Two months ago I came across a young man in the elevator. His anthropological face gave me the impression that he was Albanian. Very soon I figure out that it was so. As with every new contact I try to know more every time we spend 1 minute in the elevator. I met his father who looked a very hard worker who is trying to survive with low paid jobs. Two weeks ago I’ve seen the lad coming dressed in a way that usually Jehovah Witnesses (JW) dress. Specially on Sunday, with a leather bag in hand. So I asked him directly about that, and finally he said that he goes at the Kingdom Hall. He was surprised how much I knew about them. In the beginning he thought that he found someone to convert. I let him know that I’ve started an Albanian church. We parted, and every-time I meet him on the elevator I think how I can reach this guy.
Everytime I meet a JW I’m reminded of an conversation I had many years ago in Albania during a conference of Albanian Evangelical Alliance. One pastor who was ministering in a city where the JW presence was stronger than at other parts of Albania, commented something that changed my life from that moment on. We were talking about JW and he said: “I don;t care anymore about them. I don;t have time and energy to deal with them”. I felt sad. One pastor is resigning one part of his evangelistic/apologetic mission – reaching people who are different in faith.
I got saved in 94′ and I had no clue about the differences in groups who believed or claimed to follow the bible. I was so zealous about God, reading the bible for many hours but during my summer vacation at home I didn’t know about any church like the one I attended in my campus. SO from my window I spotted a young couple and thought that the way they were dressed must be religious. I called them and they waited until I came down. They were an Italian JW missionary couple who were ready to meet me next week in my home. They came as promised and I was so happy that I found someone who believes in the Bible. With my broken Italian I was able to understand what the couple said. They left me their magazines and many questions. Something in me was not OK. I was only 2-3 months as a believer but already I had read all the bible and the new testament several times. So what I had experienced and learned from the Bible contradicted what they were saying. After some weeks I told them that I disagree with what they said and later understood more about this group.
Since them I begun having a heart for people who believe in God, but in a wrong way. SO when this pastor told me that he didn;t care about JW in his city, that really hurt me. So many times I read comments, articles of Christians who speak with so much hate regarding people who believe differently. Reminded me the Inquisicion.
Now that I’m in ministry and church planting for many years, I have seen and heard a lot. I have met people who were working hard to help unbelievers understand the Gospel. I met other who wanted to find the easier way to make it happen. Have a church meeting with people that can be gathered easier. Sometimes curious, sometimes poor who expected food or other help, sometimes lonely individuals who just needed to hang out. And I believe that Jesus want these people too to know Him and be part of His Kingdom.
My struggle has been always: What about the rich, the intellectual, the religious – those whom we had less common ground. Can I justify myself not reaching them, because is so hard? THis article is not to judge or condemn anyone. Just want to point out what Jesus said that the good shepherd leaves 99 sheep who are already secured, to go and find the lost one. Anytime I see someone not living for the Lord, I see him/her as the lost one. I don;t know how many years, prayers or people will be needed for this special lost one to come to know the Father, but whatever takes, it;s worthy. Every soul is worthy to be saved, even now is dressed as JW or a radical Muslim. Let;s pray that God may soften our hearts that we don;t categorize those we need to reach with His Gospel, but be ready everytime to share HIM with the lost sheep.