With families losing jobs and income, struggling to pay bills, fighting for delayed unemployment benefits and dealing with “COVID Fatigue,” how can families, not only cope, but find joy in life?
The “Always Rejoice”! Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses answers questions like: What contributes to finding and sustaining joy? How can you cultivate joy in the family? How can you remain joyful in difficult times?
The convention is streaming online with a portion of the program dedicated to families and how each member can contribute to joy in the household. “I benefit from the Bible’s counsel as a husband by cultivating the fruitage of the spirit found at Galations 5:22,23, says Paul Florestal. “This helps maintain a loving atmosphere in our family.”
The Florestal’s are doing everything they can to make the convention as normal as possible for the family, even posting a homemade sign with the convention theme over their television.
His wife, Sarah Florestal says the convention helps her see how Bible principles and a close relationship with God can help her deal with daily challenges. “Turning to him in prayer and meditating on his Word helps us to work through any difficulties and strengthens our bond.”
Even young children find joy by learning to appreciate their family and creation. “When I’m sad and go outside and see the beautiful flowers, I look at them and they make me feel better,” says 7-year-old Elijah Florestal.
Locally, the convention was scheduled to be held July 10-12 at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville Florida, where 14,000 total peak attendance of all conventions to be held at the VyStar Arena were expected to attend. The convention was cancelled in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our worship is centered on our mutual love for our God and for each other, irrespective of where we are physically,” said Robert Hendriks, U.S. spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “This year’s convention program underscores the unity of our international family and the joy that people can have against a backdrop of stress and despair.”
The two Christian principles guiding the Witnesses’ historic decision are respect for the sanctity of life and love of neighbor. “As much as we long to meet together, life is far too precious to put at risk,” said Hendriks. “The virtual meetings we have held over the past four months have proved to all of us that it’s not about where we are physically. It’s about where we are spiritually. In many ways we are closer as a spiritual family than ever before.”
The convention continues this weekend. The final weekend of the virtual event is scheduled for August 29-30.
Each year many who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses attend the annual conventions. There are more than 8.6 million active Witnesses worldwide, yet the 2019 conventions had a peak attendance of more than 14 million. With the program available online in hundreds of languages, this may be the most attended convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses to date.
Those interested in viewing the convention can access the program on jw.org. There is no charge for viewing the convention and you do not have to sign in or provide any personal information.
U.S. Media contact:
Robert J. Hendriks
Local Media contact:
Ivan J. Fernandez