BIBLE STUDIES 3,516,524
They Followed Their Teacher
José is a young pioneer brother who lives in the outskirts of Luanda, Angola. He works as a teacher at a school located close to the Kingdom Hall. Because he displays Christian qualities and is a skillful teacher, he is loved and respected by his 86 students. His midweek congregation meeting starts at 4:00 p.m., so he received permission to leave work early on that day of the week. After work, he goes directly to the Kingdom Hall.
Some students wondered why José was leaving the school early and where he was going. One day, to satisfy their curiosity, two of his students followed him and attended the meeting. Sometime later, another three students attended the meeting on a day that José had an assignment on the Service Meeting. News about this spread quickly in the classroom. In the weeks that followed, the number of students attending the meeting rose from 5 to 21. The publishers at the Kingdom Hall offered Bible studies to all of them, and most accepted. When the students brought some publications with them to school, others became interested and started showing up at the meetings. By the end of the school year, 54 of his 86 students had attended a meeting. José reported that 23 of his students are making good spiritual progress and continue to attend meetings.
Not Enough Territory?
When special pioneers Joseph and Evezi arrived in their new assignment in Nigeria, several disheartened publishers told them: “We don’t have enough territory. It has been overworked.” After one year, Joseph wrote to the branch saying: “We work our territory every day of the week and are counteracting prejudice and apathy. We go out in the ministry with a portable DVD player to show videos to the children as well as to adolescents and adults. The result: Each month, my wife and I conduct 18 Bible studies, and at times we cannot meet the demand of visiting all our Bible students. Also, the children keep asking us to show them the ‘Caleb videos.’”
A Cry for Help From an Island
In April 2014, the branch office in Congo (Kinshasa) received a touching letter from a group of fishermen living on Ibinja Island on Lake Kivu. These fishermen often travel from their island to surrounding cities for business. On one of their trips to the city of Bukavu, they met Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Witnesses shared the good news with them and gave them a Bible and some literature.
The fishermen appreciated what they read and shared what they had learned with others on the island. Because many were interested, the fishermen had one of their men return to Bukavu to find the Witnesses so that he could invite them to Ibinja. When the man was not able to find them, he wrote to the branch office, saying: “Please, send Witnesses to help us so that we can know the Bible as they do and learn how to live forever. We are ready to accommodate them. I am ready to offer my property to build a church. We have learned from the Bible verses in your books that the priests and pastors teach us lies. We are convinced that we have found the true religion. There are many here in Ibinja who would like to study the Bible and become Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
The letter indicated that there were about 40 interested people on the island. There are more than 18,000 people in Ibinja but no Witnesses. The branch office immediately assigned to the island two special pioneers who spoke the local language.
The Pastor Now Listens
“I will never miss the Memorial ever again.” This was the comment of the pastor of a prominent Protestant church in South Africa. What moved this religious leader to attend the Memorial in April 2014? It all started when two brothers of different races were sharing in the field ministry and knocked on his door. They knew from past experience that the pastor likely would not want to speak with them. Adaine, one of the brothers, explains what happened: “To our amazement, he opened the door and invited us in. We had a lengthy discussion. He was surprised to see a white man preaching in a black community and speaking to him in his own language. The pastor began having a regular Bible study.”
Adaine continues: “This man had been a missionary and a pastor for more than 40 years, but only at the age of 80 did he find all the answers to his questions. He loves the book Imitate Their Faith. When we study, he memorizes some points and uses them in his church sermons. He showed the members of his congregation the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? He told them, ‘When Jehovah’s Witnesses come to your house with this book, welcome them and listen to what they have to say because this book is full of spiritual treasures.’”
The pastor told Adaine that he had been severely admonished by leaders of his church and had been warned not to speak about Jehovah’s Witnesses in his church sermons. He did not know what to do. Adaine remembered an account about a lay priest in Myanmar, which was related in the 2013 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses. When Adaine read the account to the pastor, he said: “This is about me! I have a very important decision to make, and it cannot wait any longer.”
The pastor attended his first Memorial on April 14, 2014, and made the statement about never missing it again. He has expressed his determination to cut off all ties with false religion.
Searching in the Cocoa Fields
Baffour and Aaron serve as special pioneers in Bokabo, a cocoa-growing region in western Ghana. Their scattered territory, dotted with small houses, is accessible only by the many narrow footpaths snaking through the plantations. It is easy to get lost if one takes a wrong turn! One day, instead of taking the usual route, Baffour and Aaron chose a different path, which led to huts they had never visited. There they met Michael and Patience, who expressed interest in their message and eagerly accepted a Bible study. Later, Michael told them: “For the past two years, we stopped going to church because we saw things that were not in harmony with the Bible’s teachings. Every evening since then, Patience and I have studied the Bible on our own, searching for answers to our questions. We have been praying for help to find the truth.” Despite having to walk long distances through the plantations, they began attending meetings immediately. Within the past year, the couple were baptized and began serving as regular pioneers. Now they too are treading obscure paths across cocoa plantations in search of others who “have been praying for help to find the truth.”