In December 2009, as a result of a decision supported by the Russian Supreme Court, the religious organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Taganrog, Russia, was shut down. The Kingdom Hall was taken away from the Witnesses, and 34 of our publications were considered dangerous to the public. A report about this was posted on the official Web site of Jehovah’s Witnesses along with photos of Witnesses in Taganrog, including young children.
A few months later, the Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia received a box and a letter from a Witness family in Queensland, Australia, who had seen the report of the Court’s decision. The letter said: “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.”
When they received the gifts, the children in Taganrog wrote letters and drew pictures to thank the family in Australia. A Witness serving at the Russia branch was so moved by what Cody and Larissa had done that he wrote them a letter. The letter said: “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.” He then thanked them for their love and kindness.
We truly are part of an international family, and our love for one another helps us all to endure life’s trials and difficulties. Jehovah’s Witnesses have been accused of encouraging people to hate one another. But our children in different countries and of different cultures have shown their love and concern for one another. Their attitude shows that Jesus’ words are true: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.”