Persecuted for Trying to Serve God
MY GIRL FRIEND and I began studying the Bible with Jehovah’s witnesses around November 1967. We had met them a few times here in Miami, Florida. Up until this time we were part of this “new generation.” As far as I was concerned I was rebellious enough to be a “guru,” which means to the hippies being an expert in psychedelic experiences. This is how I was regarded by my associates in the area where I lived. After living constantly “high” for two years, being in jail several times and once in court, and after a few psychedelic trips during which I felt I needed a “guru” myself to help me through, I decided that it was time to get out of this empty way of life.
As we studied the Bible we began gradually to realize the importance of it and the beauty of its truth. Our interest grew, and soon we began attending the meetings of Jehovah’s witnesses. This helped to heighten our interest and it was not long before we began to make changes in our appearance (hair, clothes) and in our personalities.
Our getting serious about the truth of Jehovah God and our loving this new life that he kindly opened up to us in connection with the wonderful things we were learning did not go unnoticed. Down upon our heads came fierce attacks from the family of my girl friend! They are Jewish and, despite the fact that they are not very religious nor very strong in their faith, they could not stomach the thought of their daughter’s becoming a Christian, much less a Christian witness of Jehovah.
Her parents, brothers, grandmother and other relatives failed to appreciate the fine changes the truth of God was making in our lives. Instead, insults were heaped upon me because they thought that it was my influence that got her into this religious situation and that I was keeping her there. However, they were quite mistaken about this because it was not I but her own keen desire and appreciation that was responsible. This made all their efforts to stop us ineffective.
When I came to the house they hardly spoke to me except when they would surround us, asking a lot of questions and making false claims to try to weaken our faith. There was some terrible screaming. One evening during one of these tirades, they proposed that we bring another Witness and that they would get their rabbi to meet with us so that he could show us how false and fanatic we were. What a reversal of matters that turned out to be, for the rabbi told us that what we were doing was a beautiful thing and that he “gave us the green light”!
Sad to say, this did not stop their persecution, for now it went into a cold-war stage. They would just say Hello and Good-bye to me and nothing else. We were baptized in symbol of our dedication to Jehovah God in May of 1968. Months later we decided to get married. They said that they would have nothing to do with it and that they did not approve of it. They tried to tempt my fiancée with trips to Europe, but this, too, failed. They announced that they would not come to our wedding ceremony and that we were to expect no help from them.
Though their opposition pained us, we were not weakened by it. How happy we are that Jehovah God strengthened us throughout this ordeal to keep our integrity! We went ahead with our wedding plans with the help of our fellow Witnesses. Do you know what happened? They came to our wedding, along with almost every member of their family. And guess who gave the bride away? My father-in-law!
Our steadfastly maintaining our fine conduct to this day has changed my in-laws completely. It would take pages to tell you what they are like now. For example, when I went into the full-time preaching work, they offered me a part-time job in their construction company to help me in my ministry. Now I work a maximum of just three days a week for a fine salary. Because of this, it is going to be possible for my wife to join me in the full-time preaching work soon. All of this because of Jehovah God’s undeserved kindness and love. How glad we are that we left behind the “hippie” way of life and endured the persecution for changing to the only road that leads to eternal life, the worship of Jehovah God.—Contributed.