‘The Love of All of You Is Increasing’
A NUMBER of natural disasters struck Japan in 2004. Among these were typhoons, floods, and earthquakes. They drastically affected the lives of many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Ecclesiastes 9:11) These adversities, though, provided opportunities for Witnesses to show brotherly affection for one another.—1 Peter 1:22.
For example, because of heavy rains in July, a river in central Japan overflowed its banks. Flooding damaged more than 20 homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In one Kingdom Hall, the water rose some three feet [1 m] above the floor. Immediately, Witnesses from neighboring congregations pitched in to help. Hundreds of volunteers cleaned the mud-soaked houses. The Kingdom Hall was fully cleaned up and repaired within just two weeks.
On October 23, an earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale struck the same area. At least 40 lives were lost, and over 100,000 people had to be evacuated from their homes. Water, gas, and electricity were cut off. Although the epicenter of the quake was just 30 miles [50 km] away, the renovated Kingdom Hall was not damaged. It immediately became a temporary relief center. Christian overseers quickly checked on the safety of their fellow believers and were relieved to learn that none had been hurt or killed. Early the next morning, six Witnesses who had been victims of the July flood eagerly volunteered to deliver food and water to the affected area. Within hours of the earthquake, relief goods were made available.
“Those who were victims of the floods considered the relief work for those affected by the earthquake to be an opportunity to express their appreciation for the help they themselves had received,” relates one overseer. “They worked hard from early morning till late night. And how their faces shone with happiness!”
Neither floods nor earthquakes are threats to the bond of love that binds the Christian brotherhood of Jehovah’s Witnesses. On the contrary, when such disasters strike, Christians experience what the apostle Paul told fellow believers in Thessalonica: “The love of each and all of you is increasing one toward the other.”—2 Thessalonians 1:3.