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Asia and the Middle East

Asia and the Middle East
  • LANDS 49

  • POPULATION 4,464,374,770

  • PUBLISHERS 728,989

  • BIBLE STUDIES 771,272

From One Contact, Many Responded

In the Philippines, Jonathan was waiting for an appointment with a doctor. Noting his smart, well-groomed appearance, a woman at the reception desk asked if he was an insurance agent. Jonathan explained that he was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and that he was there to assist a Witness patient who had some medical needs. Impressed, the receptionist, Laila, told Jonathan that her father, who had recently died, was a regular reader of The Watchtower. Jonathan shared John 5:28, 29 with her and gave her a copy of the tract What Hope for Dead Loved Ones?

Philippines: Jonathan witnessed to the receptionist

On subsequent visits to the hospital, he brought Laila more publications and referred her to a sister, who started a Bible study with her. Soon Laila’s husband, sister, and mother, all of whom lived with her, joined in the study.

Rose, Laila’s neighbor, approached Laila and asked why she had so many visitors to her apartment. Laila explained that she was studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. As a result, Rose started to study too, and when she went to visit her sister in her home province, she excitedly told her sister about what she was learning. Her sister, Abigail, was curious about the things she heard, so she asked for a Bible study. Rose’s mother also accepted a Bible study.

Laila was baptized at a recent regional convention. Her mother is also now baptized. Her neighbor, Rose, and Rose’s sister were baptized last year. Rose’s mother now attends the meetings regularly. And some of Laila’s family members continue to study the Bible. All of this came from one contact in a hospital!

Using Technology to Reach the Deaf

The sign-language field in Sri Lanka is now experiencing growth. In 2015, the Witnesses had fewer than 80 addresses of deaf people, and these were recorded on bits of paper. Since then, the first Sri Lankan Sign Language congregation has been formed and a computer database has been set up containing about 420 names as well as addresses with GPS coordinates. The brothers have contacted about 80 percent of those people either in person or via video chat or text messaging. A missionary couple report: “Now we can give our deaf publishers a territory to work. Before that, they would visit only the deaf they personally knew.”

Thanks From a Government Official

The brothers in Mongolia actively participate in special metropolitan public witnessing even when temperatures dip to 20 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (-30°C). One government official picked up publications from the cart and then wrote a thank-you note. It read: “I am a Buddhist. But I have looked into many other fields, for I stick to the principle that we should not follow just one road but explore others. After reading some of the publications that you have provided for mankind, I have decided to write a letter to express my feelings. I can clearly see that you have invested a lot of time and energy to provide information that is practical and helpful. One thing I learned from your publications is that the Bible is a book one must read. This book has the truth. The Bible provides true guidance for our lives. I wish to thank all those who put great effort into translating the literature into Mongolian. Also, I would like to thank all those who hand out literature to help people whether it is extremely hot or cold outside.”

Mongolia: Public witnessing in cold weather

His Prayer Was Heard

In Hong Kong, a pioneer brother named Brett approached a young man in his late 20’s and offered him the tract What Is the Key to Happy Family Life? Upon seeing the tract, the young man was moved to tears. He explained that he had been raised in the truth, but when he was 16 years old, he ran away from home. For the next five years, he lived on the streets and became addicted to drugs until he was found and helped by a charity organization.

He went on to say that the morning he met this brother, he had prayed, “If the religion of my youth is correct, please show me a sign today.” He felt that his prayer had been answered. The two went to a nearby coffee shop where they considered material from the brochure Return to Jehovah. Because the young man had to return to France that evening, they exchanged contact information. Later, the young man wrote to Brett: “My dear brother, Jehovah has answered my prayers. I will go to the nearest hall on Sunday.” He made contact with Witnesses in France and began to study the Bible and attend meetings.