The Women Have Had a Large Share
THE important role of Christian women in the construction of the Zimbabwe branch of Jehovah’s Witnesses was emphasized during the dedication program, which was held on December 12, 1998. During the four years of the construction project, volunteers from many countries—including hundreds from Zimbabwe—gave of their time, energy, skills, and resources to build the beautiful complex of buildings that you see in the accompanying photograph.
You will note six residence buildings of similar size in the rear. The large building closest to them accommodates the dining room, the kitchen, and the laundry. The residence buildings have 61 bedrooms, and the dining room will seat about 200. In front, to the left, is the office building. In the center is the reception area, and to the right is the warehouse, where the dedication program was held.
This fine branch facility in Zimbabwe, in southern Africa, is only one among scores of such projects that have been completed since an international construction program was initiated by Jehovah’s Witnesses in November 1985. Awake! of August 22, 1991, described this program in an article entitled “Something New in International Construction.”
Regarding the role of women in that program, Awake! reported: “Many have been trained to tie reinforcing steel together with wire, to set and grout tile, as well as to sand and paint. Others care for necessary domestic chores. All of them thereby contribute in a fine way to the work at construction sites around the world.”
During the recent dedication program in Zimbabwe, George Evans and James Paulson, who were in construction oversight, drew a comparison between the role that women had in building the branch in Zimbabwe and the role that women had in building Israel’s ancient tabernacle. “They came, everyone whose heart impelled him,” the Bible says about the Israelites, “and they kept coming, the men along with the women.”—Exodus 35:21, 22.
Using this Bible account, Brothers Evans and Paulson emphasized the quality of the women’s contribution. They quoted the Bible account: “All the women who were wise of heart spun with their hands, . . . all the women whose hearts impelled them with wisdom.” Indeed, the women were among those who gave of themselves willingly to do the work. “Every man and woman whose hearts incited them to bring something for all the work that Jehovah had commanded to make by means of Moses did so.”—Exodus 35:25, 26, 29.
Regarding the Zimbabwe branch project, the construction overseers said: ‘The women did every job that the men did.’ This included tying steel and running heavy equipment. Brother Paulson said that the women kept their concrete trucks and other heavy equipment in shiny, spotless condition, which, he noted, men are generally not inclined to do.
Surely, we are grateful for the many thousands of women who have shared alongside the men in the worldwide construction of branch offices and Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s Witnesses!
[Picture on page 26]