Study information for Service Meeting
10 min: Slaving for the Lord Requires Persistence and Initiative.Discussion based on the 2014 Yearbook, page 59, paragraph 1, to page 62, paragraph 1; and page 67, paragraph 2. Invite audience to comment on the lessons learned.
***yb14 pp. 59-63 Asia and the Middle East***In 1999, the sign-language congregation in Kobe, Japan, learned of a deaf man named Hirofumi. When a brother tried to call on Hirofumi, his mother refused to let the brother see him. The brother called repeatedly and pleaded with the mother, and eventually she brought Hirofumi to the door. His hair and his beard were long and unkempt. He looked like someone who had been stranded on a deserted island for decades. His face was expressionless. Not only was Hirofumi deaf but he was also blind. The brother was stunned but then took Hirofumi’s hands and began to do tactile signing. There was no response of any kind. Hirofumi had been isolated from people and had not communicated with anyone since he lost his eyesight ten years earlier at the age of 31.
The brother returned two days later. Hirofumi’s mother was amazed, having assumed that the brother would give up after seeing her son’s condition. Again the brother pleaded with the mother to allow him to see Hirofumi, so the mother brought him to the door. After a month of visits and still no response from Hirofumi, the mother told the brother not to bother to come anymore. Nevertheless, the brother persisted. He took cakes to the home and did what he could to show that he cared. After two more months and still no response from Hirofumi, the brother felt that he was getting nowhere.
The brother decided to make one last visit. Before going to the house, he prayed to Jehovah for help to determine if he should keep calling on Hirofumi. When the brother arrived at the house, he took Hirofumi’s hands and signed that there is a God named Jehovah who was constantly watching him from heaven and who understood his sufferings more than anyone else. Jehovah cared about him and wanted to deliver him from distress. That was why one of his Witnesses had come to him. At first Hirofumi showed no reaction; but then he gave the brother’s hand a firm handshake, and a tear trickled down his cheek. Moved by this, the brother shed tears with him. A Bible study was started.
After studying 11 years, Hirofumi began to associate with the local congregation instead of traveling the long distance to the sign-language congregation as he had been doing. No one in the local congregation knew how to sign, but over the next 18 months, 22 brothers and sisters in the congregation learned to sign so that they could help Hirofumi. In January of 2012, Hirofumi handled his first assignment on the Theocratic Ministry School, with someone interpreting his signs. In October of the same year, he became an unbaptized publisher.
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