They Were Convinced of Jehovah’s Love
HIGH waves were battering the ship caught in a tremendous storm at sea. A 14-day battle with the raging waters had left passengers and crew hopeless, except for one. He was confident that Jehovah would protect him, as the comforting words, “Have no fear, Paul” rang in his mind. During the next decisive hours, the ship grounded, permitting all to make it safely to land. Once more the apostle Paul had reason to be convinced of Jehovah’s love.—Acts 27:20-44.
Are you equally convinced of God’s love? Constant study of God’s Word and use of what you learn to strengthen others is vital. Yet, to be really convinced of Jehovah’s love, you must actually live on Jehovah’s utterances by experiencing his acting on your behalf. One who is firmly convinced of this is a traveling overseer working in the lofty Bolivian mountains who, like many others, has experienced Jehovah’s care.
“Working out of Oruro,” he relates, “I was to visit a congregation in Kami, a mining town 62 miles [100 km] away. The hilly, winding road reaches 15,000-foot [4,600 m] altitudes and can be very treacherous, especially when it rains. Temperatures often descend to 14° F. [−10° C.] or lower.
“Another brother, Aníbal, was going to take me on his motorcycle, and we set out at 6:00 a.m., prepared for a five-hour trip. From the outset it was raining, and mud kept getting caked between wheel and fender, bringing us to a halt. Only after painstakingly poking the mud out could we go on. Riding pillion behind Aníbal, I tried to protect my shoes and trousers but gave up when they were completely soaked.
Evidence of Jehovah’s Love
“Six hours had passed when the engine stalled on a steep hill, and we began to roll backward. Jumping off, we tried in every way to hold the heavy machine in the slippery mud. This proved futile, however, and our hearts sank as the motorcycle plunged over the side of a ravine 300 feet [90 m] deep! We anxiously looked down. Unbelievably, the machine had come to rest only partway down. Still, we would never be able to raise it without help.
“Hours crept by, but we had little hope that anyone would come along that desolate road. Then a man with a donkey and some llamas appeared. Seeing our plight, he said in the Quechua tongue: ‘Yes, I have some tethers.’ He tied the leather strips to the donkey and to the motorcycle. Then, we lifted from down below while he encouraged the donkey to pull. Finally, after much goading of the donkey, we were back on the road, our foreheads wet with perspiration. How could we make it up to him? We offered him a Bible Stories book, and he was so impressed with the book that he wanted to return the favor with potatoes from his load!
“The engine started, and we were ever so thankful to Jehovah. Farther along, we thought of stopping, since the engine began faltering. We came to an isolated coffee shop. ‘Where are you headed?’ the owner asked. We told him and explained our problem. ‘I have a spark plug and some tools I’ll lend you,’ he said. We could hardly believe our ears—this was a place where friends, let alone total strangers, are often mistrusted. With the new spark plug the engine ran well.
“It was now dark, and I became apprehensive, as my legs were going numb in the freezing cold. Then, while making a steep climb, the engine stalled again. Both pumping the starter and pushing the motorcycle for two miles [3 km] proved fruitless. Totally exhausted, we sat down by the road. At least my legs were no longer numb! But we were upset and at a loss as to what to do. We took a short rest and then tried to start the engine again. Would it work?
“To our surprise the engine did start. However, it now began to rain, and on the next grade we stalled again. Once more we were sitting by the roadside, this time in the pouring rain. We took another break. With some doubts we tried the engine again—and it started! Soon we were crossing the highest point of our journey. I felt relieved, thinking that even if the engine stalled, we could almost coast into Kami. But on a steep descent the brake handle broke off in Aníbal’s hand! Quickly jumping off while holding onto the rear carriage, I dug both feet into the ground and slid down the hill. In this way I managed to bring us to a stop. This happened on two more grades.
“It was 3:00 a.m. when we finally reached Kami. We had been on the road for 21 hours. Finding the brothers would be a problem, since this was my first visit. We knocked on doors but were told: ‘Go away! We’re sleeping!’ After knocking on various doors, I felt the best thing to do would be to rest under an overhanging roof and search for the brothers in the morning. Slumping down, I went fast asleep. When I awoke, I found myself surrounded by people. I stood up, and a husky man came over and hugged me tight. Yes, they were our brothers! Aníbal had found them. I could not speak as my emotions welled up within me.
“Wasting no time, they picked up our belongings, including the mud-encrusted motorcycle, which a brother literally carried to his yard. My hosts were a humble couple, the wife in a typical pollera, a multiple full skirt. ‘You take our bed,’ they said. I did not want them to sleep on the floor, especially since the wife was pregnant. But they insisted.
“The next thing I knew, it was 8:00 a.m. Someone was knocking on the door. ‘The brothers are ready for service,’ I was told. Seeing their expectant faces glowing with appreciation, I had no other choice but to wrench my aching body out of bed and begin the visit. And what a heartwarming visit it was! As I accompanied the brothers in their ministry, they simply brimmed over with joy and enthusiasm. I meditated on how vital these visits are, in spite of all we’d been through—like ‘streams of water in a waterless country.’—Isaiah 32:2.
“The next day we visited a village where an evangelist pastor had threatened to break up our meeting when I arrived. After the discourse, a robust man gave me a Bolivian hug* and said: ‘Brother, you have the truth!’ Afterward, I asked who it was. ‘The pastor,’ they said.
“The visit to Kami was over all too soon, and we were leaving. The brothers had repaired the motorcycle and washed all our muddy clothes. When we mentioned the man who lent us the tools, they marveled, since he is known as one who almost never helps out. After many hugs and handshakes, we were off and soon we were back to see the kind coffee-shop owner. After returning everything, we asked him: ‘How much do we owe?’ ‘Nothing,’ he replied. ‘I was glad to help!’
“Back in Oruro, five hours later, we thought of how important it was not to give up and how Jehovah marvelously cared for us. Aníbal was so deeply moved by the experience that he exclaimed: ‘I’d give anything to go back!’ He has done just that, carrying other traveling overseers on his motorcycle to Kami and other places. Yes, we had solid reason to be convinced even more of Jehovah’s love.”—As related by circuit overseer Ricardo Hernández.
A Bolivian hug consists of a handshake, a mutual pat on the back, and another handshake.
[Pictures on page 23]
The winding mountain road that leads to the mining town of Kami
Road through the mountains to Kami
Donkeys can be very useful in an emergency!