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Guess who's also competing at the Olympics? Thousands of missionaries

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — To those watching on TV, religion may seem absent from the Winter Olympic Games. Away from the spotlight, though, an estimated 3,000 missionaries are on hand.

About 2,000 missionaries — South Korean and international — are working in the city of Gangneung, where the indoor Olympic events are being held. The remaining 1,000 are working in Pyeongchang, site of ski, snowboard and other events.

There is no reliable count of missionaries at Olympics past. But the number of local missionaries here far exceeds previous games, said Marty Youngblood, leader of the Georgia Baptist Convention mission team, who is at his fifth Olympics this year.

South Korea, which is 29% Christian, and among whom Protestants predominate, enjoys high levels of religious tolerance. Buddha’s birthday and Christmas are both national holidays.

The Winter Games have attracted teams of Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists. Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons also abound, each group sharing the gospel in its own way. The United Christian Churches of Korea, a coalition of 144 local congregations, is helping foreign mission groups to arrange housing and ministry sites and learn about Korean culture.

Local churches are taking advantage of an Olympics at their doorstep. Many have set up welcome stations in parking lots, where they give away snacks, coffee and Christian literature.

In addition to its coffee and snack giveaway, Somang Presbyterian Church — located in the shadow of the Olympic venues — is showcasing a live orchestra and church members dressed in traditional costume. It’s just one of the 26 local churches in Gangneung with Olympic outreach ministries.

Then there’s the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Helping Hands Center, a two-story building on prime real estate across the street from the train station in Gangneung. Working there is Coloradan Chandler Petry, chosen by her church with a small group of other Mormon missionaries already in Korea to serve at the Olympics.

The center’s multilingual staff will give athletes, members of the media and any Olympic spectator a warm drink and a place to recharge their phones. But its main goal, according to the church’s website, “is for as many as possible to see the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the eyes of the members and missionaries.”

The Jehovah’s Witnesses have sent about 1,000 missionaries to the Winter Games, far more than to previous Olympics, said Steven Park, public information officer for the Jehovah’s Witness Korea branch. He says that the work they do in Gangneung and Pyeongchang is no different from the ministry they do elsewhere and that some missionaries will remain in the area after the Olympics.

One of the most popular tools of ministry for these Olympic missionaries is lapel pin trading.

Myungsu No, a campus minister in Seoul, says his students from the Baptist Student Union use pin trading — a pastime at this and previous Olympics — to spread the gospel. While athletes and spectators trade pins that typically depict a certain country, sport or team, mission groups give away a “More Than Gold” lapel pin, borrowing the slogan a consortium of missionary groups adopted in the 1990s to brand their Olympic outreach.

Psalm 119:127 declares that the commands of God are loved “more than gold.” The reference to gold at the Olympics, where athletes’ highest reward for their performance is a gold medal, is borrowed by the missionaries to suggest there is a higher reward to be sought through faith.

Veteran missionaries trained in the art of Olympic pin trading are passing down the skill to the new generation. The missionaries make an initial pin trade using a nonreligious pin they have collected — say, that of the USA ski jump team. This often prompts a conversation and a chance for the missionary to offer the trader the “More Than Gold” pin as a gift.

Some missionaries who work elsewhere in Asia have decided to take a break to focus on the Olympics.

American Kathryn Daniel, based in China, says she felt called to evangelize at the Winter Games because of her personal connection with Korea. She spent 12 years of her life in the country with her missionary parents.

Nine months ago, she heard her father was getting a group of other retired missionaries to go to the Olympics, and she thought, “I think this is God telling me to go, ‘Kathy, just go.’” Daniel is staying in Korea for a week, working with the group from the Georgia Baptist Convention.

The first weekend of the Olympics, mission groups passed out Christian literature in the Olympic park unimpeded.

Then Olympic park officials posted signs informing visitors that passing out religious material in the park was banned, and any materials found would be confiscated.

Youngblood, of the Georgia Baptist Convention, said he is not concerned. His missionaries are also using the pin trading and only give pamphlets to those who want to learn more.

And A-lim Jang, a recent university graduate and student leader with Baptist Student Union missionaries, said pin trading has allowed her and her colleagues to share the gospel “with many people that God puts in our path.”

Madeline C. Mulkey is a senior at the University of South Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications. She is doing a special online documentary and a series of articles on “God at the Game.” Her project is funded in part by the Magellan Scholarship Program.

This article originally appeared on Religion News Service. Its content is created separately from USA TODAY.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/02/22/guess-whos-also-competing-olympics-thousands-missionaries/363582002/

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    • By Jesus.defender
      CHRIST’S BODILY RESURRECTION ‘I have power to take it again’Jn 10:18
      Watchtower Teaching: ‘Jesus was raised to life as an invisible spirit. He did not take up again that body in which he had been killed . . .’ ‘Let your Name be sanctified.’ (p.266).
      The Watchtower teaches that Jesus’ body was disposed of by God.
      The NWT mistranslates I Peter 3:18 as ‘being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit’ to teach merely a spiritual resurrection of Christ.
      Bible Teaching: I Peter 3:18 refers to when Christ died. His Spirit went and preached to spirits in prison (v. 19,20). After three days, Christ’s physical body was raised.
      I Peter 3:18 (KJV) correctly reads: ‘being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.’
      Which Scriptures best teach Christ’s bodily resurrection?
      1. ‘They were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.’ (v.37) He said unto them, ‘Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.’ (Luke 24:37, 39)
      Notice that the resurrected Christ says here that:
      (1) He is not a spirit;
      (2) His resurrection body has flesh and bones;
      (3) His physical hands and feet are proof of His physical resurrection;
      Jesus is trying to convince them that He, ‘I myself’ has a permanent physical body which still had the nail scars in His hands and feet. This is opposite to the WT teaching that Christ’s body was disposed of and that He became only a spirit. If the WT claim was correct, then
      Jesus would be deceiving the disciples here in showing them His body.
      2. ‘Then saith he to Thomas, . . . reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.’ (John 20:27)
      Here Jesus says that He has a physical side that He challenges Thomas to touch.
      3. ‘Neither did his flesh see corruption.’ - Acts 2:30,31
      Notice the following:
      a) God promised David that ‘according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ’ to sit on his throne.’ (v.30). This is a bodily resurrection of Christ, not spiritual. The NWT omits this because of its corrupt Westcott-Hort Greek text. Well over 38 manuscripts have it.
      b) ‘neither did his flesh see corruption’ (v.31) means that Christ’s body did not decay.
      Why? Because Jesus was raised from the dead in a material, fleshly body.
      4. ‘I will raise it up . . . he spake of the temple of his body.’ - John 2:19-21
      ‘Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up (v.19). But he spake of the temple of his body.’ (v.21)
      Jesus here promised that He Himself would raise up His own body after three days.
      Notice how Jesus uses the word ‘body’ meaning a bodily resurrection, not a spiritual resurrection.
      5. Christ promises to eat of the fruit of the vine in the Kingdom. Only a body can eat.
      ‘I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the Kingdom of God shall come.’(Luke 22:18)
      Jesus here showed that his resurrected body would be able to eat and drink even in the Kingdom of God. Notice that a non-material spirit cannot eat and drink. Jesus promised the disciples in Luke 22:30 ‘that ye may eat and drink at my table in my Kingdom.’
      Question: If Jesus expected to become an immaterial spirit, why would He promise the disciples that they would eat and drink with Christ at His table in His Kingdom?
      6. Christ ate a broiled fish and a honeycomb in front of them. Luke 24:41,42.
      7. ‘he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies’. Rom. 8:11
      As Christ’s body was raised physically from the dead, so shall our mortal bodies be raised.
      8. His resurrection body could ‘breathe on them’(John 20:22). A spirit cannot breathe, can it?
      9. ‘His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives...’ Zechariah 14:4
      A spirit does not have feet. Only a physical body has feet as Jesus has at His second coming.
      10. ‘One shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands?’ Zechariah 13:6
      Question: How can a non-material spirit have wounds in his hands which can be observed?
      11. The resurrected, glorified Christ touched John, laying his right hand on him. Rev. 1:17
      Watchtower Objection: JWs quote I Corinthians 15:44,50 to support their claim that Jesus was raised from the dead as a spirit creature:
      a) ‘It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.’ (v.44)
      b) ‘flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.’ (v.50). JWs claim that Jesus must have had a spiritual resurrection, because flesh-and-blood bodies cannot exist in heaven.
      They claim that mortality and corruption belong to the fleshly body.
      Bible Teaching:
      a) The Greek word for body, ‘soma’ (4983), always means a material body, an organised whole made up of parts, when used of a person (Zodhiates, NT Word Study,p.1358). The spiritual
      body in I Cor.15:44 is not an immaterial body, but a supernatural, spirit-dominated body.
      It is a body directed by the spirit, as opposed to a body under the dominion of the flesh.
      There are no exceptions to Paul using ‘soma’ for a material body.
      Paul even refers to a believer as a ‘spiritual’ man who judges all things (I Cor. 2:15), yet Paul did not mean an immaterial invisible man with no physical body.
      He meant a spirit-controlled man with a flesh and blood body.
      QUESTION: In I Corinthians 2:15 (‘He that is spiritual judgeth all things’), is Paul discussing an invisible spirit creature or a material, flesh-and-blood human? Can you see that being ‘spiritual’ does not demand a non-material body? The same is true in I Corinthians 15:44.
      b) Key: In v.50 ‘flesh and blood’ is an idiom meaning that mortal, perishable, earth-bound
      humans, as we are now, cannot have a place in God’s glorious, heavenly Kingdom.
      c) ‘this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.’v.53
      Nothing is taken away from us (materialness). Instead immortality is ‘put on’ or added to us.
      Question: Don’t the words ‘put on’ mean adding something to humanity (that is immortality),
      not taking away something from humanity (our material body)?
      Conclusion: Since Christ’s resurrected body could eat, drink, breathe (John 20:22), show His hands and feet with scars (Luke 24:40), be touched, and have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39), it is certain that this body was a material body. This is especially true since Jesus corrected the disciples’ misconception that they had seen a spirit (Luke 24:37).
      For the JWs to say that a body is not a body, is their last resort of redefining common words.
       
    • By Jesus.defender
      The watchower CLAIMS to be Gods Prophet.
       
      In 1972, the Watchtower described itself as "the modern-day "prophet"".
      "So, does Jehovah have a prophet to help them, to warn them of dangers and to declare things to come? 
      IDENTIFYING THE "PROPHET" 
      These questions can be answered in the affirmative. Who is this prophet? ... This "prophet" was not one man, but was a body of men and women. It was the small group of footstep followers of Jesus Christ, known at that time as International Bible Students. Today they are known as Jehovah's Christian witnesses. ... Of course, it is easy to say that this group acts as a "prophet" of God. It is another thing to prove it. The only way that this can be done is to review the record. Thus this group of anointed followers of Jesus Christ, doing a work in Christendom paralleling Ezekiel's work among the Jews, were manifestly the modern-day Ezekiel, the "prophet" commissioned by Jehovah to declare the good news of God's Messianic kingdom and to give warning to Christendom." Watchtower 1972 Apr 1 pp.197-199 'They Shall Know that a Prophet Was Among Them'
      "commissioned to serve as the mouthpiece and active agent of Jehovah … commission to speak as a prophet in the name of Jehovah…" The Nations Shall Know that I am Jehovah" - How? pp.58,62
      "… commission to speak as a "prophet" in His name…" Watchtower 1972 Mar 15 p.189
      "The Watchtower is a magazine without equal in the earth …. This is not giving any credit to the magazine's publishers, but is due to the great Author of the Bible with it truths and prophecies, and who now interprets its prophecies." Watchtower 1943 Apr 15 p.127
      "The Watchtower is not the instrument of any man or set of men, nor is it published according to the whims of men. No man's opinion is expressed in The Watchtower. God feeds his own people, and surely God uses those who love and serve him according to his own will. Those who oppose The Watchtower are not capable of discerning the truth that God is giving to the children of his organization, and this is the very strongest proof that such opposers are not of God's organization." Watchtower 1931 Nov 1 p.327

       
      So, let's look at some of these prophecies.
       
      1889- In subsequent chapters we present proofs that the setting up of the Kingdom of God has already begun...And that the "battle of the great day of God almighty [revelation 16:14], which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of the earth's present rulership, is already commenced. [The 1915 edition of this book changed "A.D. 1914" to "A.D. 1915."] *from the book "The Time is at Hand; 1889 1897 "Our Lord, the appointed King, is now present, since October 1874," (Studies in the Scriptures, vol. 4, p. 621). 1899 "...the 'battle of the great day of God Almighty' (Revelation 16:14), which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth's present rulership, is already commenced," (The Time Is at Hand, 1908 edition, p. 101). 1916 "The Bible chronology herein presented shows that the six great 1000 year days beginning with Adam are ended, and that the great 7th Day, the 1000 years of Christ's Reign, began in 1873," (The Time Is at Hand, forward, p. ii). 1918 "Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews 11, to the condition of human perfection," (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, p. 89). 1922 "The date 1925 is even more distinctly indicated by the Scriptures than 1914," (Watchtower, Sept. 1, 1922, p. 262). 1923 "Our thought is, that 1925 is definitely settled by the Scriptures. As to Noah, the Christian now has much more upon which to base his faith than Noah had upon which to base his faith in a coming deluge," (Watchtower, Apr. 1, 1923, p. 106). 1925 "The year 1925 is here. With great expectation Christians have looked forward to this year. Many have confidently expected that all members of the body of Christ will be changed to heavenly glory during this year. This may be accomplished. It may not be. In his own due time God will accomplish his purposes concerning his people. Christians should not be so deeply concerned about what may transpire this year," (Watchtower, Jan. 1, 1925, p. 3). 1925 "It is to be expected that Satan will try to inject into the minds of the consecrated, the thought that 1925 should see an end to the work," (Watchtower, Sept., 1925, p. 262). 1926 "Some anticipated that the work would end in 1925, but the Lord did not state so. The difficulty was that the friends inflated their imaginations beyond reason; and that when their imaginations burst asunder, they were inclined to throw away everything," (Watchtower, p. 232). 1931 "There was a measure of disappointment on the part of Jehovah's faithful ones on earth concerning the years 1917, 1918, and 1925, which disappointment lasted for a time...and they also learned to quit fixing dates," (Vindication, p. 338). 1941 "Receiving the gift, the marching children clasped it to them, not a toy or plaything for idle pleasure, but the Lord's provided instrument for most effective work in the remaining months before Armageddon," (Watchtower, Sept. 15, 1941, p. 288). 1968 "True, there have been those in times past who predicted an 'end to the world', even announcing a specific date. Yet nothing happened. The 'end' did not come. They were guilty of false prophesying. Why? What was missing?.. Missing from such people were God's truths and evidence that he was using and guiding them," (Awake, Oct. 8, 1968). 1968 "Why are you looking forward to 1975?" (Watchtower, Aug. 15, 1968, p. 494). 6,000 years from Adam ended in A.D. 1872. (Daily Heavenly Manna, inside cover page),6,000 years of human history ended in 1873.(The Time is at Hand, p.33),6,000 years of human history ended in 1972.(The Truth Shall Make You Free, p.152, 1943 edition),6,000 years of human history ended in 1975. (Awake!, October 8th, 1968, page 15).  
      Would a true prophet of God make false prophecies about World War II?
      ‘The Nazis will destroy the British.’ (Fifth Column, p 15)
      The new book titled Children will prove useful ‘in the remaining months before Armageddon’ (Watchtower, 15 September 1941, p 288)
      ‘The end of Nazi Fascist hierarchy will come and will mark the end forever of demon rule.’ (Watchtower, 15 December 1941, p 377)
       
       
       
      Note that just admitting you were false prophets does not make you no longer false prophets.

       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Transcript - Preaching in “the Most Distant Part of the Earth”.pdf
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      What is the difference between and oath and a vow?
    • By Bible Speaks
      I received this picture! Work is still being done. Much Love ❤️ 
      #LoveOneAnother? #LoyalLove #peace #paradise #JesusChrist #JehovahGod #jehovahswitnesses #prayforrussia #Prayforoneanother? #GodsKingdom #stopjwban

    • By The Librarian
      Is Russia clamping down on Jehovah Witnesses? BBC News
      Russia’s Supreme Court has begun hearing a government request to outlaw the Jehovah’s Witnesses and declare it an extremist organisation. The justice ministry has already placed its headquarters near St Petersburg on a list of extremist groups.

      Forum to discuss in detail located HERE
      Via
    • By ARchiv@L
      After looking at the new 2017 year book, I see that JWs can be found EVERYWHERE!
      Even outside some big buildings like churches.
      See the front cover, and page 61.


       
      that really means preaching everywhere!!
       
       
       
       
       
       
    • By Kurt
      GENEVA (4 April 2017) – Moves by the Russian Government to ban the activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses using a lawsuit brought under anti-extremism legislation have been condemned as “extremely worrying” by three United Nations human rights experts*. 
      “This lawsuit is a threat not only to Jehovah’s Witnesses, but to individual freedom in general in the Russian Federation,” the experts said. 
      “The use of counter-extremism legislation in this way to confine freedom of opinion, including religious belief, expression and association to that which is state-approved is unlawful and dangerous, and signals a dark future for all religious freedom in Russia,” they stressed. 
      The condemnation follows a lawsuit lodged at the country’s Supreme Court on 15 March to declare the Jehovah’s Witnesses Administrative Centre ‘extremist’, to liquidate it, and to ban its activity.  
      A suspension order came into effect on that date, preventing the Administrative Centre and all its local religious centres from using state and municipal news media, and from organizing and conducting assemblies, rallies and other public events. 
      A full court hearing is scheduled for 5 April and if the Supreme Court rules in favour of the authorities, it will be the first such ruling by a court declaring a registered centralized religious organization to be ‘extremist’. 
      Concerns about the counter-extremism legislation have previously been raised in a communication by the three experts to the Russian authorities on 28 July 2016.  
      The Suspension Order imposed on 15 March is the latest in a series of judicial cases and orders, including a warning sent to the organization last year referring to the ‘inadmissibility of extremist activity’. This has already led to the dissolution of several local Jehovah’s Witness organizations, raids against their premises and literature being confiscated.  
      “We urge the authorities to drop the lawsuit in compliance with their obligations under international human rights law, and to revise the counter-extremism legislation and its implementation to avoid fundamental human rights abuses,” the UN experts concluded. 
      (*) The experts: Mr. David Kaye (USA), Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, Mr. Maina Kiai (Kenya), Special Rapporteur on freedoms of peaceful assembly and of association, and Mr. Ahmed Shaheed (the Maldives), Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.  
      The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.  
      UN Human Rights, country page: Russian Federation  
      - See more at
    • By bruceq
      Russia Moves to Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses as ‘Extremist’
      By ANDREW HIGGINS APRIL 4, 2017
        Jehovah’s Witnesses gathered in a house in the village of Vorokhobino, north of Moscow, where they meet for services. CreditJames Hill for The New York Times VOROKHOBINO, Russia — A dedicated pacifist who has never even held a gun, Andrei Sivak discovered that his government considered him a dangerous extremist when he tried to change some money and the teller “suddenly looked up at me with a face full of fear.”
      His name had popped up on the exchangalee bureau’s computer system, along with those of members of Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and other militant groups responsible for shocking acts of violence.
      The only group the 43-year-old father of three has ever belonged to, however, is Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Christian denomination committed to the belief that the Bible must be taken literally, particularly its injunction “Thou shalt not kill.”
      Yet, in a throwback to the days of the Soviet Union, when Jehovah’s Witnesses were hounded as spies and malcontents by the K.G.B., the denomination is at the center of an escalating campaign by the authorities to curtail religious groups that compete with the Russian Orthodox Church and that challenge President Vladimir V. Putin’s efforts to rally the country behind traditional and often militaristic patriotic values.
      The Justice Ministry on Thursday put the headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, an office complex near St. Petersburg, on a list of the bodies banned “in connection with the carrying out of extremist activities.”
      Last month, the ministry asked the Supreme Court to outlaw the religious organization and stop its more than 170,000 Russian members from spreading “extremist” texts. The court is scheduled to hear — and is likely to rule on — the case on Wednesday.
      Extremism, as defined by a law passed in 2002 but amended and expanded several times since, has become a catchall charge that can be deployed against just about anybody, as it has been against some of those involved in recent anti-corruption protests in Moscow and scores of other cities.
          The Jehovah’s Witnesses elders Vyacheslav Stepanov, 40, left, and Andrei Sivak, 43, are facing trial on charges of inciting division and hatred. CreditJames Hill for The New York Times Several students who took part in demonstrations in the Siberian city of Tomsk are now being investigated by a special anti-extremism unit while Leonid Volkov, the senior aide to the jailed protest leader Aleksei A. Navalny, said he had himself been detained last week under the extremism law.
      In the case of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the putative extremism seems to derive mostly from the group’s absolute opposition to violence, a stand that infuriated Soviet and now Russian authorities whose legitimacy rests in large part on the celebration of martial triumphs, most notably over Nazi Germany in World War II but also over rebels in Syria.
      Jehovah’s Witnesses, members of a denomination founded in the United States in the 19th century and active in Russia for more than 100 years, refuse military service, do not vote and view God as the only true leader. They shun the patriotic festivals promoted with gusto by the Kremlin, like the annual celebration of victory in 1945 and recent events to celebrate the annexation of Crimea in March 2014.
      Mr. Sivak, who says he lost his job as a physical education teacher because of his role as a Jehovah’s Witnesses elder, said he had voted for Mr. Putin in 2000, three years before joining the denomination. He added that while he has not voted since, nor has he supported anti-Kremlin activities of the sort that usually attract the attention of Russia’s post-Soviet version of the K.G.B., the Federal Security Service, or F.S.B.
      “I have absolutely no interest in politics,” he said during a recent Jehovah’s Witnesses Friday service in a wooden country house in Vorokhobino, a snow-covered village north of Moscow. Around 100 worshipers crammed into a long, chilly room under fluorescent lights to listen to readings from the Bible, sing and watch a video advising them to dress for worship as they would for a meeting with the president.
      “From the Russian state’s perspective, Jehovah’s Witnesses are completely separate,” said Geraldine Fagan, the author of “Believing in Russia — Religious Policy After Communism.” She added, “They don’t get involved in politics, but this is itself seen as a suspicious political deviation.”
      “The idea of independent and public religious activity that is completely outside the control of — and also indifferent to — the state sets all sorts of alarm bells ringing in the Orthodox Church and the security services,” she said.
      That the worldwide headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses is in the United States and that its publications are mostly prepared there, Ms. Fagan added, “all adds up to a big conspiracy theory” for the increasingly assertive F.S.B.
        Photo   Jehovah’s Witnesses arriving at a Friday evening service in Vorokhobino. CreditJames Hill for The New York Times For Mr. Sivak, it has added up to a long legal nightmare. His troubles began, he said, when undercover security officers posed as worshipers and secretly filmed a service where he was helping to officiate in 2010.
      Accused of “inciting hatred and disparaging the human dignity of citizens,” he was put on trial for extremism along with a second elder, Vyacheslav Stepanov, 40. The prosecutor’s case, heard by a municipal court in Sergiyev Posad, a center of the Russian Orthodox Church, produced no evidence of extremism and focused instead on the insufficient patriotism of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
      “Their disregard for the state,” a report prepared for the prosecution said, “erodes any sense of civic affiliation and promotes the destruction of national and state security.”
      In a ruling last year, the court found the two men not guilty and their ordeal seemed over — until Mr. Sivak tried to change money and was told that he had been placed on a list of “terrorists and extremists.”
      He and Mr. Stepanov now face new charges of extremism and are to appear before a regional court this month. “There is a big wave of repression breaking,” Mr. Stepanov said.
      In response to written questions, the Justice Ministry in Moscow said a yearlong review of documents at the Jehovah’s Witnesses “administrative center” near St. Petersburg had uncovered violations of a Russian law banning extremism. As a result, it added, the center should be “liquidated,” along with nearly 400 locally registered branches of the group and other structures.
      For the denomination’s leaders inside Russia, the sharp escalation in a long campaign of harassment, previously driven mostly by local officials, drew horrifying flashbacks to the Soviet era.
      Vasily Kalin, the chairman of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Russian arm, recalled that his whole family had been deported to Siberia when he was a child. “It is sad and reprehensible that my children and grandchildren should be facing a similar fate,” he said. “Never did I expect that we would again face the threat of religious persecution in modern Russia.”
          Mr. Stepanov led a Friday evening service. CreditJames Hill for The New York Times In Russia, as in many countries, the door-to-door proselytizing of Jehovah’s Witnesses often causes irritation, and their theological idiosyncrasies disturb many mainstream Christians. The group has also been widely criticized for saying that the Bible prohibits blood transfusions. But it has never promoted violent or even peaceful political resistance.
      “I cannot imagine that anyone really thinks they are a threat,” said Alexander Verkhovsky, director of the SOVA Center for Information and Analysis, which monitors extremism in Russia. “But they are seen as a good target. They are pacifists, so they cannot be radicalized, no matter what you do to them. They can be used to send a message.”
      That message, it would seem, is that everyone needs to get with the Putin program — or risk being branded as an extremist if they display indifference, never mind hostility, to the Kremlin’s drive to make Russia a great power again.
      “A big reason they are being targeted is simply that they are an easy target,” Ms. Fagan said. “They don’t vote, so nobody is going to lose votes by attacking them.”
      Attacking Jehovah’s Witnesses also sends a signal that even the mildest deviation from the norm, if proclaimed publicly and insistently, can be punished under the anti-extremism law, which was passed after Russia’s second war in Chechnya and the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States.
      Billed as a move by Russia to join a worldwide struggle against terrorism, the law prohibited “incitement of racial, national or religious strife, and social hatred associated with violence or calls for violence.”
      But the reference to violence was later deleted, opening the way for the authorities to classify as extremist any group claiming to offer a unique, true path to religious or political salvation.
      Even the Russian Orthodox Church has sometimes fallen afoul of the law: The slogan “Orthodoxy or Death!” — a rallying cry embraced by some hard-line believers — has been banned as an illegal extremist text.
          The Cathedral of the Assumption in Sergiyev Posad. Jehovah’s Witnesses say that the local authorities have avoided giving them permission to build a Kingdom Hall in the town, and that they have to use a large house in a village 12 miles away for services. CreditJames Hill for The New York Times To help protect the Orthodox Church and other established religions, Parliament passed a law in 2015 to exempt the Bible and the Quran, as well as Jewish and Buddhist scripture, from charges of extremism based on their claims to offer the only true faith.
      The main impetus for the current crackdown, however, appears to come from the security services, not the Orthodox Church. Roman Lunkin, director of the Institute of Religion and Law, a Moscow research group, described it as “part of a broad policy of suppressing all nongovernmental organizations” that has gained particular force because of the highly centralized structure of Jehovah’s Witnesses under a worldwide leadership based in the United States.
      “They are controlled from outside Russia and this is very suspicious for our secret services,” he said. “They don’t like having an organization that they do not and cannot control.”
      Artyom Grigoryan, a former Jehovah’s Witness who used to work at the group’s Russian headquarters but who now follows the Orthodox Church, said the organization had “many positive elements,” like its ban on excessive drinking, smoking and other unhealthy habits.
      All the same, he said it deserved to be treated with suspicion. “Look at it from the view of the state,” he said. “Here is an organization that is run from America, that gets financing from abroad, and whose members don’t serve in the army and don’t vote.”
      Estranged from his parents, who are still members and view his departure as sinful, he said Jehovah’s Witnesses broke up families and “in the logic of the state, it presents a threat.”
      He added, “I am not saying this is real or not, but it needs to be checked by objective experts.”
      Mr. Sivak, now preparing for yet another trial, said he had always tried to follow the law and he respected the state, but could not put its interests above the commands of his faith.
      “They say I am a terrorist,” he said, “but all I ever wanted to do was to get people to pay attention to the Bible.”
      Correction: April 4, 2017  An earlier version of this article misstated Andrei Sivak’s age. He is 43, not 42. The error was repeated in a picture caption, which also misstated the age of Vyacheslav Stepanov. He is 40, not 39. And because of an editing error, the article also misidentified the person who said he was detained last week under Russia’s extremism law. It was Leonid Volkov, not Aleksei A. Navalny.
      NICE THAT THE EDITOR PUT A PICTURE OF ELDERLY WITNESSES THAT RUSSIA IS CALLING DANGEROUS EXTREMIST.
    • By Kurt
      The FRANCISCO POPE PRAISES GOD’S WITNESSES WORLDWIDE

      Moving – Pascom Porto Feliz: Catholic Conference discusses increasing Witnesses … What drives so many people to become Jehovah’s Witnesses? This was the question asked by some clerics, as shown by the following quotations. For example, in Bologna, Italy, the ecclesiastical authorities, with the approval of the pope, held a conference to discuss ways to combat the success of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
      The Catholic Church raised a “cry of alarm”, the newspaper La Republica, because every year ten thousand Catholics become Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Jesuit Giuseppe De Rosa said that “the religious point of view the most dangerous are Jehovah’s Witnesses. They come fully trained, and always have the Bible in hand.”
      In an article that deals specifically with Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica said:
      “The first reason for the spread of this movement are the propaganda techniques [ie, in preaching]. On the one hand, the work is thorough, carried from house to house by people who are strictly trained in this work, and are deeply convinced [ …] ”
      “The second reason for the success of TJs is the force of attraction of Jehovah’s message, because it can meet the needs, demands and expectations of the people of our time. First, answers the need for certainty, which is much appreciated at a time where everything is uncertain and unstable. […] Above all, it is an absolutely safe revelation of the future and, therefore, all who accepted, experience freedom from fear and anxiety and can face the future with joy, with ensuring that survive the destruction that will come the great day of God’s judgment on a wicked world, to live in eternal happiness on earth. Second, Jehovah’s message helps to overcome the concern of the individual against the woes of this world, announces that soon will end the unbearable situation of today, and soon, so there will be a new era will be born a new world in which all the wicked will be removed now triumph. […] ”
      “The third reason for the success of TJs is that this movement gives its members a precise identity and strong, and is a place where they were greeted with warmth and a sense of brotherhood and solidarity.”
      The Vatican document analyzed the needs of people today, and the quote above the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica showed that the message of Jehovah’s Witnesses meet those needs. This also showed Vittorio Messori Catholic writer in his recent book Scommesse sulla morte (a bet on death), who writes: “It makes us think that Jehovah’s Witnesses, is one of the religious denominations of the fastest growing in the world. It is among the religions that are practiced in many countries and perhaps […] is first in terms of fervor, zeal, activism, the ability to make proselytes. ” “And his presence, increasingly pronounced, is not limited to Christian tradition countries, but reaching the whole world, where in the name of Jehovah, and before long, they get results that are superior to those of Catholic missionaries, Protestants and Orthodox, who have worked for centuries. ”
      “This stunning expansive force is incomprehensible only to those who simply do not want to admit that […] course in how to understand the Bible, Jehovah’s Witnesses meet the real needs that other theologies do not meet.” “You can not get around the issue suggesting that the growth of witnesses is because they scare people is precisely the opposite:. Unlike the churches” official “, deny the existence of hell and preach the destruction, disappearance after death to the wicked and unbelieving. This may be an unpleasant prospect, but certainly less frightening than the threat of a terrible pain for all eternity. “Yes, the God of Jehovah’s Witnesses is a loving God, and not one that terrorizes the people .
      The following quote is the Catholic magazine Mondo ERRE March 1986: “It must be said that Jehovah’s Witnesses are the first to live the faith they preach: Do not IRAM, do not smoke, do not accumulate wealth, remain outside the political discussions […] pay taxes. They live a virtuous and honest life, they are happy and helpful. All this has made people appreciate the ”
      I’m glad to know that they have had success in evangelizing them my family is Catholic more from small learn to admire their work in all the earth ….
      source
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      On  his drive to Calipatria State Prison, Ricardo Perez thought of the couple he’d met a few months earlier and their desperate plea: Can you help us get our innocent relative out of prison?
      It was spring 2012. Perez was fresh out of Loyola Law School and yearning for a meaningful case, so he agreed to look into their relative’s conviction. After reading the trial transcript, he went to meet Marco Contreras.
      “Are you innocent?” he asked him. “If you're not, I won’t judge you and I won’t tell your family. But if I’m going to spend the next several years on this, I need to know for sure.”
      Contreras looked him dead in the eye, Perez recalled, and said, “I’m innocent.”
      That conversation led to years of investigation and, ultimately, Contreras’ release from custody on Tuesday — the second time this month that a team of lawyers and students from Loyola have helped free a wrongfully convicted man.
      After spending 20 years behind bars, Contreras used the moments after his release to speak to others in his situation.
      “Keep fighting,” he said in Spanish. “Be patient and keep fighting.”
      Contreras, 41, who maintained his innocence, was convicted in 1997 of attempted murder and attempted robbery for a shooting at a Compton gas station a year earlier. He was sentenced to life in prison.
      Superior Court Judge William Ryan ruled last week that Contreras was factually innocent, and Deputy Dist. Atty. Bobby Grace said Tuesday that prosecutors lost faith in Contreras’ conviction, adding that other men have been linked to the crime.
      Attempted murder and conspiracy charges were filed Thursday against Antonio Salgado, 41; Antonio Garcia, 61; and Ricardo Valencia, 46. Both Garcia and Valencia pleaded not guilty Monday, and Salgado hasn’t been arraigned.
      Contreras’ attorneys say an eyewitness inaccurately identified him as the gunman, although he’d been at home sleeping at the time. It’s an example of the unreliability of witness misidentification, said Adam Grant, another Contreras attorney.
      “This is a huge problem,” he said. “It’s a thorny problem because the public considers it reliable.”
      Loyola Law School’s Project for the Innocent began looking into the case in 2012 after Perez put them in touch with Contreras’ family. During their investigation, lawyers and students found new evidence, including a striking physical similarity between Contreras and Salgado. The team of attorneys then presented its findings to the district attorney’s conviction review unit — a crew of prosecutors and investigators dedicated to overturning wrongful convictions — which conducted its own investigation, along with sheriff’s investigators, into the shooting.
      In a letter to the judge made public this week, prosecutors laid out the facts of the case, which they say point to Contreras’ innocence.
      At a Mepco gas station on a September morning in 1996, a man fired several shots at Jose Garcia, who was wounded but survived after a month-long hospital stay. While stopped at a red light nearby, Alicia Valladolid, an intern for the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, saw the gunman run into a getaway car – a blue and beige Bronco.
      She jotted down the license plate number and investigators tracked the car to Contreras. When his brother, Miguel, told police he owned the Bronco, he was charged with attempted murder, attempted robbery, as well as being an accessory after the fact. At Miguel’s preliminary hearing, Valladolid spotted Marco in the audience and told a detective he was the shooter she’d seen. Marco was arrested and charged as the gunman.
      At his trial, the victim expressed some doubt in identifying him as the shooter, saying, “I’m not sure about the face.” And defense witnesses testified that Marco was home at the time of the shooting. But jurors found him guilty.
      Miguel pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact and was sentenced to a 16-month prison sentence. His other charges were dropped as part of his plea deal.
      After his release, he told Compton police that his brother — who had a clean criminal record — wasn’t the gunman. Around that time, a detective had been trying to interview Salgado, a documented gang member the detective believed was the true gunman. Salgado fled to Missouri, records show, after realizing police were looking for him.
      Although Miguel had long resisted being viewed as “a rat,” according to court records, he eventually told his family that Salgado was the gunman and agreed to help authorities with an undercover sting operation.
      During a secretly recorded conversation with Valencia, Miguel brought up the shooting. Valencia told him it was an orchestrated hit likely tied to a drug dispute and said Salgado had admitted to being the gunman.
      During a 2014 interview with prosecutors and Loyola attorneys, Miguel said he and Salgado had been hired by Antonio Garcia, another co-worker, to carry out a murder-for-hire plot. Miguel — who described his role in the crime as merely assisting a friend — said he believed Antonio Garcia had promised to pay Salgado $10,000.
      Contreras’ release is the second big reversal handled by the district attorney’s conviction review unit since its creation in 2015. Last year, prosecutors asked the same judge to throw out the murder conviction of a man charged in the 2000 slaying of a college student in a Palmdale parking lot. Earlier this year, Ryan tossed the conviction and declared Raymond Lee Jennings factually innocent.
      In the other Loyola case from two weeks ago, a different judge threw out the murder conviction of Andrew Leander Wilson, who served 32 years behind bars after being convicted of a 1984 stabbing.
      As Marco Contreras was escorted into court Tuesday, he turned to look at his family in the audience. He nodded at them several times, and tears welled in his eyes. Perez patted him on the back.
      At the end of the hearing, Contreras — dressed in a black suit — stood to address the judge.
      “I’d like to thank you for allowing me to be here,” he said. “Also the D.A. — I’d like to say thank you to everybody.”
      The judge smiled and told Contreras he hoped he had a good support system to help him adjust to life outside of custody. The world, the judge warned him, had changed a lot in 20 years.
      “This is a new chapter,” Ryan said. “Good luck to you, sir.”
      The audience of Loyola students and Contreras’ family burst into applause, shouting, “Woo! Woo! Woo!” Contreras threw his fist in the air in celebration, and the courtroom bailiff smiled. Perez said a single word — surreal — was running through his mind.
      During a news conference after the hearing, Contreras’ mother, Maria, walked slowly toward her son. She embraced him in a tight hug and congratulated him in Spanish.
      “¡Felicidades, hijo!” she told him. “¡Felicidades, mi hijo!”
      She told reporters she’d always known he was innocent, saying before his arrest that he’d never gotten in trouble — not even a traffic ticket, she said.
      Asked whether he felt any rancor, Contreras shook his head: “No, none. There’s no reason.”
      For now, he said, he was looking forward to two things: good Mexican food and April 11. He’s a Jehovah’s Witness, and that’s the day his denomination will remember the anniversary of Jesus’ death.
      His faith, he said, had kept him from spiraling into depression.
      http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-wrongful-conviction-20170328-story.html

       
    • By Kurt
      Эксперт Наталия Крюкова, в отношении которой подано заявление о возбуждении уголовного дела, рассказывает о тонкостях своих методов выявления экстремизма. 
      JW Russia Video
    • Guest Nicole
    • Guest Nicole
    • By ARchiv@L
      hello everyone,
      I want to make a "collection" of all those photos that appear radomly on the official page,
      although our internet friend david has made a wonderful collection on his web.8080.page.
      [thank you david]

      Chachapoyas, Peru—
      Talking about God’s Kingdom with Spanish-speaking farmers
       
       

      Matobo District, Zimbabwe—
      Witnessing from house to house
       
       

      Vienna, Austria—
      Offering Bible-based publications in Maria-Theresien-Platz
       
       

      Seoul, South Korea—
      Engaging in metropolitan witnessing
       
       
       

    • By Anna
      Last week’s lesson in the October 16 WT, page 27 about exercising faith in Jehovah’s Promises brought out that Noah exercised faith by preaching to his neighbours.   
      Par.7
      "Hebrews 11:7 highlights the faith of Noah who, “after receiving divine warning of things not yet seen, showed godly fear and constructed an ark for the saving of his household.” Noah exercised his faith by building the gigantic ark. Without doubt, his neighbors must have asked him why he was building such a colossal structure. Did Noah keep quiet or tell them to mind their own business? By no means! His faith moved him to witness boldly and to warn his contemporaries of God’s coming judgment. Quite likely, Noah  repeated to the people the exact words that Jehovah had spoken to him: “I have decided to put an end to all flesh, because the earth is full of violence on account of them . . . I am going to bring floodwaters upon the earth to destroy from under the heavens all flesh that has the breath of life. Everything on the earth will perish.” Also, Noah no doubt explained to the people the only means of escape, repeating God’s command: “You must go into the ark.” Thus, Noah further exercised his faith by being “a preacher of righteousness.”—Gen. 6:13, 17, 18; 2 Pet. 2:5".
      We have always understood that Noah witnessed to the inhabitants of that time, while he was building the ark. We say this because 2 Peter 2:5 calls Noah a “preacher of righteousness”.  But it occurred to me that Noah must have been a preacher of righteousness BEFORE Jehovah asked him to build the Ark, as this was the reason Jehovah asked him to build the ark, to preserve him alive. Genesis 6:9 says: “This is the history of Noah. Noah was a righteous man. He proved himself faultless among his contemporaries.  Noah walked with the true God”.  Is there any scriptural proof that Noah witnessed to “his neighbours”  about the impending destruction while he was constructing the ark, or are we simply assuming he did? And wasn’t Noah exercising faith mainly by building the ark, rather than preaching destruction to the people?  The only scripture that I can think of that would indicate that Noah may have talked about the destruction is in Matthew 24:39 where it says that “they took no note until the Flood came and swept them all away”. But this could also mean that they took no note of him building the Ark rather than any reasoning from Noah. Or Heb 11:7...after receiving divine warning of things not yet seen, showed godly fear and constructed an ark for the saving of his household; and through this faith he condemned the world. This seems to indicate that it was because he acted and constructed the ark.....or was it that he actually voiced a condemnation to the people?
    • By Jack Ryan
      New documentary on pedophilia that aired December 1st, 2016 on Radio-Canada(CBC) in Quebec in french now with english subtitles. Note : activate subtitles on youtube.
      Enquête : Les «Sales» du Royaume (Translation)
       
       
       
       
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      By @yekofleur
       

    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      October 12th-16. The coldest day this autumn. Showing many videoes to friendly people and many nice experiences. We even got an address to a person from another European country today.
       

    • By Susan Ramirez
      Hello All,
      I was just wondering if anyone knows what the demographics of Jehovah's Witnesses nationwide and worldwide are? Not how many JW's there are compared to non JW's. We have that on the website. I was thinking more like what is the ratio of adults to teenagers/children. Here in our Circuit in Southern California, we see very few children and/or teenagers at our assemblies and conventions. It seems that the average age of most of the brothers and sisters that we see is between 50 and 70. Is that true in other places in the US or in the world? I would think that the GB has all this information, but I doubt they would release it. I'm just curious to see if young people are still accepting the truth at the same rate as before or if the pull of this wicked world is causing fewer and fewer to make the truth their own. All comments welcome!
    • By Outta Here
      http://www.breitbart.com/faith/2016/07/10/putin-signs-measure-revoking-religious-freedom/
    • By Bible Speaks
      PREACHING IN VIENNA, AUSTRIA, EUROPE

      PREDICACION PUBLICA EN VIENA, AUSTRIA, EUROPA
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