Jim and Linda Salnave sit on their couch and focus on a Bible-based discourse streaming on their TV. Later, they each look up some of the referenced scriptures using a downloaded Bible study app — Jim, 76, uses his electronic tablet, and Linda, 75, uses her cell phone.
In this digital age, spiritual values can seem hard to hold on to. Oftentimes, older ones may view technology as hard to understand, leading them to feel left behind.
“When I grew up, we had a party line; that was technology,” Jim said. “So we’ve been around a little while to where we’ve seen changes.”
In March of 2020, Jehovah’s Witnesses discontinued in-person gatherings and moved everything to an online format out of concern for the health and safety of everyone — an arrangement that is still in place. With the new adjustment, it became necessary for many, including the Salnaves, to adapt to using technology and meeting together virtually to receive that same instruction.
Jim and Linda faced the challenge head-on and learned how to use the various platforms and apps needed to continue with their normal spiritual routine. “This is a real blessing,” said Jim, referring to their use of technology.
One of the things the Salnaves looked forward to every summer was a 3-day in-person convention held in various stadiums and arenas around the world, a long-standing routine that has been in place since 1897 — until last year. For the second year in a row, this program is being presented virtually.
Jim and Linda are enjoying the benefits of the online platform — especially the ability to rewind and watch parts of the program again. They also expressed appreciation for the ease of being able to connect and continue to get the information they need to build themselves up.
The theme of this year’s program is “Powerful by Faith!”. One of the highlights is a full-length feature film about the life of the Bible character, Daniel. The movie is available in over 500 languages and can be streamed free of charge.
The Salnaves’ excitement for the things they have learned is reflected in their efforts to invite others in Emmett to view the convention. “Now people in the community can attend at their own house, on their own means of technology, whether it’s a computer or a tablet or a phone, they can enjoy the convention,” Jim said. “Nobody signs up for anything, nobody puts a password in. It’s open to the public and it’s free.”
“Faith has helped our global brotherhood to continue to thrive even during a pandemic,” said Robert Hendriks, U.S. spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “Our faith will continue to unite us in worship — even virtually — as millions gather in private homes around the world to enjoy a powerful and inspiring spiritual program.”
All are invited to attend the event by going to www.jw.org on the web. JW Broadcasting is also available on streaming platforms like ROKU TV, Apple TV, and others.