WHILE the house-to-house ministry continues to be the primary way in which Jehovah’s Witnesses spread Bible truth, use of attractive literature display tables and carts is proving to be a very effective way of preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom. (Matt. 24:14) Kingdom preachers have used stands, tables, and kiosks to reach people in public places. In addition, congregations around the world have been supplied with some 250,000 literature display carts. What has the response been?
In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, nearly 700 people have asked for Bible studies since the special metropolitan public witnessing program began there in 2014. Many interested ones have been attending meetings and are drawing closer to God. In one year, over 250,000 pieces of literature were taken from display carts by people from countries in Africa and overseas.
In the Solomon Islands, where fewer than 2,000 publishers are preaching in a vast territory of more than 300 inhabited islands, special metropolitan public witnessing has become an important method of spreading seeds of truth. In the capital city, Honiara, the brothers distributed more than 104,000 magazines and more than 23,600 brochures, many to people from islands and isolated villages where there are no Witnesses. In just one afternoon, they placed 400 copies of the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? and 60 people requested home Bible studies.
Early one morning, regular pioneers Michael and Linda were setting up a literature stand next to a beachfront on Margarita Island, Venezuela. A man named Aníbal approached the stand and accepted a Bible Teach book. He told them that his father had died on that very beach seven years earlier and that since then, his mother has suffered from depression. The following week Aníbal returned and told Michael and Linda that this was the anniversary of his father’s death. He took out his mobile phone, called his mother, and asked Michael to offer her words of comfort, which he did. Since then, she has called Michael and Linda several times, and they have shared comforting scriptures with her. In one text message, Aníbal’s mother wrote, “Today I am feeling much better because you have given me comfort and helped me to increase my faith.”
Special metropolitan public witnessing has been organized at 127 locations in 14 cities in the United States. During the first seven months of the 2015 service year, 8,445 Bible studies were started! This form of witnessing has also been instrumental in helping many who were formerly associated to get involved with true worship once again. For instance, a man named Terry was looking over one of our literature displays in Los Angeles, California, so the Witness couple at the table asked if he had read our literature before. He explained that he is one of Jehovah’s Witnesses but that he had been inactive for about four years. The couple read and discussed with him Ezekiel 34:11, where Jehovah says: “I myself will search for my sheep, and I will care for them.” They told him about our website and JW Broadcasting. The next morning Terry e-mailed the brother, explaining that just moments before he saw the witnessing table, he had begged for God’s forgiveness for neglecting congregation meetings. He had also asked for help to draw closer to Jehovah. “Then you greeted me warmly,” said Terry. “You read that encouraging scripture to me and provided me with the information that I need to get back in step with Jehovah’s organization. It was an answer to my prayer.”
There are four special metropolitan public witnessing locations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In three months the brothers placed 37,275 publications, and 629 people requested a visit from the Witnesses. Among the many who accepted a Bible Teach book was an older man who immediately began reading it. In the past he had studied at a religious seminary, and he had questions about Jesus and God’s Kingdom. So the following day, he went back to the stand to get answers to his questions. The day after that, he agreed to a Bible study, and at the end of the week, he attended his first meeting. Now he regularly attends our meetings and is making good progress.
A Jewish man approached a literature stand in Mexico and asked the two brothers there if they had something on the subject of death. They told him that they had run out of the magazine that discussed death, but they offered him one that spoke about the future. The man took hold of the brother’s arm and said: “I am not interested in the future. All I want is to kill myself.” He then began to cry. The brothers asked him why he felt that way. “I just lost my son in death,” he sobbed. So they showed him chapter 7 in the Bible Teach book. They read him the first two paragraphs under the subheading “When a Loved One Dies” as well as the end of the chapter, where the hope for the dead is explained. Feeling very moved, he caught hold of the brother’s arm again and asked, “Is that really true?” The brothers reassured him that Jehovah is certain to fulfill that promise. “What do I have to do to see my son again?” he asked. They arranged to visit the man at his home. When they arrived at the man’s home, there he was, eagerly waiting to begin studying the Bible.
“How Jehovah has blessed this program!” said a traveling overseer who helped set up the special metropolitan public witnessing program in New York. “Not only has it proved to be a very effective method of reaching tens of thousands of people but it has also brought us into contact with many inactive or disfellowshipped ones—‘lost sheep’—that are now being helped to return to the fold.”—Ezekiel 34:15, 16.