YEAR BORN: 1949
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: UNITED STATES
HISTORY: SEARCHED FOR MEANING IN LIFE
I grew up in Ancram, a small town in upstate New York, U.S.A. The town consisted mostly of dairy farms. In fact, the town had more cows than people.
My family attended the only church in town. On Sunday mornings, Grandpa would polish my shoes, and then I would head off to Sunday school with the little white Bible my grandmother had given me. My siblings and I were taught to work hard, respect and help our neighbors, and be thankful for our blessings.
When I grew up, I moved away and became a schoolteacher. I had many questions about God and life. Some of my students were quite gifted. Others were not as gifted but worked very hard. Some had physical disabilities, while others excelled physically. I felt that the situation was unfair. Sometimes the parents of my less-fortunate students would say things such as, “This is the way God wants my child to be.” I wondered why God would allow some babies to be born with disabilities. After all, the baby hadn’t done anything wrong.
I also wondered, ‘What meaningful thing am I supposed to do with my life?’ I felt that my life was passing quickly. I had grown up in a nice family, I went to good schools, and now I was working at a job that I loved. But the remainder of my life seemed empty. At best, I could hope to get married, have a nice home and some children, continue working until I retired, and eventually move into a nursing home. I wondered if there was more to life.
HOW THE BIBLE CHANGED MY LIFE:
One summer, I toured Europe with some fellow teachers. We went to Westminster Abbey, Notre-Dame de Paris, and the Vatican, as well as to many smaller churches. Everywhere I went, I asked my questions. After returning home to Sloatsburg, New York, I visited a number of churches. But no one could give me satisfying answers.
One day, a 12-year-old student approached me and asked me three questions. First, she asked if I knew that she was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I said yes. Second, she asked if I would like to know more about Jehovah’s Witnesses. Again, I said yes. Third, she asked where I lived. When I told her my address, we learned that I lived around the corner from her family. Little did I know that those three questions from a young girl would change my life forever.
Soon thereafter, she rode her bicycle to my home and started a Bible study with me. I asked her the questions that I had asked many religious leaders. Unlike them, she showed me clear and satisfying answers from my own Bible—answers that I had never seen before!
What I learned from the Bible filled me with joy and contentment. I was moved when I read 1 John 5:19, which says: “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” I was relieved to learn that it is, not God, but Satan who causes all the sorrow we see around us—and that God will remedy the situation. (Revelation 21:3, 4) I discovered that the Bible makes sense when it is explained clearly. Although the Witness who was studying with me was only 12 years old, I reasoned that the truth is the truth no matter who speaks it.
Even so, I wanted to see if the Witnesses practiced what they preached. For instance, the young girl emphasized that true Christians display such qualities as patience and kindness. (Galatians 5:22, 23) I decided to test her to see if she showed those qualities herself. One day, I intentionally arrived late for my study. I wondered: ‘Will she be waiting for me? And if so, will she be angry that I was late?’ As I pulled into my driveway, I saw her waiting on the front steps of my home. She ran to my car and said: “I was about to go home and tell my mother that we need to call the hospitals and the police to see if you’re OK because you are never late for your study. I was worried about you!”
On another occasion, I asked a question that I thought would be too difficult for a 12-year-old to answer. I wanted to see if she would just make up an answer. When I asked the question, she looked at me very seriously and said: “That is a hard question. I’m going to write it down and ask my parents.” Sure enough, the next time she arrived for our study, she brought an issue of The Watchtower that contained the answer to my question. This is what drew me to the Witnesses—their publications provided Bible-based answers to all my questions. I continued studying with that young girl, and one year later I was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.*
HOW I HAVE BENEFITED:
When I finally received satisfying answers to my questions, I wanted to share them with everyone. (Matthew 12:35) At first, my family opposed my new beliefs. In time, though, they softened their attitude. Near the end of my mother’s life, she began to study the Bible. Although she did not live long enough to be baptized, I am sure that she had decided to serve Jehovah.
In 1978, I married a Witness named Elias Kazan. In 1981, Elias and I were invited to become members of the United States Bethel family.* Sadly, after we had served there for just four years, Elias passed away. Though widowed, I remained in my Bethel assignment, which gave me something to focus on and brought me a measure of comfort.
In 2006, I married Richard Eldred, a fellow member of the Bethel family. Richard and I continue to enjoy the privilege of serving at Bethel. Knowing the truth about God, I truly feel that I have found not only the answers I was searching for but also a real purpose in life—and it all started with three questions from a young girl.
All told, the girl and her siblings helped five of their teachers study the Bible and begin worshipping Jehovah.