Kingdom Proclaimers Report
Theocratic Expansion in Venezuela
FOR days the heat had been unusually oppressive. Passersby were amazed at seeing the workmen laboring under the blazing sun when everyone else would rather relax in the shade or in an air-conditioned room. Gradually, the framework of a new building began to emerge. In three and a half months, the men had completed a four-story structure—the new addition to the branch building of the Watch Tower Society in La Victoria, Venezuela.
This was actually the second time the branch in Venezuela had been enlarged since it was opened in 1946, when there were only 13 Kingdom publishers in the country. By 1977 their number had grown to over 13,000. Consequently, a new branch building was completed and dedicated in La Victoria that year. Since then, the number of Witnesses in the country has more than doubled. It was time for expansion once again.
The new addition (rear right in the picture), with over 20,000 square feet (1,900 sq m) of floor space, more than doubles the total capacity at the branch. The driveway at the extreme right leads into the 15-car garage in the basement. The printery has been moved out of the 1977 building (the long structure in the center) to the ground floor of the new addition, where the maintenance and carpenter shops and some offices are also located. The rest of the new building makes up the living quarters for the Bethel family.
The new building is equipped with its own water-storage tank and emergency-power generator, as water shortages and power failures are frequent in this part of the world. And to take full advantage of the perennial sunshine and breezes, the laundry is located at the top of the building.
What do the local people think of the new construction? Though some lament the loss of the beautiful garden that once was there, many feel that the building adds to the respectable appearance of the neighborhood. A well-known architect, who heard so much about the construction that he came to see it for himself, told the brothers: “This is no doubt the best-made building in La Victoria.” Equally impressed was the municipal engineer, who gladly issued the occupancy permit and said: “It is an honor to give the permit to occupy a building like this one.”
The Witnesses in Venezuela rejoiced on April 21, 1985, when 15,802 of them gathered in nearby Valencia for the dedication, and 38,059 assembled in five other cities to hear the program over telephone tie lines. That attendance was far more than the total number of publishers in the country. They are grateful and happy for this divine provision to equip them better for thoroughly preaching the Kingdom good news before the end of this system comes.—Matthew 24:14.