In December 2009, the Russian Supreme Court upheld a decision that resulted in the liquidation of the local religious organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Taganrog, Russia, confiscation of the Kingdom Hall, and a declaration that 34 of our publications were considered to be extremist. This startling development was posted on the official Web site of Jehovah’s Witnesses along with photos of Witnesses affected by the decision, including young children.
A few months later, the Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia received a box and the following letter from a Witness family in Queensland, Australia, who had seen the report of the Court’s decision: “Dear Brothers, Our children, Cody and Larissa, were very touched by the faith and trials of the friends in Russia. They have written cards and letters, and we have made up a small package of gifts that we would like to send to the children in Taganrog, just to let them know that very far away, there are other children who also faithfully serve Jehovah and who are thinking of them. They send them all a big hug and their love.”
Upon receiving the gifts, the children in Taganrog wrote illustrated thank-you letters to the family in Australia. Moved by the expressions of encouragement from “out of the mouth of children,” a Witness serving at the Russia branch wrote to Cody and Larissa: “You can imagine how unpleasant it is for both children and adults when they are punished for something that they have not done. Our brothers and sisters in Taganrog have done nothing wrong, but their Kingdom Hall was taken away. This has made them very sad. It will be encouraging for them to know that someone from the other side of the world is thinking of them. Thank you for your warm and generous spirit!”
We truly are part of a worldwide brotherhood, and our love for one another helps us all to cope with life’s trials and difficulties. While courtrooms debate whether the publications of Jehovah’s Witnesses incite hatred, our children quietly express their concern for one another’s welfare, transcending national and cultural boundaries and demonstrating the truth of Jesus’ words: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.”