By Deaf Hear USA
You dear older family and friends are not alone in your trials. Aged servants of Jehovah in Bible times faced similar challenges. For example, Isaac, Jacob, and Ahijah lost their eyesight. (Gen. 27:1; 48:10; 1 Ki. 14:4) Sarah felt “worn out.” (Gen. 18:11, 12) King David “could not get warm.” (1 Ki. 1:1) Wealthy Barzillai could no longer enjoy the taste of food or the sounds of music. (2 Sam. 19:32-35) Abraham and Naomi each had to cope with the loss of a marriage mate.—Gen. 23:1, 2; Ruth 1:3, 12.
By Guest Nicole
Despite warnings from experts, older people are using
more anti-anxiety and sleep medications, putting
them at risk of serious side effects and even overdoses.
At first, the pills helped her feel so much better.
Jessica Falstein, an artist living in the East Village in Manhattan, learned she had an anxiety disorder in 1992. It led to panic attacks, a racing pulse, sleeplessness. “Whenever there was too much stress, the anxiety would become almost intolerable, like acid in the veins,” she recalled.
When a psychopharmacologist prescribed the drug Klonopin, everything brightened. “It just leveled me out,” Ms. Falstein said. “I had more energy. And it helped me sleep, which I was desperate for.”
After several months, however, the horrible symptoms returned. “My body became accustomed to half a milligram, and the drug stopped working,” she said. “So then I was up to one milligram. And then two.” Her doctor kept increasing the dosage and added Ativan to the mix.
Now 67, with her health and stamina in decline, Ms. Falstein has been diligently working to wean herself from both medications, part of the class called benzodiazepines that is widely prescribed for insomnia and anxiety. “They turn on you,” she said.
For years, geriatricians and researchers have sounded the alarm about the use of benzodiazepines among older adults. Often called “benzos,” the problem drugs include Valium (diazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam), Xanax (alprazolam) and Ativan (lorazepam).
The cautions have had scant effect: Use of the drugs has risen among older people, even though they are particularly vulnerable to the drugs’ ill effects. Like Ms. Falstein, many patients take them for years, though they’re recommended only for short periods. The chemically related “z-drugs” — Ambien, Sonata and Lunesta — present similar risks.
Now the opioid epidemic has generated fresh warnings, because pain relievers like Vicodin (hydrocodone with Tylenol) and OxyContin (oxycodone) are also frequently prescribed for older people. When patients take both, they’re at risk for overdosing.
Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/16/health/elderly-drugs-addiction.html
By Jack Ryan
Interesting...Memorial attendance really hasn't changed much in 17 years. It was 27K (and change) last year...and the same in 1998. Meanwhile, the population of NZ has grown by 1 million in that same period (26%).
The 2017 "Ratio 1 publisher to..." has slowly increased to 1:340 in 2017-- the worst ratio in NZ since 1986...31 years. Clearly the efforts of JWs in NZ to even keep up with population growth has stalled.
"Peak publishers" has basically stayed flat, only fluctuating within a small margin since 2008...nearly 10 years.
By Bible Speaks
It is written: “the Abrahamic covenant went into effect in 1943 B.C.E., when 75-year-old Abraham left Haran and crossed the Euphrates River.Â”
However, Abraham had already left his home in Ur out of obedience to Jehovah. Why did it not start at that time? The Bible tells us Abraham postponed the arduous trip out of consideration for his fatherÂ’s poor health and remain in Haran until his fatherÂ’s death.Â
Many Christians today likewise have the privilege of caring for aging or sick parents, some even having to make an adjustment in order to do so.
When that is necessary, such ones can be assured that their loving sacrifices are Â“acceptable in GodÂ’s sight.Â”Â—1 Timothy 5:4. Lev. 19:32. -
By Guest Nicole
MIAMI (WSVN) - A South Florida family is speaking out days after an 83-year-old, wheelchair-bound woman was killed by a hit-and-run driver on her way to church in Miami.
Margaret Ruiz’s loved ones are seeking solace in their faith. “You can’t avoid these things that happen in life, but we have to believe, and we have to have trust and love and faith,” said Lucy Ruiz, the victim’s sister.
Lucy, 73, said she is still in shock over how her older sister was killed. “It’s very upsetting to hear that. So sudden,” she said.
Grainy surveillance video captured her as she traveled on her electric wheelchair down the sidewalk, near Northeast 62nd Street and Second Avenue, moments before, police said, she was struck by a four-door, dark-colored sedan, Wednesday evening.
“If she were here, I would just tell her how much I love her,” said Lucy.
Margaret, a devout Jehovah’s Witness, was heading to religious services at the time of the hit-and-run.
The surveillance footage shows the car involved in the crash fleeing from the scene.
Margaret leaves behind five children. One of her sons, Barry Pantoja, arrived to South Florida from New York with his entire family on Monday.
“She was my whole world for many years, and she loved her family very much,” he said.
Pantoja said his mother was a devoted mother and an esteemed member of her faith community. “She was loved, and she really appreciated, in so many ways, the way people extended themselves to her and her congregation,” he said.
Pantoja said Margaret moved to Florida to live with her sister. Over the years, she became isolated from her family and never returned to her home in New York.
Relatives said Margaret eventually fell on hard times and became homeless. She later moved into an affordable housing community.
Lakeisha Ware, Margaret’s case manager, helped the elderly woman transition off the streets.
“It’s hard because you have to have a mother. She is somebody’s mother. She’s somebody’s grandmother,” said Ware. How can you do that to a person and not look back?”
Amid their grief and pain, Margaret’s family hopes to see her again. “As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we believe in a resurrection, and I actually look forward to the day I see my mother again,” said Pantoja as he held back tears. “It’s the hope we all hold in our faith, and it’s the only thing that keeps us from being totally devastated.”
If you have any information on this hit-and-run, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.
By Bible Speaks
Two New Earthquakes In New Zealand almost 6 degrees. Praying nobody hurt.
We will seek information from our Brothers
By Guest Nicole
Alvin Mann and Gertrude Mokotoff exchanged vows on Aug. 5 before 50 family members and friends at Middletown City Hall in Middletown, N.Y. CreditJustin Gilliland/The New York Times
Gertrude Mokotoff and Alvin Mann were introduced eight years ago at a gym in Middletown, N.Y., where they still work out twice a week.
Â“A mutual friend said to me, Â‘IÂ’d like you to meet a very nice young lady,Â’Â” Mr. Mann recalled after chopping wood one recent morning at his mountaintop home in nearby Cuddebackville, N.Y.
On their first date, he drove her to a restaurant in Middletown called Something Sweet. Â“He was a perfect gentleman,Â” she said, and he added, Â“There was something about her that made me want to keep on talking.Â”
In a heartbeat, they became an item, talking about dreams and goals and sharing a life together.
Read more:Â https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/11/fashion/weddings/senior-citizen-older-couple-wedding.html
'They're preying on my grief': Elderly widow claims Christian group sent her religious pamphlets just days after her husband died in an attempt to convert her while she is 'most vulnerable'By Jack Ryan
An elderly widow has claimed she has been sent pamphlets by Jehovah's Witnesses in a bid to convert her days after the the death of her husband.
Sue Judd's 77-year-old husband Neville died peacefully in his sleep at their home in Mapua, New Zealand, on May 2.
She put a notice in her local newspaper on May 3 and 4 with an address provided for people to send messages of condolence to the family.
A few days later, Mrs Judd received a handwritten letter from a woman – along with pamphlets promoting Jehovah's Witnesses, she told stuff.co.nz.
An elderly widow has claimed she has been sent pamphlets by Jehovah's Witnesses in a bid to convert her days after the the death of her husband. File photo
She said she was horrified to received unsolicited messages from the religious group, a Christian denomination known for its door-to-door evangelism.
'They're sending it to me unsolicited at a time when I'm at my utterly most vulnerable,' she told stuff.co.nz.
'They're preying on me and my grief.'
She added: 'It's so disingenuous. If they really cared, you'd think they'd arrive on the doorstep with some baking or something as anyone else does.'
Mrs Judd described the letter – which included Bible verses – as 'nonsense,' saying the focus was to convert rather than console her.
The New Zealand woman said the religious group, known for its door-to-door evangelism was 'preying on my grief.' File photo
And another letter arrived three weeks later from a 90-year-old woman, also contained leaflets about Jehovah's Witnesses.
She added that they had affected her mourning process – and called on the church to stop targeting grieving families.
It comes after former Jehovah's Witnesses elders admitted that they deliberately targeting those who had recently lost loved ones, considering them 'ripe fruit.'
Vince and Michele Tyler revealed last year they knew members who would trawl through obituaries or visit cemeteries in a find people to convert.
But a current senior elder of the faith said it had no policy to target the recently bereaved.
By Guest Nicole
This is brother Cross, he has served 45 years at Bethel. He was going around giving Sophia and Caleb cards to children with information about them.
By Guest Nicole
This is our dear sister Mildred Simpkin. She attended the the first School of Gilead and is currently serving at Watchtower Farms
By Guest Nicole
Visiting our sister Emily Ressel, (87). She can speak four languages: English, German, Polish and Ukrainian and has served as a pioneer more than 20 years in Germany.
By Guest Nicole
Thieves capitalise on booming black market for the fruit amid soaring demand
Avocados are selling for between NZ$4-6 each across the country, after a poor season last year and increasing local demand. Photograph: FotografiaBasica/Getty Images
Surging local and international demand for avocados is fuelling a crime wave inNew Zealand.
Since January there have been close to 40 large-scale thefts from avocado orchards in the north island of New Zealand, with as many as 350 fruit stolen at a time.
It is suspected many more thefts have gone unreported.
Avocados are selling for between NZ$4-6 each (£2-3) across the country, after a poor season last year and increasing local demand.
According to New Zealand Avocado in 2015 an additional 96,000 New Zealand households began purchasing avocados, and local growers – largely geared towards the lucrative export market – have been unable to keep up with the surge in demand.
The recent thefts have taken place in the middle of the night, with the crop either “raked” from the tree and collected in blankets or sheets on the ground, or hand-picked and driven away to pop-up road-side stalls, grocery stores or small-scale sushi, fruit and sandwich shops in Auckland.
Sergeant Aaron Fraser of Waihi said there had been “spates” of avocado thefts during his time in the police but nothing as sustained as the current activity.
“These stolen avocados can carry risks,” he said.
“They are unripe, some have been sprayed recently and they may still carry toxins on the skin. But with the prices so high at the moment, the potential for profit is a strong inducement for certain individuals.”
Jen Scoular, New Zealand Avocado CEO, said the recent thefts were concerning, but a bumper season of locally-grown avocados should flood the New Zealand market in coming weeks, reducing the incentive for thieves.
“It’s an easy way to make a quick buck, but I don’t think we are dealing with a sophisticated or highly organised operation here, more opportunistic,” she said.
“This stolen fruit will only have made it to the local markets, it would never reach our export markets.”
Scoular said avocado farms in New Zealand were getting increasingly savvy about protecting their crop, and many had installed automatic lights and alarm systems.
By Guest Nicole
First came death, then came a Jehovah's Witness.
It led to Wellington woman Jean Sergent-Shadbolt turning the tables on what she called the "predatory" religion, by door-knocking a stranger.
She was looking for the woman who hand-delivered a personalised letter to her and her dead flatmate, friend, and step-cousin Michael Boyes, three months to the day after his high-profile death from a sudden brain bleed.
A leading Wellington Jehovah's Witness has now apologised and insisted the letter's timing was a coincidence, but Sergent-Shadbolt believes it could be a rogue Witness targeting grief.
The letter, from a Sue Roberts, urged her to get in touch, and left a return addresss to a house on Farnham St, Mornington, a few suburbs away from her Aro Valley home.
Nobody was home when Sergent-Shadbolt visited on Sunday, so she returned on Monday to discover Sue Roberts had never lived there.
She wanted to ask if she had been targeted after the death of her friend, whether Roberts knew he was dead, and what right the religious organisation had to impose on her grief.
The address was the home of Wellington West Jehovah's Witness co-ordinator Ron Winiata, who apologised to her and said the timing of the letter was an unfortunate coincidence.
He refused to give Roberts' address, but did pass on a phone number.
"We have got her name, but your address," Sergent-Shadbolt told him, accusing him of double-standards. "But she has got my name, my address and the name of my flatmate, who is dead."
Receiving the letter, especially three months to the day after Boyes' death, was "predatory", she told him. "It feels like harassment."
Winiata said that, if the letters upset people, Jehovah's Witnesses would revisit their approach.
The group never set out to upset people: "It is to help people who are in times of need."
When called, Roberts refused to give her address but said "no hurt was ever intended", and she was "more than happy to apologise".
Yet Sergent-Shadbolt still believed she may have been targeted deliberately. A few weeks before the letter arrived, a Jehovah's Witness had come to her door. Sergent-Shadbolt had sent them away, in the process telling them someone close to her had died.
Heather Henare, from grief counselling service Skylight, was not aware of any cases of religions targeting grieving people, but people in grief were more susceptible to sales pitches.
"It is a time, unfortunately, people take advantage of people."
Massey University history professor Peter Lineham, who specialises in New Zealand religion, believed the letter's timing was coincidental.
But, if targeted, it could be a sign the religion's members believed Christ was coming again soon and so were trying to recruit members.
By The Librarian
By Russell Blackstock
Script-writers had to do a rapid rewrite of racy TV hit Filthy Rich after some of its X-rated patter was deemed too offensive to repeat by one of its stars.
The big-money TV2 series - about three illegitimate children who discover they each have a claim to the fortune of one of New Zealand's wealthiest men - is laden with sex and bad language.
But producers agreed to remove swear words and blasphemy from lines delivered by Kiwi actress Shushila Takao due to her religious beliefs and upbringing.
Takao was raised as a Jehovah's Witness by her devout mother and still has strong Christian morals, which she shares with her prim schoolteacher character Ariana.
Words and phrases including "Jesus" and "Oh my God" were pulled from the script after Takao objected. Several swear words also hit the cutting room floor.
"I didn't think those sort of lines would be representative of my character and it was encouraging that my suggestions and ideas were listened to," she told the Herald on Sunday.
"I am not a practicing Christian at the moment but I was brought up in a strict faith by my mum and I still have those strong values and morals.
"When we would read through the script and I thought something wasn't right I would point it out. It was nothing major but I wanted to keep it clean and quite innocent.
"The writers were brilliant about it and when I did eventually deliver an appropriate swear word it it had much more impact because people weren't expecting it."
A production spokesman for Filthy Rich said the script changes were made due to Takao's upbringing and out of respect for the religious background she shares with her character.
"In read-throughs she would automatically take out any swearing - not because she was prudish but because she related to Ariana so well," the spokesman said.
"Shushila told us she was going to do this and it made the character so much more real."
Not all the stars of Filthy Rich were so reserved during filming of the series which received $8.25 million in funding from New Zealand on Air.
Bonnie Small, who plays hothead temptress Annabelle, revealed she suffered bruises from sex scenes with Joe Tamatoa, played by Alex Tarrant.
"In one scene where I jump Joe I kept having to climb up on a table to do it," she said. "It was only afterwards when I got home and took my jeans off I saw all the bruises on my legs.
"Luckily I had no more scenes to do for the rest of the week or it could have been a bit embarrassing because Annabelle likes to wear pretty short costumes."
I have added her to the master list of JW Celebrities:
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