Evangelizers Reap a Worldwide Harvest
“As the clock ticks away to Armageddon, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are stepping up their activities to get as many of us as possible saved from that dreaded destruction.”—Editorial by Ian Boyne in “The Sunday Gleaner,” March 15, 1987, Kingston, Jamaica.
THE editorial writer quoted above is correct. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Armageddon, when God will destroy the wicked, is near and that mankind is living in a time of divine judgment. (Revelation 14:6, 7) Hence, there is a need for people to heed the message of good news. Jesus Christ, the greatest human evangelizer ever, set in motion an organization that evangelized “to the ends of the earth” in the first century. (Acts 1:8, New English Bible; Colossians 1:23) He predicted a similar evangelizing work for our day. (Matthew 24:14) The organization now doing that is made up of Jehovah’s Witnesses, who preach the good news of God’s Kingdom with urgency in 210 countries and territories.
Jehovah’s Witnesses, though, are more than a preaching organization. They are also a teaching one. Jesus commissioned his followers to “make disciples of people of all the nations, . . . teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19, 20) We would like to introduce you to some individuals who have benefited from their preaching and teaching work.
Meet Virginia. She is 110 years old and wants to tell you that “it is never too late to come to know and serve Jehovah.” As a young woman, she was so devout that for four years she clothed herself in special religious garb. “But something was lacking,” she says. Nowhere could she find satisfying answers to her Bible questions. For example, when she asked the teachers in her church, “What is God’s name?” they responded, “God’s name is God.”
But things changed in 1983 when her granddaughter began to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. The granddaughter answered Virginia’s question by saying that Jehovah is the name of God. (Psalm 83:18) This motivated Virginia to have her own Bible study with the Witnesses. Two years later, on June 2, 1985, she was baptized at 108 years of age.
“I remember that date with affection,” she says, “because on that day I started to live. At my age, I preach five or six hours a month and use a cane for support in walking. I prefer walking to taking a car. In this way I keep in good physical shape.”
“I was the local rowdy and a good-for-nothing fellow,” says a man who was a prisoner to many vices. “I would smuggle drugs, play mutka (gamble), and smoke free cigarettes eagerly supplied by my clandestine clients. There was also the alcohol habit—all of this despite the fact that I was an active church member.” But when one of Jehovah’s Witnesses called at his house and he began to study the Bible and apply its counsel, his life changed. (Proverbs 2:1-22; 2 Timothy 3:16) Now he, his wife, and two daughters are helping others to break free from such vices.
A young couple grew bitterly angry with God. Why? Their first child, a daughter, died ten days after birth. Their second child was born a cripple. And their third, who seemed to be strong and healthy, died unexpectedly after five months. The mother could not believe that a loving God would permit such tragedies to happen to them when so many people who live a life of debauchery have healthy children.
Shortly thereafter, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses was preaching from house to house in the neighborhood and called at her home. As the Witness spoke about God’s promises of a happy future for mankind, the woman revolted against the idea of a God who is a loving heavenly Father. (Psalm 37:10, 11) But she did agree to accept some Bible literature. Gradually, after repeated visits by the Witness, the Bible’s message of good news softened her heart and built up her confidence in God. Now both she and her husband have a strong hope not only that Jehovah will cure their crippled boy in the future Paradise earth but also that He will resurrect their two other children.—John 5:28, 29; Revelation 21:1-4.
One Sunday morning, a lady carrying a bag full of groceries stopped to talk with a married couple. This was the first but not the last time they would meet. The couple, Jehovah’s Witnesses, were in the evangelizing activity. They commended the shopper for looking after the material needs of her family. But who, they asked, could supply the needs of mankind? They answered the question themselves by stating that God could. (Psalm 107:8, 9; Isaiah 33:24) “Does he have a remedy for my problem?” the lady wondered out loud. The Witnesses replied in the affirmative and were invited to her home, where a Bible study was started. Her husband, noticing changes for the better in his wife’s attitude, joined the Bible study and in a short time also made changes in his life-style.
Later, the lady told the Witnesses that prior to speaking to them that Sunday morning, she had attempted suicide twice. She had been deeply upset because she and her husband had decided to separate. Now, though, she, her husband, and their children are unitedly making progress in learning about the good news.
For most of her life, a woman living in the northern part of this country was harassed by demons. When she met one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the evangelizing work, she obtained some Bible literature and agreed to a home Bible study. After two months of study, she came to appreciate the Scriptural reasons for clearing out of her house all objects of false worship, such as idols, and to demolish her treasured spirit house built to protect her family from evil spirits. (Acts 19:19; 1 Corinthians 10:21; 1 John 5:21) Now she has no more demon attacks and is able to concentrate on helping others learn about the one true God, Jehovah.
When a criminal gang leader was told he was considered so dangerous that the police were under orders to shoot him on sight, he shrugged it off with a laugh. However, soon thereafter one of his gang raids did not go according to plan. He found himself alone, surrounded by an enraged crowd ready to inflict mob justice. At that moment, the police came to his rescue, plucked him away, and locked him in prison to await court trial.
His lawyer advised him on various tactics to deny guilt. But while in the jail cell, he remembered the visits made by one of Jehovah’s Witnesses years ago. He began to regret his lawless ways and prayed to God for help. In fact, he prayed to Jehovah by name. (Compare Acts 10:1, 2.) To the surprise of the judge, this criminal admitted his guilt to the court. So the judge meted out a comparatively mild sentence; instead of death, his sentence was ten years in a maximum security prison.
While behind bars, he ardently read Bible literature and repeatedly prayed to God, asking that, if possible, his time in prison be reduced so that he could serve Him. Unexpectedly, he was told that his sentence had been reduced by half. Thus, after being incarcerated for five years, he was released and immediately started to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Soon thereafter he was baptized, and now he has full-time evangelizing as his goal.
The above are only a few examples of how Jehovah’s Witnesses are fulfilling their commission and obligation to evangelize “to the ends of the earth.” These experiences could be multiplied a thousandfold. Do you doubt, then, that Jehovah’s Witnesses are the true evangelizers of today?