Jehovah’s Witnesses Around the World—Sweden
SWEDEN occupies the eastern side of the Scandinavian peninsula and stretches above the Arctic Circle. Renowned the world over for its lush mantle of evergreen forests as well as for its lakes and mountains, Sweden is one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe. Nonetheless, Jehovah’s Witnesses have successfully sought out truth lovers there since the late 1800’s. Consider a recent example.
A woman studied the Bible with the Witnesses, but her husband did not like this. He told his wife to quit studying, and she did. This man worked at a storehouse for brewery products. One day a truck driver came to the storehouse with his ten-year-old grandson. The grandfather asked the man to watch the boy while he loaded his truck. For the sake of conversation, the man asked the boy what presents he had received for his recent birthday. To the man’s surprise, the boy told him that he and his family did not celebrate birthdays because they were Jehovah’s Witnesses. The boy also told him that he got presents at other times of the year and did not miss anything, since he had a very warm and loving family. No gifts were worth as much as that, he added.
The boy returned with his grandfather several times. Each time, the man would ask the boy a lot of questions, and he was deeply impressed by the way the boy gave honest, straightforward answers without any hesitation. He was also moved by the boy’s appreciation for true values. One night after the man watched a television program that showed the miserable conditions in the world, he realized that he had to examine spiritual things more seriously. He phoned the Witness who had studied with his wife and asked her to come back. Soon the man was being studied with by a Witness and made rapid progress. He was baptized on April 10, 1994. His wife is now baptized as well.
Growth Requires Building
Sweden is home to many refugees from other lands, and the Swedish Witnesses have had good results in preaching to them. In general the work has met with such success that new Kingdom Halls have been needed to accommodate the expansion. From 1986 to 1993, 37 Kingdom Halls were built by the quickly built construction method, while 8 halls were enlarged and renovated. In 1994 alone, seven additional Kingdom Halls were built, and three were renovated.
At present, there are 65 congregations waiting for help to build a new Kingdom Hall or to enlarge or renovate their present one. Some 2,500 volunteers help out with such construction projects, and the congregations greatly appreciate their loving assistance.
The northern part of Sweden, which extends above the Arctic Circle, is sometimes called the land of the midnight sun. This is so because during part of the summer the sun never sets there. Throughout Sweden, however, the light of truth is also continuing to shine brightly. With Jehovah’s blessing, that spiritual light will never grow dim but will go on shining brighter and brighter.
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1994 Service Year
PEAK NUMBER WITNESSING: 24,246
RATIO: 1 Witness to 362
MEMORIAL ATTENDANCE: 40,372
AVERAGE PIONEER PUBLISHERS: 2,509
AVERAGE BIBLE STUDIES: 11,306
NUMBER BAPTIZED: 850
NUMBER OF CONGREGATIONS: 358
BRANCH OFFICE: ARBOGA
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The branch office and Bethel Home at Arboga
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The early Witnesses in Hjo used this minibus to cover a territory of some 1,900 square miles [5,000 sq km]