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Finding a priceless pearl in a sea of pandemic problems

Finding a priceless pearl in a sea of pandemic problems

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Ray Welch, left, left behind a career in law enforcement to follow his faith. This photo was taken before the photo pandemic. The ministry's outreach is now done by internet, phone and letters). 

Ray Welch found a "priceless pearl" nearly two decades ago. Since then, his life has never been the same.

He left behind a life in law enforcement as a frequent SWAT-team negotiator and found peace after discovering truths about God and began drawing close to Him. While Welch always sought to serve others, "the opportunity of serving God has had no comparison," he said.

Welch is not alone. In this time of pandemic when many people right here in our Valley have lost the things they thought were of the highest value, some have made their spirituality a priority. They feel like the merchant in an ancient parable who found a pearl of such great worth that he sold everything he had to obtain it.

"Have You Found a 'Pearl of High Value'?" is the theme of a global virtual event to which Jehovah's Witnesses are inviting the community in March. Here in Hanford, Visalia, and throughout the Central Valley thousands are being invited to attend these special events virtually. In the Gospel account, Jesus Christ used the parable of the pearl to illustrate the motivating value of the truth about God's Kingdom, the solution to mankind's problems.

This free 30-minute program unlocks the meaning of that parable, explaining what the Kingdom of the heavens is and how that valuable knowledge can help us attain peace and a sense of security even now.

"The pandemic changed our lives within weeks, bringing the economic, educational, and social systems to their knees," said Robert Hendriks, U.S. spokesman for Jehovah's Witnesses. "What has not changed is spirituality and its powerful effect on people's lives."

Sal Alcaraz also found Bible truths to be of high value.

When Sal graduated high school in 2010, his athletic talent brought him several university offers, including UCLA. He even received an invitation to play soccer in Europe.

The weekend before leaving for college, Sal was moved by a life-changing experience. “I was able to attend an international convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses,” said Sal. “The genuine love the Witnesses of different countries had for each other was impressive. What affected me most, though, was on the last day of the program. They interviewed young ones my age who had turned down opportunities similar to mine to pursue spiritual things. I distinctly remember how genuinely happy they looked, despite what they had given up. I realized it was that happiness that I truly wanted.”

Sal turned down his scholarships and the opportunity to play in Europe, despite his coaches and friends' negative reactions.  Today, Sal finds joy teaching others the promises found in the Bible. Despite facing challenges related to the pandemic, he is experiencing the genuine happiness he was looking for.

Sal admitted, “If I would have known that this is what my life was going to be like, it would have been an even easier choice back then. I don’t even consider the sacrifices I made as sacrifices since they don’t compare to the value of the pearl that I have found.”

The presentation about the valuable pearl will be held on March 21 through local congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It preludes another event that the Witnesses are also inviting people to attend: the annual observance of the Memorial of Jesus Christ’s death on March 27.

“We invite anyone searching for peace, security, comfort and hope to attend,” Hendriks said. “This special talk and the Memorial of Jesus Christ’s death will show people how they can obtain something priceless that will make their lives better, not only now, but also in the future, even forever.”

Due to the pandemic, congregations around the world will host both events virtually. There are no fees to attend, and no registration is required.

To learn more about how to attend locally you can call the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah`s Witnesses 559-562-4506 or visit www.jw.org.

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