A Sunday involved in public witnessing, but today we are setup just outside the main market in downtown Manaus. Among our passersby are a brother and his nephew. The nephew has been studying and would like to talk to us further when we finish our ministry for the day. Karina and I are the first Jehovah’s Witnesses that he has met that are not Brazilian. So, during lunch, he tells us that his uncle had been trying to get him to see the importance of studying the Bible since he was a teenager. At that time, he wasn’t interested. He is now in his mid-40s. He was a police officer for 17 years and then became a lawyer. Due to a bad decision, he also spent a year and a half in prison. While in prison, he started studying the Bible. During this time, his wife left him and took the kids. And he now works in the interior of the Amazon as a traveling salesman. He stated that some trips take him from home for 2-3 months at a time. He wants to get baptized but feels that he needs to have a more steady life and be in one place to make progress. We hope to meet him again one day as our dear brother.
During our stay, the Portuguese congregation had a visit from the traveling overseer, Benjamin, and his wife, Yolanda. There were 175 in attendance for his Sunday discourse. The English group received encouragement also during this week. We were able to work in service with the overseer and his wife. Karina said they talked to everyone on the street and started 3 Bible studies, one of which Karina assisted with, in Portuguese. Yolanda recalls being 9 years old when her mother began searching for a better understanding of the Bible. Two years later, at 11 years old, Yolanda began preaching about what she was learning and decided to get baptized at age 14.
Benjamin was already serving as a traveling overseer in Brazil and Bolivia for 1 year when she joined him in marriage in 1970. They continued their work in that area for 4 more years. During the early 1990s, they were the first Brazilian couple sent to Mozambique as special pioneers. There were issues due to a war the first year they were there but things got better for the next 5 years of the assignment. They also have a daughter that served as a special pioneer and now lives in northeast Brazil with another pioneer sister.