RESPONDING to a tap on his shoulder, Kingsley begins his Bible reading—his first assignment on the Theocratic Ministry School in the congregation. He carefully pronounces each word, not missing a syllable. But wait! Why is he not looking at his Bible?
Kingsley, who lives in Sri Lanka, is blind. He is also hearing-impaired and needs a wheelchair to get around. How did this man learn about Jehovah and qualify to enroll in the Theocratic Ministry School? Let me explain.
When I first met Kingsley, I was struck by how thirsty he was for Bible truth. He had already studied the Bible with several Witnesses, and his Braille copy of the book Knowledge That Leads to Everlasting Life was well-worn.* He accepted my invitation to resume his study, but we faced two challenges.
First, Kingsley lived with several others in a home for the elderly and the physically challenged. Because of the background noise and Kingsley’s poor hearing, I had to raise my voice and speak much louder. In fact, everyone in the home was able to hear our weekly study!
Second, Kingsley could read and grasp only a small amount of new information during each study session. To make our study periods more productive, Kingsley prepared diligently. In advance, he read and reread the study material, looked up the scriptures in his Braille Bible, and then formulated in his mind the answers to the questions. This method proved to be very effective. During our study, he would sit cross-legged on a rug, excitedly tapping the floor while explaining at the top of his voice what he had learned. Before long, we were studying twice a week, and each session lasted two hours!
ATTENDING MEETINGS AND PARTICIPATING
Kingsley was eager to attend meetings at the Kingdom Hall, but this was not an easy task. He needed help to get into and out of his wheelchair, the car, and the Kingdom Hall. But many in the congregation took turns helping him, counting it a privilege to do so. During meetings, Kingsley kept a speaker next to his ear, listening attentively and even commenting!
After he had studied for some time, Kingsley decided to enroll in the Theocratic Ministry School. Two weeks before his first Bible reading, I asked him whether he had been practicing. He confidently said, “Yes, Brother, I have practiced about 30 times.” I congratulated him on his efforts and asked to hear the reading. He opened his Bible, placed his fingers on the Braille text, and started to read. However, I noticed that his fingers did not move along the page as they would normally do. He had memorized the entire Bible reading!
With tears rolling down my cheeks, I looked on in disbelief. I asked Kingsley how he could remember so well after practicing only 30 times. He replied: “No, I have practiced about 30 times per day.” For over a month, Kingsley had sat on his rug, reading and rereading the text until he had it memorized.
Then came the day of his assignment at the Kingdom Hall. When Kingsley completed his assignment, the congregation erupted in enthusiastic applause, and many wept at the determination of this new student. One publisher, who had stopped giving talks on the school because of nervousness, asked to be enrolled again. Why? She said, “If Kingsley can do it, so can I!”
On September 6, 2008, after he had studied the Bible for three years, Kingsley symbolized his dedication to Jehovah by water baptism. A loyal Witness until his death on May 13, 2014, Kingsley was confident that in the earthly Paradise, he will continue his faithful service with complete strength and perfect health. (Isa. 35:5, 6)—As told by Paul McManus.
Published in 1995; now out of print.