BUILDING UP THE BROTHERHOOD
- An Experience From the Kenya Mall Shooting -
September 30, 2013
Out of the terrorist attack at a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, on September 21, 2013, comes report of a couple who were shot down because they were Christians. This couple were Jehovah’s Witnesses who had recently found the plain and open teachings of Jesus and had made public declaration of their sonship with God.
According to the report we received, the attackers were going from shop to shop shooting non-Muslims. When a Muslim identified him or herself, they were allowed to go. As a result, some Christians represented themselves as Muslims in order to be spared. This worked for some, but not all. When the attackers reached these two ‘sons of the kingdom,’ they asked if they were Muslims. The couple stood holding hands as they proclaimed their Christ-like devotion and consecration to the Father. They responded: “We are sons of the kingdom of the heaven and our salvation lies with Jesus Christ.” Some more words were exchanged, and their last words were “Do what you will with our bodies,” and with that, they were shot.
We are deeply saddened that mankind continues their primitive battles over religious superiority. We are likewise saddened that the lives of this couple were cut short. But we are inspired by their courage and godly devotion. They knew without question that standing up for Jesus and the kingdom of the heavens under those circumstances would result in their death. Yet, when their personal test arrived, they proved faithful even as far as death and now the crown of life awaits them. (Revelation 2:10) Their example of courage should be remembered and imitated by all sons of God regardless of what name appears on their church marquee.
Though this couple had only recently accepted their sonship, by making this public declaration and defense of their faith at this precipice moment, they stored up more ‘treasures in heaven’ than many will accumulate in a lifetime. (Matthew 6:20-21)
This experience should give perspective to our brothers among Jehovah’s Witnesses who are experiencing trialsome conditions as a result of the public declaration of their hope in their local Kingdom Halls, as we describe in the articles Defending Our Living Hope and Publicly Declaring Our Hope. The trials these brothers and sisters are facing do not compare to the trial this couple faced. The stubborn and disobedient children who masquerade as Christian overseers can only damage or decrease your popularity. They cannot harm your ‘soul.’ (Matthew 10:28) For, after they have done their dastardly deeds, you will be free to carry on the ministry and live your lives on as faith sons of God on earth.
We know that as our world continues its sifting and refining, we may hear many more reports of violence and bloodshed. Mankind is agitated and, whether knowingly or unknowingly, is seeking ‘the freedom of the children of God’ (Romans 8:18-21), especially in the third world and war torn countries. There will be difficult struggles for many, but the Father and Christ will prevail and mankind will know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men. (Daniel 4:25)
In the meantime, while there is a measure of peace in our local communities, let us continue proving ourselves faithful in our daily activities – doing the best and right thing under the circumstances – so that when we are faced with greater challenges, we can come out victorious. Remember:
“The person faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and the person unrighteous in what is least is unrighteous also in much.”
– Luke 16:10
Let us, by our small and regular acts of courage, build a strong foundation of real, personal and fire-tested faith. When trials come, let us keep our perspective. Few challenges are matters of life or death as was this couple’s. Most challenges are inconveniences and disruptions that can be endured with joy, knowing they all work out endurance. (James 1:2-4) But should we come under such weighty and life-threatening trials, we pray that your and our faith will honor the Father and Christ Jesus as these two courageous sons of God.
May the Father’s joy and excelling peace be with the worldwide Jesus brotherhood.
10/03/13 How did we know the details of this experience?