Presenting the Good News—When People Are Not at Home
1 When you share in the house-to-house work, do you find most people at home? Or, do you often end up with a long list of not-at-homes on your house-to-house record? And what about interested persons? Are your good intentions to make return visits unfulfilled because of your not finding them at home? Just what can we do to reach more people?
2 It may help to call on a different day or at a different time of the day. On a weekday evening, for example, you may be able to reach some who are often away for the weekend. If for some reason you simply are unable to make certain calls at other times, why not give the addresses to someone in the congregation who could do so?
3 Another thing that can be done is to leave behind something to read, perhaps a handbill. In many territories, however, care has to be exercised about putting magazines or tracts in front of doors when people are not at home. Some householders resent having anything visible left at their doors, since this advertises that they are not at home and can invite burglaries. So in areas where this might be a problem, we do well not to leave any literature that would be visible to outsiders.
4 Some publishers write letters to interested persons or others whom they are unable to find at home after having made repeated calls. If you decide to do so, you may wish to consult Study 17 of the School Guidebook. When writing, be sure to include your name and address. People generally do not appreciate receiving anonymous letters. Depending upon the circumstances, you may also wish to provide your telephone number so that the person can get in touch with you. One brother received the following reply to one of his letters: “Thank you for your letter regarding the campaign for new subscriptions to Watchtower and Awake! We have pleasure in enclosing check for $10 to cover the following new subscribers.”
5 Possibly you could reach the interested person by telephone. If you have his name and address, you may be able to get his telephone number. When you call, identify yourself by name and explain to him that, because of not finding him at home, you are calling to find out a convenient time for getting together to discuss the Bible. The use of the telephone has been helpful in declaring the good news. One publisher placed thirty-four Bibles in one month, by using the telephone.
6 Trying to contact people who are not at home requires perseverance. How many times would you call on a home where you are unable to find people? One publisher called back at a certain door five times on different days before he found the householder at home. Was his perseverance rewarded? The person he then met was so interested in the truth about Jehovah and His kingdom that in only two months she began telling others about it herself. Another young sister tried seven times to find someone at home and finally succeeded. The man she met took two magazines, and later on, with the assistance of her father, she helped this individual to start walking on the road to everlasting life. In Poland, a sister received a new territory. There was one house the door of which was locked and nobody answered. The publisher made a note of it, and every time she passed by the house she knocked on the door, but always in vain. She continued to do this for three months. Finally, an elderly woman answered the door; she said that because she had been robbed she was very cautious about opening her door. This is understandable and helps us to appreciate another reason for the need to keep calling until we find someone at home. This woman proved to be receptive to the Bible’s message.
7 It is important to make the effort and try to contact people who were not at home. In one case, no one was found at home for a period of three years. The woman who was finally contacted had been waiting all that time for a Witness to call and resume the Bible study that had been conducted with her prior to her moving to this place.
8 So, we are wise if we do not get discouraged when we fail to find people at home in our field service. True, it takes patience and perseverance to find them at home. But, would you not be overjoyed if your efforts helped someone to get started on the road to life? Jehovah takes no delight “in the death of the wicked one, but in that someone wicked turns back from his way and actually keeps living.” (Ezek. 33:11) May love move us to follow up not-at-homes.