Two Familiar Sights Returning to LAX This Holiday Season — Pre-Pandemic Numbers of Travelers and Jehovah’s Witnesses 

As the bustle of holiday traffic returns to pre-pandemic levels, travelers shuffling through LAX with their bags and passports in tow can expect to see another sight return to LAX for the first time since March 2020: Jehovah’s Witnesses standing next to mobile carts featuring colorful literature in a variety of languages. 

Industry analysts and airport officials say that passenger traffic on US airlines in 2022 could reach or exceed pre-pandemic numbers. In 2019, an estimated 3.21 million travelers passed through LAX during the two-week Thanksgiving period, compared to the two million travelers in 2021. If estimates are correct, travelers at LAX will see a 60% increase in traffic over last year’s hustle and bustle. 

While a return to pre-pandemic levels of traffic may not bring a smile to everyone’s face, Jehovah’s Witnesses hope their return to LAX will bring a bit of joy to travelers who pass their mobile displays. 

“After two years of the pandemic, this is the first time many people are starting to travel again. During that time, many lost loved ones, experienced illness themselves or felt isolated due to social distancing,” said Lomita resident Rudy Gonzales. “We have an opportunity to help comfort people from the Scriptures.” 

The volunteer work of Jehovah’s Witnesses at LAX began in 2015. Then, in early 2020, Jehovah’s Witnesses suspended all in-person forms of their ministry out of concern for the health and safety of the community. In September of this year, they recommenced their public preaching work. 

“Returning to the iconic LAX after more than two years is an exciting moment,” said David Cohen, local spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in California. “The world has been through so much these past three years. We look forward to connecting with our community to share the Bible’s message of something better.” 

This year around 200 Witnesses will volunteer at carts in each of the seven terminals at LAX. On the two busiest travel days of the holiday season, November 23 and 27, volunteers will be on hand from 8 am to 8 pm. 

Many volunteers are even taking time off work. “Sharing the Bible’s message of the good news of God’s Kingdom and what it will do for mankind is such an important work that it’s worth taking time away from my secular job,” Gonzales said. 

Witnesses say their volunteer work at LAX is truly about helping the community. 

“Because our website has content in 1070 languages, it makes it possible for virtually anyone to access material in their own language,” Michael Oshiro of Torrance said. 

Lisa Barlow, a breast cancer survivor and Los Angeles area Witness said, “Being at LAX keeps me focused on helping people and not worrying so much about my own personal issues.” 

“A fellow volunteer once compared our carts to first-aid kits that are readily accessible in public places should a need ever arise. I personally enjoy making the comfort and hope from the Bible ever-present and available for anyone who passes through LAX,” said Oshiro’s wife, Raena. 

LAX is just one of many airports around the world where travelers will find Jehovah’s Witnesses this holiday travel season.

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