Witnesses return to the streets, two years later 

Source: Witnesses return to the streets, two years later – NewsDay Zimbabwe

By Staff Reporter
JEHOVAH’S Witnesses across the country and the world have returned to the streets after an absence of over two years, to resume their popular in-person public ministry.

The Christian organisation, return to its public ministry for the first time since March 2020, when all in-person forms of their volunteer work were suspended out of concern for the health and safety of the community. The suspension of their public preaching work because of the COVID-19 pandemic, came even before Zimbabwean authorities issued a directive to halt religious gatherings.

Around the world, certain facets of their public ministry also resumed recently, with the exception of house-to-house contact, which remains suspended.

In all circumstances, as required by law, the Witnesses when doing this voluntary work will wear masks as a health precaution for themselves and others.

This resumption of public witnessing came as Witnesses worldwide will attend their virtual regional Convention this weekend.

“The past few years have shaken people, and many wondered what the future holds,” a local Witness spokesperson John Hunguka said.

“We are excited to be able to return to the public ministry to share the Bible’s comforting message of hope with our neighbours. While we understand that the pandemic is not over, we are entering into a phase of learning to live with COVID-19. We are sensitive to the risks that still face our communities and our volunteers, which is why we will not resume door-to-door ministry at this time.”

The Witnesses return to the public ministry last week came just in time to invite those interested to view an online six-week Bible education convention starting tomorrow.

With the theme Pursue Peace! the programme was designed to help attendees develop inner peace and learn to make peace with others.

Hunguka added: “We are thrilled to use our public ministry to personally invite people to enjoy this online convention. The viewers will be directed to ‘a road map’ to long-lasting personal and family peace.”

Another Witness, Emily Mpofu said: “Getting back to seeing our neighbours face-to-face is amazing. I really missed the personal contact with the community. When I see the face of someone who has been touched by a message of hope, it just makes my day. This is my personal way of showing my love of neighbour.”

The local congregations across Zimbabwe will also resume free in-person Bible studies along with personal visits to those who have invited them back to their homes.

A local witness elder Effort Mugabe said: “Our public ministry has given us the opportunity to spread a positive message to our neighbours on their own terms. When they see the positive message on our sign, many want to come up and talk. We’ve had the chance to meet so many people who appreciate the work we are doing and have been positively affected by it.”

Another local Witness, Precious Mazibiye said he will join the millions of Witnesses worldwide in the return to the public ministry as they invite friends, relatives and neighbours to attend the “Pursue Peace!” 2022 Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The convention will be available for viewing on jw.org.

Despite not being able to preach publicly, the Witnesses have not been idle. They have been reaching out to people through letters, telephone, and by other virtual methods.

All religious meetings were also maintained throughout these two years without interruption through videoconferencing. In April this year, they were resumed in a hybrid format (in-person and via videoconference simultaneously).  There are more than 50 000 Jehovah’s Witnesses in Zimbabwe, in more than 1 321 congregations.