APRIL 9, 2020
Italy is one of the countries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the direction of the Governing Body, the Italy branch office is providing both practical and spiritual support to our brothers and sisters.
Three Disaster Relief Committees (DRCs) are caring for the needs of the brothers in northern, central, and southern Italy. The DRCs stay up-to-date on the needs of the affected publishers by keeping in close contact with the circuit overseers, who regularly receive information from the local elders.
In addition to practical support, the local elders are helping publishers to keep their spiritual routine. Brother Villiam Boselli, a circuit overseer who serves near Milan, one of the first cities affected by the pandemic, relates: “Although they are ‘sheltering in place,’ all of the brothers and sisters keep in touch with one another. Also, by tying in to the meetings via videoconference, they are all able to encourage one another and express their faith. Even elderly brothers and sisters are benefiting greatly from the videoconference meetings. I think that the congregations are more united now than ever!”
Additionally, many non-Witness relatives are viewing the meetings with their Witness family members. One sister says: “My husband never wanted to attend meetings, but now the meetings are coming to him . . . and guess what? He is enjoying them!”
Brothers and sisters are using every opportunity to give a witness. For example, while driving to the house of an elderly sister to bring her a wheelchair, a sister was stopped by three police officers at a checkpoint. The sister explained that she was giving assistance to an elderly woman and showed them her permit to travel. She then offered each of them the tracts How Do You View the Future? and Will Suffering Ever End? The police officers accepted them. When the sister returned from dropping off the wheelchair, the police officers stopped her again. This time, the officers thanked her and asked for more information about the hope offered in the Bible. They even invited two of their colleagues to join the conversation. Our sister was happy to show them jw.org. One of the officers told her, “Thank you, madam, you really made our day!”
Brother Boselli says: “Although one of my responsibilities is to encourage and comfort others, I have been the one encouraged by seeing my brothers remain spiritually strong and determined to persevere. Their love for Jehovah is such a genuine and amazing thing that brings tears to my eyes. They are truly an incredible gift from Jehovah that we could not do without!”
It is clear that, despite challenging circumstances, our brothers are staying spiritually strong and have not been ‘shaken by this tribulation.’—1 Thessalonians 3:2, 3.