Bible Education Builds Faith
“WHAT an inestimable privilege it has been to spend the past five months giving attention to the thoughts of our Creator and learning to see things as he does!” remarked a representative of the 122nd class of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead on graduation day. March 10, 2007, will be a day long-remembered by the 56 members of the class, who were now about to begin their missionary service in the 26 lands to which they had been assigned.
After extending a warm welcome to the audience of 6,205, Theodore Jaracz, a member of the Governing Body, stated: “We feel confident that you are going to be strengthened spiritually and built up in your faith as a result of attending this graduation program.” He successively introduced four speakers who would provide the students with timely Bible-based encouragement and counsel to help them be successful in their missionary assignments.
Words of Encouragement to Build Faith in Others
Leon Weaver, a member of the United States Branch Committee, spoke on the theme “Keep Doing What Is Fine.” He reminded the students that they had each spent on average 13 years in full-time service, promoting Bible education that builds faith. He said: “It is a fine work because it involves saving the lives of people, and more important, it is a fine work because it magnifies our heavenly Father, Jehovah.” Brother Weaver then encouraged the students to continue “sowing with a view to the spirit” and not to “give up in doing what is fine.”—Galatians 6:8, 9.
David Splane, a member of the Governing Body, provided practical reminders as he developed the theme “Be Sure to Put Your Best Foot Forward.” Brother Splane encouraged the new missionaries to get off to a good start in their assignments by doing the following: “Maintain a positive attitude. Do not jump to conclusions. Smile. Do not be critical. Be humble, and respect the local brothers.” He then added: “When you step off the plane, put your best foot forward, and may Jehovah bless those beautiful feet of yours as they bring the ‘good news of something better’ to the people.”—Isaiah 52:7.
“An Inheritance That Is Beyond All Shadow of Doubt” was the theme considered by Gilead instructor Lawrence Bowen. Brother Bowen reminded the students that the founding of Gilead School during World War II was grounded in complete trust in the fulfillment of Jehovah’s prophetic Word. (Hebrews 11:1; Revelation 17:8) Since then, Gilead has afforded students an opportunity to strengthen their faith. Strong faith impels graduates to go forth, zealously proclaiming the truth.
Mark Noumair, another Gilead instructor, spoke on the intriguing theme “You Remind Me of Someone.” He drew attention to the example of the prophet Elisha, who demonstrated faith and courage in his assignment. Basing his comments on 1 Kings 19:21, Brother Noumair said: “Elisha was willing to make adjustments in life, put his personal interests in the background, and champion Jehovah’s cause.” He commended the graduates for having demonstrated the same spirit and encouraged them to continue to do so in their new assignments.
Faith Promotes Freeness of Speech
While the future missionaries were building up their faith during the school term, they took advantage of weekends to preach the good news to others. This resulted in fine experiences that were related and reenacted in a program part conducted by Wallace Liverance, another Gilead instructor. The theme of his part, “We Exercise Faith and Therefore We Speak,” called to mind the apostle Paul’s words found at 2 Corinthians 4:13.
Following this part, Daniel Barnes and Charles Woody, members of the Bethel family, conducted interviews with present and former missionaries. These highlighted Jehovah’s care for and blessing upon those who serve him faithfully. (Proverbs 10:22; 1 Peter 5:7) One missionary commented: “My wife and I definitely saw Jehovah’s care through the education that we received at Gilead. It really built up our faith. Faith is important because all of God’s servants, including missionaries, are going to have trials, problems, and anxieties.”
Continue Promoting Bible Education That Builds Faith
As a fitting climax to the graduation program, Samuel Herd, a member of the Governing Body, addressed the audience on the subject “Keep Building Up Your Brothers.” What was the purpose of the education that the students had received? “Its purpose has been to teach you how to use your tongue to praise Jehovah, to teach his truths to others in your newly assigned territory, and to build up one another in the faith,” Brother Herd said. However, he reminded the students that the tongue can also promote what is not upbuilding. (Proverbs 18:21; James 3:8-10) He encouraged the students to imitate Jesus’ example in the use of their tongue. On one occasion, after listening to Jesus, his disciples responded: “Were not our hearts burning . . . as he was fully opening up the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32) Brother Herd said: “If your words are positive, they will touch the hearts of your brothers and sisters in your assignment.”
Next, the graduates received their diplomas. Then a letter of appreciation from the class was read. It said: “We feel a deep sense of responsibility to use what we have learned to carry out faithfully our assignments as missionaries. As we stand ready to go to the ends of the earth, we pray that our efforts will result in a great shout of praise to our Grand Instructor, Jehovah God.” The audience responded with heartfelt applause. Indeed, the graduation program had built up the faith of all in attendance.
[Blurb on page 17]
“If your words are positive, they will touch the hearts of your brothers and sisters in your assignment”
[Box on page 15]
Number of countries represented: 9
Number of countries assigned to: 26
Total number of students: 56
Average age: 33.4
Average years in truth: 16.8
Average years in full-time ministry: 13
[Picture on page 16]
122nd Graduating Class of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead
In the list below, rows are numbered from front to back, and names are listed from left to right in each row.
(1) Howitt, R.; Smith, P.; Martinez, A.; Pozzobon, S.; Kitamura, Y.; Laud, C. (2) Fiedler, I.; Beasley, K.; Matkovich, C.; Bell, D.; Lippincott, W. (3) Sites, W.; Andersen, A.; Toevs, L.; Fusano, G.; Rodríguez, C.; Yoo, J. (4) Sobomehin, M.; Thomas, L.; Gasson, S.; Dauba, V.; Bertaud, A.; Winn, C.; Dobrowolski, M. (5) Yoo, J.; Dauba, J.; Mixer, H.; Newton, M.; Rodríguez, F.; Mixer, N. (6) Laud, M.; Lippincott, K.; Martinez, R.; Haub, A.; Schamp, R.; Pozzobon, L.; Toevs, S. (7) Howitt, S.; Kitamura, U.; Newton, D.; Haub, J.; Sites, J.; Thomas, D. (8) Sobomehin, L.; Matkovich, J.; Fusano, B.; Winn, J.; Schamp, J.; Andersen, D.; Dobrowolski, J. (9) Fiedler, P.; Bell, E.; Beasley, B.; Smith, B.; Bertaud, P.; Gasson, M.