Jehovah's Witnesses urge citizens not to lose hope
With the world under siege from chaos and upheaval, a group not known to comment often publicly, Jehovah's Witnesses, is urging people worldwide to 'Be Courageous'.
In a message that resonated with some 5,000 participants last weekend at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, media service coordinators with the organisation Leo Reid and Teddy Clarke, in an exclusive interview with The Gleaner, argued that "people need courage to face these challenges and not lose hope by giving up".
Making reference to 13-year-old Yetenya Francis, who was raped then burnt in her Arnett Gardens community, Clarke said that the Jehovah's Witnesses look out for situations like these. "We see persons like her family looking for hope, because that is what we carry."
Clarke said it was not uncommon for Witnesses to be among the first to reach out to families such as Yetanya's when there is turmoil in communities, noting that easy access to the various communities because of non-alignment to any political party has helped them over the years.
"It has taken us a lot of courage to remain neutral because persons would want to align us."
Admitting how easy it is to give up because of stress throughout the world, he noted that Jamaica was no exception.
Importance of courage
Showcasing the importance of courage to couples, families, and the elderly, the three-day event carried a full programme offering spiritual upliftment, encouragement, and coping strategies as some 54 speakers brought messages like 'Courage Weakeners Versus Courage Strengtheners', 'Complaint Versus Thanksgiving and Doubt Versus Faith'.
"When you look at the news today, you can clearly see that people of all ages are dealing with more anxieties and fears than ever before. It takes courage to face these pressures," explained Reid.
He added that the hope was to ensure that everyone who this year's convention benefited from the practical advice that's contained in the Bible.
The group, which has experienced steady growth nationally and internationally, moving from just over 12,000 members when it began to 8.4 million members now, said that biblical principles help to build the courage to face today's world trial.
The story of Jonah was one of many used to empower participants during the event.