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Where Have You Been Until Now?

Artur Gerekhelia

Where Have You Been Until Now?
  • BORN 1956

  • BAPTIZED 1991

  • PROFILE Only eight months after his baptism, he left his house and a flourishing business in order to serve where the need was greater.

I WAS newly baptized when the elders asked me if I would like to expand my ministry. On May 4, 1992, I attended a special meeting organized for those who were ready to move where the need was greater. The next day, my service partner and I moved to the port of Batumi, in the Ajaria region.

The first time I preached in Batumi, I felt very nervous. I asked myself, ‘How should I approach people?’ I was surprised by the reaction of the first woman I met, who exclaimed, “Where have you been until now?” She was so eager to know more about the Witnesses that she started studying the Bible with us the very next day!

Before leaving for Batumi, we received a list of addresses of interested people. Since we did not know the city well, we asked people in the street for directions. Many were unable to help us because most streets had recently been renamed, but they showed interest in our message. Soon we were conducting Bible study sessions with groups of 10 to 15 individuals.

Only four months after our arrival, more than 40 were regularly attending our meetings. So we asked ourselves, ‘Who will look after these new ones?’ Then, as a result of the conflict between the Georgian army and separatists in Abkhazia, all the members of the congregation I was previously in moved to Batumi. A new congregation with experienced elders and pioneers was formed in just one day!