Preaching and Teaching Earth Wide
LONG ago, in a prophetic vision, the apostle John saw a vast and numberless crowd “out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues.” These people were identified as survivors of “the great tribulation” into God’s new world. (Rev. 7:9, 14) The figures and experiences in the pages that follow show not only that the great crowd is being gathered but also that it is growing ever larger. Does this not strengthen your faith in the certainty of Jehovah’s promises?
BIBLE STUDIES 2,819,310
HER LETTER BROUGHT HIM COMFORT. Iris, who resides in South Africa, writes letters of condolence to those who have lost a loved one in death. With her letters she encloses the tracts All Suffering Soon to End! and What Hope for Dead Loved Ones? Recently, she received a reply from a man named Sidney, who had lost his wife after a happy marriage of 38 years. “Although the medical specialists prepared me for the eventual death of my darling wife,” he wrote, “her passing has left me somewhat embittered, confused, uncertain, and very heartbroken. I need to thank the Lord for people like you. Your spending time and effort to tell total strangers of God’s promises is most definitely very noble, and your personal expression of faith will remain a treasure in my heart in the difficult period ahead. Reading your letter and tracts brought me my first signs of calmness and understanding.”
ABORTION AVOIDED. Gloria, a young sister in Benin, was witnessing to Arnaud, a university student, when his cell phone rang. Arnaud then excused himself saying that a friend needed his help. Gloria quickly reached into her bag, pulled out the first magazine she found, and gave it to him. Arnaud took it without looking and left.
Arnaud’s friend had phoned to say that his girlfriend was pregnant and that he was thinking of forcing her to have an abortion. On the way to see him, Arnaud glanced at the magazine. “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the word ‘abortion’ on the cover,” he later said. Gloria had handed him the June 2009 Awake! featuring the cover series “Abortion—Why Is It Such an Issue?” After reading it, Arnaud’s friend decided that abortion was no longer an option. His girlfriend later gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.
THE WITCH DOCTOR WAS NOT TO BE FEARED. King, a regular pioneer, moved to an area of Zimbabwe where the need is greater. While working with some sisters in field service, he approached the home of a well-known witch doctor. Though the sisters were hesitant to speak to this woman, King decided to offer her a home Bible study. When the witch doctor saw the publishers approaching, she assumed that they were clients and asked what they wanted. King showed her the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? and offered her a home Bible study. She accepted. “We were surprised to find that she had many questions,” said King. “So we arranged to make a return visit and conduct the study.” Three weeks later they invited her to a congregation meeting, and she came. She destroyed all her spiritistic items and made rapid spiritual progress. She was baptized a few months later.
“PLEASE PRAY FOR THEM TO VISIT ME!” Ten years ago Patrick decided to move from Angola to the United States. But he kept in touch with his mother, Felicidade, by phone. Recently, however, they were able to see each other by means of an Internet video call. While talking with her, he noticed someone in the room with her and asked who it was. Felicidade, who is one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, said: “It is a sister from my congregation, who came to visit me.”
Patrick responded: “Why don’t the Witnesses visit me? I have been here for ten years, and they haven’t called once. Please pray for them to visit me!”
A little bit surprised, Felicidade and the sister with her answered: “All right, we will pray for you.”
Just three days later, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses called at Patrick’s door. Patrick was so surprised that he asked his mother if she had arranged for someone in the United States to visit him. She had not. He concluded that the visit was an answer from God and accepted a Bible study. Immediately, he began attending all the meetings. The next time he saw his mother through a video call, he proudly showed her the chapter of the Bible Teach book that he was studying. He also told her that he had bought a suit to wear to the meetings.
A PUZZLING BAPTISM REQUEST. At the beginning of the 2010 district convention in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo, a young man named Edvard said that he wanted to be baptized. When asked which congregation he came from, he replied: “Mossaka.” Since there were no Witnesses in that distant village, the brothers wondered how he had come to the point of wanting to be baptized.
Edvard explained to the elders that in 2007 his grandfather had studied the Require brochure as well as 14 chapters of the Bible Teach book with him in Brazzaville. Then Edvard moved to Mossaka to live with his parents. Since there were no active Witnesses there, Edvard asked his father to help him study the rest of the Bible Teach book. His father would ask the questions, and Edvard would answer. In this way Edvard finished the book. He then felt the need to teach others what he knew about the truth. Thus, in October 2009, he began preaching alone in the Mossaka area using the Require brochure. He recorded the time he spent in the ministry and regularly sent his reports to his grandfather in Brazzaville. However, the grandfather never gave them to the congregation.
Later, without knowing about Edvard, the branch sent temporary special pioneers to Mossaka for three months. Just two days before they were to leave there, Daniel, one of the temporary special pioneers, saw Edvard conducting a Bible study with the brochure What Does God Require of Us? So Daniel approached Edvard and spoke with him. Edvard said to him: “I am preaching. I am a publisher. You can check with my father.” Daniel met with Edvard’s father, who confirmed what Edvard had said. The temporary special pioneers took what little time they had remaining to train Edvard in the ministry. After they left, Edvard continued to preach with renewed zeal, conducting more than ten Bible studies. He also dedicated his life to Jehovah.
Having this background information, on the Friday of the convention mentioned earlier, two elders met with Edvard and reviewed the questions for those desiring to become unbaptized publishers. His excellent answers astounded them. The elders learned from the special pioneers that Edvard’s conduct was exemplary and that he had already been unofficially preaching for nine months. Consequently, he was approved as an unbaptized publisher. Because there was a Lingala-language district convention scheduled for the following weekend, the elders arranged for Edvard to go through the baptism questions during the intervening week. He demonstrated a good understanding of the truth and was baptized at the Lingala convention in July 2010. Then, exactly one week after he had been approved as an unbaptized publisher, the elders made the announcement that Edvard was a baptized brother.
After his baptism, he served as an auxiliary pioneer for two months in Brazzaville. The elders made arrangements for him to study the book “Keep Yourselves in God’s Love,” and then he returned to Mossaka. A special pioneer was recently appointed to serve in that territory. In April, Edvard—who was then an auxiliary pioneer—together with the special pioneer, welcomed 182 interested ones to the Memorial. Edvard has 16 studies, 7 of whom attend the meetings, which are conducted by the two brothers. In 2011, Edvard was 15 years old.
BIBLE STUDIES 4,139,793
‘NOT AN ACCIDENT THAT I DIALED YOUR NUMBER.’ Sundie, a sister in the United States, was at home when the phone rang and a woman asked for someone Sundie did not know. She told the caller that she must have dialed the wrong number. The caller said that she was legally blind and sometimes makes mistakes. A conversation followed, and the woman explained that she was trying to reach her son with some unsettling news. The doctors had discovered that she had cancer. The woman was devastated and expressed frustration with God for allowing this to happen to her. Sundie realized that she had to share the Bible’s message with this woman. After saying a quick prayer for courage, Sundie shared a few encouraging scriptures that would provide comfort and hope. She explained that God has a name and encouraged the woman to use his name when she prayed and to be specific in her prayers to him. The woman thanked Sundie for listening and for the encouragement. “I don’t think it was an accident that I dialed your number,” she said.
After exchanging contact information, Sundie mailed the Bible Teach book audio recording and made arrangements for a pioneer sister in the woman’s area to call on her. Sundie remarked, “I am grateful that Jehovah has lovingly given us so much training on how to comfort individuals in all sorts of situations.”
THE TRACT ANSWERED THEIR QUESTION. Some sisters regularly do street work at a large medical center in Puerto Rico. One of them approached two men who were walking rapidly toward one of the hospitals. Noting their haste, she offered them the tract Do You Have an Immortal Spirit? She does not usually offer that tract while doing street work, but it happened to be the only one she had with her. Later, the two men approached another sister and explained that they had received the tract on their way to visit a family member who was gravely ill. They had been discussing whether the spirit lives on after death, and the tract had given them the answers. They said that it had helped them greatly.
A LETTER TO JEHOVAH. Seven-year-old Joshua attends school in the United States. During December, he and his classmates were assigned by their teacher to write a letter to Santa Claus. When Joshua politely refused to do so, his teacher said, “Write to anyone.” He decided to write a letter to Jehovah. “Thank you for promising a paradise,” Joshua wrote. “Thank you for having a Son, whose name is Jesus, who would give away his life. Thank you for creating things that we can enjoy. I love you, Jehovah God.” The letter, along with other students’ letters, was published in a local newspaper.
THE FAMILY RESPONDED. Alejandro, a brother in Colombia, wanted to preach to members of his family. Because they lived far away, he wrote to them and sent them some Watchtower and Awake! magazines. When his relative Pablo read the magazines and looked up the Bible texts, he recognized that the teachings of the Catholic Church were false. Excited, he shared the information with others in the family, who also recognized the ring of truth and left the Catholic religion.
Soon, 15 family members began meeting every night to study the Bible with the help of the magazines. Wanting to learn more, they searched for Witnesses in nearby towns, but without success. Meanwhile, they began sharing with their neighbors the things they had learned. Eventually, they learned that there was a Kingdom Hall in a town about an hour’s drive away. They immediately traveled there and asked for help.
Now a regular pioneer goes to them once a week and conducts one Bible study with 26 people—Alejandro’s family and 11 other interested ones. They rent a vehicle so that most of them can attend the public talk and the Watchtower Study.
WAS IT REALLY THE WRONG HOUSE? One day a sister was sick and requested that other Witnesses conduct a Bible study for her in a rural Quichua-speaking area of Ecuador. The brothers were not sure where the family lived but stopped at a certain home to inquire about the Bible study. The family there welcomed the brothers warmly, as if they were expecting them. It was not until after the study that the brothers realized that this family had never studied before! It turns out that the people in this family were just delighted at the prospect of a family Bible study and acted as if they were having one all along. So there is now a new Bible study being conducted, and the sister’s Bible students who could not be found that day also continue to study.
A CUPCAKE LEADS TO A WITNESS. Caleb is six years old. On the first day of school in Canada, one of his classmates had a birthday, so the boy’s mother, Natalie, brought in cupcakes for the class to share. Caleb politely refused. Natalie then approached Caleb, asking if he had food allergies. “No,” Caleb answered, “I serve Jehovah.”
After school, Natalie approached Caleb’s mother and asked, “Are you one of Jehovah’s Witnesses?” When she said yes, Natalie became excited. She had studied with the Witnesses as a teenager, but because of intense family opposition, she had stopped studying. When asked if she would like to resume her study of the Bible, Natalie agreed.
IT WAS NOT THE WILL OF GOD. Laly, whose home is in Peru, was born deaf. When she asked her mother about it, her mother told her that it was the will of God. That left Laly sad and with feelings of resentment toward God. ‘Why would he treat me badly?’ she thought.
Years passed, and Laly married a young deaf man. Their first child was born with Down syndrome. Concerned and upset, she again approached her mother for help, asking, “Why was my son born this way?” Her mother sent her to a priest. The priest gave her the same answer that her mother had earlier, “It is the will of God.”
Feeling distraught, Laly responded: “Why is God so cruel? I accept that I am deaf and that God punished me this way, but why punish my son? He was just born. What sin did he commit?” From then on, she didn’t want to hear anything about God and left the church.
After a few years, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses who knows sign language called at Laly’s door and offered to teach her the Bible. She refused the offer and said that she didn’t believe in God. Patiently, the sister explained to her that the God she didn’t want to get to know is called Jehovah and that he was willing to give her the opportunity to recover her hearing and speech. Doubting that, Laly asked her to prove it. The sister opened the Bible to Isaiah 35:5 and read: “The eyes of the blind ones will be opened, and the very ears of the deaf ones will be unstopped.” This surprised Laly, who then agreed to a Bible study and progressed to baptism. Her son accompanies her to all the meetings, and he has learned sign language. Her appreciation for the Bible’s promises continues to grow, and she is serving as a regular pioneer.
ASIA AND THE MIDDLE EAST
BIBLE STUDIES 629,729
TWO QUESTIONS THEY COULD NOT ANSWER. In an Asian land where our work is restricted, a 24-year-old man accepted a Bible study to prove that Witness teachings were wrong and that his Catholic beliefs were right. He soon realized, however, that Jehovah’s Witnesses were teaching the truth.
When his family found out that he was studying the Bible, they summoned him to a family meeting and pressured him to return to the Catholic Church. Because the young man refused, his family assembled all their relatives in the village to force him to abandon his new beliefs. Even though they beat him, the man did not compromise. His family then reported him to the priest, who brought him before the parish council. The man told the council that he would return to the church if the priest could answer two questions: What is God’s name? Why does the church allow its members to eat blood when the Bible forbids it? Unable to answer either question, the priest slapped the young man in the face in order to, as the priest put it, “exorcise the demon inside him.” The meeting then ended.
After that, the man’s family gathered all their friends to force him to kneel before an image of Mary. Although they beat him again, he refused to compromise. At that, the family arranged for an attractive girl to tell him that she would marry him if he returned to the church. The young man told her that he would return if she could answer the two questions that he had posed to the priest. The girl left and never returned. Finally, after being held against his will for seven months, the man escaped from the village and returned to the city, where he contacted the brothers. One month later, he became an unbaptized publisher. He was baptized at a circuit assembly in March 2011.
PRISON OFFICIAL DEFENDS SISTER. A regular pioneer sister was visiting her son who was imprisoned for Christian neutrality in South Korea. While in the waiting room, she handed a tract to a man sitting beside her. The man then shouted at her, saying, “Why do you people of this false religion preach even in this place?” The man’s ranting drew the attention of the 30 or 40 visitors in the room. At that, an official of the prison spoke up and scolded the man, saying: “These are people of the true religion. All the other religions are false. I have watched these people for many years while working at this prison, and I have come to realize that they are the only ones who truly practice what they are taught.” The abusive man was silenced.
WRITING ON THE WALL. When Harindra started his Bible study, he had been living alone for ten years because he had gone to work in a large city in Nepal in order to feed and support his family back in the village. The man was illiterate, so a Witness studied the Bible with him using the brochure Enjoy Life on Earth Forever! Since this brochure was not available in Nepali at the time, they used an English one. One day, the man’s wife came from the village to visit him. She was surprised to see her husband studying an English brochure. Additionally, he had stopped drinking and did not beat her anymore. Learning that all these changes were a result of Harindra’s Bible study, she began to study the Bible and attend the meetings in her village. Harindra desired to learn more about Jehovah, so he decided to learn how to read and write. He asked his Bible study conductor to write Nepali letters on pieces of paper, which he stuck on the walls of his room until there was no space left. He then practiced reading all the new words and letters until slowly he learned to read. In time, he arranged for his family to come and live with him in the city so that they could all worship Jehovah together. Within two years, he got baptized. Now Harindra and his family attend the meetings together, and he handles Bible reading assignments in the Theocratic Ministry School. He says, “Our life has dramatically improved thanks to Jehovah’s education.”
NOT FOR $200,000. Zarkhanum, who lives in Azerbaijan, was very deeply involved in the practice of spiritism. For 15 years she was considered to have powers of extrasensory perception and the ability to tell fortunes. People also believed that she had the ability to remove spells and heal. Zarkhanum was famous, and many of her clients, being high-ranking officials and their wives, paid between $2,000 and $4,000 (U.S.) for a séance. Consequently, she became wealthy. Although having spiritistic powers, she herself felt spiritually impoverished, and many questions troubled her. Her marriage fell apart, and she lacked a purpose in life. One day, while desperately pouring out her troubles to God, she heard a knock on her door. She opened the door, and two sisters began witnessing to her. Zarkhanum was moved when she heard them speak about pleasing God not only in word but also in deed. She knew many religious people whose deeds were far from godly. She was also aware that the spiritism she practiced was a sin. She agreed to a Bible study. In time, she started to pray using Jehovah’s name and saw how he answered her prayers. It was difficult, however, for her to abandon her practices—the demons constantly troubled her and even beat her. Eventually, with Jehovah’s help, she broke free from demonic influence and destroyed the many items that connected her to spiritism and false religion.
Soon Zarkhanum became a zealous publisher of the good news, and she was baptized in May 2011. Immediately following her baptism, she applied to serve as an auxiliary pioneer. She had no problem meeting the hour requirement because even before baptism, she was preaching more than 70 hours a month, despite poor health. Two months before her baptism, she was offered $200,000 (U.S.) by the wife of a government official to remove a spell. The woman believed that the spell was the cause of the sickness that had resulted in the amputation of her leg. Zarkhanum refused and, instead, sent two Witnesses to the hospital to preach the good news to this woman. Our zealous sister has been regularly preaching to her former clients, telling them that what she did before was wrong in God’s eyes. As a result, one of them, the very one who had introduced her to the government official’s wife, agreed to a Bible study and began attending meetings.
WITNESSING IN JAIL. In India, two of our sisters were arrested for engaging in the ministry and were sentenced to five days in jail. One of them relates: “As soon as we were jailed, police officers asked why we were detained, and this gave us a good opportunity to witness to them. Since we had been brought to the police station directly from the field ministry, we had plenty of magazines and tracts with us. We witnessed to all and placed a lot of literature. We encouraged each other, prayed, and read the publications that we had.
“Later, we were moved to another jail in the city. Right away, inmates asked us why we were brought in. This gave us the opportunity to tell them what we had been preaching about and to identify ourselves as Jehovah’s Witnesses. A female warden overheard us and said, ‘You were jailed because you were preaching outside, and now you preach inside the jail!’” Our sisters are now planning to follow up by visiting the prisoners who showed an interest in the truth.
THE POLICEMAN NOTICED THE LOVE. Two sisters were preparing to witness in some small shops in Bethlehem. Suddenly, two women rushed up and excitedly asked them in Spanish if they were Jehovah’s Witnesses. The women were Witnesses from Mexico visiting Israel with a tour group, and they had recognized the literature that the sisters were holding. The four hugged, kissed, took photos, and exchanged addresses. After that, the Mexican sisters rejoined their tour group, and the two local sisters proceeded to visit the shops.
A few hours later, a police officer approached the local sisters and asked if they were Spanish. The sisters said that they were not. The police officer said that he had been watching when the four met and thought they must have all been long-lost friends or from the same family. The sisters explained that they were all Jehovah’s Witnesses and that even when Jehovah’s Witnesses are from different countries or have never met before, they feel like family because they have love among themselves. The policeman was so impressed that he took literature and asked where he could get more information about this religion. A return visit was arranged.
“THERE JUST MAY BE SOMEONE.” Yusuke is a young pioneer serving in an English group in Japan. One day he learned that the next morning a cruise ship would be docking with passengers from many countries. So he got up early and despite heavy rain drove two hours to the port at Nagasaki. As he stood alone on the quay in the rain, many of the disembarking passengers mistook him for a guide and approached him. This misunderstanding enabled Yusuke to place 70 magazines and 50 brochures in several languages within half an hour.
He went back to his car to get more literature, and when he returned, he saw a young male passenger standing alone. When Yusuke approached him, the young man asked in English, “Are you one of Jehovah’s Witnesses?” When Yusuke confirmed that he was, the man began to sob. Yusuke took him to a café where they could talk.
The young man, Jason, was 21 years old. He explained that his parents were active in the truth and that until his late teens, he had been an unbaptized publisher. About six months earlier, he had stopped associating with Jehovah’s Witnesses and had embarked on a cruise to a number of Asian countries, reasoning that in Asia he would not meet them. Because he developed an upset stomach, however, he had not been able to disembark in Thailand, Vietnam, or Taiwan. The first place he got off the ship was Japan, and the first person to speak to him was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses! Jason’s immediate thought was, ‘I can never run away from Jehovah,’ and that was why he had begun to weep.
There in the café, Yusuke discussed some paragraphs from the “God’s Love” book with Jason to assure him that Jehovah still loved him. Yusuke implored Jason not to leave the organization. Sadly, they had very little time together. Jason’s ship left that same evening for Inchon, South Korea, where Jason had planned several days of sightseeing.
Yusuke wondered what more he could do to help Jason and remembered a brother he had met at an international convention in South Korea. The brother spoke English and lived in Inchon. That night Yusuke telephoned him. Of course, Jason knew nothing of this connection. As Jason left the ship the next morning, he saw a big sign, “Welcome to Korea, Jason!” It was held up by five smiling Witnesses. Jason canceled all his sightseeing plans and spent time with the brothers. Hearing firsthand the experiences of young brothers his age being imprisoned for their faith moved him deeply. He also attended the Memorial there.
Jason returned to the United States, became an active publisher again, and asked the elders to study with him four times a week. He completed studying the Bible Teach and “God’s Love” books and qualified for baptism. He was baptized 107 days after Yusuke first spoke to him. The following month he auxiliary pioneered.
Yusuke recalls that on that cold, wet morning, he had a strong urge to go all the way to Nagasaki, even though there was no one to go with him. He had reasoned, “There just may be someone there who will listen.”
BIBLE STUDIES 843,405
THEY FOUND SOMETHING VERY SPECIAL. Ani went to Holland from Bulgaria to work for a few months. One day, because she was feeling discouraged, she paused on the sidewalk and prayed to God to send her officials from her church. As she prayed, two of our sisters walked by and stopped to witness to her. Ani considered this to be an answer to her prayer, so she listened to them and began attending meetings. Though Ani could not understand the meetings, the love of the Witnesses was clearly evident to her. This was different from the disunity in her church back in Bulgaria, and she was convinced that she had found something very special. When she returned to Bulgaria, the sister who studied with her in Holland decided to go with her to help her make contact with the Witnesses in Sofia. This further impressed Ani, causing her to feel that she had found the true religion.
Soon Ani and her husband, Ivo, started to study together and attend meetings. As the study progressed, other people would come and sit in on their study. One man, Assen, was the pastor of a religious group. He had come to Ani and Ivo to prove that Jehovah’s Witnesses were wrong, but he soon discovered that this was not the case. He asked deep Bible questions. Consequently, he was offered a study, which he accepted for himself and his family. For a time, Assen continued conducting religious meetings with his group, though he now taught them the truths he was learning from the Bible Teach book. Soon Dencho, the deacon of the group, wanted to have a Bible study. Before long, three families from the group were also studying the Bible. Since so many from the church group were now studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses, they decided to discontinue their gatherings and attend congregation meetings. Dencho became a publisher and conducted Bible studies with several of his friends. Thus far, as a result of Ani’s being contacted in Holland, about 30 people have started to study the Bible and attend the meetings.
HE SIMPLY READ SCRIPTURES ABOUT MARRIAGE. A brother and his wife in the Czech Republic conducted a Bible study in the Kingdom Hall with a young couple from Mongolia. Though the Witness couple worked hard to learn Mongolian, the language barrier was a major obstacle. Nevertheless, the young Mongolian couple seemed to accept Bible truth with humility and patience. One evening the young woman showed up at the meeting without her husband. She said that she intended to leave her husband because they did not understand each other. A few minutes later, the husband arrived, but he did not look at his wife. It was evident that the situation was serious. The brother took the husband to the Kingdom Hall library to discuss the matter. But because he hardly spoke Mongolian, he could not understand what had happened between the couple and could not provide specific advice. Instead, he decided simply to read to the husband from the Bible. So he read all the scriptures that he could remember regarding marriage and communication. The young man seemed to be moved by each scripture. Suddenly, he rushed from the library, ran to his wife, and kissed her. As they were leaving the hall, the husband insisted that he carry his wife’s purse, since he had learned that he should help her.
The next day they looked like newlyweds and happily talked about their deep appreciation for Jehovah and for the wise scriptural advice regarding marriage. Later, they returned to Mongolia to care for their two children. The family lives in a town where there is no congregation. The wife was baptized in October, and the husband continues to make progress toward baptism.
“WHY DID SHE ACT THAT WAY?” A pioneer sister, Olha, witnessed to the driver of a local food-delivery truck in Ukraine. She asked him, “Is there anyone we can trust?”
“No,” replied the driver. “My wife left me and took our two-year-old son with her. What more could she have wanted? I worked hard every day—everything I did was for her. She wanted a ring—here! She wanted boots—she had them. A necklace?—I gave her one. Everything was for her, so why did she act that way?”
The sister kindly asked the man how much time he spent with his wife and young son. He said: “How could I have spent time with them when I have to work until midnight? I go back to work at four o’clock in the morning. I even work on weekends.”
Olha showed him the October 2009 Awake! which featured the special series of articles “Secrets of Family Success.” She pointed out the first secret, “The Right Priorities.” After they reviewed the material on that subject, the man seemed moved and said: “I thought that money was the key to family happiness and that everything else was not important. Now I see it is not money. Now I see what is missing and what my wife needs.”
A week later, Olha met the same driver, who said that he had read the magazine, thought a lot, and reconsidered many things. He had called his wife, and they were reconciled. Olha then gave him the Family Happiness book. The following week, when Olha saw the same delivery truck, there was a different driver. The new driver explained that the previous driver had quit his job and that with his family, he had moved to live in another area. However, he had left Olha the following message: “I want to thank you, Olha, and your God, Jehovah, because you helped me to save my family. If I meet Jehovah’s Witnesses again, I will definitely stay in touch with them.”
HE WANTED A SIGN FROM GOD. A young man in Latvia became interested in the Bible’s message some 15 years ago when Witnesses preached to him. He studied the Bible sporadically, but he could not believe that the Bible—a “mere” book—could help him find God. He expected God to reveal himself personally, perhaps in some supernatural or mystic way. So he discontinued the Bible study and later lost all contact with the Witnesses. Some years later he was struggling with mounting problems, so he prayed to God for help. There was still no miracle, but looking out through the window, he noticed two sisters in the ministry. After praying again a few weeks later, he saw the same sisters once more passing by his window. When praying a week later, for the third time he saw the sisters passing by in the preaching work. This, he concluded, must be a sign from God! He ran outside and told the surprised sisters that he wanted to resume the Bible study he had stopped years before. Eventually, he found the strength to overcome his problems and draw close to God. How? With the help of the Bible! He was baptized at a district convention in 2010.
EVEN LITTLE POTS HAVE EARS. In Denmark, this saying means that children pick up more than you might think from the conversations of adults. About 16 years ago, a Danish sister had a Bible study with a woman who had three sons. They all came often for the study, which was held at the home of the sister and her husband. The woman chose to discontinue the study when her youngest son, Ronnie, was eight years old. As he grew up, Ronnie had many difficulties. However, one day in 2008, when he was 22 years old, he saw our magazines in his mother’s home and felt a sudden impulse to go and visit the Witnesses who had studied with him when he was a child. Fifteen minutes later, he rang the doorbell at the home of the Witness couple, and when the brother opened the door, Ronnie walked right in. It took a while before the brother recognized him, but it was a happy reunion. Ronnie accepted the Bible Teach book and agreed to a Bible study. It went well. Because Ronnie had been heavily involved in the fantasy world of computer games, some of them occult and violent, his conversation often turned to such matters. But the Witnesses taught him that our understanding of spiritual matters should not be shaped by games. Ronnie understood and said: “Please stop me when I start talking about that nonsense!” Since then, he has made fine progress. This young man, who first heard about the truth during his mother’s Bible study when he was a ‘little pot with ears,’ is now an unbaptized publisher.
COMFORT FROM THE SCRIPTURES. At a cemetery in Britain, a brother noticed a man kneeling by a grave, weeping. The brother asked if he could sit with him. The man, named Alf, agreed. Alf explained: “My daughter just died. She was only 42. Now both my wife and my daughter are buried here.” He had requested counseling from the state but was told that he would have to wait three months. “I’m a wealthy businessman, and I have many business interests,” said Alf, “but it is all worthless without my family. I would give it all away to get them back.” Alf said that he had faith in God, respected the Bible, and attended church, but he had no satisfying answers. At church, when he asked for some comfort, he was told to light a candle or write a note to hang on a tree. “There would not be enough room on a note for what I want to say,” he retorted. The brother comforted Alf with the Scriptures. Alf is now studying the Bible.
BIBLE STUDIES 58,465
THEY INVITED THE HUSBAND. A brother in New Zealand reports that when he was dropping his wife off for a study with a young mother, he and his wife noted that the woman’s husband was at home, so they decided to invite him to join in. The husband responded positively, and future studies were arranged for a time when he would be home. He and his wife agreed to come to the Sunday meeting, where they received a warm welcome and enjoyed the spiritual food. At the next meeting, the husband commented during the Watchtower Study. The study article encouraged family worship, and he asked how he could conduct a study with his wife and four-year-old son. He also expressed a desire to apply other things he had learned at the meeting. The interested couple continue to study, attend meetings, and to make spiritual progress. “How thankful we are,” says the brother, “that we decided to invite the husband to join the study!”
MEMORIAL ON A DISTANT ISLAND. The island of Reao, having only 362 inhabitants, is assigned to the Vaiete Congregation, one of the 18 congregations of Tahiti. Reao is about 840 miles [1,350 km] east of Tahiti. The Memorial had never been held on this remote island, and the Witnesses had not visited the island for 30 years. Manoah, the service overseer of the Vaiete Congregation, wanted to organize a small group to go to this island to preach during the week of the Memorial and then observe the occasion there. However, the airfare for him and his wife to go to Reao was about 65,000 francs ($740 U.S.), much more than they could afford. Later, though, he received a bonus at work of 65,000 francs! They immediately concluded that Jehovah was blessing this project. Eventually, seven publishers went to Reao, and 47 people attended the Memorial. Publishers in Tahiti now conduct Bible studies over the telephone with interested people in Reao.
NO TIME TO EAT BREAKFAST. A similar experience comes from Vanuatu, where a congregation assists a group of 11 publishers on a remote island called Ambrym. The elders of the congregation invited experienced publishers to consider going to Ambrym for a few days to work with the group before the Memorial. Marinette, an experienced regular pioneer and retired teacher, seized the opportunity. She, along with some others, decided to go with the aim of starting new Bible studies. After spending only a little time in the field ministry, she was amazed to find that it was almost impossible to leave the place where she was staying. Marinette recalls: “I hardly had time to wash or have breakfast in the morning because people were already waiting outside and queuing up for Bible studies. I preached the whole day without going anywhere! I was able to conduct 31 Bible studies during the week.” The group stayed in Ambrym for one week, busily teaching the good news, and 158 attended the Memorial. It saddened the group to leave. “How can you leave a place like this with so many people thirsting for Bible truth?” said Marinette. The branch office has arranged to send temporary special pioneers to care for the interested ones in this area.
A PRINCIPAL RESPONDS FAVORABLY. At a community high school in the Solomon Islands, students are made to stand and sing the religious songs of the South Seas Evangelical Church. Two young sisters asked the principal if they could be excused from singing, since such singing would violate their conscience. The principal thanked them for respectfully coming to her and said that they did not have to sing but could remain seated along with other Witness children.
Then she asked if they could invite someone from the congregation to come to talk to her about Jehovah’s Witnesses and education. A missionary made the call, and for about an hour and a half, they discussed our beliefs as well as problems facing young people. The principal said that she enjoyed reading Awake! and that she leaves copies in the teachers’ staff room. When the missionary offered her the book Questions Young People Ask—Answers That Work, Volume 2, she asked if she could have 16 for the teachers and 367 for the students. Four hundred books were delivered and distributed.
As a result of the courage of these two young sisters in going to talk with the principal, a fine witness was given, and many comments have been made to them about how helpful the book has been. One young girl, whose parents had recently separated, said that the book was just what she needed to help her cope with her problems. The two sisters are auxiliary pioneering continuously, and the principal regularly receives the magazines from them.
INTEGRITY DESPITE OPPOSITION. Elsewhere in the Solomon Islands, a missionary studied the Bible with a woman, whom we will call Lisa. She made fine progress despite having to walk more than two hours to the Kingdom Hall carrying her twin boys, with her two young girls following along. She also had to endure her husband’s severe opposition. He abused her physically and burned her meeting clothes, Bible, and theocratic books. He also had an adulterous relationship with another woman. But in the face of all of this, Lisa was baptized and has continued serving Jehovah steadfastly.
Last year Lisa’s husband, moved by the way she treated him despite all he had done to her, dismissed his mistress and asked for his own Bible study. As you can imagine, our sister, Lisa, is ecstatic with this change. Making her life even better, an isolated group was formed near her home, and now her walk to the meetings takes just under one hour. With her husband’s support, she has also been able to auxiliary pioneer.
[Blurb on page 66]
“Why is God so cruel? . . . Why punish my son? He was just born. What sin did he commit?”
[Blurb on page 68]
The man told the council that he would return to the church if the priest could answer two questions
[Blurb on page 72]
“You were jailed because you were preaching outside, and now you preach inside the jail!”
[Diagram/Map on page 84]
(For fully formatted text, see publication)
Tahiti → → → 840 miles [1,350 km] → → → Reao
[Picture on page 56]
Above: Conducting a Bible study in the Republic of the Congo (see page 59)
[Picture on page 61]
Edvard (right) with Daniel at a market
[Picture on page 64]
Samaniego, Nariño, Colombia
[Picture on page 67]
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