Jahaziel and Claudia Munoz have been continuing their volunteer ministry for the past two years using phone calls and handwritten letters to their neighbors in Mesquite, Nevada.

Jahaziel and Claudia Munoz would rarely go more than a few days without knocking on a door or visiting a Bible student as part of their volunteer ministry. That abruptly changed in the spring of 2020 when Jehovah’s Witnesses suspended their in-person public ministry, meetings and large conventions.

Two years later, the Mesquite, Nevada, residents are busier than ever. “Most mornings I like to get together with friends virtually to write letters with a positive Bible-based message to my neighbors,” said Claudia Munoz. Her husband, Jahaziel, said their ministry “can take many hours a week, but it’s worth it.”

With this historic change, the number of Jehovah’s Witnesses grew 3% in the United States in 2021 alone, matching the most significant increase for the organization over the past decade and the second-largest percentage increase since 1990.

“Staying active in our ministry while remaining safe has had a powerful preserving effect on our congregants and communities,” said Robert Hendriks, U.S.

Jahaziel Munoz conducts a study of the Bible using video conferencing on his tablet.

spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “The wise decision not to prematurely resume in-person activities has united us and protected lives while comforting many people in great need. The results speak for themselves.”

For congregants like the Munoz family, the virtual pivot has meant trading their bookbag for a landline, laptop, tablet and smartphone and their walking shoes for slippers. Their tools have changed, but their message is the same. They regularly share scriptures with dozens of community members. “It’s been amazing for me to be able to experience this type of ministry,” said Jahaziel Munoz, who conducts a Bible study via video conferencing. “Virtually, we can still reach people’s hearts.”

Last year, the international organization reported all- time peaks in the number of people participating in their volunteer preaching work, increased attendance in virtual meetings and more than 171,000 new believers baptized. In the past two years, more than 400,000 have been baptized worldwide.

Some whose ministry or attendance at religious services had slowed because of age and poor health said they feel reenergized with the convenience of virtual meetings and a home-based ministry.

By sharing the Bible’s hope remotely, the fewer than 3,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses in Alaska can rapidly preach across the 586,000 square miles of their sparsely populated state.

“We’re talking to more people in a day than we did in a month,” said Marlene Sadowski of Ketchikan.

The official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses, translated into more than 1,000 languages, has also leveraged the organization’s outreach.

After starting a free self-paced Bible course on jw.org in December 2019, Lisa Owen requested a free, interactive Bible study via video conference. She was one of nearly 20,000 baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses last year in the United States in private settings, including backyard swimming pools, tubs and even rivers.

“JW.ORG gave me somewhere to learn, somewhere to land, and to start living the way God wants me to. It taught me so much,” said Owen of Moriarty, New Mexico.

To start an online Bible study course, receive a visit or attend a virtual meeting locally, visit jw.org.

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