Pursuing My Purpose in Life
As told by Harold A. Morris
AT THE age of eighteen a boy is full of ambitions he expects to fulfill someday. Life is before him. Old age, weakness and death are far removed from his thoughts. He very often considers himself much wiser than he really is. It is very unlikely that he will give consideration to the counsel of wise King Solomon unless he is conscious of his spiritual need. “Remember, now, your grand Creator in the days of your young manhood,” Solomon said. Well, I was one that gave no thought to this counsel. True, I was reared in what was considered to be a Christian home, yet I lacked much in a spiritual way.
While my classmates were graduating from high school, I was in the hospital undergoing an emergency appendix operation. This kept me in the hospital for a month, and another month was spent recuperating at home. Since it was not possible for me to attend college that fall, I went to work in another town. This was where I made acquaintance with one of Jehovah’s witnesses and began to learn about Jehovah’s wonderful purposes to restore paradise to earth. I made repeated calls upon him to drink in more knowledge about the wonderful truths of God’s Word. It was this knowledge that gave me a worth-while purpose in life.
One night the Witness invited me to go along with him to the Watchtower study. I promptly accepted the invitation. Being accustomed to regular church services, the first Watchtower study seemed strange. It was plain to see, however, that all who were there were students of the Bible. Their sincerity and friendliness were unlike anything I had seen before. After the study the congregation made arrangements for attending a zone assembly that was to be held in Indianapolis in two weeks. That assembly made a profound impression on me. Never before had I seen so many happy and considerate people. This helped to convince me that they were Jehovah’s people. Six months later, at the next zone assembly, I took an important step forward in pursuing my purpose in life by being baptized.
As I made plans to pioneer, my parents thought I was out of my mind to leave a good job to go preaching. They thought that was carrying religion too far. A young brother in the congregation decided to go with me to Greenville, North Carolina. It was a wonderful feeling to break loose and begin pursuing my purpose in life in the full-time preaching work as a servant of Jehovah. This was in the middle of February, 1942. It was my intention to continue pioneering as long as I could. I am happy to say that nearly half of my life has been spent in this joyful service.
In North Carolina the brothers were very good to us, and we enjoyed wonderful experiences. In fact, the congregation grew so rapidly that we were soon able to go elsewhere. The Society assigned us to Louisville, Kentucky. It was while I was here that an article appeared in the magazine Consolation, now called Awake!, about the opening of the school of Gilead. It made my heart glad to learn about the plans and preparations for training and sending missionaries to other lands, but I could not picture myself as fitting into this arrangement. It was with great surprise that I received an application to attend Gilead. That was in December of 1943. The letter made it clear that this was not a privilege to be taken lightly. The rest of my life would be affected by the decision I made. After prayerful consideration of the application, I filled it out and sent it in.
I was invited to attend the third class of Gilead, which began in February, 1944. Gilead was a steppingstone to greater privileges of service. After graduation my partner and I were assigned to work in Connecticut. That was followed by six months of work at Bethel. Finally our foreign assignment for which we had waited months came. We were to go to Bolivia.
When we arrived in La Paz, Bolivia, on October 25, 1945, no one was expecting us. We knew no one in the country. We rejoiced many times that we were privileged to begin something here that will never be forgotten. Until an order of literature arrived three months after our arrival, we had to work with three copies of the book “The Truth Shall Make You Free” in Spanish, plus a copy in English, and a Bible in Spanish and one in English. Although we could only take orders for literature, we were able to begin Bible studies that week with persons showing interest.
More help came about eight months later when four more missionaries arrived. The six of us have remained steadfast at our theocratic assignment and are continuing to feed the sheep in this country. We consider Bolivia to be our home. We thank Jehovah and his organization for making it possible for us to serve here.
With the arrival of still more missionaries the good news of the Kingdom began to spread to other parts of Bolivia. Goodwill people began to associate with the New World society. It was not long before the local brothers outnumbered the missionaries, and when we had circuit assemblies more and more of them had parts on the program as well as responsibility in planning and directing assembly activities.
In 1952 three of us spent our vacations visiting four towns where Jehovah’s witnesses were unknown. During the years that have passed since then, I have had a part in organizing the work in these places. Work was started only recently in the last of the four towns, because its weather is so cold and windy. Just seven months after two missionaries were sent in, eight new publishers of the good news were making public declaration of Jehovah’s purposes. Now a congregation is functioning there.
When the two New World society films came to Bolivia, there was just one circuit. Since I was the circuit servant, I had the joy of showing the films all over the country. The joy was from seeing the happiness they brought to the brothers and to persons of good will.
When there was only one circuit in Bolivia, I knew all the brothers and most of the new ones that were coming into the truth. But now with six circuits, I can only see all the publishers once a year at our national assemblies. During the last one, I looked at the thirty-six new brothers to be baptized and was amazed to realize that I knew only a few of them. That is a sure indication of growth. Baptizing thirty-six in one day is quite a contrast to the twenty-three that were baptized in the entire year of 1956.
Because the health of the branch servant failed, I was asked to take his place until another one could be sent. Although I felt unsuited for office work, I enjoyed those ten months. There was something to be done all the time. There were problems to work out, reports to make, literature to be sent out, handbills to print, new missionary homes to be set up, assemblies to care for and personal preaching with the local congregation.
It was a great pleasure to attend the great international assembly in 1958 and to visit once again with old friends and relatives. When my vacation was drawing to an end, I was ready to return to my work in Bolivia. I love the work here among these spiritually hungry people.
It was a joy to see many brothers at the assembly who were planning on serving where the need is great, and to speak with young people who were thinking of making full-time service their purpose in life. They will never regret following such a course. When I consider what I have done and what I could have done by pursuing another goal, I am convinced that I pursued the only goal that is worth-while. If I could live my life over again, I would not choose a different course to pursue.