Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Yearbook Experiences - Dace & Yelena

(experiences of Dace Puncule & Yelena Godlevskaya from pgs 210 & 211 of the 2007 Yearbook)

*When it comes to children of Jehovah's Witnesses, the area of blood transfusions, and national ceremonies or holidays tends to be the most misunderstood areas of our beliefs that get people fired up because they may only hear rumors and not the whole story. For those of us who've been raised as Witnesses we don't ever seem to have issues in these areas, until an aggressive teacher or classmate or medical professional who doesn't respect or understand our beliefs, turns it into an issue. Usually thats when things become a problem, or in Yelena's case - fatal. Its important for people to know 'the other side of the story' and see the negative consequences that can happen when school age children or underage teens have things imposed on them against their will.

In 1993 four music students in Jelgava had their faith tested when their choir was assigned to sing at an Independence Day festival. Though new in the truth, the girls resolved to please God. Hence, they wrote to the choir director, respectfully asking to be excused from that event because of their Christian conscience. How did the director respond? He wrote an ultimatum to the girls’ parents, stating that either the students sing or the school would expel them. Like the three Hebrews, the girls obeyed Jehovah. (Daniel 3:14, 15, 17; Acts 5:29)
Dace Puncule was one of those girls. She reflects: “Prayer to God and the support of the brothers helped us to stay faithful. We were expelled, but I have never regretted standing firm for the truth. Indeed, Jehovah has taken good care of me. After just a few months, I found work at a law office, and the experience I gained there later helped me at Bethel, where I have served since 2001.”
The blood issue has also tested the integrity of some. On September 6, 1996, Yelena Godlevskaya, a 17-year-old girl who was hit by a car, suffered multiple fractures to the pelvis. Spiritually mature, Yelena had determined in her heart to abstain from blood. (Acts 15:29) Back then, most doctors in Latvia were unfamiliar with nonblood techniques, so the attending doctors refused to perform corrective surgery. Then about a week later, two doctors cruelly forced a blood transfusion on Yelena late one night, and she died.
Marina, Yelena’s mother, was not yet a Witness. Marina says: “It was amazing to see my daughter’s strong faith in Jehovah and in his promises. She did not compromise.” Now baptized, Marina and her family look forward to embracing Yelena in the resurrection. (Acts 24:15)

*since this week's biblestudy lesson focuses on the sacredness of blood, (which is an area that alot of people misunderstand about our beliefs - or think we're fanatics because we don't accept blood transfusions), I wanted to post some extra links that show the alternatives available to us, and the various health benefits of bloodless surgery. Many people aren't aware of the progress thats been made in this field, or know that even the medical community itself acknowledges the benefits of bloodless surgery and would like to see it become the new standard for everyone.

Blood Transfusion Alternatives (Video download from the Watchtower's main site)
San Antonio Hospital (news story about a JW patient which also shows the health benefits and cost-effectiveness of having bloodless surgery - click on the video icon to watch the newsclip)