Gilead Graduates Counseled on Success
THE Watchtower Bible School of Gilead has a record of success. Its first class was graduated in 1943. At that time the work of preaching the good news of God’s kingdom was being done by 106,000 of Jehovah’s Witnesses, in 54 lands, directed by 21 branch offices of the Watch Tower Society. Now, after 62 classes of graduates have been making disciples in foreign fields, there are 2,248,000 Witnesses active in 210 lands and working under the direction of 96 branch offices.
This record of success was pointed out by M. G. Henschel at the graduation exercises of the 63rd class of Gilead. For this occasion, 1,870 persons assembled, on September 11, 1977, at Jehovah’s Witnesses Assembly Hall in Long Island City, New York. Twenty-three graduates received their diplomas and foreign assignments, to be sent out as missionaries to add still more successes to the preaching work. The speaker implied, not that Gilead graduates alone were responsible for the increases, but that they had played a prominent role in the expansion of the work. Now this 63rd class was to join previous graduates in foreign fields and add their efforts to those of Jehovah’s Witnesses world wide.
The theme of success was further developed by L. A. Swingle in his talk to the graduates. He emphasized the source of success. When Abraham sent his servant on a mission and the servant expressed fear of failure, Abraham said: “Jehovah . . . will certainly give success to your way.” Everything that Joseph did down in Egypt “Jehovah was making turn out successful.” When Nehemiah and fellow workers started rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem and opposers rose up, Nehemiah said: “The God of the heavens is the One that will grant us success.”—Gen. 24:40; 39:3; Neh. 2:20.
Joshua was successful in his assignment from God because he obeyed the injunction to study the divine law: “This book of the law should not depart from your mouth, and you must in an undertone read in it day and night, in order that you may take care to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way successful and then you will act wisely.”—Josh. 1:8.
Other Factors in Success
Of course, a person cannot succeed if he quits his assignment. This was the point made by Karl Adams as he spoke to the class about the apostle Paul. Paul endured a great variety of hardships and persecutions, but he and his companions valued their privilege to “reflect like mirrors the glory of Jehovah.” He then expressed this determination: “That is why, since we have this ministry according to the mercy that was shown us, we do not give up.”—2 Cor. 3:18; 4:1.
Compassion was the quality stressed by Ulysses Glass. He pointed out how Jehovah compassionately spoke concerning widows and fatherless boys, at Exodus 22:22-24. God said: “You people must not afflict any widow or fatherless boy.” If they did he said he would destroy them, and then “your wives must become widows and your sons fatherless boys.” Jehovah himself will become “a father of fatherless boys and a judge of widows.”—Ps. 68:5.
Paul spoke of himself as a father in a spiritual sense of those once alienated from God but to whom he had brought the “good news.” In this sense millions throughout the world are fatherless, not knowing Jehovah and his purposes. Continuing Glass told the graduates that they could show mercy to such “fatherless boys,” spiritually, and acquaint them with Jehovah and cause him to become their father. Also, Glass made such an application of James 1:27: “The form of worship that is clean and undefiled from the standpoint of our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their tribulation.”
A. D. Schroeder showed that if the graduates were to be successful they must also be communicators. They would have to use their tongues, and might need to learn a foreign language. By a gift of the spirit, early Christians communicated in foreign languages at Pentecost, but the Gilead graduates would have to study and practice the language that they would use. Hundreds before them had done it.
Schroeder told this experience of a missionary in Brazil who conducted a Bible study with a family that had a pet monkey: “I’ve been bitten twice by the monkey, but the study is progressing well. The only one who hasn’t accepted the truth is the monkey. One day I went and the lady wasn’t home, but her daughter and friends were. While waiting for the mother I remarked that I did not understand a sentence in the study book, and asked the daughter to explain it for me. She did, got interested in it, and she and her friends discussed it with me at length. The next time I called 17 were there and the study lasted two and a half hours. The time after that 30 were present. Since then a large group has studied regularly and many are to be baptized at the next assembly.’’ After only two years in Brazil, this missionary is giving hour talks in Portuguese.
John Booth spoke and showed the need for successful communicating, quoting John 4:35, 36: “Lift up your eyes and view the fields, that they are white for harvesting. Already the reaper is receiving wages and gathering fruit for everlasting life, so that the sower and the reaper may rejoice together.”
The School’s president, F. W. Franz, discussed the rigors of being a soldier of Christ. Those chosen to be Roman soldiers went through strenuous training for the honor of being in Caesar’s armies. Soldiers of Christ must also train and endure hardships. “As a fine soldier of Christ Jesus take your part in suffering evil.” Their honor in being in Christ’s army is the highest possible one, and to ensure their success they “put on the complete suit of armor from God.”—2 Tim. 2:3; Eph. 6:11.
After the presentation of diplomas by the chairman, Karl Klein, the students put on a diversified program of music and dialogue, accompanied by slides, some of them humorous, even showing the students when they were babies. Two Bible dramas were also presented by them, showing the early Christians preaching successfully despite persecution, and dramatizing the flight of Lot and his family from Sodom.
May Jehovah give success to the members of the 63rd class of Gilead, as they add their efforts to the “heap of witness” being given by Jehovah’s Witnesses world wide.
[Picture on page 24]
Sixty-third Graduating Class of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead
In the list below, rows are numbered from front to back and names are listed from left to right in each row.
(1) Uyehara, A.; Cruz, R.; Laaland, J.; Boies, E.; Charlton, E. (2) Williams, R.; Haprov I.; Mackie, N.; Maxwell, A.; Maxwell, J.; Knappik, H. (3) Rothwell, P.; Rothwell, A.; Heinrich, L.; Skulish, S.; Kanppik, G.; Laaland, J. (4) Hirsekorn, R.; Cruz, L.; Arnett, J.; Heinrich, P.; Boies, R.; Haprov, E.