Accessibility setting


Select language

Skip to secondary menu

Skip to table of contents

Skip to content

Jehovah’s Witnesses


2016 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Brazil: Valdira studying by candlelight with the help of a mobile phone


The Americas

The Americas
  • LANDS 57

  • POPULATION 982,501,976

  • PUBLISHERS 4,102,272

  • BIBLE STUDIES 4,345,532

A Candlelight Study in a Field

A special pioneer couple working in an isolated territory in Brazil learned about Valdira, a woman who had studied the Bible 13 years earlier. After traveling down a dusty dirt road with dangerous river crossings, the pioneers found Valdira, who was anxious to resume her study. Because she lived in a remote part of the country, special arrangements had to be made. Though  Valdira owned a mobile phone, the only place where she could receive a strong signal was in a field far from her home. Moreover, Valdira could study only after nine o’clock in the evening. Imagine the scene: A young woman sitting alone in a field at night using a mobile phone to have a Bible study by candlelight.

Valdira listens to the Sunday meetings on her phone as well. She goes to the field with her Bible, her Watchtower, and her songbook to listen in. When it is raining, she also brings her umbrella.

In March, Valdira traveled some 60 miles to the local Kingdom Hall to attend the special meeting where the revised Portuguese New World Translation was released. She loved receiving a copy of the new Bible. When commended for all her efforts to study the Bible, Valdira said, “Oh, it is not all that difficult!”

“I Knew That One Day You Would Come”

The Yukpa are an Amerindian people who live in Colombia. Before visiting one of their communities, Frank, a special pioneer, was warned about the local chief, John Jairo, who had chased away several evangelical groups who wanted to preach there. On one occasion, when John found out that a minister of theirs was collecting tithes, he sent him scampering by firing gunshots into the air.

Colombia: Frank, a special pioneer, conducting a Bible study with a group of Yukpa people

Frank recalls: “When we reached the community, the first person who listened to us was none other than one of John Jairo’s daughters! After we showed her the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? she immediately said, ‘This is the religion I want to belong to!’ Then  she ran to tell her father about our arrival. He immediately summoned us. Nervous, we met with him. Before we could say anything, he said: ‘I know that you have the true religion. Eight years ago in a garbage dump in Becerril, I found a book like the one you gave my daughter. I read it, and since then, I’ve been waiting for you to come here. I knew that one day you would come. I want you to teach the Bible to me, to my family, and to this community. Our doors are open to you.’

“Those words made tears well up in our eyes. The whole community gathered to listen to our preaching, and John Jairo interpreted what we said into their language.  When we were leaving, he lent us a little donkey to carry our baggage. We are now conducting 47 Bible studies with 120 Yukpa people from different communities, John Jairo and his daughter included.”

A Persecutor Changes His Course

José, a former devout Catholic, lives in Ecuador. He writes: “I had a burning hatred for Jehovah’s Witnesses. I persecuted them for ten years. I would organize mobs, physically mistreat the Witnesses, and accuse them of being thieves. Then, at the police station, I would insist on personally putting the padlock on their prison cell. Once, we destroyed the automobile belonging to a  Witness. Another time, we threw a motorcycle of theirs into a gorge.

“Then, in 2010, I contracted swine flu. My doctor ordered me to leave my home high in the Andes and go to the warmer climate on the coast to recuperate. I went to a small farm that belonged to a relative in a coastal area and ended up having to care for the farm by myself. Being all alone, I was desperate to talk with anyone. Who came to the farm? Jehovah’s Witnesses! Out of sheer loneliness, I conversed with them and was amazed at how they used the Bible. I accepted a Bible study out of curiosity. After studying for six months, I attended my first meeting. I was so impressed by the kind and loving interest shown to me that I asked myself, ‘Are these perhaps God’s true servants?’ I progressed and was finally baptized in April 2014.

“I felt remorse for having persecuted the Witnesses. However, Jehovah gave me an opportunity to make amends to some extent. At a circuit assembly on October 4, 2014, I was interviewed about my past as an opposer and was asked, ‘If you had the chance to apologize to any of those you persecuted, who would it be?’ I instantly replied that it would be a brother by the name of Edmundo but that I had no idea how to find him. Unbeknownst to me, the circuit overseer had him backstage. The audience was moved to tears as Edmundo and I embraced each other and cried together on the platform.”

“Please, Jehovah, Have Your Witnesses Find Me”

Paraguay: A woman asked the sisters if they were Jehovah’s Witnesses

The midday sun was blazing hot when a field service group of sisters in Asunción, Paraguay, finished the territory assigned to them. However, they decided to put  forth the extra effort to preach at a few nearby homes. One of the Witnesses said, “Maybe someone is praying.” At a corner house, a young woman greeted the sisters at her door with a smile and asked if they were Jehovah’s Witnesses. She explained that a month earlier she had moved from Bolivia to Paraguay in connection with her work. She had been studying the Bible in Bolivia before she moved. No one in her new neighborhood could tell her where to find the Witnesses, so she prayed, “Please, Jehovah, have your Witnesses find me.” That very day the sisters called and a Bible study was arranged.