Labor That Is Not in Vain
ONE of Jehovah’s witnesses who graduated from the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead in 1962 served some years ago with a small congregation in Forfar, Angus, Scotland. He tells of the time when the congregation was made up entirely of women: “Here were nine elderly sisters. If an average age had been worked out, it may have approached seventy-five years. But age was not the only handicap of these sisters; advancing years had brought impediments of poor sight and hearing. Take the assistant congregation servant; she was a valiant sister who gave her various parts on the meetings using a large magnifying glass to see her notes. The Bible study servant was a sprightly eighty-five. Much of that time she had employed an ear trumpet because of her deafness. By the time I got to know her she had one of the more up-to-date hearing aids. They all met in a little gas-lit hall that could accommodate twenty persons at a squeeze.
“Although all nine of the congregation were very well known in the community, their preaching produced nothing in the way of tangible results. Around and around the territory they went, but their evident quaintness and inability to present the truth eloquently seemed to indicate that they were working for nothing. Yet never did they give up. For many years they continued to work and meet together. Then things began to happen.
“A local businessman got to thinking why it was that these elderly women should keep visiting people year in and year out, although receiving no results. To satisfy his curiosity, he obtained some of the literature and read it. Soon he was associating with the congregation, listening to the sisters struggling with their various parts. He began to talk to other associates in the town. Others began to take an interest. One of the first things that this businessman did was to buy one of the best lots in the center of town and construct a fine, spacious Kingdom Hall. Now the congregation continues to grow.
“The last that I heard was that it had reached forty. Some months back I was sent a newspaper cutting describing the first circuit assembly to be held there. On the front page, beaming out was a photograph of the near stone-deaf Bible study servant, now in her ninetieth year. Over the picture was the caption: ‘This is the happiest day of my life.’ Thus Jehovah had rewarded the valiant effort of these faithful sisters and their year-in-and-year-out service. As the apostle Paul stated at 1 Corinthians 15:58: ‘Consequently, my beloved brothers, become steadfast, unmovable, always having plenty to do in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in connection with the Lord.’”