NA WHEN I dey 12 years I first know sey I get better thing to give people. For one assembly, one brother ask me if I go like to preach. I sey, “Yes,” even if I never preach before. We come go the territory go preach and e give me small small book wey talk about God Kingdom. E tell me sey, “Go preach for people wey dey that side, then I go preach for this side.” Even though I dey fear, I come start to preach from house to house. I surprise sey e no tey before I place all the book wey dey with me. True true, many people want wetin I dey give.
Na 1923 dem born me for Chatham, Kent, England. I grow for where life don tire people. People think sey life go better after World War 1 but e no happen like that. My papa and mama no happy with the Baptist pastor dem wey dey think of only theirself. When I dey around nine years, my mama start to go where International Bible Students Association (wey dem come dey call Jehovah Witness) dey do their meeting or “class.” One sister use Bible and the book The Harp of God take teach us Bible lesson. I like wetin e teach us.
WETIN I LEARN FROM BROTHERS WEY SENIOR ME
When I dey between 13 and 19 years, e dey sweet me to tell people about how God go make their tomorrow better. Many times, na only me dey go preaching. But if I follow person waka, I dey learn from am. For example, e get one day wey me and one brother wey senior me dey ride bicycle go territory. As we pass one pastor I come sey, “See one goat.” The brother stop im bicycle, come tell me sey make I sitdown on top one wood with am. E sey: “Na you dey judge who be goat? Make e sweet us to dey preach the good news give people; na that one concern us. Na Jehovah go judge.” Wetin I learn that time help me know sey na when person dey give people something, e dey happy pass when dem give am.—Matt. 25:31-33; Acts 20:35.
Another brother wey senior me still teach me sey, for person to still happy when e dey give people something, e need to dey patient sometimes. The brother wife no like Jehovah Witness people. E get one time wey e invite me come im house for small chop chop. Because e don dey preaching since, the wife vex for the brother well well; e vex sotey e come dey stone us with packet of tea. Instead of the brother to vex, e just dey smile as e dey put the tea back for the packet. After some years, because the brother dey patient, im wife come baptize as Jehovah Witness.
Preaching come dey hungry me more more. So, for March 1940 me and my mama come baptize for Dover. For September 1939, when I dey 16 years, Britain don already talk sey dem go fight war with Germany. I dey front of our house, for June 1940, when I see many soldier for inside lorry. Dem no die for the Battle of Dunkirk war wey dem go fight. But the things wey happen for the war still dey worry dem for mind. E hungry me to tell dem about God Kingdom because dem no be like people wey get hope. Before that year end, bomb start to land for Britain anyhow. Every night I dey see plenty Germany soldier wey dey throw bomb as their aeroplane dey pass our area. The sound wey the bomb dey make as e dey fall, dey make person fear well well. When morning reach, na house wey don scatter you go see for everywhere. All this things make me see sey na only God Kingdom fit give me better tomorrow.
HOW I START TO GIVE
Na for 1941 I really start to live the kind life wey don make me happy well well. That time, I dey learn how to make and repair ship for the Royal Dockyard wey dey Chatham. People like this work because gain dey inside. Before that time, Jehovah Witness people don sabi sey Christian no suppose fight war. But around 1941, we come know sey e no good to work for where dem dey make things wey dem take dey fight war. (John 18:36) Because dem dey make submarine (plane wey dey carry bomb for under water) for where I dey work, I come tell myself sey time don reach for me to leave that work come enter full-time preaching work. Where dem first send me go preach dey Cirencester, one fine town for Cotswolds.
When I reach 18 years, dem put me for prison for nine months because I no gree do military work. Fear enter my body as dem close the door for the prison and dem leave only me for there. But e no tey wey the police and other people wey dey the prison, come dey ask me why I dey there. I come use the chance take preach to dem and e make me happy.
After I comot for prison, I follow Leonard Smith * dey preach for different different town wey dey Kent, where we come from. From 1944, dem come dey bomb Kent with many many jet plane wey bomb full inside. Dem dey fly pass where we dey—between where Nazi dey control for Europe and London. Dem dey call the plane doodlebugs. Fear dey well well because almost every time, we dey hear the sound of the plane engine when e off. Then as e dey reach ground, e go bomb. We conduct study with five people wey dey one family. Sometimes we dey sitdown under one iron table wey dem make so that if the house fall, e no go fall on top dem. Everybody for that family come later baptize.
I GO OTHER COUNTRY GO PREACH
After the war, I pioneer for two years for southern Ireland. That time we no know sey Ireland different from England. We go people house dey tell dem sey we be missionary, make we fit get where we go put head; we even give people our magazine for street. But because Ireland na Catholic country, e come be like sey, ‘trouble dey sleep yanga go wake am.’ I go report give police when one man threaten us, but the police sey, “Wetin you think before?” Na that time we know sey the priest dem dey control the area. Dem make sure sey dem sack anybody wey collect our book and sey we comot from where we dey stay.
We come later learn for our new place sey if we want preach, e better to go area wey get another priest. People wey dey our area come be the last people wey we preach to. For Kilkenny, even though sey people dey threaten us, we still study with one man wey dey around 20 years three times every week. Preaching sweet me well well sotey I sey I want go Watchtower Bible School of Gilead make dem train me as missionary.
After dem train us for five month for New York, dem come send me and three people wey dem train go some small small island wey dey the Caribbean Sea. For November 1948, we use one 59-foot (18 m) boat wey dem dey call Sibia, travel comot from New York. Body sweet me because I never use boat travel before. Gust Maki, one of the people wey dem train for Gilead School, sabi how to drive boat well well. E teach us some small small things about how to drive boat; things like, how to carry the cloth go up and how to bring am come down, how to go where you want go, and how to dodge strong breeze wey want blow your boat face another road. Brother Gust drive our boat well for 30 days pass strong breeze and rain until we reach Bahamas area.
‘TELL PEOPLE WEY DEY ISLAND’
We first preach for the small small island wey dey Bahamas for some month. Then we use boat travel go Leeward Island and Windward Island. This two Island reach around 500 miles (800 km), from Virgin Island wey near Puerto Rico go nearly reach Trinidad. Na five years we use preach for different different island wey Jehovah Witness people no dey. E get sometimes wey we go dey there for some week and we no fit send or receive letter. Even with that one, e dey sweet us well well to tell people wey dey the island wetin Jehovah talk!—Jer. 31:10.
When we park our boat for any village wey we reach, the people go run come and dem go gather dey look. Some of dem never see oyibo before or the kind boat wey we carry. The people for the island sabi make friend with person and dem sabi Bible. Many times, dem dey dash us fresh fish, avocado, and groundnut. Our boat no too get space for person to sleep, cook, or wash cloth, but we dey manage am.
For the whole day, we dey move the boat from one place go another place go visit people. We dey tell dem make dem come hear talk from Bible. Then when evening reach, we go ring the bell wey dey the boat. You need to see when the people dey come hear the talk! The light for their lamp dey shine like star as dem dey waka on top the hill dey come. Sometimes, the people dey plenty reach hundred and dem go dey ask question till night reach. Because dem dey like to sing, we come type some of our Kingdom song share give dem. The four of us go sing the song. Then the people go come join us sing and their sweet voice dey rhyme with our own. See as e make sense!
After we conduct study with some of our student finish, dem dey follow us go study with other student. If we dey comot for where we don stay for some week, sometimes we dey tell some of dem wey serious to help us study with other student till we come back. Some of dem no dey take this work wey we give dem play. E dey make us happy!
Today, many of those place wey we go na busy place wey people dey come visit well well, but that time na only river, sand sand, and palm tree full there. E dey normal for us to use boat travel from island to island for night. Big big fish dey swim come near our boat, and you go just dey hear the sound of the stick wey we take dey move the boat as e dey nack the water. The way moon dey shine on top the river come make am be like road wey dem use silver make.
We come go Puerto Rico go change our boat to engine boat, after we don preach for those island for five years. When we reach Puerto Rico I see one fine sister wey be missionary and I come love am. Im name na Maxine Boyd. E don tey wey e start to preach and e dey preach well well. After, e do missionary work for Dominican Republic until 1950 wey the Catholic government wey dey there, come tell am make e comot for the country. Because I be person wey dey work for inside ship, I fit stay for Puerto Rico for only one month. E no go tey, I go travel again go the island dem go preach and I go dey there for some years. Na im I tell myself sey, “Ronald, hmm, if you want this girl, make you do something sharp sharp.” After three weeks I come tell Maxine sey I want marry am, and after six weeks we marry. Me and Maxine come do missionary work together for Puerto Rico, so I no come travel with the new boat.
For 1956, we enter circuit work and we start to visit different different congregation. Many of the brothers no get money, but we still like to visit dem. For example, for one village wey be Potala Pastillo, I dey like to blow flute give two Jehovah Witness family wey get plenty pikin. I come ask one of the small girls wey im name na Hilda, if e go like to follow us preach. E sey: “I for like o, but I no get shoe.” When we come buy shoe for am, e start to follow us preach. After some years when me and Maxine visit Bethel wey dey Brooklyn for 1972, one sister wey just finish from Gilead School come meet us. The sister don dey prepare to go where dem send am go for Ecuador. E tell us sey: “Una remember me so? Na me be that small girl for Pastillo wey no get shoe.” Na Hilda! Na so we just dey happy together sotey we come dey cry!
For 1960, we come dey stay Puerto Rico branch, wey dey two story building for Santurce, San Juan. When we start, na me and Lennart Johnson dey do almost all the work. Na im and im wife be the first Jehovah Witness for Dominican Republic, and na 1957 dem come Puerto Rico. After, na Maxine come dey arrange our magazine wey dem go send every month give people wey need am. E dey arrange pass one thousand every week. E like this work well well because wetin dey im mind na the people wey want learn about Jehovah.
Bethel life sweet me well well because wetin person dey always get for mind na to help people. But no be every time things easy. For example, when dem want do the first international assembly for Puerto Rico for 1967, the work wey dem give me reach me for neck. Nathan Knorr, wey dey direct the work wey Jehovah people dey do that time, come Puerto Rico. E think sey I forget to arrange transport for the missionary dem wey dey come, but I don arrange am. E come give me strong ‘counsel’ sey make I dey arrange things well and sey e no like wetin I do. I no want drag with am, but the thing pain me and e dey my mind for some time because the matter no be as e reason am. But when me and Maxine see Brother Knorr another time, e invite us come im room and e cook for us.
When we dey Puerto Rico, sometimes we dey go visit my family people for England. My papa no join Jehovah Witness the time wey me and my mama join. But anytime brothers from Bethel come give talk for our congregation, my mama dey arrange make dem stay for our house. My papa come see sey this elders from Bethel no be like the pastor dem wey dey do wetin dey make am vex that time. E come happen sey, for 1962, e baptize as Jehovah Witness.
Maxine my wife, wey I love well well, come die for 2011. E dey do me like sey make resurrection just reach so that I go see am again. E dey make me happy to know sey I go see am again! For all the 58 years wey me and Maxine dey Puerto Rico, we see how Jehovah people just dey plenty dey go, from around 650 go reach 26,000! Then for 2013, branch office for Puerto Rico come join with branch office for United States. Na so I take go Wallkill, New York. After 60 years wey I don stay for Puerto Rico, I come be like indigene. But as e come be, I need to comot.
‘GOD LOVE PERSON WEY DEY HAPPY TO GIVE’
I still dey bethel dey serve Jehovah and I dey enjoy am. I don pass 90 years and my work na to give advice wey go help brothers and sisters for Bethel. I don visit pass 600 people since I come Wallkill. Some people wey dey come visit me want talk about wetin dey worry dem for mind or about family problem. Others want make I advise dem about how dem fit dey do their work well for Bethel. Even people wey just marry and some brothers wey dem change their assignment want make I advise dem. I dey listen to everybody wey want talk to me, and sometimes I dey tell dem sey: “‘God love person wey dey happy to give with all im mind.’ So make you dey happy dey do your work. Na Jehovah work.”—2 Cor. 9:7.
If you want enjoy Jehovah work, whether you dey Bethel or anywhere, you need to remember why the work wey you dey do dey good. Everything wey we dey do for Bethel na to worship Jehovah. And we dey use am support ‘the better slave wey get sense and wey dem fit trust’ as dem dey teach all of us for the whole world. (Matt. 24:45) Anywhere wey we stay dey serve Jehovah, we get many ways to praise am. Make we happy dey do anything wey Jehovah sey make we do, because ‘God love person wey dey happy to give.’
^ par. 13 The story about Leonard Smith life dey for The Watchtower of April 15, 2012.