Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Bigger Picture

Instead of posting a yearbook experience today, I wanted to share an excerpt related by Br Kempler during his imprisonment in Nazi concentration camps. Br Kempler is the Jewish brother who was featured on this PBS documentary "Knocking" that I posted awhile back. The Jehovah's Witnesses in the camp had an entirely different experience than the Jews and the others who were imprisoned within the same camp. The contrast really demonstrates not only the power of Jehovah's ability to protect and safeguard us 'mentally' under trials, but also demonstrates how humans have the ability to CHOOSE to display love vs hatred, even under the worst, most severe circumstances.

Ok this gave me chills...In one of the camps Br Kempler was in, the Nazi's actually had a seperate containment area just for the Jehovah's Witnesses with extra barbed wire fence INSIDE the camp ... do you know why? So they couldn't get out and talk with the other prisoners to ENCOURAGE them! Anytime a Witness prisoner was around others in the camp they would try to boost their morale by sharing passages from the Bible, and giving them hope by telling them about the future blessings under God's Kingdom and the Paradise. Br Kempler said that the Jewish prisoners were so demoralized and beat down by the Nazi's attempt to "break them," that many felt like animals and no longer human. Some reached such a low point that they would steal food from their own family members or betray them in order to survive. He said that he never spoke with a Jehovah's Witness during his whole stay in the camp, but he would see them and hear rumors circulating about why they were there. He said that just their presence, and knowing that there were actually human beings with such strong faith and conviction in God and love for other people, who would willingly subject themselves to treatment even more brutal than what the Jewish prisoners experienced, actually began to revitalize the other prisoners and fortify them to try and stay alive.
No one could understand why they wouldn't sign a document which would have given them their freedom at any time. Br Kempler said that when the other prisoners were discussing it, they thought the Witnesses must be crazy since they all admitted they would have given anything to sign it and walk out if they could. So even though they never spoke, just the conduct of those brothers and sisters (which everyone in the camp heard about) was enough to give the other prisoners HOPE, and a reason to live, knowing that even when the Witnesses had that document denouncing their God and the brotherhood shoved in their face every single day, they still stood firm and refused to sign it.

So here's where 'the bigger picture' comes in. Not only did those terrible circumstances allow the brothers and sisters the opportunity to demonstrate their unbreakable loyalty to God. But many of the people who came in contact with Jehovah's Witnesses during those times, have admitted that they would have never met them or heard the truth about the Bible unless they had been forcibly imprisoned together, or met them in some other unusual circumstance. (Especially in the case of the Witnesses who were deported to Siberia). So thats an important thing for all of us to remember when we go through trials, or when it comes to why Jehovah allows negative situations to come upon us. We may not understand it at the time, but those adverse circumstances can actually play a large part in accomplishing the spreading of the good news in ways we could never do by just going door to door (especially in lands under ban)