A Tulsa man in attendance at the 2019 Global Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses at the University of Tulsa on Friday said that when he returns the next day, his life will be changed forever.

Kafi Wallace and his son, Ezekiel, who regularly attend Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall — Woodland View, were just two of the 4,500 people in attendance at the convention in the Donald W. Reynolds Center on Friday morning. But around lunchtime on Saturday, Wallace will be baptized, marking a huge step in his journey as a Jehovah’s Witness that he said he thinks “will alter my life for the remainder of my days.”

“It also means something special to me because I have a brother that’s baptized, as well, as a Jehovah’s Witness,” Wallace said. “It’s been a longer journey for myself, but it’s the right time for me now.”

With a theme of “Love Never Fails” the convention kicked off with an address from Chairman Eric Hermanson that outlined the theme for the three-day convention. About 4,500 people attended Friday morning, and the event continues through Sunday at the Donald W. Reynolds Center, beginning at 9:20 a.m. each day.

The theme is meant to impart “the kind of love that God displays, but also how the attendees can imitate God and the kind of love that he shows,” said Yohannes Brown, media host for Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Although the theme was chosen well in advance of the event, Sasha Evans, who attends the Skelly Park Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, said she thought it was timely.

“It feels like there’s not a lot of love in the world right now, but it’s not over. It still can be found,” Evans said.

Over the course of the convention, eight symposiums will tie into the theme: Friday, “Taught by God to Love One Another;” Saturday, “Go on Walking in Love;” and Sunday, “Keep Yourselves in God’s Love.”

Throughout the symposium on Friday, Evans took notes as speakers detailed ways to avoid trusting in wealth, status, wisdom or beauty in place of Jehovah.

She said she hopes what she learned will help her be a better mother to her three daughters, Olivia, Natalee and Abigail, who attended with her.

Evans said she looks forward to the lessons, but for her, it’s also a chance to connect with Jehovah’s Witnesses from different congregations.

“Lots of friends that we don’t get to see weekly, we get to see here,” Evans said. “We’ve never gone a summer without it.”


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Chase Reavis

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chase.reavis@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @DCReavis