NEARLY 1 000 Jehovah’s Witnesses landed at Harare International Airport from different parts of the world yesterday ahead of their three-day international convention scheduled for Friday at the National Sports Stadium.
The airport was a hive of activity as the Witnesses patiently waited to have their papers sorted before proceeding to the waiting buses taking them to their respective hotels and other places of lodgings.
A number of Witnesses who spoke to NewsDay upon arrival said they were upbeat about the international convention from which they expected to accrue a lot of spiritual benefits.
Greg Malaya from New Jersey in the United States said he was expecting a joyous week of faith and fellowship with brethren from all over the world and would take the opportunity to tour Zimbabwe’s famed resorts.
“My expectations are that we are going to have joyous, beautiful week in Harare. We are going to enjoy fellowship together and have some activities,” Malaya said.
“We will also see some of the [wildlife] parks in this country. We also enjoy the hospitality and get spiritual education while we are here.”
Malaya said the international convention was “very special to him” because it gave him the opportunity to come to Africa for the first time and it was also unique in that it was the first time it was being held in Zimbabwe.
A Witness from Brazil, Maurico Bastos, also said he was looking forward to having a good time in the country and to share experiences and exchange notes with his Christian brothers and sisters.
“It’s a pleasure to be here. We are looking forward to having a good time in this country with our brothers here,” he said.
An American couple from New York, Art and Charmaine Moore, said there were eight other international conventions going on simultaneously, but they opted to come to Zimbabwe.
“There were so many conventions at the same time so we had to pick which one to attend. I have been to Africa once before, but this is my first, first, time in Zimbabwe. We really wanted to see our brothers and sisters here and we are expecting wonderful Bible–based talks,” Art said.
Almost 60 000 Witnesses were expected to attend the three-day gathering where they will enjoy international brotherhood and share their faith and fellowship, with 3 500 delegates drawn from the US, Germany, Brazil and other countries.
Over 2 000 delegates were from the US. Others would come from Zambia, Kenya and Mozambique.
Worldwide, there are over 7,9 million Witnesses from 236 countries in more than 113 000 congregations and in Zimbabwe there are 42 000 Witnesses.
Meanwhile, convention spokesperson John Hunguka yesterday said the gathering will highlight a connection between family values and the teachings of Jesus Christ during the three-day international convention entitled Keep Seeking First God’s Kingdom!’
“The Witnesses are extending an open invitation to all to attend lively discussions of Jesus’ words: ‘Keep on, then, seeking first the Kingdom’,” he said.
“The programme, will also examine how those words of Jesus can be of special interest to families. An example of this will be the programme part featured on Friday afternoon entitled Teach Your Children to Love God’s Kingdom!
“Jehovah’s Witnesses invite people of all ages to attend. The programme sessions begin at 9:20am on all three days of the convention.
“Admission is free. Conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses are supported entirely by voluntary donations.”