They Are Preparing for You!
Come and Attend the Divine Will International Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses
ON April 26 a crowd of 9,000 people gathered in Yankee Stadium because of something that would take place three months and one day later in that same stadium. They came to receive instructions on how to prepare for it.
The event to come is the Divine Will International Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses. These 9,000 people represented 135 congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses in New York city and vicinity. The meeting launched the greatest search for rooms ever undertaken.
The president of the Watch Tower Society was the principal speaker. He mentioned how great preparation was necessary for the assemblies of God’s people in ancient times, and it is not different today. He pointed to the phenomenal growth of the New World society as evidence of how much greater the preparation must be for this convention than was necessary for the assemblies in 1950 and 1953. “From 1950 to 1957,” he said, “there was a one-hundred-percent increase in publishers. From 1953 to 1957 there was a fifty-percent increase. On the opening day of the convention in 1950 there were 79,274 in attendance. In 1953 the opening day had 126,387, a difference of 47,000. What will it be in 1958? How many will come?” He felt certain that a very conservative estimate could be 150,000.
The president then mentioned how a survey revealed that approximately 140,000 in the United States have expressed their intentions of coming. In other lands more than 30,000 have said they are planning on being at the assembly.
The big problem of finding a place large enough to hold all these people has been solved by obtaining New York city’s two largest ball parks, a nearby auditorium and space around the stadiums for tents. But there is another big problem that must yet be solved—finding rooms where these people can sleep. This is the tremendous task that was placed upon the shoulders of Jehovah’s witnesses in New York city and vicinity.
But before they were to begin searching for rooms, it was pointed out that they must begin in their own homes. They should devise ways that they could accommodate one or more delegates themselves. The Bethel family is doing its part. Even though it is crowded with 500 members it will squeeze in 300 to 350 foreign delegates. When the audience was asked how many could accommodate some conventioners, the response was a surge of motion as nearly everyone stood up.
To help with the rooming work an attractive folder was released that announces the convention, explains why it is being held, invites the public to attend and appeals for rooms. It was given wide distribution in the vicinity of New York city during the month of May. Then another folder will be released in June, and still another in July.
The convention servant pointed out in his talk that many New Yorkers who are now happy members of the New World society became such as a result of taking in delegates during the 1950 or 1953 assemblies. It has been observed that the most good in comforting people with Scriptural truths during conventions has been done by witnesses who have stayed in private homes, not in hotels or in trailer camps. When the two-hour program concluded, the crowd of 9,000 filed out of Yankee Stadium filled with enthusiasm for the job ahead.
Convention headquarters are located in the recently built thirteen-story addition to the Watchtower printing plant. The entire eleventh floor has been turned over to it. This is such a busy place that an additional telephone switchboard has been installed to handle the many incoming and outgoing calls.
The rooming department is humming with activity as volunteer workers process room requests and receive new accommodations. On the seventh floor volunteer craftsmen are working on the beautiful platforms for the stadiums as well as many other necessary projects.
The April 26 meeting at Yankee Stadium opened the floodgates of convention activity. That activity will steadily increase as the convention draws nearer. Then on July 27 the preparations will cease and the big event will begin. Will you be there?