Old Age No Barrier to Learning Bible Truth
OFTEN persons of advanced age express the view that they are too old to learn new things. However, even persons in their eighties have made changes in the most vital aspect of their life, that is, in their worship of God. Old age, coupled with other obstacles, has not prevented them from learning Bible truth as taught by Jehovah’s Christian witnesses.
For example, there is the case of an elderly Yugoslavian woman living in Austria. She spoke very broken German and could hardly read the language. Her home was filled with pictures of “saints.” But she was very sincere and agreed to study the Bible with one of Jehovah’s witnesses. At first it took about a half hour to cover just one paragraph in the publication used as a basis for the study, for she had to be taught how to read German.
Although not much material was covered during the course of each study, this elderly woman was definitely benefiting. Her interest was aroused sufficiently to motivate her to attend the meetings of Jehovah’s witnesses. This demanded no little effort on her part. She had to walk for one and a half hours to get to the nearest bus stop and from there ride about five miles to the Kingdom Hall. What this elderly woman learned from the Bible also prompted her to get rid of her “saints,” sever her political ties and all connections with the Roman Catholic Church, as well as to quit smoking. Though eighty-two years of age, she has made it her resolve to share Bible truth with others and to get baptized.
In Bolivia, the wife of one of the traveling ministers of Jehovah’s witnesses called on an eighty-one-year-old woman who was reading her Catholic Bible. Asked whether she would like to understand the Bible, this elderly woman replied: ‘Absolutely. For years I have been reading the Bible like a parrot. I’d like to understand what it says.’
A home Bible study was started. During a three-day period studies were conducted by the traveling minister’s wife. After she left with her husband for another location, someone else continued the study. Just eight days later the elderly woman burned all her religious pictures, destroyed her images, and advised the local priest that she was one of Jehovah’s witnesses now and no longer wanted to be known as a Catholic. She has begun relating to others the things she has learned and she attends all the meetings of Jehovah’s witnesses.
An eighty-one-year-old woman in France made similar rapid progress. During her first month of studying the Bible with Jehovah’s witnesses she burned a carton of books on occult practices. She also destroyed thirty-four religious medals, some statues, her rosary and her crucifix, which she had formerly placed upon herself each night to protect her from evil spells. Five months after the first study she began to attend all the meetings of Jehovah’s witnesses. Then she started to participate in the door-to-door ministry and was later baptized.
In a Central American country a Witness arranged to study the Bible with an eighty-four-year-old woman. He thought to himself, ‘What good will come from this? She cannot even read and her son-in-law is opposed.’ At the second study, however, three more persons were present and later as many as fourteen attended. Due to the opposition of her son-in-law, the woman rented a room for herself and told the Witness: ‘Now my son-in-law can get as angry as he wishes, but he cannot stop our studying in my home.’ When asked what she did that so many persons joined in the study, she replied: ‘Well, what we are learning is so good that, in order not to forget it, I go to my neighbors as soon as you leave and tell them what I have learned.’
From the third study this elderly woman began attending the meetings of Jehovah’s witnesses regularly, always taking interested persons along with her. Though having to support herself economically, she is a zealous proclaimer of the Bible’s message. Now, as a baptized Witness of Jehovah, she, at the age of eighty-six, says: ‘I am learning to read and write. My greatest desire is to read God’s Word for myself in order to tell the people more about our Father, Jehovah.’
How true are Jesus’ words: “My sheep listen to my voice”! (John 10:27) Age certainly does not stop right-hearted persons from taking positive action in response to the truth set forth in the Bible.