Gilead School Continues to Pile Up a ‘Heap of Witness’
“GILEAD SCHOOL has truly lived up to its name meaning ‘heap of witness’! A mountain of praise has been built up as a result of this school.” So stated C. W. Barber, chairman at the graduation exercises of the 70th missionary class of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead. This event was at Jehovah’s Witnesses Assembly Hall in Long Island City, New York, on Sunday, March 8.
Many of those present could recall that, when the School was started in 1943, there were only about 110,000 persons preaching the good news of the Kingdom in all the world. Now more than two million share in that work.
The 49 men and women graduating had come from 9 countries and were being sent to 18. After five months of intensive training, these experienced full-time ministers received some parting words of counsel that were of benefit to all 2,124 present.
W. K. Jackson told the students that they had responded to the call for service as did Isaiah, who said: “Here I am! Send me.” (Isa. 6:8) Jackson urged the students to continue to reaffirm this response.
M. G. Henschel drew the students’ attention to the apostle Paul’s words: “Therefore we do not give up.” (2 Cor. 4:16-18) He said that they may get older and have some problems, but they should keep seeking that which is everlasting.
A. D. Schroeder followed up on this by emphasizing Jesus’ words: “Come be my follower.” (Matt. 19:21) Schroeder encouraged the students never to give up, but to continue to follow Jesus until times indefinite.
J. Redford urged the students to keep moving, to forget the things behind and keep stretching forward to the things ahead. (Phil. 3:13-16) He recalled the words spoken to him 30 years ago by the faithful brother Giovanni DeCecca (now deceased) whom he had commended for having done so much in Jehovah’s service. DeCecca, who by then had served more than 40 years at the headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses, looked at Brother Redford sternly and, in his broken English, said: “Brother, it ain’t what ya done done. It’s what ya gonna do that counts!”
U. V. Glass encouraged the students to stick to their assignments. He stated: “Make up your mind, and say to yourself: ‘If anyone will leave his assignment it won’t be me.’”
G. M. Couch emphasized that they should keep on toward their goal, never to give up. With Jesus’ words at Luke 9:62 in mind, he admonished: “You’ve taken hold of the plow. Don’t turn back.”
F. W. Franz, president of the School, reminded all that we are living in a fiery time of testing, as mentioned in Luke 12:49-53. The content of Lu 12 verses 40-48 shows the issue to be the identifying of the “faithful steward” of God. Franz urged the students to keep working together with Jehovah’s “faithful steward” class and to look forward to surviving Armageddon together with this class.
Are you moving ahead spiritually? Could you make yourself available for the full-time missionary work? There is still a need. A greater ‘heap of witness’ is yet to be built up.