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Asia and the Middle East

Asia and the Middle East
  • LANDS 47

  • POPULATION 4,282,178,221

  • PUBLISHERS 674,011

  • BIBLE STUDIES 672,318

Help for a Man Who Is Blind, Deaf, and Mute

In 1999, the sign-language congregation in Kobe, Japan, learned of a deaf man named Hirofumi. When a brother tried to call on Hirofumi, his mother refused to let the brother see him. The brother called repeatedly and pleaded with the mother, and eventually she brought Hirofumi to the door. His hair  and his beard were long and unkempt. He looked like someone who had been stranded on a deserted island for decades. His face was expressionless. Not only was Hirofumi deaf but he was also blind. The brother was stunned but then took Hirofumi’s hands and began to do tactile signing. There was no response of any kind. Hirofumi had been isolated from people and had not communicated with anyone since he lost his eyesight ten years earlier at the age of 31.

The brother returned two days later. Hirofumi’s mother was amazed, having assumed that the brother would give up after seeing her son’s condition. Again the brother pleaded with the mother to allow him to see Hirofumi, so the mother brought him to the door. After a month of visits and still no response from Hirofumi, the mother told the brother not to bother to come anymore. Nevertheless, the brother persisted. He took cakes to the home and did what he could to show that he cared. After two more months and still no response from Hirofumi, the brother felt that he was getting nowhere.

The brother decided to make one last visit. Before going to the house, he prayed to Jehovah for help to determine if he should keep calling on Hirofumi. When the brother arrived at the house, he took Hirofumi’s hands and signed that there is a God named Jehovah who was constantly watching him from heaven and who understood his sufferings more than anyone else.  Jehovah cared about him and wanted to deliver him from distress. That was why one of his Witnesses had come to him. At first Hirofumi showed no reaction; but then he gave the brother’s hand a firm handshake, and a tear trickled down his cheek. Moved by this, the brother shed tears with him. A Bible study was started.

After studying 11 years, Hirofumi began to associate with the local congregation instead of traveling the long distance to the sign-language congregation as he had been doing. No one in the local congregation knew how to sign, but over the next 18 months, 22 brothers and sisters in the congregation learned to sign so that they could help Hirofumi. In January of 2012, Hirofumi  handled his first assignment on the Theocratic Ministry School, with someone interpreting his signs. In October of the same year, he became an unbaptized publisher.

He Studies With Security Guards

Floren, a pioneer who lives in the Philippines, conducts an average of 25 Bible studies, most of which are with security guards. These men often work evenings—some through the entire night. Consequently, Floren has to be flexible. He goes to the guards’ workplaces and studies with them when they have a break or at other appropriate times that do not interfere with their work. He conducts some studies between seven o’clock and eleven o’clock at night, others between five o’clock and nine o’clock in the morning. Sometimes he arranges to arrive when shifts are about to change. In this way, he can study with the guard who is about to go on duty and then study with the guard who has just finished his duty. Floren says, “By having so many Bible studies, I have experienced a joy that I had never known before.” Some of the security guards now attend meetings at the Kingdom Hall. One of Floren’s Bible students is now baptized and serves as a regular pioneer.

Philippines: Floren conducting a Bible study early in the morning

They Were Willing to Take the Risk

While in the ministry one rainy day in Armenia, two of our sisters saw a mother and daughter on the street and offered them a tract. To the sisters’ surprise, the mother, whose name is Marusya, said that she and her daughter, Yeva, had been outside in the bad weather for two hours, hoping to meet Jehovah’s Witnesses. Why? While in prison, Marusya’s brother had learned the  truth from brothers who were there because of their neutral stand. Marusya expected him to come out of prison a hardened and aggressive individual. Instead, he had become more balanced and calm. As he continued to associate with the Witnesses, Marusya’s brother made further changes for the better. All of this did not make sense to Marusya and her daughter because they had repeatedly seen defamatory propaganda about Jehovah’s Witnesses on posters in the city and on television programs. Yeva wondered: ‘My uncle is such a wonderful person. So why are there so many bad things being said about Jehovah’s Witnesses?’ Determined to settle the question, she said to her mother: “We’ll never find out about these people unless we’re willing to take a risk. Let’s go find Jehovah’s Witnesses right now and put an end to our confusion.” And that is what they were doing the day the sisters met them. Two days later, a Bible study was started with both mother and daughter. They began to attend meetings and have progressed to the point of becoming unbaptized publishers.

The Children Brought the Magazines

Istanbul, Turkey: A brother using the Good News brochure while engaged in street witnessing

In Adana, Turkey, a woman who had experienced serious personal and family problems and who had even contemplated suicide found two of our magazines in front of her door. Apparently, some children in the neighborhood had found them on the ground and placed them there, believing that they belonged to her. The woman was greatly impressed by the life stories in the magazines, and she wished that her life could be transformed in a similar way. The woman called a telephone number that was written on one of the magazines and contacted a pioneer sister who lived close by.  A Bible study was started. The woman appreciated what she learned and expressed her desire to attend meetings. As it turned out, her apartment was located near the Kingdom Hall. She started attending meetings immediately and continues to do so.

Ten Days in Jail Did Not Change His Mind

Bam, who was a policeman and a churchgoer in Nepal, met a special pioneer couple on the street while he was on duty. He was impressed that they answered all his questions by opening the Bible. Bam accepted a Bible study, and soon he began to attend meetings. As his study progressed, his conscience began to bother him about his work, so he asked his superiors for an office job, which would not require him to carry weapons. The superiors agreed. However, after attending a district convention, Bam again began to struggle with his conscience and decided to leave the police force altogether.

Bam’s wife was not happy with this decision, since a job with the police force meant not only an appealing social standing but also good wages, benefits, and a good pension. To persuade him to change his mind, she suggested, “If you stay on the police force, I will study the Bible with the Witnesses.” When that did not work, she convinced the police captain to put Bam in jail, hoping that he might see things her way. After spending ten days in jail, Bam was released, but he was still determined to find a different job. He took up work as a bicycle-rickshaw driver, which meant working long hours in the hot sun. Despite the challenges, he was happy. He continued to make spiritual progress and became a publisher. In time, his wife’s opposition  subsided. Because of the kindness shown to her by the brothers and sisters in the congregation, she started to study. Bam continues to provide for his family, earning more as a rickshaw driver than he did as a policeman. He was baptized at an assembly in February 2013, and now his wife and son attend meetings with him.

Nepal: When Bam changed his job, he and his family were able to make spiritual progress

She Wanted to Be an Auxiliary Pioneer

Myeong-hee, a sister living in Korea, has a problem with one of her legs because of a paralysis that she suffered when she was two years old. She becomes easily exhausted and at times falls down. In addition, she endures frequent panic attacks and side effects caused by her medication. It is difficult for Myeong-hee to breathe, and the tension and anxiety she feels cause her pain. Despite these problems, Myeong-hee wanted to auxiliary pioneer and has done so nearly every month for the past two years. She thanks Jehovah for providing her with strength to carry out her ministry.

“I Have Been Looking for It for 30 Years!”

Agnes, a missionary in Indonesia, used to witness to a middle-aged woman who was expecting a baby. The woman sold vegetables in a local market. She loved reading our magazines and enjoyed having Bible discussions when she was not too busy. One day when Agnes went to the market to visit the woman, she was not there. Her husband told Agnes that his wife had just given birth. Agnes decided to visit her. She brought the book My Book of Bible Stories wrapped as a gift. The  woman was pleasantly surprised that Agnes had come to see her and the baby, but she was even more surprised when Agnes handed her the gift. The woman unwrapped the book, looked at it with disbelief, and said: “Where did you find this book? I have been looking for it for 30 years! I visited all the bookshops and asked everyone. Nobody had it, nobody knew about it, and no other book even came close to it.” It turns out that when the woman was a child, her uncle had the Bible Stories book, and she loved reading it. Now the woman is again reading the book, and her eldest daughter loves reading it too. A Bible study was started with both of them.

Indonesia: Agnes with the book that she gave as a gift