It’s been one year since Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide adjusted their hallmark methods of sharing comfort and hope from the scriptures due to the pandemic.
For many, the change from ringing doorbells and knocking on doors to making phone calls and writing letters expanded and invigorated their ministry.
Residents of the Acres Homes community for decades, Mark, 59, and Margueritte Wilcots, 57, endured the Houston heat and mosquitoes because they loved talking to those in the community.
The couple, who attend a congregation in the Greater Inwood area, frequented the local transit center and the public library to share the Bible’s message of hope in addition to going door to door pre-pandemic.
Changing to letters and phone calls allowed them to reach more people.
“Our letters can give them some comfort and that’s what people need in the times that we’re living; a hope that things one day will get better,” Margueritte said.
Many have expressed appreciation for their kind words and efforts. The Wilcots hope to return to their neighbors’ homes one day.
“I miss the physical interaction you have with people,” Mark said.
Meanwhile, they have no plans to stop making phone calls and writing letters in their ministry.
“Even when the door to door stopped, it didn’t stop us from witnessing,” he added.
In March 2020, Witnesses in the United States suspended their door-to-door and face-to-face forms of public ministry and moved congregation meetings to videoconferencing.
“It has been a very deliberate decision based on our respect for life and love of neighbor,” said Robert Hendriks, U.S. spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “But we are still witnesses, so we must testify about our faith. It was inevitable that we would find a way to continue our work.”
Many have checked in on neighbors as well as distant friends and family—sometimes sharing links to Bible-based articles from the organization’s official website, jw.org, on timely topics, such as isolation, depression, and beating pandemic fatigue.
If anything, the pandemic has heightened the Witnesses’ concern for others.
“We are finding that people are perplexed, stressed, and feeling isolated. Our work has helped many regain a sense of footing—even normalcy—at a very unsettled time,” said Hendriks.
Witnesses in the Inwood congregation feel a strong love for the community. When thinking of why they preach, Mark expressed, “People need help, and I always think I’ve got to do my very best to help as many people as possible.”
Margueritte added, “We’ve extended ourselves for the people to show them that we really love them.”