A Book for All People
By “Awake!” correspondent in Germany
IS THERE much difference between a Spaniard and an Indian? or an African and a Yugoslavian? True, they speak different languages and have different backgrounds. But if you look under the surface, as it were, you will find they are not very different, really. They are all fellow humans, with similar problems and needs.
In recent years men and women have come from many different lands to live in Germany, and the differences between them have added spice and variety—and sometimes a few problems—to the German scene. Nevertheless, Jehovah’s Witnesses have found that many of these foreign guests respond to the same Bible message that tens of thousands of native Germans have already accepted.
People Want a Purpose in Life
If you ask a Spanish muchacho (young boy) what he wants to be when he grows up, he will often say: “A bullfighter!” That was what Ubaldo said, and when he grew up that is exactly what he became—a bullfighter. Was he happy?
No, because every intelligent person needs to have a purpose in life. Bullfighting did not give Ubaldo such a purpose, and for him that was a serious thing. He became depressed. “I tried to commit suicide, not just once but four times!” he says. Fortunately, he failed.
Eventually, Ubaldo was contacted by Jehovah’s Witnesses and his attention was turned to the book that gives a real reason for living. He learned that men and women are truly happy only when they use their lives to serve God and draw closer to him. He also learned about God’s purpose to unite all mankind under a righteous government. (Daniel 2:44) He found happiness in sharing that hope with others. At present he lives in Germany and is helping others to find a purpose in life.
Something else that intelligent people want is the truth. And this became a problem for a young African boy.
People Want to Know the Truth
Africa is a vast region with a lot of poverty. Yet not everyone there is starving. John, for example, grew up in Ghana. His father had many children but was able to take care of all of them. Nevertheless, John was hungry for something. He reports: “At home we received no religious instruction whatsoever, but I often thought about God. I started to look for him. Sometimes I accompanied my Catholic friends to church in hopes of finding him there.” But in vain.
John moved to Germany, and there his “hunger” became more intense. “In my lonely hours I often thought about God,” he says. “I was longing for his guidance.” Finally, John was visited by the Christian witnesses of Jehovah, who offered to study the Bible with him. Was his hunger satisfied? Yes. He said the Bible taught him about “the true God and the way to everlasting life.”—Psalm 83:18; Luke 10:27, 28; Romans 6:23.
In recent years psychologists have discovered another basic human need: love. Is it possible to give and receive love in today’s uncaring world?
People Want to Be Shown Love
Nevriye and her husband, Umberto, wondered about this. Nevriye is Turkish, although she was born in Bulgaria. Her husband is Italian. He was a Catholic and she was a Muslim. The household had its problems.
Umberto and Nevriye live in Germany too. But once Umberto visited a relative in Italy who was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. “We had gone to the beach,” he narrates. “Suddenly my cousin said: ‘Those two men over there reading that green book are Jehovah’s Witnesses.’ I was puzzled. ‘How can you be sure?’ I asked. The two men were Germans, so she asked me to translate for her. Apprehensively, I approached them and asked if they were Jehovah’s Witnesses. ‘Yes,’ they answered, ‘You too?’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘but my cousin here is.’ Immediately, they hugged one another as though they had been acquainted for years. It is a scene I have never forgotten.” Yes, the love that these Christians had for one another, although they had never even met before, impressed Umberto.
He studied the Bible and eventually became one of Jehovah’s Witnesses himself, along with his wife, Nevriye. Now Umberto happily says: “Today my wife and I and our twelve-year-old son are a united family.” Why? Because, thanks to what they learned from the Bible, they now worship a God who loves them and they practice a religion based on love in association with people who show love for one another.—1 John 4:16; John 13:35.
People Want a Happy Life
There is something else we all desire that is related to our need for love. We all want to be happy. For many, however, that is not easy.
Jusuf and his wife, Safija, found that to be true. Jusuf was born in Yugoslavia of Gypsy ancestry, but he now lives in Germany. He reports: “Our dream was to have a harmonious family life. But instead of caring for my family, I developed bad habits. My family often had nothing to eat. Instead of paying the rent, I gambled away my money. Often I stayed out till four in the morning, returning home drunk and penniless. My eldest son, Began, once told me: ‘Father, I love you most when you’re not home!’”
Obviously, because of Jusuf’s conduct, his family was not happy. In fact, his wife, Safija, was utterly miserable. In desperation she decided upon a solution: rat poison—for Jusuf!
However, the family then started to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. The son, Began, made rapid progress and at fifteen became a baptized Christian. Jusuf was amazed at the respect now shown him by this boy. “I was determined to become a better father,” he says. Both he and his wife studied the Bible until they became baptized Christians. The result?
“Since our baptism my wife and I have led a happy and harmonious family life. Everyone has enough to eat and drink. Everyone is well dressed. We have no debts. My wife no longer has to work. Our apartment is clean and orderly.”
Yes, this family certainly needed the Bible. And so did Dusan, because Dusan’s problems were even worse. What could be worse than an unhappy marriage? Well, what about two unhappy marriages—or even three, and all by the age of sixteen? Is that possible? We will let Dusan explain. Dusan, too, now lives in Germany, but was born in Rumania.
“When I was only ten,” he says, “my parents began making plans for me to get married, since it is our custom that parents arrange marriages for their children when they are thirteen or fourteen years old.” His parents found him a wife, but since Dusan was a minor, the marriage could not be registered legally. Still, for all concerned, it was a binding arrangement.
It got off to a poor start, and Dusan explains why: “We have a saying that if a man doesn’t beat his wife within the first forty days of marriage, she will end up dominating him. I made sure to follow this advice, but still she left me after only five months. At fourteen I married a second time. I thought it would work out better this time, but it was even worse. My second wife left me too. At sixteen I married again.”
This third marriage seemed destined to go the way of the first two, until Dusan and his wife had their attention called to the counsel that God gives in the Bible to all married couples: “Let each one . . . love his wife as he does himself; on the other hand, the wife should have deep respect for her husband.” (Ephesians 5:33) Dusan and his wife tried out these Bible principles. They worked!
Help for Everyone
Wherever a person comes from, the Bible is the book for him. In it God answers our questions and gives us those things we hunger for in addition to food. (Matthew 4:4) Just like Ubaldo, we can gain a real purpose in life. Like John, we can find the truth about God. Like Nevriye and Umberto, we can experience the love of God and fellow Christians. And like Jusuf, Safija and Dusan, we can gain true happiness.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have been able to help these people of varied cultures and languages to get immeasurable benefits from the Bible. They will be happy to help you too. The help God gave to them he will give to you too. Why? Because we are all fellow humans, all brothers and sisters in the vast family of mankind.—Acts 17:26.
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The exciting life of this Spanish bullfighter was empty, until . . .
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A terrible threat hung over this Yugoslavian man and his family, until . . .