▪ Should publishers make extensive use of the Internet to witness to or to study with strangers living in another country?
Some publishers have used the Internet to obtain Bible studies in lands where our work is restricted or where there are few publishers. In some cases, good results have been achieved. However, there are dangers when publishers participate in e-mail exchanges or chat room discussions with strangers. (See the July 2007 Our Kingdom Ministry, p. 3.) While the intent is to reach honesthearted ones with the Kingdom message, such discussions may lead a brother or a sister into contact with bad association, including apostates. (1 Cor. 1:19-25; Col. 2:8) Furthermore, in lands where the Kingdom work is restricted or under ban, correspondence might be monitored by the authorities. Such communication could endanger the local brothers and sisters. Therefore, publishers should not go online to seek out people from another country with whom to share the good news.
Unless directed otherwise by the local branch office, if we witness informally to a stranger who is visiting from another country, we should not try to cultivate his interest after he returns home. Instead, we can show him how he can use jw.org to obtain additional information or how he can contact the local branch office. We can also encourage him to visit a Kingdom Hall near his home. Of course, there are no Kingdom Halls in some countries. If he wishes to be visited by Witnesses from his area, we should fill out a Please Follow Up (S-43) form and give it to the secretary, who will forward it using jw.org. The branch office that oversees the work in the country where the interested person lives is familiar with the unique circumstances there and will be in the best position to provide spiritual help.—See the June 2014 Our Kingdom Ministry, p. 7, and the November 2011 Our Kingdom Ministry, p. 2.
If a person we are currently calling on moves to another country or if we are currently studying with a person in another land whom we know only through the Internet, we should follow the direction outlined above. However, we may continue to cultivate the interest until the person is contacted by the local publishers. Nevertheless, if he lives in a land where our work is restricted or banned, great caution should be used when Bible topics are discussed by letter, telephone, or electronic means.—Matt. 10:16.