New Building for Cultural Work in Mexico
By “Awake!” correspondent in Mexico
APRIL 19 and 20, 1974, were filled with excitement for Jehovah’s witnesses in Mexico. Those days were the occasion for inaugurating a new building as headquarters for the cultural work of the Witnesses in this country. It contains facilities for printing and shipping literature used in this work, and provides living accommodations for a staff of volunteer workers.
The new building, set in a valley dominated by two snow-capped mountains, is located about eleven miles from Mexico City. Work on it began on June 7, 1973, with excavation on the 64,907-square-foot piece of property, and it was completed in 317 days.
The three-story building is 16,146 square feet in size. Some 120 tons of cement were used, greatly strengthening it against damage during seismic movements. The ground floor includes the printing shop, a laundry, storage area for more than 1,500,000 books, and a Cultural Meeting Hall, beautifully decorated in Mexican colonial style. On the middle floor are found office space, a kitchen, a dining room that seats 120 persons, and 16 bedrooms. A library and 36 more bedrooms are on the top floor. The building can provide living quarters for up to 104 persons, with room for future expansion of the printing facilities. A solar heater on the roof provides hot water for the entire building.
There was a pressing need for a new headquarters building in Mexico. The number of Jehovah’s witnesses there has increased rapidly in recent years. For example, in November 1973 there were 61,106 Mexican Witnesses. By February 1974 this number had climbed to 65,553, an increase of 4,447 in just three months. The former building, acquired in 1938 and enlarged in 1945 and 1962, could not meet present demands for printing and shipping the literature published by Jehovah’s witnesses in Mexico. Also, government plans to build roads call for demolition of the former structure.
A most unusual feature of this building project was the number of people who volunteered to work on it; over 90 percent of the work was done without pay. Witnesses from all over the country, and even some foreign visitors, donated their time, energy and skills to put up the new building.
Among the 3,379 present at the dedication program were the Mexican headquarters staff, more than 250 of the volunteer workers, a number of overseers of the congregations in Mexico City, and many guests. To begin the program, the administrator of La Torre del Vigía de Mexico, A.C. (legal corporation for Jehovah’s witnesses in Mexico), spoke of the success of the cultural work done by the Witnesses there during the past thirty years. He noted that since 1946 they have taught 46,468 persons to read and write, and have helped thousands to give up an immoral way of life.
The highlight of the program was a talk by N. H. Knorr, president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. He pointed out that the new building will be used to help the people of Mexico to learn of God’s arrangements for blessing mankind. He stressed the need for all to cultivate appreciation for things God provides to aid them. “Many people,” said Knorr, “lack real appreciation for the things they receive. To them the expression ‘Thanks’ is nothing more than a formalism. This should not be the case with us. We must keep in mind that to ‘appreciate’ means to esteem something highly, to consider it of great value. Let us view everything we receive from Jehovah in that way.”
The program of April 19 was repeated the following day to enable the majority of those involved in the project to attend. When it was over, all went away refreshed and joyful at having shared in a truly beneficial work.