Monday, April 26, 2010

Maintaining Integrity...Despite Family Opposition

The following experiences (on pgs 233-237 of the 2010 Yearbook) are about 3 siblings in Belize, who faced repeated threats and opposition from their father when they decided to study the Bible and become one of Jehovah's Witnesses.

(photo of Jorge, Nicolas & Priscilian, pg 235)

"In these villages,...the women in particular are very shy, and by tradition they are submissive to their fathers and husbands. It is not their custom to talk to strangers. It was very difficult for them, therefore, to participate in the door-to-door ministry." (comment by missionary, Frank Cardoza, describing the challenge faced by Maya Bible students in San Antonio, Belize)

"His Threats Could Not Stop Me"
Priscilian Sho, who was 20 years old at the time, was an unbaptized publisher who really wanted to preach to her neighbors in the area. On one occasion, Priscilian was making some return visits with a sister-in-law, Amalia Sho, when they suddenly faced a crisis.
Priscilian remembers: "I hadn't told my father I was going out to preach publicly because he had forbidden me to do it and I was afraid of him. That Sunday morning when we were out preaching, we suddenly saw my father in front of the Baptist church he attended. At first, we crouched in the grass because we didn't want him to see us. But then I said, 'You know, Amalia, Jehovah is watching us. It's not right for us to be afraid of my father. It is Jehovah we must fear.'"
Priscilian's father was furious, but an even bigger issue lay ahead because he was violently opposed to her becoming one of Jehovah's Witnesses. After praying about the matter until the day before the assembly where she was to be baptized, Priscilian finally mustered up the courage to tell her father.

"Tomorrow," she said to her father, "I'm going to Belize City."
"What are you going to do?" he inquired.
"I'm going to be baptized," replied Priscilian. "I'm going to do what Jehovah wants me to do, I love you, but I have to love Jehovah too."
"Are you really going to do that?" he responded angrily.
"Yes," said Priscilian. "Acts 5:29 says I must obey God rather than man."
Priscilian's father stormed off in a rage. "I didn't feel safe until I was in the truck, ready to leave for the assembly," she recalls. "I didn't know what he would do when I came home after the assembly. But I knew that by then I would be baptized, so even if he killed me, I would have done what was right."
Although Priscilian's father did not harm her when she got home, he later threatened to kill her. "But he saw that his threats could not stop me," she says, "and since then he has softened toward me."

(photo of Frank Cardoza and Jorge Sho, pg 236)

When Nicolas and Jorge came to know and love Jehovah, their father adamantly opposed their Christian activities.
"I explained to my father that I was learning beneficial things," says Nicolas, "but he was a member of the Baptist Church, and he didn't share my enthusiasm. I quit my Bible study a few times because I didn't want to hurt his feelings. But I also knew that by getting drunk with my father, I was not setting a good example for my children. My wife and children were so unhappy that they never smiled.
"Once I began studying the Bible and attending Christian meetings regularly, the truth helped me to break free from bad conduct. I worked hard for my family, and they got the full benefit of my income. Now, as a family, we are busy in Jehovah's service, and there is happiness and laughter in our house."

Jorge's situation was much the same. His drunkenness and bad language caused problems for his family, and he was never at home on the weekends. But his study of the Bible resulted in a marked improvement in his conduct.
"As I progressed," Jorge relates, "my father became more opposed. He called us false prophets. More than once he threatened us with his machete. Brother Cardoza, with whom I was studying the Bible, had tried to prepare us much earlier. 'Suppose your father tells you to leave the family property?' he asked us. 'My father loves me,' I explained, 'and he won't do that.' But, sadly, that is exactly what he did.
"Nevertheless," continues Jorge, "I loved what I was learning, and my life was improving. My family was benefiting from my new Christian personality. We respected one another and were happy togther. Today, the preaching work brings me much joy, and thanks to Jehovah, I am a regular pioneer."