She looked like she had just walked out of an air-conditioned apartment. Dressed in a dark suit jacket and short skirt, the lady in front of me looked slightly surreal in the midst of the palm trees and singing birds. Of course, that should have instantly told me who she was, but I was too tired and happy after reading the Bible to our neighbour to really notice.
“Why don’t you ever visit me?” she asked, grabbing my hand. I answered that I couldn’t visit her since I didn’t know where she lived. “Oh, I’ll show you.” she said. So, after slipping inside the house to ask my Mom and get Joanna, I found myself walking down the dirt road with her. I asked her name, and asked again, and again but I just couldn’t and still can’t say it, so I’ll call her “O”.
Eventually we came to O’s house, and she invited us into a small thatched hut to talk. As soon as Joanna and I sat down, O handed us some brightly coloured Jehovah Witness’s flyers and suddenly everything made sense. Besides pastors, JWs are practically the only people who regularly wear suits on the streets here. Up went a silent prayer as I waited for O to take a seat.
We spoke for a long time. I asked her how she did at obeying God’s commandments in the Bible, and she told me that God forgets our sin if we try hard to leave it. I told her of many verses (we had spent over a week going over these verses with the new leaders so I could recite a dozen verses with their references, which really stopped her arguments because she saw that I had spent time thinking about this) that said in no uncertain terms that God was going to judge the world in righteousness. She didn’t believe in the judgment day or Hell. I told her it didn’t matter – it was real, and I didn’t want her to go there. She kept refusing, and I kept bringing up verses. Finally (both of us were wishing our Bibles were in our hands!) she told me to come back one day with my Bible and she would show me in my Bible that (1) we do not have souls, (2) there is no Hell, and (3) there is no judgment. I asked her if I could tell her a story, and began Paul White’s story of “The Monkey who Didn’t Believe in Crocodiles”. I LOOVE telling stories. And the people here love hearing them! She listened to my story when she wouldn’t listen to my pleas to change her mind. The story is of a monkey who, despite the warnings of his uncle, giraffe, etc., would NOT believe that crocodiles existed. To prove that he was right, he went down to the water at night, and was (of course) eaten by a crocodile, protesting to the very last that it was all a lie, and crocodiles do not exist. It is a very suspenseful story when told in full, and at the end I told her that the Bible plainly says that there is a Hell – a place of eternal fire, and there will be a day of judgment. She started protesting again, but she looked troubled. “Let me give you an example.” she said. “Would your Father cut your arm off for breaking his camera? No. God is our Father. He will not send us to such a terrible place.”
“Let me tell you another example.” I answered, “Would a just judge allow a thief to go because the thief says, “Oh, Judge, I know that at heart you are a kind man.” ? No. God is our Judge. He must punish our sin.” She shook her head, but I laid my hand on her arm and added quietly; “My friend, your eternal fate depends on this question. Think about it. One day you will die….and you will discover that crocodiles do in fact exist. Don’t take the chance.”
We left the conversation at that, but agreed to meet together again in a week or two to compare my Bible and her book. Please pray for O! The JWs have such a tempting, subtle lie that many have fallen for it. Pray that she would wake up and realize that crocodiles do exist…before it’s too late.