APRIL 30, 2020
Though Jehovah’s people have responsibly employed protective measures during this public health crisis, we are not exempt from its potential deadly effects. (Ecclesiastes 9:11) Sadly, to date, 872 of our dear brothers and sisters worldwide have died as a result of contracting the COVID-19 virus. Our fellow worshippers have been quick to support and comfort those grieving. (1 Corinthians 12:26) Ultimately, the brotherhood is relying on Jehovah, who always acts in harmony with his promise at Philippians 4:7 to give us “the peace of God.”
One sister who is experiencing the support of Jehovah’s organization is Hannchen Unnützer, a special pioneer in Bolzano, northern Italy. Sadly, her husband, Brother Manfred Unnützer, died on March 28, 2020, from the coronavirus. Brother Unnützer served almost 58 years in special full-time service, and his wife served along with him almost 54 years. Together, they spent 25 years in the circuit work. Almost 1,000 brothers and sisters from several countries tied in to the funeral service held by videoconference.
Sister Unnützer expresses: “I greatly appreciate the brotherhood. They never left me alone, not even for an hour. I felt a ‘river’ of affection! They took care of me emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I love all my brothers.”
Another couple who is being supported during their time of grief is Maria Jose Moncada and her husband, Darwin. They serve in the Quichua-language field in the mountains of Ecuador. Sadly, Sister Moncada’s parents—Sister Fabiola Santana Jordan, 56, who served as a regular pioneer, and Brother Ricardo Jordan, 60, who served as a ministerial servant in the Praderas Congregation in Guayaquil—succumbed to the disease six days apart from each other. Sister Moncada’s two brothers also fell ill from the COVID-19 virus but recovered.
Overwhelmed with grief, Sister Moncada wanted to make the four-hour trip to be with her family to support them emotionally and to assist with the funeral arrangements. However, they prayerfully decided that it was not advisable to make the trip to Guayaquil. Instead, they communicated with their relatives by videoconference. Sister Moncada explains: “If we had been reunited with our relatives, we would have endangered our own physical health and that of others.”
Understandably, Sister Moncada states that she was afflicted by intense “pain and worry,” but she and her husband maintained their spiritual routine and “did not stop praying incessantly to Jehovah, asking for his guidance.” The Moncadas continued to make preparations for the Memorial of Jesus’ death by inviting Bible students and reading Bible passages about Jesus’ final days on earth. They also participated in the ministry by writing letters and attending their congregation meetings via videoconference. Nine of Sister Moncada’s relatives, who are not Witnesses, accepted her invitation to tie in to the Memorial in Spanish.
“We were very encouraged to see Bible students who made arrangements to connect electronically to the meeting, which is not easy for them,” Sister Moncada says. She adds: “It was a pleasant surprise to also see my family members tied in although they live in other countries.”
Sister Moncada continues: “This experience shows us that as painful as our circumstances are, staying active in our service to Jehovah is the best way to overcome pain, giving Jehovah something to bless.”
Our international brotherhood grieves with those who have lost loved ones in death during this pandemic, and we will continue to pray for those who mourn. We look to the future when Jehovah will end all causes of pain, such as pestilence, and will resurrect all of his faithful servants who have died.—1 Corinthians 15:21, 22.