The Jehovah’s Witnesses built a new Kingdom Hall (their meeting house) in our neighborhood about three years ago. Soon afterward, they started visiting on our street. One lady in particular, I’ll call her Sherry, is very consistent in coming by with a companion. I never let them in the front door but we have had some pleasant conversations. Although we disagree on many doctrinal issues, I think I have surprised them by agreeing with them from time to time.
I don’t plan to convert and become a Jehovah’s Witness, but Sherry and her companions model some things that mainline Christians should practice.
First, Sherry is always courteous. Even when we disagree on a doctrinal point, she does not become defensive. She keeps the lines of communication open.
Second, Sherry remembers my name and little things I have mentioned about family. She left a magazine recently with a note remarking on my comment about losing a grandson to cancer. In the note, she mentioned an article in the magazine about “a wonderful hope for the future” with departed loved ones. I was touched by her awareness.
Third, Sherry and her friends are persistent without being pests. They come by regularly even though I have never invited them in, and I clearly have my own set of beliefs, and they never overstay their welcome.
Fourth, Sherry’s companion is not always the same person. Her companion is always female, of course, but Sherry is clearly serving as a mentor to others (usually younger women) and sharing her visitation experiences with them.
I probably could be annoyed by these visits, but I am impressed by these people who practice what they preach. Those of my tribe could learn much from them about courtesy, hospitality, thoughtfulness, consistency, and mentoring.