Jehovah’s Witnesses—Moving Forward With Firm Conviction!
Annual Meeting Report
IN THESE days of skepticism and doubt, Jehovah’s Witnesses stand out as Christians having firm conviction. This was made clear at the annual meeting of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, held at the Jersey City, New Jersey, Assembly Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses on Saturday, October 7, 2000.*
In his opening remarks, the chairman, John E. Barr, a member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, stated: “Out of all the earth’s billions, we know and believe that Jehovah’s beloved Son, Christ Jesus, is now enthroned in the heavens, ruling amid his enemies.” Evidence of such firm conviction was presented in six thrilling reports from around the world.
Conquering Spiritism With Bible Truth in Haiti
Spiritism is quite prevalent in Haiti. “Usually,” related Branch Committee coordinator John Norman, “people will take on voodoo to protect themselves.” One witch doctor developed doubts when he lost a leg in an accident. ‘How could this happen to me if I am being protected by spirits?’ he wondered. Like many others, this man was taught the truth by Jehovah’s Witnesses and was helped to break free from spiritism. The potential for growth in Haiti is shown by the fact that on April 19, 2000, four times the number of Kingdom publishers in that land attended the Memorial of Christ’s death.
Zeal in Korea’s Vast Territory
In Korea, 40 percent of Jehovah’s Witnesses are in full-time service. “With this tremendous army,” stated Branch Committee coordinator Milton Hamilton, “our territory of over 47 million people is covered about once a month.” Growth in the sign-language congregations is particularly notable. In one sign-language circuit, 800 home Bible studies are being conducted. This is an average of one study per publisher. Sadly, young brothers are still being incarcerated because of their neutrality. These faithful Christians are dealt with favorably, though, and they are often given jobs requiring trustworthiness.
Meeting the Demands of Growth in Mexico
A peak of 533,665 Kingdom proclaimers reported field service in Mexico in August 2000. More than three times that number of individuals attended the Memorial. “Our goal for this year is to build 240 more Kingdom Halls,” stated Branch Committee coordinator Robert Tracy. “Still,” he added, “we need many more.”
The youths among Jehovah’s Witnesses in Mexico are exemplary. Regarding a certain young person, a Catholic priest stated: “I would like to have just one like him among my followers. I admire these people for their strong will and wise use of the Bible. They have defended God, even at the risk of their lives.”
Integrity Amid Unrest in Sierra Leone
Since April 1991, when civil war broke out in Sierra Leone, thousands of people have been killed, injured, or maimed. “War and hardship have had a profound effect on people,” reported Branch Committee coordinator Bill Cowan. “Many who were indifferent to our message now listen with interest. It is not uncommon for people to walk right off the street into our Kingdom Halls to attend their first meeting. The brothers are often stopped on the street and asked for a Bible study.” Despite the country’s continued instability, the Kingdom-preaching work is bearing fruitage in Sierra Leone.
Vast Building Program in South Africa
Currently, there is a need for several thousand Kingdom Halls in the territory cared for by the branch office in South Africa. Hundreds of halls have already been built. “Instead of meeting in a shack or under a tree, as was done previously, our brothers are able to meet in a proper place with suitable seating,” noted Branch Committee member John Kikot. “Although most of these Kingdom Halls are of modest design, they usually stand out as the most dignified buildings in their locale. In some areas, it has been found that after building a Kingdom Hall, the congregation will more than double during the following year.”
A New Generation of Witnesses in Ukraine
During the 2000 service year, this land saw a peak of 112,720 publishers. More than 50,000 of these have learned Bible truth during the past five years. “Truly, Jehovah has raised up a new, youthful generation of Witnesses to declare his name!” said John Didur, coordinator of the Branch Committee. “Over the past two years,” he added, “we have placed more than 50 million magazines, which is equal to the population of the country. Each month, on the average, we receive a thousand letters from interested people asking for more information.”
Other Moving Features of the Program
Daniel Sydlik, a member of the Governing Body, gave an absorbing talk. The article “How the Governing Body Differs From a Legal Corporation,” appearing in this magazine, is based on that informative presentation.
Theodore Jaracz of the Governing Body delivered a thought-provoking discourse entitled “Overseers and Ministerial Servants Theocratically Appointed.” One of the articles appearing in this magazine is based on that subject.
The annual meeting also included a stirring talk given by Governing Body member David Splane on the yeartext for the year 2001. Based on the apostle Paul’s words, it is: “Stand complete and with firm conviction in all the will of God.” (Colossians 4:12) Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world are determined to do that as they faithfully preach the good news of God’s Kingdom in all the earth.—Matthew 24:14.
The program was tied in electronically to a number of locations, bringing the total attendance to 13,082.