1971 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses
It is estimated that today 924,274,000 persons profess Christianity. Do you think that the majority of these persons are running the great race for the faith? Have they taken hold on everlasting life? Or, do you think that the majority of those in Christendom believe that they have gained what life they have through an evolutionary process? Many of Christendom’s schools teach evolution, not creation by God, as the Bible states. Which way do you lean?
In the denominational systems of Christendom it is generally understood that Jesus was the founder of Christianity, but today a number of the so-called modernists, and those of little faith, do not accept Jesus Christ as their redeemer from death. They look upon Jesus as an ordinary man who had a very fine philosophy, taught many good things and led an exemplary life. But as for his being the Son of God born of the virgin Mary, and providing the ransom price for all mankind, well, that is going too far for them. And then there is the creation of Adam and Eve by God, and the story of Noah with his ark. Does it take too much faith for you to believe all that also?
Well, what about Peter, who many say was the first pope of the Roman Catholic Church? He believed the Holy Scriptures just as Christ Jesus did and he said: “I am arousing your clear thinking faculties by way of a reminder, that you should remember the sayings previously spoken by the holy prophets . . . For, according to their [that is, the scoffers’] wish, this fact escapes their notice, that there were heavens from of old and an earth standing compactly out of water and in the midst of water by the word of God; and by those means the world of that time suffered destruction when it was deluged with water. But by the same word the heavens and the earth that are now are stored up for fire and are being reserved to the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men.”—2 Pet. 3:1-7.
Maybe you do not have faith like Peter’s, but Peter believed the things he wrote about the flood of Noah’s day because he had faith in what was “spoken by the holy prophets” and by Christ Jesus, who said: “For just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be. For as they were in those days before the flood, eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark; and they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be.” (Matt. 24:37-39) Here Jesus was answering a question put to him by his disciples, namely: “Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?” (Matt. 24:3) Jesus Christ, the Son of God, described to his disciples the many things that would happen at the conclusion of this system of things, or, if you prefer the expression, the “end of the world.” Read the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew. It may rekindle a fire in you and you may want to enter the great contest of faith. If you already believe God’s Word it will certainly help you to continue fighting a fine fight for the faith.
Jesus declared that one of the big events that would take place world wide in the last days of this system of things would be a great preaching work concerning the kingdom of God. Jesus prophesied: “And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”—Matt. 24:14.
Jesus startled people by saying something that millions of people are still saying: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:9, 10, King James Version) Were you taught that prayer and have you prayed it once in a while in your life? But how many persons saying these words really want Jehovah God’s kingdom to come to take over the rulership of this earth? Jesus Christ, the Son of God, did! Do you?
IN WHAT IS YOUR INTEREST?
Jesus’ whole interest in life was in God’s kingdom. It still is. In his Sermon on the Mount he said: “Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33) Jesus trained people to talk about this kingdom, and he sent his twelve disciples out to tell other persons about the Kingdom. He said: “As you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.’ Cure sick people, raise up dead persons, make lepers clean, expel demons. You received free, give free.” (Matt. 10:7, 8) Jesus wanted his disciples to help people everywhere to understand that the only hope for mankind to get hold of everlasting life was through God’s kingdom. “Now when Jesus had finished giving instructions to his twelve disciples, he set out from there to teach and preach in their cities.” (Matt. 11:1) After teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum and doing some wonderful works Jesus told his disciples: “‘Let us go somewhere else, into the village towns nearby, that I may preach there also, for it is for this purpose I have gone out.’ And he did go, preaching in their synagogues throughout the whole of Galilee and expelling the demons.”—Mark 1:38, 39.
For three and one half years Jesus devoted himself to teaching and preaching and his only theme was the kingdom of God and the blessings that it would bring to mankind. Then he died upon the torture stake. But he knew that the good news of the Kingdom had to be preached right on down to the end of this system of things. That is why Jesus, after being raised from the dead, said to his followers: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And, look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.”—Matt 28:19, 20.
We learn from the Holy Scriptures in the book of Acts, chapter two, that after Jesus ascended into heaven he sent the holy spirit on the day of Pentecost of the year 33 C.E., and the 120 disciples that Jesus taught and trained were all filled with this active force from God. It was on that day that Peter went out before the great crowds in the city of Jerusalem and eloquently spoke to thousands of persons. On hearing the message that Peter delivered on that day, many got saved from that crooked generation and they were baptized. From that day on, the good news of the Kingdom started to go on to the ends of the earth. There were in Jerusalem at that time “Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and the inhabitants of Mesopotamia, and Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and the district of Asia, and Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya, which is toward Cyrene, and sojourners from Rome, both Jews and Proselytes, Cretans and Arabians.” (Acts 2:9-11) In fact, fifteen nationalities were represented, having come there from many parts of the then known world, and the record shows that many who heard Peter’s message that day were baptized. These Jews and Proselytes believed in Jehovah God and now they accepted Christ Jesus and were glad to carry back to their different countries and lands the message that they had heard. They were Jehovah’s Christian witnesses now because they had faith in God’s Son, Christ Jesus, who redeemed them from death, and they believed in the kingdom of God. They, too, were now entering the great contest of faith and would have to stand up against many different religions that people in their lands believed. Christianity was off to a good start. These dedicated, baptized people must now be evangelizers, which meant they would try to convert others to Christianity, and Jesus’ words that “you will be witnesses of me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the most distant part of the earth” must have fulfillment.—Acts 1:8.
THE EXPANSION BEGINS
There is much evidence in the Word of God to show that Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria received a very fine witness. Philip the evangelizer went down to the city of Samaria, and the crowds paid attention to what he had to say. Peter started things going with the Gentiles by talking to Cornelius, who got baptized and, being begotten by holy spirit, proved that he, too, was a Christian. We also read about Paul and Barnabas and their ministry in these words: “Accordingly, after being conducted part way by the congregation, these men continued on their way through both Phoenicia and Samaria relating in detail the conversion of people of the nations, and they were causing great joy to all the brothers.” (Acts 15:3) There was great expansion work going on in those early days of Christianity, and people who listened to the truth from the Word of God got together in congregations and became very active in doing God’s will. Acts 9:31 tells us: “Then, indeed, the congregation throughout the whole of Judea and Galilee and Samaria entered into a period of peace, being built up; and as it walked in the fear of Jehovah and in the comfort of the holy spirit it kept on multiplying.” This peaceful condition occurred before the conversion of Cornelius, and even though Gentiles were converted after this particular time it did not disturb the Jewish Christian congregations in any way because now they understood that a worldwide evangelizing work must be pushed forward.
The apostle Paul was the faithful Christian that helped the young man Timothy to take a firm stand for the truth and to “fight the fine fight of the faith.” It must have given Paul a lot of satisfaction to see a young man like Timothy become so zealous and reach out for the office of overseer in a congregation of God and do so well in his work. Being a man who had such a firm hold on everlasting life, Paul could also admonish Timothy to “preach the word, be at it urgently in favorable season, in troublesome season . . . keep your senses in all things, suffer evil, do the work of an evangelizer, fully accomplish your ministry.” (2 Tim. 4:2-5) There were many men like Paul and Timothy preaching the good news of the Kingdom in those early days. Today likewise there are many dedicated men and women doing this work.
What would you do if you were to meet Jesus journeying from city to city and village to village? Would you, like a certain man, say to him: “Lord, are those who are being saved few?” In reply to this man and those with him Jesus said: “Exert yourselves vigorously to get in through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will seek to get in but will not be able.” Would that answer disturb you and would you say, like many people today: “I know Christ Jesus. I go to church. I eat and drink at the Communion in remembrance of Christ.” That certain man heard Jesus say of those professing to know him: “I do not know where you are from. Get away from me, all you workers of unrighteousness!” (Luke 13:23-27) It takes a lot more than just talk and an outward appearance. A person must show his faith and works if he is going to get favor from Christ Jesus. He must exert himself vigorously to get in through the narrow door. He must “fight the fine fight of the faith” in order to get a “firm hold on the everlasting life.” Do you? Is your religion easy? James said: “Faith without works is dead.”—Jas. 2:26.
There are too many people in Christendom today who are begging off. They do not want to do the work that Christ Jesus was doing when he was on earth, nor that of his disciples. That is why the apostle Paul so emphatically said to the Hebrews in the letter he wrote to them: “See that you do not beg off from him who is speaking. For if they did not escape who begged off from him who was giving divine warning upon earth, much more shall we not if we turn away from him who speaks from the heavens.” (Heb. 12:25) Do you beg off from what God’s written Word says, and still call yourself a Christian? You should thank God that not everyone has begged off and that there are still some people who are putting up a fine fight for the faith and warning the nations of the impending end of this system of things and announcing the kingdom of God, which is about to rule fully over this earth.
THE GOOD NEWS REACHES AFRICA
In the early days of Christianity when Peter spoke on the day of Pentecost some who heard had come from Egypt and Libya. When we think of these nations we think of the continent of Africa. Is the good news of God’s kingdom being vigorously preached in Africa today? Surely Christendom is not declaring God’s kingdom as man’s only hope, because it says the United Nations organization is man’s only hope. But have Jehovah’s Christian witnesses been evangelizing in this continent, trying to establish faith in Christ Jesus and God’s kingdom? Let us take a look.
It was in 1923 that W. R. Brown, one of Jehovah’s witnesses who later became known as “Bible Brown,” left his native land of Trinidad in the West Indies, along with his wife and young family, and traveled to Africa. He had faith, faith in Jehovah God and his Son, Christ Jesus, and in God’s kingdom. He wanted the people of West Africa to know about God’s kingdom and he went there to preach the good news. He traveled in many countries of West Africa—Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and others—and endured many hardships.
In 1931 “Bible Brown” settled in Lagos, Nigeria, and established an office of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. At their first convention, there were only ten delegates in attendance. This did not discourage “Bible Brown.” He realized that, while many people in Nigeria could speak English, no great impression could be made upon these people until literature was available in their native tongues. The Society arranged for the translation of some publications in the Yoruba language, as well as Ibo, Itsekiri, Hausa and Efik. With these publications in their languages the people could be reached and, by having Bible studies in their own homes, faith in God’s Word could be established. By 1939 Jehovah’s witnesses numbered 636. These Christians regularly preached along with “Bible Brown,” declaring the Kingdom good news. Then came the second world war. The government prohibited the importation of the Society’s publications. The ban was lifted in 1946, but during the years between 1939 and 1946, by just using the Bible, Jehovah’s Christian congregation in Nigeria had grown to 3,542 persons.
During the second world war the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society opened the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead. In 1943 the first graduates of this missionary school were ready to be sent out to carry on evangelizing work in all parts of the world. By 1947 the first graduates of Gilead School were allowed to enter Lagos, Nigeria.
Because of the high rate of illiteracy it was necessary to teach many Africans how to read and write, and in 1948 a literacy campaign was launched through reading classes in the congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses. Literally thousands of West Africans have been taught to read and write through these free instruction classes in reading and writing. Now many more disciples have been added to the Christian ministry, preaching the good news of God’s kingdom.
Tens of thousands of people approached with the Bible message were Catholics and Protestants, but, even so, many were still living in polygamy. Before any of these could become Jehovah’s Christian witnesses they had to adjust their lives to become acceptable. The Bible says a man should be “a husband of one wife” and that each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. (1 Tim. 3:2; 1 Cor. 7:2) Why is it that Christendom’s religious denominations allow their members to live in polygamy when the Bible speaks against this practice for Christians? What a marvelous change has taken place in the lives of these Nigerians and peoples of other nations throughout Africa who made a similar decision to fight a fine fight for the faith. Even though their former religious leaders in Christendom ridiculed them, this did not make any difference to these true Christians because, like the apostle Paul, they wanted to say: “I have fought the fine fight, I have run the course to the finish, I have observed the faith.”—2 Tim. 4:7.
Today, nearly fifty years after “Bible Brown” went to Africa to promote true Christian faith, we find that there are over 118,000 of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses declaring the good news of God’s kingdom in seven countries of West Africa.
Let us look at a country in Central Africa, Zambia. The preaching of God’s kingdom had its beginning there in 1924. For many years, due to unjust bans, persecution and harassment of Jehovah’s witnesses, things went slowly. It was not until 1947 that things really began to move forward, with 6,114 individuals preaching the good news of the Kingdom. The country was then known as Northern Rhodesia. In 1948 a branch office was established in Lusaka and in just one year the publishers increased to 11,606. The year 1948 also saw the arrival of the first graduates of Gilead School. These came to assist in the evangelizing activity and to aid in organizing the Christian work. They also assisted the congregations in their reading and writing program.
Recently the government asked the Watch Tower missionaries to leave the country, and the officials last year announced that Jehovah’s witnesses may no longer go from house to house to make converts to the Christian faith. Now Jehovah’s witnesses may speak about the Bible only to their own associates so as to build them up in the faith, and to those who inquire about their Christian work. In spite of these restrictions on going from house to house and village to village, the report from Zambia for the 1970 service year shows that the people of Zambia want to hear what Jehovah’s Christian witnesses have to say and thousands of newly interested persons are coming to their Kingdom Halls. The actual number of individuals and households interested in having Jehovah’s witnesses study the Bible with them every week this past year numbered 33,699, and 50,655 Christian witnesses of Jehovah shared in declaring this Kingdom good news during 1970. In fact, 157,013 Zambians attended the Memorial of Christ Jesus’ death on the night of March 22, 1970.
Directing the minds of the people of Zambia to the Bible has had a good moral effect. In The African Weekly of August 30, 1950, it was reported: “Watchtower Christians in the townships . . . are very active, but I am glad to report that their activities are very good indeed, and are reducing fighting among the Africans in these townships. Once they join the Watchtower . . . those Christians [Jehovah’s witnesses] do not fight among themselves. They do not go to beer halls to be mixed up with other fellows or women.” The moral standard of Jehovah’s witnesses in Zambia is based on the Bible and is the same as that of Jehovah’s witnesses throughout the world. Today, in Zambia, there is one witness of Jehovah for every 89 Zambians. It can truly be said that every family in Zambia has heard the good news of God’s kingdom. Whether they will fight the fine fight of the faith and get a firm hold on the everlasting life is for each one to decide. They can never say, ‘We did not have a chance to hear the good news.’
Nineteen hundred years ago some Christians left Jerusalem after hearing Peter, and went to Egypt, Libya and perhaps other parts of that great continent. Philip talked to an Ethiopian eunuch who was returning to his homeland. Can it be said that the witness of Jesus has been given to the most distant part of the earth, including Africa? The chart below shows what Jehovah’s Christian witnesses have been doing.
IN THE LANDS WHERE NUMBER OF JEHOVAH’S NUMBER OF GILEAD
YEAR WORK WAS DONE WITNESSES PREACHING GRADUATES
1940 11 6,612 —
1950 29 53,787 46
1960 42 131,321 177
1970 51 250,915 328
ON TO ASIA
On the day of Pentecost of 33 C.E. people from Parthia, Media, Elam, Cappadocia and the district of Asia heard what Peter had to say. What about today? The greater part of Asia is non-Christian. The Moslem religion holds sway over a population of approximately 374,000,000, the Shintoists number 70,000,000, Taoists 54,000,000, Confucianists 371,000,000, Buddhists 176,000,000, and Hindus 435,000,000. Throughout all of Asia there are approximately 120,000,000 professing Christianity. But are these showing faith in God’s kingdom? Do they preach it? No! They just belong to a sect of Christendom and in most instances have a second non-Christian religion. But is the good news of God’s kingdom heard in Asia at all now? Yes it is!
In 1949 the Watch Tower Society was able to send its first missionaries to Korea, when only thirteen persons in the whole country were doing the work that Jehovah’s witnesses do, namely, going from house to house to preach the good news of God’s kingdom. In those days the missionaries met five Christian women who had stood firm, even in a concentration camp. During the time that the Japanese controlled Korea these five Christian women, bound in chains, refused to bow to the emperor and accept his religion. Their torture was severe, but they continued fighting a fine fight for the faith. They were released following the second world war and were very anxious to continue on in declaring the Kingdom good news. They are doing so to this day.
How did the Koreans respond to the good news? By 1960 the Watch Tower Society had sent twenty-two missionaries, and more than 3,800 Koreans had joined them in the work. In 1970 there were 12,267 preaching and teaching the good news of God’s kingdom. It is truly remarkable to see that 6,575 Koreans were baptized during the past three years, which means that one half of all the witnesses of Jehovah in Korea have entered the great contest for the faith since 1967.
We might look at another country of Asia, namely, India. What has happened there? In 1914 Jehovah’s witnesses had four representatives there. It was not until 1926, though, that the Watch Tower Society opened an office in Bombay. This was done by some very zealous young Christian men from England who believed that India should have evangelizing work done there. They found it very difficult to convince the Hindus that the Bible is truly the Word of God, for the Hindus have been steeped in their religious beliefs for centuries. But progress was made and by April of 1947 the first two graduates of Gilead School were able to enter the country to help those already putting up a fine fight for the faith.
India is a country of many gods, many languages, many customs and many ways of life. A missionary must adjust himself so as to reach different personalities. All kinds of people make up Jehovah’s creation. So no matter where they may be on earth they must be given the opportunity to hear about God’s kingdom, even though very few will accept it. Their work has been rewarding, because today there are 3,347 persons proclaiming the kingdom of God in spite of the greatest obstacles. Could you represent and be ‘substituting for Christ’ in a land like India? It certainly would test one’s fighting ability.—2 Cor. 5:20.
In comparison with many other parts of the earth, Japan had to wait longer to hear the good news of the Kingdom. In the year 1912 the first president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, Charles T. Russell, visited Japan as the head of a committee of the International Bible Students Association, investigating the religious field in the Orient. They noticed that the missionaries of orthodox Christianity were considerably discouraged and Pastor Russell concluded that what the Japanese people needed was the gospel of the Kingdom, the announcing of the second coming of Christ and the establishment of his righteous kingdom. However, it was not until 1927 that an American-Japanese person was sent to Japan to try to open up the work. With the aid of a number of pioneers working hard, a peak of 110 ministers was reached in 1938. In that year, 1,125,817 copies of the Golden Age magazine, forerunner of the Awake! magazine, were distributed among the Japanese people. Then, on June 21, 1939, all of Jehovah’s witnesses were arrested. Other members of so-called Christian organizations were not arrested, because the government did not object as long as those who belonged to their so-called Christian churches also worshiped the Shinto gods, of which there were eight million. However, Jehovah’s witnesses were frowned upon for their noncompliance in worshiping the Shinto gods. And so they were charged with “advocating a Jehovah monotheism.” Through a long trial, held behind closed doors, those who refused to renounce their God Jehovah were sentenced to prison for five years, and some were sentenced again after the first term expired. Those still in prison at the time of the American occupation in 1945 were released.
The Society had hopes of opening up its Christian work again among the more than 82 million people in Japan and did so in 1949, when a number of Japanese Hawaiians trained at the missionary school of Gilead reached Japan. By 1950 the Watch Tower Society sent twenty-six missionaries to Japan and by 1960 there were seventy missionaries. By 1970 there were eighty. Did those preaching the good news of the Kingdom have good success? Today the number of Japanese people doing the work Jesus said would be done totals 9,478.
The Society started printing the Watchtower magazine in Japanese in 1951 and then the Awake! magazine in 1956. And today we are printing upward of 7,400,000 magazines every year in Japan. There are now 228 Christian congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses there. Look at all of Asia by means of this chart and see what has happened in thirty years.
IN THE LANDS WHERE NUMBER OF JEHOVAH’S NUMBER OF GILEAD
YEAR WORK WAS DONE WITNESSES PREACHING GRADUATES
1940 7 541 —
1950 15 1,485 69
1960 26 11,568 265
1970 28 30,693 257
ON TO EUROPE
On the day of Pentecost of 33 C.E. there were some people in Jerusalem from Rome, and undoubtedly they took back the message of the Kingdom to others in Rome. But much later Paul and other disciples of Christ Jesus carried the message into Greece, Italy and perhaps Spain, as well as other parts of Europe. Today the good news of God’s kingdom is being preached throughout all of Europe, in all the countries of that continent. Even during World War I and throughout World War II when all religious denominations of Christendom were at war with one another, cutting one another’s throats, the true Christian witnesses of Jehovah were busy preaching the good news of God’s kingdom. They suffered for it because they would not join in killing their neighbors, and in Germany thousands were put in prisons or sent to Hitler’s concentration camps.
When Hitler took power in January of 1933 it became apparent that he was determined to wield his power ruthlessly against Jehovah’s Christian witnesses. He did ban their work in 1933, and thousands upon thousands of Jehovah’s witnesses were hunted down like animals and arrested. For many months special courts were busy sentencing people who prior to that time had never appeared before a court for any wrongdoing. Terms of imprisonment were for five and more years. Later many were sent to concentration camps, and from all outward appearances it looked as though Jehovah’s Christian witnesses were to become extinct.
In 1932 when the last report was received from Germany and before the ban was placed on Jehovah’s witnesses, there were 14,453 sharing in the Kingdom declaration. By 1946, following the collapse of the German war machine and the opening of the gates of the concentration camps—but not the graves—there were 11,415 dedicated Christians still in the great contest for the faith. Ten years later this number grew to 50,530, and by 1970 in Western Germany there were 86,252 Christian witnesses of Jehovah. The survivors never gave up! They preached! There is another group in West Berlin, now numbering 5,396 Christian witnesses, going from house to house. And in East Germany, where the witness work is carried on behind the Berlin wall and Iron Curtain, there are many more thousands of Witnesses telling East Germans, now under Communistic rule, about God’s kingdom, but not with the same freedom of speech as Jehovah’s Christian witnesses have west of the Iron Curtain. Proving faithful to right principles brought death to thousands of Jehovah’s witnesses in Germany, but the survivors brought salvation to tens of thousands, and they are still helping people to get a firm hold on everlasting life.
France has always been a staunch Catholic religious center. History shows how powerful cardinals often ruled in French politics. However, in the “last days” the good news of God’s kingdom had to be preached, and it began to be around the year 1904. It had a small beginning, and by August 27, 1919, the work of Jehovah’s witnesses was legally recognized. In 1940, because of Hitler’s take-over, the 320 publishers of the good news were forced underground. But after the war in 1947 when the ban was lifted, there appeared on the scene of action 2,380 persons. Even under years of difficult conditions the preaching had continued with fine success. At the first international assembly held in Paris, in the Palais des Sports in 1951, 10,456 persons came out to hear the Society’s president talk on the subject “Will Religion Meet the World Crisis?” In that year there were 7,136 of Jehovah’s witnesses preaching God’s kingdom throughout France. Today, just about twenty-three years after Jehovah’s witnesses were again legally recognized in 1947, we find a fast-growing organization, with 36,721 ministers giving a mighty witness to Jehovah God and his Son, Christ Jesus.
A new and flourishing era opened up in Italy for Jehovah’s witnesses immediately after World War II. Even while the second world war was on, the Society invited some Italian-Americans to attend Gilead School and to prepare themselves for service in Italy as soon as it was possible to send evangelizers in. The first one arrived in October 1946. There were only 120 of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses preaching in that land then. In this Catholic-dominated country where Communism is growing very rapidly the people are very unsettled and, strange as it may seem, are anxious to know what the Bible really teaches. In 1970 there were 372 congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses scattered throughout Italy from the tip of the boot up to the border of Switzerland with 18,636 Christian witnesses of Jehovah telling the people the truth from God’s Word, and exposing the error of the crumbling organization of Christendom. It takes faith to stand for God’s kingdom and against the Hierarchy of the Vatican.
Jehovah’s Christian witnesses are growing fast in three of the strongest Catholic countries of Europe. But this is true for all of Europe. Jesus said that the message he gave to his disciples should be preached to the most distant part of the earth. It is being done today and thousands upon thousands of persons now know that the prophecy of Daniel is having fulfillment wherein it states: “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.” (Dan. 2:44) Do you believe what Jehovah God inspired Daniel to write? This chart should help you to see that hundreds of thousands of dedicated persons do.
IN THE LANDS WHERE NUMBER OF JEHOVAH’S NUMBER OF GILEAD
YEAR WORK WAS DONE WITNESSES PREACHING GRADUATES
1940 13 17,414 —
1950 24 142,675 101
1960 26 337,053 305
1970 30 442,707 339
ON TO THE ISLANDS OF THE ATLANTIC, CARIBBEAN AND MEDITERRANEAN
The disciples of Christ Jesus visited the islands of the Mediterranean. But as for the islands of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, and the western hemisphere, these were parts of the world unheard of. But today all these places are included in “the most distant part of the earth.”
Jehovah’s witnesses feel the responsibility to preach and teach and want to ‘make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them, teaching them to observe all the things Christ commanded.’ (Matt. 28:19, 20) So a great preaching and teaching work must reach out to the islands.
The Dominican Republic received its first missionaries from the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead in the year 1945. When these missionaries arrived, there was no one known to be a witness of Jehovah. Up until 1949 there was very little opposition to their evangelizing work. But in that year a Roman Catholic priest opposed the activity and threatened to have some of the missionaries put out of the country. By this time there were twenty-two missionaries in various cities of this land. The Catholic priests were warning their parishioners not to have anything to do with Jehovah’s witnesses. Later they induced the police to take the names of those of their church attending the meetings of Jehovah’s witnesses. By June of 1950 the branch servant was called to the office of the Secretary of the Interior and given instructions to the effect that the propagating work of Jehovah’s witnesses was against the law of the land and was banned.
During the period of this ban the Witnesses met in private homes of interested people. For a short time in 1956 the opposition lessened, but then suddenly a great persecution fell upon all of Jehovah’s witnesses throughout the Dominican Republic. The Witnesses were sought out, beaten and jailed. The Roman Catholic priests took the lead in heaping reproach upon them. They used sound cars, beginning early in the morning telling the people not to talk to Jehovah’s witnesses and to burn their literature or to give it to the priest to burn. Some of the homes of Jehovah’s witnesses were stoned by Catholic youths egged on by the priests. The missionaries were expelled. The reason—telling the truths that Jesus spoke in his day.
After a few years the government changed, the Catholic church lost much of its hold and influence, not only with the government, but with the people. The Watchtower missionaries were allowed to return in 1960. Today there are thirty-five missionaries in the Dominican Republic and a fine Christian organization of 3,591, and the people are listening. In this little island of the Caribbean Jehovah’s witnesses suffered much, but the joy of returning and enlightening the people is worth it all. They entered the great contest for the faith and stayed with it. Jehovah blessed his witnesses, and today they are preaching the good news of God’s kingdom everywhere throughout the island.
Cuba, too, has an interesting history as a Catholic country. As far back as 1918 the good news of the kingdom of Jehovah God reached this country. The first congregation was organized in 1922, and there was a convention attended by 100 persons in Palma Soriano, Oriente. The preaching of the good news continued to make steady progress, and by 1944 it was possible to send some of the graduates of the Watchtower School of Gilead to Cuba. By the end of that year there were 1,260 Witnesses. The work grew steadily, and by 1959 there were 12,140 of Jehovah’s witnesses in the island, with twenty-two missionaries. Then came a change in government, and for a few years there were no particular difficulties. Finally, however, the importation of all literature was held up and local printing was stopped. But the work of giving the witness to God’s kingdom continued in private homes through the Bible study work. Pressures grew against the preaching of God’s kingdom, and many Kingdom Halls were closed and some burned, but still the ministry continued. There are many more of Jehovah’s witnesses in Cuba today than there were back in 1965 when the last report of their activity appeared in the Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses. At that time there were 18,078 regular workers. From 1959 to 1965 the number of Witnesses grew from 12,000 to 18,000. No matter what the handicaps in a land may be, a true, live Christian is going to preach and teach and keep a strong grip on life.
Cyprus is in the Mediterranean and was visited quite often by early Christians. Congregations were established there. The persecution of Christians that followed the martyrdom of Shephen and the subsequent dispersion resulted in some disciples’ going to Cyprus, where they witnessed to the resident Jews. Certain Cypriot Christians went to the city of Antioch, opposite Cyprus near the Syrian coast, and preached with much success among people who, like themselves, were Greek speaking. (Acts 11:19, 20) When Paul and Barnabas, accompanied by John Mark, were sent out from Antioch on their first missionary tour, their initial territory was in the home island of Barnabas, namely, Cyprus.
Today eight evangelizers from Gilead School have been sent to the island. Twelve congregations are established and 562 ministers of God’s kingdom speak peace to the inhabitants of a troubled land.
Here is a progress report for the islands of the Atlantic, Caribbean and Mediterranean over a span of thirty years.
ISLANDS OF THE ATLANTIC, MEDITERRANEAN AND CARIBBEAN
IN THE LANDS WHERE NUMBER OF JEHOVAH’S NUMBER OF GILEAD
YEAR WORK WAS DONE WITNESSES PREACHING GRADUATES
1940 6 803 —
1950 16 12,938 148
1960 43 25,508 187
1970 42 49,337 163
ON TO THE ISLANDS OF THE PACIFIC
The islands of the Pacific are numerous and Jehovah’s witnesses have not reached them all. Looking first at the Philippine Islands, we find this country made up of 7,100 islands extending 1,150 miles north and south and 682 miles east and west. Eleven of the islands comprise the bulk of the area. Only 462 islands have areas of more than one square mile. Going back to the year 1912, we find that Charles T. Russell visited Manila and delivered a public address in the Manila Opera House. The interest aroused by his lectures caused many persons to write the Watch Tower Society in America for literature for themselves and many of them, so convinced that what they heard was the truth, took up the distribution of the books to friends.
On December 7, 1941, war broke out in the Pacific. The Japanese invaded the Philippine Islands. The branch servant, an American citizen, was interned by the Japanese. The branch office was closed. Jehovah’s witnesses were hunted down. But many kept themselves free and continued to declare the good news of the Kingdom right straight through the war by preaching in small towns and in the mountains where many witnesses of Jehovah fled with the refugees. A good work was done.
In 1947 N. H. Knorr, president of the Watch Tower Society, visited the newly reestablished branch office and gave a public talk to 4,200 persons. In that year 2,902 ministers were engaging in house-to-house work. It was not long before many of the Society’s publications were published in the numerous languages of the Philippine Republic. Then many Filipino brothers were called to Gilead School. These were trained and sent back to the Philippine Islands to help in better organizing the preaching work. By 1960 there were 31,608 associated with Jehovah’s witnesses in preaching the good news, and in 1970 there were 54,789. They are established in 1,309 congregations.
The Fiji Islands of the South Pacific are well known, and travelers to the islands find Fijians to be a very interesting people. Some of Jehovah’s witnesses from Australia visited these islands in the “twenties” and it was not long before a healthy congregation was established. This small group of Christians did not pass unnoticed by the opposers of the Bible truth. Clergymen began denouncing the message. In 1932 the governor of the islands even jailed one of the Witnesses for being a Christian. Legislation was soon passed prohibiting the entry of Bible literature of the Watch Tower Society. Even books that had been shipped into the country were gathered up and burned. However, by January of 1941 the prohibition order against the importation of the Society’s literature was made even more stringent and severe penalties were imposed upon those found with literature in their possession.
After the end of the second world war the prohibition on literature was eased, and in 1945 the government proclamation was that literature approved by the government could be allowed in the country. Public meetings are now freely held. It proved to be a long, steady and persistent fight for the faith on the part of Jehovah’s witnesses in Fiji, but a good witness is being given, and November 9 to 12, 1969, an international assembly was held in Suva with 1,621 attending.
The people of the South Pacific have a love for righteousness and a love for life. They have a right to be given the opportunity to learn about life everlasting. Does your faith move you to offer your help? The following chart tells of the progress made by Jehovah’s witnesses in this area, which to many seems to be the most distant part of the earth.
ISLANDS OF THE PACIFIC
IN THE LANDS WHERE NUMBER OF JEHOVAH’S NUMBER OF GILEAD
YEAR WORK WAS DONE WITNESSES PREACHING GRADUATES
1940 4 3,819 —
1950 6 16,807 25
1960 17 52,671 82
1970 30 91,782 150
ON TO NORTH AMERICA
In the fifteenth century a “new world” was found, and in the centuries that followed, inhabitants of Europe journeyed westward. Many persons interested in freedom of religion fled to North America. They looked for a new land free from governments where the church and the state were lovers and together oppressed their subjects. Many new religious denominations were formed over the years and now the United States alone has over 270, most of them seeking freedom from the traditions of powerful religious leaders. In 1884 a small group of earnest Bible students incorporated what is now the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. It was chartered to disseminate Bible truth in various languages with emphasis on preaching the good news of God’s kingdom. The Watch Tower Society had a very small beginning, but it has grown in eighty-six years and now its associates are capable of giving the worldwide witness Jesus said should be given in these “last days.” Charles T. Russell, its first president, was a great preacher and a fighter for the true faith. He traveled the length and breadth of the United States and lectured in many countries around the world, declaring the second presence of Christ and God’s kingdom by Christ Jesus as man’s only hope for salvation. He also showed that the religious teachings of the orthodox clergy, Protestant, Catholic and Jewish, were based on traditions of men. He proved from the Bible that there is no hellfire and brimstone for human souls after death. In fact, it was often written that Russell took the fire out of hell. He proved from the Scriptures that man does not have a soul, but that he is a soul and that when man dies he goes into the common grave of mankind and there he remains until the resurrection of the dead to a paradise earth. He proved there is no trinity. What Pastor Russell did was revive Bible study, and he got people to put their faith in God and his written Word rather than the theories and fiction of men. This brought the wrath of the clergy down on his head and on the heads of all working with him. But Jehovah’s Christian witnesses are still here, still declaring the truths of the Bible.
During World War I, J. F. Rutherford, the second president of the Watch Tower Society, was put in prison in 1918 along with other prominent members of the Society because of his energetically preaching God’s kingdom as man’s only hope. The clergy were the instigators of that action, but by 1919-1920 through the Court of Appeals the charges against them of being seditious were all dropped and these faithful men were once more seen in public declaring to thousands the good news of God’s kingdom.
During the second world war Jehovah’s witnesses were again persecuted. Many were put in prison in the United States. Kingdom Halls were burned and many of Jehovah’s witnesses were chased out of cities and towns for going from house to house telling the people the message of the Bible. From 1939 to 1945 Jehovah’s witnesses went through some of their most difficult years. But, nevertheless, they fought a fine fight of faith. When the second world war began in 1939 there were 41,902 publishers of the Kingdom in the United States. But by 1946 there were 65,922 associated and now there are 388,920 Witnesses. Have you met some of them? Did you listen to what they had to say when they called at your door? They will continue to try to reach you in 1971, and as long as “this good news of the kingdom” has to be preached.
Canada has a similar story to tell. The Canadian government banned the work on July 4, 1940, when there were 6,813 of Jehovah’s witnesses in the country. The branch office in Toronto was closed. All of the literature was seized, but the Christian witnesses worked in their ministry with the Bible alone. Whatever publications they may have had in their own homes they also used. The ban against the Society was finally removed in Canada in 1944, and when the reports were received again from all the congregations many more were shown to be a part of the organization, for now 10,345 were associated. While underground for four years they put up a hard fight for the faith and they had success. The record shows they are working just as hard now and showing real faith. Canada now has 46,808 witnesses of Jehovah.
For a moment consider the increase in North America, for it speaks well of the house-to-house preaching and the conducting of home Bible studies. Maybe if you listen carefully to God’s Word you too will want to enter the great contest for the faith.
IN THE LANDS WHERE NUMBER OF JEHOVAH’S NUMBER OF GILEAD
YEAR WORK WAS DONE WITNESSES PREACHING GRADUATES
1940 7 65,577 —
1950 12 138,108 492
1960 12 319,560 858
1970 12 498,736 823
ON TO SOUTH AMERICA
South America, religiously speaking, has always been a stronghold of the Catholic church, but their citadel is crumbling. The education that the Catholic organization gave its people in the United States and Europe it failed to give its people in South America. Why did the Catholic church deliberately keep its people uneducated and illiterate for centuries? Hundreds of evangelizers from the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead learned the Spanish and Portuguese languages and then taught thousands of Catholics in Latin America to read and write so that they could put faith in God’s written Word, and they are doing so today. Practically the entire organization of Jehovah’s witnesses in South America is made up of former Catholics. They are now fighting the fine fight of the faith.
In 1945 there were 415 associated with Jehovah’s witnesses in Argentina. In 1947 when the first missionaries were sent there the work moved ahead very rapidly. Excellent progress was made even though the work was banned due to religious pressure in 1950. Then in 1955 there was a revolution in the country and, following that, Jehovah’s witnesses gained more freedom to preach from house to house. In the year 1970 there were 18,763 proclaiming the good news from house to house.
The Catholic people of Brazil are hungry for the truth from God’s Word. In 1923 there were only eight persons in that vast country that were preaching God’s kingdom as man’s only hope. The Society’s evangelizers were able to get into Brazil in 1945 and at that time the record shows there were 394 witnesses of Jehovah in the land. These few ministers moved out in all directions and continued to preach to Catholics, and they listened to what Jehovah’s witnesses had to say. What an ingathering in Brazil for lovers of truth! By 1960 there were 20,321 persons in the congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses. The organization has now grown to 64,199 in 1970, a great loss to the Catholic church. But now these many new ones are helping other Catholic people to establish their faith in God’s Word and to fight the fine fight of the faith. South America, too, could be called part of the distant parts of the earth. But let the following chart speak for itself as to the progress made because of sending witnesses of Christ that far.
IN THE LANDS WHERE NUMBER OF JEHOVAH’S NUMBER OF GILEAD
YEAR WORK WAS DONE WITNESSES PREACHING GRADUATES
1940 8 561 —
1950 13 7,630 205
1960 13 38,651 381
1970 13 119,260 501
WITNESSING AROUND THE WORLD IN 1970
Jesus said the field is the world. (Matt. 13:38) So Jehovah’s witnesses have the responsibility and are declaring the good news of the Kingdom around the world. It takes stalwart, faithful and determined men and women to keep at this work year after year. Paul wrote Timothy and said: “Pursue righteousness, godly devotion, faith, love, endurance, mildness of temper. Fight the fine fight of the faith, get a firm hold on the everlasting life for which you were called and you offered the fine public declaration in front of many witnesses.” (1 Tim 6:11, 12) That is good counsel, and Jehovah’s witnesses have “offered the fine public declaration in front of many witnesses.” Can it be proved that they did so in 1970? Let the worldwide report on the activity of Jehovah’s witnesses give the answer. Are these Christian witnesses today doing what Jesus said they should do, namely, be “witnesses of me . . . to the most distant part of the earth”? (Acts 1:8) First let it be noted that the reports show that Jehovah’s witnesses have been active in 206 lands, and this includes all the principal countries of the world. Secondly, no less than 1,483,430 persons engaged in this worldwide witness work during 1970 and they devoted 267,581,120 hours to talking about the Bible from house to house, and included in their message was the good news of God’s kingdom. But much more was done. Persons truly interested in the Bible were helped with free home Bible studies conducted by Jehovah’s Christian witnesses. Many of these were arranged for, and the annual report shows that 1,146,378 weekly home Bible studies were conducted. That means that the teacher is invited into the home and he sits down with the interested ones with Bible opened, and together they study some Bible subject every week for at least one hour for a six-month, or twenty-six-week, period. These Christian witnesses of Jehovah take the time to explain what the Bible has to say and to answer questions. What have the results been through this home Bible study method of preaching in 1970? They have been remarkable. There were 164,193 persons who left their former religious affiliation, changed their way of living, and took their stand on Jehovah’s side, dedicating their lives to the doing of Jehovah’s will. They became disciples of Jesus Christ and, of course, were baptized in water just as Jesus was. These 164,193 recently baptized witnesses of Jehovah are already preaching the good news of God’s kingdom world wide. They have come from all races, peoples and tongues, and they will meet with the Witnesses three times a week and learn more during the five Bible study sessions in 26,524 congregations in all parts of the world. Would you be interested in that kind of weekly program? If you are going to put up a fine fight for the faith you must get involved in Bible teaching work.
There is a great difference between those persons who belong to Christendom’s religions and Jehovah’s witnesses. Christendom requires little or nothing of their members except to make contributions to the church. At Christmas and Easter time much larger numbers than usual attend the church services. But as to one’s beliefs and moral habits, it does not matter. There is no dedication of people’s lives to the doing of God’s will, or walking in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. The church members of both Catholic and Protestant denominations, as well as their clergy, do not know anymore what Jesus meant when he said: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them . . . teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19, 20) This was no meaningless statement on the part of Christ Jesus. He meant that every follower of his should be a witness of him wherever he lives, and that many would go to the most distant part of the earth to preach and make disciples. That is how Jehovah’s witnesses feel about it. They take their commission seriously. That is why all of them must ‘fight the fine fight of the faith and get a firm hold on the everlasting life.’
Many men and women who are Jehovah’s witnesses feel the urgency of spending all their time in preaching the Kingdom good news, and 13,426 have been assigned to what is called the special pioneer work. That means they spend 150 hours or more every month in preaching the good news in territory where they are needed, and often where there is no congregation of Jehovah’s witnesses. In addition, there were, on the average, 1,295,911 congregation publishers who cannot spend all of their time in the ministry. They really do the greater part of the work in all parts of the earth, because they average anywhere from 10 to 20 hours a month in talking about the Bible’s message. After doing their secular work and home duties they use all the time they can in the preaching of the good news of God’s kingdom. Then there were 75,445 pioneers, who spend about 100 hours a month in this God-assigned work. This makes a grand total of 1,384,782 Witnesses on the average engaging in the ministry every month. This is marvelous, is it not? There are many more people interested in Jehovah’s witnesses and their activity, and they showed it by attending the Memorial of the death of Christ Jesus. This was celebrated on March 22, 1970, and the worldwide attendance was 3,226,168.
Readers of the Watchtower and Awake! magazines will be interested in knowing that during the past year Jehovah’s witnesses around the world obtained 2,464,196 new subscriptions for these magazines. In addition to that, they distributed 204,758,521 individual copies to interested persons who are not subscribers for these two fine publications.
The people with whom Jehovah’s witnesses place literature are entitled to have return visits so their questions can be answered if they have any. In this activity Jehovah’s witnesses made return visits during the year to the number of 121,226,605. The reason for all this activity is to build faith and help others to get a firm hold on the everlasting life. Over the years this is what has been done. (For details see the complete chart of activity on pages 36 to 43.)
IN THE LANDS WHERE NUMBER OF JEHOVAH’S NUMBER OF GILEAD
YEAR WORK WAS DONE WITNESSES PREACHING GRADUATES
1940 56 95,327 —
1950 115 373,430 1,086
1960 179 916,332 2,255
1970 206 1,483,430 2,561
The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society has numerous printing plants throughout the world, and all of them are staffed by Jehovah’s witnesses. The main plant is in Brooklyn, New York. They also have printing plants in Canada, England, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, South Africa and Australia, as well as smaller plants in other parts of the world. They also use outside printing plants in some parts of the world to get their literature printed for distribution.
Their total production in bound books for Bible study during the twelve months of the 1970 service year amounted to 29,138,291, booklets 13,965,784, Watchtower magazines 177,038,027, Awake! magazines 171,719,337. What a joy it has been for these Christians to print all this literature and help in its distribution! They feel like the apostle Paul, who said: “I am not ashamed of the good news; it is, in fact, God’s power for salvation to everyone having faith.” (Rom. 1:16, 17) Those who love righteousness today must turn to God’s Word and keep studying it. You cannot shrink back. Paul said: “‘But my righteous one will live by reason of faith,’ and, ‘if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.’ Now we are not the sort that shrink back to destruction, but the sort that have faith to the preserving alive of the soul.” (Heb. 10:38, 39) Paul knew that that kind of faith was going to be needed down through the centuries, and that kind of faith is needed now. This is no time to give up or even slow down. Remember what Habakkuk said: “For the vision is yet for the appointed time, and it keeps panting on to the end, and it will not tell a lie. Even if it should delay, keep in expectation of it; for it will without fail come true. It will not be late.”—Hab. 2:3.
Look back a minute. It was without fail that the prophecy concerning Judah’s destruction by Babylon came true, and it was without fail that Babylon itself was captured by the Medes and Persians. Without fail the children of Israel were delivered to their own homeland again. Without fail the one that the Jews rejected and had nailed to the torture stake, the Son of God, was raised from the dead by his Father, Jehovah. Peter was not hesitant in telling the Jews there in Solomon’s colonnade at the temple in Jerusalem that they killed the Chief Agent of life, but God raised him up from the dead, of which fact the disciples were witnesses. (Acts 3:15) Without fail the temple of Jerusalem and the city of Jerusalem were destroyed, just as Jesus said: “Truly I say to you, By no means will a stone be left here upon a stone and not be thrown down.” (Matt. 24:2) Did not all of these things come true? What Jehovah God said would happen in days gone by did happen. But how do you know unless you have studied God’s Word?
Did not Jesus give the full answer to the disciples when they asked him the question, “When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?” (Matt. 24:3) Have you read and do you now believe that the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew is having its greater fulfillment and that you are living in the “last days”? Do you believe that Christ Jesus has returned, and is present in his heavenly kingdom, having been seated upon his throne in the new heavens? (Acts 2:34, 35; Rev. 11:17) Do you not see that the conclusion of this system of things is very near its close? Do you still pray, and believe, that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven? Without fail will you continue to ‘fight the fine fight of the faith and get a firm hold on the everlasting life for which you were called and offered the fine public declaration in front of many witnesses’? Do you believe that the vision “will not tell a lie”? Do you have the faith that Habakkuk said we should have, namely, even if it should delay, keeping in expectation of it, for it will come true without fail? Recall, too, please, what Peter said: “However, let this one fact not be escaping your notice, . . . Jehovah is not slow respecting his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with you because he does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.”—2 Pet. 3:8, 9.
It takes faith to be a Christian, for Christians walk by faith not by sight. (2 Cor. 5:7) The Christian witnesses of Jehovah, no matter where they are, will continue preaching God’s kingdom because they will be fulfilling Jesus’ words: “You will be witnesses of me . . . to the most distant part of the earth.” At the same time each one has the opportunity to prove that he can “fight the fine fight of the faith, get a firm hold on the everlasting life,” and help thousands of other people to do the same thing.—1 Tim. 6:12.
This is a continuation of the report on the “Peace on Earth” International Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses of 1969. The service year of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society ends with the month of August, and in the 1970 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses we gave a thirty-two-page summary of that fine assembly held from July 6 to August 17 in the United States and Europe. Now it is a pleasure to give you a brief report on the twelve additional international assemblies beginning in Korea on October 12 and taking in all of the Far East and ending with the ten-city convention in Mexico from December 24 to 28, 1969.
During the months of July and August there were 840,572 persons who attended the assemblies, and from October 12 to December 28, 1969, there were another 235,594 persons who attended, bringing the grand total to 1,076,166 for the “Peace on Earth” International Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Another figure that is most interesting to Jehovah’s witnesses is the number being baptized. In the summer months of July and August there were 27,442 baptized. And from reports that you will read you will observe that 9,171 were baptized in the Far East, the islands of the Pacific and Mexico. That brought the grand total of persons baptized at the international assemblies in 1969 to 36,613. This in itself indicates how interested people are in the work of Jehovah’s witnesses. These assemblies brought great joy to Jehovah’s people in many lands of the Orient, the South Pacific and Middle America.
The identical program enjoyed by such vast throngs in North America and Europe in July and August of 1969, and which program was reported on in the 1970 Yearbook, now delighted many other record-breaking crowds. People of widely divergent backgrounds and traditions gladly heard the counsel to seek peace with Jehovah God in order to share in the peace on earth that he has promised to establish. Applicable to all of these audiences comprised of people of all nations and races was the excellent instruction given by discourses, dramas and demonstrations. Why so marvelously applicable? Because it was all drawn from a book that God caused to be written beginning early in human history, a book that calls upon all people to conform to one standard of living, and that book is the Holy Bible.
Though hampered by curfew conditions in this city of 4.8 million population, the assembly organization moved smoothly into the Changchoong Gymnasium, and everything was in readiness for opening day, October 12. How thrilling to see the attendance build up to a peak at the public lecture, when 14,644 crowded the auditorium—some 4,000 more than the total number of Witnesses in all of South Korea! Baptismal candidates to the number of 1,511 presented themselves in public witness of their decision to live their lives henceforth in accord with the requirements of the one God of peace.
Korean Witnesses delighted to see planeloads of Witnesses from other lands arriving to share with them in the good things of the assembly. They put on a special program in the English language for the benefit of the visitors, giving the history of the Witnesses and some of their experiences in Korea. Visitors learned, for example, that in 1914 there were only two Witnesses in all Korea. What a joy it was to see Jehovah’s blessings of increase and maturity in this typically Oriental land!
The Kingdom work has mushroomed in Japan. For this reason it became necessary to look for a more spacious site for the “Peace on Earth” Assembly. The Korakuen Cycling Stadium was engaged and the delegates wondered how their first large outdoor assembly in Japan would work out. Though it was windy and a typhoon had just bypassed Tokyo, things worked out well. Everyone was delighted to note that 12,614 filled the stadium during the public lecture. There were 798 candidates for immersion.
It is recalled that, when the Society’s president, N. H. Knorr, first visited Japan in 1951, he looked forward to the time when it would be hard to find a Watch Tower missionary among the throngs of Japanese Witnesses. That time has now come, for now you may find only one missionary among each 110 Japanese Witnesses. The local Witnesses are now carrying the greater part of the responsibility for the spread of the good news in their own land. Needless to say, the missionaries are all delighted about this, for it is evidence that Jehovah has blessed their efforts.
In Taipei the peak attendance reached 799 for the public lecture in the National Taiwan Arts Center. This indicates that not all of Taiwan’s 1,087 Witnesses had come. Sure enough, many of the Ami tribe, who have a culture and language quite different from the Chinese, stayed home, since they were to have the “Peace on Earth” program in their own language during December at an assembly to be held at the east coast. Even so, many of the Amis did turn up at Taipei just for the privilege of assembling with Witnesses of many nationalities, even if they understood very little of the program.
At this assembly there were twenty-seven candidates for baptism. Very great indeed were the changes these people had to make in their lives to become true Christians. Such things as ancestor worship, narrow nationalism, devotion to traditions, all had to give way to the Bible’s high standard of conduct and worship. Visitors from other lands were keenly interested in the trials and experiences of Taiwan’s missionaries and local Witnesses.
Even though Hong Kong has perhaps a denser population than you are likely to find elsewhere, it seems that everyone knows The Watchtower and Awake! Yes, though the few Witnesses here are like single ants on a huge anthill, it is marvelous to think they have been able to make an impression. At the “Peace on Earth” Assembly held in Hong Kong’s City Hall there was an attendance of 678 at the public lecture. When seventeen new Witnesses stood up and answered Yes to the questions usually propounded prior to baptism, it was a happy occasion for Hong Kong Witnesses, for that was more than had been baptized in the entire preceding year.
It took two large stadiums of the Rizal Memorial Athletic Complex, in Manila, as well as much extra space to accommodate the “Peace on Earth” Assembly there. To provide shade and shelter for the crowds, the entire one thousand feet of the bleachers were roofed over to a depth of forty feet. It was surely an eye-opener for the local population to see so many Witnesses and to hear that the public lecture of the assembly was attended by 64,715, even though there were not even 50,000 Witnesses in the whole land!
Demonstrating their appreciation, Witnesses from distant areas such as Mindanao and the Visayan Islands attended the assembly at great personal sacrifice. Several sold tracts of land, one sold his house, another his sheep, and still others sold their carabaos (water buffaloes, a necessity to machineless farmers)—just to be able to come and bring their families. Some even took leave of absence from secular work for a whole month, to allow for the travel time and to make sure they would be present for all sessions of the five-day assembly.
The fact that 1,835 new Witnesses were baptized at this assembly pointed up the astonishing progress of the preaching work by faithful worshipers of Jehovah in the Philippines. Back in 1933 there were but twenty-five Witnesses. In 1963 that figure had increased to 32,049, and in 1969, the year of the big convention, there were 49,257. No wonder there is no need of missionaries from other lands. Indeed, many are leaving to serve in other Oriental countries where their aid is urgently needed.
PORT MORESBY, PAPUA
Before the Manila assembly ended, another “Peace on Earth” Assembly was getting under way at Port Moresby, Papua. On this jungle-clad island, parts of which have never yet been explored, visiting delegates traveling with F. W. Franz, the Watch Tower Society’s vice-president, were in for a great surprise. Perhaps some expected to find largely illiterate, primitive peoples. But here is the reaction of one visitor from the West: “These brothers [the local Witnesses] have a good grasp of the [Bible] truth and are evidently applying it in their lives just like their [spiritual] brothers in other parts of the world. We were surprised and thrilled to see the forcefulness and conviction with which the local brothers gave their talks on the program.”
Fourteen miles out from Port Moresby local Witnesses built their own convention site, using bamboo poles and partitions made of plaited split bamboo, with palm leaves for roof coverings. People of many tribal groups, ordinarily hostile and at least unfriendly, met and mingled and lived in a warm, friendly atmosphere throughout the assembly days. Attendance at the public lecture was 1,116, and seventy candidates for baptism were immersed in a nearby river.
The Melbourne assembly got under way on October 26. The weather was cool and damp, but by contrast the Witness delegates were enthusiastic, overjoyed at the opportunity to assemble with fellow Witnesses from many parts of their own land as well as from many faraway countries. Of the 20,624 Witnesses cooperating with the Watch Tower Society’s branch office in Sydney, how many would come?
To the joy of all, the sessions of the assembly started with a throng of 25,000. A peak attendance came when 26,072 heard and saw the Bible drama “Show Respect for Jehovah’s Appointments.” And, despite adverse weather, 25,837 came in the rain to hear the public lecture. The baptism was conducted at the well-known Olympic Pool. In 1963, just six years before, 359 persons symbolized their dedication of their lives to God at this location. Now, in 1969, 1,315 new ministers walked confidently down the steps of the pool into the water.
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
November 4, 1969, saw the opening of the “Peace on Earth” Assembly at Auckland’s $2,000,000 Alexandra Park Raceway. As if drawn by a huge magnet, cars, colorful with bumper and window signs, were attracted in their hundreds to the site. Buses from distant towns and cities rolled in with their loads of delegates. That first afternoon there were already 7,115 present, including some 900 overseas delegates. That was already 1,000 more than the peak attendance at 1963’s assembly.
An exciting sidelight to the program was the introduction of ten missionaries who had come back to their homeland and relatives briefly from such widely separated places as Hong Kong, Venezuela, Singapore, Ceylon and India. Many New Zealanders got to meet them for the first time, since a number of them have been away for so long.
The public lecture, “The Road Back to Peace in Paradise,” presented by Watch Tower president N. H. Knorr, was heard by a peak attendance of 8,400. This indicated that at least 2,000 newly interested ones from Auckland itself were present. In all, 421 persons were baptized, the largest baptism of any religious group in New Zealand. Immersion views were flashed across the country by TV.
In the double-storied New Town Hall in Suva those attending the “Peace on Earth” Assembly were congregated in two auditoriums, one having the main platform, and the other connected by closed-circuit television. From many islands of the Pacific they had come, and to their delight they met fellow Witnesses from Europe and America who had also come to share their assembly.
At the widely advertised main lecture, given by Watch Tower Society president N. H. Knorr, 1,621 eagerly listened to the Bible’s grand promise of worldwide peace by God’s kingdom. And the seventy-seven who were baptized here represented more than had ever been baptized in Fiji during any entire service year.
Meantime, at Papeete, another “Peace on Earth” Assembly was in session, this one presenting the program mainly in French and Tahitian. Across great distances by boat or plane the delegates came, along with the Society’s vice-president, F. W. Franz, eager to assemble and incite one another to greater efforts in the spread of the Bible’s good news. This was the first time that an international assembly of the Witnesses had ever been held on this sunlit, well-flowered island of peace.
Local Witnesses in Tahiti numbered only 132. However, the public-meeting attendance at this assembly came to 488, among whom were many interested local people as well as delegates from abroad and from other islands, some as much as many hundreds of miles away. It was most encouraging, too, to see twenty-nine new Witnesses signify their dedication of their lives to God by water baptism.
Palm trees swaying in tropical Honolulu. Does not that suggest the appropriate site for a “Peace on Earth” Assembly? Yes, and the more than 9,000 delegates who filled the International Center on opening day, November 11, will heartily agree. Imagine the joy of everyone, though, when a total of 15,443 persons turned out to hear the main lecture of the six-day assembly! Some 7,000 delegates had arrived by air and received the traditional Hawaiian welcome.
Thrilling, too, was that beach scene as 314 persons of various races and countries submitted to water baptism in token of their dedication to serve the God of peace, Jehovah. Above all, there was great joy over the fact that Hawaii’s population had been given the greatest witness yet, to the honor of Jehovah’s name.
MEXICO’S TEN ASSEMBLIES
Mexican Witnesses and newly interested persons did not have to travel quite so far to attend a “Peace on Earth” Assembly, for at ten different cities strategically located, the same program was presented simultaneously toward the close of December. From remote parts of the country, from the coastlands and the mountains, the delegates streamed. Why, in Mexico City alone there was a peak attendance of 28,580, while a total of 89,239 persons heard the same public lecture at all ten locations.
The assembly at Mexico City was particularly international. Twenty-eight countries were represented by delegates, some from as far away as Israel, Australia and New Zealand. The entire program was presented in Spanish, while special English-language sessions were available for those who knew no Spanish. How heartwarming, too, to see 1,037 persons stand up and answer the questions that would determine their eligibility for baptism. Indeed, at all ten assemblies, a total of 2,757 were immersed.
Those assemblies throughout Mexico proved to be a marvelous event in the lives of our fellow Witnesses in that land. To visitors from other lands it was an unforgettable experience, for they met a multitude of pleasant, humble, devoted servants of Jehovah who are worshiping him acceptably despite lack of advanced education and in the face of many difficulties due to the economic conditions.
The “Peace on Earth” International Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses, held world wide, proved to be one of the most outstanding gatherings of God’s people, and this assembly certainly shows the unity and peace that reigns among Jehovah’s witnesses from one end of the earth to the other. Here is a tabulation of the assemblies held during October, November and December of 1969, along with the total for the July and August assemblies of 1969.
ASSEMBLY SITE DATE PUBLIC MEETING ATTENDANCE BAPTIZED
Korea Oct. 12-16 14,644 1,511
Japan ʺ 14-19 12,614 798
Taiwan ʺ 18-21 799 27
Hong Kong ʺ 18-21 678 17
Philippines ʺ 22-26 64,715 1,835
Papua ʺ 24-27 1,116 70
Australia ʺ 26-31 25,837 1,315
New Zealand Nov. 4-9 8,400 421
Fiji ʺ 9-12 1,621 77
Tahiti ʺ 9-12 488 29
Hawaii ʺ 11-16 15,443 314
Mexico Dec. 24-28 89,239 2,757
Total 235,594 9,171
13 ASSEMBLY CITIES, JULY, AUGUST 840,572 27,442
GRAND TOTAL 24 CITIES WORLD WIDE 1,076,166 36,613
“MEN OF GOODWILL” DISTRICT ASSEMBLY OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES
An excellent series of four-day assemblies of Jehovah’s witnesses was also held in the summer of 1970, and the theme of the convention was struck in the keynote speech entitled “Taking Final Advantage of the ‘Year of Goodwill.’” The modern-day work of Jehovah’s witnesses began one hundred years ago in the year 1870, and the divine direction upon the work of Jehovah’s witnesses was brought to the attention of the conventioners on the very first day of the assembly. What a joy it is to know that this work of enlightening the people as to the truth of God’s Word has made such marvelous progress! The work had a very small beginning in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the year 1870, and now from the report in this Yearbook you can see what wonderful progress has been made in one hundred years. As was pointed out in one of the principal talks, “We Worship What We Know,” Jehovah’s witnesses certainly have proof from God’s written Word as to what they believe and they do not base their teachings on the traditions of men, nor on fables or imaginary theories handed down over generations of time. We have the sure word of prophecy and, believing the Bible, as Jehovah’s witnesses do, from the first book of the Bible, Genesis, to the last, called Revelation, we have good proof for what we tell the people. Jehovah’s witnesses can truthfully say: “We worship what we know.”
Of course, Jehovah’s witnesses are very much interested in people of all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues, and the conventions were held throughout all the world in all countries where Jehovah’s witnesses are. As the public address for these conventions indicated, we are very much interested in “Saving the Human Race—in the Kingdom Way.” What a joy it is to be associated with dedicated people who have spent millions upon millions of hours calling upon their neighbors and friends, and even going on to the ends of the earth to inform people about God’s kingdom, which is the only hope for mankind. Spiritually, the “Men of Goodwill” Assembly was most upbuilding. It was so filled with practical information that every person who attended, listened and observed could apply something to his very own life so as to be a better Christian and better servant of the Most High God Jehovah.
Conventions are one thing that Jehovah’s witnesses truly enjoy. All of them everywhere look to the summer months of each year, knowing that they will have the opportunity to attend a large gathering of Jehovah’s people. They know that the Society always prepares a special program, which will be upbuilding and spiritually enlightening. All of the international, national and district assemblies of Jehovah’s witnesses bring together more closely the individuals of this worldwide organization, which today is giving a witness to people in all nations of the earth. Jehovah’s witnesses know that the good news of God’s kingdom must be preached in all the world for a witness to all the nations, and then “the end” will come.
Jehovah’s witnesses are very much interested in education. That is why practically every one of them sometime during the year tries to attend an assembly. There is something, though, that all of them must do in order to keep spiritually strong and that is attend the congregational meetings of God’s people in their own vicinity. Around the world there are 26,524 such congregations. In every one of these congregations there is a Theocratic Ministry School. Textbooks have been prepared by the Society for the students’ use. Primarily the school is designed to help people learn how to express themselves to others. Each one in the school stands before his fellow ministers and gives discourses of anywhere from six to fifteen minutes, according to the assignment each receives. The talks given by the students each week are based on the Bible, on the sayings of Jehovah God as set forth in the Holy Scriptures. It should be that way, for the wise man wrote: “My son, if you will receive my sayings and treasure up my own commandments with yourself, so as to pay attention to wisdom with your ear, that you may incline your heart to discernment; if, moreover, you call out for understanding itself and you give forth your voice for discernment itself, if you keep seeking for it as for silver, and as for hid treasures you keep searching for it, in that case you will understand the fear of Jehovah, and you will find the very knowledge of God.”—Prov. 2:1-5.
Jehovah’s witnesses who are commissioned to declare “this good news of the kingdom” world wide certainly want to use good language and also have accurate knowledge of what Jehovah God wants said. They want to have a fine understanding of what the written Word of God says so that they can use it wisely in their ministry. They feel like Jesus when he spoke, for he said: “What I teach is not mine, but belongs to him that sent me. If anyone desires to do His will, he will know concerning the teaching whether it is from God or I speak of my own originality.” (John 7:16, 17) One who reads and studies the Bible and then preaches what it teaches certainly is not going to think up ideas of his own originality, but he is going to tell others what his teacher has taught him, and Jehovah God is the teacher of Jehovah’s witnesses because they use his Book, the Bible.
THEOCRATIC MINISTRY SCHOOL
The school is in operation one hour each week in every congregation of Jehovah’s witnesses. All who are enrolled in the school are given the opportunity to speak from time to time and to get counsel on their speaking. They all speak on different subjects. They certainly have the best book in the world to work from, that is, the Bible.
The message that Jehovah’s witnesses are to declare to the ends of the earth is found in the Bible. So the more they rehearse the sayings of Jehovah God and present them logically to their hearers the better equipped the will be as Jehovah’s witnesses. They very much appreciate what the wise man said: “My son, my law do not forget, and my commandments may your heart observe, because length of days and years of life and peace will be added to you.” (Prov. 3:1, 2) “Happy is the man that has found wisdom, and the man that gets discernment, for having it as gain is better than having silver as gain and having it as produce than gold itself”—Prov. 3:13, 14.
The first speaker in the Ministry School gives a fifteen-minute talk on a special subject that is assigned well in advance. This is very informative material for all in attendance. After that, four more talks, running from six to seven minutes, are given by different individuals in the school, and counsel is offered to the speaker by the Theocratic Ministry School servant.
If any of you have not enrolled in the Theocratic Ministry School, it would be well for you to do so. The education that one receives is remarkable. Remember, “a wise person will listen and take in more instruction, and a man of understanding is the one who acquires skillful direction.”—Prov. 1:5.
KINGDOM MINISTRY SCHOOL
While the overseers in a congregation are enrolled in the Theocratic Ministry School, the Society has arranged for another school in all parts of the world where the overseer and two of his assistants can get very beneficial instruction in dealing with the congregation. Paul in writing to Timothy said: “If any man is reaching out for an office of overseer, he is desirous of a fine work. The overseer should therefore be irreprehensible, a husband of one wife, moderate in habits, sound in mind, orderly, hospitable, qualified to teach.” (1 Tim. 3:1, 2) Zealous men in the congregation, having the spirit of God, should be given the opportunity to receive mature instruction. Of all people in a congregation the overseer should recognize that “there is a river the streams of which make the city of God rejoice.” (Ps. 46:4) There is no question about it, the flow of spiritual water of life has been steady and abundant. The congregation servant, the assistant congregation servant and the Bible study servant are all helped to appreciate the value of the Word of God by being given the opportunity to attend the Kingdom Ministry School.
In some countries where the branch offices are large the Society arranges for the Kingdom Ministry School to be conducted in the branch itself, such as in Toronto, Canada, London, England, Wiesbaden, Germany, etc. It has proved to be a rich blessing when the overseers in the congregations have attended the Kingdom Ministry School and then have returned to the congregation to give of what they have learned.
In practically all countries in the world the opportunity has been given to the congregation servants, assistant congregation servants and Bible study servants to attend the Kingdom Ministry School. In the United States we have so many congregations that we have not been able to call all three of these individuals from each congregation to the Kingdom Ministry School as yet.
Beginning January 3, 1971, the Watch Tower Society in the United States will be operating four schools with twenty-five students in each. The school will continue in operation at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Another will start in Brooklyn at the headquarters of the Society. Yet another will be established at the Jehovah’s Witnesses Assembly Hall in Chicago, and a fourth one at the Jehovah’s Witnesses Assembly Hall in Norco, California. These four schools should be sufficient to give the servants in the United States the information needed in the next few years. There will be 200 servants each month receiving training.
Because of the size of the United States it will make it much more convenient for servants in the various parts of the country to get to and from the school nearest to them.
Many interesting letters are received from students who have gone through this schooling, such as the ones following:
“I have taken many courses in methods of teaching, since I have been a high school teacher for nine years. The methods that were used by the instructors at the Kingdom Ministry School far exceed those practiced by many college and university professors. In fact, my methods fall short of those used at the Kingdom Ministry School. The two weeks as a student were more beneficial than all the years that I spent receiving a degree in worldly knowledge. Truly, the only answer as to why the program is such a success can be found in John 6:45: “They will all be taught by Jehovah.’”
Another writes: “I want to send along a note of appreciation for the privilege of attending the school. I have successfully, each day since, made use of the Bethel arrangement in the discussion of the day’s text in the morning with my family. We have four children, and the two older ones prepare as we did at school. They cannot help but gain from this, as already they have learned from their own research, information they heretofore did not understand.”
So it goes with letters of appreciation from all parts of the world. Those who have the opportunity of attending the Kingdom Ministry School are delighted and blessed. The school has proved to be a real asset to the overseers and their assistants world wide.
WATCHTOWER BIBLE SCHOOL OF GILEAD
The Bible book of Acts reports that, in the early Christian congregation, shortly after the persecution by Saul of Tarsus was ended by his conversion, “the congregation throughout the whole of Judea and Galilee and Samaria entered into a period of peace, being built up; and as it walked in the fear of Jehovah and in the comfort of the holy spirit it kept on multiplying.” (Acts 9:31) Conditions of peace are the most favorable for building up and strengthening Jehovah’s congregation. Since the opening of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead in 1943, and especially since the close of World War II, Jehovah’s people have had relatively peaceful times. The establishment of Gilead School has made it possible to take advantage of this time to bring persons in from nearly all parts of the earth to receive intensive, advance training. This has resulted in great upbuilding and strengthening for the congregations world wide and has expanded the preaching of the good news into the farthest corners of the earth. It has resulted in a great blessing to hundreds of thousands of persons.
To date, 4,917 students have graduated from the school, and today more than half of these are in missionary service or other full-time Christian work in the world “field.”
Graduation of the forty-eighth class of Gilead took place on March 8, 1970, at the Assembly Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in New York city. The class was of limited size, only fifty-four comprising the student body. This was because the increased demand for literature all over the world necessitated enlarging the Bethel family. In order to provide rooming accommodations for these new Bethel family members, some of the school’s facilities and student rooming area were used. The emergency situation resulted with profit to the class, however, for many of them were brought in early and were able to spend some time at the Society’s Watchtower Farm, where they assisted in canning and other work there. Thus they became “acclimated” to the Bethel schedule and at the same time assisted in providing food supplies for the family in Brooklyn. Their help for a few months was much appreciated. Though the student body was small, only about half the usual number, nevertheless it represented twenty-two lands and was assigned, in turn, to twenty-four countries.
At the graduation exercises the assembly hall was filled with more than two thousand spectators. Brother Knorr spoke on “The Way,” the way made even more clear by Jesus Christ. He pointed out that this way of the truth is a way of life and therefore covers all of life’s facets. To represent Jehovah acceptably a person must watch his teaching, his activity, his conduct. And this must be done in the field ministry, in one’s home, with brothers and persons on the outside. It is a way of full-time devotion. Brother Franz’s talk emphasized the imminent danger to persons in Babylon the Great, which makes the missionary work more urgent than ever before.
The Gilead School is very appreciative of the fine helps recently provided by the Society, especially the Kingdom Interlinear Translation, Aid to Bible Understanding and “Then Is Finished the Mystery of God.” We have had opportunity to use these now for a year, and they have made the courses more satisfying and profitable, also saving much time that would otherwise be spent in library research.
The curriculum for the five-month (twenty-week) term has been designed to equip the students for the missionary field. All except the foreign-language courses are Bible based. The daily lectures, given by instructors or older members of the Bethel family, provide advanced Bible understanding and instruction for life as a missionary. The extracurricular assignments in the Bethel home, offices or factory, in which the students engage for three and a half hours a day, augment the instruction with application. The association with New York City congregations keeps the students in touch with the field work, maintaining a practical balance and avoiding the theoretical viewpoint.
Many who have the goal of missionary work have asked about the subjects taught at Gilead School. A brief outline of the courses may help these inquirers. The courses are:
Hebrew and Greek Scriptures: A verse-by-verse discussion, considering the purpose and objective of each Bible book and its meaning and application to those to whom the writings were addressed in ancient times as well as to the modern-day Christian congregation. Documented reports are presented by students assigned to certain Bible chapters, enabling the entire class to note explanations and references on the pages of their Bibles. The Watchtower and other Society publications are the chief reference sources. During the study of the books of Exodus through Deuteronomy there is a classroom presentation of legal cases based on the Mosaic law, with some students acting as litigants and others as judges of the cases. This course covering the Bible runs through the entire five months of the school term.
Doctrines: A course occupying one quarter (five weeks) of the term. This consists of a study of some of the basic Bible doctrines. The book “Things in Which It Is Impossible for God to Lie” is extensively used, as it covers the basic Bible teachings. This book is supplemented by Life Everlasting—in Freedom of the Sons of God, “Then Is Finished the Mystery of God,” “Babylon the Great Has Fallen!” God’s Kingdom Rules! and The Watchtower, to which the students are referred for research. Various methods are employed, including reports by the students, open discussion, panel presentations, and so forth.
Foundations of Bible History: A five-week course entailing a study of the history of mankind as outlined in the Bible, with special reference to the nation of Israel and the Christian congregation. Also, considerable attention is given to the ancient nations surrounding Israel and the development of the world powers of Bible history and prophecy. In this course the book Aid to Bible Understanding supplies much material.
Ministerial Activities (five weeks) considers the history of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and the modern witnesses of Jehovah. The activity of Jehovah’s witnesses as ministers under the Society’s direction is discussed and demonstrated.
Language: Languages are taught according to the need, that is, according to the countries to which the missionaries are to be sent. The language course runs through the entire twenty weeks of the term. During the forty-eighth class three separate groups were taught Spanish, French and Korean. One group, scheduled to return to their own countries for missionary work in untouched territories, was taught a special course in “World History,” which was an expanded course that supplemented “Foundations of Bible History.” The forty-ninth class is studying Spanish, French and Portuguese.
The student body of the forty-ninth class was able to attend the “Men of Goodwill” District Assembly at Jersey City, New Jersey, July 9-12. Some of the students studying French were privileged also to share in the program at the French convention at the same location later in July. At the time of this writing the students are anxiously preparing for the final examinations and for the graduation, which will be held on September 13. This class of seventy students came to Gilead from six countries; they are assigned to nineteen.
The reports from all over the earth revealing the marvelous expansion and ingathering taking place, which is reflected in the phenomenal growth of the Bethel family, have infused into the students a spirit of enthusiasm and eagerness to get quickly into their missionary assignments, to become conversant with the language and to share in aiding many more to flee from Babylon the Great before the “great tribulation” begins upon her.
Truly there is much work to be done in a short time, and we look forward to training more zealous pioneers in the school, praying that Jehovah will keep open the door to activity, and that the rulers will adopt a reasonable attitude toward our work “in order that we may go on leading a calm and quiet life with full godly devotion and seriousness.” Then, when the great tribulation breaks, we will rejoice with the many thousands whom God has seen fit to bring into his place of safety, and to stand firm, with full expectation that he will uphold his people in their integrity.—1 Tim. 2:1, 2; Prov. 10:28, 29.
The principal offices of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania and the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., are located at 124 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, New York. The board of directors of both of these corporations live at the Bethel home along with the Bethel family.
The Bethel family is a very interesting family. It is made up of people of many languages, races and nationalities. The Society has built or rented homes, which we call Bethel homes, in the ninety-three branch locations throughout the earth. During the past year the Watch Tower Society built some new Bethel homes.
One such has been built in Santiago, Chile. Another function of the homes in some branches is to provide accommodations for missionaries, such as the one in Santiago. We have also built into the structure a fine Kingdom Hall.
Another new structure that was completed during the past year is in Thun, Switzerland. There we built a very large building, which houses not only the Bethel family of Switzerland, but the offices and a large printing plant. Included also is a Kingdom Hall, which serves as the meeting place for the local congregation of Jehovah’s witnesses.
The branch office in Mexico City is very crowded, and last December the president of the Watch Tower Society had the opportunity to dedicate a large building that La Torre del Vigia of Mexico erected, and which they use for an Assembly Hall and also for the storage of literature. They have put in some living quarters on the second floor, as well as a Kingdom Hall for the local congregation of Jehovah’s witnesses in that area. We are very happy that we could help Jehovah’s witnesses in Mexico in building this structure.
Year by year there are new buildings being erected world wide which serve to help in the advancement of the work of Jehovah’s witnesses, namely, the preaching of the good news of God’s kingdom.
The biggest expansion in the way of structures has taken place in Brooklyn, New York, at the headquarters of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.
In the fall of 1969 strong evidence of Jehovah’s direction upon his organization was realized when the Squibb buildings became available. This complex of ten buildings comprises a total of 632,000 square feet of floor space and provided the immediate urgent relief needed. They are conveniently located between our present factory and the Bethel home, just two blocks north of 124 Columbia Heights. Within days after the purchase of the buildings they began to be used for much-needed storage of raw materials for the operation of the Society’s publishing plant. Presently several floors are being used to store paper rolls and other raw materials totaling 5,000 tons. Having a railroad siding right into the main building provides an ideal arrangement for receiving carloads of paper. Furthermore, the three bottom floors of the main building, comprising 80,000 square feet, are being prepared for moving all of our shipping department, both domestic and export, from the present location in our publishing plant to these three floors in the principal Squibb building. This will release much-needed space in the Adams Street factory for the manufacture of books and magazines.
However, in addition to manufacturing and storage area, we require space for living quarters. Hence, two buildings of the Squibb complex are presently under alteration to adapt them to residential use, thus providing living accommodations for 148 members of the Brooklyn headquarters family.
Since the west side of the Squibb buildings face the East River toward lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge, it provides a most effective location for large signs. Among the signs is a large one with letters 6 to 8 feet high painted on the upper tower of one of the buildings and which reads “The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom.” On top of another one of the buildings is a large fifteen-foot-high neon, illuminated sign reading “Watchtower,” and it is visible over all of lower Manhattan’s Wall Street area. Complementing these signs is another most interesting one eight feet high by eighty feet long consisting of flashing electric light bulbs. This electric word-writing sign came with the building when we bought it. So we are putting it to use and can program the sign to rotate with a series of ten different slogans, each slogan changing every eight seconds. With this electrical light-bulb arrangement, the sign is clearly visible across the East River to lower Manhattan. Many of the brothers have commented how thrilling it is, when driving along the six-lane-wide Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive in Manhattan, to look across the East River and see these large illuminated electrical signs reading “Watchtower” and then underneath it different slogans, such as “Who Is God?” followed eight seconds later with the sign reading “Jehovah Is God.” These ten slogans run for a month. Then ten new ones are programmed. This provides an excellent opportunity to keep before thousands of people each day words of instruction and encouragement regarding Jehovah’s Word.
One can appreciate why we need all of this additional space when one realizes that the Bethel family has grown very rapidly. By the end of the service year of 1969, in Brooklyn, New York, there were 1,124 regular members of the family. Now, a year later, the average was 1,191, an increase of 67 workers at headquarters. Ten years ago there were 571 members in the family. The Bethel family has doubled since that time.
There are many other brothers who go to make up the family in New York. The Society operates three farms that keep the Bethel family supplied with food. We have 80 regular workers there, and during the year there were four temporary workers helping out.
Additionally, we have been doing a lot of reconstruction work in preparing the new buildings that were purchased on Columbia Heights, and in order to do this, 90 additional construction workers, along with their wives, have been brought in.
We are also building a new printing plant and Bethel home at Watchtower Farm, one hundred miles northwest of New York city and there we have another 84 temporary workers employed. So we can say that at the end of the year there were 1,449 members of the Bethel family serving in connection with the Brooklyn office. We also had 70 students of Gilead School with us, bringing the final total to 1,519.
In order to accommodate these people the Society had to lease three floors of the nearby Towers Hotel. This hotel is one block away from the Bethel home. During the months of September and October the Society thoroughly cleaned and painted all the rooms that were leased and we equipped the hotel rooms just as we fix up the rooms of the Bethel home. Approximately 250 brothers and sisters have been assigned to live there for the next two years. In the meantime we are working diligently, with the help of those brothers who have volunteered to do construction work, to remodel the buildings that we have purchased on the Heights. This is going along at a good pace. When all of this remodeling work is finished, which will take another year or more, we hope to move our brothers and sisters out of the Towers Hotel into permanent quarters, which are new additions to the Brooklyn Bethel home.
The new printing plant, 200 feet by 300 feet, now under construction at Watchtower Farm, should be completed around March 1, 1971, and shortly thereafter we expect to receive presses from the M.A.N. manufacturers in Germany. When these are installed we will begin operating this new printing plant. At the time of opening up this printing operation about sixty-five members of the Bethel family will be transferred from Bethel to Watchtower Farm, where the printing of some of the English-language magazines will be done. The magazines will be mailed from there to various parts of the United States.
There is another planned expansion going on too. The Society has in the designing stage a new large five-story Bethel home. This is to be built at Watchtower Farm. It will house about 350 people and will have a dining room and kitchen large enough to take care of more than 500 persons. It is hoped that in the spring of 1971 we will begin building this new Bethel home at Watchtower Farm, a building that will be approximately 250 feet long and 165 feet deep. When this building is finished and equipped, if it be Jehovah’s will, we will enlarge the new factory that we are now constructing by building a three-story addition right next to this new factory in an area covering about two more acres of land.
At the rate that people are now associating with Jehovah’s witnesses and dedicating their lives and being baptized, it takes far more printed material to supply their needs, not only for their personal study, but also for the work of witnessing to others about God’s kingdom, which work they are carrying on world wide. When one has in mind that in just the past two years more than 280,000 persons have dedicated their lives to do the will of God and have now become publishers of the good news of the Kingdom, one can appreciate that the expansion work must go on at great speed. With the help of Jehovah God we hope to keep up with the demand in supplying Bibles and Bible-study helps such as bound books, booklets, Watchtower and Awake! magazines, and other things that are needed to carry on this great ministry that we must do in these “last days.”
All of this vast expansion work has made us very happy here at Bethel, and we rejoice that Jehovah has given us the privilege of building more buildings and remodeling some of those that we have so that we can do our work more efficiently and be able to fill all the orders for literature that the congregations and branch offices send to Brooklyn each month.
We do not know how long this good news of the Kingdom has to be preached, but we know one thing: it must be done until the end comes, and we hope that we will be the busiest people on earth, preaching, teaching and printing things that will be needed to aid persons to flee from Babylon the Great, right up to the end of our witnessing work.
On behalf of the Society I would like to express appreciation to all the brothers and sisters who have made these projects possible because of their contributions. And we are grateful to all who have volunteered to come to Bethel to assist us, using their respective trades, like carpentry, plumbing, electrical wiring and masonry, and all other trades, in getting done the work that has to be done. They have done a wonderful work, and how grand it is to have our brothers doing the building work rather than to let it out to contractors who cannot find employees who are willing to work all day long. Men of the world today want to work only five or six hours each day, but we here at Bethel have the privilege of working about eight hours and forty-five minutes a day, and then we spend our evenings making back-calls, going on Bible studies and attending meetings. It is a busy schedule, but Jehovah is our strength and the Bethel family enjoy it.
The year’s report shows that, world wide, the total number of members of the Bethel family comes to 2,304.
PUBLISHING ACTIVITY AT BROOKLYN
This has been our very best year in producing literature in many languages at the Brooklyn printing plant. There are a number of reasons for this. First of all, we printed more Watchtower magazines than ever before and more Awake! magazines. We printed more Bibles and bound books. We could do this because we had more members in our Bethel family and we had more new machinery and larger facilities. In a few words, we expanded and we are still growing.
It has been an exciting year for all of us in the Bethel family. So much has happened in just twelve months. The reason so much has happened really is because of you—the work you did in the field as Jehovah’s witnesses. You have been working diligently in gathering together tens of thousands of the “other sheep,” and these in turn have gone from house to house, and within the last two years we can easily see that there are more than 280,000 publishers who have associated themselves with Jehovah’s witnesses. This has had a telling effect on the printing work not only in Brooklyn, but also in Germany, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland and South Africa, as well as other printing plants.
Let us check on a few things that happened in the Brooklyn printing plant. During the 1970 service year it was necessary for us to print in Brooklyn 109,903,090 Watchtower magazines and also 102,607,800 Awake! magazines. Magazines printed equaled 212,510,890 when combined, an increase of 15,784,650 over the total of a year ago. Every week in the year the Brooklyn printing plant publishes more than four million magazines, and that keeps twelve of our twenty-nine high-speed presses busy all the time.
A number of readers of the Watchtower magazine noticed that on January 1, 1970, we changed the quality of the paper used in The Watchtower. This was advisable in order to compensate for the increased cost of mailing and shipping the Society’s magazines. By printing on a less costly paper we are still able to offer the magazines world wide at $1.00 for a year’s subscription. The change in paper did not affect the distribution of the magazines at all, as can be seen by the tremendous increase in the number of Watchtower and Awake! magazines printed.
The world report on the printing of the magazines has reached a new all-time peak of 177,038,027 copies of The Watchtower and 171,719,337 of Awake! The grand total of magazines printed in all printing plants during the 1970 service year was 348,757,364.
In the Brooklyn printing plant, where we put out seventy different magazines a month, we also print Bibles and Bible textbooks. It was necessary to enlarge the bindery as well as to install new presses during the past year. We now have ten lines of bindery equipment that can produce completed books. Our production has been built up to 100,000 bound books per day, including Bibles. We do this in the working day of about eight and three-quarters hours. This has been our best year in the production of bound volumes. We were able to get out 26,232,766, an increase of 9.1 percent over the previous year. This required a lot of extra time, and it became necessary for us to operate an extra shift, from 5:45 p.m. until 3 a.m., for quite a few months. There were over 60,000 man-hours spent by the brothers working on the extra shift.
The book The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life seems to be moving just as fast now as when it was first released in 1968. The edition now on the presses is marked 32 million, and we have printed this book in 51 different languages. This publication has helped many to get a clear understanding of the truth, and then these people have read other publications of the Society, such as The Watchtower and Awake!, and they have dedicated their lives to serve God. With all of these more than 160,000 new publishers in just this last year helping us in the distribution of literature it certainly has kept the printing plants throughout the earth humming.
To give you an idea of what was done in the Brooklyn printing plant we set out herewith the following chart.
BROOKLYN FACTORY PRODUCTION REPORT
1968 1969 1970
Bibles 1,004,598 1,819,023 2,061,533
Books 11,126,398 22,219,508 24,171,233
Booklets 17,170,289 11,059,434 12,095,140
The Watchtower 88,074,200 100,275,490 109,903,090
Awake! 81,075,150 96,450,750 102,607,800
Convention Reports — 2,591,000 —
Total 198,450,635 234,415,205 250,838,796
Advertising leaflets 120,583,807 102,287,901 110,141,015
Calendars 677,693 838,842 972,218
Miscellaneous printing 95,301,797 146,853,747 150,365,063
Tracts 18,331,800 18,343,650 20,681,010
Total misc. printing 234,895,097 268,324,140 282,159,306
The 1970 report is truly marvelous. All of the previous years have been just as exciting, but, of course, we have increased the force and we have increased our space and machinery. As all of you readers compare the production report for 1968 with 1969 and 1970 you will conclude, as the Society has, that more building should be done.
We keep our 29 high-speed web rotary presses busy, some of them day and night, as well as our 22 flatbed presses. During the year we used 17,156 tons of paper; this was an increase of 1,356 tons over the previous year. Additionally, so as to keep the cost of literature down, we manufactured 450,539 pounds of glues and adhesives, as well as our own printing inks totaling 200 tons for the year. Of course, we have a very fine large working crew, the Bethel family, and associated with them this year have been many construction workers, brothers who volunteered to come in to help with our rebuilding program, and we had our 70 Gilead students. All of these helped out from time to time in the production of literature.
Even though we had a marvelous year in production, at the close of the service year arrangements were made to run a second shift on certain presses in the factory from September to February in order to keep up with the demand. It must be said that the Bethel family in Brooklyn, New York, is very happy with their work. While very busy in the factory and home and the office and at the farms, they all had time to preach the good news of the Kingdom in the evenings and on weekends, and to attend meetings. This keeps all of them spiritually strong. The joy of the Bethel family is great, and there is no privilege of service on earth like it.
You will note above, in the production chart, that the increase in the number of calendars printed year by year has been tremendous. In 1968 there were almost 678,000 printed, in the 1969 service year 838,000, and this past year over 972,000 calendars dated 1970. Now we are printing one million calendars for 1971. Making calendars is not really our work. We do have the Yearbook, and this is our calendar. Jehovah’s witnesses use the Yearbook every day, and we are now publishing the Yearbook in English, Spanish, German and French. We feel that this should be sufficient as a calendar as far as Jehovah’s witnesses are concerned.
We plan to discontinue the printing of the calendar with the year 1971. Producing a calendar at the Brooklyn plant requires taking anywhere from 30 to 50 people off their regular work for from three to four months. This, to a great extent, cuts seriously into the production in the rest of the factory, because we cannot print the things we need on presses while the calendar is being printed, and we cannot use the brothers in other parts of the plant while the calendar is being assembled. Weighing the need of a calendar against the tremendous amount of extra work that it takes to get it out and the fact that more are being made each year, the Society has decided that it will stop printing the calendar with the 1971 edition. We feel that the Yearbook is sufficient. It gives us everything that we need, the yeartext, comment on it and the daily text and comments. It shows the name and date of each day of the month, and the monthly themes are there at the beginning of the months. If you want to make notations of what you are going to do in the future, you can always write in the margin of the Yearbook, on the top or side or bottom of the page. If all of us use our Yearbook every morning we will see what notations we put in there for what we have to do that day. If a person wishes to have a calendar on the wall for convenience he can easily get one. Scenic calendars can be obtained, and we can let the people who make calendar printing their business handle that matter. Our business is to preach and provide spiritual food for our brothers, and this must take first place. So, due to the tremendous increase of work in the Brooklyn plant, it has been decided to discontinue the calendar after the year 1971. It will help us greatly in our production of magazines and books and other necessary things, and there will be no disruption in the free flow of work that goes through our plant during each month of the year.
We always have enjoyed printing the calendar, but we feel that the demand for other publications is so great these days that all of our brothers can easily do without a Society calendar. All of those having a Yearbook available in their language can use it for making daily notations of service matters and other things in the margins.
We will still illustrate the year’s text in the Watchtower magazine, and, of course, this will reach six to seven million people each year when it is discussed, generally in the December 15 edition of The Watchtower. We feel sure that all of the brothers will appreciate the reason for stopping calendar printing. Henceforth we will devote all our time to the printing of things that are of greater importance and need. The calendar may have been a talking piece once in a while in our own homes, but mostly we have to make the occasions for talking about the truth by going from house to house and getting Bible studies started.
Everyone around the world who has dedicated his life to do the will of God is anxious to preach. They are having a delightful time doing it. It is just as the psalmist said: “Your people will offer themselves willingly on the day of your military force.” (Ps. 110:3) There is no question about it, Jehovah’s Christian witnesses around the world are offering themselves willingly in accomplishing the work. Certainly each one of us wants to spend as much time as possible now in fulfilling the command of Jesus at Matthew 28:19: “Go therefore and make disciples . . . baptizing them.” Maybe the 1971 service year will even surpass what has been accomplished in 1970. We hope so, to Jehovah’s praise.
Now we will set out some of the experiences of our brothers around the world.
[Box on page 61]
GRADUATES OF GILEAD, 48TH CLASS
March 8, 1970
Acevedo, Alan R.
Acevedo, Willmar C.
Alleyne, Neil C.
Andrew, T. E.
Andrew, Bernadine (Mrs. T.)
Baker, John R.
Baker, Frances V. (Mrs. J.)
Barnes, Peter C.
Barnes, Ann (Mrs. P.)
Breitfuss, Josef E.
Dölling, Kurt J.
Fry, Peter A.
Gillette, William H.
Häusler, Norbert E.
Häusler, M. M. (Mrs. N.)
Kopezny, Renate J.
Laustsen, Alex V.
Laustsen, H. M. K. (Mrs. A.)
Long, Alan V.
Lucas, David B.
Lull, K. K. A. S. B.
Lyons, Marlene J.
Matos, Anibal I.
McAlman, F. A.
Morgan, Elizabeth C.
Nigl, Udo T. M.
Nigl, Christa (Mrs. U.)
Peters, Lynette N.
Reid, Patricia J.
Rieder, Helmut C.
Sartison, Delbert L.
Sartison, Grant W.
Schullo, Albert M.
Stevens, Jane R.
Tagg, Jennifer M.
Thibou, Alonzo A.
Traverso, Richard J.
Whittingslow, M. H.
Yuh, Hueng Yul
[Chart on pages 36-43]
1970 SERVICE YEAR REPORT OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES WORLDWIDE
[Picture on page 63]
The New Watchtower Buildings and Their Signs as Viewed from Manhattan.