Jehovah’s Witnesses back at the Daytona 500 after pandemic pause

Aaron and Samantha Brasher share their Bible-based hope with Daytona 500 spectators at the Daytona International Speedway.

DAYTONA — There’s nothing like hearing the roar of the engines as highly modified cars, hitting speeds of close to 200 mph, race around the 2.5-mile iconic Daytona International Speedway.

Each February, tens of thousands flock to Daytona to take part in the week-long event that culminates with the Daytona 500. The Great American Race kicks off NASCAR’s 75th Anniversary with an anticipated crowd of 150,000.

With a rich history dating back to 1959, and a list of winners including the likes of Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, the Daytona 500 draws spectators from all over the world. While enjoying the sights and sounds of the event, don’t be surprised if you see a group of nicely dressed people sharing a positive message and free Bible-based literature.

“We have enjoyed sharing our message of hope and comfort with the community in the past,” said Everett Gardner, a Jehovah’s Witness who is coordinating their special public ministry. “The Daytona Speedway events are a fantastic way to reach out to the public, face-to-face, and talk about topics that concern them. Many have reported a positive response to our presence at these events.”

Gardner said more than 600 volunteers will be helping people at a dozen carts displaying free Bible literature, at beach locations and along International Speedway Boulevard.

One of those volunteers is Samantha Brasher. “People need comfort and hope for the future, now more than ever,” said Samantha. “There’s so much conflicting information in the world, but the Bible’s guidance is always reliable. It can help people live a happy life now and have a solid hope for the future.”

Mobile displays of Bible-based literature have been part of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ public ministry in the U.S. since 2011. While these displays began in large metropolitan areas around the world, the practice quickly spread to the tens of thousands of smaller communities, becoming a fixture in rail and bus stations, airports, harbors and main streets – and festivals.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses have not been present at the speedway and other public events since before the Pandemic. “We believe that the early decision to shut down all in-person activities for more than two years has saved many lives,” said Robert Hendriks, U.S. spokesperson for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “We’re now ready and eager to reconnect with our neighbors once again – person-to-person, face-to-face. It’s not the only way we preach, but it has historically been the most effective way to deliver our message of comfort and hope.”

“Most people, no matter where they’re from, have the same questions about life and concerns about the future,” said Samantha’s husband, Aaron Brasher. “This event is an opportunity to talk to as many people as possible to help them see that those answers can be found that they are not complicated, and they’re satisfying.”

Both Aaron and Samantha said they hope that folks stop and take a look at what they have to share. “If they do, they will be pleasantly surprised at the information that they will find.”

To learn more about Jehovah’s Witnesses, their history, beliefs and activities, visit their official website, featuring content in more than 1,000 languages.

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