PREACHING TO LEPERS IN AFRICA
“Real missionary service in the Gold Coast results in a variety of experiences. I was assigned, along with two other graduates of Gilead, to visit the Ho company of Jehovah’s witnesses, as well as the nearby leper settlement. Traveling by car we left Accra, the capital, at midday. Some five hours later we were warmly welcomed at Ho. Soon we were headed for the center of the town to give the public talk. By this time it was dark. So, as is often the case, the discourse was given out under the bright tropical moon and the sparkling stars. Approximately 300 attended the talk. Was there interference? Yes! What kind? The lantern used to shed light on the speaker’s Bible and notes also served as a signal for a large variety of insects to assemble to greet the speaker in their own particular way.
“The next morning we were on our way to the leper settlement three miles distant. Out of about 500 lepers of various religious beliefs in the settlement there are four of Jehovah’s witnesses. And were they glad to see us Gilead graduates! We will long remember the expressions of joy on their faces, one of the few ways in which they could show their joy, because they could not touch us. The Branch office has been sending regular, free supplies of The Watchtower to these brethren, and they very much appreciate this.
“After an interview with the superintendent of the settlement permission was granted to give a public talk to those who were present. All listened closely. It was not a pleasant audience to look at in the physical sense. They were of all ages, yet some of the young boys looked like old men, with the leprosy affecting each one in a slightly different way. One of the leper brothers interpreted for the speaker, and this was something the speaker will long remember. This interpreter stood three feet away from the speaker, with his Ewe Bible in his hand. His ears were half eaten off, also his toes. His fingers were eaten off back to the second knuckle, yet he had the full Kingdom smile on his shriveled face. When it came to reading Scriptures it was outstanding to notice how quick he found the texts, even with just stumps of fingers at his disposal. He knew his Bible.
“The talk over, a chat with the four witnesses by themselves, and it was time to leave, for we had to get back to Accra that day. The custom among the natives is to greet and bid farewell with an enthusiastic handshake, but these publishers could not do that. They came to the boundary of the settlement with us, and then we parted, after promising that we will come again as soon as possible to visit them. As we headed for Accra 100 miles to the south, we could not help but long all the more for the coming of the new world with its promised blessings for all obedient mankind.”
“BE YE THEREFORE WISE AS SERPENTS”
“I have an elder sister to whom I have always been very attached, and since coming to a knowledge of the truth I have greatly desired my sister to share the same privilege of being a servant of The Theocracy. I wrote a letter to the brethren in the town where she lives, asking them to call and witness to her, but all their efforts were fruitless. At last I decided to make a visit myself. The main stumblingblock appeared to be her superstitious belief in the power of a certain juju in her house. She believed that should she eat any food made from cassaver, including the native food called gari, or listen to any message other than that received from this juju, she would die.
“Understanding the African’s superstitious belief in the power of medicine, I approached the problem in the following manner: I took some ordinary water and put it in a bottle. When I reached the house she told me that she understood I had now joined the ‘Armageddon’ company and that other ‘Armageddon’ people had been calling on her, but she could not agree with them as she had a powerful juju. I then told her that for her good I had obtained some very powerful medicine known as ‘Juju Driver’, and that even since I had been in the house the power of her juju had been broken. I then produced the bottle and told her to drink some and also to rub some on her body, after which she would be able to eat gari without any danger of death, because the juju had already run away.
“At first she was still afraid to eat the gari, but after more encouragement she took some, particularly after she watched me eat some. I made her repeat the same thing the next day and again the third day. By now she was convinced that the power of the juju had really been broken, so she asked how I had managed to get such powerful medicine. I told her to get her Bible, and we started reading some passages together. For three days we studied together, and then I told her about the water in the bottle and how the real ‘Juju Driver’ was the water of truth. She laughed and said that God did indeed move in mysterious ways. By the time I left she was attending the company studies and sharing in the service.”—Nigeria publisher.
“I wish to relate an experience of our six-year-old son. While playing with an eight-year-old girl he kept telling her what he knew about the truth and the new world. She began to ask questions about the Bible that he could not answer. He told her that he had a booklet that would answer her questions, and he would give it to her if she could get her mother to read it. He explained that then her mother could answer her questions. So the girl took the booklet, rushed home, and begged her mother to read it. About thirty minutes later the girl brought me a letter from her mother, asking me to come over and tell her more. I called on her the next day. She took the ‘Let God Be True’ book and we had a Bible study that first call. The mother said she would never have read the booklet if it had not been for the enthusiasm of her child.”—Publisher in Washington.
But Jehovah sitteth as king for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment; and he will judge the world in righteousness, he will minister judgment to the peoples in uprightness. Jehovah also will be a high tower for the oppressed, a high tower in times of trouble; and they that know thy name will put their trust in thee; for thou, Jehovah, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.—Psalm 9:7-10, A.S.V.