Why I Delight in Making Disciples
As told by Pamela Moseley
War was raging over England in 1941 when my mother took me to Leicester to a convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses. We heard Joseph Rutherford’s special talk about children. When Mother and I were baptized at that convention, I noticed that those who had helped us to progress spiritually were very happy. I did not realize then how much joy comes from making disciples of Jesus Christ.
OUR progress toward becoming disciples started the year before. I still remember that dreadful day in September 1939 when World War II broke out. I saw tears streaming down my mother’s cheeks as she kept asking, “Why can the world not find peace?” My parents had served in the military during World War I and had experienced its horrors. Mother took her question to the Anglican minister in Bristol. He merely said: “There have always been wars and always will be.”
Shortly afterward, however, an elderly lady visited our home. She was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. My mother asked her the same question: “Why can the world not find peace?” The Witness explained that wars are part of the sign that we are living in the conclusion of this violent system of things. (Matthew 24:3-14) Soon her daughter was studying the Bible with us. The two of them were among those happy observers at our baptism. Why does making disciples make people so happy? Later, I learned why. Let me tell you some of what I have learned in more than 65 years of making disciples.
Discovering the Joy of Teaching
I began sharing in Kingdom preaching in Bristol when I was 11 years old. A brother gave me a phonograph and a testimony card and said: “Now, you visit all the homes on that side of the street.” So off I went, all by myself. Of course, I was very nervous. I played a recorded Bible talk and then showed the householder the testimony card, which invited people to accept Bible literature.
Beginning in the 1950’s, greater emphasis was placed on reading from the Bible during our house-to-house visits. At first, my timid nature made conversing with strangers and explaining Bible texts difficult for me. But I eventually gained confidence. That was when I really started to enjoy the ministry. Some people had viewed us as mere booksellers, but when we read and explained Bible texts to them, they recognized us as teachers of God’s Word. I enjoyed doing this so much that I wanted to have a greater share. So in September 1955, I entered the full-time ministry as a pioneer.
Persistence Brings Rewards
One of the first lessons I learned was that kind persistence can bring rewards. On one occasion, I left a copy of the Watchtower magazine with a woman, Violet Morice. When I returned to see her, she opened the door wide, folded her arms, and listened intently as I explained the Scriptures to her. Each time I called, she seemed genuinely interested. However, when I offered her a regular Bible study, she said: “No. When the children are older, I’ll look into it.” How disappointed I was! The Bible speaks of “a time to seek and a time to give up as lost.” (Ecclesiastes 3:6) I decided not to give up.
A month later, I returned and considered some more scriptures with Violet. Before long, she was having a weekly Bible study on her doorstep. Finally she said: “I think you had better come in, don’t you?” What a wonderful fellow believer and personal friend Violet became! Yes, Violet was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
One day Violet was shocked to learn that her husband had sold their home without her knowledge and had abandoned her. Happily, with the help of a Witness friend, she obtained another home that very afternoon. Out of gratitude to Jehovah, she decided to spend the rest of her life as a pioneer. When I saw Jehovah’s spirit fill her with zeal for true worship, I realized why making disciples results in such happiness. Yes, this would be my lifework!
In 1957, Mary Robinson and I were assigned to pioneer in the industrial area of Rutherglen in Glasgow, Scotland. We preached in fog, wind, rain, and snow, but it was worth it. One day I met Jessie. I enjoyed studying the Bible with her. Her husband, Wally, was a Communist, and he avoided me at first. When he studied the Bible and realized that only God’s Kingdom will bring about ideal conditions among people, he was thrilled. In time, both became disciple makers.
First Reactions Can Be Deceptive
We later received a new assignment to Paisley, Scotland. One day while I was preaching there, a lady shut the door in my face. But soon she came looking for me in order to apologize. When I returned the next week, she said: “I felt as though I had shut the door in God’s face. I just had to go and look for you.” Her name was Pearl. She told me that she had been so disillusioned with friends and relatives that she had prayed to God for a true friend. “And then you came to the door,” she said. “Now I realize that you must be that true friend.”
To be Pearl’s friend wasn’t easy. She lived at the top of a steep hill, and I had to climb it on foot. When I went to her home to take her to her first meeting, wind and rain nearly swept me off my feet. I threw away my umbrella when it ripped apart. Just six months after shutting the door in my face, Pearl symbolized her dedication to God by water baptism.
Soon afterward, her husband decided to study the Bible, and within a short time, he accompanied me in the house-to-house ministry. As usual, it was raining. “Don’t worry,” he said. “I stand in weather like this for hours to watch football, so I can certainly stand in the rain for Jehovah.” I have always admired the tenacity of the Scots.
How rewarding it has been for me to return decades later and see that most of those with whom I studied are still enduring in the faith! That is the joy of making disciples. (1 Thessalonians 2:17-20) In 1966, after more than eight years of pioneering in Scotland, I was invited to the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead to be trained as a missionary.
In a Foreign Field
I was assigned to Bolivia, to the tropical town of Santa Cruz, where there was a congregation of about 50. The town reminded me of the Wild West as depicted in Hollywood films. Looking back, I think that I have been quite an ordinary missionary. I have never been attacked by crocodiles, surrounded by violent mobs, lost in the desert, or shipwrecked on the high seas. Yet, for me, making disciples has been more thrilling.
One of the first women with whom I studied the Bible in Santa Cruz was Antonia. Teaching in Spanish was a struggle for me. Once, Antonia’s little boy said: “Mummy, does she make mistakes on purpose to make us laugh?” Antonia eventually became a disciple, and so did Yolanda, her daughter. Yolanda had a friend, a law student nicknamed Dito, who also began studying the Bible and attending our meetings. Working with him, I learned something else about teaching Bible truth: Sometimes people need a gentle push.
When Dito began missing his studies, I said: “Dito, Jehovah does not obligate you to support his Kingdom. You have to choose.” When he replied that he wanted to serve God, I said: “You have pictures here of a revolutionary leader. Would a visitor who sees them conclude that you have chosen to support God’s Kingdom?” That was the gentle push he needed.
Two weeks later, a revolution broke out, and a gunfight started between the university students and the police. “Let’s get out of here!” Dito shouted to his friend. “No! This is our great day that we have waited for,” replied his companion, grabbing a rifle and making for the rooftop of the university. He was one of eight of Dito’s friends who died that day. Can you imagine how happy it makes me to see this man, Dito, who might have died if he had not decided to become a true Christian?
Seeing Jehovah’s Spirit in Action
One day I was passing by a door, believing that we had already visited that home, when the lady of the house called out to me. Her name was Ignacia. She knew about Jehovah’s Witnesses, but severe opposition from her husband—a burly police officer named Adalberto—prevented her from progressing spiritually. She was confused about many basic Bible teachings, so I began studying the Bible with her. Even though Adalberto was determined to stop these Bible studies, I was able to talk with him for quite a long time about other subjects. It was the first step to our becoming friends.
Imagine my joy at seeing Ignacia become a lovely member of the congregation, attending to the spiritual and physical well-being of many in need of consolation. In time, her husband and three of their children became Witnesses. In fact, when Adalberto finally grasped the meaning of the good news, he went back to the police station and spoke with such enthusiasm that he obtained 200 subscriptions to The Watchtower and Awake! from the policemen.
Jehovah Makes It Grow
After serving in Santa Cruz for six years, I was assigned to Bolivia’s principal city, La Paz, where I spent the next 25 years. In the early 1970’s, the branch home of Jehovah’s Witnesses in La Paz had a total of only 12 members. As the preaching work expanded, requiring larger facilities, a new branch building was constructed in the rapidly growing city of Santa Cruz. The branch was relocated there in 1998, and I was invited to become a member of the branch staff, now consisting of over 50 members.
The single congregation that existed in Santa Cruz back in 1966 had become more than 50 congregations. The 640 Witnesses that were in all of Bolivia then have become almost 18,000 today!
Happily, my assignment in Bolivia has been productive. However, I always feel encouraged by the faithfulness of fellow Christians everywhere. We all rejoice at seeing Jehovah’s blessing on the Kingdom-preaching activity. It surely is a delight to have a share in the work of making disciples.—Matthew 28:19, 20.
[Picture on page 13]
Pioneering in Scotland
[Pictures on page 15]
Serving at the branch office in Bolivia; (inset) at the graduation of the 42nd class of Gilead