We applaud and raise shouts of triumph. That was the most powerful letter from the Governing Body I have ever heard. We received many beautiful words of commendation, and we were reminded of how and why we were selected for survival. The brothers have also emphasized what a privilege and great responsibility it is for us to be chosen to build the foundation of this New Earth. And how Jehovah will bring us to perfection, the planet into a paradise, and how we all can participate in this restoration project. The loving words of reassurance and encouragement filled our hearts with joy and gratitude. The letter concluded with an exhortation saying: “Rejoice, New Earth! Because your enemy has been hurled into the Abyss. Shout in triumph to Jehovah, for he is good, and his loyal love endures forever!”
After that, we prayed and ate a banquet of different dishes and quiches, soups and stews, and all kinds of other delicious things. The recipes featured vegetables, fruits, legumes, and other fine ingredients growing everywhere in abundance. Our congregation is not particularly big, but we are very tight as a family. It feels great to be able to have a party with all of us together like this again. We could only meet with small groups in secret for a long time. Thankfully, I was assigned to my friend Jacob’s field service group during that time. We have been through a lot together, and Jacob has literally saved my life with a lot of Jehovah’s help. It is nice to see him so active and fully involved in taking care of the congregation. He has always spoken fondly about the time he served as the coordinator of the body of elders. But with age, he had to slow down and eventually step down from that privilege. He was happy to train others to qualify and be ready to replace him when the time came. But I know him too well. I know how much he missed the time he was able to do more. Look at him now. I have never seen him this happy.
“I missed this,” I say, approaching Jacob helping with serving the food to the brothers and sisters.
“Me too, son,” Jacob replies.
“You haven’t stopped since we were back. Have you eaten anything yet?”
“Not yet. Maybe I can eat something now. Care to join me?”
“No, no. I can’t eat another bean, or I will sin.” I can hear the silence. “Bean. Sin. Got it?”
Jacob frowns at my attempt at comedy.
“No, thanks. I am full,” I finally reply.
Jacob picks a paper plate, some of the stuff we found in the supermarket, and starts filling it with food.
“You have to try a bite of everything, Jacob. They taste amazing,” I say.
“Marcel, thanks again for your help earlier.”
“Stop thanking me, Jacob. I am the one that should be thanking you for taking the lead and organizing all this.”
“How does it feel? Does it feel real to you yet?” Jacob asks.
“It is surreal, isn’t it?” I reply.
“We have lived in expectation to see this day for so long,” Jacob says. “I had made a point to visualize in my mind, fantasize and imagine how this day would be, but this! This here beats all dreams I might have had and surpasses all expectations I have ever had. Jehovah loves surprising us, doesn’t he?” he asks.
“He sure does,” I acknowledge. “And he is so loving and considerate too.”
“He is, indeed,” Jacob agrees.
“I mean, look at you,” I tell him. “Getting younger by the minute.”
“Yeah. I feel young,” Jacob replies.
“The lame can run,” I continue. “The blind can see. Even I can see things much better now, and I didn’t realize how bad my eyesight was before today.”
“Really?” Jacob asks, surprised. “I thought you had great eyesight.”
“Me too,” I say. “That is what I mean. And, at first, I was somewhat puzzled by being one of the last ones to wake up, but now I think I know why Jehovah did that.”
“You do? And why is that, you think?” Jacob asks.
“To be honest, I just have never made the new world real in my mind, as you did, fantasizing about it. Living it in your head. I was never able to imagine anything beyond the artwork in our literature; you understand what I mean?”
“I do, but…”
“And that is why Jehovah woke me up later, I think.”
“I don’t follow,” Jacob says, confused.
“Allow me to explain,” I continue.” My first impression waking up today was pretty much the one depicted in our literature for so many years. It was familiar. I recognized it right away—the children playing with the wild animals. Or should I say, what used to be considered wild animals? Sister Mary is not blind anymore. Little Jaz can run again. My first new world experience seeing all this after waking up is precious to me, and for that, I am genuinely grateful to Jehovah.”
“Okay?” Jacob says, unsure. “I just don’t understand how Jehovah waking you up later helped you. I was one of the first ones to wake up, and for me, that was a great experience too. The wild animals were not yet here, and most brothers and sisters were still sleeping. But, I could help with preparations to provide everyone with water, their first meal and help make the arrangements for today. It meant a lot to me that I could do that.”
“Exactly. This is precisely my point,” I say emphatically. “That was the experience Jehovah knew you needed,” I affirm and continue. “Imagine if I would be the first one to wake up. I would most likely have no idea of what to do. Seeing everyone lying on the ground, I would probably have panicked and tried to wake my wife, daughters, and everyone else still sleeping. I am not sure if that would have been for the best. Big chance I would have spoiled the first impression of the New Word for everybody,” I say, making both of us laugh.
“Oh, my friend,” Jacob replies with a smile. “I am sure you wouldn’t have spoiled anything. But it is nice that you see Jehovah’s love and concern with you on a personal level like this.”
“But it makes sense, no?”
“No! You are still crazy,” Jacob cries through his laugh. “You will need the full one thousand years to reach perfection. You and me, both,” he declares.
“Haha,” we laugh.
“I knew that already,” I say.
“And who knows,” Jacob continues, “after the Millennium when Jesus hands over the Kingdom to God, and we can finally have a direct father-son relationship with him again, you can ask Jehovah if your theory was correct.”
“Like Adam could speak with Jehovah before he sinned, you mean?” I ask, puzzled.
“Who knows?” Jacob replies.
“Hmm. I have to remember to do that,” I say. “Jacob, can I ask you something?” I continue.
“Sure,” Jacob replies.
“What happens next?”
“We are not sure yet, but…”
“Jacob!” Caleb calls out, approaching us.
“Hey, Caleb. What’s up?” Jacob asks.
“Hi. The body of elders is requesting your presence,” Caleb says.
“Ah, all right. I’m coming right away,” Jacob says.
“Okay. Thanks,” Caleb replies and leaves us.
“Sorry, son,” Jacob says. “We’ll continue this conversation later, okay?”
“Of course, sure. Go do what you do best, my friend.”
“And what is that?” he asks.
“Taking care of Jehovah’s sheep.”
“Ha-ha. Okay, Marcel. Thanks. Enjoy the party.”
I love Marcel and his crazy ideas. Would this one have any merit, though? Probably not. But about one thing, he is right. I feel great to be useful again. I wonder what assignment the other elders will have for me now.
Here we are. I enter the Tent of Meetings, where the elders are assembled.
“Hi Jacob,” Tony says. “Thank you for joining us.”
“Of course. What is going on?” I say, looking at the others sitting around a radio, leaning over towards it, and listening very carefully.
“We have been taking turns ‘watching’ the radio the whole day. The entire day we didn’t get anything other than the noisy static. Until a few minutes ago, when we received something.”
“Really? What did they say?”
“We were not able to make a word of it. Too much noise.”
“It will work. We followed every instruction. They have never failed us before.”
“I’m so excited; I can barely contain myself. Can you imagine?” Tony asks.
“Not really. I guess we will have to wait and see….”
“Guys!” one of the elders interrupts. “I think I hear something.”
There is only static again for a moment, when then: “Hi, everyone out there that can hear us. If you are receiving this, listen carefully. We will repeat the instructions.”