123rd Gilead Graduation
Gilead Graduates Are Urged to “Start Digging”
ON Saturday, September 8, 2007, a crowd of 6,352 from 41 lands was present at the graduation of the 123rd class of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead. At 10:00 a.m., the chairman of the program, Anthony Morris of the Governing Body, welcomed the audience. After some opening comments, he introduced the first speaker, Gary Breaux of the United States Branch Committee.
Brother Breaux assured the students that regardless of their physical appearance, those who do Jehovah’s will are beautiful in His eyes. (Jer. 13:11) He urged the graduates to maintain that kind of beauty. Next, Gerrit Lösch of the Governing Body stressed that it is proper to hope for a reward when we serve Jehovah. (Heb. 11:6) However, our motive should be unselfish love.
The overseer of the Theocratic Schools Department, William Samuelson, next urged the graduates to stick to the dignified assignment of announcing the reigning King and to manifest their dignity by their good conduct.a Sam Roberson, assistant overseer of the Theocratic Schools Department, encouraged the graduates always to look for the good in others. Then the graduates would be better able to “have love for the whole association of brothers.”—1 Pet. 2:17.
After those stimulating talks, Gilead instructor Mark Noumair interviewed a number of graduates who recounted experiences they had had in the field service during the Gilead course. They left the listeners in no doubt of their love for the ministry and their desire to help others. Kent Fischer of the Patterson Bethel Office then interviewed Branch Committee members from three lands that have received missionaries. The words of these fine brothers assured the audience, which included many of the graduates’ parents, that new missionaries are well looked after in their assignments. Izak Marais of the Translation Services Department next interviewed some longtime missionaries, whose experiences gave the graduates a foretaste of joys to come.
The main talk on the program, delivered by Geoffrey Jackson of the Governing Body, was on the theme “After All You Have Heard—What Now?” Brother Jackson, who served as a missionary for nearly 25 years in the South Pacific, discussed the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount. In that discourse, Jesus spoke of two men, one discreet and the other foolish, who built houses. The speaker pointed out that both houses may have been in the same general location. However, the foolish man built on the surface, on sand, while the discreet man dug down until he found a rock foundation on which to build. When a fierce storm occurred, the house built on rock survived but the one built on sand collapsed.—Matt. 7:24-27; Luke 6:48.
Jesus explained that the foolish man resembled those who did no more than listen to Jesus’ teachings. The wise man was like those who listened to and applied Jesus’ words. Brother Jackson told the graduates, “When you apply in the missionary field what you learned through Bible study, you will be like the discreet man.” So in conclusion, he urged the graduates to “start digging” in their missionary assignments.
Finally, the graduates received their diplomas and assignments, and Brother Morris gave some concluding admonition. He encouraged the graduates always to follow Jesus and never fail to rely on Jehovah for strength. The graduation program was then brought to a close.
a The Theocratic Schools Department, under the oversight of the Teaching Committee, oversees Gilead, the school for Branch Committee members, and the school for traveling overseers.
[Box on page 31]
Number of countries represented: 10
Number of countries assigned to: 24
Total number of students: 56
Average age: 33.5
Average years in truth: 17.9
Average years in full-time ministry: 13.8
[Picture on page 32]
123rd 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) Esparza, E.; Papaya, S.; Bilal, A.; Suárez, M.; Evers, E.; Dimichino, K. (2) Rosa, M.; Fujii, R.; Ratey, O.; Leveton, J.; Van Leemputten, M. (3) Boscaino, A.; Beck, K.; Budanov, H.; Braz, C.; Peltz, K.; Siaw, A. (4) Leveton, S.; Santikko, H.; Conte, S.; Wilson, J.; Rylatt, J.; Pierce, S.; Fujii, K. (5) Rosa, D.; Boscaino, M.; Austin, V.; Rodiel, P.; Bilal, P.; Dimichino, P. (6) Ratey, B.; Czyzyk, D.; Clarke, C.; Riedel, A.; Esparza, F.; Siaw, P.; Van Leemputten, T. (7) Rodiel, J.; Evers, J.; Green, J.; Czyzyk, J.; Santikko, M.; Rylatt, M. (8) Peltz, L.; Austin, D.; Riedel, T.; Beck, M.; Pierce, W.; Conte, S.; Green, S. (9) Suárez, J.; Clarke, J.; Papaya, S.; Budanov, M.; Wilson, R.; Braz, R.