GREEN BAY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Brown County

Changes afoot for Jehovah’s Witnesses

Local News

GREEN BAY, Wisc., (WFRV) – It’s one full year now that Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide, and the 6,400 who call Northeast Wisconsin home, stopped doing what most have done since they could walk; go door to door.

“We testify. That’s what we do,” spokesman Robert Hendriks III tells Local 5 News. “So, when we were told you’re no longer going to do that. It was a shock to the system.”

And when in-person bible studies also stopped, it really hit home for the Backus family of Green Bay.

“All of us felt it and we discussed it,” says Tara Backus. “But we still felt that we are able to address the community in a beautiful way and respectfully because we want to keep people safe.”

They embraced a new way to bear witness by writing letters, making phone calls, and turning to technology.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses website is now translated in more than 1,000 languages.

That’s opened more doors than ever before.

Hendriks says 150 people every day in the United States reached out to them through their website in 2020.

They changed their message from solely the Gospel to offering comfort.

“We think the message is having a powerful effect,” said Hendriks.

Jehovah’s Witnesses say it’s a personal and family decision if members get vaccinated. It remains unclear if they’ll ever go back to knocking on doors.

“Will we be able to knock on doors without masks in the next few months in some parts of this country? It’s very possible,” Hendriks admits. “Will we do it? Probably not.”

And that’s because by witnessing in a virtual way, they saw more doors open figuratively than they have in the past ten years.

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