David Splane, a member of the Governing Body, from the world headquarters in Brooklyn, NY, releasing a new Bible study aid. On the stage with a translator.

Up close - me and Brother Splane.

Up close – me and Brother Splane.

More pictures with many of our friends from Malibay Congregation.

More pictures with many of our friends from Malibay Congregation.

Many wore traditional costumes from their country, culture, or language group.

Many wore traditional costumes from their country, culture, or language group.

These birds flitted around the Cuneta Astrodome, with 3 others, for the duration of the convention.

These birds flitted around the Cuneta Astrodome, with 3 others, for the duration of the convention.

By the end of the three convention days, we felt like family.  Many hugs were shared and tears were shed as we said, not goodbye, but “until next time” to one another.  As the busses full of delegates pulled away from the convention center, crowds of our new friends waved, blew kisses, and shouted mahal kita (I love you).  It was an experience to be remembered forever.

One of the local beauties.

One of the local beauties.

Outside the convention center.

Outside the convention center.

One more sunset over Manila Bay.

One more sunset over Manila Bay.

Rebecca Knabe

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