Have You Thought About Bethel Service?
HOW does a young man feel after spending four years at Brooklyn Bethel, the headquarters of the Watch Tower Society? Does he feel that he has wasted his life, that he has forfeited a college education? What are his thoughts?
A brother, who was a bundler on a Cottrell press used in printing Awake! magazines, after four years of Bethel life, personally wrote to N. H. Knorr, president of the Watch Tower Society, the following:
“I am very grateful to Jehovah to have tasted of these few years of Bethel service. Of course, I have appreciated the clean, cheerful room, the abundant supply of good, wholesome food, the close proximity of well-equipped libraries, the laundry and shoeshop, the chance to learn something about printing, the Primary School Course for new members of the Bethel family, the text discussions each morning and the Watchtower study on Monday nights, the privilege of being on the Public Speaking List, having association with the Gilead students from many lands, the thrill of being busy every minute in Jehovah’s service, of being able to work on Bibles, books and magazines that serve to bring vindication to his Name, and the unspeakable privilege of close association with mature anointed brothers who form the nucleus of the New World society.
“I have enjoyed very much also the privilege of being assigned to a New York City congregation and working with the local brothers as a study conductor and Ministry School servant, and helping cover the territory assigned to the congregation.
“Also, many little considerations shown to us at Bethel have been received with appreciation, such as a desk of my own for personal organization and study, and our treatment as mature adults, shown by each possessing his own key. Also the provision for us to be able to show hospitality when guests come to visit and the assurance that we’ll be taken care of when we are sick contributed to the feeling of security one gets at Bethel.
“With regard to learning something at Bethel, I must admit, Brother Knorr, that your statement: ‘Bethel service will prove far better than any secular education you could get,’ was met, not with disbelief, but with some skepticism when I received your invitation four years ago. That skepticism was unfounded. Not only have I learned much about the Bible from the Primary School Course and the three-year coverage we are about to complete in the Theocratic Ministry School, but I’ve attended a full-fledged meeting every day at the morning text discussions. I’ve learned the application of Bible principles to daily life—such as 1 Thessalonians 4:11, which has helped to keep life simple and enjoyable. I’ve learned a lot about getting along with my brothers and how to associate with sisters, in groups, in an upbuilding way. Yes, too, I finally learned to enjoy singleness with its freedom for the ministry, its measure of independence, the chance for travel and occasional solitude. I’ve learned something of the art of printing. I’ve learned to listen more and speak less; the need for punctuality and personal organization, and other lessons in life too numerous to mention. Appreciated too was the firsthand education concerning life in other countries by association with Gilead students.
“I’ll never forget the daily prayers at Bethel for the brothers in the field and, in turn, I’ll keep you in my prayers with the memory of the good friends at Bethel and in many countries around the world.”
Not many people have the privilege of receiving so pleasant a letter. But any dedicated Christian young man who diligently applies himself after coming to Bethel will find reason to express himself in a similar manner.
The viewpoint of parents whose sons have served at Bethel is also of interest. For example, a circuit servant, a father of two sons who served at Bethel, wrote to the Watch Tower Society, saying:
“We no longer have our sons at Bethel. Our older son left Bethel three years ago to get married. Our younger son left Bethel the first of October for the same reason, after six years of Bethel service. . . . Our older son was there for five years. . . . It might be said we have had a member of our family in Bethel for the past seven and a half years.
“We thought we would like to let you know, from a parent’s standpoint, we have appreciated the Bethel life that was offered our sons. The training and association they received while at Bethel will be of great value to them for all of their lives. We feel our sons went to Bethel as boys and came out as capable men.”
Many parents feel the same way about having their sons at Bethel. There is no finer place on earth where they could be. Young ministers who avail themselves of this privilege will cherish the experience the rest of their lives. Have you thought about serving at Bethel?