LA FERIA, Texas (KVEO) — Jehovah’s Witnesses is a branch of Christianity with a strong presence in the Rio Grande Valley, and with the pandemic, they have had to find ways to move away from their door-to-door approach.
According to National Spokesperson Robert Hendriks, the region has 115 congrgations that include Spanish, English, ASL and Chinese.
“What we try to do in our lives every day is think about how Jesus would have done something, then we follow that in our work and in our daily lives,” said Hendriks.
When COVID-19 hit, Kingdom Halls nationwide closed their doors and moved their worship meetings to a virtual platform.
“Our spirituality is not about a place,” said Texas Spokesperson James Gianopolous. “It’s about our love for our creator and our neighbors.”
This means their door-to-door visits were also suspended, leading them to turn to other means of outreach, including letter writing, emails, phone calls and zoom meetings, which Hendriks says has actually enabled them to reach people they wouldn’t have under normal circumstances.
“For so many years our focus was on visiting our neighbors in person, coming together in person, sitting with people and studying in person, praying in person, reading in person,” he said. “And that personal touch we missed and we still miss, but what we have found as we have transitioned to a different kind of ministry, we have found different [types] of people.”
Local member Rudy Muraira adds the virtual meetings have even encouraged some members to return.
“Friends that we haven’t seen for a while because they have been busy with work or different things, life itself, have been coming back because of the need of spiritual strengthening,” he said.
Once the halls are safe to reopen and home visits can resume, Hendriks says Jehovah’s Witnesses will use a hybrid system and continue the methods established during the pandemic.
Last month, the church launched a global campaign to distribute a special edition of their monthly magazine focusing on spreading hope of god’s kingdom to all businesses and public officials.