"Keep waiting (perimeno) for what
the Father has promised." ―
Acts 1:4

"But as for me, it is for Jehovah that I shall keep on the lookout. I will show a waiting attitude for the God of my salvation.
My God will hear me."

―Micah 7:7

 

Home Make Sure 

 


What matters is not
how we start out,
but how we finish.

(Eccl. 7:8; Matt. 21:28-31; 24:13)



 


Some of my other experiences:

Trust in Jehovah
(Part 1)

  • A Moving Experience

Trust in Jehovah (Part 2)
  
COs Don't Go Hungry

Trust in Jehovah (Part 3)
   God Knows Our Needs

  • The Chief of Police

  • The Minister for Immigration

  • A Troublesome Locket

 

 



"To Whom did 'Jehovah's glory gleam' with the angelic announcement of the good news of the birth of 'a Savior, who is Christ the Lord'? It was not to the high-minded religious leaders or to the important people in high places but to the humble shepherds 'living out of doors and keeping watches in the night over their flocks.' (Luke 2:8-11) These individuals were not highly esteemed for their credentials and work. Yet, they were the ones Jehovah took note of and chose to inform first about the birth of the Messiah. Yes, Jehovah chooses individuals who may not meet certain human expectations and uses them to communicate his glorious purpose to others." (bold mine)
Wednesday, January 11, Examining the Scriptures Daily 2006                     

 


* * * * *

"Paul became 'an apostle to the nations,' but it was not because of his nationality, education, age, or long record of fine works. (Rom. 11:13) Often, fleshly-minded individuals view these as the factors that determine whom Jehovah should use as his instrument. . . Those whom Paul described as 'superfine apostles,' as well as other opposers, refused to accept Paul and his reasoning from the Scriptures. Their lack of humility hindered them from gaining knowledge and understanding of the glorious way Jehovah works out his purpose. May we never underestimate or prejudge those whom Jehovah chooses to use to accomplish his will." (bold mine) Thursday, November 23, Examining the Scriptures Daily 2006
 

 







"Jehovah is near to all those calling upon him,
To all those who call upon him in trueness."
—Psalms 145:18


To what extent is Jehovah involved with his people today? Can we still expect him to intervene from time to time in our affairs similar to the way he did in times past? The Bible tells us about a time when Jehovah was very much involved in the affairs of his people. He brought them out of Egypt by means of powerful signs and miracles. He led them through the wilderness and provided for their needs; although he allowed them at times to go hungry and thirsty "in order to humble you, to put you to the test so as to know what was in your heart." —Deuteronomy 8:2.

On occasion he sent his angels to assist his faithful servants, or have them deliver messages or instructions. When his people rebelled against Jehovah, breaking the covenant he had made with them, he "kept sending against them by means of his messengers, sending again and again, because he felt compassion for his people." (2 Chronicles 36:15) Jehovah was never far off from his people as long as they proved faithful, and we are assured that he is not "far off from each one of us." —Jeremiah 2:4-6; Acts 17:27; James 4:8.



We should not want to restrict Jehovah in what he can or cannot do and teach this as fact. If he has done something in the past it is up to him whether he wants to do it again and under what circumstances. There were relatively few people in the past who had experiences as noted above, such as Abraham, Moses, Elijah, David, Daniel the prophet, of course Jesus, but also some of his disciples, to name just a few. What about today?

 

I come from a large family of eleven children (seven boys and four girls). The first two were boys, of which I am the second. My father was baptized as a Witness in 1947, but he never studied the Bible with any of his family, being of the opinion that we could learn these things at the meetings, which we were required to attend regularly. He was particularly strict with my older brother and me, requiring us to also prepare for the Watchtower Study, which left us little time to play. Being young and not knowing anything about God, I had no appreciation for spiritual things, and so I simply went through the motion of underlining certain parts to give him the impression that I was complying. I found the meetings to be awfully boring and remember even cursing God on one occasion for having to attend them. Although my older brother was baptized at the age of sixteen, he soon left the Witnesses and became quite opposed.

One day, when I was 15 and sick at home, and having read all my comic books, I reached for the book From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained (published by the Watchtower Society), and started reading it. I became completely absorbed in the things I was learning and could not put it down until I had read it from cover to cover. For the first time I came to understand who Jehovah is, and was moved by his great love for mankind when he created the first man Adam, and placed him in a beautiful home that he had prepared for him. I became disturbed over the fact that Adam and Eve so quickly rebelled against their heavenly Father; and saddened that most of their offspring followed their bad example, including us today. I didn't want to be like that, and therefore apologized to Jehovah for the times I had taken his name in vain. I needed help, and since I could not expect it from my father I asked an elderly sister for assistance, a friend of the family in a neighboring congregation who was already studying with two of my sisters.

Surprisingly, that is when my father started to oppose me. He forbade me to study with the sister, and he even went to her home to tell her that personally. He threatened to kick me out of the house if I continued, yet all the while he was attending meetings. What a turn around in his attitude I thought. I had expected encouragement from him, not opposition! But I was happy that I had the opportunity to prove my love and loyalty to Jehovah so soon. The resistance eventually stopped, and although I cannot remember any word of encouragement from my father, I was able to continue. Full of zeal and desire to share what I was learning with others, I would take my Bible and walk a few blocks from home and start knocking on doors, believing that if people would know what I had learned then they too would love Jehovah. After all, to know him is to love him!

In 1961, July 7, at the Vancouver, British Columbia, United Worshipers District Assembly, there were 606 baptized, and I was one of them. I was seventeen. No, I had not met with any servants (elders) in my congregation to ask for their permission. Having prayed about the matter, I brought my bathing suit and towel and sat among the baptismal candidates. Upon being baptized, overflowing with joy, and while still standing in the pool, I expressed to Jehovah my fervent desire to go in the field service right away, in symbol of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. There were 27 chartered buses that had taken the baptismal candidates to the baptism location, and I took the first available one to return to the Convention site at the Empire Stadium.

By the time I arrived at the Field Service desk all the territory cards were gone, all except the outlying regions of the city, for which I needed a car but which I didn’t have. Very disappointed I walked away a few steps and turned to Jehovah to ask for his help, explaining why it was so important for me to go out in the service now, at this time, and not the following day or week. It was today I was baptized, and it was today I wanted to go and tell others about Him. My whole future of serving him seemed dependant on this symbolic hour or so of service. And he heard my prayer, for at this very moment the brother behind the Service Desk called my name (I knew him from a neighboring congregation), and he asked if I still wanted to go in the service. A young couple from Tacoma, Washington, was standing there, and they too were desirous to go in field service. They had a car and welcomed someone along who knew the area. Of course I went! I turned to Jehovah and thanked him for having answered my prayer.


The short hour or so spent in the territory was not especially memorable. I was able to talk at a few doors about our convention, but don't even remember if I placed any literature. But that was not the important thing to me. I would not even bother relating this if it were not for what followed immediately upon returning to the Stadium.

It was still the early afternoon and the program was not going to start until later in the day. The young couple had dropped me off at the main entrance of the Stadium, and now, standing just inside under the bleachers with my back towards one pillar
keeping out of the way of anyone walking by—I turned to Jehovah and thanked him for his blessings on this wonderful day, and for having made possible for me to go and briefly share my faith with others in the territory. I was overflowing with joy and gratitude for allowing me to have come to know him, and while thus praying I caught sight of an elderly man coming round the bend in my direction. I could not help but notice him even at that distance for he had whiteI mean whitehair, that fairly gleamed even in the shade of the bleachers. My eyes were transfixed on him because his white hair made him look very distinguished. My first thought was that he must be a member of the Brooklyn Bethel, perhaps even the governing body, visiting our Convention as a speaker; for this is how I imagined the anointed to look like. (Rev. 1:14) But as he kept coming in my direction, I also became aware that no one else took notice of him, not even a glance. This made me wonder, surely if he was that well known someone would recognize him.

He appeared to be seventyish in years, wearing a black suit with matching tie. His shirt was as white as his hair; and he was carrying a black briefcase. I remember everything about him looked so clean! I hadn't taken my eyes off him for a moment
all the while still praying to Jehovahwhen he stopped in front of me, set his briefcase down beside him and held out his hand. I thought he wanted to say hello, perhaps because of my having stared at him, and so I accepted it to shake it. But he clasped my hand with both of his, giving it a friendly squeeze. Then, in a firm but friendly voice, he simply said: “You are a chosen one!”

I was expecting an, "Hello, how are you? Nice convention!" Catching me by surprise, I replied: “Huh? Pardon me?”

He answered: “You are one of the chosen ones. You are a chosen one!” while still holding firmly onto my hand with both of his.

I was somewhat embarrassed and puzzled, and asked: “What do you mean? Chosen for what?”

He said nothing further. He just stood there and held on to my hand, as if keeping me from running off. And I stood there just staring at his awesome head of snow white hair, all the while wondering who he was. I had never seen anyone with white hair like his before, or since. Finally, without saying another word, he let go, picked up his briefcase and turned to walk back in the direction he had just come from, giving me the impression that perhaps he had come just for me.

This elderly brother had interrupted my prayer, and as I watched him walk away I turned to Jehovah again, and pointing to him, asked: “Who is that man? Did you hear what he said? I am a ‘chosen one’? What did he mean?” And when I said “chosen one,” it occurred to me that I had studied something in the Bible about chosen ones, and so I asked Jehovah: “Did you perhaps send him?” (Matt. 24:22, 24) With that thought I felt the urgency to find out who this man is, and the meaning of what had said. I closed my prayer and started to hurry after him.

I felt somewhat embarrassed, and wondered how to deal with the situation. I didn’t just want to run up to him, tap him on the shoulder and ask who he was. As I was gaining on him, and not far behind, he disappeared around the bend where I had first caught sight of him. Running, in an instant I also rounded the bend, expecting him to be a couple of steps in front of me—but there was no one there! No one at all! Not even a small group that he might have mingled among. I felt perplexed about his sudden disappearance, and turning to Jehovah I asked to indicate to me, please, where he went. I ran a few steps back to the entrance that went out onto the field and the bleachers; and seeing no one there I hurried to the next entrance, thinking that perhaps he might have made it that far, although that seemed obviously impossible. Again there was not a person in sight, except for the few who were scattered along the top in the seats, eating their lunch. It was a strange sensation, to say the least, not to be able to find him when I had been almost right behind him! People just don't vanish into thin air, do they? This was on the Friday of the five day Convention. For the rest of that day and the next two days I kept on the lookout for him, being confident that he would be on the platform for one of the talks. But I never saw him again.

Who did I think he was? A kind, elderly brother, a servant of Jehovah, perhaps a bit nearsighted, who most likely got me mixed up with someone else. And although I had no idea where he had disappeared to, I was sure that there was some logical explanation, which I just couldn’t think of. (See picture of the convention site, taken the following day, Saturday, July 8, 1961. It was directly below the spot shown that I was standing the day before.)

* * * * *


After this, my thoughts of living forever on a paradise earth, in perfect health and happiness with family and lots of friends, were replaced with an overwhelming and intense desire to be with Jehovah. But I didn’t think this to be unusual, or in any way special. Isn’t that what everyone would prefer if given the choice, to be with God? After all, if you love someone you want to be with the person. Therefore I gave no special consideration to what was happening regarding my very strong desire, dismissing it as normal. But then something else began to occur that was far greater than a desire, which made the whole thing become an issue to me, and impossible to ignore. There would be instances when a tremendous awareness of the choosing would suddenly overwhelm me; and for the moment I would be absolutely certain that this was from Jehovah, leaving no doubt whatsoever. It was unexpected and not at all dependant on what I was doing at the moment, and I would always be moved to ask Jehovah: “Does this have anything to do with what happened on the day I was baptized?” It certainly kept the occasion of that day fresh in my mind.  

I always dismissed the thought of having been chosen in any way, afraid that I was somehow being presumptuous because of Jehovah’s blessings that I was now enjoying. After all, our publications were teaching that the number of chosen ones had been completed by 1935, and who was I to question that? And besides, who was I in comparison to so many others in my congregation and the organization, who I respected and looked up to, such as our Circuit Overseers, and many elders who were pillars even in the circuit. Why would Jehovah choose me when they did not profess to have the heavenly hope? My faith in the Society’s teachings was great at that time! (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)

Resisting, or grieving God’s holy spirit, that bears witness with us, has consequences. (Eph. 4:30) On the one hand it was depressing not to be able to embrace the hope, while at the same time it made me feel that I was somehow being disloyal to Jehovah for even thinking it. Paul wrote that our hope serves as an anchor, for it keeps us from drifting away. And I started to feel that I was in danger of that! (Heb. 2:1; 6:19)

Finally, one spring day in 1972, I approached Jehovah in earnest prayer and begged him to help me settle this matter. I apologized for even entertaining this thought, explaining that perhaps it was due to some secret desire of self-importance, as we are often taught; and I counted off all the reasons as to why I questioned that this wonderful hope could be from him. Top of the list was the point regarding 1935, the year the Society claimed the number had been made up. (“No more additions,” as Fred Franz once announced.) Also, I pointed out that those chosen by him are chosen, not for their own glory, but for the purpose of shepherding his sheep. Therefore, if I had been truly chosen by him, I should be taking the lead in the congregation, serve as an elder, and be used on Assembly programs. At this time I was only a ministerial servant, responsible for conducting a home book study. Since I was none of these things, and a lousy speaker even for a short five minute student talk, I felt sure that this was enough proof that I could not possibly have been chosen by him. Therefore, I begged Jehovah to please take this wonderful desire away, as I had no right to it.

Although I had offered many prayers previously on the matter, this time Jehovah was about to answer it. My circumstances changed quickly within a few months. I was married by this time, and the way opened unexpectedly for me and my wife to move to serve where the “need was great.” By December of that year I was an elder giving public talks. And a couple of months later I had my first assignment at a Circuit Assembly. For three years I enjoyed such wonderful blessings, getting more experienced in giving public talks and having some part at every Assembly. Jehovah was prospering me spiritually. I did not associate the chain of events with my prayer three years previous, until at this particular Assembly I was especially nervous before giving my part. My stomach was in huge turmoil, and l was afraid that I was going to faint when walking onto the stage. I prayed to Jehovah to help me, quoting from Proverbs 10:22, “The blessing of Jehovah—that is what makes rich, and he adds no pain with it.” But boy, was I in pain!

Now, when I mentioned that my parts at the Assembly are a "blessing" from him, I made the connection with what I had talked to him about three years earlier, namely, that if my hope was from him then I ought to be an elder; give public talks; and have parts on Assembly programs. He had given me all that, as I now became aware! Yet, I looked at the brothers sitting next to me behind the stage, awaiting their turn, all of them pillars in their congregations and the circuit, and what was I compared to them? Since, as far as I knew, none of them professed to be of the anointed, I reasoned that neither am I. So, I told Jehovah that just because I am an elder, give public talks, and have parts at Assemblies, does not in itself mean that I am a chosen one.

I must have done, or said something I shouldn’t have, for within the month all my blessings were taken away. There was a complete turn-around in my situation. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong! I lost my job and ended up having to move back to my home city, and to a larger congregation where the elders were of the opinion that there were already too many of them (eleven), and they felt that it took too long for each to get back on "top of the totem pole," as one put it. (At that time the position of presiding overseer rotated every year.) Therefore, I was not accepted as an elder in this congregation, which also made me realize that the previous blessings I had enjoyed had not been due to some special ability or qualification on my part. The District Overseer, though, whom I knew from my previous Circuit, was incensed at the attitude of these elders and dealt with them when he met with all the elders of the circuit at the next Assembly. (I heard that he had embarrassed them by telling everyone at that meeting about their “totem pole” attitude.) Consequently, shortly thereafter I was recommended to be an elder by them, but by that time Jehovah opened the opportunity for me to return to my previous assignment. I should have learned my lesson!

 
Nine months after I had moved away I was back again, and busy engaging in my former responsibilities. I had never been deleted as an elder in my previous congregation, so it was easy to pick up where I had left off. I joined my wife in pioneering one full year (100 hours a month at that time) while at the same time holding a full time forty-hour a week job (I worked 2 days for 16 hours, and 1 day 8 hours). But that adversely affected my health. At the same time my hope became an issue again as my motivating joy returned, even stronger than before, if that was possible. It was becoming so intense that once again I needed to talk to Jehovah about it. Since I felt that this hope could not possibly be from him—mainly because of not wanting to doubt the Society’s teaching regarding this; and also because I was afraid that perhaps my blessings were going to my head—I again argued that I had no right to be entertaining such wonderful thoughts. (All this made me realize, later in life, what amazing patience Jehovah has with us, when he tolerates our doubts and even acts on our behalf to settle them.)

This led me one day, in the late spring of 1978, to go up the nearby 7,000 foot mountain overlooking our valley. It was possible to drive three-quarters of the way up to where there was a forestry lookout tower. What an awesome panoramic view from there.
(See picture) Mount Robson, in the Rocky Mountains, could be seen in the distance. Then I hiked a further hour, wanting to be alone while talking to Jehovah about my concern. Of course, there wasn't a day I had not talked about it in my prayer, but I just felt that I needed to draw extra attention to the matter by going beyond the usual prayer. My hope was simply too strong and I needed to have it settled once and for all time. (It is comparable to being intensely in love, which finds no peace until the object of one’s affection agrees to marriage.) I gave consideration to what Jehovah had done for me previously, but still wondered if it had been simply a coincidence. It had not been enough to remove my doubts, and I did not want to be presumptuous by jumping to undue conclusions. I can assure you that it is not an easy thing to go against the teachings of the Society, when they conflict with your own thoughts and conscience, including their view on 1935. Also, because of my feelings of inadequacy, I needed more evidence!

There is no use in asking Jehovah for something I already had. I was an elder, giving public talks in my own and neighboring congregations, and again had parts at every Assembly. I needed to ask for the impossible
something that was definitely beyond my grasp and beyond my own ability to bring about. Therefore I prayed to Jehovah that if I was truly a chosen one, as I had been told on the day I was baptized, and if that was truly from himhis spirit bearing witness with minethen I ought to be a Circuit Overseer, or I should be working in a Bethel (branch office), or be a missionary, or be a special pioneer. The very least, I prayed, was that he would open the way for me to be a regular pioneer; as it seemed reasonable to me that the chosen ones have the responsibility to set the example and take the lead in worshipping God. After all, I reasoned, is that not why they are chosen! Like in the first instance, it was not in the way of asking for a sign, but I was simply stating what I thought was how Jehovah does things. As it turned out, I was not wrong in asking, for he was about to give me even the impossible.

* * * * *

Before I got down off that mountain and returned home, Jehovah had started to answer my prayer even this time, and in a much larger way than I could ever have imagined. He was about to give me a portion of everything I had mentioned in my prayer. A phone call from my wife's mother in Greece, which my wife received shortly before I returned from the mountain, set things in motion. My mother-in-law had phoned to tell my wife that the doctor had discovered an inoperable brain tumor and gave her only a few months to live. We immediately made plans to go and visit her. It was going to be my first visit to Greece and the first for my wife in over ten years. It turned out to be the most wonderful spiritually blessed three weeks that I had ever enjoyed. Unbelievably, wherever we went on that short visit we were told by the brothers we met that if we loved Jehovah we would move there. Even some non-witness relatives urged us to come and teach them about the new religion my wife had embraced.

When we visited the newly build Bethel in Athens a brother took a personal interest in us, especially when he learned that my in-laws lived in one of the top two problematic territories in all of Greece. He also urged us that if we love Jehovah then we would move to Greece, as there was a real need in that particular area. My wife and I both got the clear impression that Jehovah was inviting us to change territory, to "step over into Macedonia," only in this case it was the Peloponnesus. After a lot of discussions with my wife, including our six-year-old son; and fervent prayers for Jehovah's guidance in this matter, I quit my good job after almost five years with the Canadian Railway; sold or gave away all our possessions except for the few personal things that could fit in a trunk, and moved to Greece in 1980. The Bethel there immediately appointed us as special pioneers. (By the way, my mother-in-law lived for another twenty years. Either there had been no brain tumor, or it miraculously disappeared.)

We could not have been treated better or more hospitably by the brothers, even if we had been sent by the Society. The Circuit Overseer for our area took me along on his visits as I had a car and he didn't. (I had specifically requested a vehicle from Jehovah, as I could never have afforded one, and without one we would not have been of much use. How we managed to get a car, a small VW bus at that, and keep it running is quite a story in itself.) I was told by the Bethel member that once I was fluent enough in the language they would use me in the circuit work. Jehovah fairly spoiled us by the way he blessed and protected us, but that is a whole book in itself. Our territory comprised a large part of the south-western Peloponnesus, and we had many enjoyable and productive Bible studies and experiences, including making friends and having many discussions (including placing books) with the chief of police for that area, who became very favorable towards the Witnesses, and served as a protection to us; besides visiting many isolated brothers and sister who appreciated the encouragement from our visits.

Being slow to learn, I again did not make the connection with the prayer I had offered to Jehovah on the mountain back in '78 and the blessings that had now opened up to me. I was a special pioneer, working with the Circuit Overseer in visiting small isolated groups of brothers, and went to the Bethel once a month to pick up our allowance, where the brother who cared for the Greek field consulted with me on the situation in our own area, and invited suggestions, two of which were acted upon with letters to all the congregations. We also enjoyed meals with the brothers whenever we visited, and on one occasion were invited to share a meal with brother Fred Franz who had come to visit the Greek Bethel in 1981. The hope that had been set before me had now become indeed very real and overwhelming, and there was no containing my joy. It energized me, motivating me in everything I said and did. I had never realized before that there is such a thing as being too happy, when you are bursting at the seams from sheer joy.

Therefore, one morning in 1983, a few days before the Memorial, as I was getting ready to go out in the field service to invite studies and others for the Memorial, I earnestly approached Jehovah in prayer, again to talk about the hope that I still believed I was not entitled to. And I again mentioned the Society's teaching about the numbers having been made up in 1935, over which I was stumbling, and therefore I still questioned whether my hope was originating with him. 

As I was thus praying, my mind turned to the Watchtower magazine that I had just received the previous day. I had read the article on porneia, and there was something new. (March 15, 1983) It was no longer scripturally possible to commit porneia with one’s marriage mate and get a divorce. This had been an issue with me when I was an elder in my old congregation. Let me explain:

In 1979, a few months before we moved to Greece, a young sister had approached me and informed me that she was seeking a divorce from her husband, justifying her reason by what the Society was teaching in the Watchtower on porneia (at that time), namely that a married couple could become guilty of porneia (fornication) by engaging with each other in acts that homosexuals practice, and thus have scriptural grounds for divorce. I could not agree with the Watchtower's view, in fact, I was shocked when they had printed that, and so my conscience did not allow me to go along with that. That is what I told the other elder, who I had taken along with me to visit the sister. If he agreed with the Society, and if the sister wanted to pursue the divorce then he would have to find another elder to go with him as I wanted no part of it. When I first read the article on how a husband and wife can commit porneia with each other and actually have grounds for a scriptural divorce I remember holding the article up, in a way of showing it to Jehovah, asking him to do something about it before it caused too much damage in breaking up families. (See  w74 11/15 p. 703 Questions from Readers: Do lewd practices on the part of a married person toward that one’s own mate constitute a Scriptural basis for the offended mate to get a divorce?)

Now I had my answer! The latest Watchtower had corrected what I considered a serious error. I had not been wrong after all in taking a stand regarding the matter of porneia within a marriage. Here now was the correction! Since the Society had been wrong and in need of correcting this teaching, then perhaps they also needed to correct their teaching on 1935, that the number of chosen ones had not been completed after all. In other words, the reason
that kept me from accepting my hope as originating with Jehovah throughout those years—the Society saying that the number of anointed was made up in 1935suddenly went out the window. I could never mention it again. (Eventually I came to realize that this was not the only teaching in need of correction. The understanding regarding 1935 did change in 2007.)

So, while praying, I asked Jehovah: “Why then, does the Society say that the number was made up in 1935, if that is not true?”

Now something happened that the Society claims Jehovah no longer does, although he did in times past. He answered me! No, I didn’t hear an audible voice, but inside my head, very clearly I perceived the words: “In 1935 the emphasis shifted to the ingathering of the great crowd.”

“Oh,” I said, “that makes sense! Instead of the number having been completed, it was only a matter of shifting the emphasis to the earthly hope.” That, at least, can be proven historically. I have not understood this to mean that it was Jehovah who had shifted the emphasis of the message from that time on, although neither have I ruled it out. I believe that I was simply told a fact, namely, that up until 1935 all the literature and public discourses, whether at conventions or in the congregations, spoke of the heavenly calling; whereas after 1935 the emphasis was about living forever on earth, such as the great crowd of Revelation could look forward to. (Rev. 7:9,10, 14-17)

Having put that years-long objection out of the way, I next mentioned to Jehovah that if I truly was a chosen one then I ought to be a Circuit Overseer; or work in the Bethel; or be a missionary; or a special pioneer; just as I had prayed years previous on the mountain back home. And when I mentioned “special pioneer,” it suddenly hit me! "What am I saying, I am a special pioneer!" Immediately my prayer, with which I had implored Jehovah back in 1978, came to mind, and I suddenly realized that the blessings I had been enjoying for the past three years were the answer to that prayer. It was not all just one impossible coincidence! There was no way that I could, by myself, even with all the money in the world, have arranged all these developments of the last three years. I cannot put into words the feeling that came over me with that realization. It definitely seemed that what had happened on the day I was baptized had indeed been from Jehovah, and he had patiently put up with my lack of faith all these years, indulging me by granting me all my foolish requests.

So I said further: “That means I must partake at the Memorial next week. (Pause) I cannot do that. (Pause) What are the brothers going to say? They won’t believe me. (Pause) I need more proof that my hope is really from you, not so much for my sake but for the brothers who will scorn me.” I suddenly became afraid. This was contrary to what the Society was teaching! Would I not lose their respect and association? Also, what would my wife say who had been such an important companion to me, and on whose account I thought Jehovah was blessing us! I had never discussed my hope with her, although I had hinted at it on one occasion many years previous. She had no idea of the motivation that had been driving me all these years.

Now I was thinking of what else I could ask of Jehovah, as proof that the hope truly was from him. I couldn’t come up with anything. He had already given me everything that I had mentioned in my prayers. I was at this point absolutely certain, yet at the same time beyond convincing as it all came so suddenly after all these years. I still clung to my doubts.

This would have been a good time to thank Jehovah for all that he had done for me, also for the added information I had now received, and ask for permission to talk about this matter further some time later. I should have taken the time to digest all this! But I'm not that smart. I am too impulsive! Therefore, I insisted, “even if an angel out of heaven were to appear in front of me right now, and tell me that I am a chosen one, I would not believe it.” 

And very clearly in my head (no voice), I heard the reply: “I have already done that for you.”

Of course, my mind immediately went to that old man, with the snow white hair, who came to me on the day I was baptized back in 1961, to tell me that I was a chosen one; and so I blurted out: "No, that was no angel!” Such an idea had never even occurred to me. I have only recently shared my experience with a few relatives and witness friends, and surprisingly, their first response was that it must have been an angel.

I needed more evidence, if not for myself then at least for the brothers, just to convince them that all these blessings I had enjoyed from Jehovah had not gone to my head. So I said to Jehovah that if what I had just been made aware of, regarding the emphasis shifting in 1935 to the ingathering of the great crowd, rather than the number having been completed, if that would appear in the Watchtower before the Memorial of the following year—like in the case of the other correction on porneia—then I would accept the hope with joy and partake, as I would have something to point to as proof for the brothers, if they were inclined to question my sanity in view of the 1935 teaching. (Interestingly, these almost identical words appeared five years later in the Revelation book, published in 1988. See footnote on bottom of page 117.)

The following Tuesday we attended the Memorial with our friends, studies and interested ones, but I did not partake. I could not have done so even if I wanted to, for we were a small group of 36 persons, and the brother who was supposed to pass the emblems just made a sweeping motion over the heads of everyone with the emblem in hand and pronounced, "No need to pass the bread (later also the wine) as no one here partakes anyways." And I silently told Jehovah, "See! Even if I wanted to partake, I couldn't." But for the first time my conscience was smiting me, as if I had been rebellious. Did it matter to Jehovah? Within a couple of months my situation totally changed, robbing me of all the joy, for I lost all my blessings. Whereas before, nothing could go wrong, now nothing could go right. Our pioneer days were over. To the extent that I had been filled with joy, I was now distressed to the extreme. My wife became sick and disenchanted, and no longer wanted that kind of a life. Eventually she met a worldly man, a relative of a Witness, with whom she started a business, and which was the beginning of the end of our marriage. (Psalms 38:1-11)

I returned with my son to Canada, while my wife stayed behind with her business partner. That was a terrible time. We had been a close family. Inseparable! We had sold all our belongings, house, furniture, car, even my son’s toys, etc. in order to move to Greece. I had quit an enjoyable and secure office job with the Canadian National Railway, even given up a promotion; and now here I was washing windows, cleaning toilets and starting life over again, trying to provide life's necessities. My son was now eleven years old and the hardest part for me was that he did not have his mother to help him get up in the mornings to make breakfast and see him off to school. With heavy heart I went to work at 6:00 am, five days a week, setting the alarm for him to get up by himself at 8:00 am. And he would come home after school into an empty apartment, until I got home a couple of hours later. His mother eventually returned several months later, but only to leave us again after a few years. And she blamed me for having ruined her life by the way we had lived it.

* * * * *

I longed for the joyous time we used to have in worshipping Jehovah as a family. It became a distant memory. In a way I was glad that I had not partaken at that particular Memorial, as I reasoned that all this suffering that had now come upon me were proof that I never had the heavenly calling. But I came to realize that this was twisted reasoning, as I failed to consider at the time that it may have been for my lack of faith and disobedience. (Compare Jeremiah 44:15-23) Some Witnesses used to say (some still do) that partaking unworthily of the emblems at the Memorial is as serious as sinning against the holy spirit, and I reasoned that at least I was not guilty of that. (Of course, now I understand that nothing could be further from the truth. One does not sin by being obedient!)

My marriage ended in 1988, when my wife had an affair for a second time, and she divorced me. Two years later I met a sister, a widow. This sister was one who had herself suffered greatly because of an unfaithful husband, who had died before he could prey on even more sisters, inside and outside their congregation. (We are talking about Witnesses here, who “don’t do such things.”) Because of her love for Jehovah, and her own bad experiences, I thought she would make a faithful wife with whom I could worship God as I used to. But since my ex-wife had not confessed to adultery, having simply moved away, the elders in our congregations did not consider me scripturally free to remarry.

Therefore, one Tuesday morning I presented my dilemma before Jehovah. I explained to him the whole situation, as if he didn’t already know it. I told him that I wanted to get married again and how my son needed someone to cook proper meals. I also included that if I really make such a lousy husband, as I had been accused of, I did not want to get married ever again. But Jehovah would know that! I told him that in order for the sister and me to get married we needed his help, because my ex-wife never confessed to committing any sins and neither did I have proof to the contrary. And now that she had moved away, living on the other side of the continent, it would not be possible for me to get any evidence against her. So I begged for his help. I asked that he would please bring into the open what my wife had done in secret. She could hide her actions from the elders, but she certainly could not hide anything from Jehovah. (1 Tim. 5:24; Heb. 4:13)

And again Jehovah did what we are told he no longer does; he answered me even this time! Very clearly, with no audible voice, but inside my head I heard two words: "Phone so-and-so (the name of a person)!" I did not see how this could be of any help and wondered why I would be told to get in touch with that particular person. I could think of a few others who might have had some pertinent information, and thus made that suggestion. But again I was told the same, "Phone so-and-so!" For the second time I asked why, not seeing any point in it. And again, for the third time, two simple words: "Phone so-and-so!" I was about to object again when I realized that I was arguing, and so I answered, “Okay, Jehovah. If you want me to phone so-and-so I will do so, but I don’t understand why. If I do get results from phoning this person I will know for a certainty that this is from you, and that you have answered my prayer, as I would never have thought of doing so.”

At this point I should add the little detail that I knew this person only by the first name. As it happened, I had run into so-and-so in a shopping Mall a short time before this, we talked briefly and I was handed the person's phone number. At the time I did not understand why as I had no reason or intention to ever phone so-and-so. Now, since I still had the number in my wallet, I immediately did as I was instructed. Without going into any details I would just like to say that I got exactly the information that I needed. Thus, before the day was over I had a confession from my former wife, whom I had phoned with the evidence. She even told me that if the elders did not believe that she had confessed they could phone her and she would verify it. I was also recording the conversation just in case.

Now something became very obvious to me. I could not claim that this had just been a wonderful coincidence that I was able to get this information. It would never have occurred to me to get in touch with this particular person who was able to provide just what I needed, which no one else could have. I had been so incredulous that I had told Jehovah that if I was going to get any result from getting in touch with this individual, I would positively know that this was from him. Now that I had the prayed for result, and that even within a few hours, how could I say that Jehovah does not do these things? I realized that that would have been inexcusable.

This also made me realize that since Jehovah had helped me in this particular instance, and in such an obviously amazing way; then what happened seven years before, in connection with that Memorial in 1983 in Greece, when he answered my concern regarding 1935; and about “having already done that” for me in connection with an angel appearing as proof; all that clearly must also have been from him, including all the blessings I received over the years in answer to my specific prayers in connection with my choosing.

It seemed that Jehovah had patiently and lovingly, and in anger, maneuvered me into a situation where I would finally understand and cooperate with the leading of his spirit. What amazing love and forbearance on his part. And I did not miss the purpose of the lesson this time, at the same time also appreciating the great value and importance of the choosing, which Jehovah does not quickly remove from someone. (All this has made me appreciate more why Saul was rejected, who had been chosen by God to be king over his people Israel. It was not because of his being “little in his own eyes,” such as when he was hiding among the luggage when about to be made king; but rather because he rebelled against God’s orders after he had become king. —1 Samuel 10:22-24; 13:13,14; 15:17, 22,23)

This one event was the beginning of finally helping me to understand the blessings I did not understand nor properly appreciate before this time, due to my lack of faith. And my lack of faith had been influenced to a great extent by what we are taught within God’s household. Jehovah’s anger blazed against me, but I came to realize that if he was enraged with me, then most certainly he will also deal with those who are responsible for teaching us things that we put so much faith in, but which in actuality hinder us from being obedient. (Matt. 15:3-9; Luke 12:47,48; James 3:1)

Finally, I accepted my hope as being from Jehovah, and partook of the emblems at the Memorial. With my partaking I was expecting to have returned to me all those wonderful blessings which had energized me throughout those years. But I was sadly mistaken. Life has been a real struggle. Instead of being the example I thought the chosen ones should be, I have become an example to most of what one shouldn’t be. My whole understanding of what the choosing is all about has changed from my previous naďve ideas. I have come to understand that it pleases Jehovah to choose the foolish and weak, the ignoble and those looked down upon, "in order that no flesh might boast in the sight of God," although it might cause him a lot of frustration dealing with ones such as I am. (1 Cor. 1:26-29) A chosen one by Jehovah does not have to be an elder, give public talks or be used on Assembly programs. Neither does he have to be working in the Bethel, be a Circuit Overseer, a missionary or a special pioneer. Where did I ever get those ideas from? But there is still much to learn.

* * * * *

In Conclusion:

After I lost all the wonderful blessings that I had enjoyed until 1983, I came to the conclusion that I had been nothing but a disappointment to Jehovah, and a failure in living up to my desire of seeking first the kingdom, in spite of my faith and best efforts. I kept asking myself, what should I have done different, and when should I have done it? I had a deep yearning to go back once more into that stadium, and stand on the spot where I was that day back in July of 1961, and reflect on the moment when I met that elderly white haired brother, who, while holding my hand had told me that I was a chosen one; and then vanished. If only I had held onto his hand until he told me who he was and what he meant. Returning to the stadium, though, seemed out of the question because it was no longer in use, being in disrepair and boarded up.

Then, in July 1991, we had a Convention in Vancouver, B.C., in the newer Pacific Coliseum, only a short walk from where the stadium was located. Its field was now used for overflow parking for the convention delegates. It was Sunday, the last day of the Convention, and exactly thirty years to the day of my baptism. Since I was directed to park on that field, I saw the opportunity to return once more to the place inside the stadium, which I did at the noon break.

It was a short walk of about two city blocks. Because of the bad condition the stadium was in, everything looked different from the way I remembered it, and I had difficulty at first in finding the spot that I was looking for, the particular pillar near what used to be the main entrance. Once I was sure that I had found it, I stood there and poured out my heart to Jehovah, telling him how disappointed I was with myself, and I apologized profusely for having been such a disappointment to him since I last prayed to him on this same spot thirty years earlier. For about fifteen minutes I recounted all my mistakes and shortcomings, telling him what a failure I had been in wanting to seek first the kingdom, judging by the results; and that I might as well give up on myself. I felt defeated!

Had I been using the years in order to pursue a career and make a success in accumulating material possessions, I could at least apologize for that and promise to do better from now on. But what could I say after having tried my very best in rendering sacred service, and yet still fail at it. How could I promise to try again and do better if I had already given my best? As it was, I had succeeded only in offending him. At least, that was how I saw it.

As I closed my prayer and started to walk back towards the Convention site, I heard very clearly within me (as had happened on two previous occasions): "You have not been a failure. I have been forming you and refining you. Be patient!"

That was the last time I had such an experience. Those words have sustained me through the most difficult times since then. It has also helped me to readjust my thinking as to why we are allowed to undergo hardships. We need to be refined and made choice of, even "in the furnace of affliction." (Isaiah 48:10) The affliction has included my second wife leaving me in 2002, after twelve years of marriage, as she had come to the conclusion that I had turned apostate, for I no longer was accepting everything presented in the Watchtower as being in agreement with the Scriptures. She became particularly disturbed over my website. I am sure the elders in her new congregation congratulated her for her loyalty to Jehovah. Also some of my relatives are avoiding me because of the things they have heard about me, although I have not spoken to them about the things I have come to know. But these things are to be expected for Jesus spoke of it. (Matt. 10:34-36; John 16:1-4)

I now appreciate the importance of accepting my choosing, knowing that it is from Jehovah, no matter what any man says; and to yield to the leading of his holy spirit by not grieving it; for it wasn’t until I did so that Jehovah could use me to care for his sheep, the purpose of any choosing by him. In a short time I came to understand things that used to puzzle me, such as what it is that makes us—Jehovah’s witnesses
God’s people, and not any other religion(s). After all, God is the one who decides what is involved in worshiping him “with spirit and truth.” (John 4:23,24) And he tells us that anyone not listening to him is simply not recognized by him, even if that one is found within his temple, among his people. (Matt. 13:40-43; 1 Cor. 3:16,17; 1 Peter 4:17-19)

We are living in "critical times hard to deal with." (2 Tim. 3:1-7) All the things the Scriptures foretold concerning the "last days" we are now experiencing within God's own household. Many have become discouraged, perhaps even confused, by the puzzling and troubling developments, and have stumbled by giving up, no longer recognizing that God has a people, his house. But is that not the very reason Jesus said that we need to endure to the end? (Matt. 24:11-13) Jehovah still deals with his people according to the arrangement that he himself put in place at Pentecost, when he laid the foundation of his temple, and then immediately proceeded to built upon it. That has not changed. He has foretold that he will judge his household even before he does the world. He will cleanse us and refine us, because he loves us.

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Although I have personally experienced Jehovah's care in a wonderful way over many years, I know that there are many others who can say the same. He cares for each one of his sheep on an individual basis, and we can be certain that the best is yet ahead for all of us, when he ushers in his kingdom. Jehovah is blessing all who are loyal to him and his only true worship; and who are patiently enduring by waiting for him to act according to his promises.

I have tried to keep this account as condensed as possible. There is so much more that I could add to it, especially about our experiences in Greece, such as our bible study with the chief of police in our district, and the resultant protection we enjoyed; the attempts by the priests to get us expelled from the country and how it turned to our advantage; Jehovah's protection from the groups the priests had formed in various villages to beat us up and run us out of their village, like the one time when a sister with us was chased by a man wielding an axe; my wife's affliction by the demons and how Jehovah helped me to identify the source of the problem and what happened when I acted on the information; to mention just a few subjects. (For more experiences see the links in the panel on the left of this page.)

I hope that others may find encouragement in realizing that Jehovah is very much involved with his people today, and if he has blessed me in some way then he will certainly bless others even more. I also pray that others will learn by not imitating my lack of faith in not accepting blessings that we have been told Jehovah no longer does or gives. Many lost out in Jesus' day because of their lack of faith, for they could not be convinced that God was still doing the things he had done in the time of their prophets, and so they rejected God's own son in spite of all the miracles he performed. Of course, that was because the people preferred to listen to their religious leaders rather than to God. But that has always been the case with his people. Jehovah has still much to teach us, but do we listen?
 



 

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