Friday, July 31, 2009

Yearbook Experiences - Honesty Pays Off

*I was looking for yearbook experiences that tie into the theme of today's text about conducting ourselves "honestly in all things" and there were quite a few good I just randomly picked a few from various countries in the 2009 Yearbook. But after today I wanna go back to the experiences I haven't posted yet from Russia and Germany, because there are some really good ones where even the KGB officers and Nazi's would assign the brothers to duties and positions that they wouldn't assign to any of the other prisoners since they had built up such a good reputation of honesty even during their time in the camps.

(experience of Pavlina Bogoevska on pg 224 of the 2009 Yearbook)
Many times when I was preaching, people reported me to the police, who would take me to the police station, where I was interrogated - sometimes for hours. I was fined many times. In court, I was falsely charged with being a political enemy of the State and of spreading propaganda from the West. Once I was sentenced to 20 days in prison, and another time to 30 days. I was supposed to serve my 20-day prison sentence at the very time we were scheduled to have a district convention. I asked the court to please postpone my sentence; but my request was rejected, so I decided to report to the prison 11 days early. The prison officials were suprised to see me there. They could not believe that anyone would want to go to prison as soon as possible. I had an opportunity to give a witness, and they promised to do all they could to take care of me. Eleven days later a police officer came to the prison to see if I had reported there yet. Imagine his suprise when the prison officials informed him that I had already been there for 11 days! As it turned out, I was able to attend the convention.

*This next story is a great example of how learning about God and the Bible can turn a former thief into an honest man...

Madagascar (pg 44 / 2009 Yearbook)

A circuit overseer and his wife were traveling to a congregation in the countryside. On the way, they encountered a group of cattle thieves armed with axes and spears. After silently praying for courage, the circuit overseer's wife offered them the tract Life in a Peaceful New World. She said: "Today, we live in fear. However, God will soon destroy the wicked and establish a new world where peace will prevail." One of the men listened attentively and accepted the tract. At an assembly a year later, a man approached her and asked if she remembered him. He stated that he was with the thieves she had met on the muddy road and that he was the one who had accepted the tract. Then he explained: "We were returning from a raid when we met you. What you said made me think. I said to myself: 'We are not afraid of policemen and soldiers because we can escape from them. But how can I escape from God if he is going to destroy the wicked ones?' So I decided to make more inquiries. Back home I visited a neighbor who was studying the Bible with a special pioneer. I agreed to study the Bible with him too, and now I am going to be baptized at this assembly."

Rwanda (pg 43 / 2009 Yearbook)

While returning home from school, a nine-year-old girl found a large amount of money in a small bag on the road. Her family, who were studying the Bible with the Witnesses, decided to apply what they had learned from the Bible. So they searched for the owner and returned the money. The owner asked the girl, "If I gave you some money as a reward for your honesty, what would you do with it?" "I would buy a Bible," the girl replied. Suprised, the man said, "I thought you would buy some clothes or shoes because I can see that those you are wearning are very old." The girl insisted that she would prefer to have a Bible. The man wanted to know why the family did not keep the money. After learning that they were studying the Bible with Jehovah's Witnesses, he purchased two Bibles, one for the girl and one for his own family. He also arranged for the Witnesses to visit his family to study the Bible with them. Both families are making good spiritual progress.