Enjoy the Privilege of Vacation Pioneering
WHAT a precious privilege it is to be able to serve Jehovah our Father, “the happy God”! (1 Tim. 1:11) This is true whether we are congregation publishers or full-time preachers of the good news. Such service brings joy to us. It delights our hearts. As King David long ago declared: “To do your will, O my God, I have delighted.” (Ps. 40:8) This same delight was expressed by Jesus Christ, who said: “My food is for me to do the will of him that sent me and to finish his work.” (John 4:34) Those who joined Jesus in his ministry are spoken of as experiencing “joy.” (Luke 10:17) And what a joy it is! Don’t you agree?
A unique fact about serving Jehovah is this: the more we serve him the greater our joy. Thus we have a natural, strong and unselfish reason for encouraging others to widen out their ministry and, if possible, to vacation pioneer.
Those who have reached out to vacation pioneer speak almost as one of the joy that is theirs. A brother from North Carolina says: “May I take this opportunity to express the deep joy and satisfaction my wife and I have experienced during this past month of vacation pioneering.” From Florida a sister writes: “I am now most happy to say that I can honestly join my brothers in saying, ‘The happiest two weeks of my life were spent vacation pioneering.’” A vacation pioneer from Illinois says: “I feel like I’m bursting with joy.” Are you rejoicing in the service of Jehovah to that extent? Have you thought lately about vacation pioneering?
Why Many Vacation Pioneer
While a desire to receive the joy that comes with pioneering motivates some publishers to vacation pioneer, still many more give what might be termed as deeper and more compelling reasons. They speak of “the urgency of the times,” or a conscientious desire to bring their lives more into line with Jehovah’s will and work. The resulting joy that comes from full-time service seems to come to them as an unexpected bonus, a most delightful surprise.
Since the remarks of many who have entered the vacation pioneer work might reflect your own thinking, perhaps a consideration of them will enable you to see your way clear to join them in this privilege of service. For example, a brother from Ohio says: “I realize, as the Bible shows, that a great rescue work is still ahead in the short time remaining. And the only way we can help others to get out of Babylon the Great is by studying the Bible with them. My desire to have a Bible study is what caused me to start vacation pioneering.” Do you believe the end of this system is near? Have you wanted to help more persons come out of Babylon the Great? Have you thought of vacation pioneering?
A pioneer from Texas says: “I realize that I was spending forty hours every week in secular work that would soon go up in smoke at Armageddon and I would have nothing to show for it. So I quit my job and started to vacation pioneer and later I became a regular pioneer.” No doubt, some of you may have thought the same way about working in the world. But how many of you have thought about setting these jobs aside for two or more weeks in order to vacation pioneer? It can bring the satisfaction you desire.
Many young people today are plagued with thoughts about the future. A young pioneer from Michigan wrote: “During my last year in high school I began to think seriously about a career. Knowing that this old system was fast approaching destruction, I didn’t want to get involved with it. I decided to pioneer.” First he vacation pioneered. This he enjoyed so much that he became a regular pioneer. Are you thinking about a career? Have you given serious thought to the times in which we are living and the privilege of vacation pioneering now?
Time for Self-Scrutiny
Jehovah reminds us: “The time left is reduced.” (1 Cor. 7:29) Therefore, it is high time that we give prayerful attention to ourselves, to scrutinize our position before Jehovah. It is time to have a close look at what we can do in Jehovah’s service.
A father with five children says: “There was great pressure to be content with being a good publisher. With my wife pioneering for some time now, I would fall into the rut of believing that if I can manage to keep her going as a pioneer, what more could be required? But I still felt the need to do more. . . . I vacation pioneered last April and resolved that pioneering is for me.” So he examined his life closely and found a way first to vacation pioneer and then to be a regular pioneer. Perhaps with some soul-searching, you can do the same.
A schoolteacher from New York state, with a family, tried to content herself with being a good publisher. She writes: “As articles on pioneering kept appearing in the Kingdom Ministry my conscience continued to be pricked. I knew that Jehovah was receiving only the dregs of my energy and that the Board of Education was receiving its firstfruits. It should definitely have been the reverse, I knew, but since I had an unbelieving husband and a young son I wondered how I could ever pioneer.” While she was vacation pioneering during the circuit servant’s visit, he showed her how she might become a regular pioneer, and that is what she is now. You may not be able to make an adjustment as big as that, but you may be able to arrange to vacation pioneer sometime during the year.—Ex. 23:19.
In the scrutinizing of themselves some brothers have given special thought to their dedication vow and what it means to them individually. Such an honest probing of themselves caused a number to vacation pioneer and some to become regular pioneers. A young brother from Michigan said that serious thinking about life made him realize that he ‘had dedicated his life to Jehovah,’ which moved him to take up the vacation pioneer work and then become a regular pioneer. A sister from Arizona declared: “I was single. I felt I should make an effort to pioneer in order to live up to my dedication vow.” A brother from California wrote: “The most compelling reason for my decision to enter the full-time ministry is my dedication to Jehovah.” No doubt this is an area where each one of us can do some profitable examining, as the Scriptures admonish: “Keep testing whether you are in the faith, keep proving what you yourselves are.”—2 Cor. 13:5.
A Fine Time to Vacation Pioneer
What better time could there be to get started in the vacation pioneer work than March and April—two months of special activity? On Sunday, March 22, the Memorial will be celebrated. Weeks preceding the Memorial are usually filled with excitement, because an extra effort is made to invite people to the Kingdom Hall. Generally there are more brothers out in the field ministry, so there is no want of a companion. In addition, on March 29 the special talk “The Road Back to Peace in Paradise” will be featured in all congregations. The subject alone whets the appetite for one to hear it. These features during March will create an added incentive for us to share richly in the field ministry, which will add to the joy of those getting started in the vacation pioneer work.
Since Memorial time has always had a way of increasing our appreciation for Jehovah and his arrangement for our salvation, many brothers in times past have been moved to vacation pioneer during Memorial season. A number have arranged their affairs especially for this purpose. In Indiana an overseer reports that one third of the publishers were vacation pioneering during that month. In Missouri, “25 percent of the congregation of sixty-five publishers” vacation pioneered then. In New Jersey, at that time, says an overseer: “We were pleased to note we had thirty-seven vacation pioneers or about 50 percent of those qualified to be so.” You can imagine the excitement and enthusiasm these pioneers create in the congregation, and the brothers simply love it! How many will vacation pioneer in your congregation this year? What better way could there be to show gratitude to Jehovah and his Son for all they have done for us? What better time is there to vacation pioneer than during the month of March?
April will also be a month of special activity. So the momentum built up in March will be carried over into April. Think of it, there will be the special issue of The Watchtower to distribute with its timely feature article “The Road Back to Peace in Paradise.” In addition, there will be the special issue of Awake! focusing on what the changes taking place in the churches mean to each individual and pointing out the need for them to act wisely now while there is yet opportunity. By vacation pioneering during April one will have a greater share in the spreading of these magazines that honesthearted people will want to have.
Also during April we usually help new publishers to get started in the field service. And what a joy this always is! Writes a vacation pioneer from Tennessee: “What great joy one has to watch one’s ‘letters of recommendation’ become our fellow workers in gathering ‘other sheep.’” That first sermon given at the door, those first placements are always thrilling and often are never-to-be-forgotten moments. This joy can be yours as you help new ones to appreciate this requirement necessary for their salvation. As Paul says: “For with the heart one exercises faith for righteousness, but with the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation.” (Rom. 10:10) As a vacation pioneer, greater will be your opportunities to help new ones and therefore greater will be your joy.—1 Cor. 15:58.
In the past many have made April the month to vacation pioneer. No doubt, a large number of you will want to do this again. However, since March is when the special activity begins this year, you may want to try to vacation pioneer during the two months, March and April. If you can vacation pioneer both months, would that not be a wonderful blessing to you and the congregation? Of course, only you can determine whether you can manage that. But think in a positive manner about this possibility. Rely heavily on Jehovah’s promise to strengthen you, as the apostle Paul did, who said: “For all things I have the strength by virtue of him who imparts power to me.”—Phil. 4:13.
Recently Baptized Ones Who Can Vacation Pioneer
There exists a whole new area from which many vacation pioneers may likely come, which is a cause for great rejoicing. During the past service year 120,905 new publishers were baptized. Up until the time of your baptism you were not qualified to become a vacation pioneer. By far the majority of you who were baptized during the past year have not vacation pioneered as yet. But this privilege of service is now open to you.
So we encourage you newly baptized ones to seize hold of the vacation pioneer ministry. Talk to others who have done it in the past. Inquire as to who else plans to vacation pioneer now. It is likely that a companion can be arranged for you so you will have someone to work with in the field. There are great joys that come from vacation pioneering. Said a sister from California: “I have never been so happy in all my life as since I started vacation pioneering.” A brother from Illinois writes: “I took my first bite of vacation pioneering. It tasted so good that I wanted a bigger bite. Now I’m a regular pioneer.” So, “taste and see that Jehovah is good, O you people.” (Ps. 34:8) If you can, arrange to vacation pioneer.
Your Family May Help You Vacation Pioneer
Many theocratic families would enjoy having one or more of their members vacation pioneering. Your family may be one that can experience this joy. A sister in Florida writes: “My family has helped me to vacation pioneer.” Your family may help you to do the same.
A brother who is an overseer says: “Since we are not able to pioneer, we are very willing to help our wives take part in this privilege of service.” You wives—your husband may feel the same way. Have you asked him? A sister from Colorado writes: “I have four children. Their good cooperation, as well as that of my husband, made it possible for me to vacation pioneer during this special month.” Your family may cooperate with you so that you can vacation pioneer. Why not ask them?
Parents and children, why not get together and see if one or more of you can vacation pioneer during March and April? With a little planning, it is amazing what can be done. In one case a father of ten children arranged matters so that each of his children could vacation pioneer during the year, and to that end they all cooperated. The results were gratifying. The three oldest children are now special pioneers. The latest graduate from school is entering regular pioneer service, while the mother and younger children continue to vacation pioneer during the summer months. Would it not be fine if your family cooperated in the same way? What a blessing that would be!
Vacation Pioneering—A Stepping-Stone
Vacation pioneering is a natural stepping-stone into the greater joys and privileges of the regular pioneer ministry. A sister from Ohio writes: “After vacation pioneering for five months, I realized that I could not stop. Pioneering had become part of me and it was something too wonderful to resist.” A brother from Florida wrote: “The joy and the satisfaction that came from those few full days of vacation pioneering created in me a strong desire to make the regular pioneer ministry my goal.”
You, as a vacation pioneer, may feel the same way. Have you thought about becoming a regular pioneer? You may find, as many have, that it is not as hard as they imagined. A sister in Virginia says: “I found vacation pioneering wasn’t so hard, so now my daughter and I are pioneering together and enjoying every minute of it.” And she adds: “Vacation pioneering is a wonderful stepping-stone to the regular pioneer service.” And so it is. If you can vacation pioneer a number of months each year, you may be able, with a little extra effort, to be a regular pioneer. Rely heavily on Jehovah and he will bless your efforts.
The Blessings of Pioneering
God’s Word assures us: “The blessing of Jehovah—that is what makes rich, and he adds no pain with it.” (Prov. 10:22) The rewarding effect of the full-time ministry is living proof of this fact.
Writes a sister from Florida: “Vacation pioneering has benefited not only me but also my whole family. I have six children and a husband who is not in the truth.” A brother says: “One thing that I enjoyed about vacation pioneering was working in the ministry with my wife. Now I can better appreciate the ability she has.” A father who vacation pioneered said: “My seven-year-old son went with me in service almost daily. This was certainly a great joy and a blessing for me to be able to have additional time to train and help him serve Jehovah better.” Are these not rich blessings indeed?
While they were vacation pioneering some found that their health improved. A middle-aged sister was informed by a doctor that she had only a short time to live. She was even told the month in which she was expected to die. So convinced was she of this that she bought her own coffin and made funeral arrangements. But before dying she wanted to vacation pioneer. She did. Her doctor thereafter pronounced her out of danger. Four years have passed now and she is still enjoying the pioneer work.
Another sister was told by a doctor that she would not be able to do much walking again, because she suffered from “blind spells, a leaking heart and a bad leg.” But this sister went pioneering, and she says: “Pioneering has aided me spiritually and my physical condition has also improved.”
Whatever the reason for their better health, whether it was exercise, fresh air, an emotional uplift or spiritual strengthening, which can indeed bring about a healthier body and mind, one thing can be said for certain—pioneering helped.—Prov. 17:22.
Yes, pioneering helps in many ways as the brothers testify: It “made me feel much closer to Jehovah’s grand organization”; “it helped me to progress to Christian maturity”; “it helped to make me a more efficient and organized publisher”; “it showed me real joy”; “it gave me more confidence and faith,” and “what a cure for depression”! Are not these blessings worth considering?
Pioneering is indeed a privilege! It not only furnishes precious opportunities for all to offer themselves to the fullest extent possible, but brings rich blessings with it. Therefore, try to vacation pioneer at least once each year, if you can.
During March and April when Jehovah’s organization will be heightening its effort for a greater witness, what will you be doing? Can you reach out to enjoy the privilege of praising Jehovah by vacation pioneering? A rich blessing awaits those who do. (Mal. 3:10) “Praise Jah, you people, for it is good to make melody to our God; for it is pleasant—praise is fitting.” “Every breathing thing—let it praise Jah.”—Ps. 147:1; 150:6.