Will You Really Be at the Assembly?
ARE you planning to attend an international assembly of Jehovah’s witnesses this summer? Will you be joining the tens of thousands of servants of the true God who will gather to avail themselves of a special spiritual feast? Multitudes are busy making preparations to that end. Are you?
One of the vital steps in such preparation may be to obtain release from your secular employment for the period of the assembly. To some this may present a problem, but if the matter is tackled in a positive manner, it may well be that what now looks like a mountain will be reduced to a level plain. So, away with negative thinking on the subject, and let us look at some of the possibilities.
As you prepare to approach your employer for this purpose, it is good to keep in mind that you do not want him to get the impression that this is just an ordinary vacation, something you could easily take at any time that fitted into his schedule. No, for if he gets this idea, you cannot then blame him if he should give someone else first choice of the specific period when the assembly will be in session.
That means that your employer should somehow be informed that attendance at this assembly is important to you and your family. So a casual approach to him on the subject is not going to be effective. It would be better to obtain an interview with him. And when you do, there is the matter of tact to have in mind. Instead of immediately stating your request, why not lead up to it by first explaining that your Christian ministry is the most vital matter in your life; that your family’s happiness and welfare depend upon the spiritual strength that is to be gained by assembling with others who have the same faith. Point out that each year there is one outstanding assembly that all of Jehovah’s witnesses strive to attend, and this year that assembly comes on certain dates.
If your employer knows how serious you are about getting to the assembly, he is more likely to give serious consideration to your request for time. To that end you could arrange to have with you previous convention reports, with pictures, and show him some of the titles of the discourses—discourses that have as their objective the improvement of men and women. Explain how some lectures deal with such topics as honesty, getting on well with others, discharging responsibilities with a good attitude, and so on. All of this is sure to impress him.
Of course, before approaching your employer it would be good to seek Jehovah’s help. In prayer ask for guidance so that you may say the right things. And as you pray, remember never to doubt Jehovah’s power and ability to do for you far more than you ask. (Jas. 1:6) God knows how to give good gifts to those who look to him.
SOME STRIKING EXAMPLES
Consider the case of the Witness in El Salvador who was advised by a fellow employee to lie about the purpose of her request for time off. She refused to lie about the matter, but, rather, told her employer frankly why she wanted the time. His reply: “That is what makes you different from the others. You can have the five days off.”
And then there was the father of four children whose employer, not normally lenient, first gave him permission to take time off, and then later tried to retract it. The Witness told him that in that case he would have to find another employee, since it was vital that he get to the assembly. The matter was reconsidered and the Witness with his family did attend the convention.
In Montserrat a schoolteacher applied for permission to have time for an assembly. It was refused because a teachers’ seminar would not be concluding until Friday of the assembly week. She was determined to go, so she went ahead and made all preparations; this despite the fact she had been warned she might well lose her position. One hour before she was due to leave she was handed a letter giving her permission. Her determination and faith were surely rewarded.
THE FINANCIAL PROBLEM
Financing the trip to the assembly is another matter that will require thoughtful consideration. Have you calculated how much you will need? If necessary, is there some way in which you can cut down on the cost—say, by traveling some cheaper way? Is it possible that you can even now begin to cut your weekly expense budget and save a little regularly? Perhaps the family might forgo a few luxuries or extras for a time, just to be sure you will have enough funds to cover the expenses of the assembly trip.
And there are other ways of raising the needed funds without too much strain. For example, you may have a number of unused things around the house—old books, furniture, scrap metal—that could be disposed of. In the Dominican Republic one Witness sold a bicycle so as to have enough to tide him through the assembly. In Australia an elderly Witness sold a piano accordion for the same purpose. Their determination paid off.
A Witness in Western Samoa, elderly. sickly, blind in one eye, and having other handicaps, overcame his financial problem in order to get to an assembly on another island. He gathered coconuts, carried them fifteen or so at a time for two miles, then husked them and laid out the copra to dry. For four weeks he worked alone on the project. When he came to pay his fare, after selling the copra, he was told that the fare had gone up in the meantime. Undiscouraged, he went off and cut more copra. He did not miss the assembly and the rich spiritual feast that he had long anticipated.
Though living under widely varying conditions, these persons knew what benefits awaited them at the assemblies, and they put forth every effort to get there. Obviously Jehovah blessed them. Even some with opposing families have attended assemblies despite the difficulties at home. They had made up their minds that, God willing, they were really going to be at the assembly. Seemingly insurmountable obstacles were overcome. Is there any doubt that Jehovah opened the way for them?
Jehovah knows your need. And he has provided these assemblies for the benefit of all of his worshipers, so they might be improved and strengthened spiritually. If you manifest a strong desire and determination to attend, Jehovah can open the way for you too. What a marvelous and upbuilding experience awaits you!
If you are really going to be at the assembly, there is something else that may need your attention too: Rooming accommodations. The Watch Tower Convention Rooming Department will be glad to assist you. Beginning six weeks before the assembly that you plan to attend, Room Request forms may be sent to Watch Tower Convention in the city where you plan to attend. For your information, we have listed below all the locations where the assemblies will be held, and the address of the Rooming Department in each city.
JULY 6-13: Atlanta, Ga. (English and Spanish), Atlanta Stadium, 521 Capitol Ave. SW. Rooming: 1202 Sullivan Rd., College Park, Ga. 30337. Buffalo, N.Y., War Memorial Stadium, Best St. and Jefferson Ave. Rooming: 6710 Main St., Williamsville, N.Y. 14221.
JULY 7-13: New York, N.Y. (English and Spanish), Yankee Stadium, 157th St. and River Ave. Rooming: 77 Sands St., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11201.
JULY 13-20: Pomona, Calif. (Spanish only), Fairgrounds Grandstand (Gate 17). Rooming: 1546 S. Garey Ave., Pomona, Calif. 91766. Vancouver, B.C., Canada, Empire Stadium, Exhibition Park. Rooming: 3280 Grandview Hwy., Vancouver 12, B.C., Can.
JULY 14-20: Los Angeles, Calif., Dodger Stadium, 1000 Elysian Park Ave. Rooming: 5921 Echo St., Los Angeles, Calif. 90042.
JULY 18-25: Kansas City, Mo., Municipal Stadium, 22nd St. and Brooklyn Ave. Rooming: 1000 County Line Rd., Kansas City, Kans. 66103.
JULY 21-27: Chicago, Ill. (English and Spanish), White Sox Park, 324 West 35th St. Rooming: 6317 S. Western Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60636.
JULY 29–AUGUST 3: London, England, Wembley Stadium. Rooming: Watch Tower House, The Ridgeway, London N.W. 7, England.
AUGUST 5-10: Paris, France, Colombes Stadium. Rooming: 81, rue du Point-du-Jour, 92 - Boulogne-Billancourt (Hauts de Seine), France. Copenhagen, Denmark, Copenhagen Sports Park, Rooming: Kongevejen 207, 2830 Virum, Denmark.
AUGUST 10-17: Nuremberg, Western Germany, Zeppelinwiese. Rooming: Am Kohlheck, Postfach 13025, (62) Wiesbaden-Dotzheim, Western Germany. Rome, Italy, Palazzo dello Sport. Rooming: Via Monte Maloia 32, 00141 Rome, Italy.
AUGUST 13-17: Rome, Italy (Spanish), Palazzo dei Congressi. Rooming: Via Monte Maloia 32, 00141 Rome, Italy.
OCTOBER 12-16: Seoul, Korea, Changchoong Gymnasium. Rooming: P.O. Box 7, Sodaemun-ku P.O., Seoul, Korea.
OCTOBER 14-19: Tokyo, Japan, Tokyo Korakuen Cycling Stadium. Rooming: 5-5-8 Mita Minato-Ku, Tokyo, 108, Japan.
OCTOBER 18-21: Taipei, Taiwan, The National Taiwan Arts Center, 47 Nan Hai Rd. Rooming: No. 1 Lane 73, Ch’ao Chou St., Taipei, Taiwan. Hong Kong, China, City Hall Theater. Rooming: 312 Prince Edward Rd., 2nd Floor, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
OCTOBER 22-26: Manila, Philippine Republic, Rizal Memorial Stadium. Rooming: P.O. Box 2044, Manila 12111, Philippine Republic.
OCTOBER 24-27: Port Moresby, Papua. Rooming: Box 113, Port Moresby, Papua.
OCTOBER 26-31: Melbourne, Australia, Melbourne Showgrounds. Rooming: 11 Beresford Rd., Strathfield, N.S.W., Australia.
NOVEMBER 4-9: Auckland, New Zealand, Auckland Trotting Club. Rooming: 621 New North Rd., Auckland 3, New Zealand.
NOVEMBER 9-12: Suva, Fiji, Suva Town Hall. Rooming: Box 23, Suva, Fiji. Papeete, Tahiti, Salle de Basket, Stade de Fautaua. Rooming: B.P. 518 Papeete, Tahiti.
NOVEMBER 11-16: Honolulu, Hawaii, Honolulu International Center (Arena). Rooming: 1228 Pensacola St., Honolulu, Hawaii 96814.
DECEMBER 24-28: Mexico City, Mexico, Mexico Arena. Rooming: Calzada Melchor Ocampo 71, Mexico 4, D.F., Mexico.