BIBLE STUDIES 4,353,152
“I Will Learn With You”
Ismael, who lives in Mexico, decided to read the entire Bible. Within a year, he had read it twice, but later he lost his sight. After some years, Ángel, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, met Ismael and talked to him about God’s promises. Ismael was eager to learn more, but he said, “I am blind; I cannot read the Bible.”
Ángel reassured him, “Don’t worry, I will teach you Braille.”
“Do you know Braille?” asked Ismael.
“No, but I will learn with you,” replied Ángel. Ismael could not believe that Ángel would do that for him. But Ángel went home, did research on how to read Braille, and prepared tactile letters on a piece of cardboard. Next he started teaching Ismael how to read Braille. Soon, Ismael had learned the Braille alphabet, was attending meetings, and was reading our Braille publications. Now Ángel has four Bible students who are blind. They love to talk about the future Paradise when they will again be able to see.
She Did Not Recognize Him
Viannei, a 14-year-old sister in the United States, writes: “In social studies class, my substitute teacher started talking about religions. He asked us to name some, so I mentioned Jehovah’s Witnesses. My classmates laughed, saying that we waste their time, that we have nothing better to do, and that they throw away our literature. Even the teacher was talking badly about us.
“So I said a prayer to Jehovah to give me strength to give a witness. I told them that we go to their houses, not because we want to waste their time, but because Jehovah sends us to give them good advice based on the Bible. I asked them not to throw away the literature; it could change their lives and save them. My teacher apologized, promising that the next time a Witness called, he would open the door, listen, and read our literature. I didn’t believe he meant what he said.
“I saw him four months later, and to my surprise, he was studying. After another six months, he looked for me at school to thank me for preaching to him. I didn’t even recognize him because he had cut his hair and shaved off his beard. He is now an unbaptized publisher.”
Witnessing in the Amazon
Last year, the vast Amazon region was in the spotlight for Jehovah’s people in Brazil. Many in that region have never had the opportunity to hear the good news. With that in mind, the Governing Body approved a special year-long preaching campaign to reach the thousands of people who live in some of the Amazon’s most isolated areas.
The branch office selected 53 towns scattered along the Amazon’s great network of waterways to receive Kingdom preachers during that time. In just four months, more than 6,500 publishers responded to the call.
In the remote town of Anamã, where there were no Kingdom publishers, ten brothers and sisters stayed for 11 days, placing well over 12,500 pieces of literature and starting some 200 Bible studies, which are now being conducted by phone. While there, the brothers also held meetings. At the final meeting held before leaving, they were thrilled to see 90 in attendance. The full impact of the campaign is yet to be seen.
For the past six years, Jehizel and Mariana have been in the same class at school in Venezuela. Because of being one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jehizel was often the target of Mariana’s ridicule. Mariana was convinced that Jehizel didn’t know how to enjoy life. One day, after receiving more negative comments, it occurred to our sister to say: “Mariana, look up our website, jw.org. Then go to ‘Find Videos,’ and click the box ‘Teenagers.’”
That afternoon Mariana called Jehizel. “I now know why you do all this,” she said.
Uncertain of what she meant, Jehizel asked, “Are you making fun of me again?”
“No, I won’t make fun of you ever again,” Mariana said. “Thanks to you, I now realize that what I thought was ‘enjoying life’ has really been the cause of many of my problems.” Arrangements were made for Mariana to study the Bible regularly, and she is now attending all the meetings.
Questions for the Pastor
Gérole, who worked as a secretary for her church in Haiti, was impressed that the Witnesses were able to answer all her questions from the Bible. She and her daughter accepted a Bible study. Touched by what they were learning, they asked for their study to be conducted twice a week.
After three months of studying, Gérole approached the pastor of her church and asked four questions: “In what year was Jesus enthroned as King? Where will good people go when they die? Where will the wicked go when they die? On what did Jesus die, a cross or stake?” The pastor said that he could only answer questions two and three. “Jehovah’s Witnesses say it’s 144,000 that will go to heaven,” he said. “But I say all who do the will of God will go to heaven. As for the wicked, they will burn forever in hell.” When asked for Scriptural references, he was unable to provide any. Gérole was disappointed but was now more determined than ever to continue with her Bible study. She resigned from her church and said that she had learned more about the Bible in three months of studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses than she had by attending church for more than 30 years. Gérole and her daughter were baptized recently, and they have started 23 Bible studies in their village.