A Happy Day for Japan’s Missionaries
FRIDAY, May 17, 1985, was a spiritually sunny day for Japan’s 76 missionaries. As the largest group in any one country, these missionaries after nearly 40 years are still actively spreading Bible truths. Excited about this once-a-year privilege of getting together, they made their way to the Ebina branch from their ten missionary homes scattered throughout the country. Some came from distant assignments in the traveling work.
Enthusiastic greetings and conversation among this happy group were interrupted at 1:00 p.m. The zone overseer called the meeting to order. As roll was called, each missionary told his country of origin, Gilead class number, and years in foreign service. How encouraging it was to see missionaries from as far back as the seventh class still active and faithful in their assignment after some 37 years! Following the presenting of information on the establishment of Gilead School in 1943, the zone overseer warmly commended the missionaries for learning the difficult Japanese language. Next, questions were entertained on improving the Bible educational service offered to the people of Japan. A lively exchange followed.
Experienced ministers told how they use the booklet “Look! I Am Making All Things New” to give an overall view of the Bible’s historical record and teachings. Regarding this discussion, one missionary summed up everyone’s feelings like this: “It was so satisfying to know how much the brothers at headquarters care about helping the work here—just knowing that keeps us going.” All the missionaries were overjoyed at being able to “share in the meeting” and, as they said, “express our needs for effectively carrying out the ministry that is so close to our hearts.” One missionary appreciated that such interest on the part of Jehovah’s organization truly “showed an effort to understand the situation” there. Another declared, “We were especially glad for the suggestion to prepare various presentations to cope with the problem of frequent territory coverage.”
After this animated discussion, the missionaries were next treated to spiritually stimulating answers to Bible questions. Some said, “This presentation was reminiscent of Gilead days.” Another noted: “It helped me to be determined really to dig into God’s Word.” All then adjourned to one of the dining rooms for refreshments and to get reacquainted with those from distant assignments. The evening was spent considering many interesting experiences as told by missionaries who shared in them. One involved a young woman who was moved to learn the truth because as a child she had observed the fine conduct of busy missionaries who lived near her home in Nagasaki. Today, both she and her husband are in the truth! Another told of a good Bible study that was started because the missionary had made “that one last call” at the end of the day.
Filled with renewed zeal and enthusiasm, the missionaries returned home to their assignments refreshed and grateful for the personal care extended to them by Jehovah through his loving organization. On the following Sunday, the zone overseer, A. D. Schroeder, addressed by telephone tie-in an audience of 174,959 assembled throughout Japan. As the climax to his talk, he released the Japanese edition of the 1,792-page New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures—With References—another fine new instrument for use by Japan’s 102,206 Witnesses!