Pilgrim of the Week #1 -Claudia & Ruth

So there we were, wandering the streets of glorious San Cristobal when I caught the eye of what looked like an American cowboy in rural Mexico. It was Nathan. A Canadian (not American) donning a cowboy hat (not actually a cowboy). I didn’t notice at first but he was manning the Jehovahs Witness stand. We got chatting and I apologised for my ignorance on his religion and explained my quest to learn all things faith and asked if he had time for a chat tomorrow. He had work, but his wife would be here, brilliant! So I flicked him a business card grabbed the name of the ladies manning the spot tomorrow and bid farewell.

Ruth & Claudia – what a delight !

I approached the stand in the main plaza square and introduced myself. Well they were so happy to see me. “Oh we’ve been expecting you, sit down please.” We chatted for hours, sat there on that park bench, occasionally interrupted to tend to an interested passerby who wanted to know “does Jesus really exist ” as prompted by their banner.

Both Jehovahs Witness born and bred. I learnt Claudia had only just arrived in Mexico, a Mexican girl raised in the US her and her husband Brent and two children , Micah and Matthew moved from Arizona only 6 weeks ago. After a summer in Mexico they had a calling to come down here and experience a different life. A highly successful couple in abundant american suburbia, their network surprised and confused by the choice, but they shook it off and followed their heart and so far are loving every minute.

Ruth, Nathan’s wife met her “cowboy” in Vera Cruz, her hometown and moved to Chiapas a year ago. A beautifully spoken woman, you could feel the glow of faith pouring through her. An old soul my mum would say.

They explained all about being “a witness” we discussed the frustration on having all these amazing qualities in a religion, unity, charity, missionary work. Yet sometimes all the outside sees is, “so you don’t celebrate birthdays and don’t do blood transfusions.” Well they also support millions of people in thousands of congregations worldwide, provide exceptional online resources and apps for free, to enable people to learn about God and in 800 languages. They celebrate Christ and dedicate their lives to spreading love into the world. Is that not enough? I think so. They explained their “meetings” where all members of the community are welcomed and all ages (no kids Sunday school). The structure I quite liked. Starting with a hymn or two, followed by a reading which anyone can do, not just the elders (the JW version of a preacher), then a Q and A session discussing today’s topic, so you leave really having learnt something. I think there might even be coffee and cake after.

They explained they follow the story of Jesus and take their cues from the bible directly. Eg. Matthew 24.14 – “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations”

These women are pure of heart and whilst I’m sure their are pros and cons to being a Jehovahs Witness, especially to the world outside. That’s the beauty of choice, the gift of free will. These women love their chosen religion and their faith is definitely making the world a better place. So who are we to judge if they blow out some candles once a year or not. It wouldn’t work for me, since I have birthday week. But, they definitely brightened my day and taught me something new.

Thankyou for all the light and love you shine upon the world. Keep up the good work ladies πŸ’‹β€οΈπŸ™πŸ˜‡

Yours in Faith

The Unlikely Pilgrim

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