Graduating Missionaries Receive Fine Counsel
THE afternoon of November 23, 1964, saw the graduating of the 39th class of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead at the Society’s headquarters. Truly fine counsel was given the students by eight speakers, beginning with their four regular instructors.
First came W. Wilkinson, who stressed that you reap what you S-O-W, by means of the Spirit, the Organization and the Word. (Gal. 6:7) Next came F. Rusk, who drew attention to the need for patience, waiting upon Jehovah for the reward, in the meantime keeping happily active. (Lam. 3:26) Then followed U. Glass, who noted that, having received many assets, the students now had corresponding liabilities, to use in teaching others the things they had received. (Rom. 13:8) The final instructor, E. Dunlap, showed the need, not only to help men get free from false religion, but then to get them established in secure Christian communities.—2 Cor. 10:4, 5.
Reflecting the worldwide interest in the graduation were the seventy wire, radio and airmail messages received, of which a number were then read. Next, M. Larson, factory overseer, showed how the factory principle of the production line applied to the missionary ministry; and then G. Couch, the Bethel home overseer, noted that they were in position to become truly productive, even as is a fruit tree that is given good care.
After these six speakers had each given his five-minute capsule of fine counsel, the vice-president of the Society, F. W. Franz, was heard. He spoke on the fine missionary example set by the apostle Paul and other early Christians. Basing his remarks chiefly on the prophecies Paul quoted in Romans, chapter 15, he urged the graduating ministers: “Give them what you have received here! Make them glad you have come!”
Then, for the next hour, N. H. Knorr, president of the school as well as of the Watch Tower Society, spoke. He impressed upon his listeners the need to get the people to accept them. Why? Because in doing so they would be accepting or receiving Christ, and in receiving Christ they would be receiving God; thus by their ministry people would be coming close to God. (Matt. 10:40) He urged them to push forward with zeal and vigor. “People will receive you because of the spirit you show! You know you are right!”
After noting the great increase that had taken place since Gilead’s first class graduated, he revealed that, beginning with 1966, there will be two five-month missionary classes each year instead of one ten-month class. In conclusion Knorr observed that the training the students received will doubtless serve them in teaching those resurrected after Armageddon.
The students had come from 53 lands and were being sent to 57 lands. A letter of appreciation from the students was movingly read by the oldest student, who had been serving Jehovah for some forty-five years. Among other things, the letter stated: “Jehovah has lovingly demonstrated his goodwill toward us through the untiring and ceaseless efforts of all concerned with our training. The instructors have indeed been gifts in men. As patient, loving, understanding teachers, they have surely set a wonderful pattern for our own future activity. . . . The humbleness and loyalty of [all] have made a deep impression. Jehovah’s goodwill toward us has been truly great and we thank him with overflowing hearts. . . . We are resolved to extend the benefits to many more.”
After an intermission the evening program began. First came the weekly Watchtower study. After that, for about three hours the students presented a most interesting and beneficial program consisting, among other things, of native folk music, expressions of appreciation and impressions of the training received, portrayals of foreign missionary activity and Bible characterizations. Following the program all in attendance joined in song, the president of the Society closing the joyful occasion with prayer.