The preaching work is quite often compared to fishing. That's a comparison I can appreciate as many years ago I used to fish for large-mouth bass. One of the most frustrating things a fisherman can have happen is to hook a fish and as you are reeling him in he escapes from the line. You've done all he work, but get no reward, you feel a bit empty. A recent experience in field service was somewhat like that for me.
About a month ago Danielle met in house to house a young man who is about her age. She asked me to go back with her on the return visit. We returned, met his family and were able to have a good conversation with him. One of the highlights was sharing with him the Peaceful New World tract. When I asked him what he thought of the picture he was filled with excitement! He mentioned how there were so many people from different races together. He pointed out how beautiful the trees and flowers were. He even noticed how the animals were not eating each other, but how everything was peaceful. When I asked him if he would like to know more about life in the new world he said yes; asking if he could keep the tract. He kept staring at the picture like a child with a new toy!
In the past few weeks we have called back on him but he has been not at home or busy but we were able to reach him last Thursday evening. He met us outside his house and apologized for not being able to see us at that time. When we asked what would be a good day he kept saying he would be busy for a while but then finally indicated, very apologetically, that we need not return. In talking to us he kept apologizing but he mentioned several times that his family all went to the same church and he could not be different.
About this time his father drove up and while he greeted us very cordially, I also noticed him giving his son a look that sort of said "you need to come inside". We took advantage of our last minute or two to share a couple of scriptures with him, one of which was Revelation 21:3,4. Again he absolutely was excited hearing about the promises the Bible holds out. He told us he still had the tract and magazines and enjoyed reading them but we would not be able to visit him anymore. We thanked him for listening to us and as we left he asked us if we had a website. We told him about jw.org and that he could read the latest magazines online. He apologized (again) and thanked us as we left.
I felt a bit sad for him as we drove away. When we first met him I thought to myself "this is going to be a Bible Study". Alas it turned out to be the one that got away. While I am sad we are not studying with him somehow I am comforted by what we were able to accomplish. In a few visits he got to know God's name and that there is going to be a peaceful new world, a Paradise. Seeing the joy, the interest on this kid's face I can't help but think that a seed of truth was planted in his heart. He seemed to want to learn more but his circumstances at present do not allow for him to do so.
Over the past few days I have been thinking about this young man. I prayed for him, that if he is truly sheep-like that Jehovah may give him an opportunity to respond to the message when his circumstances are more favorable. I also couldn't help but think how many more people are out there like that? People who perhaps have heard and enjoy but for varying reasons do not at present respond to the Good News. It serves as a reminder to me why this work is so important, not only here in Guasave but wherever we may be serving at present. There are still many who need to the hear the Good News. May we keep zealously proclaiming it while we have favorable times. We never know if we might by some chance be reeling in the one that got away!