Preaching and Teaching Earth Wide
BIBLE STUDIES 2,202,217
While returning home from school, a nine-year-old girl found a large amount of money in a small bag on the road. Her family, who were studying the Bible with the Witnesses, decided to apply what they had learned from the Bible. So they searched for the owner and returned the money. The owner asked the girl, “If I gave you some money as a reward for your honesty, what would you do with it?”
“I would buy a Bible,” the girl replied.
Surprised, the man said, “I thought you would buy some clothes or shoes because I can see that those you are wearing are very old.” The girl insisted that she would prefer to have a Bible. The man wanted to know why the family did not keep the money. After learning that they were studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses, he purchased two Bibles, one for the girl and one for his own family. He also arranged for the Witnesses to visit his family to study the Bible with them. Both families are making good spiritual progress.
Central African Republic
With Jehovah’s help, Theodora was able to overcome her extreme timidity. Although raised in a Christian home, she rarely attended meetings at the Kingdom Hall because of her shyness. When she did start to attend, she sat alone, never speaking to anyone and leaving right after the closing song and prayer. Soon she was always at the hall but rarely reached out to shake the hands of those coming to greet her. In time, she started answering at meetings and began approaching others there to greet them. Participation in the field ministry was a big step for her. When the neighborhood girls mocked her, Theodora wanted to stop preaching, but she took the matter to Jehovah in prayer, asking for his strength. Now she is a baptized sister, auxiliary pioneering and giving fine comments at the meetings. She conducts four Bible studies, including one with a neighbor who used to mock her.
A circuit overseer and his wife were traveling to a congregation in the countryside. On the way, they encountered a group of cattle thieves armed with axes and spears. After silently praying for courage, the circuit overseer’s wife offered them the tract Life in a Peaceful New World. She said: “Today, we live in fear. However, God will soon destroy the wicked and establish a new world where peace will prevail.” One of the men listened attentively and accepted the tract.
At an assembly a year later, a man approached her and asked if she remembered him. He stated that he was with the thieves she had met on the muddy road and that he was the one who had accepted the tract. Then he explained: “We were returning from a raid when we met you. What you said made me think. I said to myself: ‘We are not afraid of policemen and soldiers because we can escape from them. But how can I escape from God if he is going to destroy the wicked ones?’ So I decided to make more inquiries. Back home I visited a neighbor who was studying the Bible with a special pioneer. I agreed to study the Bible with him too, and now I am going to be baptized at this assembly.”
In 1992, Madalena, who was just over 30 years of age, was involved in an automobile accident that left her a paraplegic. After that, she rarely left the house. Three years later, Witnesses spoke to her father outside their home. He was the leader of a traditional religious group, which met in his backyard. Madalena, hearing the conversation and that the brothers asked about her, invited them to come inside. How touched she was that they were sincerely interested in her! She accepted a Bible study and showed a keen interest in what she learned. Seeing her zeal, the Witnesses assisted her in many practical ways, including helping her get to the meetings. With this help Madalena was able to symbolize her dedication to Jehovah in 2002.
Madalena’s parents were deeply impressed with the care the Witnesses gave their daughter. Her mother began to attend meetings and abandoned her husband’s religion. At first, Madalena’s father said that he would never leave his religion, but in time he also started attending meetings. His parishioners put pressure on him to stop—after all he was their leader! Nevertheless, he took his stand, burning all his religious paraphernalia. In 2007 he and his wife were baptized. The whole family is doing well spiritually.
Decibel, who is nine years old, preaches to her classmates and teachers. One day she noticed that her teacher looked miserable, so Decibel approached her and asked if there was something making her unhappy. The teacher replied that her sister had lost a child in death. Decibel promised to bring the teacher something that would comfort her. She obtained the brochure When Someone You Love Dies from her parents and brought it the following day. The teacher read a few paragraphs from the brochure and cried out for joy. Later, she wrote a note to Decibel’s parents thanking them for the training they had given their daughter and the comfort Decibel had given her during her time of distress.
Abigail, who was living in southern Ghana with her Presbyterian grandparents, had been taught that Jehovah’s Witnesses are false prophets. Upon learning that her parents, who were living in another part of the country, were studying with the Witnesses, she became disturbed and wrote to persuade them to stop their study. Since the letter did not yield the desired result, she traveled over 600 miles [1,000 km] to meet with them. Abigail was shocked to learn from her own Bible that hell is not a place where the wicked are tormented. She started studying the Bible and attending meetings at the Kingdom Hall with her parents and then became an unbaptized publisher. Abigail was baptized at a recent circuit assembly.
BIBLE STUDIES 3,548,101
On this island many women wash their laundry along the riverbanks, drying it on large boulders and stones. One of the women noticed a familiar object floating in the shallow water near the place where she did her wash. She recognized it as the publication she studied each week with one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. After placing it on a nearby rock to dry, she continued her washing.
Later in the day, when she collected her dry clothes, she forgot the book. However, some fishermen returning from the sea saw the gold-colored book, and one of them retrieved it. Impressed by the title What Does the Bible Really Teach? he began to read it. Later, while calling on people in his village, two pioneer sisters met him. He explained to them that only 144,000 will go to heaven and that God’s Kingdom was born in 1914. He also said that soon the earth will be made into a paradise. When they asked him how he knew these things, he explained how he had found the book, adding that he reads it every day. He showed them the book—now dry but swollen.
One of the pioneers realized that this was the book her Bible student had retrieved from the river. A Bible study was started with the fisherman. He looks forward to the discussions each week and is making good progress.
Preaching in the Amazon region of Bolivia is both challenging and rewarding. A group of ten pioneer brothers and sisters—squeezed into a small outboard motorboat packed with tents, cooking pots, and many boxes of Bible literature—traveled about 500 miles [800 km] on the Beni River from Rurrenabaque to Riberalta. They visited more than 70 isolated communities and placed over 800 books as well as brochures and tracts. They demonstrated about 700 Bible studies to interested people and returned to conduct studies with more than 200 of them. When the Witnesses were leaving the villages, a comment they often heard from people was, “Can you stay and study with us just a little more?” In one small town, a man was very insistent and was upset that the Witnesses were leaving, because he wanted to keep studying with them. He said: “You have cut down the tree. Now you need to carve and polish it.”
For many years Normand has worked in a metal refinery located in Montreal. During his work break, he regularly read the booklet Examining the Scriptures Daily in the cafeteria. His workmates saw him reading it, and some accepted his invitation to discuss the daily text. During these brief discussions, Normand particularly endeavored to apply the material to family life and human relations. A member of the management staff also attended a discussion and later called Normand into his office to commend him, saying that the discussions would have a positive effect on the lives of the employees and would promote better relationships.
When the number attending these discussions grew to over 30, management asked Normand to organize smaller groups in different locations in the refinery. He says: “At present, I am conducting three groups each day, which my workmates call daily reminders. They enjoy these discussions so much that when I am absent, one of them conducts in my place. Then, when I return, they question me on what they did not understand.” Normand has been able to help his workmates reflect on a Bible verse daily for the last five years. As a result, among his coworkers and their family members, over 40 have accepted the truth.
Sister Barker, 89 years of age, wanted to start a Bible study. Because of her physical condition, she is unable to go from door to door, so she tried telephone witnessing—without any success. Encouraged by a meeting part on prayer, she began to supplicate Jehovah for assistance in starting a Bible study. A few days later, armed with her Bible and magazines and determined to witness to anyone who passed by, she stood in front of her house, even though it is not on a busy street. She offered magazines to a man on his way home from work. A week later, while in front of her house again, she met the same man. Since he had shown some interest in the magazines she placed with him, she offered him the Bible Teach book as well as an invitation to study the Bible. Much to her delight, he accepted the offer. She had her first study with him toward the end of March 2008. She later found out that he did not live far from her home. Within a few weeks, he started to attend the meetings. The sister said, “I know Jehovah does answer prayers, but I didn’t think it would be so soon!”
When a pioneer sister in Santiago got out of a taxi in the downtown area of her territory, she inadvertently left her magazine folder on the backseat. The folder contained quite a few magazines in addition to her copy of Our Kingdom Ministry, which had her name written on it. Thanks to that, two days later the taxi driver was able to locate the sister with the help of other Witnesses he saw preaching in the area. When he returned the magazine folder to the pioneer, it contained only her copy of the Kingdom Ministry. The magazines were gone. He apologized, explaining that his various passengers had leafed through the magazines and asked if they could keep one. In a single day, the magazines had all placed themselves!
Ernesto, who had been a captain of the army’s special troops, was living in a small town near the Caribbean Coast. Jairo, a special pioneer who had come from another part of the country to preach there, met Ernesto while working from house to house and offered him a home Bible study. Though this former soldier refused, Jairo persisted, and eventually his offer was accepted. In the course of their conversations, Jairo revealed that his father had been the commander of the counterrevolutionary army fighting against the government troops in a nearby area but that he had died in a battle. Ernesto continued with his study and began to progress, all the while keeping a secret from his Bible teacher, which he eventually just had to reveal. With profound sadness, he explained to Jairo that he had been in command of the platoon that had captured Jairo’s father alive and that he had personally been responsible for the father’s death. Jairo, of course, was shocked, but he knew it to be true because the frightful details that Ernesto recounted coincided with what he had previously been told by his father’s fellow soldiers. Ernesto thought that their friendship would end right there. But rather than harbor hatred for his student, Jairo continued studying with him. Ernesto progressed and got baptized, along with his wife. He and Jairo remain friends to this day.
In the west of the country, brothers from the town of Machiques were preaching in seldom-worked indigenous territory near the Colombian border. Everybody listened! The head of the Yukpa community granted permission for the Memorial to be held for the first time in this area. Neighbors and also the local school provided chairs, and more than 200 attended. After the meeting concluded, the chief respectfully spoke on behalf of the community: “We wish to thank Jehovah’s Witnesses. We hope that this will not be the last time you come. You teach us the truth, and you are most welcome!” Over 50 are now having a weekly home Bible study.
ASIA AND THE MIDDLE EAST
BIBLE STUDIES 538,957
A sister writes: “I was delighted to meet my half brother, whom I had never met before because he and his family live in a distant location and travel there is almost impossible. Naturally, my father and the rest of our family were delighted to hear that my half brother and his family were making a great effort to visit us. As their home is in an area where there are no Witnesses, my hope was that they would accept the good news. How pleased I was when my half brother’s wife and daughter showed interest in the Bible! However, how could I possibly help them learn more of Jehovah’s purposes when they returned to their isolated home? I discovered that they had a computer and access to the Internet. My husband and I invested in Webcam equipment, and after they returned to their home, we continued our Bible study by this means. To my amazement, this method of conducting a study works wonderfully. We can see their response as they read from their own copy of the Bible and from the book we are studying. This helps me to understand what I need to do to help them. We are thankful that we can use this technology, which makes it possible to share the truth with relatives whom we could otherwise not reach.”
Purnamaya, who is 16 years old, lives in a small town in Nepal. Her uncle witnessed to her, and a study was started. Now, although it is a two-and-a-half-hour bus ride to the congregation, she faithfully attends the meetings once a week. It is not easy for her. Both of her parents are lepers, so they are very poor. Early in the morning, Purnamaya cracks stones to make gravel in order to help support her family financially, besides doing household chores such as cooking and washing. In addition, she goes to school. The bus fare to get to meetings is the equivalent of a day’s wage for a working person. At times, her parents try to encourage her to go to a local church instead. But Purnamaya knows she can learn about Jehovah only at the Kingdom Hall, so she does what she can to attend. Recently this meant selling her watch, a gift from her grandmother. She not only comments well at meetings but also shares what she learns with the people of her town. She is a source of encouragement to all who know her.
During British colonial rule, laborers by the thousands were brought to Malaysia to work in the rubber plantations. They were housed in villages within the plantations, and many of the villages still exist. A good number of these villages are hard to reach and are not shown on maps. While working unassigned territory, one congregation managed to locate a village in a rubber plantation. Two young lads in their late teens, who had already taken some magazines, showed great interest in the brothers’ preaching activity. They approached the brothers and offered to lead the way to other villages. Unlike the brothers, they knew the territory very well. They got on their motorbikes and led the cars through the plantations along muddy trails and dirt roads, traveling up to 45 minutes between villages. They guided the brothers to plantations never before visited by Witnesses. While the brothers preached, the two young lads urged the villagers to take the magazines and to make sure that they read them. In all, they led the brothers to three isolated villages. In no small part because of the unselfish help of the young lads, a grand witness was given to people who have never had an opportunity to hear the good news. Over the weekend the 50 publishers from this congregation placed over 5,000 magazines.
BIBLE STUDIES 789,219
Tatyana suffers from cancer of the brain. After a serious operation a few years ago, she was placed in a ward for patients who had little hope of recovery. An Orthodox priest visited the ward so that the patients could confess their sins before they died. Tatyana noticed that one woman in the ward mustered up the strength to give the priest some money. After he left, Tatyana asked the woman if she felt any better. “No,” the woman answered dejectedly, “I didn’t understand a thing he said.” Then Tatyana shared the good news about the resurrection hope with her. The woman thanked Tatyana and said, “Now I do feel better!” The manager of the clinic heard about what had happened and told the priest not to come again. Instead, Tatyana was placed in a separate ward so that she could talk with others. The clinic’s manager also asked for the address where Jehovah’s Witnesses hold their meetings. Before being hospitalized, Tatyana had asked Jehovah to give her strength to continue preaching. She is convinced that Jehovah answered her prayer. That month she reported more than 100 hours! Although her condition has worsened since then and she cannot leave her home, she continues to receive visits from those she witnessed to during her frequent trips to the hospital.
Two temporary special pioneer sisters were assigned to serve in an area where none of Jehovah’s Witnesses lived. As they explored their new territory, they got lost. Trudging through knee-deep snow and trying to find the road home, they became weary and cold. Finally, they noticed footprints leading to a house and called out. Khatuna, a young woman, came out of the gate and immediately invited them into the warm house, for which they were thankful. After establishing that the two were Jehovah’s Witnesses, Khatuna explained that during the time the sisters were wandering around in the snow, lost, she and her family were praying together asking God to show them the truth. A few minutes later, the two pioneers approached their house. Khatuna said that this was indeed an answer to their prayer! Today, four members of this family are studying the Bible, and two of them—Khatuna and her mother-in-law—are unbaptized publishers.
Reston, who had never used the direct approach to start Bible studies, decided to try it. Before knocking at the first door, he prayed briefly, asking Jehovah to help him be positive. Then he offered a Bible study directly to the householder, Andy, who accepted right away. Reston determined to bring him a copy of the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? later that day. On his way there by bus, Reston noticed that the driver was a man to whom he regularly delivered copies of The Watchtower and Awake! Encouraged by Andy’s response that morning, he decided to offer the driver a free Bible study as soon as the bus reached its destination.
Meanwhile, an elderly passenger on the bus recognized Reston as a Witness and asked him to visit her sick friend to pray for her. Reston said that he would be happy to speak to her and pass on comfort from the Bible. Using the only copy of the Bible Teach book he had with him, he demonstrated to the passenger how a Bible study would help. This woman said that she wanted to have such a study. A young man sitting across from them listened to this conversation. He was interested in the pictures in the book. So Reston gladly gave him the book. When the bus reached its destination, Reston offered the driver a free home Bible study. To his surprise, the driver eagerly accepted and said that he had many questions about the Bible. Reston quickly visited a brother’s home nearby to get another copy of the Bible Teach book and finally arrived at Andy’s house later in the evening. Andy readily took the book. A Bible study was started, and Andy was soon applying what he learned. Andy and the bus driver are attending meetings, and Reston conducts 15 Bible studies, all started using the direct approach. He now makes sure that he has several copies of the Bible Teach book with him when he witnesses.
François and Monica, together with their two children, returned to their car after a morning spent in field service. However, their two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Shaé, did not want to get into the car until she had given her last tract to someone. Just then, a car pulled up across the road, and two women got out. Shaé happily gave one of them her tract, Life in a Peaceful New World, and Monica explained what it was about. The woman, named Sierra, expressed interest and invited Monica to her home to study the Bible with her two teenage sisters. At the first study, Sierra asked if her two sons could also have a Bible study. Later, Sierra’s nephew joined in. Sierra sat in on all these studies and asked many questions. Finally, she too agreed to have her own study. Then her husband did the same. Next, Sierra’s mother, followed by other members of the family as well as friends, requested a Bible study. Shaé’s determination to give out her last tract resulted in 11 Bible studies. Four of the students are regularly attending congregation meetings.
Jennifer is in the Milan Russian Congregation. She had spoken several times on the phone with a Ukrainian woman named Valentina but had never met her. One day, they made an appointment to meet at a subway station. So that Jennifer would recognize her, Valentina told Jennifer she would be wearing a red jacket. Jennifer arrived at the station and spotted a woman in a red jacket who was obviously looking for someone. Jennifer approached her and said, “Hello, are you Valentina?” The woman said she was, so Jennifer continued, “Well, I’m Jennifer.” But there was no reply. A bit confused, Jennifer asked, “You are waiting for me, aren’t you?”
“No,” the woman replied. It turned out that she was Ukrainian, her name was Valentina, and she was wearing a red jacket; but she was waiting to meet someone else! Jennifer laughed and explained the situation. She also offered to share a point with her from the Bible, which she had prepared for the other Valentina. Valentina agreed and listened with interest. Afterward, she showed Jennifer a piece of paper on which she had copied the text of Psalm 91 by hand, explaining that she loved the Bible. Jennifer started a Bible study with this Valentina. And the other Valentina? Later, Jennifer met her, and she too began to study the Bible.
A brother visited an acquaintance and discussed Scriptural matters with him and his wife. They were especially interested in hearing what the Bible teaches about the relationship between husband and wife, but they were hardly able to find time for Bible discussions. The couple valued a healthful lifestyle, and the husband had a routine of jogging five miles every day. After several attempts to continue the Scriptural discussions, the brother decided to ask the man if he could accompany him jogging. The man gladly agreed. However, the brother had no training and soon realized that witnessing and jogging at the same time is exhausting! “I managed to preach,” the brother said, “in sportswear and without a Bible in my hand, quoting verses from memory.” After several jogging sessions, this couple’s interest increased, and a regular home Bible study was started with them. Now the man is an unbaptized publisher. He is zealous in the field ministry and is enrolled in the Theocratic Ministry School together with his son and his daughter.
BIBLE STUDIES 55,266
A pioneer brother writes: “A medical doctor named Pam requested that I call regularly with the latest issues of the magazines. She has a busy schedule, and I only found her home once in six months, so I regularly left the magazines under her door with a friendly note attached. After seven months of trying to meet with her, I left the magazines under her door with an invitation to the upcoming district convention. I also left my contact number but never heard back. In November, after the convention, I called again and found a note on the door from Pam.
“Pam wrote that she enjoys the magazines very much and that she passes them on to her workmates. In turn, they pass them on to their patients in the hospital. She then said how much she enjoyed the ‘get-together.’ She had read the invitation to the convention and had taken three days off work to attend. She explained that she had photocopied the invitation and placed copies in her fellow workers’ pigeonholes with a note asking them to call her if they were interested in coming. By the end of the week, 16 of her colleagues—all doctors—also arranged to take the three days off work to attend. All of these 17 interested ones attended the three days of the convention as a result of one invitation left under the door! Pam is now having a regular study in the Bible Teach book and has organized group discussions with all those who attended the convention.”
Another brother relates: “While passing a house where the Witnesses had been asked not to call, I noticed a man and woman on the veranda, upset and crying. I felt I could not go past them when they were obviously in need of some help, so I approached them and asked if there was anything I could do. The couple invited me into their home and began to pour out their hearts. They had not seen their daughter for three years. The wife was due for a cancer operation, and she was not sure if she would survive. She feared that she might never see her daughter again. A few days earlier, they had appealed to the pastor of their charismatic church to assist them, but he did not take the situation seriously and did nothing. I offered some Scriptural thoughts regarding Jehovah being near to the ones broken in heart.
“After about an hour, a knock came at the door. I first thought it was the pastor of the church. However, standing at the door was a well-dressed young woman. It was the long-lost daughter! It was a highly emotional moment, so I suggested that it might be best for me to leave. But the daughter surprised me by saying that she preferred that I stay as she had something to tell her parents. She explained that she had fallen into drinking and drugs and was ruining her life but that a study of the Bible had caused her to return home and reestablish contact with her parents. Recently, she had been baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
Some days later the pastor called and was told that the daughter had returned because she had become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. He walked out of the house without saying a word. As he was leaving, the husband called out and invited him to pick up a letter on the table—a letter of resignation from the church.
Papua New Guinea
A group of 23 brothers and sisters set out to witness in seldom-worked territory. The trip, made on foot, was difficult, as it involved climbing mountains and crossing rivers. In one village a sister met an Anglican minister who was delighted to hear an explanation of Daniel 2:44. He told the sister, “We are like lost sheep here.” He accepted magazines and brochures and also asked for a Bible.
Three days later, in another village, two sisters talked to two young women who were happy to hear the Kingdom message. When their father returned from his garden the same afternoon, they told him what they had learned from the Bible. Their father said he wanted to hear this wonderful message for himself. He arranged to see all the brothers and sisters at the hut where they were staying. As the man was a leader of the village, he arranged for food to be cooked and sent to the brothers. Later in the evening, he arrived carrying his lamp, accompanied by other villagers. They said, “We were surprised to see you, since this is the first time Jehovah’s Witnesses have come to our village.” They were shown Matthew 24:14 as the reason for the visit. The blessings of the Kingdom were explained, and literature was left.
On the fifth day of their trek, the brothers arrived in a village at about one in the afternoon. Thinking they were going to spend the night, the villagers started to prepare an open-sided shelter for the brothers to sleep in. However, the brothers explained that they wanted to talk to everybody and leave that same day. A good witness was given to all the villagers, including the leader, who accepted literature and in return gave the brothers coconuts, bananas, and papayas.
In a rural area, pioneers conduct their ministry on foot, traveling on roads that are either dusty or muddy. Nagamma and her daughter, Reshma, who are regular pioneers, invited Ushla, a blind sister, to accompany them and pioneer for a month. They would walk, one on each side of her, for many miles every day. A family sitting on their porch one humid day watched as the three sisters negotiated the puddles on the muddy road. They then saw the blind sister step in a puddle and splash mud on her leg. The sisters stopped to wipe her leg clean. Unable to control his curiosity, the father of the family called the sisters over. He said: “Every day we see you three walking. Where are you going?” They explained that they were going to conduct a Bible study. In response, he said that if their message was so important that they would walk that far to teach it to people, he wanted to hear it too! A study was started with this family.
Liza, a young woman from the Philippines, worked as a live-in maid on the island of Tinian. Often when Jehovah’s Witnesses called at the house, she asked for the Watchtower and Awake! magazines. Though she said that she liked the magazines, she was actually using them to light the fire.
In the spring of 2007, Liza lost her job, and since she had no place to stay, she slept on the beach. One day she walked by the local Kingdom Hall, where two sisters were sitting outside in the shade. They invited Liza over to eat mangoes, and she joined them in friendly conversation. The next day as she walked past the Kingdom Hall, the sisters spoke to her again, and during the conversation she said, “I hope one day I can come to your church.” Although the sisters felt a little embarrassed that they had not invited her already, they encouraged her to attend the meeting that night. She accepted their invitation, hoping that the Witnesses would help her to find work.
During the meeting Liza was impressed by the sincerity of the brothers and sisters and their concern for people. This moved Liza to tears, as she realized that her reason for coming to the meeting had been a selfish one. She also recalled all the magazines she had burned. Because the love shown by the brothers and sisters touched her heart, from that time on, she attended every meeting and studied the Bible regularly. She found work, qualified as a publisher, and was baptized in February 2008.
[Picture on page 45]
[Picture on page 48]
Enjoying the “Watchtower” Study on a motorboat
[Picture on page 50]
Sister Barker waiting patiently to preach to those passing by
[Picture on page 53]
Purnamaya making gravel to help support her family
[Picture on page 54]
Witnessing to an Indian woman at a rubber plantation
[Picture on page 57]
Reston studying with Andy
[Picture on page 58]
[Picture on page 63]
Nagamma and Reshma assisting Ushla