Hear Steve Scudiero, a Jehovah’s Witnesses volunteer, explain their mission. (James Cheng / MSNBC.com) WAVELAND, It doesn’t have the feel of a typical roofing crew, and it’s not. It’s the Jehovah’s Witnesses, here to help one of their own. For homeowner Alice Maness, this is the third crew to come through. The first came and cleaned out the muck, the second gutted the house. And now, the roofers are here. “We’re Jehovah’s Witnesses, and they help each other,” Maness says. As we learn, Jehovah’s Witnesses have a well-practiced system for disaster relief. The organization sends out teams to assess damage to members’ homes, orders the materials needed, sets up a base, and then begins deploying church volunteers from its churches all over the country. There are about 300 people at just one of its three bases in the Katrina-stricken region. Even in normal times, building is part of the church’s culture, because members join building parties to construct Kingdom Halls used for worship. “We’re practiced, and super fast,” says Brian Matusz. He should know. His house in Gulf Breeze, , took four feet of water after Hurricane Ivan. But “brothers and sisters” arrived, in wave after wave, and made it habitable within six weeks. “They came in from everywhere. It was unbelievable,” says Matusz. Now, he says, his house is the only one standing in the cul-de-sac. “All the other neighbors couldn’t get the insurance and everything together, and they’ve all bulldozed.”
Some comments posted to site in response to the expose:
This story reminds me of Jesus Words in John 13:35, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another"
Tarris Rogers, Bend, Oregon (Sent Oct 30, 2005 1:04:45 PM)
THIS IS WONDERFUL! I AM 69 YEARS OLD AND HAVE BEEN A
WITNESS ALL OF MY LIFE AND WHILE IT IS THE MESSAGE
JESUS COMMANDED HIS FOLLOWERS TO SPREAD, THIS SHOWS
THE MESSAGE IN ACTION. THIS TYPE IS OFTEN DONE FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT OF OUR FAITH TOO. JOE FOX (Sent Oct 30, 2005 1:36:19 PM)
Your comment is very nice, but I think it is sad to only help those of your"own" when so many are in need.
joe daws portland Oregon (Sent Oct 30, 2005 2:09:25 PM)
This article makes it sound like the Jehovah Witnesses are unique in helping out their own. The Catholic Charities help their own and others out in times of trouble, as do Jewish Family Service, as well as the Mormans. avalee cohen (Sent Oct 30, 2005 2:35:36 PM)
...and, very telling indeed:
Speaking with an illustration here:
When we go on an airplane or a ship, adults are told to get their oxygen masks and life jackets on, first, respectively. If the elderly and the children were helped first, how would the strong be of any use to the elderly and young once the catastrophe began and ended?
The same is true in all disaster relief efforts. The strong ready themselves, first, then they go out to help those less able to help themselves. As each group of relieved individuals gets the aid they need, they become a stronger, ready, larger group that can assist others.
This same basic premise of learning, accepting and living the truth about Jehovah and His purposes in our own lives, first, is practiced so that others can see the fine results and want to do the same in their lives. In this way, we are truly being Jehovah's Witnesses; we testify about His great love by showing it amongst ourselves, first (Isahiah 43:10, John 13:35)
Tanya Hogan, Hailey, ID (Sent Oct 30, 2005 6:37:10 PM)
The facts speak for themselves. Jehovah's Witnesses help people. Yes, they may start primarily with their own (wouldn't that be nice if ALL organizations did that) and then expand to others, and their relief work is well known. Ask FEMA about Jehovah's Witnesses' relief work. FEMA regularly directs donated supplies to JW Relief Centers because they know they will be used properly and for the good of the community. And JWs NEVER demand nor expect insurance money to be donated back to the organization. As to other religious organizations, their own members are the best ones to address how much help they get from them.
Bill Turpen, Berlin, NJ (Sent Oct 31, 2005 8:05:35 AM)
There are many, many more comments (to be read at your leisure) supporting various angles of the 'generosity-question' and the 'agenda-question', but I submit you just this one more... for comic value:
Being one of Jehovah's Witnesses is a lot like working for a world renowned company say for example, Wal-Mart. Rather than being born into this religion, as some are to theirs, you must qualify (i.e. live your life by scriptural counsel)over a period of time before becoming a member. Should you choose not to remain a member, that is your choice. As with Wal-Mart, seldom, if ever, do 'former' employees/members have anything kind to say about the organization. How many divorced couples have glowing things to say about their exes? Same principle.
Melanie (Sent Oct 31, 2005 12:23:07 PM)