In major cities around the world, pedestrians have become accustomed to seeing mobile carts with Bible-based literature published by Jehovah’s Witnesses. In Germany, for example, the Witnesses have set up literature displays in Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, Munich, and other bustling cities.
But would these attractive displays be as effective in smaller towns where Germans travel on vacation? How would the carts be received in northern resort towns and coastal communities and on islands in the Baltic and North seas? In 2016, the branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Central Europe organized a special initiative to answer those questions. From May to October, about 800 Witnesses who use literature carts in metropolitan areas—including some from as far away as Vienna, Austria—volunteered to set up carts at about 60 locations in northern Germany.
“Part of the Town”
The Witnesses were warmly welcomed. One volunteer reports: “People showed interest. They were friendly, curious, and willing to talk.” Heidi, who traveled to the town of Plön, says: “After a few days, people considered us part of the town. Some who recognized us waved when they saw us.” A deaf man signed to them: “You’re everywhere!” He and his friends were returning from a gathering for deaf people in southeastern Germany, where he had also met Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Some local residents even offered their support. On the island of Wangerooge, a police officer approached the Witnesses and kindly suggested how they might reach more people. In Waren an der Müritz, the captain of a sightseeing boat drew his passengers’ attention to some places of interest. Pointing to a literature cart in the harbor area, he said: “And there you can learn something about God.” A number of vacationers approached and took time to read the posters that accompanied the carts.
Both tourists and locals expressed interest in these three brochures:
Does God Really Care About Us? A tourist said: “I have been asking myself this question for a long time. Now, during vacation, I will finally have time to read about it.”
Good News From God! An elderly man told the Witnesses that he was disappointed with religion. They helped him to understand that no human can solve our problems; only God can do so. The man gladly accepted the brochure and promised to read it.
My Bible Lessons. A father allowed his little girl to take the brochure, which is especially designed for young children. In addition, he took a copy of My Book of Bible Stories and said: “This will be good for my family.”
Passersby obtained more than 3,600 publications. Some people asked the Witnesses to visit them and continue their discussion.
The Witnesses involved in the initiative loved the experience. Jörg and his wife, Marina, traveled to an area near the Baltic Sea. “It was a special gift,” they say. “We could enjoy God’s creation, and at the same time, we could talk to others about him.” Lukas, who is 17 years old, says: “I loved it! I not only had fun, but I was also able to give something valuable to others.”