“Old Men and Children” Praise Jehovah
MANY centuries ago the psalmist commanded: “Both young men and virgins; old men and children: let them praise the name of Jehovah.” (Ps. 148:12, 13, AS) That this command is being obeyed in our day, and that in all parts of the earth, was apparent from the reports given at the New World Society Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses held in July, 1953, at Yankee Stadium, New York city. Among such reports were the following:
In a certain village in France three young girls, aged 11, 15 and 17, learn the truth from Jehovah’s witnesses and attend the meetings. Their parents try to discourage them by destroying the Society’s Bible-study aids, so the girls continue their studies in the cow shed. Soon Lucienne, the youngest, starts talking to her friends about God’s kingdom, and so when the village priest teaches them the catechism these children reply, “But Monsieur le curé, Lucienne says that isn’t written in the Bible.” This happens week after week until the priest, one day in exasperation, warns all his parishioners against little Lucienne. But Lucienne keeps on talking and finally the priest goes to her mother and says: “Madam, you should stop your children from talking to others! If they insist on learning the Bible, let them keep it to themselves. I am warning you!” But what does mother reply? “Have you ever been able to stop a girl from talking?” Of course, nothing could stop them from bubbling over with the good things they had learned, and at the next assembly of Jehovah’s witnesses all three girls were baptized.
Among those who recently have begun to praise Jehovah in Guatemala is an eighty-six-year-old former Protestant clergyman. He is a regular and punctual attendant at the congregational meetings although it means traveling several miles on horseback. As he goes about telling others about Jehovah’s goodness he never fails to observe: “Imagine! All these years I thought I was going to heaven and now I find out that I am going to live on earth!” He is happy at the prospect.
And among the children praising Jehovah in Guatemala is a twelve-year-old boy. His mother had obtained the Watchtower Bible-study aid “This Means Everlasting Life”; and from the beginning this boy evinced real interest and begged others to read the book to him, as he was blind. In spite of his handicap he engages regularly in the field ministry, placing Bible literature with his neighbors and making return visits.
In a lonely, faraway place at the highest point of the Apennine Mountains in Central Italy, an eighty-four-year-old lone witness for Jehovah began to preach the good news of the Kingdom. With a cane in each hand to support his frail, bent body, and a pack of Bible literature on his back, he visits the people scattered along the rugged mountain trails. Beginning before six o’clock in the morning, he returns before noon to escape the hot sun. Many a fall he has experienced while climbing the perilous trails. So effective has been his work that the Catholic Church sent in two young missionary monks to counteract his work. They followed him through the mountain trails seeking to frighten the people from listening to his message and urging those who had obtained literature to bring it to town to have it burned. Despite this opposition, in six months a congregation was formed. A year later thirty persons were baptized; all as the result of this eighty-four-year-old witness’ overcoming tremendous obstacles.
In Nicaragua a five-year-old girl accompanies her mother in the field ministry and goes from door to door by herself giving the witness and placing magazines with the householders. Once when visiting her superstitious aged grandmother she explained to her who Jehovah is and why the images she had, which could not see, hear or speak, were worthless.
In Finland, a girl of nine years became active in the field ministry and not only attended the congregational meetings regularly but prepared her lesson in advance and gave good answers to the questions propounded. Expressing her desire to symbolize her dedication to Jehovah by water immersion, her mother remarked that they were not fully prepared to take such a step. The little girl replied: “Of course, you cannot come, mother, because you don’t understand; but, let me go; I know the truth.” So she went and was immersed.