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Jehovah’s Witnesses

English

2017 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Azerbaijan

 PREACHING AND TEACHING EARTH WIDE

Europe

Europe
  • LANDS 47

  • POPULATION 744,482,011

  • PUBLISHERS 1,611,290

  • BIBLE STUDIES 834,121

A Mild Reply

In Georgia, a man approached a literature cart, shouting: “I will not let you preach here! Georgia is an Orthodox Christian country.” The brother beside the cart kindly asked the man if he had ever read any of our literature. The man answered, “No, not really.” The brother tactfully suggested that he do so. That reasonable approach calmed the  man, and he took some literature. Days later, the man returned and apologized for his earlier behavior. He said that he had read our magazine to his blind mother. They both liked it very much and wanted something new to read. Now he visits our cart regularly to get the latest magazines.

A Better Way to Settle Matters

While sharing in the ministry in Azerbaijan, two of our brothers approached a young man standing in front of a building and began witnessing to him. The man replied, “I cannot listen to these things; it would be a sin.” He then took a knife out of his back pocket and said, “I have been treated unjustly, and I am about to go and use this knife to see that justice is done.”

The brothers were taken aback, but said, “It is a sin to kill.”

The man said, “What should I do?” They read Romans 12:17-21 to him and explained that vengeance belongs to God and that we must not “be conquered by the evil, but keep conquering the evil with the good.” They told him about the power of a mild tongue and said that if he harmed or killed someone, his conscience would torture him. Impressed with what he heard, the man left them.

About an hour later, the man found the brothers and said: “I am just coming back from seeing the person I intended to kill. I caused him no harm but resolved the  issue with him. I am grateful that you saved me from causing trouble.” The Witnesses explained that it was really Jehovah who had helped him.

Literature Carts Appeal to an Inactive Sister

Some years ago, a sister in Norway drifted away from the truth. After literature carts began to be used in public witnessing, though, she often passed one while shopping.

Though she never approached the Witnesses at the carts, she took note of the appealing posters and attractive literature displays. This, as well as the friendly and modest appearance of the Witnesses, awakened a desire in her to return to Jehovah and his people.

She also noticed the logo of our website, jw.org, so she decided to visit the site. She was impressed when she saw how easy it was to find the address of the nearest Kingdom Hall and current meeting times. She downloaded some publications and went somewhat anxiously to the hall. She was well-received, and the elders arranged for a sister to conduct a Bible study with her. Soon she made good friends in the congregation and got back into her spiritual routine. Now she regularly participates in the meetings and the field service, happy that she once again enjoys a close relationship with Jehovah.

Preaching to Classmates on the School Bus

On a school bus in Norway, 15-year-old Ronja had a discussion with three boys in her class regarding evolution. The boys did not respect her beliefs at all, and this  made our young sister uncomfortable. Because she felt a little rusty on the subject, she asked her mother to help her find some convincing arguments that there is a Creator.

Norway: Ronja defends her beliefs

On the school bus the next day, Ronja used the arguments she had prepared. However, the boys just ridiculed her faith in Jehovah. One of them loudly said: “On this bus nobody believes in Jehovah! I ask for a show of hands. Who believes in evolution, and who believes in Jehovah?” To Ronja’s surprise, a younger boy who was sitting nearby raised his hand and said, “I believe in Jehovah!” Two other children added, “So do I!” Ronja’s conversation with her classmates had been heard by other pupils, and some of them had been convinced by her arguments!

 An Illiterate Man Finds a Book

One afternoon, two Arabic-speaking men from Syria came to the branch office in Denmark. They told the sisters at the reception desk that they were looking for Jehovah’s Witnesses. When the sisters confirmed that they had come to the right place, the men were thrilled. How did they find the address? They showed the personnel at the local public library a picture they had taken with their phone. The picture was of the publishers’ page of the Arabic edition of the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? The library personnel were then able to give them the address of the branch office.

The two men struggled to communicate in Danish. So a brother who spoke Arabic was called to the reception area. It became clear that one of the men was very interested in learning more about the Bible. The brother got his contact information and promised to visit him shortly thereafter and bring along another Arabic-speaking brother.

When visiting the man at his home, the brothers learned that he had never received a visit from Jehovah’s Witnesses. He told them that he found the book in his mailbox, though the mailbox had no name on it to indicate that it belonged to an Arabic-speaking person. Because he was illiterate, he asked one of his friends to read the book to him, and they finished it in three days. What he heard was enough to convince him that he had found the truth.

Being a refugee far away from his family has been very distressing for him, but he finds comfort in the Bible.  The first time he was visited by the brothers, he asked: “Why have you not come to visit me before? I really needed this.” He continues his study with the brothers and is very enthusiastic about what he is learning.

From an Empty Heart to a Joyful One

Dmitry was working as the manager of a tobacco company in Ukraine, but when he became more aware of how damaging smoking was to a person’s health, he quit this well-paying job. Then, within three months, his mother and mother-in-law died. Losing those loved ones was a big shock. He hoped he would receive comfort and answers to his questions from his church, but that did not happen. A friend said to him that being an Orthodox Christian meant having “a cross around your neck and an emptiness in your heart.” That was exactly how Dmitry felt. He realized that he did not know anything about God or the Bible. In despair, he began praying for help. Then he remembered having heard about Jehovah’s Witnesses. He found our website on the Internet and was very impressed with how much information it offers about the Bible. Next, he searched for the nearest Kingdom Hall. When he arrived in the parking lot, an attendant welcomed him and asked how he could be of help. Dmitry said, “I need a Bible study.” He has now been studying for the past six months and regularly attends and participates in meetings.

Following Up Interest by Means of Notes

Paul and Faith, who live in Britain, enjoyed a conversation with a woman named Susan and arranged to call  back. When they returned, Susan was not at home. Following the advice about notes in Our Kingdom Ministry of November 2014, Paul and Faith left a note to say that they would call again the following day. When they went back, they were surprised to find a note for them attached to Susan’s door. She explained that she had to do shopping for her daughter’s wedding. Paul and Faith left another note to say that they would call again the following week. This time, Susan was waiting for them, and they started a study in the Bible Teach book.

Britain: Paul and Faith leave notes

Because her daughter was getting married soon, Susan asked if they could postpone the next visit. When Paul and Faith called again, there was no answer, so they left a note that included their cell-phone number. They were pleased to receive a text message from Susan saying that she was sorry she had missed them; she had  been talking with a neighbor in the garden. Since then, Susan has enjoyed a regular Bible study, and she recently attended her first meeting.

Paul and Faith are enthusiastic about leaving notes to keep in contact. “We have had several other calls who have read the notes we left for them. It’s brilliant!”

His Faith Moved His Nurse

In August 2014, a brother was admitted to a hospital in Hungary with a pulmonary embolism. Sadly, he died shortly thereafter. Concerning a nurse, Tünde, who had been particularly helpful, the brother’s wife wrote this:

“In the summer of 2015, I attended the ‘Imitate Jesus!’ Regional Convention with my son. At the end of the third day, as we were in the parking lot preparing to return home, a woman stopped in front of me, dropped her bags, hugged me, and began to cry. This was the very nurse who, almost a year before, had cared for my husband in the intensive care unit. She explained that at the beginning of every shift, each nurse is assigned to care for one patient. She prayed each time that she would be assigned to my husband’s bedside. That is exactly what happened time and time again!

“According to Tünde, my husband’s fine conduct in connection with his faith and the constant expressions of his hope gave her the initial push that she needed to begin a serious Bible study with Jehovah’s Witnesses.

“Tünde, who is now studying the Bible, looks forward to the time when she can welcome back my husband.  She wants to let him know that his conduct and strong faith are what helped her to come to know Jehovah and his wonderful promises.”

Witnessing From Vehicle to Vehicle

Bulgaria: Witnessing to truck drivers at the border

Because of protests and blockades, some border checkpoints between Greece and Bulgaria were closed at times, with vehicles waiting in lines dozens of miles long. A nearby congregation in Bulgaria took advantage of the situation by offering waiting occupants Bible literature to read. The brothers set off for the border with literature in 12 languages. Many of the truck drivers were exhausted and frustrated, but they wanted to talk. The brothers listened sympathetically, offering hope and encouragement. One driver asked, “Are you Jehovah’s Witnesses?” After receiving an affirmative response, he added, “I knew it, because only Jehovah’s Witnesses would preach like you do.” An Austrian truck driver large-heartedly quipped: “Even here we cannot escape you! Congratulations to you! Please continue to provide people with comfort and hope.” Another said: “I have never had the desire to read your literature. But now I will read it with pleasure.” Tears started to roll down the cheeks of one driver when a brother preached to him. He said that he had been a Witness many years ago. The brothers encouraged him not only to read the literature but also to make contact with a congregation.