“You’re going to have a heart-pumping, goose-bumping, slack-jawed, bug-eyed, mind-boggling day!”
That’s an ooooold commercial I remember from when I was a kid. (In the 1970’s. Shhhh.) I can still sing the tune. They were advertising the Marine World / Africa USA theme park, which was at the time located in Redwood City, CA; later moved to Vallejo and became what is now Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.
Funny are the things we remember from childhood, right? But that advert captures how I feel about my experience at the recent WNFJ Conference at the Blue Mountain Christian Retreat Center in Pennsylvania. (Here’s the link to the Witnesses Now For Jesus website: Click Me! Click Me! And here’s the link to their Facebook page: Click Me Now!) I expected good teaching, helpful information, and friendly interaction; and those things were definitely there, in spades. But here’s what I did not expect, causing my heart-pumping, goose-bumping, slack-jawed, bug-eyed, mind-boggling (HPGBSJBEMB) weekend.
- I realized that I had never before met a former Jehovah’s Witness live and in person. Sounds trivial, but it was hugely encouraging to me. Here I was surrounded by ex-JW’s, now set free and gratefully singing praises to Jesus. It gave me assurance that it really, really can happen to those with whom I’m sharing. Yes, JW’s are so entrenched in their delusion that it takes a literal miracle for them to be set free, but we serve the God of miracles, right? Duh. But without the real, live human evidence in front of me, I had become discouraged. Now I know that it can, and will, happen to those that God draws to himself (John 6:44). I got choked up about it more than a few times over the weekend.
- I was able to network with others in ministry to Jehovah’s Witnesses, including a couple from California, the Kelleys, who are working on putting together a west coast conference in the spring. A conference closer to my home would be an answer to prayer, since it was a stretch to get to PA. (And I don’t want this conference to be my last!)
- I received confirmation that I’m on the right track with my most recent approach to ministry with JW’s. It began on the first day with Ed Havaich’s presentation, and was confirmed in conversations with many others. Because of the recent unwillingness on the part of most JW’s to engage and interact with anyone who does not show an immediate willingness to drink their koolade, I and my newly-met colleagues in ministry are using a new, more up-front, honest, and passionate approach, taking time to develop relationships with them and appealing to their hearts more than to their minds. (See my previous posts about this new approach here, here, and here.)
On a side note, it took me a while to post this, because I came home to fires in my area (Northern CA). We hosted some family members who had been evacuated, but all are safe and well now, and everybody is back to their homes. Many thanks to those who know who I am, and who prayed for our situation.