Zone Visit; Brother Splane visits Ireland
– May 11 2013.The chairman recalled the Special Convention of 2012 and all the preparation involved. The convention programme and evening entertainment gave such a lot of pleasure. He spoke about Eph 4:3 and the need to yield to the holy spirit, allowing it to produce its fruitage within us. In Malawi, at a refugee camp, brothers prepared for their district assembly. The instructions had specified printing tickets and arranging for space for parking. The brothers assigned did just so and duly printed 5 tickets, even though only one would be coming.Brother Peter Bell gave the Branch report and spoke under the theme – ‘No one is Overlooked’.He referred to the vision of the great crowd. We have the opportunity to be part of it as it is open to all. The prophecy started its fulfilment at Pentecost 33 CE.Acts 6:1-3 This was a sensitive issue, but no one should be overlooked. The first concern however was to provide spiritually, especially in the language of the heart.Today we have the JW.org website. Now there are translations into 11 languages including BSL, ISL, Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Welsh. One lady in Western Scotland had refused literature for years, but now readily accepts it because it’s in her own language.In Bala Welsh congregation they had many ‘do not calls’, but now they are almost all eliminated due to being able to offer literature in the Welsh language.On one of the Aran Islands a teacher is delighted to be able to read the literature in Irish.The Gujarati translation team is soon to move to Punjab to continue their work.This year the sign language circuit overseer for deaf groups and congregations approached a couple whom he noticed signing. They said they were from Ireland and asked if he was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They said – ‘Your signs are so good… better than professional signers.’A stall was set up at the City College in London and approx 150 dvd’s placed.One couple took a dvd, but the girlfriend said ‘ Don’t take one, they are Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are bad!’ The man replied ‘I don’t care’. Then he asked ‘Are these free?’ When told they were, he asked ‘ Are you sure??’ ‘Yes,’ he was told, He took 3 more but still seemed unsure. He said ‘ We only get one book from the deaf church – it’s like a child’s comic book about a Bible story. We pay £1 for it.’The 13 Mandarin Chinese congregations had 1,384 attend the Memorial, of whom 974 were native Chinese.3 Congregations held the Memorial at midnight to accommodate those who worked late. 80 Attended of whom 57 were native Chinese.Altogether there were 1,856 total of whom 1,237 were native Chinese.The JW.org website is being used to good effect in many ways.One sister aged 8 attends a rural school in Dublin. One homework project was on the subject of ‘Bullying’. Parents are required to sign the children’s homework. The mother referred to the website on that subject. She was later able to show the video clip to the class and it was much appreciated.When the Memorial invitations were distributed, one Dublin congregation decided to continue the distribution up to 20 minutes before the Memorial, which was held in the Gresham Hotel, Dublin. As a result 5 new studies were started that night.Last year 56 new pieces of literature were produced on the rotary presses per minute.This increased to 100 and now that has risen to 158. It takes 8 hours to change the plates on the presses.New presses have been ordered for Nigeria, Colombia, South Africa and Brazil.A 4th Polish congregation is to be set up soon.The British field saw peaks of 141,931 publishers and 11,920 pioneers.Brother Splane spoke on the subject – ‘Should You Wear Saul’s Garment?’Saul was a very tall man and Eliab too was tall and imposing. When the Philistine giant taunted Jehovah, would one of these men meet the challenge?1 Sam 17:5 Goliath’s armour weighed 16kg or 126lb. ( The heaviest armour found be archaeologists was 85lb.)See verse 16. Goliath was persistent in his challenge. See verse 8b and 9.This intimidation worked because neither Saul or Eliab stepped up to the challenge.Then David came. How did those men react? See verse 28 and 33.David had been anointed in front of all his brothers, but now they viewed him as presumptuous. But, David knew he couldn’t lose!Saul allowed David to take the challenge, but felt he needed help. See verse 38.David was maybe 17 years of age. Saul was very tall, but put his own helmet and coat on David!! See verse 39, 40.But David had a secret weapon !….. Verse 45,46.What about us?? We all have our giants to face.When we have economic concerns do we try to use worldly means to solve them?In USA many brothers have lost their homes or jobs and have faced very hard times.If sometimes we are tempted to work weekends and miss the meetings we are allowing our boss to dictate when we worship Jehovah. That is a giant!Saul would say – ‘ I’m not against pioneering from school – but brothers in the Bethel don’t know what it’s like!! Maybe later you’ll want to get married, have a family, but you’ll have no CV!’What’s your secret weapon?? Jehovah of Armies.One brother was in Bethel from school at 18 yrs of age. Later he needed to find work to support his family. A company only hires those with university grades, yet it employed him. How ?The brother had training from the ministry school, in the Bethel he learned how to deal with all sorts of people – so the company hired him. What was his job??He hired and fired people … those people with uni grades.NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR JEHOVAH.We need to remember the words of 1 Tim 6:8. Another secret weapon is contentment.After wandering the wilderness for 40 years this could be said of them – Deut 2:7.So, when we have clothes, food and shelter this is a blessing. To think otherwise means we have to change our point of view.The best retirement plan is – serve Jehovah. He’ll never forsake us.Another ‘giant’ is – Peer Pressure.Many young ones love Jehovah, but this is hard because often they cannot be involved in worldly activities. What would Saul say??David would say – ‘Don’t go to school empty handed. You can’t fell a giant like that!’ David used some smooth stones against Goliath. What can we use?Whatever issue is raised, such as blood transfusion, it’s best to give a short answer.Eg. ‘I’m into safe medicine’.If it’s the issue of smoking – ‘I’m not into cancer!’Be proud you are one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Bro and Sis Splane were once assigned to a fanatically Catholic town. Each day they had to cross a long bridge over a river at the same time that about 200 school children passed over in the opposite direction. So, they decided to look each one of the people squarely in the eye. What happened? Nothing, except the people were the first to look away!We must force ourselves to stand proud not look like a whipped puppy.One young sister, Lesley, age 12, approached her teacher Doris and asked ‘Has anyone told you I’m one of Jehovah’s Witnesses? ‘ She had been dreading doing this as it was known the teacher didn’t like JW’s.Lesley said ‘ If you don’t like Jehovah’s Witnesses, you should at least know why.Doris agreed to a visit on condition Lesley came on her own. Thus started a 1 year study.In course of time 5 teachers and 3 secretaries from that school studied and became Jehovah’s Witnesses.Doris now serves in the Bethel.During family Bible study, help the children prepare a presentation for the ministry.Often their biggest dread is meeting a classmate at the door. They must be prepared.One young brother Jason met Monica (the most popular girl in the school) in the ministry and left the magazines with her.Another boy in the school tauntingly said to Jason, ‘I hear you called on Monica’.Jason replied, ‘I don’t like the tone you’re taking so next weekend I shall call on you.’A third ‘giant’ is ourself.Often parents say unwise things to their children, but it’s no good tormenting ourself about the past.We may look at someone else and think they are better than us, but we cannot see how they started out, can we?In the field ministry we may feel unqualified. We all learn skills over time. We put ourselves in Jehovah’s hands and he trains us.Brother Splane appealed to the brothers – ‘Keep the demonstrations for the ministry very simple.’Older ones share their experience with less experienced ones.Aim to spend 2 full hours in the ministry when you go out.Feelings of inadequacy afflict us all. Remember Phil 4:6-8.Negative thoughts are as drink for an alcoholic. One negative thought leads to others.Some have thoughts like ‘I cannot think about now up to the great tribulation – it just doesn’t seem possible!’What happened to Saul’s armour?? See 1 Sam 31:8-10.Now’s the time to stand firm against the ‘Giants’.