A “Very Rich Encounter”
DURING the summer of 1984, Gerard, a young man from France, set out on a six-month adventure—a bicycle tour through the United States and Canada. The majestic Rocky Mountains thrilled him, the peaceful parks calmed him, but the scene he saw in Montmagny, Quebec, Canada, impressed him the most; it changed the course of his life.
On Sunday, September 16, Gerard was peddling through Montmagny when he noticed a long line of cars parked alongside the road. Next, he saw hundreds of people milling around a construction site. “What’s happening here?” he asked one of the workers who was directing the traffic. Although the man was busy, he took time out to explain to Gerard that all these workers were Jehovah’s Witnesses using their weekend to build a hall for their religious meetings. Unknown to Gerard, he had arrived during the final hectic hours of a two-day Kingdom Hall project. He was impressed by all he saw and heard. That night he wrote in his diary: “In the evening I met Jehovah’s Witnesses. They have built a house in two days. There were more than 1,000 of them. Very rich encounter.”
Shortly thereafter Gerard returned to France. Two years later, on July 26, 1986, he mailed a letter to the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Montmagny. He wrote:
‘Do you still remember talking to a cyclist from France during the second day of your Kingdom Hall building project? That day the traffic controller sowed a seed. Some months later the Witnesses visited me in France, and I accepted the offer to study the Bible with them. Since I’m from a staunch Catholic family, the study was not easy. But Jehovah made the seed grow. Two weeks ago I was baptized at a convention in Nantes. I thank Jehovah for allowing me to find the truth, and I am grateful for all that the brother taught me that Sunday, September 16, 1984. Brotherly greetings from an adventurer converted to the truth.’
What joy the congregation in Montmagny felt after hearing Gerard’s letter read in their Kingdom Hall! All those who helped in building the hall experienced the truthfulness of Solomon’s words: “Send out your bread upon the surface of the waters, for in the course of many days you will find it again.” (Ecclesiastes 11:1) Yes, the good effects of Kingdom Hall projects are long lasting and far reaching in many ways.