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Experience from Australia

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Dear friends:

This year is already almost half over, the district conventions have begun. And already I've had a "pronouncement" about the convention that I know you will want to read. Are you ready? A sister in Florida wrote: Went to the District Convention this past weekend. Wonderful. Better than wonderful. What an encouragement. I truly needed it. Hope to go again in July with a friend in the Gainesville area where she is assigned. So don't those words encourage all of us to get there!

You know Jehovah's spirit must guide us at times to say things we later wonder: Where did that come from? Here is an example from Canada as told by a brother in Campbell River, B. C.

I just got in from our two day assembly, "Safeguard Your Spirituality". Before I turn in I wanted to share a very touching experience that was related yesterday afternoon.

Brother Maze is a lovely brother from the north end of the Island. He has a thick English accent and a very bubbly personality. He related the following experience he had a year or two back.

He was doing a large commercial carpet cleaning job in Victoria where he had to stretch his hoses across a public sidewalk. He noticed a very elderly woman inching her way along the sidewalk towards his hoses so he decided that instead of beginning his job he'd wait for her and help her around the hoses. When she got to him he asked her, "Would you like to go over or under the hoses?"

She answered, "I think under would be easier for me."

He then said to her, "If you go under you have to make a wish."

She laughed out loud and said, "I haven't made a wish since I was a little girl."

Brother Maze replied, "Well today you're going to make a wish."

So Brother Maze holds the hoses high above his head while she shuffled along under them. Then he lowers them and asks the woman, "So what did you wish for?"

She stops and looks at our brother and says, "I wished that I could live forever."

At this point in the experience the entire audience gasps.

Brother Maze says to the woman, "Mame, today is your lucky day. Wait right there."

He returns from his work vehicle with the tract on living forever in paradise and gives a witness to this lady. She in turn gives him her phone number and permission to have someone call on her. Since he wasn't from Victoria he forwarded her number to the brothers and they called and shared our hope with her. Apparently she passed away just weeks after this but like Brother Maze said, she knew her wish would come true.

It was unbelievable to hear, it still sends chills down my spine. I just had to share it. (End of letter from Canada)

You will thoroughly enjoy the experience two brothers had in Australia. Please note their very fine reasoning and the good news they share:

Here in Australia we have had an all-time new peak of 64,801 publishers including 3 new ones in our own congregation of Helensvale on Queensland's Gold Coast.

Now I have an experience for you. Two weeks ago a local brother and I had the privilege of witnessing to a Medical Doctor whose initial response was courteous, he was composed, a Muslim, but "no thanks". I detected he felt hesitant about something, we turned and began to leave, walking down his driveway he called out to us with ".I do have a question for you" we paused and turned toward him" why." he continued "why does God say no blood?" His countenance had changed, he had a pleading in his eyes and he wanted to know right now the truth! He had already divulged he was Muslim, a doctor and now the blood issue!... I thought. this is going to be good! How that moment inspired me.

We walked up to greet him once more in an entirely different light- I felt a sense of awe to feel and see Jehovah's holy spirit act on someone before our very eyes.

In the discussion that followed we were to learn that he had retired from his practice due to his own ill health. I remember thinking to myself. "others he saved, but himself he cannot save" -not scripturally relevant but pertinent to his predicament. We were then able to share thoughts on the choices of non-blood medical management and contrast a few case scenarios such as Pope John Paul contracting Hepatitus C through transfused blood. But rather than continuing into a protracted medical discussion we brought out that our main reason for abstaining from blood was not so much that it was "unhealthy" but that it was "unholy" He showed utmost respect for the Bible as we shared several scriptures that emphatically state "no blood" He had never seen that in God's word before.

His response was remarkable "if God says so, then that is it" "but why did God say so? What is more important life or blood?" Remember that this man is a surgeon.

We drew attention to his car in the driveway and the owners handbook that would be in the glovebox, written by it's maker. He saw the parallel we were making with the Bible as our handbook from our maker before we finished explaining it!

We all agreed that Jehovah was our maker the "supreme doctor" and that by contrast many procedures and medications once commonly practiced have now been superseded or even condemned by the medical fraternity as superior knowledge became available. To us the Bible is that superior knowledge, something our learned friend acknowledged too.

We have arranged to return with the societies' DVD and website links to Transfusion-Alternative Strategies. One day with Jehovah's help, our Muslim Doctor may come to appreciate more about our creators guide for a healthy life now and for an everlasting future.

Then quite naturally a comedy act followed in the true Australian tradition as we said our goodbyes. Since the brother and I shared the same first name there was a little comedy of errors ending with the doctor only having to remember one name, which he called out loudly to us both as he laughed goodbye. Such was the change in the man that day. (End of letter from Australia)

You will certainly enjoy this letter that came from a sister who is serving down in the island of Jamaica. Evidently she is out in the country, so away from the violence that has engulfed that island the past few days--and she works with sign language. Here are portions of what she sent:

The ministry has been really great. We've been having some adventures in the service. For example, my one study Eloreen, is an unbaptized publisher. She's in her 60's and only does country sign. But she's as strong as a Norwegian Fjord. We walk up and down hills and valleys visiting other deaf people.

One day we were taking a short cut to get to her sister who is deaf. We were following this little trail through bush and old abandoned houses and came right into an old sweet potato garden. Right in the middle was a bull tied to who knows what. At first it didn't seem like it was paying us any mind, but Eloreen is deadly afraid of cows, bulls, anything big with horns. We had to walk WAY around it off the path and finally we met up with the path. But when we looked back, the bull started walking toward us. So Eloreen started running, got stuck in some barb wire and almost fell into a gully. After we calmed her down we untangled her and continued on our way. We had almost reach the main road, when what do you know. Another bull was tied near the path. Now we were stuck between two bulls. Eloreen backed away. The other sister with us thought he'd be fine if we just stay to the other side. She started to walk towards him, and he started to get frisky and his back got all bristled up. I yelled"Come Back!! Come Back!!" Who knows how good the rope is if he started to charge toward us. When I looked back to check on Eloreen I thought what in the world!! Eloreen was taking off her clothes!! Her belt was on the ground and her skirt was about to come off. She thought it was her red skirt that triggered the bull to come toward us. I told her "no no put your clothes back on!" Needless to say we had to turn back. We went a different way bypassing the other bull and started walking through a field. The grass was up to our hips. I thought to myself what a funny picture! If anyone saw us they would think we had gone out of our mind. Two white girls and a little old deaf lady walking in the field in our service clothes. And sure enough, there was a couple standing under a mango tree watching us the whole time. We finally reached the main road, an hour later, and we all had a good laugh about it!! We did reach to her sister's safe and had a good discussion.

Another study, Novalett, is doing good too. Before she ws involved with a spiritistic practice that is common here. She had tied empty soda bottles filled with water onto her bushes around her house as a protection against any duppy(the spirit of a dead person). When we reached that part in the God's Friend dvd, we discussed that. After telling her the danger of doing that and how Jehovah feels about it, I encouraged her to pray to JH and take the bottles down. Sure enough, the next week we came back and her trees were empty, all to JH's praise. She is making good progress. On Thursdays she leaves her house around 3 to reach to meeting on time. She's in her 60's too and has to walk a long ways. But she's always one of the first one's there.

Going to assembly is a lot of fun too. The deaf really look forward to it. The elder who takes the lead in our group has a van, but it can't hold everyone who wants to go. So another Brother lets us use his van, which I get to drive. Watch out Jamaica!!!:) We have to leave out around 5 to start pick up people. We drive all the way down to the sea and then way back up in the mountains. It took us an hour and a half just to pick up everyone and then another 2 hours to get to the assembly hall. Then once we reach it's like a big family reunion in the deaf section. We all get to see the friends from the other groups. It's very exciting!! (End of letter from Jamaica)

Even in death ones can cause praise! This letter concerns a young 17-year old boy who lived in Venus, Texas, about 30 minutes from Dallas. He was killed as he rode his bicycle--but I'll let this letter explain more:

I have to tell you about what happened to Debra. She has a sister (Patty) who is trying to come back into the truth, and they live in a small town near Dallas. Patty lives with another sister of Debra's who seems to hate the Witnesses. Patty has a 17 year old son, Brandon, that was riding his bike with his friend when on Sunday, May 16th, they were hit by a drunk driver. Patty's son was killed. Immediately, the Witnesses were there at her side, Debra got there the next day and the Witnesses were there to greet her. The hostile sister kept cursing Jehovah, yelling at Debra, Patty and the Witness sister. Debra and the Witness sister would each time put their heads together and pray together. When they would do that, this woman would choke on her words so bad that she couldn't say anything more. This happened several times. The town is about the size of Marble Falls. A Black elder gave the Memorial service. There were three thousand people there to hear the talk, because it was on the front page of the newspaper. The whole town shut down, schools closed and businesses shut their doors for the memorial. The brothers printed the talk and gave a copy to all in attendance, also a copy of the two songs that were sung, praising Jehovah. All in attendance sang loud. The sister that was hostile kept yelling out obscene curse words to the speaker, calling him a "{removed by moderator}" and worse. The brother continued. The minister of her church got up and went over to her and told her to shut up, then sat down beside her to make sure. Then afterwards the minister went to the brother and told him that he never realized that Jehovah's Witnesses believed this way and he could tell that God was with them because of the love that he observed. The brothers had literature there to distribute and six Bible Studies were requested, one being the boys's father. Lots of literature was placed. The next day, there was a Memorial service held at the football stadium and there was

5000 there. This was given by the school. Can you imagine all these worldly people singing praises to Jehovah? Debra said that there was about 50 witnesses there. Wouldn't you love to be there to work the territory after this happened. Debra said that these people kept coming up and hugging and saying that was the most comforting message that they had ever heard. Does Jehovah know how to take care of his people and use a situation for a great witness? Yes, in an amazing way. (End of letter)

Friends, if I don't stop now this letter will get long. Yet, how can I not comment on the daily happenings around us and contrast it with the "light" that helps us endure. We are not in darkness as to why these things are happening. And to help you appreciate the spirit of the people around us I must include a note from a brother in South Africa, that also includes a comment from a young brother (this was written just after the Memorial):

You'll notice though that despite the difficulty of the times in which we find ourselves, the reports that follow indicate Jehovah's united blessing on all our efforts, and it gives us great joy to see Him get all the glory for what he is accomplishing through us fragile vessels! Indeed happy is the people whose God is Jehovah! (PS 144:15) Do we sometimes take that for granted, especially among the friends within our own congregation? Well, I must admit that I sometimes take it for granted, but the words of one of our young ministerial servants really made me think twice about doing so again. Read what he said, and see if you don't agree:-

Being an attendant at the memorial for the first time made me realize how many "outsiders" actually come to the memorial - I had to greet each one. I couldn't believe how weighed down they looked, like they're carrying the world on their shoulders

(maybe the spirit of the world). I remember feeling that way. And even though our brothers are suffering with many problems, they look light and happy! (End of note from South Africa)

Ok, really, this is the last letter. It is so beautiful that I have to share it--because of the poem.

I am an 82 year old sister who learned the truth back in September of 1950 along with my husband. Two sisters, Irene and Jean, who get your wonderfully encouraging emails send them on to me. We are all in Alberta, Canada, and Irene and I live in the same apartment building for seniors. Anyway, what you said at the end of the May 17 email about us needing to hug more and look after each other more made me realize I must send you a poem written shortly after 9/11 that encourages the same action. I was new to email, and some American sister sent in an email some thoughts that a summary of eventually came to me. So I do not know her. But I have written poetry for about 75 years, and word pictures get me started. Even illustrations in Gilead graduation talks often inspire a poem. Anyway, she said that the horror of 9/11 meant that the friends needed to draw closer to each other just like a sheep's fleece touching the fleece of another sheep. She also said we should not let differences cause us to get irritated, but let love overcome things that could keep us from drawing closer. If she happens to be on your long list of those who get your emails, and sees the poem, I want her to know she inspired it, and I don't want credit for thinking up the concept. If you do pass it on, please leave my name off. My husband died faithful 2 years ago this month, and for the last year Jehovah has helped me to regularly Aux. pio. in a wonderfully spiritual congregation with many pioneers. You should hear us sing the superbly spiritual new songs! In this city of Calgary it is the "foreign language" congregations that have been growing in numbers the fastest, so that even the sign language group will become a congregation this June 1. With you, basking in the Agape love that never fails.

Fleece Touching Fleece

As this old system nears its end

Dear ones, what can we do?

The loyal Love shown by each one

Can bind us just like glue.

Since we are sheep within one fold

And must be found in peace,

O let us draw so close to each

That we can feel their fleece.

We'll need besides the spirit's fruits

True mercy to display.

Christ Jesus urges all of us:

"The Golden Rule obey:

We can't just say `keep warm, well fed,'

When brothers have real needs.

Don't orphans, widows, homeless ones

Deserve our selfless deeds?"

If some at first seem rough to touch,

That need not cause distress:

Long-suffering will rub it off

When wrapped in kindliness.

Safe under our Fine Shepherd's care,

United hearts aglow,

Fleece touching fleece, his peaceful flock

With joy will overflow.

M. C.

I know if you got this far then you've done well in reading this letter. I hope it has truly been encouraging to you in many ways and yes, the trials in the world are many and varied--and all affect our brothers in some ways. Many disasters are striking--some that we do not even seem to hear about. For example, I wonder about the terrible flooding right now in Poland and our br

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The first account about the old lady was sweet.

The second account about the doctor had a line in it that is really the pivotal point in the blood issue. It said "our main reason for abstaining from blood was not so much that it was "unhealthy" but that it was "unholy"". I have opposing family members who like to mindlessly chant about how blood saves lives. Well, yes, it does... or rather it can. But that is not the issue at all.

I am not sure what the point of the sister undressing for the bull was.

And regarding the multiple memorial services for the kid who died, 3000 one day and 5000 in attendance the next day, the majority being worldly people singing Kingdom songs, even at the service at the school on the 2nd day where only 50 Witnesses were in attendance... I'm not buying this one at all. For starters, it makes a point about mentioning the elder was black and a lady was shouting the 'N' word during his memorial discourse. I edited that out above, Joseph. I'm not sure if you caught that or not. Also, it mentions that this took place near Dallas in a town about the size of Marble Falls, yet doesn't tell us where it actually took place. If it can give us the names of nearby towns, why not the name of the town it supposedly took place in. This latter one is definitely a sign of an urban legend.

I would be cautious as to which of these I would want to spread around.


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