prayer works

A lot of you prayed for me this morning as I invited two Jehovah’s Witnesses over to my place for a little chat. And honestly? I was all kinds of nervous. Not that I didn’t expect God to answer your prayers, but, um, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t trusting him completely.

The last time I had JW’s over, they made it perfectly clear that the internet was a tool of the devil that they wouldn’t be wasting their time (or salvation) on, so I was free to share my whole experience online. This time? R and C are all about the internet and are probably reading this post the same time you are, so I want to respect their privacy (and keep them liking me).

R and C, if you’re there, it was a privilege and a blessing to have you in my home today, and I thank God for allowing our paths to cross. I hope you’re serious about wanting to come back and hang out some more.

But just because they might be reading this doesn’t mean I’m not going to share a bit about my morning. I’m a transparent kind of girl (except when I’m not). It all started at 10:00 a.m., a full 30 minutes before our 10:30 meeting time. Besides the fact that my hair was wet from the shower and my living room floor had crumbs all over it, I was as ready as I’d ever be.

R is a young mom and had her 18-month-old daughter with her. C is a young-at-heart aunt and had her 4-year-old nephew with her. I brought out a plastic tub of cars for Little Guy, and Baby Girl busied herself with some books and rubber zoo animals.

C’s Bible wasn’t in her purse like she thought it was, so R did most of the talking and looking up Scripture. I’ll tell you what–she knows her stuff. She told me I know mine too, so that was an encouragement. I had marked a few passages where I hoped I could “prove” a few things I believed but knew she didn’t. I don’t think I got anywhere with any of those.

R was so kind to answer some personal questions (I thought she might avoid them). I asked her about her background (grew up Baptist), her conversion (in college, she met a JW who did a Bible study with her) and what really made her decide she wanted to convert (she couldn’t reconcile the idea of a loving God sending people to burn in hellfire).

I did point out that our loving God provided a way out of that hellfire.

Toward the end, the biggest thing I pushed was this: how can you believe everything the Watchtower Society says? What gives these people the ultimate authority to dictate what you believe? I’m a firm believer that truth doesn’t shrink from inquiry. Why is it that I can invite you into my home and let you talk about your religion, but you’re not allowed to read anything that isn’t written by the Watchtower?

Not true, they both said.

I went on to tell them that the last JW’s who came had said that. And that they wouldn’t even take an innocuous copy of Blushing Bride. “You write books??” R was thrilled. “I’ll take one!” C, who’s not even married, said. I sent them away with a Blushing and Diapers book each.

And I’ll tell you what–I was sad to see them go. Baby Girl was getting hungry and they had left a friend in the car (“We’ll only be a minute!” they’d told her. How about an hour?). But we kept coming up with things to talk about and things we had in common and they both had all kinds of things to say.

We liked each other a lot. And said so. They hugged me. Even Little Guy wrapped his arms around my legs and squeezed really hard. “He never hugs people like that!” C told me.

I waved good-bye and shut the door and stayed on cloud nine for at least two hours (and skyped with our friend, Panha, in Cambodia as soon as they left, which just added to my glee).

Let this be a lesson to me. God is faithful. And he doesn’t expect us to share our faith perfectly. But when we take an obedient step in his direction, he often makes it a lot easier on us than we could’ve imagined.

I’m not naive enough to think that following Christ will always be a romp in a poppy field, but he sure blessed me today.

I would love it if you’d join me in praying for R and C. And in praising God for working through a scaredy-cat like me.

Love you guys! I could FEEL your prayers today for reals!

21 thoughts on “prayer works

  1. CT

    Marla, I met with two JWs for over a year and a half (I moved away). It was one of the best experiences of my life. They were so much kinder than I imagined from the horror stories I heard. Further, one was a great reader/thinker (the other was sweet, old, and uneducated.) I had to think through lots of issues in my faith, and I had to be able to explain them. I still struggle with some aspects (like what about all the times they experienced answered prayer? If it’s not true for them, then how can I be sure that it is for me?) I also learned a lot about people of other faiths. I do have a great book to recommend to you, if you want, but I can’t do it right now because I am out of town.

  2. Brooke

    bless you for allowing God to use you like that. my pray is that he continues and that someone – be it you or anyone else – waters the seeds you just planted.

  3. Nancy

    You’re awesome! I tend to shy away from situations such as this….and look at you!! You’re living out 1 Peter 3:15. I look forward to hearing more…

  4. T. Anne

    You are so brave! Praise God for that. I had a cousin who was kidnapped by his father years ago. His mother was finally able to locate him 30 years later thanks to the internet. He’s now a JW and wont get together with the rest of the family because it would be classified as a party. It breaks my heart!!!! Can’t wait for your post on what they believe.

  5. Rachelle

    Prayer really does work!! Thank you for having the willingness to share your faith and life with others. You are such an inspiration.

  6. Melissa Irwin

    Amazing. Good morning!!! I was excited to read your update. And I have a sincere question because something that you wrote confused me. I thought that JW believed in God, but not Jesus. God = Jehovah. Is that incorrect? When she said she couldn’t worship a God who sends people to a fiery hell, I was wondering… isn’t that God = Jehovah? This might be a great time for you to give us JW lesson…if you can. I know that I want to learn much more about other religious beliefs…obviously a basic understanding would come in handy and I am sadly lacking in that area. I hope they will continue to be drawn to Christ in you and that you can continue to minister to them! God bless you for being obedient!

    1. Marla Taviano

      That is a GREAT idea, Melissa. I will definitely do a post on what they believe (give me a little while to get it all straight though). I can tell you right now that they DO believe in Jesus and even that he “died as a ransom” but they don’t believe he’s God.

      And yes, they believe in the God of the Bible. They just don’t believe in heaven and hell. They believe in some sort of “paradise” and “punishment.”

      If anyone has better answers, please share!!

      1. Rachelle

        Thank you, Marla! I think my naive mind has hindered me in talking with JW’s. If we could grasp where they are coming from it would help.

      2. Nina

        I am looking forward to your write-up on what JWs believe. I’m pretty ignorant in that area and would be at a loss of they showed up at my door.

      3. Debbie

        I have recently talked with two jw women. I asked many questions about their beliefs. They do not ever think they will see or be with God. Only the 144 chosen and the one said she has volunteered to stay after and clean up the earth. I told her there was a new earth, but no she insisted we just clean this one up for the rest of our lives. They work for their salvation by door to door witnessing. They don’t believe in the trinity. Jesus was the first thing Jehovah created and He is a one person God. So no, their God is not the same God as ours. I told her how I so looked forward to being with my Saviour in heaven and they thought that was arrogent of me. I also told her that this earth gets destroyed and there is a new earth. I wanted to tell them My God is a big God, He just creates a new Earth, not has everyone stay and clean it up for him. But did not know how to without seeming to put them down in the process. But I could tell when they left there would be some research done into what I was so sure about. Praise the Lord..

  7. LeeBird

    So glad you had a good visit! Lord, you tell us to plant the seeds, but you make them grow! May these beautiful women feel your truth taking root in their hearts!

    1. Marla Taviano

      That’s CRAZY that you should mention that verse about us planting seeds but God making them grow. I just finished reading 1 Corinthians 2-3 less than five minutes ago!! And that’s where that verse comes from!! God is so cool. Thank you for your encouragement!!

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