They Offered Themselves Willingly​—In Ecuador

A YOUNG brother in Italy was under pressure. He had just graduated from high school with the highest grades in his class, and now relatives and teachers were urging him to pursue higher education. Some years earlier, though, Bruno had dedicated himself to Jehovah, promising to put God’s will foremost in his life. What choice did he make? He explains: “I told Jehovah in prayer that I would live up to my dedication and put him first. But I honestly added in my prayer that I wanted, not a dull life, but one filled with a variety of activities in his service.”

 A few years later, Bruno found himself in Ecuador, South America. He says: “Jehovah answered my prayer well beyond my expectations.” To his surprise, when he arrived in Ecuador, he met many other young adults who also had moved there to serve Jehovah to a fuller extent.

YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ‘TEST JEHOVAH OUT’

Bruno, like thousands of other young people around the world, accepted Jehovah’s invitation: “Test me out, please, . . . whether I shall not open to you people the floodgates of the heavens and actually empty out upon you a blessing.” (Mal. 3:10) Moved by love for God, they decided to ‘test Jehovah out’ by willingly offering their time, energy, and resources to support his interests in a country where there is a greater need for Kingdom proclaimers.

Soon after these willing workers arrive in their new assignment, they see firsthand that “the harvest is great, but the workers are few.” (Matt. 9:37) For example, Jaqueline from Germany enthusiastically wrote to the Ecuador branch: “I’ve been serving in Ecuador for just over two years, and I already have 13 Bible studies, 4 of whom attend meetings regularly. Isn’t that great?” Chantal from Canada relates: “In 2008, I moved to an area on Ecuador’s coast where there was only one congregation.  Now there are three congregations and more than 30 pioneers in that area. Nothing compares to seeing so many new ones making progress!” She adds: “I recently moved to a city 9,000 feet (2,743 m) up in the Andes Mountains. The city has over 75,000 inhabitants but only one congregation. It’s such a productive territory! I’m greatly enjoying my ministry.”

THE CHALLENGES INVOLVED

Of course, serving in a foreign country presents significant challenges. In fact, some young people encountered obstacles even before they moved. Kayla from the United States notes: “The negative reaction of some well-meaning brothers back home was discouraging. They didn’t understand why I wanted to move to a foreign country to pioneer. At times, it made me wonder, ‘Am I making the right decision?’” Even so, Kayla decided to move. She explains: “Many prayers to Jehovah and long conversations with mature brothers and sisters helped me to see that Jehovah blesses a willing spirit.”

For many, learning a new language is an obstacle. Siobhan from Ireland remembers: “It was hard for me not to be able to express myself. I had to learn to be patient, study the language diligently, and laugh at myself when I made mistakes.” Anna from Estonia adds: “Getting used to the tropical heat, lots of dust, and a lack of hot showers was nothing compared to learning Spanish. At times, I felt like giving up. I had to learn to focus on my progress, not on my errors.”

Not to be overlooked is the challenge of homesickness. Jonathan from the United States admits: “Shortly after arriving I became discouraged because of being separated from my friends and family. But I overcame those feelings by concentrating on my personal Bible study and the ministry. Before long, the thrilling experiences I had in the field and the new friends I made in the congregation helped me to regain my joy.”

Another challenge is the living conditions. Likely, they will not be the same as what you are  accustomed to. Beau from Canada tells us: “In your home country, you take for granted such basic services as electricity and running water. But here, these things come and go as they please.” Poverty, uncomfortable modes of transportation, and illiteracy are also common in many developing lands. Ines from Austria copes with such conditions by focusing on the positive qualities of the local people. “They are so hospitable, gentle, helpful, and humble,” she says. “Most of all, they have a huge interest in learning more about God.”

“A BLESSING UNTIL THERE IS NO MORE WANT”

While all these young adults serving in Ecuador have made sacrifices, they find that Jehovah provides “more than superabundantly beyond all the things” they ever expected. (Eph. 3:20) Indeed, they feel that they have received “a blessing until there is no more want.” (Mal. 3:10) Here is how they feel about their ministry:

Bruno: “I began my service here in Ecuador in the intriguing Amazon region. Later, I helped with the expansion of the Ecuador branch office. Now I’m serving at Bethel. Back in Italy, I made the choice to put Jehovah first, and he is truly fulfilling my desire for an exciting, varied life in his service.”

Beau: “I have grown so much closer to Jehovah because in Ecuador I can devote all my time to spiritual activities. At the same time, I have the added blessing of traveling to fascinating places​—something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Anna: “I didn’t think it was possible for me, a single sister, to enjoy a life like that of a missionary. But now I know that it is possible. Thanks to Jehovah’s blessing, I am so happy making disciples, building Kingdom Halls, and making new friends.”

Elke: “In my home country of Austria, I often prayed to Jehovah for just one Bible study. Here, I have 15 Bible studies! Seeing the happy faces of progressive students gives me so much satisfaction.”

Joel: “It’s a great experience to arrive in an unknown place to serve Jehovah. You learn to rely on him so much more, and it’s exciting to see his blessing on your efforts! In my first year here from the United States, the group where I’m serving grew from 6 to 21 publishers. We had a Memorial attendance of 110.”

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Young brothers and sisters, do your circumstances allow you to serve in a land where there is a greater need for Kingdom proclaimers? Of course, making a big decision like that will require careful planning. Above all else, a strong love for Jehovah and neighbor is necessary for such a move. If you have that love and otherwise qualify, pray earnestly to Jehovah about this matter of serving abroad. Further, talk to your Christian parents and the congregation elders about your desire. You may come to the conclusion that you too can have a share in this exciting and satisfying form of sacred service.

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“Many prayers to Jehovah and long conversations with mature brothers and sisters helped me to see that Jehovah blesses a willing spirit.”​—Kayla from the United States

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How to prepare for serving in a foreign country

• Establish strong personal study habits

• Review the August 2011 Our Kingdom Ministry, pages 4-6

• Talk to others who have served in a foreign land

• Research the culture and history of the country

• Take a basic language course

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Some who serve abroad support themselves financially by . . .

• working a few months each year in their home country

• renting out their house, apartment, or business

• working via the Internet

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1 Jaqueline from Germany

2 Bruno from Italy

3 Beau from Canada

4 Siobhan from Ireland

5 Joel from the United States

6 Jonathan from the United States

7 Anna from Estonia

8 Elke from Austria

9 Chantal from Canada

10 Ines from Austria