They ‘See Good Because of Their Hard Work’
PUSAN, Korea, is a city that swarms with people. In less than thirty years, the population has exploded from a quarter million to a million and a half, and still the numbers grow! Pusan sprang into prominence during the Korean War, when, for a time, it served as the country’s provisional capital and a refugee center for many thousands who fled before the Communist invasion.
Among these refugees were some who believed God’s Kingdom promises in the Bible, and these did just what the early Christians did when they “had been scattered”—they kept on “declaring the good news of the word.” As a result, a congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses was formed in Pusan. That was in 1950. But by 1976 that first congregation had expanded into fifty-four congregations in the Pusan area.—Acts 8:4.
This expansion, along with the population growth, has brought problems. In a crowded city it became well-nigh impossible for Jehovah’s Witnesses to rent assembly places for their semiannual circuit assemblies. What could be done? In many Western countries the Witnesses were building halls to accommodate these assemblies. If this could be done in America and Europe, why not in Asia? And that is what the Korean Witnesses set out to do.
In a country so hard pressed by economic problems, how could they finance this big project? One of the Witnesses sold his business and donated much of the proceeds for the purpose. This gave momentum to the plan, and the necessary contributions poured in, so that the hall was almost paid for by the time of its completion. Unquestionably Jehovah’s spirit stirred his people to give wholehearted support to this endeavor that would in due course bring them marvelous spiritual blessings.
The work had to be done quickly, between winter’s end and the start of the spring circuit assemblies. And it was completed in just two months! Most of the construction was done by volunteer help, and so fast did the Witnesses work that amazed neighbors could not believe that they had honored the four-hour midnight curfew. But they had. And a fine concrete structure, bright and cheerful, and seating about 1,200 people was the result.
“Seating”—yes, according to Korean custom, on the beautiful wood-block tiles of the floor. On the day of dedicating the assembly hall—April 5—this seating was compressed to accommodate a limited group of 1,300 persons. As they entered, each was given a vinyl bag for shoes and the customary Oriental memento—on this occasion a ball-point pen inscribed for the dedication. All were delighted with the bright stage, excellent sound system, the second-floor baptismal pool and the Oriental garden taking shape in front of the building.
The dedication talk was given by Milton Hamilton, one of the hardworking missionaries that had helped to establish Jehovah’s work in Pusan immediately after the Korean War. Some twenty-five missionaries had worked in Pusan over the years, and how all of these now rejoice with the native Witnesses there at ‘seeing good because of their hard work’! Jehovah’s Witnesses of Pusan are happy to have this first Assembly Hall in the Orient, and tears of joy gave evidence of their thankfulness.—Eccl. 2:24.
[Picture on page 541]
Pusan, Korea, Assembly Hall