‘Arresting the Drift Toward Selfishness’
● GIBRALTAR, which lies at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, has witnessed many sieges and invasions during its turbulent history. But on one weekend in October 2008, the town saw a peaceful “invasion” of nearly a thousand Spaniards. They came to construct a Kingdom Hall that would serve as a meeting place for the two congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses that meet in Gibraltar.
The government’s chief minister told Awake! that Gibraltar welcomed the hundreds who had come to work on the project. He said that they were “contributing to the betterment of [the] local community.” He noted that “Jehovah’s Witnesses take the prize for bringing to Gibraltar the greatest number of people to work on one single project—and a voluntary one at that.”
The local authorities supported the project from the outset, kindly providing the Witnesses with a suitable site for the construction of this place of worship. What motivated such civic generosity?
“I believe that godliness is a positive feature in any society,” the chief minister explained. “All religions in Gibraltar have a constitutional right to freedom of worship, so the government has a moral obligation not to discriminate in religious matters. Furthermore, providing a suitable site for the Witnesses to construct a place of worship is an investment in the community.
“We need to arrest the general drift toward selfishness,” he added. “Your enthusiastic group of volunteers has shown that this can be done.”
Despite a storm that delayed the commencement of the work, the Kingdom Hall was completed on Monday, the third day of the project. “Many of the volunteers offered to stay in Gibraltar the extra day in order to complete the project,” explained Secundino Nogal, who supervised the work. “We are used to overcoming problems. Our method of construction requires flexibility. But above all, it requires unselfishness, and that is why it brings us so much satisfaction.”*
The Gibraltar Chronicle, a local newspaper, reported: “In a weekend when the elements were busy with destruction Gibraltar’s Jehovah[’s] Witnesses . . . completed their temple [Kingdom Hall] with an army of volunteers in just three days.”