Sunday, September 20, 2009

Yearbook Experiences - Zeblon Nxumalo

(experience of Zeblon Nxumalo on pgs 126-128 of the 2007 Yearbook)

After assisting with the construction of the Krugersdorp Bethel, my pioneer partner and I were assigned to serve where the need was greater in the KwaNdengezi township, near the port city of Durban. A few days after our arrival, a political group sent five of their youths to our home on a fact-finding mission. They asked us to support them in protecting the township from a rival political group. The animosity between these two Zulu-speaking groups had caused much bloodshed in that region of South Africa. We asked them what they thought was the solution to this violence. They said that the main cause was white man’s rulership. We referred to other war-ravaged countries in Africa whose citizens were poverty-stricken. Then we reminded them of the saying, History repeats itself. They agreed that crime, violence, and sickness would remain even if blacks took over the rulership of the country. Next we opened the Bible and showed them that God’s Kingdom is the only government that can solve mankind’s problems.
A few nights later, we heard a crowd of youths chanting freedom songs and saw men wielding firearms. Houses were being set on fire, and people were being killed. Gripped with fear, we prayed to Jehovah for strength not to allow threats or intimidation to dampen our spirit or break our integrity. We also called to mind the martyrs who under similar circumstances had not disowned Jesus. (Matthew 10:32, 33) Suddenly, a group of youths and adults knocked at our door. Without any greeting they demanded money to buy intelezi, Zulu for a supposedly protective medicine provided by a witch doctor. We pleaded with them to be patient and asked, “Do you feel that what the witch doctors are doing is right in promoting killings by means of witchcraft?” We also asked: “Suppose your beloved relative became a victim of witchcraft. How would you feel about it?” They all agreed that it would be bad. We then opened the Bible and asked their leader to read God’s view of witchcraft, as recorded at Deuteronomy 18:10-12. After he read the verses, we asked the group what they thought about it. They were dumbfounded. We took advantage of the ensuing silence to ask if they deemed it wise for us to listen to Jehovah or to them. They all left without a word.
We survived many situations like these and came to know that Jehovah was on our side. For example, one evening another group came to our house demanding money to buy weapons to “protect” the residents. They complained that they suffered insecurity because of the opposing political group and said that the solution was to launch a counterattack with more sophisticated weapons. They demanded that we either give them the money or face the consequences. We then reminded them that their organization had signed a charter guaranteeing human rights and respect for the conscience of others. We asked them if a person should be willing to die rather than go against the constitution they believed in. They said yes. We then explained that we belong to Jehovah’s organization, that our “constitution” is the Bible, and that the Bible condemns murder. Finally, the leader of the group said to his comrades: “I understand the position of these men. They have made it clear that if the money is for developing our township—such as for building an old-age home—or if their neighbor needs money to go to the hospital, they are willing to give. But they are not willing to give us money to kill.” At that, the group rose from their seats and we shook hands, thanking them for their patience.