LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Beginning Nov. 1, more than 8.6 million Jehovah’s Witnesses in 240 lands began participating in a campaign to distribute a special edition of the Watchtower magazine entitled “What is God’s Kingdom?”
Jehovah’s Witnesses used alternative methods to reach federal, state, and local government officials, school district leaders, and local businesses with their Bible-based message. Methods included sending personalized handwritten or printed letters, making phone calls, and sending a website link to the digital magazine electronically by email or text message.
As the final day of the campaign wraps up, 8 News Now’s Digital Live Producer Rocky Nash spoke with Robert Hendriks III, the US spokesperson for Jehovah’s Witnesses to gather details of the response received from the community.
Those familiar with Jehovah’s Witnesses are used to seeing the religious organization’s members preach from door-to-door, but as 8 News Now reported earlier this year, that activity along with their public meetings and conventions were suspended out of concern for the health and safety of the community as COVID-19 cases around the world surged.
Hendriks shared why the Witnesses felt that now was the right time to distribute a magazine that points to God’s kingdom as the only government that can provide a lasting solution to the world’s problems.
While the timing of the campaign coincides with the pandemic and local elections, Hendriks says the campaign focuses on issues facing people globally, not only in the US. He pointed to issues such as earthquakes, hurricanes, food shortages, civil unrest, and the financial hardships that followed due to these events.
“Government is on the minds of people,” said Hendriks. Despite good motives, the problems of the world continue to mount, added Hendriks, expressing why people need real hope.
During this campaign, government officials received personalized letters thanking them for their service to the community accompanied by a physical copy of the magazine. Hendriks says that elected officials often receive letters of complaint, so they found these letters refreshing in comparison.
Officials replied, “Keep on doing what you’re doing,” or “Thank you for what you’re doing and expressing appreciation for what we do,” said Hendriks.
While some ask not to be contacted again, Hendriks says the 1.3 million Jehovah’s Witnesses in the US alone will continue to share a message of comfort and hope.
He say many in the community are asking, “When will God’s kingdom step in?”
“Millions of people have prayed the well-known ‘Lord’s Prayer’ not knowing what God’s Kingdom is or when it will come and help humankind,” said Hendriks. This magazine is designed to answer that question, directing readers to their own copy of the Bible.
Hendriks quoted the Bible book of Matthew chapter 6, verses 9 and 10, which says:
9 “You must pray, then, this way: “‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. 10 Let your Kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also on earth.'”Matthew 6: 9,10 – New World Translation Bible
CREATING THE GLOBAL CAMPAIGN
Hendriks shared that the campaign was actually planned far in advance of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the original plan being to reach out to public officials, businesses, and the local community with a message of hope face-to-face.
Hendriks shared that despite the quick transition to virtual and mail delivery of the magazine, there were challenges. In the US, delivery of the special edition magazine to federal and state officials had to be delayed until after Election Day so officials could be reached, and to ensure it was safe for Jehovah’s Witnesses to head to the post office while there were reports of civil unrest in certain areas.
In areas where mail delivery is a challenge, Hendriks says they will continue to take advantage of electronic delivery methods, “Whatever way that we can, we are doing it.”
According to Hendriks, the community response has largely been positive from people who do not share their faith, thanking them for sharing good news during a time when it is rare.
GOOD NEWS IN DISTRESSING TIMES
“Well-meaning world leaders and organizations try to solve problems and cure illnesses but have been unsuccessful. God’s Kingdom has not only the power and wisdom to solve these problems but the desire,” said Hendriks.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are doing their part to bring comfort to those who are feeling anxious and uncertain about what their future will look like as 2021 fast approaches.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are “publishers of the good news,” said Hendriks.
For years, the Watchtower magazine has been the most widely translated and distributed magazine in the world. The magazine now has a circulation of 60 to 80 million copies – not including reprints. This issue’s production was no different, said Hendriks. The “What is God’s Kingdom?” edition was printed in more than 350 languages and published online in more than 1,000 languages on the website jw.org.
Hendriks encouraged interested ones to visit jw.org for more information on a variety of topics. If you do not have a Bible, an online copy is available to read or listen to by clicking on the audio player.
For viewers who may not yet have been contacted by Jehovah’s Witnesses, a copy of the “What is God’s Kingdom” magazine is available online as a free download.