Country Reports (Part One)
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Population: 203,774,260
Peak Publishers: 388,920 Ratio: 1 to 524
What a wonderful way to end a service year, having a new peak in publishers of 388,920 and knowing that 38,790 persons dedicated their lives to Jehovah and were baptized in the United States. This is far in excess of any previous year as far as baptism is concerned. It is interesting to note also that while this Yearbook was being written the September report was brought to a conclusion, and how fine it was to see 387,198 publishers putting up a fine fight for the faith, staying up near that peak publisher mark for the first month of the service year. The United States is just one of many countries throughout the world that closed the service year in August with a new peak in publishers.
Do you remember the experience in the 1970 Yearbook about a Baptist minister who, after being witnessed to by his fleshly brother, enjoyed reading the Society’s magazines so much that he began using the material from them to preach to his congregation? The account went on to relate that the congregation enjoyed what they heard and that the Baptist minister later received a copy of the Truth book, which he used in study with the congregation. In a few weeks of study the congregation decided to withdraw from the Baptist organization and to dissolve the church. What has happened since? The former Baptist minister and his wife symbolized their dedication by water baptism and now are offering themselves willingly, having a share in the disciple-making work. Six other members of his former congregation have also been baptized, eighteen are studying the truth and twelve are sharing in field service.
Leaving the Bible study folder when no one is at home has resulted in many fine experiences, such as this one from Colorado: “Just a few weeks ago a very nice thing happened to me. I found quite a few people not at home . . . but that wasn’t the nice thing. When no one answers, I leave in the door a Bible study invitation folder with my name and phone number on it. Right after I got home from field service my phone rang. Calling me was a lady who had gotten the folder that I had left in her door.” A study is now being conducted with the householder and she attends meetings and looks forward to Jehovah’s new arrangement of things. The publisher concludes the experience: “What a fine thing resulted from leaving just a small piece of paper at an unanswered door!”
Phone listings for congregations have enabled many individuals to get in contact with us. A circuit servant from California wrote: “One morning just as we were leaving the Kingdom Hall for service, the phone rang. The woman on the line said she had received our ‘blue book,’ had read it through and, if what it says is the truth, ‘it is fantastic,’ were her words. She wanted to know when we had our meetings. She was present on Sunday for the public talk and stayed through to the end. Arrangements were made for a Bible study to be conducted with her.”
“Are you a real, live Witness?” This response came from an office receptionist who had been busily typing at her job in the Empire State Building in New York city. After the pioneer sister assured the receptionist that she is a witness of Jehovah God, the receptionist said that, to her knowledge, it was the first time she had talked with a Witness. Calls had been made at her home, for she found tracts, folders, leaflets and, occasionally, a magazine slipped under her door. The receptionist took the magazines and asked the pioneer sister to call on her. In another office, the pioneer reports, “a young Korean man said he thought the Witnesses were never coming. His subscriptions for the magazines had expired and he wanted to renew them. He took several books and asked me to call again, as he knew that he had to make his decision and that he did not have much more time to do so.” The pioneer was able to work all eighty-three stories and at no time was asked to leave the building. This pioneer had many fine experiences and concludes: “Many people in business for one reason or another are not or cannot be contacted in the regular house-to-house work. In the case of younger people, in the 18-23 age group, who live at home, the parents are contacted and the young people themselves are missed, but they can be reached by doing businesses, particularly office buildings.”
A number of brothers and sisters in high school have been able to pioneer while completing the last year or two of high school. Some high schools allow students to spend four hours in school and four hours in an occupation such as job training. A pioneer brother in high school writes: “Since the pioneer work is training for a career, through the school counselor it was arranged to engage in the ministry instead of doing secular work. Pioneering has been a source of strength and has enabled me to witness more to my classmates. As a result of my witnessing in school, Jehovah has blessed me with four new studies. Another brother, using this arrangement to vacation pioneer, has also started a Bible study. My fleshly brother, in his first year of high school, has started three new studies in school.”
For the first time in a service year there were over 100,000 vacation pioneers reporting—actually, 104,008. This exceeds by 17,818 the number of vacation pioneers reporting for any other service year.
Even with such a great amount of witnessing being done from house to house in the United States, there was very little disturbance. During the past year there were only ten arrests made and the brothers were charged with solicitation, peddling and going from house to house without a license. Two of these cases are undecided, but they will undoubtedly, like the others, be dismissed. There were a number of instances where there was harassment by the authorities, but letters written to the city or county attorneys from the Brooklyn office effectively and satisfactorily settled the matters. Court cases that were on appeal last year were decided in favor of Jehovah’s witnesses this year.
Jehovah’s Christian witnesses in the United States have had their best year as to time spent in the field and as to the placement of bound books and magazines. It is very interesting to note that the congregation publishers in the United States averaged 13.4 magazines each month, the pioneers 109 and the special pioneers 150.3. All of this tells us that there are many people in this country who are still interested in the Bible, and they want to hear about it. Jehovah’s witnesses are anxious to reach all of them, even to the ends of every state in the Union.
There is only one small group of islands, namely, Bermuda, in the Atlantic Ocean, that the United States branch looks after in addition to 48 states on the mainland. Because Bermuda comes under the jurisdiction of the United States branch, we list it next. Thereafter all the branch offices of the Society are listed alphabetically, and under the branch offices the various territories that they look after. On page three you will find the index of countries for easy reference.
BERMUDA Population: 53,000
Peak Publishers: 118 Ratio: 1 to 449
Without a doubt the highlight of the past service year was our “Men of Goodwill” assembly at the end of July. In addition to the timely, forceful program, we had the unexpected pleasure of your company, Brother Knorr. Among the many expressions of appreciation, one brother wrote: “This is a note of thanks to you and all those dear brothers and sisters in Bermuda who labored so hard and devotedly to make the assembly a success. In addition to the rich spiritual benefits we all enjoyed, there surely will be others in the form of expansion. As a matter of fact, one young man, whose wife was baptized then, expressed himself to me in this way: ‘This assembly has helped me to make up my mind.’” It certainly did take hard work on the part of the brothers to make it a success, as our original planning for an attendance of around a thousand had to be extended to accommodate a peak of 1,731.
Another pleasant milestone in our progress was our being permitted to perform a wedding ceremony completely in our own hall. And now at the end of the year comes the exciting news that we are to have two congregations on the island instead of just one. This, among other things, means that our future circuit assemblies will have an added flavour—we will be assembling with brothers not seen every week!
Just as it gladdens the heart of our heavenly Father, it makes us happy to see newly associated ones make adjustments in their lives in order to wave the symbolic palm branches. Among the fourteen persons baptized during the year were two who found it necessary to change secular employment. Both worked for an air force base. One, now a sister, relates how the point of ‘the meek inheriting the earth’ was what sparked her interest, leading to a Bible study. Then she adds: “After studying the Bible and knowing about Jehovah’s loving provisions I wanted to dedicate my life to doing his will, but I realized that the type of secular work I was doing was not in keeping with Bible principles. So, after working there for seventeen years, I had a choice to make: work for a few more years and get a pension, or serve Jehovah. You know who won out, because I was baptized at our circuit assembly in June. After associating with so many brothers and sisters at our ‘Men of Goodwill’ District Assembly I can say, Never have I seen such love demonstrated before. How happy I am to be part of such a spiritually rich family and to be able to do Jehovah’s will!”
ALASKA Population: 308,628
Peak Publishers: 814 Ratio: 1 to 379
In the three months from August to October all 793,000 square miles of Alaska and the Yukon were temporarily assigned to the twelve congregations so that concentrated effort could be extended to the vast interior. The brothers responded to this special assignment enthusiastically in their eagerness to reach many who never heard the truth before. This project is being approached in two ways. One is to reach all persons accessible by roads. Another is by using plane or boat to contact homesteaders and natives living in villages where there are no roads. While it may be difficult to reach people in remote areas, we have evidence that Jehovah does plant the seed of truth and his spirit has moved others to study his Word even when they were alone.
After receiving a request to send some literature to an interested person, the Society asked that someone pay a personal visit on him. This request was difficult to fulfill as the family lived in isolation on one of the hundreds of islands in southeastern Alaska. Since it would take many hours to go there by boat, the brothers decided to fly a small plane. After about an hour or so they touched down on the water near their call. They were surprised to find that this man and his wife had a complete library of theocratic literature. The wife had first heard of the truth during a brief stay in the lower states. Although it was the same day that she was baptized in the Mormon church, the seed of truth had been planted. She returned to Alaska to share with her husband what she had heard. This couple were determined to study by themselves. They would spend a couple of hours each day, even reading the Yearbook as well as the Aid book. Little did the brothers who flew there realize that they would find such interest when they took that plane trip to an unusual back-call. This man and his wife see the advisability of moving to one of the larger cities in Alaska where there is a congregation to help them in further growth to maturity.
Do you eagerly witness to your relatives when the opportunity arises, or do you sometimes hold back? A brother writes: “My wife’s fleshly brother came to our beautiful island with his new bride. After they were here for one day we tactfully approached them with an offer to study the Bible. The offer was accepted. The young woman came to the Kingdom Hall and after a couple of weeks had completely quit smoking. She said, ‘It is not clean, and I want to be clean.’ It was as simple as that. During the second study, the husband revealed his involvement in spiritism, and when they discussed chapter 7 in the Truth book he said, ‘I know there are demons, for I have contacted them!’ He was quite involved in spiritism, having started out years ago using the Ouija board and having graduated to astro-projection, which is projecting one’s mind away from the body to another location. When we finished the chapter on wicked spirits, he had thrown all his books on spiritism and occultism in the garbage. By this time they were both attending meetings regularly and this brought further blessings. Although the study with this couple began in October, they both engaged in the ministry in December and are now part of the grand family of Jehovah’s people. They were baptized at our circuit assembly, culminating the six-month study course in the Truth book.” In August the wife vacation pioneered.
ARGENTINA Population: 24,352,000
Peak Publishers: 18,763 Ratio: 1 to 1,298
Many are the people who are associating with the theocratic organization and taking part in the proclamation of the “good news.” In fact, 2,180 new publishers started walking in Jehovah’s ways and paths. Of these who are walking in his ways, 2,365 have made their dedication to Jehovah and have publicly given testimony of this by being baptized.
Many publishers extended their opportunities of service to vacation and regular pioneer service. More than 5,200 publishers took part in the vacation pioneer work and we have enrolled 256 new regular pioneers.
Response to the invitation to come up to the house of Jehovah is seen in meeting attendance. The Kingdom Halls are too small. Many of the congregations are now making additions to their halls.
Two sisters were assigned to a city of 15,000 persons. In this same city ten years ago we had two special pioneers working, but they had to leave town because of opposition. They were not even able to get a hotel room in which to live. Times have changed; so have the people. Now after six months of working here, thirty-five persons are attending the public talks. At the district assembly twenty of these people came. There are now four publishers working with the pioneer sisters and thirty-five people, on the average, are attending the Watchtower study.
A pioneer tells us how the truth changes people. “I visited a lady whom I had not been able to find at home. After many return calls I did find the lady at home, a study was started and was conducted regularly, and the lady progressed rapidly. I learned that she was living in a common-law marriage arrangement, not being legally married. After learning the Bible requirements she explained to the man, who was opposed to the truth, that if he would not marry her legally she would leave him. This woman had three children and was expecting another, but this did not affect her decision. She left the man and lived separately for five months. After five months the man came and asked her to return and said that he was ready to get married legally. The result of this decision is that this woman is now a sister legally married, and the husband is now studying and attends the meetings.” Jehovah blesses those walking in his ways.
A publisher left two magazines with a lady who said that she had no money but that she would pay for them the next week. The publisher reports: “I returned, obtained two subscriptions and started a study in the ‘Good News’ booklet. Later the study was discontinued because of opposition. The family was Catholic, and she was preparing her nine-year-old son for his first Communion. It was then that we received the Truth book and I was sure that something would happen once the lady started to read it. I suggested that she read ‘How to Pray and Be Heard by God,’ because she had told me that she did not know how to pray and what to pray for. In one week she read that theme and the rest of the book, a study was started again and she decided that her son would not take Communion. All images were removed from the walls and she now comes to the meetings and is planning to take part in the field service with me. In the home there has been a complete change, thanks to the truth.”
Do you talk Bible truth to your friends? This experience shows that good results come from doing so. I visited an old friend whom I had not seen for some time. Since he lived in another city I sent the address to the congregation to have someone visit him. My friend tells his own experience: “A publisher visited my home when I was not there but left the Kingdom Hall address with my mother. I attended the meeting at the Kingdom Hall and have been doing so ever since. I started out in the service after just a few studies and I was baptized in July. Our family was known in the neighborhood for always fighting and making a lot of trouble and noise, taking part in anything that was wrong. My sister wore the shortest miniskirt in the neighborhood. The truth changed all this for the entire family. We took down the saints and pictures of famous car racers that we had on the walls. A neighbor lady was very much impressed with the changes. She heard no more fighting, so she wanted to know what had happened.” Because of talking Bible truth to an old friend nine people are now walking in Jehovah’s way.
AUSTRALIA Population: 12,296,000
Peak Publishers: 22,203 Ratio: 1 to 554
What a joy to see 2,544 persons baptized this year, to compare with 1,633 last year. Young and old alike are sharing in the preaching activity with enthusiasm. One of our older brothers regularly places three hundred or more magazines each month. Recently he wrote saying that he had been working business territory and found that the June 8 Awake! article “Is Your Doctor Afraid of You?” had quite an appeal. “Believe me,” he said, “for a young man over ninety-six years of age it was quite tiring moving through the crowds of shoppers en route to the managers’ offices.” Never think you are too old to share in the service!
How thrilling to see a young couple with two children come along rapidly when contacted in the door-to-door work! It was their first contact with Jehovah’s organization. They readily accepted the Truth book, and a back-call was arranged immediately. After a few studies in the Truth book they could see their position plainly and accepted their responsibility. They volunteered for door-to-door ministry without being asked and were baptized. Within seven months they, in turn, are conducting three home Bible studies, with a very deep appreciation of the urgency of the times. How effective the six-month Bible study arrangement is!
Are you making powerful use of the instruments that Jehovah provides through his organization? A circuit servant writes about a young atheist he met at the door: “‘You have come to the wrong house here. My wife and I are atheists,’ he said. I asked him if he had ever thought of examining the Bible as to its statements on scientific subjects, as these would be the easiest to prove either right or wrong. I then demonstrated some examples with the Word of God book. He agreed to take the book if I would not call back on him. I agreed to this and he took it. About ten minutes later he came looking for me as we approached another door and he humbly told us that he had changed his mind and now desired that we call back. The following week I called back with the overseer and had an interesting discussion with him and his wife, who was also an atheist. We arranged for the overseer to make another call the following week. Now, four months later, I have been able to check the results. Since that time they have had regular studies in the Truth book and have begun attending meetings at the Kingdom Hall. On Wednesday night of this week I attended their Bible study. It was a joy to see them study, as they were so eager and appreciative. The young man said to me, ‘You must notice a big difference in us since the first time you met us.’ Certainly I did. His wife said, ‘We never believed that such a change could come in our lives in such a short time.’ Then she explained how strange they felt the first night her husband and she prayed together after all those years of telling everyone that they were atheists, but how much happier they feel now that they have come to know Jehovah. How thrilling it is to see the power of Jehovah’s Word and spirit in the lives of people today. This young couple have two children who are excellent examples already in their interest in the truth. They read a chapter of the Bible every night before going to bed.” May we all be adept in our use of the outstanding provisions we have at our disposal to seek out the “sheep.”
Another brother writes: “An overseer’s six-year-old son, notorious for his fearlessness and resolute stand at his school on matters of flag salute and singing the national anthem, proved true to form just a few weeks ago on the occasion of the end-of-year class Christmas party. Although many Christmas carols were sung, with the teacher cajoling him to join in, he would just fold his arms and keep his mouth shut. The teacher must have taken pity on him, because she remarked, ‘We have sung our songs, what about singing us one of your songs?’ He obliged. Standing in front of his class, our six-year-old treated them to a rousing verse of Song 62, ‘We Are Jehovah’s Witnesses!’ Even the very young can praise Jah!”
AUSTRIA Population: 7,349,500
Peak Publishers: 9,618 Ratio: 1 to 764
The ways in which people of all nations are being brought into contact with the truth are indeed wonderful. There can be no doubt that Jehovah’s Christian witnesses are receiving heavenly support and direction in their preaching work. Many experiences reported from the field here in Austria provoke thought in this regard. Here are just a few:
Eight years ago a young special pioneer was doing magazine work from house to house in a small town and did not fail to present the magazine offer also in the stores there. At a hotel, he first spoke with the proprietor’s mother. As he started to present the magazines, she said: “Wait a moment, please. I will call my son.” The son came and listened to the publisher’s introduction, but as the magazines were presented, he too said: “Please wait. I believe that this will interest my sister.” And before the brother could reply, the young lady was brought to him. She had a great many questions. A home Bible study was immediately arranged. At first, things went along well, but Satan succeeded in slowing the progress down later on. Nonetheless, the young woman finally came to a knowledge of the truth and was immersed last year, the first person in her town to become a praiser of Jehovah’s name. How unusual it is that two other persons were needed as go-betweens when the publisher made his first call on her.
Two brothers from neighboring congregations work for the same secular firm. When the special issue of Awake! on the subject “Is It Later than You Think?” appeared in German, one of them took the first copy that he had obtained along to work with him, so as to read it during his noon hour. After having read several pages, he exclaimed joyfully to the other brother, “We have never had anything like this before!” Another fellow employee, whose parents are also Jehovah’s witnesses but who himself had never showed interest in the truth, overheard the remark. Now he wanted to see what was in the magazine that made the brother so happy. He asked to be permitted to read the brother’s copy. The next morning he said that he had read the entire magazine and asked the brothers what book he should study so as to be able to make a decision as soon as possible. The brothers were dumbfounded. Years of effort on the part of the parents of the young man had been fruitless, but now one enthusiastic remark and the contents of one magazine had paved the way for a home Bible study. Within five months the young man was sharing in the ministry and giving talks in the Theocratic Ministry School. Shortly thereafter, he was baptized.
The husband of a woman with whom a home Bible study was being conducted was known to be a ridiculer, not at all interested in religious matters. When the time for the international assembly in Nuremberg, Germany, drew near, the brothers invited his wife to attend. She agreed and purchased a train ticket. When the date of departure arrived, her husband did not allow her to leave. But since he enjoys traveling and the ticket had already been purchased, he decided to take the trip himself and thus prevent his wife from going. How great was his surprise to find the entire train filled with assembly delegates! How pleased he was that they were all so friendly to him! In Nuremberg he did not feel at all like a stranger, for everyone called him “brother.” He was very impressed by the size and orderliness of the assembly. Upon returning home, he was a changed man. When approached by the congregation servant, he immediately agreed to have a home Bible study. In the meantime, he has made fine progress in the truth, separating himself from Babylon the Great and associating zealously with the local congregation.
BAHAMAS Population: 168,838
Peak Publishers: 411 Ratio: 1 to 411
Making disciples of people was our goal during this service year and that is what we accomplished more so than ever before in the history of the ministry in the Bahamas. Forty-nine persons dedicated their lives to do the will of Jehovah and were baptized.
There has been no lack of fine experiences during the year. We would like to recount a few of them so they might serve as a source of encouragement to those who read them. This one illustrates the importance of following through on all placements. A sister was going from house to house. Well, we will let her tell it. “I called at a house where a little girl came to the door. She tried to tell me that her mother was sick, but, I, being hard of hearing, insisted that she call her mother. (I didn’t know that this woman thought she hated the Witnesses and would hide from them.) She finally came to the door, not in a very pleasant mood, and quickly I presented the sermon and told her about the six-month Bible study course. She said she really did not want the book, as one of our people had called and placed a book with her and promised to call back and she never did, and that was over a year ago. I apologized for the other Witness, and she took the Truth book. I called back on her, much to her surprise, and arranged for a study. After the first study she said that she had learned things she did not even know were in the Bible. After the second study she asked where our church was, and I directed her to the Kingdom Hall. Sure enough, on Sunday morning she was there. Soon she was coming to the congregation book study. I had to go away for three weeks. Imagine my surprise and joy when, on returning, she told me she had read straight through the Yearbook, Is the Bible Really the Word of God? and had finished the Truth book. Having read that she should get rid of her religious objects, she had also done that. Soon she was coming to the service meeting and the Theocratic Ministry School, and then one day she asked me if she could go from door to door. This was another joyful surprise. Three months later she was baptized. All of this, from a hater of Jehovah’s witnesses to a dedicated, baptized servant of Jehovah, because I followed the Society’s counsel to call back on all placements.”
Many young people are inquiring as to the reason for the changes in the outlook on life and its many problems, and so, when the opportunity comes to hear someone else’s views and the possible solution, they are willing to listen. The circuit servant, on arriving at the island of San Salvador, where there is a teachers’ training college, inquired if he could give a lecture to the students, to which the principal readily agreed. The young woman who was assigned to make the arrangements warned him that, when the bishop of Nassau had given a lecture sometime before, the students had given him a hard time. Forty-five students listened intently to the thirty-minute lecture “Is the Bible Really the Word of God?”, which was followed by a question-and-answer session. The students had many sincere questions and for one and a half hours question after question was propounded covering almost every major doctrine of the Bible, the most popular being “hell.” Afterward the students expressed their appreciation, saying that it had given them a new picture of Jehovah’s witnesses and what they believe. They were then shown the publications Is the Bible Really the Word of God?, Did Man Get Here by Evolution or by Creation? and The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life. What a pleasure it was to see them come up and write their orders for sixty-one books.
BARBADOS Population: 260,000
Peak Publishers: 869 Ratio: 1 to 299
It has been a blessed year of service for the brothers serving in Barbados and the islands under the jurisdiction of the branch office in Bridgetown. Many new peaks were reached in Kingdom activity during the year, all to the honor of Jehovah’s name. The branch office in Bridgetown cares for the preaching work in the islands of Barbados, Bequia, Carriacou, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent. We will begin with a report from Barbados.
A Bible study was turned over to a sister, and she cared for it well. However, the young woman could not be persuaded to attend a meeting, even though the sister made it plain that in order for the study to continue she would need to make an effort to assemble with other Christians. Finally the woman moved and the sister made arrangements for someone in another congregation to care for the study. About two months later the sister met the woman’s father; he and his wife had sat in the back room while the study was in progress. Telling what happened, the sister writes: “I understood they were opposed and had no idea I was conducting a study with them as silent participants. He told me to come and study with them. On the first call I determined that I was going to stress the importance of attending meetings. Before I could, however, he announced: ‘You will see me at the Kingdom Hall tonight.’ He was a half hour early and has not missed a meeting since then! Soon the matter of preaching to others came up. He was eager to share, and since there was no reason why he could not, he started in the service during the week of our circuit servant’s visit. The thrilling part of it all is that all this happened within seven weeks!”
One of our new special pioneers, anxious to be successful and productive in the ministry, tells us how he is doing. “Immediately on starting my new assignment I started a study with a prominent Pentecostal woman. She lived very near the Kingdom Hall. For five months she studied and it began to look as if she would not progress further and come to meetings. Thus after going through chapter 14 in the Truth book I decided to cancel the study. Well, the very next week she came to some meetings. We then resumed the study, but no sooner was this done than she stopped attending meetings. So I stopped the study again. Her response was to come to meetings again. Before resuming the study, and with increased frankness, I aided her to appreciate that an occasional visit to the meetings to satisfy curiosity is not what we call attending meetings. If she really wanted to learn she would have to be more consistent in coming to Christian gatherings at the Kingdom Hall. A marked improvement was noted immediately and the study progressed nicely. She is a regular meeting attender now and a proclaimer of the good news. The need for all to exert themselves in Jehovah’s service was nicely put by her just recently when she said: ‘When I was a Pentecostal I used to give my all, so now that I am a witness for Jehovah I believe I should do even more.’”
BEQUIA Population: 6,000
Peak Publishers: 23 Ratio: 1 to 261
The generally pleasant atmosphere still prevails here. The island is more and more coming of age now, especially with the introduction of electricity during the past year. But the truth still makes a brighter light for those wanting to walk according to it.
A new brother, just baptized at the circuit assembly in June, reflects back seven years to when the truth first “brushed” him by an incidental witness given. He says: “I avoided further contact with Jehovah’s witnesses after that initial introduction to them on a street corner in Kingstown. I cannot explain why, however. Soon I got involved in Babylon’s confusing labyrinth of divisive religions, even to the point of involvement in spiritism. This was no casual interest in spiritism either, for many of the books I bought were very costly. Several years ago there was another chance meeting and discussion with Jehovah’s witnesses on a street corner. About one year ago, after having moved to Bequia, I was invited to attend a meeting of Jehovah’s people. The old hesitation was still there and I lingered a long while outside before going in. Finally I entered and eventually had opportunity to ask many questions, all of which were satisfactorily answered. It was at this meeting that I received a copy of the enlightening book The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life. After a few studies I was convinced of the uselessness of all the books on spiritism that I had purchased over the years, so a brother and myself rendered these demon-inspired books to ashes. Now I am a brother through dedication and baptism. Please rejoice with me, brothers, because after seven years of neglect I have this wonderful privilege of becoming a witness of Jehovah with you!”
CARRIACOU Population: 8,000
Peak publishers: 29 Ratio: 1 to 276
The inhabitants of this small island enjoyed a fine blessing in August when hundreds of brothers from neighboring islands came for the “Men of Goodwill” District Assembly. This was the first district assembly for Carriacou. The government was very kind in allowing us two schools, free of charge, for the assembly itself and for dormitories for the visiting brothers.
The brothers were able to purchase their very own Kingdom Hall during the year, and this has proved a boost to the work as well. At the beginning of the service year a new special pioneer couple and their daughter, a regular pioneer, took up their assignment in Carriacou. At first they encountered some inconvenience in getting settled, but their love, their loyalty to Jehovah and their desire to aid the brothers have made it all worth while. They are doing a fine work.
Priestly influence is still strong here. Many people are still in fear of Babylon’s ministers, and on the islands there is a general fear about what others are thinking about one. The smaller the island the greater the fear. One young couple are now in the process of conquering this particular fear of man. They are beginning to share with others what they learn and have been quite regular in attending meetings lately. Needless to say, this is very encouraging to the brothers.
GRENADA Population: 106,000
Peak Publishers: 194 Ratio: 1 to 546
Grenada is still called the ‘Isle of Spice,’ but with us it is becoming more the ‘Isle of Pioneers.’ More and more the brothers here are proving that pioneering is really the ‘spice’ of life. On September 1 a very fine couple begin their careers as pioneers. They have been planning it for some time now. When the husband was asked about accepting further privileges as a result of pioneering, he said: “Brothers, we are going all the way; this is it!” Two other regular pioneers have been assigned as special pioneers, and there are several younger ones just out of school who are qualifying for regular pioneer privileges. We are all very proud of these folks and rejoice at their decision to serve God full time. With a new peak of 194 during the year, we have had some fine experiences. Here is a publisher to tell about it.
A vacation-pioneering mother relates this one: “I met a woman who showed remarkable interest in the truth. Though a study was arranged, I was unable to find her at home again. Several months later I paid a surprise visit and found her at home and we finally got the study going. However, even the world knows the value of a mentally alert person, thus she had several enticing offers, which could have ended her progress in the truth. One was the chance to emigrate to the United States, the other was the opportunity to manage a garment factory in Grenada. Her reason for rejecting both offers was as she said, ‘If I go or take the job, I would not be able to continue studying and would miss meetings.’ So the study continued with two sessions a week. She had her name removed from the Pentecostal Church register. She has shared the truth with neighbors. Many of these are circumstantially unable to study in their own homes, so this woman has opened her home so that other publishers can study with these interested people. So interested in the spiritual welfare of others is she that she has arranged transportation to aid sixteen publishers and interested persons to get to the meetings regularly.”
ST. LUCIA Population: 112,000
Peak Publishers: 167 Ratio: 1 to 671
St. Lucia is the island most brothers have been writing about concerning serving where the need is great. What have been the results? In the past eight months we have had eight consecutive new peaks in publishers! There has been a 50-percent increase in publishers in the past year. It would be good to mention, though, that about 20 percent of that increase has come from the island inhabitants and it has not all been due to brothers who have moved in.
The brothers are very active here. In Castries the congregation has purchased a piece of land and will soon be constructing their new Kingdom Hall. They are active in service too. One publisher has three very productive questions when it comes to obtaining new subscriptions for the magazines. When showing the magazines he asks, Have you seen these before? Most have. Then he says, How do you like them? Most do like them. And finally the question, Would you like to subscribe for them? By this direct and brief method he has obtained over forty new subscriptions during the service year. He takes advantage of all circumstances to do so. Why not try it?
One result of new ones’ moving to the island has been the formation of a new isolated group at Soufrière. There are six pioneers and one publisher. Already after just a few months of operation we have twenty-five or more persons attending meetings.
A sister had been carrying on a study with a woman, but there was little result as far as the woman’s making spiritual progress and showing it by actions were concerned. The study was eventually canceled by the sister. Then the Truth book made its appearance, and after thinking about it for a while the sister decided to give the woman another chance, this time stressing the six-month study course. She outlined clearly what would be expected. The lady agreed to the new study, but it would have to begin after she returned from a trip out of the island. Our sister encouraged her to associate with the brothers while away. Much to the sister’s surprise, she did. “On returning,” the sister explains, “we got into a very progressive study. Within six weeks she was publishing, and eight months later she was baptized. Jehovah’s organization certainly knows what the people need and we are truly wise if we conform our methods and ways to doing things the way they ought to be done.”
ST. VINCENT Population: 97,000
Peak Publishers: 116 Ratio: 1 to 836
Like the early apostles, the brothers in Kingstown have been holding their meetings in an “upper room” for a number of years, but during the year Jehovah’s rich blessing on all their hard work of years past produced opportunity to purchase an 80-by-100-foot lot in a quiet residential area of Kingstown. A building on it now serves as their new Kingdom Hall. They have plans to expand; indeed, they will have to in order to care for all the developing interest. Soon it is hoped that a new congregation can be formed just outside the city to serve the friends living on the leeward side of the island. The following experiences have made the brothers very happy.
News of the free home Bible study arrangement spreads quickly, and some people are even searching out the brothers for studies. As with Cornelius, one man living in the country sent a message to the missionaries for someone to come and conduct a study. A study was started and it developed into a sort of community study, with members from three different families taking part. Now three of the group see the truth very clearly and the man who first requested the study has severed his association with Babylon the Great and is very active in sharing the truth with still other friends and relatives.
“Maintain your conduct fine among the nations,” Peter admonished. (1 Pet. 2:12) One of our humble sisters, in trying to do this, has aided in satisfying another person that this is the truth. She tells us that one day she and another sister entertained a neighbor in their home. When the conversation got around to people and the community, the neighbor spoke out against some of the immoral practices she had seen. She volunteered the information that these bad things were being practiced by churchgoing people, adding that some had invited her to their church but that she had declined because of their bad conduct. Gently the sisters directed her to the Bible and Jehovah’s organization and suggested that she make a study of the Bible with them. It was not long before she realized that she had found the truth, both by the teaching and by the right conduct observed. Before being baptized at the circuit assembly in June the new sister remarked to the one studying with her: “If it had not been for your conduct I would never have responded. As it is, because of your fine conduct, I was drawn all the more quickly to the organization.”
BELGIUM Population: 9,660,154
Peak Publishers: 13,271 Ratio: 1 to 728
It is amazing to see now, more than ever before in Belgium, how effective the command of Jesus Christ is to go and “make disciples . . . baptizing them.” 1,792 new disciples were baptized in Belgium during this past service year. Those on the outside of the organization are astonished to see the progress of the work. Newspapers, radio, television and even Catholic newspapers have asked for information.
A pioneer sister writes us as follows: “Two years ago, while going from house to house, I placed the Paradise book with a lady. However, at that time she was always very busy and so I eventually stopped visiting her. The book went into the cellar with the old papers. A few months ago the lady decided to clean up her cellar and, in doing so, came across the Paradise book. Moved by curiosity, she began to read the book and very soon her interest was revived. Her wish was to meet once more the person who had left her the book. One day, while making back-calls, I passed by the house and remembered that I had made a placement there. I rang the bell, and when the lady saw me she expressed her joy and explained that a week previously she had prayed to God for him to send one of Jehovah’s witnesses to her. She took the Truth book, and immediately the study began. Three more books were placed with her during the following week, for the children. A short while afterward, she had to face up to a test. Her mother-in-law heard about the study and came to put a stop to it. The young woman refused. The mother-in-law hit her and then encouraged her son (the woman’s husband) to do the same. She even wanted to beat me up. The woman stayed firm and the Devil’s efforts were thwarted. Arrangements were made for the study to be held in a sister’s home. Instead of stopping her studies, the woman accepted the invitation to attend the meetings, and now she attends them all, being well prepared in advance. She gives good comments and her wish is to tell these good things to others and soon to dedicate herself to Jehovah.”
The following experience shows how new ones can overcome tests by having confidence in Jehovah. “For a few weeks now I have been conducting a study with a couple who began to attend meetings at the Kingdom Hall and also the local book study. The husband worked as a bulldozer operator on a new highway. The heavy work finished, he was sent to another place about ninety miles from his home. This prevented him from getting home early enough to attend the meetings at the hall. Being desirous of attending all the meetings, this man explained his case to the Works Manager. The result? He was sacked, received five days’ pay and a dole ticket! They were upset, but they put their confidence in Jehovah and also put his interests first in their lives. They prayed to Jehovah for help, and eventually the man received an interview notice for another job. On the morning of the fourth day after his being sacked, someone knocked on their door. It was the Works Manager, asking him to return to his previous employment but in a better situation and, in addition, with the authorization to leave earlier in order to attend the meetings! This couple is, of course, very happy that Jehovah was attentive to their prayer, and they know that he will not abandon anyone who sincerely wishes to do God’s will.”
BOLIVIA Population: 4,931,200
Peak Publishers: 1,168 Ratio: 1 to 4,222
After many years of slow increase it has been a real pleasure to reach over a thousand publishers in Bolivia. This year we have started six congregations, and outstanding is the fact that three Bolivian brothers have started in circuit work. There is a fine spirit among the publishers, from the high Bolivian altiplano to the low jungle areas.
Some of our brothers out on the Bolivian altiplano are receiving severe opposition from their neighbors in the surrounding communities. The Society has asked the authorities to guarantee the constitutional rights of the publishers in these places, and at this writing the local community authorities are being counseled to guarantee freedom of religion for Jehovah’s witnesses.
Typical of the treatment our brothers are receiving is the following: Toribio learned the truth of God’s Word and began associating with Jehovah’s people. His neighbors immediately began to threaten him with bodily injury and then would beat him and order him to give up his newfound religion. He continued progressing in spite of the threats and beatings and finally was baptized. Then the difficulties became worse. The local authorities threatened him and told him to give up his false religion. Toribio invited his fleshly brother to the Memorial celebration, but his brother turned on him, cursing him obscenely. The brother called his sister to bring a whip to beat Toribio. She pulled his hair and pummeled him with her fists. However, Toribio took the persecution without fighting back and later said he felt a great calm come over him as he prayed to Jehovah and meditated on the scripture that counsels Christians not to return evil for evil.
On another occasion an entire community turned on a little congregation of publishers for not supporting local politics and even took property away from some of the brothers. The overseer of the congregation was beaten and knocked down. Later as the brothers were discussing their difficulties with the district servant and the circuit servant, the matter of how trials refine and polish our faith was discussed. The overseer, a faithful Aymara special pioneer, commented: “Well, I guess Jehovah just doesn’t believe me yet. This is the fifth time I’ve been beaten.” These warmhearted country brothers are taking their trials with a fine spirit and are a wonderful example to the publishers throughout the land.
Proper Christian conduct around worldly relatives can have a fine, fruitful effect on unbelievers. A family in Sucre finally accepted a Bible study from Jehovah’s witnesses because their daughter was a fine example of a Christian witness in another city. For some time the daughter had tried unsuccessfully to witness to her family about God’s truth, but over a period of time the father and mother softened their attitude. However, the oldest son, who studied chemistry in the university, was quite indoctrinated with materialism and politics, and every time the study was conducted he would turn up the radio, shout and generally make a nuisance of himself, in spite of his father’s wishes. The study continued under these circumstances. The sister who was a Witness wrote one day and invited the unruly older brother to come and pay her family a visit. The young man accepted the invitation, determined to make known his feelings about her religion. However, the young man was quite impressed by the loving, kind atmosphere in his sister’s household and the self-control and affection that his sister’s husband and daughters displayed. The sister’s husband, also a Witness, would offhandedly invite the young man to comment on parts of the Bible and to attend meetings in the Kingdom Hall. Again he came away impressed by the warm welcome he received from the publishers. Upon returning home, the young man surprised his family and the Witnesses who were studying with them by joining the study and leaving off all association with politics and his materialistic classmates. The Word of God is powerful and can influence for good even those with former atheistic leanings.
BRAZIL Population: 95,300,000
Peak Publishers: 64,199 Ratio: 1 to 1,484
From all parts of our territory come thrilling reports and experiences. First the summer months saw a total of 114,927 persons attending our sixteen district assemblies, about double the number of publishers reporting. Then in March the Memorial attendance of 164,436 and over 100,000 at the public meeting showed us clearly that we have a tremendous work to do to care for these whose ‘eyes are being opened.’
And we certainly have the instruments with which to do it. The Truth book is doing a work no other book has done, not only in providing life-giving knowledge in a clear, simple manner, but also in aiding our brothers to conduct better Bible studies. One sister wrote to say that she had started a study with a devout Presbyterian lady who had made little progress until the Truth book was released. The sister explained to her the six-month study arrangement and the need to study regularly, with prior preparation, and covering one chapter at each study. The lady agreed. By the time chapter five was reached, she was attending meetings, and when the book was finished she was a regular publisher and planning to be baptized. Another Catholic lady asked that they study two chapters a week. By the third week she was attending meetings and had asked the priest to remove their names from the church listing. She was soon talking with her neighbors and teaching her children, and was enrolled in the Theocratic Ministry School so as to learn how to help ‘release those who are bound.’ Now she and her husband, their children and the neighbor are planning to be baptized. Our files are full of similar experiences so that it is difficult to choose among them.
Have you ever heard the following response as you went from door to door: “You do not need to waste your time talking to me. I am saved and teach Sunday school in my church. Go to my neighbors who know very little about the Bible”? Maybe the following approach, used with good success by one publisher, will help you. She answered, “What do you think I should tell your neighbors?” The lady answered, “Oh, just tell them what you were going to tell me.” “But, do you know what I was going to tell you? Wouldn’t you like to hear it and see if it would serve for your neighbors? It is really very important.” The lady agreed and, after hearing the sermon, said: “But you teach quite differently. What can I do so as to be able to teach like that?” The Truth book was placed and the study was started. After a few studies her comment was: “How strange! I was a teacher and knew nothing about all this.” When opposition arose from her minister, she resigned from the church and is now a regular attender at the Kingdom Hall.
As more persons are having their eyes opened and are seeking refuge on Jehovah’s side, more brothers are appreciating the importance of getting into the full-time ministry, and of serving where the need is greater. A sister whose crippled leg makes walking difficult, and who must work as a seamstress to help support her family, wanted to serve as a vacation pioneer. After much prayer to Jehovah and in spite of opposition from her husband, she made her plans, cutting down her hours of sewing and also the expenses in the home. Her letter of appreciation at the end of the month gave thanks “first to Jehovah and then to His organization for having given me thirty days of immense pleasure and contentment.” She devoted 114 hours to the field ministry during the month, started four new studies and made plans to repeat the experience in July.
A sister who helped her husband as a tailor eight hours a day made arrangements to serve as a vacation pioneer for three months and had such good success that she wanted to continue as a regular pioneer. She and her husband made plans so that she would no longer work in the tailor shop but would care for the home and children, dispensing with the maid. Under this arrangement she entered the pioneer service. She now conducts eight studies, cares for her family and shares in all features of the ministry. Her health, too, has improved considerably. What a joy to see three other sisters in the congregation copy her example and enter the pioneer service. She closed by saying, “Pioneer service is so good, I encourage all sisters to serve as pioneers.”
Jehovah is releasing those who are bound, and doing it in amazing ways. A letter came to the branch office from a man living in a town where no Witnesses lived, saying that he had received a copy of the Truth book and the Bible study folder. He and his friends studied it together, and on the basis of what they learned, six of them had, on their own, quit their Protestant church. But they wrote: “We are like the Ethiopian eunuch: we need help, since we do not know how to continue.” Word was sent to the nearest group of Witnesses and contact was made. On the first Sunday, twenty-two persons came to the public talk arranged, and now they are being visited regularly.
Incidental witnessing, too, plays its part in ‘releasing those who are bound.’ A brother went to a barbershop operated by another Witness and, on entering, greeted the barber as “Brother.” A lady present exclaimed that it was strange that two brothers should look so unalike. The brother explained that they were spiritual brothers and then took advantage of the opportunity to give a witness. This resulted in the placing of the Truth book and making arrangements for a study. After the first study in her home, the householder said how grateful she was that a mistake had been made by the taxi driver who had left her at that barbershop instead of the one to which she regularly took her son. For some time she had been praying to God for help to find the truth, and there it was when she least expected it! She began right away to attend the Kingdom Hall meetings and she is already witnessing in her neighborhood.
BRITISH HONDURAS Population: 119,645
Peak Publishers: 441 Ratio: 1 to 271
Generally, schools in this country are operated for the government by the religious denominations. While we are exempted from religious activities, local officials do not always follow the law. They insert false religious worship and group prayer in the daily school routine.
A young publisher of eight years demonstrated integrity by refusing to join with the class in prayer. She was knocked to the floor by the principal and expelled from school. Due to the girl’s firm stand it was learned that other young publishers were joining classmates in false worship; thus they could be corrected by their parents. The following school morning brought a fine witness as all stood solidly united in pure worship and did not participate in prayer with the class. The faithful little girl was readmitted to school. The school principal seemed to feel defeat and resigned. No further problems have been experienced there.
In another town a slight-built young brother of nine years endured a fifteen-minute beating with a thick rope as the teacher tried to force him to join with the class in group prayer. Just then his father, a special pioneer, arrived. He took the boy to the Methodist minister who is the school manager, to the police and to a doctor, as the lashing had broken the skin and produced bleeding. When the matter came before the government education department, a letter was written to all teachers and principals demanding adherence to the law and religious freedom for children of Jehovah’s witnesses. Not only were all children of Jehovah’s witnesses throughout the country benefited by the integrity of the boy, but a teacher in the same Methodist school profited from the experience. She had been studying for some time but continued active as a lay preacher. She says: “The regular Bible study was a great help to me and the stand taken by E———— and that taken by the church against him proved to me that my religion really did not demonstrate love. I clearly appreciated also that true Christians will be persecuted. I finally saw that truth and falsehood could not mix so I resigned from the church.” Separating herself from false religion, she immediately started in the service and symbolized her dedication. By the end of the service year she has already tasted of the joys of vacation pioneering, aiding teachers and former students to attend meetings and is now conducting five Bible studies, carrying forward the real teaching work for these “last days.”
BRITISH ISLES Population: 54,179,600
Peak Publishers: 61,913 Ratio: 1 to 875
The Bible study folder gets wonderful results. Two publishers called on a young woman at about 11:45 one morning. They were invited in and used the folder and the Truth book to demonstrate the Bible study arrangement, answering questions that she chose from the folder. Asked if she would like to have a regular Bible discussion, she said: “Yes, please. We can start now.” They explained that they had lunch appointments but suggested a return visit at about 1:45 that afternoon. On returning, the first chapter of the Truth book was covered. Then they explained that they had other appointments to keep. “What a shame,” she said. “We could have carried on all afternoon, I’m enjoying it so much.” Since then a regular weekly study has been held, and now she attends meetings.
A brother, calling on a home for the first time, was immediately welcomed with the comment, “Come in . . . we were expecting you!” He was somewhat surprised, but went in. The people explained that they were expecting Jehovah’s witnesses because a week or two earlier they had found a folder under their door saying that Jehovah’s witnesses were willing to study the Bible with people free, to answer their questions. The husband had said: “They will come back, as they will want to see if we are interested.” Meantime, this young couple had talked to their family about the Bible study offered by Jehovah’s witnesses. So now a fine weekly study is held with, not just the young couple, but also the wife’s younger sister and her mother—because someone else left a Bible study folder!
Four pioneers succeeded in contacting twelve onetime publishers, now completely inactive. Of these twelve, ten agreed to having a home Bible study. One sister baptized in 1922 had not associated with Jehovah’s people for thirty years! All of them are thrilled with the Truth book and are regularly attending meetings once more.
A brother does magazine work from ship to ship and around offices in the harbour. He places magazines with twenty-six different nationalities and, on an average, places 250 to 300 magazines a month. One afternoon he placed 75 magazines in two and a half hours. Another time he spent fifteen minutes in the territory and placed 27 magazines and a Truth book.
A pioneer applied the Kingdom Ministry suggestion to leave free specimen copies of older magazines at the doors of those not at home. He says that this encourages him to call back on these homes, with the result that on these back-calls he has placed fifteen Truth books.
A young sister attending college in Edinburgh, Scotland, got involved in a class discussion about a television programme on witchcraft. She produced the Truth book and turned to the chapter, “Are There Wicked Spirits?” The result—an order for ten Truth books from the other students and the teacher.
For nine years Sister B———— was the only one in her large family to show interest in the truth. Eighteen months ago she wrote a letter to one of her married sons, as a result of which he and his wife started studying. After four studies they began attending meetings. Now they are conducting studies of their own. Mr. B————, while visiting this son, attended meetings at the Kingdom Hall. He was so impressed that he began taking interest in the truth too. Now he is baptized, and with his wife is seeing to it that his five children still at home are being trained as God’s young servants. With both mother and father now in the truth, a married daughter began to show interest. This daughter and her husband plan to be baptized. Yet another married daughter started studying with the mother, Sister B———— , despite opposition from this daughter’s husband. A letter to the opposing husband from one of his brothers-in-law sparked his interest, and he too asked for a study. The end result, then, due to a mother’s not neglecting to witness to members of her own family, was that eight out of her ten children are now either studying or have dedicated their lives to Jehovah; her husband has embraced the truth; and the marriage mates of three of her children are progressing well. All this in just eighteen months!
MALTA Population: 318,158
Peak Publishers: 37 Ratio: 1 to 8,599
Vatican authorities regard Ireland and Malta as the outstanding gems in the “papal crown.” But even these gems are losing their lustre, as viewed from Rome. In Malta in February the pastoral research service published figures obtained by a church-attendance census on a recent average Sunday. They reported with alarm that only 82 percent of the population attended Mass on that day; manual workers showed an absentee rate of 6.2 percent, while self-employed nonmanual workers showed an absentee rate of 38.2 percent. That 18 percent, or nearly one in five, of the population, who are bound by Catholic church law to attend Sunday mass, failed to do so on that particular Sunday was viewed with great concern. If it were not for fear of the social and economic consequences of nonconformity, the attendance would undoubtedly have been very much lower. Growing numbers show disgust at what they see in Babylon the Great, and yet they are reluctant to defy her demands lest thereby in some way they will be defying God.
The past year has seen a steady growth to spiritual maturity on the part of the new Maltese congregation. Some brothers are receiving special organizational training by a programme based on the “Lamp” book, appropriate parts of Qualified to Be Ministers, organizational information in past issues of Kingdom Ministry, etc., together with a demonstrating of the work of individual servants; all centering around the theme “An Organization Based on God’s Word.” This has meant a more rapid development of understanding and ability for these brothers, and a resultant blessing to the entire congregation.
The study material used in the congregational groups is in English, with reviews in Maltese where necessary. But we are happy to report that we now have local brothers capably and fluently presenting the Society’s outlined talks in the native language to groups of local persons. This is proving a great help in getting the congregation’s roots firmly into native soil. Following a “seam” of interest continues to be fruitful; when contact is made with one interested person this leads to relatives and friends who also manifest interest.
In Malta there is a monk reputed to have the powers of a seer, in the confessional being able to know a person’s sins before they are even confessed. A woman in one of the villages was having family trouble, and made a journey to this confessor in the hope of getting some hidden information by the monk’s psychic powers. After being told of the problem, the monk said: “Don’t worry about it, my dear, the end of all things is very near!” Another woman in the same village, somewhat opposed to the truth, told this to her husband, who is having a Bible study. He said: “Well, you believe it now; but I have been telling you this for months and you wouldn’t believe it.” Her attitude has been markedly more favourable since then. No doubt the demons are well aware of what the near future holds for them.—Matt. 8:29; Rev. 12:12.
BURMA Population: 27,000,000
Peak Publishers: 559 Ratio: 1 to 48,301
“Jehovah is great and very much to be praised.” (Ps. 145:3) He continued to pour his rich blessings upon us during the past service year. Every feature of the work reveals an increase. We had to face many obstacles, but blessings from God kept us moving ahead.
Inviting one’s relatives to the assemblies brings blessings. A brother invited his niece and her husband to the “Peace on Earth” assembly. The newly married couple readily accepted the invitation with the intention of making a pleasure trip, a honeymoon trip. While traveling with the hundreds of Witnesses to the assembly, they felt real love and friendship among Jehovah’s witnesses and found a great difference between the members of their church and the Witnesses. What they heard and saw at the assembly moved them to say, “You people really have the truth.” That is not all. The niece even wanted to get baptized at the assembly. But she was told first to study the Bible and attend meetings regularly. Ever since that time they have been attending all meetings regularly. In order to be qualified to be baptized they studied diligently. How glad the uncle was to watch them get baptized at a recent circuit assembly.
Not all accept the truth easily. Sometimes it calls for perseverance, patience and tact on the part of the one who witnesses to them. These qualities were required to help a very staunch Hindu family. When Jehovah’s witnesses called at the home of this family consisting of an aunt, two nieces and their children, they used to hide. They thought that Jehovah’s witnesses were a great nuisance. When this family had to move to the city of R———— they thought they would be free from those “Bible preachers,” but little did they know that they were moving closer to the witnesses of Jehovah. In fact, they were sandwiched between two Witness families. When the publisher knew that she had new neighbors she visited them regularly. Every visit was well prepared, and during the course of conversation she would tactfully bring out some information about the new system of things. She did this patiently for some time. One day when the sister told them that one must work for one’s own salvation, that made them think. Being very devoted Hindus, they were making regular visits to their priest, thinking he would be able to help them to get salvation. Another day she told them about the Creator and image worship. This made sense to them. They were invited to an assembly. This was a turning point in their lives. After observing everything at the assembly they said, “We really admire the love and unity of you people.” A home Bible study was started. Ever since that time they have been regular in the ministry and in attending meetings. Though the aunt’s knowledge of the Burmese language is very limited, she attends all meetings regularly, just for the association. This has helped her considerably to improve her language. When the Hindu community learned about all this, they forced these new sisters to attend their religious ceremonies, asked them to bow down to idols and to eat things sacrificed to idols. But how heartwarming it is to know that the sisters, though new in the truth, endured all this faithfully and kept their integrity toward God. Now the aunt, two nieces and the son of the older niece have symbolized their dedication by water baptism. At the time of writing this experience three more daughters of the older niece are now going through the “Lamp” book with their overseer in preparation for baptism. The son is now a pioneer.
We want to thank you and all the brothers who contributed to help the special pioneers to get to the “Peace on Earth” assembly. We also want to thank you and the Society for helping us financially and otherwise regularly.
CANADA Population: 20,791,000
Peak Publishers: 46,808 Ratio: 1 to 444
One noteworthy feature of this year’s activity has been the excellent response to the Kingdom message on the part of many young people who are searching for a purpose in life, including some so-called “hippies” and drug addicts. Certainly we cannot judge young people by their exterior appearance and grooming. Many of them see the hypocrisy of “the Establishment” and seek something better. This was the case with one young man who was searching for something worth while and meaningful in his life. As so many do, he at first thought that the accumulation of material possessions would satisfy him and bring him happiness. Not wanting to take most of his life to accumulate the desired material things, he engaged in thievery and crime to speed up the process, or so he thought. Rather than finding the desired happiness, he soon was arrested by the police and imprisoned, making him all the more bitter and disillusioned. He associated with “hippies” and other young radicals, trying many different kinds of narcotics. While under the influence of LSD, he contemplated suicide and began to lose his mental faculties. Reaching a point of desperation, realizing there was nothing in this world for him, he began to pray to God for help. It was shortly after that when he came into possession of the Truth book. Upon reading it once he knew that he had finally found what he had been searching for. One of Jehovah’s witnesses began a study with him and within six weeks’ time he had enrolled in the Theocratic Ministry School and shared in the field service. He is now a happy, baptized servant of Jehovah God and has found something meaningful and worth while in life. His parents, who had never been to a meeting of Jehovah’s witnesses, attended the baptismal service wherein he was immersed and cried from joy throughout the talk. They just could not get over the fact that their son who had gone so far wrong could be aided by Jehovah’s witnesses to become a real person, one dedicated to the God of the universe. The parents are themselves now studying with Jehovah’s witnesses.
The truth can be found in many unusual places. One young man from an unhappy family background found a discarded copy of The Watchtower in a wastepaper basket at his local post office. He picked it up, began to read it and found that it answered many of his questions. In his own words, “My whole outlook on life now changed and Bible study came to my mind.” He got in touch with one of Jehovah’s witnesses and asked for a home Bible study immediately. Right from the beginning he began to attend congregation meetings, enrolled in the Theocratic Ministry School and soon began enthusiastically to share his newfound faith with others. He courageously spoke to his former Catholic priest personally, tendering his resignation from Babylon the Great, and was baptized at one of the district assemblies this summer.
Especially in view of the battle for true worship waged in the predominately French-speaking province of Quebec in years gone by, the progress of the preaching work there is indeed thrilling. Babylon the Great is definitely losing its influence, many people are disillusioned with false religion, and prospects for continued growth there are excellent. There is favorable publicity. For example, on the occasion of the recent French-speaking district assembly in Sherbrooke, Quebec, at least twelve hours of radio and television time were devoted to Jehovah’s witnesses. One woman heard a radio announcement of a circuit assembly some seventy-five miles away. Although never having been in contact with Jehovah’s witnesses before, she traveled by bus in order to attend it. At the assembly she obtained a copy of the Truth book and a Bible and met a pioneer who agreed to call on her. Arriving for the first Bible study, the pioneer brother found that the man of the house had distributed twenty-six Bibles to other persons in his vicinity who, like himself, were dissatisfied with the church. After the first Bible study the man stopped smoking; after the second study he destroyed all the images in his household and asked for subscriptions for The Watchtower and Awake! After the third study he asked how he could attend congregation meetings, even though they were held twenty-five miles away. In less than five months the man, his wife and their oldest son, aged fifteen, had commenced field service. They have already succeeded in interesting a second couple and their twelve children in the truth, with the second family now studying and attending congregation meetings, even though they have to travel forty-seven miles to do so. The first couple have offered to supply lumber for the construction of a Kingdom Hall in that area and are making progress in the way of the truth. The Kingdom message is penetrating even more isolated areas in Quebec and other parts of the country and fruitage is manifest.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC Population: 2,255,000
Peak Publishers: 1,234 Ratio: 1 to 1,827
Much interest in God’s stable new order has been manifested by the population of this land. Even in faraway places people are inquiring about the new order of things, and many letters have been received asking for information about the Christian activity of Jehovah’s witnesses. Our brothers have really “thrown” themselves into the witness work. As a result of their persistent and continual ministerial activity, the organization of God’s people has become well known and respected. One high government official said: “I am neither Catholic nor Protestant, but if some day I should want to join a religion, I would join Jehovah’s witnesses because they are the only ones really living their religion.”
When special pioneer ministers arrived in their new assignment, they found that the truth of God’s Word had preceded them. Before they could get settled down, crowds came to ask Bible questions, and this continued until late into the night. When the ministers awoke early next morning, they found people waiting outside with many more questions. Their thirst for Bible knowledge is now being satisfied by many home Bible studies.
A man seemed very indifferent to the message of God’s kingdom, saying that all religions were the same, all taught only good things. But one day his child was bitten by a dog owned by the Protestant pastor. When this was drawn to the attention of the pastor, he scoffed and said, in effect, that it was the child’s fault and that it was good that the dog bit him. The father of the child took the matter before the authorities. The pastor was summoned, and when the chef de brigade heard both sides, he turned to the pastor and in an acid voice said to him: “You are supposed to be teaching people to love their neighbors, and here you are acting in such a callous manner! It would be better if all these religions were done away with and only Jehovah’s witnesses remained, because they teach people to do good to one another.” The father of the child hurried home and related to his wife what the chef had said. They agreed to invite Jehovah’s witnesses into their home to help them study the Bible. They now know that all religions are not the same.
When a farmer sows his field he does not know what the yield will be, but he sows in hope. It is the same with the work done by Jehovah’s witnesses. A Witness was preaching the Bible from house to house when he approached a group of men who were talking together. When the man of the house heard a few words he became very angry and rudely ordered the Witness to leave. Very kindly the Witness said good-bye and left, but as he approached the gate he noticed he was being followed by a man who said: “Mister, my brother does not want to hear, but I do. Please sit down here outside my brother’s yard and explain this new order to me. What is it all about?” A lively Bible discussion took place until two fleshly brothers of the man came to listen, including the one who had acted so rudely. Now all three are attending meetings of Jehovah’s witnesses.
The congregation in a rural village was expanding and needed a new Kingdom Hall in which to hold meetings, so they set about clearing a vacant lot and building the hall. All the activity was observed by a neighbor who said nothing until the building was almost completed, at which time he came and told the brothers that the lot belonged to him and that they had no right to build there. In spite of the fact that the chief had given them the lot, it was useless to talk to him and so the brothers very calmly dismantled the hall and set it up again at another spot quite some distance away. The neighbor saw how everything was done in such a quiet and peaceful manner, and then began asking himself why he had been so unreasonable with those humble people. He thought about that for some time and then thought it would be a good thing to find out what made these people so different. One day he asked a Witness some Bible questions and then a study was begun in his home. The Bible truths that made the Witnesses so calm and peaceful soon changed him also and he began attending meetings at the Kingdom Hall. Now he regrets that he had been so hasty in sending the brothers so far away—it is a long walk to the Kingdom Hall.
TCHAD Population: 2,700,000
Peak Publishers: 54 Ratio: 1 to 50,000
In Tchad we have heard a “joyful noise” this past year. Jehovah continues to bless his witnesses here. He has been kind by giving us more full-time ministers, including four missionaries to seek out the honest-hearted people, in this vast territory, and so, little by little, Jehovah’s name is being proclaimed in this country also.
The truth of God’s Word is very powerful and able to transform the lives of sincere persons who desire to serve God. A man much given to the abuse of alcohol and having other bad habits obtained a Truth, book from one of Jehovah’s witnesses. He knew that what he read was the truth and he wanted to walk the road to eternal life. Great changes came over him. His filthy habits disappeared when he grasped the meaning of 1 Corinthians 10:31, 33. Jehovah heard his sincere prayer for guidance and he received the strength to do God’s will in spite of very great opposition. He now knew that the gods made by man’s hands have no power to impart to those desiring to serve the true God. So he gathered all his fetishes and other false religious objects, poured gasoline over them and burned them to cinders in the presence of his former religious acquaintances. He is now helping other honest-hearted ones to change their lives also.
CEYLON Population: 12,490,000
Peak Publishers: 292 Ratio: 1 to 42,774
Jehovah’s people here have enjoyed many blessings during the year, resulting in some fine increases. Further growth to maturity on the part of many publishers has contributed much toward this. All are grateful for the smaller bound books to use in the ministry, as these are within the monetary reach of even the poor, and many busy people feel that they can find time to read one.
Using the Truth book in the vacation pioneer ministry can be rewarding, as this experience shows. “While vacation pioneering this year my wife visited a Catholic person who had subscribed for one of our magazines while we were pioneering last year. She was pleased to take the Truth book. The next week we called back with the intention of starting a study. Imagine our surprise when she told us that she had removed all the images and put out the permanent altar light. She said she could not at first believe what the Truth book said about images. So she got out her own Bible, which she had received at her wedding nine years ago, and read it for the first time, to see if the scriptures quoted in the section ‘Worshiping God with “Spirit and Truth”’ were really in her Bible. Finding that they were and that the Bible condemned the worship of images and pictures, she removed them all before we were able to call back. Certainly the Word of God exerts power.”
Do angels direct us to certain homes? “One morning while working from house to house I saw a house across the road and decided I would go to it. I met a lady who listened very carefully to my sermon and readily subscribed for The Watchtower. She told me that her mother had recently died, so I helped her to draw comfort from God’s Word, using chapters four and five in the Truth book. This resulted in a study’s being started right then and it has progressed very well. In just two months, although semiparalyzed on one side, she attends the meetings at the Kingdom Hall, has enrolled in the Theocratic Ministry School and has commenced discussing her new faith with others. Later it was learned that, in addition to losing her mother, she had been abandoned by her husband after she had the stroke which left her afflicted. In her distress she kept inclining her heart to God, whom she did not at that time know was Jehovah. In sincerity and ignorance she was seeking redress through ‘Saint Jude.’ At the very first study she said she recognized the truth and knew that help had come to her in her adversity. Within a few days she got rid of ‘Saint Jude’ and found succor in the name of Jehovah, which is a strong tower into which the righteous run and find protection. It was as though an angel had directed me to this home. I thanked Jehovah for this.”
Being a clergyman’s son is one thing, knowing the Bible another, as this experience shows: “Going from door to door, I met a Tamil Hindu lady who is married to a Methodist minister’s son. As she did not understand English very well, she asked me to call back when her husband would be at home one evening. I did this and explained to him that my purpose in calling was to encourage Bible reading. Before I could read a verse, he interrupted, saying: ‘Do you know to whom you are trying to teach the Bible? I’m a minister’s son and know the Bible well, so why don’t you go and teach people who do not know it?’ I explained that I had visited all the homes and so came to visit him also. I asked if he had a Bible. He said he did and brought his Tamil Bible. I asked him if he knew God’s name. He said: ‘Jesus.’ I explained that that was His Son’s name. There was a silence and I knew he was feeling embarrassed because he could not answer and because his wife and six children were there too. As there was no reply I asked him to turn in his Bible to Exodus 6:3. To my surprise he did not know where to find Exodus in the Bible. So I helped him, and there he learned that God’s name is Jehovah. Then I helped him to find Romans 10:13, 14 and asked his wife to read these verses. He then said, ‘I’m not capable of handling the Bible as you do.’ I explained that sometime ago I was just the same as he was and that one of Jehovah’s witnesses helped me to learn the good things in the Bible and that now I would like to help him and his family to study the Bible. He took the Truth book in Tamil and a study was arranged. We are now in the second chapter, with the wife and children reading the paragraphs in Tamil, while he reads them in English. They enjoy the study very much and look forward to attending meetings soon.”
The Word of God is powerful in overturning strongly entrenched false teachings. A case in point: A brother had been asked to call on a young student who wanted to disprove the beliefs of the Witnesses. This young man was the eldest son in a Catholic family. The brother called regularly but was unable to get a study started because of the many questions propounded. The brother kept using the Bible to answer all the questions. Gradually the young man’s attitude began to change as he came to realize that the church’s teaching was at odds with the Bible. Now he started explaining the Scriptures to his mother and brothers, who strongly opposed him. As soon as the Truth book was received a study was started, and as it progressed other members of the family joined in. Soon they began to see the truth and subsequently severed connections with the church. In the meantime the young man attended a circuit assembly and was so enthusiastic about it that he started to tell the good news publicly. Issues arose at the Catholic school that his sisters were attending and they were asked to leave. This they did, and now they go to a government school. Six members of the family are now regular in attending all meetings and are zealous in the ministry. This young man, now baptized, gave up a bright career in athletics, being a public school champion, and is now in the ‘race for life.’ What a change knowledge of God’s Word has made in this family!
CHILE Population: 10,000,000
Peak Publishers: 7,422 Ratio: 1 to 1,347
The past service year has demonstrated to us the truthfulness of the words of Zechariah 4:6: “‘Not by a military force, nor by power, but by my spirit,’ Jehovah of armies has said.” We began the building of the new branch office at the beginning of the service year. Our national assembly followed in November with 10,790 in attendance and 1,371 persons baptized. This is twice as many as had been baptized during the entire previous service year! April saw 19,850 at the Memorial and we attained a new peak of publishers, with a 25-percent increase. The spirit of Jehovah surely is hastening the gathering of the humble ones.
Incidental witnessing continues to play an important part in spreading the good news. For example, a brother took the opportunity to talk to a businessman, placing the Truth book with him. Shortly thereafter the six-year-old son of the businessman died. He found a great deal of comfort and solace in the Truth book. Immediately he got in touch with the brother, asking him for all the books of the Society and also for a personal home Bible study. He has since placed sixty books with his friends and relatives. Now he, and the five members of his family, are attending all the meetings and they look forward to the day when they will see their little one resurrected and reunited with them. How good it is to talk the truth on every occasion; it may mean life to someone!
How important is the Bible study work? Let this experience help all to appreciate its worth. The publishers in one territory. never could get anyone to come to the door of a certain home but faithfully they kept trying. Finally they met an elderly lady and her daughter who listened attentively and showed much interest. The daughter was a very sick woman who suffered as many as thirty attacks of epilepsy each week and had spent all her savings on trying to find a remedy, but with no success. A Bible study was started with them, and instantly a loud clamoring noise was heard and thereafter a shadow constantly harassed the mother and daughter. The alert publisher carefully explained the source of these problems, using many texts and illustrations to show that they were under attack of the demons. The studies were continued and the noise disappeared as well as the other harassment. One month later the attacks of what they thought was epilepsy also disappeared and they were able to attend meetings. Joyously they attended their first assembly from morning until night, although previously the daughter had not been able to leave the house to go to the corner store in order to do the shopping. Now they cannot stop speaking to their relatives and friends of the marvels of the spirit of Jehovah. They are so grateful for their Bible study, which has helped them to be freed from the enslaving power of the god of this system of things.
Another special pioneer reports the following: “When working from house to house in an unassigned territory we placed a number of Truth books. One lady, Mrs. A————, showed outstanding interest and we immediately started a Bible study with her. She wanted to know how many of her neighbors had likewise taken literature, as she desired to visit and help them also to study. During the week she now visits these neighbors and shows them how to find answers in the paragraphs, even helping them to underline the points. When we arrive for the studies we just conduct a review of the material.
“When we concluded chapter three of the Truth book with Mrs. A———— she destroyed all the religious relics in the house except those of her husband. That night her husband, whom we knew as a mild, humble person, came under demon attack. He returned home late armed with a revolver and accused his wife of deceiving him and threatened to kill her. Fortunately, she was able to reason with him for a short period, but finally, he was filled with an uncontrollable rage and stormed out of the house like a madman. She and her thirteen-year-old daughter began to pray to Jehovah for help. Remembering the points from the Bible study about the attacks of the demons, she determined that her problem rested with the undestroyed religious pictures that were her husband’s. Thereafter, she and her daughter took an ax to them and burned them. She stated that she then felt real contentment and was ready to face her husband. Later he returned home and as he entered she boldly explained what she had done and why. Her husband was very repentant over what had happened, and when the pioneer came for the next study he said: ‘The day is not far off when I also will have your faith.’ Their home is now used to gather the local people together, and shortly we hope to be able to form an isolated group of publishers there. The special pioneer reports: ‘How thankful we are for the privilege of sharing in the Bible study work with the marvelous aid of the Truth book.’”
In the closing days of this service year we moved into our new, spacious branch home. There is still much to do to finish the building, and the missionaries and other brothers are joyously working on it. The spirit of the Chilean brothers with regard to the building of this new branch home is well illustrated in the following letter: “There is a fine family in my congregation with twelve children. When they learned that they had the privilege of sharing in the purchasing of material for the new branch they wanted to send a contribution to you. Here we have just had our season of blackberries. For almost a month the sister with her twelve children went out almost every day to pick this wild fruit in order to sell it. They have now finished their work and have charged me with the privilege of sending you a check for the sum of E°99,41 ($7.00). The oldest is seventeen years of age and the youngest is two years of age.”
COLOMBIA Population: 21,400,000
Peak Publishers: 7,083 Ratio: 1 to 3,021
As another joyous service year comes to a close we find the publishers throughout Colombia bubbling over with enthusiasm. As the work expands it is amazing to see the interest springing up all over the country, in cities and villages heretofore considered fanatical. City officials seem willing to cooperate in providing us with suitable facilities for our assemblies. There seems to be a “literature explosion” as the books are shipped out from the branch in ever-increasing quantities. Just two years ago the shipping handled by this branch was averaging 6,000 books and Bibles a month. Now the average shipped out is 16,000 monthly.
A circuit servant in Bogotá reported 190 books placed in July. Explaining his high placements, he wrote: “It was magazine day and at a school I placed two magazines and an Evolution book with one of the professors. He invited me to return on Monday to speak to the other professors. Upon returning I talked to the director of the school, who was pleased to obtain the Evolution book, at the same time giving me permission to visit the classrooms to offer the book to the students. In the first classroom I visited, the twenty books I had with me evaporated. Hence I had to return the following day, when forty-five more books rapidly vanished. Upon my entering one classroom the professor, upon seeing the book, commented happily: ‘At last I’ve got my copy. I was afraid that I would be left out.’ On subsequent visits that week it was possible to satisfy the demand for literature on the part of professors and students, resulting in the placement of 133 Evolution books in that one school.” At another school the circuit servant’s wife placed forty-two Evolution books.
A circuit servant reported how a woman, prominent in social circles, became a Witness. About five years ago her only son and his wife were murdered in front of her house when they resisted an apparent kidnap attempt. Under pressure of the circumstances and with selfish people taking advantage of the situation this woman lost most of her wealth and property. Fortune-tellers and spirit mediums not only failed to help but actually made her financial situation worse. Then she saw her nephew straighten up, abandon some unchristian habits including heavy drinking, and within a short time dedicate his life to Jehovah, to the joy of his wife, who already was a Witness. Lengthy visits on the part of her nephew plus his positive action for pure worship resulted in this woman’s accepting a home Bible study. Down came all the objects of false worship in her large house. When she tired of breaking them in pieces she asked her nephew to help her finish the job. At seventy-one years of age she was baptized at a district assembly in August and opened her house for rooming accommodations for eighty persons attending the assembly. Such is typical of the class of people starting to accept the truth all over the country.
Christian conduct at assemblies attracts the attention of worldly people. In Corozal, a fanatical village that softened up under the regular preaching activity of the Witnesses, a circuit assembly was held. An interested person, who agreed to provide rooming accommodations for twenty-six women and their children, was impressed when an eight-year-old son of one of the Witnesses was seen going around the patio asking who had lost a 100-peso bill. None of the witnesses would accept the money, as they had not lost any. The man was pleased to have the money get back to its rightful owner, his own wife, who had lost it the day before. In addition to the honesty of the Witnesses, he noticed that the children ate their meals quietly and orderly, in contrast with the constant fighting of his own children. He is now taking steps to legalize his marriage and participate in the ministry.
CONGO PEOPLES’ REPUBLIC (Brazzaville) Population: 900,000
Peak Publishers: 1,595 Ratio: 1 to 564
The branch in Brazzaville looks after the work in the Peoples’ Republic of the Congo as well as the theocratic activity in Gabon.
It is encouraging to see that young ones are appreciating more and more Kingdom privileges. A four-and-a-half-year-old girl invited neighborhood children to attend the Memorial celebration. The rendezvous was her home, and right on time five youngsters appeared to go with her to the Memorial. Her ten-year-old brother, who had symbolized his dedication by water immersion last December, vacation pioneered in March during school vacation. Great was his joy when he organized three Bible studies of his own. Thereafter, showing the pioneer spirit that he had cultivated in his heart, he decided to pioneer again from July 1 to September 15, 1970. Also, his fifteen-year-old sister enjoys vacation pioneering during her school vacation. Why is there such a fine Kingdom service spirit shown by these children? It is because their parents have always manifested appreciation and zeal for Jehovah’s service, particularly the pioneer work. When their father was laid off work because his employer had returned permanently to France, he and his wife organized a small business of making children’s clothes. With the excellent cooperation of his wife and all his children, he has been able to sell these attractive homemade items at the local market part time, thus caring for his family’s needs, as well as being a regular pioneer for the past three years.
A young vacation pioneer encountered a Catholic priest. When he corrected the priest by saying that Jesus was the “Son” of God and not a “God” equal to his Father, the priest called him a liar. “If you believe that Jesus was God,” the young minister replied, “then you are a greater liar than the Devil.” “Why?” demanded the priest. Calmly, the pioneer opened his Bible and asked the priest to read the words in Luke 4:3, which read: “If you are a son of God, tell . . .” The pioneer then added: “Satan did not say: ‘If you are God,’ because Satan knew that Jesus is the ‘Son’ of God.” The priest abashed, with head lowered, left the scene, while his flock ridiculed him.
GABON Population: 600,000
Peak Publishers: 302 Ratio: 1 to 1,987
For the first eight months of the service year the preaching of the good news in Gabon moved ahead freely. The six missionaries in Libreville were happy to find many persons throughout the territory showing a real love for righteousness and a desire to study the Bible. For more than a year Jehovah’s witnesses enjoyed the privilege of broadcasting over the radio every Sunday. Many Gabonese told of their appreciation for these enlightening Bible discussions and requested a discussion of the Bible with the missionaries after hearing these broadcasts.
The report of service for October showed 258 sharing in the ministry. Over twenty were able to travel to Cameroon to enjoy the national assembly held there in December. January and February again brought new peaks in publishers. A circuit assembly was held in Port Gentil during February, and the brand-new Kingdom Hall of the local congregation was the site of the gathering. April saw another peak of 302 sharing in the ministry in this little West African country.
Then suddenly, without warning and with no apparent reason, a ban on the work of Jehovah’s witnesses was announced by Radio Gabon on April 30, 1970. The Christian educational work that had been legalized by government decree on June 16, 1964, was now declared illegal. On June 26 a political meeting presided over by the president of the country confirmed that the ban on Jehovah’s witnesses would continue in effect and the Minister of the Interior was instructed to expel immediately all foreigners who were Jehovah’s witnesses. As a result the six missionary graduates of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead were told to leave the country. Almost simultaneously the governments of Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea took similar action, with Malagasy following their lead. None of the Witnesses in any of these lands had ever been brought before court for any wrongdoing, but now their work was to be stopped, foreigners expelled and freedom of worship denied. It is just as Jesus foretold in his prophecy concerning the “last days”: “You will be objects of hatred by all the nations on account of my name.”—Matt. 24:9.
One of the policemen who served the missionaries with a summons to receive a notice of expulsion, and who had studied with them from the Bible previously, understandingly quoted Jesus’ words at John 15:20: “If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you also; if they have observed my word, they will observe yours also.” At the airport many brothers and sisters who had been helped to maturity by the zealous efforts of the missionary group came to bid them good-bye, not being fearful that some would see them and identify them with Jehovah’s people.
Has the ban stopped the preaching of the good news in Gabon? Not at all. In May two special pioneers surpassed their goals in hours and back-calls. As one said: “The work is going ahead despite the decree of the modern Ahab. Since the ban we find more hearing ears and we are conducting more studies.” However three full-time ministers were arrested on June 24. When asked to sign a declaration saying that they would stop preaching, they refused, having in mind the apostolic example as recorded at Acts 4:20: “As for us, we cannot stop speaking about the things we have seen and heard.” While still in prison waiting for a court hearing, they were able to conduct three Bible studies with prisoners. So the work continues, and we are sure that Jehovah’s blessing will be with the brothers in their fearless efforts to continue sharing with others the good news of Jehovah’s heavenly kingdom.
CONGO (Kinshasa) Population: 21,637,876
Peak Publishers: 15,401 Ratio: 1 to 1,405
Jehovah’s witnesses in the Congo enjoyed a fine year of activity in 1970. They were busy as never before. It is not easy to reach people scattered over thousands of square miles of equatorial regions. Nor is it easy to make their minds over when they are entrenched in the customs and practices of their ancestors. However, “the word of God is alive and exerts power,” and gradually more and more people in the Congo are being reached and influenced by its powerful message. (Heb. 4:12) They are making great changes in their lives as gradually God’s Word helps make their minds over.—Rom. 12:2.
In some parts of the country, polygamy is accepted and those that practice it feel a certain sense of power, pride and prestige. It requires a difficult decision to push it aside in favor of God’s Word. Some, however, are heeding the principles of the Bible and are making the necessary changes to conform with true worship, as did one polygamist from the center of the country. He was a practicing Catholic, but at the same time possessed three wives. A Bible study was started with him, and shortly after this he dismissed one of his wives. The study continued, and from time to time the two remaining wives would sit in and listen. Then the pressure started to mount against him. His fellow workers began to ridicule him and accuse him of breaking the customs of his ancestors. The brothers faithfully helped him to make his mind over and he started to attend meetings. This continued for some time. He liked the Word of God very much, but he loved his two wives too, and his children by both of them. Finally, at one of the studies the brother studying with him made clear that this was the last time he would be calling by. “Either you live for the new order or continue your polygamy and go down with the old system of things.” The brother left, with a friendly farewell. No more Bible studies! The thought struck at the man, for he had enjoyed the studies. What was he to do? The very next morning he called his two wives together, discussing openly the problem with them and the need to be found pleasing in God’s sight. The younger of the two women agreed to go back to her native village and practice the Word of Jehovah there. On the day of her departure they all wept bitterly, for they were very fond of one another. However, they appreciated that what counted was to be pleasing in God’s sight. The man has now dedicated his life to Jehovah and symbolized it by water immersion and his legal wife intends to follow his example shortly. The transforming power of God’s Word has helped another couple to follow the path that leads to eternal life.
Assemblies have played a large role in helping people to learn the truth. We should never think that children are too young or too small to learn from them. The children from one congregation were disappointed after their circuit assembly because they were not able to participate more fully. They wanted to give talks, but they were too small. They wanted to work in the cafeteria, but they were too small. All they could do was sit and listen. So they decided to organize their own circuit assembly. Since the big one lasted three days, they arranged a program for three days too. People were invited to the big one by publishers going from door to door. So these children went from door to door inviting all the youngsters in the neighborhood. At the big one there was a cafeteria, so they too brought food from their homes and the sister in whose yard they had the assembly helped to supervise the preparing of it. On the final day of the assembly it was a pioneer’s little son who gave the public talk. More than sixty-five children attended, and many grown-ups stopped to listen and watch as they passed by.
COSTA RICA Population: 1,724,768
Peak Publishers: 3,123 Ratio: 1 to 552
Last March, to our joy, we had over 3,000 publishers. Since then two more new peaks have been reached, and the total publishers has not dropped below 3,000 since then. We are confident that there are still “sheep” in this Catholic land.
A family man has been reading The Watchtower and Awake! for several years now, but, due to his medical profession, he had doubts as to whether the Bible really is the word of God. Things changed when a sister placed the book Is the Bible Really the Word of God? with him. It removed all doubts from his mind as to the reliability and inspiration of the Bible. He and two daughters began to study. Soon other family members joined the study, including his seventy-year-old mother, who had always been a very staunch Catholic. Religious images and pictures disappeared from the walls and Bible texts appeared in their place, one of which was Joshua 24:15: “As for me and my household, we shall serve Jehovah.” Now ten members of the family regularly attend meetings, five share in the ministry and others plan to begin soon. Three desire to be baptized at the next circuit assembly. All this progress in just four months.
Serving where the need for mature brothers is greater can really be a joy, and many blessings await those who can do so. Three families, with a total of seven publishers, came to Costa Rica and were invited to work in a small town just four miles from the capital. Here special pioneers had done fine work, but, due to a lack of mature male publishers to take oversight, a congregation could not be formed. Nine publishers, on the average, were reporting when the brothers arrived. With the help of fourteen publishers from a nearby congregation, a congregation was formed four months after their arrival, and now fifty publishers report, with as many as eighty-five at the meetings.
With an attendance of 8,338 at the Memorial last year, which is 5,215 more than the peak number of publishers, we in Costa Rica indeed look forward to aiding more of the “sheep” to flee from Babylon the Great.
The publishers of the good news in Cuba have certainly been showing the truthfulness of the words of James, when he said, “Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you meet with various trials, knowing as you do that this tested quality of your faith works out endurance.” (Jas. 1:2, 3) So, despite continuing strong opposition to the work, the brothers have had much joy as sheeplike ones continue to be found.
One brother reports that he started a study with a man who was a member of the Masonic Lodge. However, he showed deep interest in study of the Bible, and after just four months of study he wrote the following letter to the secretary of the Lodge:
“I respectfully make known to you a request which I am sure you will agree to when you know my motive. For the past few months I have been studying the Bible, the Word of God, to fill a spiritual need in my life. This has been possible with the help of those world-renowned students of the Bible known in 200 lands as Jehovah’s witnesses.
“I tried to find the truth in various religious organizations but can now see that they did not have it. Then I became a member of Freemasonry in the belief that thereby I could fill the need of every human to worship a Supreme Being that some call the Great Architect of the Universe. The Bible identifies him as Jehovah in Psalm 83:18 and also at Isaiah 42:8, which says, ‘I am Jehovah. That is my name; and to no one else shall I give my own glory, neither my praise to graven images.’
“In Freemasonry I found very good friends and sincere persons, but I did not find there the truth that I looked for. I have really found it among Jehovah’s witnesses.
“I have learned from the Bible that this wicked world together with all its religious and political organizations will be destroyed at the coming battle of God. Revelation 18:4 says, ‘And I heard another voice out of heaven say: “Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues.”’ The Bible shows that Babylon the Great represents the false religious organizations and says they will be destroyed. So why remain within them?
“This is the reason for my request to be taken off the list of members of the Masonic Lodge. From now on I am one of Jehovah’s witnesses and I will be attending the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s witnesses in order to study more deeply the Bible and be able to bring this knowledge to persons seeking the truth. Yours truly.”
Now this man, along with his wife and two daughters, has left Babylon the Great and is preparing to be baptized.
Two sisters were put in prison for six months for preaching the good news from house to house. They were told that they would receive no mail or visitors unless they changed their attitude. On one occasion they were beaten by women prisoners at the instigation of the guards and one of the sisters had to be taken to a doctor because of her wounds. However, their faith was not shaken and they continued to hold fast to their integrity as faithful witnesses of Jehovah.
On another occasion three brothers were put in prison after their homes were raided by officials on April 29 and 30, 1969. In each case all their literature regarding the Bible was taken, also other things, including money, two typewriters, a searchlight and even a motorcycle. The charge was having illegal meetings, and two of them were punished with six months in prison. However, the brothers were not discouraged by this. On the contrary they felt it was a privilege from Jehovah for them and they showed this by preaching and meeting together while in prison. In fact, they had the joy of helping many of the prisoners to know the truth, and by their conduct they set a good example as Christian witnesses of Jehovah.
Another brother said that his ten months in prison was an assignment from Jehovah to preach the good news both to the prisoners and to the jailers. All of them came to know about his position as a Christian and the hope he had, because he did not stop preaching. The witness increased when four other brothers who were brought there joined him, along with a prisoner who had taken his stand on the side of the truth. Because of this intensive witnessing they were finally separated from the other prisoners as “undesirables.” But the sheeplike ones did not feel that way, and two prisoners with whom they had been studying the Bible asked the guards for permission to stay with the brothers, saying that they too were Witnesses.
CYPRUS Population: 622,000
Peak Publishers: 562 Ratio: 1 to 1,107
At the beginning of the service year eight of our young brothers were expelled from a high school advocating the Presbyterian faith because the children did not want to attend chapel services. The parents wrote to the school authorities through a lawyer, but the school was intolerant. They not only expelled the children but also published and circulated in Nicosia, the capital, a leaflet against us. By doing so, once again a Protestant body sided with the Orthodox Catholic religion against Jehovah’s witnesses. The Orthodox church circulated a leaflet against us too, warning the “faithful” not to listen to us. The leaflet says that Jehovah’s witnesses are well dressed and very polite but “with their politeness carry along the deception. They want to lure by it the logical sheep of Christ.” The leaflet says: “But since we have the truth why don’t we discuss it with them to prove to them that they are wrong? This is a good question. We must do that. We must discuss with them however when we possess the truth. And we must confess that many among us don’t know the truths of our faith. Many among us don’t have the Holy Bible in our homes. Many among us have not read the Holy Bible and if we discuss things with them when we don’t know what we believe, our faith is going to be shaken.”
We have managed to build Kingdom Halls in nearly all the cities of Cyprus and a four-story building in Nicosia that we use as Bethel, branch office of the Society and Kingdom Hall for one of the units.
A missionary sister reported the following experience: “I placed the Truth book with a young woman just before Xmas. When I called a week later her first words were, ‘I read through the book five times and I agree with everything it says and I didn’t celebrate Xmas although everybody in the house did.’ A study was started right away, and then the following week I was introduced to her sister, who was curious to know what had come over her sister. She showed good interest and a study was started with her also. They were both good readers and in a short time they got and read nearly all the Society’s publications. Very soon they were attending meetings, and in February they came out with me in the field ministry. In the meantime they lengthened their miniskirts, and their conduct changed so much that other relatives of theirs noticed. Their father said: ‘I am surprised and happy at their change. I couldn’t do it. I am glad now that they believe in God.’”
A young sister reported to us the following experience: “The teacher called some of us children in front and told us: ‘Jesus Christ is the Son of God, he is our Savior, he was sent by God. We must believe in him.’ We knew that the teacher believed in the trinity, so we asked him, ‘Can you tell us please what you mean by the Son of God?’ He said, ‘I mean that Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit are one, as in Matthew 28:19, 20.’ We answered that this scripture refers to three distinct things and does not support what he said. We showed him John 14:28, which proves that the Father is greater than the Son, also we pointed out to him that, if Jesus were God, he could not have died and, if he did die, it was a wonderful chance for the Devil to rule. We showed him in 1 Corinthians 11:3 that God is the head of Christ. He could not say anything and so found an opportunity and rushed out, saying he was too busy.”
DAHOMEY Population: 2,400,000
Peak Publishers: 1,807 Ratio: 1 to 1,328
Because of the work and conduct of Jehovah’s witnesses they are being recognized more and more as a people different from those of this old system of things. So, many are now saying in effect, “We will go with you people, for we have heard that God is with you people.” (Zech. 8:23) The following experiences show why the people here are finding Jehovah’s witnesses different and the reason many are saying, “We will go with you.”
One brother tells about calling upon a sincere Catholic. The man told the brother, “I have always wanted to read the Bible, but there is no one to help me.” The brother responded that he would be happy to help him read his Bible. To this the man agreed, but only after making it clear that he would never change his religion. The study progressed, and the man was greatly surprised at the interest the brother took in helping him to read and understand, something the church had never done for him, as he later said. He was so thrilled at the prospect of actually reading the Bible that he made fast progress. In just a few months he could begin to read by himself. But studying the Bible had already been making some other changes in his thinking, as he began to appreciate the truths it contained. The truths of the Kingdom gave him much joy. Now, after just a few months, he has begun sharing in making disciples too. The brother writes, “There is just no greater joy than that experienced in aiding those seeking to know Jehovah.”
Adherence to Bible principles is attracting many honest-hearted ones to decide to “go with” Jehovah’s people. A brother who works for one of the better-class hotels found $1,600.00 in the pockets of some pants given him to take to the cleaners by one of the guests of the hotel. This brother had been dedicated only a short while but he had just studied an article in The Watchtower on honesty and was determined to follow the Bible’s counsel. He reported the money to the man in charge at the desk. When the man saw all the money he said to the brother: “Let us keep the money and say nothing to anyone.” The brother said he could not do that as he was a Christian and one of Jehovah’s witnesses. “But,” protested the head clerk, “I too am a Christian and I go to the Catholic church regularly. I do not see anything wrong in taking it, as the man has lost the money.” The brother then took the money to the owner of the hotel, who put it into the safe. Sometime later the guest returned to the hotel to search for his money. Not finding it in his room, he became greatly distressed and went to the hotel owner, explaining that he had lost all of his money and had nothing left to pay his bills, having only his air ticket back to France. The owner assured him that his money was not lost and went to his safe and returned it to the guest. On receiving back his money the guest wished to know who it was that had found it and, on learning that it was just one of the workers in the hotel, asked to see him. When the brother was brought in, the guest asked him what it was that had motivated him to return the money. The brother then explained that he is one of Jehovah’s witnesses and that he wished to follow the good counsel of the Bible. The guest was much impressed and said: ‘I know Jehovah’s witnesses are good people and when I return to France I am surely going to look them up, because I want to know more about them.’ On leaving the hotel he called the brother and gave him $40.00 in appreciation of his honesty. Even the hotel manager, who said he formerly had no time for Jehovah’s witnesses, now said he was glad to have one of them working for him. Truly, honesty is a fine Christian quality and it is expected that many more—perhaps even the guest of the hotel—will be attracted to Jehovah’s people because these display such godly qualities.
Such changes in the lives of people who are making their minds over in order to live in God’s new order do not go unnoticed by honest-hearted people, wherever or whatever they are. Recently the overseer of a congregation told of ten people coming to their congregation because of wanting to be with those whom ‘God is with.’ What caused them to do so, and all at the same time? Let the overseer tell us. “These people had been watching Jehovah’s witnesses go about their work of making disciples for some time. Finally, four of them demanded of their local pastor that they also be taught to preach, the same as Jehovah’s witnesses do. The local pastor found their questions too difficult to deal with, so he appealed to the head pastor from a nearby large town to come and help him. When the head pastor arrived he called a meeting of all the congregation, that the matter might be settled. These four persons again stressed the need of the church to preach from door to door as Jehovah’s witnesses do. The pastor agreed that this was in harmony with the Bible so they could do so. This answer did not satisfy the four, but they demanded that he come with them and teach them to do door-to-door preaching just the same as Jehovah’s witnesses do. At this the pastor became very irritated and said: ‘Let us waste no more time on this matter, but let those who want to follow Jehovah’s witnesses raise their hands.’ Four persons then raised their hands. The pastor demanded that these four have their names taken off the church roll. When he said this, a loud voice in the rear of the church was heard saying, ‘And remove our names too.’ Six more then joined the four, and all ten are now attending the meetings of Jehovah’s witnesses with a view to learning to make disciples.” Yes, these have said, ‘We want to go with you, because they have seen that God is truly with his people.
DENMARK Population: 4,905,822
Peak Publishers: 12,569 Ratio: 1 to 390
The important work of making disciples is moving ahead in Denmark. World conditions are causing many people to wake up and ask questions, and the clear, understandable expressions of truth in our magazines and newer books are answering these questions.
Many of the new ones learning the truth have special “fishing” grounds in which to put down their nets, namely, their circle of relatives and friends. Last year at our international assembly in Copenhagen a man and wife came in to hear the public talk. The wife had heard a little about the truth twenty years ago, but the husband never had listened. By the end of the public talk they were sure this was the truth, and a Bible study was arranged following the assembly. Within two months they were sharing in the preaching work and not long afterward had progressed to dedication and baptism. Their first thoughts were for their family. They traveled to Italy to visit their daughter and son-in-law, and a study was started with them. Also a study has been started with their son, who has by now progressed to the point of sharing in house-to-house witnessing. The couple also started a study with the woman living next door.
During the April campaign a year ago a publisher went to a factory and asked to speak with the owner. The man called down from his office: “Who is it?” When told, he replied: “Good. I have waited a long time for your visit. But put your magazines down there, I am very busy today. Come again another day!” The next time he was very busy too but took the latest magazines and arrangements were made to call at his home on a certain evening. This time the man had guests but took the ‘Impossible to Lie’ book and the latest magazines and arranged for another call. On this particular evening our publisher was not feeling too well and thought there was not much use to go anyway, but with encouragement from his wife they made the call and the factory owner was waiting for them. After a fine discussion he invited them back to tell his wife these good things and soon a study was started, continuing in the Truth book when it came.
These sincere people began to talk to all their friends and relatives about what they were learning, giving Truth books and subscriptions to their friends. Soon the foreman of the factory became interested and attended the study. The foreman’s wife was somewhat against this, but soon she was reading in the Bible that the factory owner’s wife had given her husband and checking the scriptures from Sermon Outlines in the back of the Bible, and the entire family of four began to attend this study. They began to attend congregation meetings regularly also. Even the six-year-old daughter in this new family witnesses to playmates with the help of the Paradise book. When the grandmother wrote to the family saying that it was a shame that the children would be Jehovah’s witnesses, the young son, who has begun to attend school, said: “What a pity for grandmother that she doesn’t know what is in the Bible!” The foreman and his wife have already started a Bible study with a family of six who also immediately began to attend the Theocratic Ministry School regularly because they wanted to get this special study of the Bible.
In the meantime the factory owner’s son-in-law has attended the study, and this man hopes to interest his wife (the factory owner’s daughter) because, as he says, “Our children are already Witnesses.” That is because the factory owner and his wife pray every evening with their grandchildren, ages 5 and 7, and these youngsters now pray that their father and mother will also come into God’s new order. The factory owner has witnessed to a business associate, and another study is thus on the way. All this happened before this man was baptized. He and his wife and his foreman and his wife were all four baptized at the “Men of Goodwill” District Assembly in July. In all, some twenty-one persons are now studying and attending meetings because of this first call on the factory owner.
A young couple used to attend church but felt the lack of Christian fellowship. They asked their minister for counsel and he said he did not know what to do for them. He told them that if they had been sick or dying he could read a scripture, but they were neither. He said they could take comfort in the thought that they were going in the right direction, and, of course, they could always go to church. They did this but got no comfort. Then a young Witness called on the wife, who accepted two magazines but would not accept the Truth book. A back-call was quickly made and the woman accepted the Truth book and said she would consider a study. On the third call no one was at home, and on the fourth call the woman had guests. Before the publisher managed a fifth call the young woman visited the publisher in her home and said that she and her husband had talked it over and would like a discussion of the Bible. The publisher brought her husband along and a study was started. Two days later the entire family of four attended the public talk, stayed for the Watchtower study and really enjoyed Christian fellowship, and the following Tuesday the wife attended the congregation book study. The husband by this time had read the Truth book through and wanted the ‘Impossible to Lie’ book. They soon removed from their home everything connected with false religion, withdrew from the church and have begun to witness to relatives and friends.
The outstanding feature of the year was the “Men of Goodwill” District Assemblies. Everywhere these assemblies seemed to be especially blessed with God’s goodwill. There seemed to be a greater awareness of our assembly in each city and a more friendly and helpful cooperation than we have ever experienced. As always, the program was the finest, every talk, demonstration and drama a treasure of serious, loving and upbuilding thoughts. Truly, much thought had been put into the outlines and manuscripts. After the Saturday program on helping the young, one overseer exclaimed: “This drama alone is proof that the ‘slave’ is both faithful and wise,” and that expresses the thinking of all who were present.
FAROE ISLANDS Population: 38,528
Peak Publishers: 55 Ratio: 1 to 701
The work is moving ahead on the Faroe Islands, with most of the islands and villages being visited regularly and newly interested ones being cared for. The islands have been a religious stronghold, but the churches’ weakening hold on the people is also manifest up here, and there is more interest being shown in the truth.
One family of Adventists had obtained the Paradise book and some magazines, but the same day the minister visited them and insisted that they return these to the publishers at the next visit, which was also done. The publisher continued to make regular calls, always having something interesting to discuss about Bible truth. One day the man of the house exclaimed: “Oh, how I have regretted many times that I returned that book to you! Do you think I could get one again?” Of course he could, and also the Truth book, and after a few more back-calls a study was started with the entire family, including three children. The entire family attended the Memorial and have been regular at meetings since. The father is enrolled in the Theocratic Ministry School and uses every opportunity to witness to his fellow workers.
A young Faroe Island girl living and working in Denmark planned to visit her mother up on the Faroe Islands. She knew her mother was becoming interested in Jehovah’s witnesses but determined that she herself would never become one, and when the publishers called for the Bible study with her mother, the daughter disappeared. The next time she decided it would be impolite to do that, so she stayed during the study. Her interest was aroused and she began to read all the literature she could get and was determined to study the Truth book with the Witnesses when she returned to Denmark. Within three weeks after she came back to Denmark she sought out the witnesses at the Kingdom Hall and started studying and attending meetings regularly. Whereas most of the young Faroe Islanders want to leave the islands to experience greater opportunities elsewhere, this young girl decided to return to the Faroe Islands after studying five months because she knew she could do much good in preaching to her own people, her fellow islanders. She was baptized in January of this year, together with her mother, and she was a vacation pioneer in April. By July she had arranged her affairs to begin as a regular pioneer.
GREENLAND Population: 45,000
Peak Publishers: 27 Ratio: 1 to 1,667
A young Greenlandic girl in her teens had sought after the true religion in the Danish Lutheran Church, the Pentecostal Church and the Adventist Church, without any satisfaction. She left her home in the northern part of Greenland to go to Godthåb to attend a boarding school, where it is not possible for publishers to call on persons. But it so happened that this girl was at another house when a special pioneer sister called there, and the girl showed keen interest in what was said and a study was arranged. After two months, when she visited her parents on vacation, the publishers were worried that her interest might cool off because of family pressure, which often happens here. But, on the contrary, she gave a good witness to her family and determined to continue with the truth. She attended all meetings of the congregation and witnessed to others in the school, and she ceased all actual association with the State Church. As soon as she became eighteen years of age she applied to withdraw from the church and this aroused quite a stir. The teachers of the school put a lot of pressure on her not to do this, and even the local Danish priest wrote to her and had a personal discussion to dissuade her, but none of these things were to any avail. Her discussions defending her decision only served to strengthen her faith, and after many delays by the priest the withdrawal from the church was formally in order. She then arranged her affairs to visit Denmark to attend the district assembly in July and was baptized, the first Greenlander living in Greenland to be baptized. After her baptism she said that it was a wonderful feeling to know that one could make a dedication to Jehovah and be a part of a large family of Christian brothers and sisters.
Another experience shows how effectively literature can work. A special pioneer couple had traveled to the south of Greenland where we have no publishers, and they were to arrange lodging and start working the territory. They went to the mayor to ask if he could help them, but the mayor had moved and the man living there now proved to be one who the previous year had rejected the Witnesses very definitely. When the publishers explained why they wanted to talk to the mayor, this man became friendly and, after a short friendly discussion on things in general, the man exclaimed: “I got a really good book you should see.” He rushed into the house and brought out the Word of God book, saying that he had gotten it from another person in town who had read it. He thought it was very good and eagerly told the publishers what it was about, saying: “Take it and read it! I have read it twice and that is not too much!” When the publishers convinced him that it was the same book that they had and that Jehovah’s witnesses publish he was quite surprised. It gave him something to think about. He then accepted the Evolution book and agreed to read it.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Population: 4,011,589
Peak Publishers: 3,591 Ratio: 1 to 1,117
Jehovah’s witnesses in the Dominican Republic have taken seriously the 1970 yeartext, “Go . . . make disciples . . . baptizing them.”—Matt. 28:19.
One young sister had special pioneering as her first goal, only to find complete opposition from her father. He is reported to have said, “The Society does not have the right to take my daughter away.” Of course, the Society did not do this, but she did have our invitation to the special work. She correctly took the matter to Jehovah in prayer and also sought mature aid from her dedicated mother. Soon the opposition died down enough for her to accept her first assignment. Shortly, though, this privilege was threatened as the father renewed his opposition, stating that after six months he was going to bring his daughter home. But now the love and unity of Jehovah’s organization manifested itself. Local brothers made friendly visits to the father, even starting a study with him, and this changed matters. While it is true that the study was finally discontinued, it was not until the father’s attitude was changed. Now he proudly announces that he has a daughter who is a pioneer and so he does not have the problems that many parents have with their children. Prayer, right motives and the loving aid of our brothers brought results.
Jehovah has blessed our efforts by bringing 812 to baptism during the service year. Age is no hindrance. An interested lady eighty years of age found that family and “friends” united to oppose her study of Jehovah’s Word, claiming that such things are only for the young. The publisher leaned heavily on Jehovah’s written Word, showing the lady such texts as Job 33:25. Soon she forgot her advanced age and showed a youthful desire to participate in the work of Kingdom preaching. As the overseer checked into the matter he found happily that this new sister-to-be could correctly answer one question for each year of her life. At this point the publisher was changed to another assignment. But what joy at the next circuit assembly to witness this young lady of eighty taking the step of baptism after having been made a disciple.
Disciples follow their master. Jesus Christ showed the right attitude toward blood. A young mother, trying to legalize her marriage, also showed the right attitude toward blood. Her youngest baby became ill, and at a medical clinic she was told that it was in immediate danger and that a blood transfusion was the only hope. She definitely refused, knowing Jehovah’s Word. The medical doctor became furious and refused to reason about other treatments. Another mother who had entered with a little girl suffering the same ailment allowed blood to be administered to her and at the same time joined in chiding our newly interested mother. But she stood her ground. After having left the clinic she later returned, hoping the doctor might reconsider and give her baby some treatment. The other woman now indicated that her little girl was already showing improvement, even playing about. But the little baby was growing worse. The doctor grudgingly gave some medicine for the baby, ‘to get rid of her.’ Next day the baby was much better and today is the picture of health. What about the little girl who was given the blood transfusion? She died.
ECUADOR Population: 6,177,127
Peak Publishers: 2,949 Ratio: 1 to 2,095
After twenty-four years of preaching the good news, and with apparently such a short time remaining to finish this work, it seems that the field is opening up as never before, and more and more persons are desirous of becoming Jehovah’s “men of goodwill.” There is hardly a Kingdom Hall in the entire country that can seat all the persons who attend meetings, and those who are literally asking for the truth are not a few.
Not all sincere ones move swiftly, and the truth planted in some bears fruit only ‘after many days.’ This has been the experience of a man who, some twelve years ago, read about Jehovah’s witnesses in a book and decided he wanted to know more about them. Choosing the capital city as the most likely place to find them, he made a four-hour trip to Quito. There he hired a taxi to drive at random, asking the driver to stop at intervals and inquire for the Witnesses. After two hours of driving around this way the chauffeur got tired, so a second taxi was hired. Some who were questioned tried to discourage him; others sent him to various religious groups. Finally he located the missionary home, and arrangements were made for a special pioneer to study with him in his own town. In a short time he was baptized. His wife was very opposed and left him, first with their seven children, and then taking with her all of their furniture and moving to another city. She later divorced him and a couple of years went by. But during this time she began to listen to Witnesses who called at her door. A change of attitude later opened the way for her and the brother to remarry. Now he could take the children to meetings, although they were unwilling at first. A family study was started and other sisters in the congregation began befriending his wife. One by one the members of the family accepted the truth. Now the whole family is baptized, one son is a special pioneer and congregation overseer and a daughter is also in the full-time service. Endurance and hope have their rewards.
A point used in our offer of a free Bible study is that we will use any Bible of the householder’s choice. One young woman who accepted a Bible study insisted on using the Catholic Torres Amat translation, as she was convinced that this was the “true” Bible, although she also had another translation. The study was started and the sister made a point of always making comparisons of the various renderings of the Bible texts being used. This method pleased the new student and she began to recognize the need for a clear translation and acquired a New World Translation for herself. Although adamant that she would never cease to be a Catholic, she had her daughter attend the Sunday school of an Evangelist sect. When she came to understand that it was her own responsibility to teach the Bible to the child she stopped sending her there. Visits from an Evangelist missionary and pastor ensued, and these visits involved discussions on controversial doctrinal points. Now well acquainted with several Bible translations, she was able to defend the truth of the Scriptures. This also opened her eyes to the insincerity of those who represent false religion. Now she is a baptized witness of Jehovah and is helping others inside and outside of her own family to flee from Babylon the Great.
Work on the Galápagos Islands is also moving ahead, and now we have almost twice as many publishers as one year ago. All of the publishers live on just one island, however, and transportation to the others is very difficult. The circuit servant now makes occasional two-week visits and, while he is there, one of the brothers makes his yacht—his personal means of living—available for a tour of all the main islands. On the last visit they were able to place 116 Truth books and many magazines among the 4,000 inhabitants of the archipelago. On one of the islands they met up with considerable opposition and could not find a place to stay at first, and a drunkard “bathed” the circuit servant in beer. They later found that the resistance had been instigated by the ex-priest of the island, but despite these efforts they placed literature in every home on the island with the exception of that of the ex-priest. On another island the brothers were hospitably received by a woman who offered them food and refreshment. They tactfully inquired about the chicken soup and found that the chicken had not been properly bled. Kindly they explained what God’s Word says about eating blood. The woman’s reaction? “We are not to blame, are we? It is the fault of the priest, who has never taught us these things. But now that I know what the Bible says I will have to ask God to forgive me and I will never eat strangled chicken again.”
EL SALVADOR Population: 3,424,289
Peak Publishers: 1,755 Ratio: 1 to 1,951
All of us in El Salvador have great reasons for rejoicing in the Lord because of the results of our preaching activity during the past service year. We were able to see one peak after another in publishers, back-calls and Bible studies. Our Kingdom Halls are overflowing with people coming to the meetings.
Some of those that have come to serve where the need is greater have had some fine experiences even during the time that they spoke a limited amount of Spanish. For instance, while an isolated seaport town was being worked a devout Catholic lady was found. After a few studies she decided to rid her home of all the images and religious pictures—items that had been costly and prized over the years. As Jehovah blessed the work in this seaport town and the number of Bible studies increased, a place was sought to hold a weekly Watchtower study to feed the sheeplike persons in this town. This formerly devout Catholic woman was asked if she would like to offer her home for this purpose. She eagerly agreed, but said that she must first ask her husband, who was not studying the Bible with the Witnesses. As the husband was deeply impressed by the truths that his wife and children had learned and could already see the change these had made in them, he readily gave his permission to use his home for the meetings.
Since it is a small town, news that the meetings of Jehovah’s witnesses were being held in this home soon reached the ears of the local priest. In his first attempt to stop the meetings, the priest chose the children as his target, humiliating them in the presence of their schoolmates. The children were very upset and arrived home crying.
The priest then sent for the husband and pressure was applied on him. The priest told him, “If the meetings continue in your house it will bring shame on the church.” Then he threatened to expel the children from school. The priest also accused the wife of having the meetings in their home behind her husband’s back. Even though he had not yet studied, the husband replied: “In my house, I give the orders and my wife has my permission to have these meetings. We are free to worship in any way we desire.” Seeing that his threats had no effect on the husband, the priest quickly apologized and said that the children would gladly be accepted in school. This family’s eyes have been opened still further by this incident, and they continue to cherish their studies with Jehovah’s witnesses. It is a delight to one’s heart to hear them say, “We are proud to have the Kingdom Hall in our home.” As for the children, they will soon be enrolled in another school, not because they were expelled, but because the parents know this is the right thing to do.
FIJI Population: 526,765
Peak Publishers: 453 Ratio: 1 to 1,163
The Fiji branch had the unique privilege of holding two of last year’s international assemblies, in two of the nine countries under its administration. How joyful the brothers were in Fiji, American Samoa, Gilbert and Ellice Islands, New Caledonia, New Hebrides, Niue, Tahiti, Tonga and Western Samoa to welcome delegates from seventeen countries at their two assemblies, one in Suva, Fiji, and the other at Papeete, Tahiti.
Parents can encourage and train their children to take ministerial responsibility by accompanying them on calls and studies and letting them take the initiative while the parents sit in to help out if necessary. A fifteen-year-old youth met a mother of three young children during house-to-house work, placed a subscription with her and started a study. He continued to conduct it himself, and the woman, impressed by his youthfulness and the information, proved to be an apt and appreciative student. Eventually his mother began accompanying him to the study, and in time it was necessary for her to take it over because the woman began a secular job and the study had to be held when the sister’s son was at school. Because the woman was so eager, the study increased to twice a week at a park during lunch-hour breaks. Soon after commencing a study in the Truth book the woman began attending all meetings with her three young children. When the sister commended her on her regularity and fine attitude toward meeting attendance despite an opposed husband, she said, “If I miss a meeting I feel I’ve missed a bus.” Within four months she unhesitatingly responded to the invitation to share in field service and spent a day in unassigned territory.
Also, within four months she conducted a study of her own with her very keen eight-year-old son. Now, we are happy to relate, just seven months after being contacted, the woman is a sister, having been baptized at the international assembly last November, and one of her companions at that baptism was her new “brother,” the youth who commenced the study with her!
When called on the first time, a young Methodist woman was preoccupied with her baby but accepted a “Good News” booklet and an offer of a return call at a more suitable time. Due to the death of a relative, she was not contacted again until the fifth back-call. However, unknown to the sister the woman had read the “Good News” booklet and was so impressed with what she had learned that she was telling all her relatives about it, while the sister, in turn, thought that perhaps the woman was avoiding her. Well, the study was started and right from the beginning the woman relayed what she learned to relatives. Her progress was rapid and she was soon regularly attending meetings and out in field service.
This caused concern to her Methodist minister, because the monthly church discussions were being held in her home. So, in an endeavor to rescue his “straying” sheep, her minister, although living next door and conducting the discussions in her home, made his first personal calls on the woman to express concern for her spiritual welfare. She confidently told him that since studying with the Witnesses she learned for the first time, among other things, that the earth was not going to be destroyed and that not all were destined for heaven. “That’s the trouble with the Witnesses,” he said, “they take things literally.” This served to confirm her newfound faith, for had she not read in Ecclesiastes 1:4 that the literal earth was going to stand forever? Then, on learning that, although her husband had also quit going to church, he had not embraced her new religion the minister again visited her and said: “This just proves that you haven’t found the true religion. It has caused division in your family.” Imagine how thrilled she was to read, at her next study, among Jesus’ words at Matthew 10:34-37, “I came to cause division,” which proved that she really had found the true religion! The minister never called on her personally again.
A few weeks after beginning to study she was holding a study of her own and was regularly attending meetings. Then she started a study while in the ministry and took over another. Both students progressed rapidly and were soon regularly attending meetings and publishing too. We are happy to say that this woman was also baptized at the international assembly. So even if one has occasion to leave just a booklet with a householder, that alone, if the person is truly sheeplike, may move the person to embrace the truth and become fruitful too.
AMERICAN SAMOA Population: 26,000
Peak Publishers: 47 Ratio: 1 to 553
In July 1970 the Tutuila congregation dedicated its new Kingdom Hall, the first to be built in the Samoas. Built by young and old, it was the culmination of long hours and hard work that began in March 1967. Faith in Jehovah, determination and ingenuity overcame lack of funds, materials and other problems. The brothers feel spiritually profited by the experience and are elated to have adequate facilities in a fine hall of their own for the large number of people who attend meetings. In thanking Jehovah for the final results, they also thank their brothers in New Zealand, Australia, the United States and other countries who contributed materially toward building the hall.
While occupied building the hall, the congregation maintained a good field record, even improving its average hours from 13.8 to 14.9, back-calls from 6.2 to 7.0 and magazines per publisher from 16,2 to 21.2. This shows what can be done when servants plan ahead, take the lead and have good cooperation from the brothers.
GILBERT AND ELLICE ISLANDS
Peak Publishers: 11 Population: 55,000
Ratio: 1 to 5,000
The brothers in the Ellice Islands were very grieved at the loss of a zealous sister who died in March. She had been suffering from internal bleeding for the previous two years and needed an operation. However, the doctors refused to perform this unless she consented to take a blood transfusion. For two years doctors, hospital staff, “friends” and close relatives tried to persuade her to take blood. Some tried persuasion by appealing to her motherly love by telling her to think of what might happen to her children if she died. It is a pleasure to report that, despite all this emotional pressure for two years, she remained steadfast for Jehovah’s laws and died a faithful Witness. People still remark on her unswerving faith in a coming resurrection by her God, Jehovah. We can all be encouraged by the sister’s fine course, for it shows that, even on an isolated island, Jehovah’s spirit is there to strengthen one if one remains faithful.
NEW CALEDONIA Population: 100,579
Peak Publishers: 162 Ratio: 1 to 621
Even if little interest is shown but a publication is accepted, it may pave the way for someone else to get the truth. Although little interest was shown, a Paradise book was placed with a householder. A visiting friend read and reread it and was so stimulated that he wrote to the Society’s branch office and requested a copy for himself. This he read and reread, too, and sent another letter to the Society, saying: “Dear Sirs, I have loved reading your Paradise book and would like you to urgently send me the following books [seven in all].” A brother was asked to call, and he did so immediately. The man was overwhelmed with delight when the Witness arrived and the Witness noticed that he already had an excellent understanding of the truth from reading just the Paradise book. Whenever he referred to any subject touched upon in the book, the man immediately turned to the page dealing with it. His progress was rapid and in a short time he read and studied all the publications he had, and his thirst for truth was prodigious. He was also out in the field service and his home was being used as a meeting place for the isolated group in his town. He was so well known in his professional capacity that he was addressed by his professional title rather than by his personal name at the doors, and he has had good success because of the community’s respect for him. He avidly reads the Bible and can quote over a hundred scriptures from memory, although he is not a young man. Today we have the pleasure of his being with us as a dedicated, baptized brother who “accidentally” started on the way to life through someone else’s publication.
NEW HEBRIDES Population: 77,983
Peak Publishers: 14 Ratio: 1 to 5,570
This country is administered by the governments of two great powers, Britain and France, an arrangement called condominium, There are three sets of laws, three currencies, a Joint Court consisting of three judges, three main languages, two kinds of policemen and two sets of weights and measures, to mention just a few points. No wonder, then, it is said that some humorously refer to the Condominium as Pandemonium!
There are many native languages and dialects not understood by tribes within a few miles of each other, so all these people, the British and the French communicate in a common tongue called Pidgin-English. Although brothers serving where the need is greater adequately care for Pidgin- and English-speaking people, the greatest concern is care for the predominant French-speaking population. While on circuit visits there, a French couple concentrates on the French community, but this is always temporary, so obviously the call to French-speaking publishers to serve where the need is greater is urgent here.
Just how determined should one be to attend an assembly? Among six delegates from New Hebrides at the Suva, Fiji, international assembly was a sister with a young child who overcame much opposition to go. When she went to pay for her plane ticket for the following week, she found that her opposed husband had canceled her booking and the only way to get out of the country and to the assembly was to catch that very day’s flight, one week ahead of schedule. With only two hours to prepare, pack and leave a note for her husband, she was on her way to the airport with her child. The plane was delayed almost two hours, during which time she fully anticipated being dragged back home by her irate husband. Happily, nothing stopped her departure and she arrived safely at Fiji. Her joy at the assembly was not lessened any despite the unpleasantness she fully expected to face when she returned home. She was so upbuilt and strengthened that she withstood this on return and has since continued steadfast and happy in spirit, glad that her determination helped her to overcome those obstacles.
NIUE Population: 5,258
Peak Publishers: 13 Ratio: 1 to 405
Does advertising of public talks and special events by congregation publishers bring good results? It certainly does, as shown here. Due to difficulties in transportation to this isolated island, the circuit servant stays a month. During his last visit he encouraged the publishers to advertise widely the Memorial and special public talk, concentrating on Bible students and interested persons. How delighted the 13 Niuean publishers were to have 92 at the special public talk and 112 present at the Memorial. To consolidate this interest, the brothers need mature leadership from brothers serving where the need is great.
TAHITI Population: 98,315
Peak Publishers: 155 Ratio: 1 to 634
The Truth book exerts tremendous power, and following the Society’s suggestion to study a chapter a week, if possible, means that its influence can more quickly envelop a student with Jehovah’s spirit and ensure a rapid change of personality, as shown here.
The force in the Truth book can make even teenagers quickly decide to take a course for the good. A sister relates: “During house-to-house work I met a French woman who listened attentively, accepted the offer, then asked if I could bring a Bible for her teenage daughter. On my return my companion and I were met by the daughter, who asked if we were Jehovah’s witnesses; then she asked us in. We demonstrated the Bible study method with the Truth book and her new Bible, and she was so interested that she asked whether we could study with her twice a week. Noting how interested this serious-minded young girl was, I asked whether we could call and take her to our meetings, as she lived so near the Kingdom Hall. Her parents were agreeable and she never missed a meeting after that. She made rapid progress and changed her youthful habits as quickly as each chapter unfolded and exposed pagan teachings and customs. On her leaving school, her father secured a secular position for her at his place of work, but when she found that this tied her down she secured another and was soon preaching with us. Some months later, we are happy to report, she was baptized at our circuit assembly just before returning to France with her mother.
TONGA Population: 77,429
Peak Publishers: 19 Ratio: 1 to 4,075
A big field is waiting to be harvested in Tonga. So far only a small portion of territory has been covered in house-to-house work. At the present time the government is encouraging overseas investment, and this could well produce an opening for brothers to serve where the need is greater. The Fiji branch office is making arrangements to get the work registered so that application can be made for missionaries to enter Tonga. The brothers in Tonga have done commendably, considering that they have never had any outside help except for spasmodic visits from circuit servants.
WESTERN SAMOA Population: 140,000
Peak Publishers: 92 Ratio: 1 to 1,522
A brother with a family of eleven, including an adopted daughter and pioneer living with them, wanted to get all of them overseas to the international assembly in Fiji. Only one source of finance was available. His employers kept a superannuation fund to be withdrawn on retirement or in very exceptional circumstances. Having worked there many years, the brother figured he would have enough in it to get the family to the assembly. Reasoning that integrity and faith in Jehovah will get one through the coming tribulation whether one has money in a fund or not, he resolved to invest his fund toward guaranteeing his family’s future spiritual survival.
It was not until the week of travel to the assembly that he was able to contact his managing director. Naturally, his director felt as many would. He wondered why a family man would wish to withdraw his only security against the future and chance leaving nothing for them if something happened to him. The brother explained the importance to him and his family as Jehovah’s worshipers of attending the assembly and that this was the only way for them to get to Fiji. His being a respected and trusted employee, his director favorably granted the request and made an unprecedented exception in letting him withdraw his superannuation fund in full. Happy and thankful to Jehovah for this blessing, he went the following day and paid his family’s ship fares to Fiji. The family then joyfully prepared to leave.
Later that week, however, the brother was informed that the ship was strike-bound in another country and would not be sailing as expected. The only other way out of the country, so as to be at the assembly in time, was by air at greater expense. Suffice it to say that the brother and his family enjoyed the assembly, with no regrets. They know that only spiritual steadfastness, faith and obedience to Jehovah will preserve them. in the future and not transient material possessions.
FINLAND Population: 4,692,055
Peak Publishers: 10,620 Ratio: 1 to 442
The 1969 service year has been successful and has had Jehovah’s blessing. The brothers have realized the urgency of the times and have increased their efforts to reach all people loving truth and righteousness. For that reason time spent in the preaching work has increased. The increased use of time has, in turn, meant more literature placements and more home Bible studies. Many sheeplike people have been found and disciples have been made and baptized.
Brother Henschel’s visit was very refreshing, and the brothers at Bethel and also the brothers in the congregations were encouraged by it. His talk to the Helsinki congregation was stimulating, and the brothers still talk about the encouragement it gave them.
Jehovah has provided us with wonderful tools for helping people interested in the truth to come to know him. It also seems as though Jehovah has in some way aroused in people the desire to seek him and his true worship. This is the conclusion one comes to when thinking of the many who have joined with us in serving Jehovah in a short time. The following experience confirms this opinion. Two sisters placed the Truth book with a man and they also left the Bible study folder. The sisters briefly explained the Bible study course and made arrangements to call back and study with him. After the second study the man asked: “Do you Jehovah’s witnesses have any meetings hereabouts and can an outsider attend?” After the first meeting he was asked what he thought of it, and you can imagine the publisher’s joy when the man said he liked it so much that he intended to attend regularly. He said he would buy a bicycle so that it would be easier to get to the meetings, as it was too far to walk. As the study progressed it came out that the man had had a lot to do with other religions and he had made himself a kind of altar for worship and had bought a lot of religious literature. The publisher reports: “When I had conducted the study for three months, I arrived at his home to find him burning the false religious literature and the altar he had made for worship. That evening I placed with him more of our literature, including the ‘Impossible to Lie’ and Life Everlasting books. He then said that he was seriously considering, dedication, and so the ‘Lamp’ book was also procured for him. He started conscientiously to prepare the material in the ‘Lamp’ book, enrolled in the Ministry School and went to resign from Babylon the Great. Now he has been baptized and has also helped his wife to attend meetings and start out in the service. All this has happened in less than six months.”
The following experience reveals the same thing. Two sisters met a young married woman with whom they were able to leave a magazine and the Bible study folder, and they promised to come again when her husband would be at home. The back-call was made, as promised, the following week. A study was started and it has been productive and interesting right from the start. The husband has had many interests, and he is known in the district as an actor and as being, interested in various sports. He is also the shop steward in his place of work. This naturally gave him a wide circle of acquaintances. The man realized this was an advantage, and right after the first study he began to tell others about the things he had learned, inviting them to join in the study. He has had good results in this. Some evenings there have been as many as eleven persons attending the study. He soaks up the truth like a dry sponge soaking up water. Usually he and his wife understand things quite quickly, but the matter of the sanctity of blood required more thorough study. After thoroughly studying and digging into some of our publications and two evenings of discussion, this matter also became clear to them. After three months of study they started to attend the congregation meetings regularly, including the congregation book study. They prepared beforehand the material to be studied, sometimes well ahead of the material dealt with in the study. When the congregation book study got near the material that dealt with leaving “Babylon,” they had also studied it in the chapter “Get Out from Among Them” in the Truth book and they understood that they should resign from the church. They took this step on the same day on which the material was studied in the “Babylon” series at the congregation book study. They started in the service after studying for four months and they symbolized their dedication by water baptism at the district assembly this summer. They were a little worried that they might be running ahead. They came to this conclusion because they had often taken the initiative in making their decisions, but when they were told experiences from the Yearbook in which the same features were apparent, then they were satisfied. They already are making plans so that at least one of them can pioneer, just as soon as they have the opportunity, in other words, as soon as they meet the requirements laid down for pioneers. They are zealously working to that end.
You have no doubt often heard someone say: “We will never become Jehovah’s witnesses.” That is what one woman said when Jehovah’s witnesses called at her door. She was tactfully shown that choosing one’s religion is each person’s own affair, but knowledge is needed in order to make the right choice. The woman took the Paradise book and said her husband was interested in religion. This proved to be true, as he had gone to a lot of trouble to clear up the religious questions in his mind. He had even asked the minister of his congregation to visit him for a discussion, but the minister had never come. The minister had simply said, “I do not have the time.” On the first back-call the man took the Evolution book. After reading it and noticing that it mentioned the ‘Impossible to Lie’ book, he wanted it too. A study was started and this quickly led to results. After two months of study the man began to attend meetings, although he had to travel twenty-five kilometers to do so. He soon started in the field service, going first of all to his neighbors, so that they would know that he had now embraced the religion of Jehovah’s witnesses. His wife, who on the first visit had said that they would never become Jehovah’s witnesses, has been eagerly accompanying her husband from the start. They went together to resign from the church and informed the same minister that he need not come to see them now as they had found the right religion. They started in the field service together and were baptized at the same time. The children have progressed along with their parents. They have not yet been baptized, but have both started in the field service. The family is now very happy that, though they had invited their minister to call, Jehovah’s witnesses came instead.
FRANCE Population: 50,545,400
Peak Publishers: 36,721 Ratio: 1 to 1,376
The past service year was the most remarkable one in the history of Jehovah’s witnesses in France. When righteously disposed persons find the truth, they quickly make a stand for it. In the house-to-house work a pioneer met a married couple with whom he placed the book Is the Bible Really the Word of God? Two days later this man and his wife came to the circuit assembly with their baby. They had already read the book from cover to cover! The following Thursday a home Bible study was begun, and this first study in the Truth book lasted three hours! The following Sunday they came to the public talk and Bible study. Since then they attend regularly, and attend also the midweek meetings. After two months of study, the husband, realizing his responsibility, asked of his own volition if he could share in the house-to-house work.
Children brought up according to Bible principles may even instruct their teacher. A young brother writes to us as follows: “During a course dealing with the Hebrews, I noticed that the teacher was making no distinction between the kings and the judges of Israel. I often raised my hand to give appropriate answers, which were appreciated by the teacher. He was astonished to see that one of his students was so well versed in these things. From time to time he asked me to explain certain events of the time of the judges. At the end of the course he called me on one side and asked me to give a course on the Hebrews for the following week. He was willing to allow me half the time assigned to his course. Needless to say, I accepted this offer with enthusiasm. How surprised my comrades were to see me in the teacher’s place! The course was very lively and I got a good report from the teacher. Together we drew up the résumé.” In this way a fine witness was given, not only to the teacher, but to the entire class.
Children by their good conduct can encourage their parents to make a stand for the truth. A Bible study was held with a woman and her two daughters. These two girls, however, still went to the catechism course. One day the abbot gave an explanation of hell. One of the girls, eleven years of age, could not resist saying that the Bible hell is the grave. This did not please the abbot and he told her to keep quiet. When she got home, the young girl told her mother what had happened. The mother understood that it was time for her to make a choice. This she had not done up till then because of the opposition of her husband, who wanted to be like everybody else. Determined to stick to Bible principles, the mother explained to her husband the position of the children. Finally, with her husband’s approval, she wrote to the abbot to tell him that henceforth her children would no longer attend the catechism course. Three weeks later the abbot came to see them. “Do not think that I have come to reenroll your children for the catechism course. You have done the right thing in taking them away,” he said. Evidently he himself is no longer in agreement with the teachings of the Catholic church. Since then, this woman has made fine progress and now takes an active part in the field service with her two daughters.
More than ever before, the “sheep” are quitting Babylon the Great to join God’s people. A sister writes us the following: “At fifteen years of age I entered the convent called ‘House of Repentance.’ However, I was greatly deceived by my superiors who created fear in me. After six unhappy years I left this place. Later I married and I became the mother to three children. One day I was called on by a lady, a witness of Jehovah. Being extremely prejudiced, I attached no importance to what she said. Then I went to live in another area, and again I was visited by the Witnesses. This time I agreed to have a home Bible study with the aid of the Truth book. Opposition from my family and also from my acquaintances very quickly showed up. I therefore put off the study until later. Being in doubt, I wrote a letter to the priest and asked him for advice. I was very surprised by his reply. He not only approved of my having a study with Jehovah’s witnesses, but, moreover, encouraged me to continue to study with them, stating that Jehovah’s witnesses were in the truth. One Sunday, in the company of my children, I prayed to Jehovah, asking him to send a Witness to see me, because I felt the need of the study. My prayer was answered, for that very morning a Witness knocked at my door. Arrangements were then made to have a study with the whole family. The Truth book gave the replies to all our questions and I quickly understood what God required of his servants. All my family attend the congregation meetings, and these are a source of comfort to us. I am happy to serve the true God and to be at unity with his people, and now to be a ‘sister’—a sister in the truth.”
ALGERIA Population: 12,150,000
Peak Publishers: 74 Ratio: 1 to 164,189
The brothers in Algeria, like their brothers world wide, have shown much zeal and courage during the past service year. They have had to face great difficulties, and in December about twenty publishers were deported. In spite of this opposition, the brothers still in Algeria are maintaining their integrity and are faithfully carrying out their commission to preach, in accordance with Matthew 24:14.
Perseverance in making back-calls often brings results. A publisher received an expired-subscription slip and quickly made the back-call. Unfortunately, in spite of much perseverance, the publisher was unable to contact this person. His frequent calls intrigued the former subscriber’s lodger, who asked if he could give a message to the former subscriber, in order to spare the publisher the trouble of having to come again. Needless to say, a fine witness was given to the lodger, the publisher even beginning a home Bible study. This man also saw the importance of the meetings, and began attending regularly along with the woman with whom he was living. In view of the delicate situation there concerning the Kingdom work, and in case he himself might be deported, the publisher presented this man to other brothers. Sure enough, this publisher was deported, and the study was stopped. Fortunately, thanks to the foresight of the publisher, this kindly-disposed person knew of another publisher. So he went to contact this other publisher at his place of work in order to continue the study.
Although he wanted to become a publisher, it was not possible to accept him as such because he was living in concubinage. It was difficult to settle his situation because of a former marriage. Finally, with Jehovah’s help, he was able to marry the woman with whom he was living and thus both of them are able to share in the fulfillment of Matthew 24:14.
TUNISIA Population: 4,500,000
Peak Publishers: 34 Ratio: 1 to 132,353
In Tunisia, the work of announcing the Kingdom is not done so openly as in countries where the work is legally recognized. As a matter of fact, the brothers are closely watched, but this does not stop them from remaining firm in their integrity.
A kindly-disposed married couple made sure of giving a witness to their parents, friends and neighbors. Some of them agreed to having a home Bible study, while others showed their opposition, going as far as collaborating with the Catholic clergy.
In order to bring this couple back to the Catholic church, a childhood friend (fervent Catholic) organized a discussion in the presence of the Catholic priest. During the discussion, the priest turned toward the friend of this couple and said: “I am more for Jehovah’s witnesses than for the Catholics!” It goes without saying that this remark disappointed the person who was attached to her religion. As for the priest, he had another occasion later on to meet this couple to discuss the Bible. He frankly declared that he did not approve of the course of action of the Catholic church during the course of its history, its teachings, its tolerance of immorality, etc. He added: “You should go to my superiors and tell them why you are leaving the church. They really deserve it.” At the end of the discussion the priest congratulated the couple, accepted the book Is the Bible Really the Word of God? and promised to give them his impressions after having read it.
This couple is happy to see how the truth triumphs and they are preparing themselves for baptism at the next district assembly.
GERMANY, WEST Population: 60,184,000
Peak Publishers: 86,252 Ratio: 1 to 698
A youthful publisher, sixteen years of age, reported that he offered the Evolution book to his biology teacher after he had briefly explained its contents. The teacher stated that he would use material from the book when the evolution theory was considered. “At the time this subject was included in our study program I was greatly surprised when he showed my classmates the book and even read portions out of it. He recommended this book and mentioned that it was written from another viewpoint and it would help young people to form their own opinion. Afterward the two books that I had with me were immediately requested. Since my teacher had encouraged the class, I was able to place fifteen Evolution books the next day. Since my biology teacher instructed three other classes in biology, he also showed them the Evolution book. The next day the teacher came to me and inquired if I could obtain thirty-nine more books for him. Of course, I was happy to do so. The teacher paid for these books and took care of collecting the money from the school classes himself. I was thus able to distribute fifty-six Evolution books in one week. I would like to mention that I did vacation pioneer service in this month and was richly blessed.”
Youthful publishers have had many wonderful experiences due to their good Christian conduct and their neat appearance. A sister was able to start a Bible study with a woman who supposedly never had time. After the first study she was greatly impressed, and when the second call was made she expressed her great joy about the following occurrence. She related that two young publishers had rung her doorbell and, as usual, she looked out of her window and wanted to get rid of them quickly by stating that she had no time. But she just had to take note of their correct and pleasant manner of dress. She was especially pleased with their reasonable and attractive haircuts. She felt that she simply could not send away these two orderly youths. She went down to them and took two magazines. She also mentioned a sister who previously lived on her street. She had noticed the same good qualities about her. She felt that if Jehovah’s witnesses were all such clean people she would have to ask them to come in sometime. She did this and now she is zealously studying the truth of God’s Word.
Staying close to Jehovah’s organization is certainly a protection for us. A brother who often had to make business trips to other countries was faced with problems because he was gone for two or three days and could not attend meetings. It is his desire, however, to be at all meetings, so he has often discussed this with his employer. Generally it is possible to arrange matters so that he can be at the meetings. Of late, however, the difficulties increased and there were often discussions with his employer about this. On February 9 his company had a business transaction with an important customer and it was scheduled that he should fly to a country in the Near East on Saturday, February 21. This trip was to take five or six days. What should he do? He knew that this date was requested by the customer, but also that he would have to miss the meeting on Sunday and could not be in the congregation when the circuit servant came the following week. The brother was determined to share in this special week. He presented the matter to his employer, but his request was rejected and the tickets were purchased and the departure date set. The brother states: “I refused to fly and made one more attempt to change my employer’s mind. Although the atmosphere was very tense, telegrams were sent back and forth and a new date was arranged for the flight. I was very thankful to Jehovah that he gave me the strength to remain steadfast. Two days later I heard over the radio that the plane on which I was to have flown had been sabotaged and crashed. If I had not been determined to have my employer change the scheduled date, I would not be alive to report this experience.”
WEST BERLIN Population: 2,141,000
Peak Publishers: 5,396 Ratio: 1 to 397
Jehovah’s spirit cannot be restrained by the barbed fences or walls erected by man. In the “walled” city of West Berlin Jehovah’s spirit is very active strengthening the ministers of the good news, both young and old. There is a large number of elderly publishers in West Berlin and they manifest great zeal in serving Jehovah despite their infirmities and age. The oldest publisher is one hundred years of age and is still a very active witness for Jehovah. She was quite disturbed one month when her health did not permit her to participate as fully in the ministry as usual. When the circuit servant visited her she expressed her discontent with her report and said that she felt bad because she was able to preach the good news only eight hours during this month. Otherwise she devoted much more time to the ministry.
The assembly in Berlin increased the witness given in the city this past year. During convention preparations a doctor telephoned the convention office and emphatically registered his complaint that he had not yet received his tickets that he had ordered. The convention servant explained to him that he had evidently called the wrong number. He asked if this was the convention office; this was confirmed, but it was stated that it was the Watch Tower Convention office preparing the assembly to be held by Jehovah’s witnesses in Berlin. “Oh, no!” responded the doctor, “those are the people in whose faces I always slam the door.” He explained that he had left the church and did not want anything to do with anyone from the church. It was tactfully explained that Jehovah’s witnesses are not in the churches of Christendom, which surprised him greatly. An interesting discussion then developed and various questions were answered. Finally the doctor inquired what the brother felt about the name Esther, as this was a Bible name. His wife was expecting a baby in the near future and he wanted to give a girl this name. What could be more appropriate than to invite him to the Biblical drama on Friday evening as he could receive a thorough explanation as to who Esther was and what fine characteristics she had? The doctor readily agreed to come and concluded: “Then I have no more use for the theater tickets anyway.”
GHANA Population: 8,545,561
Peak Publishers: 14,223 Ratio: 1 to 601
The influx of newly interested ones did not slow down, but increased this past year. Everywhere circuit servants have been reporting overcrowded Kingdom Halls. ‘Try to find a larger hall.’ ‘See what can be done to enlarge your Kingdom Hall.’ These and similar comments appear frequently on circuit servants’ reports on congregations. So, we have been having growing pains—joyous ones!
There have been many excellent experiences, practically every one of which centers around either our large assembly or the Truth book. We are very happy to share some of these with you. Since the Ghana branch of the Society also supervises the work in Ivory Coast and Upper Volta, we would like to tell you how the Witnesses are getting along there too.
A brother at Mem Chemfe has been associated with Jehovah’s people for nearly fifteen years. His wife never responded to the Kingdom message during all that time. When the time came to attend the “Peace on Earth” Assembly in Accra, this brother invited his wife along to the capital city for sight-seeing while he went to the sessions each day. The wife refused. As she put it, “I don’t know anyone there and I can’t go around the town alone.” The brother gave his promise that he would spend time with his wife and would go sight-seeing with her during some of the assembly days, so off they went. Arriving at the grounds and seeing the thousands of people already there the day before the assembly, the brother’s wife exclaimed, “Are all these people Jehovah’s witnesses?” She was indeed impressed, because the Witnesses were very few back home in her village. Next day the husband invited his wife to go sight-seeing, but she said, “No! I want to go to the assembly to see more.” She had a tour of the grounds, through the departments, and finally to the cafeteria kitchen. How surprised she was to see all the happy workers, both young and old, men and women, working voluntarily. Later the brother found her happily working in the cafeteria. She forgot all about sightseeing until after the assembly. The two of them enjoyed a short tour of Accra and then returned home, where they are now happy companions in Kingdom preaching.
It pays to advertise, as the Tema, Community 2, congregation found out. In preparation for the celebration of the Lord’s Evening Meal, the congregation erected a large electric sign in front of their meeting place upon which was the word MEMORIAL. One thousand printed invitations were distributed to the public and interested ones. The congregation made special arrangements for all interested ones to be called on that very day and then began gathering at 4:30 p.m. to sing Kingdom songs for an hour and a half before the celebration. What was the result? This congregation of about one hundred publishers was delighted to see nine hundred and sixty-six persons at the Memorial that evening. Much interest was aroused, and this is now being diligently followed up by home Bible study activity.
One of the congregations in Koforidua had an unusual experience. The overseer received a letter from a local commercial college stating that the students would be attending one of their meetings. Just before the weekly Watchtower study about one hundred students and their principal turned up. They enjoyed the study and afterward asked many questions of the brothers. All were given the folder Would You Like to Understand the Bible? and the interested ones are being helped. The attendance at the meeting that day was 235 persons.
A full-time publisher was experiencing some difficulties in studying the Bible with an interested friend of his. It appeared that the man was purposely evading him to avoid studying the chapter in the Truth book on “Why It Is Wise to Examine Your Religion.” Seven calls were made, always to find the man absent. The pioneer says: “I decided to go to the house early one morning—about 5 a.m. He was still asleep when I knocked at his door. He came out and, after exchanging greetings, I told him I had come to study only paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 of this subject. He sensed that I attached a great deal of importance to this, so he agreed. As the discussion progressed he was amazed to learn how many wrong doctrines were being taught in his church. This opened the way for a study to continue in the Truth book. Shortly he began attending meetings and was soon out in the service, getting ready to undergo water baptism. The pioneer’s perseverance and adaptability reaped the desired results.
IVORY COAST Population: 4,100,000
Peak Publishers: 431 Ratio: 1 to 9,513
It has been a very fine year of increase and expansion in Ivory Coast. Congregations have increased from seven to ten. The missionaries have worked hard at establishing congregations in the capital city, Abidjan, and are now spreading out to the interior towns where little witnessing has been done. Good results are being realized and many honest-hearted ones are being found.
A German sister serving as a missionary started a home Bible study with a young man. One week they would study; the next he would say, “Don’t come back.” Then in a few days he would call at the missionary home asking for the study to be renewed. Frequently he would ask questions on spiritism and fetishism that had no bearing on the subject under consideration. When he began to attend meetings at the Kingdom Hall he would always sit isolated in a far corner with a strange expression on his face.
After three months of study they came to the chapter on “Are There Wicked Spirits?” Now the problem came out. This young man, although a Catholic, had been practicing witchcraft and was a strong supporter of fetishism. He had always attended meetings, as he said, “armed with articles of witchcraft in my pocket.” He even told the sister, “Several times I practiced my witchcraft on you but it did not work. God is great!” Finally he destroyed all appendages of demon worship, and from then on made splendid progress.
He enrolled in the Ministry School as a student speaker. He gradually became friendlier. His whole personality changed for the better. Within six months of the first study he joined the congregation in preaching from house to house. Recently he began vacation pioneering with a view to taking up regular pioneer service as a full-time minister of Jehovah God.
UPPER VOLTA Population: 4,955,000
Peak Publishers: 3 Ratio: 1 to 1,651,667
Last year we reported on the activity of one unbaptized publisher working in Ouagadougou, the capital city of Upper Volta. He has continued in the service and done very well. He had the privilege of attending an assembly in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and was baptized there.
GREECE Population: 8,750,000
Peak Publishers: 14,622 Ratio: 1 to 598
The thing that afforded great joy to us and largely contributed to our brothers’ advancement was the printing again of the Greek Watchtower magazine in the local factory of the Society. After a discontinuance that lasted two years and nine months, The Watchtower is now printed anew, from February 1970 onward, on our press, much to the joy of our brothers, each of whom has his own copy and fully enjoys the rich spiritual food provided by Jehovah through his holy organization. It is no longer necessary for the brothers to make handwritten or typewritten copies of The Watchtower’s main articles for their studies. Neither is it necessary any longer for a group to finish the study and then pass the copies on to another group, for them equally to enjoy this spiritual food. Now, thanks to Jehovah, we all have our individual copies, and we all study exactly the same article of The Watchtower in our congregational meetings. Yet this hard experience of ours has had the effect of increasing our brothers’ appreciation for the value of The Watchtower and for the importance of each one having his individual copy.
In a great island of southern Greece, a special pioneer sister called on a young girl who wanted to learn what Jehovah’s witnesses believe. The sister supplied her two magazines and immediately started a Bible study in the ‘Impossible to Lie’ book. The young girl asked the sister to assist her in searching to find the truth. “If I become convinced that this is the truth,” said the young girl, “nothing will be strong enough to stop me.” The study was continued and the young girl made very good progress. However, obstacles began to arise. Fierce persecution rose from her home people, especially from her fiancé, who was most scurrilously insulting her and beating her to loss of consciousness. But the young girl, unshaken, continued her study. On her return home in the evenings, there were waiting for her three priests of the parish, one theologian and two nuns, all in an endeavor to bring the “misled” girl back to the “straight path.” When this method proved unsuccessful, the girl’s fiancé broke into the house wherein the study was conducted with the special pioneer sister, grabbed his fiancée and beat her, while insulting and threatening the sister too. On her crying, the police hurried there and, finally, on false charges laid by the girl’s family and fiancé, the special pioneer was committed to trial. But the young girl now used the knowledge acquired from her study of the truth and thus succeeded in having her parents turn and see the error they had committed. Now all of them attend meetings, three have been baptized, four Bible studies are conducted in her home, and a total of seven persons have come to know the truth from this adventure. Her formerly cruel fiancé, now her husband, is also a publisher.
Persecution sometimes leads honest persons toward a knowledge of the truth. In a town of Thessaly, thirteen brothers were imprisoned because they had gathered for a Bible study. A fleshly brother of one of Jehovah’s witnesses, on learning of this unjust imprisonment and of the fact that the parish priest was the cause, began showing an interest in the truth, although he previously had been an enemy of the truth and even a friend of the priest. He is now regularly studying and attending meetings, in spite of the priest’s opposition. Further, the worldly daughter of one of the imprisoned brothers has also begun to study, and as she avows, “now my mind is opened to discern things.” She is now continuing to attend meetings.
A brother with his wife went from Athens to an island of the Aegean Sea, to work where the need was great. The seed of truth began to produce fruit. An honest man showed interest and a Bible study was immediately started with him. But the matter became known. When the brother left, the policeman, at the priest’s instigation, went there to inform himself as to what this man discussed with his visitor from Athens. “He told me fine things,” answered the interested man. “Just tell me what he said, that I may file a legal complaint against him,” said the policeman. “No, he is a good man,” said the interested one. On the next visit of the brother the interested man made him aware of what had happened. “Don’t be afraid of anything,” said the brother; “they can do nothing against us if you too declare that you are one of Jehovah’s witnesses.” The priest, who had seen the brother go to the interested man’s home, advised the policeman, who was one hour by car away. When he arrived to arrest the brother on the charge of proselytism, the interested householder flatly declared to the policeman that he was one of Jehovah’s witnesses, much to the surprise of the policeman and of the priest. So they were unable to lay a charge against the brother. On the next day it became known to the village inhabitants that the policeman, on his return to the police station, fell down and broke his hand. Also, the priest fell down and broke his foot. He went to Athens for medical treatment of his foot and then went back to the island, to continue the persecution. But in a short while he was struck with heart trouble and died.
GUADELOUPE Population: 300,000
Peak Publishers: 1,435 Ratio: 1 to 209
True Christians are those who obey Christ’s commands. That is just what our brothers have joyfully done in the French-speaking islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique and in South American French Guiana.
A joyful event took place in Guadeloupe with the dedication of a new Kingdom Hall in Pointe-à-Pitre on the Society’s property, including a branch storage and shipping area for literature. Now, in obedience to the command of Jesus in Matthew 24:14 to preach the good news in all the inhabited earth, the work was expanded to another small island, named La Désirade, off the coast of Guadeloupe. People there, too, desire to hear the good news and there are good prospects for more “men of goodwill.”
That God answers prayers of sincere persons can be seen by the following experience. A vacation pioneer met a person who was a member of a sect of Christendom. The pioneer gave her sermon and was ready to leave. But the person said: “Don’t go. Please stay. I have so many things to ask you about. You see, I have been baptized in my religion for two years now, but I feel that the Bible is not being explained to us.” So an upbuilding conversation followed regarding the purpose of God for the earth and mankind. Many of her questions were answered that day. Her own daughter was already interested and even attending meetings. Imagine her joy when she got to know the interest of her mother in the truth. To her daughter she said: “Do you know that just the day before the Witness came to our door, we, your father and myself, knelt and prayed to God asking him to send somebody to give us his light on his Word. God has answered our prayer, because the very next day two of his witnesses came to our door and brought the light that we need so much.” She added: “Please, my daughter, tell that person to come sooner than agreed upon, so that we might study the Bible. I cannot wait until next week!” The study is now going on nicely and good progress is being made.
Do not let yourself be overcome easily by difficulties, because your perseverance can bear fruit in time. A sister writes: “I met a lady who was living in concubinage. She had two children, nineteen and eleven years of age. After a few back-calls and overcoming all sorts of arguments, she started studying. She then understood rapidly that in order to please God she had to change her way of life. However, hardships and heavy pressure soon came from the man with whom she lived. Even her daughter was against her.” This lasted for a time, as the man did not want to lose his concubine. He also developed deep hatred for the publisher and said many unkind words to the sister. The sister started to become discouraged, but, as she said: “I prayed to Jehovah to help me, to give me his strength, so as not to be among those who lack perseverance, and also to help that person. My perseverance was rewarded. Soon afterward my pupil took a firm stand for the truth by cleaning up her life. Her daughter and her son also became interested and are now studying. More than that, they are now three zealous publishers! Truly I appreciate not having given up under pressure. I see now the good fruit of perseverance.”
FRENCH GUIANA Population: 40,000
Peak Publishers: 129 Ratio: 1 to 310
Our brothers have worked hard in French Guiana during the past service year. They have been very zealous in service, and Jehovah has richly blessed their activity. They have seen twenty-seven persons baptized during the service year. There is but one congregation in the capital city of Cayenne. Our brothers have felt the need to obey Christ’s command to make disciples elsewhere. So during the year they have made a real effort to preach the good news of God’s kingdom in other territories. Already they have had good results. There is a small group now organized in Kourou. Moreover, quite a large number of home Bible studies are being conducted. No doubt there are good prospects for our brothers in the new service year.
MARTINIQUE Population: 330,000
Peak Publishers: 604 Ratio: 1 to 546
Proverbs 19:20 says: “Listen to counsel and accept discipline, in order that you may become wise in your future.” One of our young brothers experienced the truthfulness of that proverb. This young brother wrote the following: “The Society has always recommended and encouraged speaking about the Bible truths with our schoolmates. I hesitated to do so for a certain period of time. I feared I would be mocked. But finally I seriously took into consideration the Scriptural thought: ‘Listen to counsel.’ One day I spoke to my best school friend. I told him I was studying the Bible. At first he was surprised but showed some interest. This encouraged me to go farther and I spoke more and more about the purpose of God. His interest grew and he started to ask many questions about my Biblical knowledge. He came to have a real interest in the Awake! magazine. I went farther and suggested a home Bible study with the Truth book. He gladly accepted it. But there was a problem to overcome. His parents, unbelievers, did not agree to his studying the Bible. Besides, his busy school schedule did not give him much time. But we looked at our school schedules and found there was a break that could be used for our study of the Bible. We have now studied for four months. He is progressing very well, looking forward to the time he will be able to attend meetings, as his parents do not agree for the present. He even has arrived at the point of taking a firm stand for the truth. He said to me: ‘Satan will not turn me away from the truth. I am convinced that Jehovah will listen to my prayers and in time I will overcome these difficulties. Who knows? Maybe one day my parents will accept an offer of a Bible study too.’” Our young publisher is now filled with joy about his experience. He says: “I am so grateful that I listened to Jehovah’s wise counsel. I encourage you young people in school not to fear to speak about the truth with your schoolmates, as a reward as great as mine could be your lot too!”
Do not fail to make your back-calls when you receive an address of an interested person. Do not give up easily either. The outcome could be the finding of a “sheep.” That is what happened to one sister who had received such an address. She went once but did not succeed. She went back again and met the person, but the individual said she was too busy. However, the sister did not give up. She went again, and through the conversation saw that apparently the lady was looking for the truth. Many questions regarding the various doctrinal aspects of her Catholic religion were answered. Several back-calls were needed to help her. Soon she realized that her religion was not in agreement with the Bible, the word of God. Especially when she learned that Peter was not the first pope were her eyes opened. She said: “If that is so, my Catholic religion is without value and I must start over.” After a few studies she got to know where the truth is. She became fully convinced after a visit in her village by the “missionary fathers” for a “mission.” She was so disappointed that she wept when the sister arrived to study. She acknowledged the spiritual state of starvation in which she had been because of her religion. After a while she went to see the local priest and told him of her decision to quit the church. He said to her: “Why? Have you thought out your decision thoroughly? Did you attend the recent ‘mission’?” She replied: “Your mission? Well, rather than retaining me, it has in fact hastened my decision to leave the church!” He tried to persuade her not to quit, but without success. Now she is a zealous publisher herself and she was baptized during the latest circuit assembly.
GUATEMALA Population: 5,169,732
Peak Publishers: 2,250 Ratio: 1 to 2,298
Ten years ago there were fewer than one thousand publishers in the entire country, but in May of 1970 there were one thousand praisers of Jehovah in the capital alone. Some of the brothers who came here to work where the need is great have willingly moved to the hot coastal sections and to other isolated places and they have been blessed by finding many hearing ears. To some of these brothers, having electricity only a few hours a day and no potable water is not their accustomed way of life, but they balance these inconveniences with the appreciation that their newly found Bible students show for their weekly visits and they thank Jehovah for the invitation to “cast their nets” in other waters.
One Canadian brother tells of his experience in moving to a new home in Guatemala: “Jehovah has kindly placed us in a small town where living is really cheap. We eat well and are free to do good works. My health, poor for years, has markedly improved, perhaps due to pure air and freedom from care. The territory is fine; the small congregation is kind and loving; the countryside surpassingly beautiful, and there is plenty to do. Bless Jehovah, O my soul, for his kind direction, his love, for life so rich in blessings! Big problems to surmount? Mostly self-made fears, which required earnest prayer, even often each day. How were such average people able to move, and seemingly able to stay? Apparently only because it is Jehovah’s will that a great movement take place within the ranks of his people now. What can withstand his will? It cannot fail to sustain us all.”
Contrary to the pretenses of the principal religion of Christendom, the “sheep” have not been fed by them as Jesus instructed Peter at John 21:17. In one special pioneer assignment where the need is very great due to the ignorance of the people under the Catholic religion a Paradise book was traded for eight pounds of Guatemalan black beans. The special pioneer tells the result: “When I made the back-call I found a young boy reading the book, so I started a Bible study with him, but when I called the third time he said that he was Catholic and that he did not want to be under any obligation. I explained that he was not under any obligation and the study continued. When he learned that image worship does not please Jehovah nor is it correct to venerate images, he explained it to his father, who was the sexton of the Catholic church. The boy helped his father to burn their own images in November, and in March the father gave up his position at the church. In June the lad symbolized his dedication to Jehovah and began to conduct a Bible study with his family, who have been made happy and are now attending the meetings. He also held a study with another family, which resulted in some of them dedicating their life to Jehovah. The “seed” of God’s word exchanged for literal seed fell “upon the good soil” and brought forth manyfold.
A circuit servant reports: “In 1962, while visiting a congregation, I found a brother about thirteen years of age very zealous in the service, attending all meetings and participating in them. Nonetheless, two years later I had the unpleasant surprise to find out that he no longer participated in the ministry nor did he attend meetings, and during my visit he only listened from outside the Kingdom Hall. The cause? Perhaps because his father, formerly a zealous Witness, had taken a wrong course and was no longer walking in the truth. This contributed to his losing his zeal and spirituality, and to his seeking worldly companions as well as to making secular education the important thing in his life. However, there was another factor: His mother, a faithful Witness, never gave up in spite of difficulties, always praying to Jehovah that her son might return to the truth. Mature brothers visited the inactive youth to try to build him up and to help him to see his position in the eyes of Jehovah, which was not a favorable one. The help was so constant and fine that the brother was reactivated. By renewed study, regular attendance at the meetings and renewed activity in the service he was stimulated to enroll as a vacation pioneer, and later, arranging for part-time work, he was able to become a regular pioneer. My real surprise came when I was assigned to another circuit. I visited an isolated group in a remote section of Guatemala and found that this brother had been appointed a special pioneer one month before. When I expressed my joy at seeing him again serving Jehovah in this way, he replied: ‘I had to decide between receiving the satisfaction of the world, which could not offer more than momentary pleasure, and serving Jehovah, with the joy of praising his name now and the hope of life eternal in the new system of things.’ Then I thought of the text: ‘Remember, now, your grand Creator in the days of your young manhood, before the calamitous days proceed to come, or the years have arrived when you will say: “I have no delight in them.”’”—Eccl. 12:1.
During the year the publishers were happy to have an abundance of Truth books, magazines, Bibles and other needed literature, and they appreciate the hard work of the brothers at Brooklyn.
GUYANA Population: 710,000
Peak Publishers: 1,079 Ratio: 1 to 658
Jehovah blessed us in many ways here in Guyana as we shared in the disciple-making work during the past service year. Whereas we did not move ahead numerically, our appreciation of sacred things did deepen and our spirituality grew.
Having the opportunity to leave Guyana for the United States, Canada or Great Britain is a tempting offer to many here. One brother who received such an offer talked the matter over with some mature brothers, carefully studied the main articles in the March 15, 1969, Watchtower and other material and, in spite of pressure, decided not to accept the offer even though it would benefit him financially. He said: “I thank Jehovah for providing such material through his visible organization. It was a difficult decision to make, but I made it with Jehovah’s help. I now feel that one good way to strengthen my faith is by increased activity in Jehovah’s service. I want to be a regular pioneer.”
Knowing that by faithfully enduring sickness one can confirm one’s standing before God (2 Cor. 4:16, 17), a sister who has multiple sclerosis has reported a monthly average of 60 hours, 51 back-calls and 3 Bible studies for the year. This sister started serving as a missionary in 1957, meeting the various goals until crippled by the aforementioned sickness. She continues to serve Jehovah joyfully and even helped to make a disciple last year. She says: “It is impossible for a shut-in to get along without the loving care and cooperation of others. So with the help of my husband and many brothers I am able to average about 60 hours a month, place literature and magazines with students and neighbors, type some letters, make visits on the telephone and conduct Bible studies in our home.”
Recognizing the urgency of the times, a sister who is a widow, a mother of six children and a schoolteacher, after hearing a call for more regular pioneers at the “Peace on Earth” assembly, began making plans to enter the regular pioneer work. She began pioneering in January 1970 and has a monthly average of 103 hours, 52 back-calls, 6 Bible studies and 147 magazines. Also during the service year two of her children got baptized and another began publishing. She said: “It is not easy, as there are many other things that can be done with my time, but pleasing Jehovah is of primary importance and the benefits accrued now and in the future from serving him cannot be compared with benefits this world offers. Additionally, being in the work full time serves as a protection, since having plenty to do in the work of the Lord will fill in most of my time.”
We here in Guyana hope to move ahead with the rest of the brothers in the world as Jehovah blesses our work. We are also thankful for the help given us by other branches to support the special pioneer and missionary work here in Guyana.
HAITI Population: 4,000,000
Peak Publishers: 2,049 Ratio: 1 to 1,952
Conduct worthy of the good news can lead an indifferent person to consider the truth more attentively and accept it. A special pioneer relates to us: “In my ministry I had on my magazine route a man who worked as a secretary in the police headquarters. His young son was an avid reader of the magazines but without doing anything about what he read. However, one day he made the decision by himself to study and to come to the Kingdom Hall. Incidentally, he used to run away from every opportunity that was offered him to study the Bible. When he did make an about-face he resisted the materialistic advances of Christendom. What caused this turning around? Here is what the interested person said: ‘I had a good friend, with whom I shared in worldly activities, who agreed to a Bible study with Jehovah’s witnesses. At the beginning he tried unsuccessfully to interest me in the study, but something in him brought me to thinking. His behavior, his language, in a word from every angle there was a contrast between my friend of former times and the person whom I now saw, and this made a deep impression on me. So I accepted the truth. However, very subtly it was sought, in vain, to turn me away from the right path. An Adventist came to tell my father: “I see your son is studying the Bible with Jehovah’s witnesses, and it’s a waste of time, for this organization has never offered any possibility for ensuring the material future of its faithful. It would be better for him to come to the Adventist seminary. There he will be able to learn bookkeeping and find a job.” This offer convinced me that these people did not have the truth. Several days later a Protestant introduced himself to me to tell me how much he appreciated my good knowledge of the Bible and that I would be able to profit from this to my own advantage. He promised to take me to a Protestant minister who would give me the necessary training so that I could also be a Protestant minister. “With the cooperation of the faithful you will be able to build a church, and by your way of doing things,” he added, “you will be able to have an increase of the faithful, who will bring you their gift offerings. Thus you will be able to build other churches and I will help you to sell them with a foreign correspondent, after which you will be able to move to a foreign country.” Far from considering such offers as an advantage, I saw a snare in them and I rejected them. Even more, I was enrolled in the Theocratic Ministry School, and that same week I gave a second student talk. On the following Sunday I went out in the field service with the brother who was instructing me. Now my friend and I are both active publishers, continuing to progress in spirituality.’”
HAWAII Population: 748,182
Peak Publishers: 3,340 Ratio: 1 to 224
A few months ago, an eleven-year-old sister placed magazines with a woman who was familiar with them and seemed interested. She shared this experience with her mother, who accompanied her on the back-call. A study was started in the Truth book and rapid progress resulted as the interested person read the Bible daily along with other publications of the Society, This lady shared some of her knowledge with her husband. He manifested interest in the Bible’s message, and a study was started with him. In one and a half months both husband and wife began attending meetings. After another one and a half months had elapsed, they both began the house-to-house ministry. They both talked to their relatives about the truth and started four Bible studies for the publishers and pioneers.
The interested woman’s father was not interested in the truth in the beginning. However, after having a terrifying experience with the demons and learning from his son-in-law that the demons were responsible for his bad experience, he was willing to begin studying the Truth book, beginning in chapter seven on the subject “Are There Wicked Spirits?” He studied on Wednesday evening, and the next night he came to his first meeting at the Kingdom Hall. After four studies, he began sharing in the ministry. Now his wife, two sons and daughter are studying. His son, after studying two months, began sharing in the ministry. During the year this man, his son, married daughter and her husband all symbolized their dedication by water baptism.
Many fine results were evidenced from the “Peace on Earth” International Assembly in Honolulu in November. This assembly aided a former opposer to search for and quickly find the truth, as this experience bears out. A middle-aged deacon in the Southern Baptist Church taught Sunday school in the Japanese language and was also able to speak well in English. His wife was studying the truth but he was sincerely opposed to the efforts of his niece and her husband to aid him to gain Bible knowledge. Despite this, he attended sessions at the international assembly in Honolulu, was favorably impressed and soon a study was started in the Truth book. After reading the second chapter of the Truth book, he commented on it, saying, “That chapter made me see clearly that the Baptists are teaching false doctrines.” He began attending meetings immediately. In less than a month he submitted a written resignation to the Baptist Church. When visited by the minister and another deacon, he displayed the Truth book and said: “I have learned the truth from this little book. I have been attending your church for many, many years and all I have been taught were false doctrines such as the Trinity! Here, take this book, read it, and you will find the truth too!” He then related the experience in the 1970 Yearbook of a whole Baptist congregation changing to Jehovah’s witnesses, and asked the minister how this could be so. The minister’s reply was: “Well, uh, some churches are stronger than others. If you think you have found the truth, Mr. ————, then that is good for you!”
After four months of study, he is regular in the ministry. At his first assembly he volunteered to work in the cafeteria department. His wife and daughter now both are attending meetings regularly with him, and his son, who attends the University of Hawaii, is also studying. Both the wife and daughter are now regular publishers.
GUAM Population: 98,580
Peak Publishers: 83 Ratio: 1 to 1,188
Placements of literature continue to be very good, as reflected in the experience of one car group of five publishers in the late-afternoon witnessing. They placed a total of 300 magazines in just two hours! Back-calls on these placements are yielding fruit in studies and increased meeting attendances. There is an average of thirty-one interested persons attending the Watchtower study weekly.
During the year, two fine circuit assemblies and one district assembly were enjoyed. Outstanding attendances were realized at these assemblies, especially at the district assembly, when 291 attended the Friday night drama. The missionaries from Palau, Yap and Saipan accompanied by those with whom Bible studies are conducted were strengthened also by the Guam district assembly program and fine association. A fine pioneer spirit exists among the brothers here, and we are happy to note that four publishers became regular pioneers during the year. Many publishers have enjoyed vacation pioneer service, and the prospects for more regular pioneers in the future look very good.
MARSHALL ISLANDS Population: 19,328
Peak Publishers: 55 Ratio: 1 to 351
A cause of joy during the year has been the fine increase in vacation pioneers, with a goodly number of these becoming regular pioneers. A fine missionary spirit exists among the brothers here, and a real willingness to move to outer islands to preach to their inhabitants. During the year one family left Majuro, moving to the outer atoll of Ailinglapalap, where the need is greater. This involved giving up their home and building a new one on a different atoll. They are having good results in the Bible study work and much interest is being kindled, as shown when seventy attended the public talk given by the circuit servant during the year. Much appreciation was shown for a clear explanation presented from the Bible and many asked for Bible studies. Another family plans to move to another outer atoll this year to serve where the need is great. The father of the family plans to become a regular pioneer.
On the island of Ebeye, in the Marshallese chain of islands, a family was contacted by a missionary and a Bible study was arranged. Progress was very slow, and oftentimes during the study the womenfolk were absent. It was learned that these two women were attending religious sessions involving demonistic practices and faith healing. They did not feel this to be wrong, since people of other churches were attending also. After getting the Bible’s viewpoint on such practices they ceased attending such sessions of demonistic origin, began attending congregation meetings regularly and are now making fine progress. These two women joined thirteen others from Ebeye on an expensive plane trip to attend the circuit assembly on Majuro. One of these women has requested that her name be removed from the membership of the Protestant church.
PALAU Population: 12,291
Peak Publishers: 15 Ratio: 1 to 819
A missionary contacted a devout Seventh-day Adventist deaconess and arranged a Bible study. During the study the woman carefully checked the Scriptures for proof, at first having a difficult time accepting the truth on many doctrines. When she found out the truth about the trinity doctrine, she was shocked to learn that her church taught this pagan doctrine. On learning that true Christians must use God’s name, she replied, “We [Adventists] don’t use the name Jehovah and I don’t know why.” When she asked her pastor about this, he replied that God’s name is too sacred to pronounce and that we are not worthy even to mention it. She quickly accepted the truth on Christmas and other worldly holidays that are of pagan origin. Regarding her church allowing such celebrations she said, “Our church says we are different from the world, but now I can see that we are not really different. She and her two daughters began attending meetings and have never ceased despite ridicule from her church friends. During the circuit servant’s visit, she brought six persons to the meetings and three of these are now studying. The pastor of her church made many calls on her, pleading with her to stop attending meetings of Jehovah’s witnesses, but to no avail. The pastor said: “Tell me the truth, are you studying with those people just to find out what they teach or do you believe them?” She said, “I tell you the truth, I do believe them because what they teach is reasonable and there is proof for their teachings in the Bible.” She has severed all connections with the church, begun field service and expressed her desire to be baptized as one of Jehovah’s witnesses.
A nurse, affiliated with the Catholic religion and who had been opposed to the truth, explained to a missionary that she was dissatisfied with the Catholic church, since the spiritual diet did not satisfy her. After her first study she began attending meetings. She also encountered much opposition. First, opposition came at her place of work, the hospital. Fellow employees tried to dissuade her from studying, but her firm reply was, “I love my God Jehovah, I love my Bible study and I love the meetings, so why should I stop?” Next, opposition came from her neighbors, as she always had many friends visiting her. Then family opposition from her mother was encountered when her mother told her she had better come back to the Catholic church because she was making a mistake. However, the biggest test of all came when her husband began to oppose. One evening while she was preparing to attend a meeting, the husband threatened to kill her. While he ran into the kitchen to get a knife, she fled to the meeting and stayed with relatives until the husband’s anger subsided. Then about two weeks later, he threatened to kill her again, and this time she did not have an opportunity to get away. She told him: “Before you kill me I would like to pray first. I want to ask Jehovah to help you.” This caused him to walk out of the house, and this time he was the one that spent the night in the relative’s home. What a joy to see him later attending a meeting: Now he sits in on the family Bible study and asks many questions. He agreed to let his wife attend the next circuit assembly. The final opposition to this lady came from the Catholic priest. After a three-hour discussion in-her home he saw that she was determined to serve Jehovah, and encouraged her to continue her study with Jehovah’s witnesses, but he told her to use the New World Translation rather than the King James, because it had too many errors. In six months’ time this lady was preaching from house to house, conducting two Bible studies and doing incidental witnessing to friends, neighbors and relatives, sometimes until 3 a.m. Her desire is to be baptized soon.
PONAPE Population: 20,093
Peak Publishers: 62 Ratio: 1 to 324
A newly baptized brother is caring well for the isolated group on this island. A local family comprised of three regular pioneers, a wife who often vacation pioneers and their children, moved from Ponape island to Kusaie, where the need is greater. During the spring visit of the circuit servant, attendance was in the fifties. The highlight of the circuit servant’s visit was the Memorial, with a remarkable attendance of 275! This was a ratio of one person in attendance for every fifteen persons on the entire island! Surely, much work lies ahead for these isolated brothers, and, doubtlessly, Jehovah’s blessings will continue with these “men goodwill.”
Two enjoyable circuit assemblies were held on Ponape island during the year, with new peak attendances at both. The receipt of the “Good News” booklet in Ponapean at the international assembly in Honolulu has been a fine aid in working the territory. As a result frequent coverage of territory, many persons who formerly refused to listen are now showing more interest and requesting return visits. A happy and zealous spirit exists among the brothers.
SAIPAN Population: 10,299
Peak Publishers: 15 Ratio: 1 to 687
A lady went to church and offered herself to God in something like a prayer of dedication—of course, one without accurate knowledge. She prayed that God would take her in death for his service. Then, realizing that this probably would not be the right way, as she was a mother with children, she prayed that she would be shown the way to serve God. She prayed again. While praying, a light appeared above the image that was in a niche in the wall and there was a voice that said, “Sacrifice, love one another, love your neighbor.” After this, however, she still was not satisfied with her religion. She attended religious services of many different faiths. She listened to all religious programs available on the radio, She obtained a Bible, studied it, attended religious study classes but still did not feel as though she had found the way. Then she set out to find the missionary sister that had contacted her long previously. A study was arranged, and she began making spiritual progress. When asked if calls could be made on the husband in the evenings, she explained that he had studied to be a Catholic priest and that it would be best for her to explain things to him for a while in order to break down his prejudice first. She accomplished this job well, and in a few weeks the whole family was studying. After six weeks of study, the family attended the circuit assembly in Guam. She and her husband are now both baptized. Her proper dedication and the symbolizing of it by water immersion was not accompanied with lights and miraculous voices, but with the “peace of God that excels all thought . . . by means of Christ Jesus.”—Phil. 4:7.
TRUK Population: 27,453
Peak Publishers: 11 Ratio: 1 to 2,496
A zealous pioneer from Ponape that speaks Trukese was assigned to Truk (island of Moen) this year as a special pioneer. Formerly this brother had attended a Protestant missionary school in Truk. When he started in his new assignment he began to see many of his former friends and had opportunity to witness to them. One of his former friends was a restaurant owner. A Bible study was started with him and conducted during business hours. When customers came into the restaurant during his Bible study, the restaurant owner would explain to them each point he had learned from the Bible. When he visits his home island he shares his newly learned Bible knowledge with others. He is studying regularly and has begun attending meetings.
On the island of Tol, eighteen miles from the island Moen where the missionary home is located, a lone interested man is preaching what he knows about the truth to others. When he visits the island of Moen he always visits the missionaries and asks many Bible questions. Weekly one of the missionaries writes him a letter, giving him a sermon from the Truth book to use the following week. His father, a high-ranking personage in the Protestant church, recently told his son that he knew his son had the truth, but to tone down the message since he was afraid it would cause people to stop coming to his church. This interested person continues to preach to people, thus sounding the warning of the urgency of the times and the need to flee from Babylon the Great.
YAP Population: 7,017
Peak Publishers: 8 Ratio: 1 to 877
A young married man, that is an X-ray technician in the hospital, began studying with one of the missionaries during the year. As he began taking his stand for the truth he met with much opposition and ridicule at work from his fellow employees, and stiff family opposition. Both he and his wife continued to study and, with Jehovah’s help, withstood such pressure. Finally, family opposition reached such proportions that he, his wife and children had to move from a nice home into an inconvenient one without electricity or needed conveniences. During the circuit servant’s visit this man was baptized and his wife shared for the first time in field service. She later attended the district assembly in Guam and there symbolized her dedication to do Jehovah’s will. Opposition and intimidation continue. After her baptism the landlord told them on Friday night that they would have to move out of their house on Saturday. The wife said to the husband early Saturday morning, “Maybe we should stay home from service and try to find some place to stay.” His reply was, “No, we made arrangements to go out this morning. We’ll worry about our house in the afternoon.” When they returned from service, the landlord informed them that they could continue to live in the house.
HONDURAS Population: 2,582,000
Peak Publishers: 1,341 Ratio: 1 to 1,925
A woman who is the director of a Catholic school and the wife of a bank president noticed that one of the students in the school had the Truth book. She took the book away from the student, saying: “You do not know how to read. Let me read it.” After reading the book she wrote to the Society requesting a copy of the New World Translation as advertised on the last page of the book. Shortly thereafter a local pioneer endeavored to start a Bible study with this person, but she always stated that she was too busy. To the surprise of the pioneer, some five months later this same person asked, “When can we start the study?” The study was started immediately, and from the start excellent progress was made. Soon this woman was attending and participating in the congregation meetings and enthusiastically witnessing to her friends about the things that she was learning. Due to her efforts three of her friends began to study, including two more teachers in the same Catholic school. Now this newly interested person wants to be baptized at our next district assembly. She is presently arranging to free herself from her position in the Catholic school so that she can become a true disciple of Christ.
Another woman operated a tavern and had a bad reputation. She was accustomed to wearing a pistol, which caused many to fear her. She also adorned her house with many images and was learning witchcraft. Nevertheless, deep inside, the woman was unhappy and in search of something better in life. When offered the opportunity to study the Bible with the help of the Truth book, she readily accepted and, with the progress of the study, began to put on a new personality. She destroyed her images and started to attend the meetings. However, so-called friends discouraged her by misrepresenting the Witnesses and giving them a bad name. But the sister patiently worked to build faith in the woman’s heart. The woman regained confidence in the sincerity and truthfulness of the Witnesses and now made genuine progress. Within a short period of time she was going from door to door with a Bible in hand instead of a pistol. Presently she is conducting seven of her own Bible studies and plans to be baptized at the next assembly. Meanwhile, one of her Bible students is also conducting two Bible studies, and one of these persons is already attending the meetings at the Kingdom Hall.
What would you do if you found that a person with whom you studied did not even grasp the simple explanation of the truth as explained in the Truth book and evidently would not complete the study of this book in a short period of time? Would you find it hard to continue and perhaps abandon the study? One special pioneer noted that persons who have little or no education often do not comprehend at first even the simple explanation given in the Truth book, but he also noted that some of these people show a genuine thirst for righteousness. When he has encountered this problem he has tried to conduct the first few studies by way of simple conversations, explaining various common Bible accounts and using some of the points and pictures in the Paradise book as a basis for discussion. If the person does not know how to read or write, he also conducts a weekly class with the person using the booklet Learning to Read and Write in Spanish. Now that the new one’s mind is more adjusted to the idea of Bible study, the study is transferred to the Truth book and is conducted on the basis of the six-month program. What has been the result of this method of teaching? A number of such persons are now becoming disciples. One such person who did not know how to read had previously studied with another Witness for two years and had not made any progress. The special pioneer used the above method of study to help the woman to get oriented to Bible study and immediately began to teach her how to read. Her husband told the special pioneer that he would never be able to teach his wife anything. However, in just six months’ time this woman learned to read and, more importantly, learned the truth that leads to eternal life. She, too, plans to be baptized at the very next assembly.
HONG KONG Population: 4,000,000
Peak Publishers: 235 Ratio: 1 to 17,021
The 1970 service year brought many joys and blessings for us all in Hong Kong. Outstanding was the “Peace on Earth” assembly held in October 1969. Your visit, Brothers Knorr and Franz, together with delegates from fifteen different countries will long be remembered. All left the assembly spiritually refreshed and determined to have a full share in the great work yet to be done. This fine spirit among the brothers and the Truth book in the Chinese language have contributed greatly to the excellent witness given during the year. We would like to share with you some of the experiences from our brothers in Hong Kong and Macao.
One special pioneer has persevered in difficult territory for five years, placing much literature, making back-calls and conducting Bible studies, but with little fruitage. One day she placed two magazines with a man who showed mild interest. Unable to call back immediately herself due to having so many calls, she asked her husband to make the call. The husband made the return visit, placed a Truth book with the man and arranged for a Bible study. After the second study this man began attending the Tuesday-evening book study. After the third study he began attending the Sunday meetings and shortly became a regular attender of all the congregation meetings. In just eight months’ time he has made fine progress and is now sharing in the house-to-house ministry. How important to see that all interest is followed up, even though you yourself may have more calls than you can handle.
Being alert to follow suggestions that come through Jehovah’s organization brings rich blessings. One publisher noted the article in the Kingdom Ministry on “Referrals.” Though her time was well taken up with house-to-house work and two Bible studies, she talked to her friends at work about our six-month Bible study arrangement. She was able to arrange with three of her workmates to study the Truth book with other publishers, and all have made rapid progress. Within a year all have become zealous ministers of the good news. Two of them have been baptized and the other looks forward to taking this step at the coming circuit assembly.
MACAO Population: 375,000
Peak Publishers: 7 Ratio: 1 to 53,571
Macao is a Portuguese colony and it is claimed that the majority of people are Catholics. However, the fact is that the majority are atheists. Despite this strong godless element, there are some who are hungering for the truth and who are willing to stand firm. One young woman began learning the truth and had to make a determined stand in the face of family opposition. She was given much work such as housecleaning and cooking for the large family, but, in spite of this, she never missed her Christian meetings or neglected her personal Bible study. As a result she grew in faith and appreciation, and this year she attended the “Men of Goodwill” District Assembly in Hong Kong, where she was baptized. Since returning to Macao she has spent a joyful month in the vacation pioneer service.
ICELAND Population: 203,442
Peak Publishers: 132 Ratio: 1 to 1,541
The Truth book has played an important part in the preaching work, and the brothers have been very enthusiastic about distributing it. An eleven-year-old boy took the book with him to school to show it to his classmates, and it resulted in his getting orders for twenty books from his schoolfellows.
A newly interested man who had obtained a copy of the Truth book brought it with him when he had to go to the hospital for some time. Besides that he also read other literature from the Society during his stay at the hospital. The day after he came home from the hospital there were elections and many of his friends were trying to get him to vote, but he refused to do so and told the special pioneer who had contacted him that he would not take any part in politics anymore. He also declared that he wanted to get out of the church as fast as possible. So reading the Truth book in the hospital was of great benefit to him. Since then there has been a regular Bible study with this man and his wife.
This interested man has four grown-up children, and he has used every opportunity to talk to them about his new religion. From the beginning one son showed some interest, and the man asked the special pioneer to call on him. A study was started with this son and his wife and they started to come to the meetings right away, and, having come regularly since, they take part in answering at the book study and the Watchtower study.
An elder son was very opposed to the truth when the father started witnessing to him. When this son later visited his younger brother at his home and found out that he had also begun to study the Bible with the Witnesses, he started to make fun of him, but his brother showed him several things in the Truth book that changed his mind about Jehovah’s witnesses, and the same evening he came with his brother to a public meeting at the Kingdom Hall. On that occasion he got both a Truth book and a Paradise book, and the next morning he went to a bookstore to buy a Bible. He was now very interested to find out if Jehovah’s witnesses were teaching according to the Bible. He was soon convinced that he had found the truth, and when the special pioneer called on him, both he and his wife were happy to have a Bible study. Also this young couple are making fine progress and have begun to attend the meetings in the Kingdom Hall.
The father also started witnessing to an eighteen-year-old daughter, who was living at home. She was very opposed and told her father that she would leave home if he did not stop talking about these Jehovah’s witnesses. When she found out that both her brothers and their wives were studying. and attending meetings, she said that the whole family was going mad. One night she found it hard to fall asleep and wanted to read something, but the only thing she was able to find was that little blue book from the Witnesses. Well, it was better than nothing, so she started reading the Truth book. And what happened? She too was soon convinced that this is the truth. A study was started with her, and now she is doing very well and attends every meeting.
More members of the family have also begun to study because this man, who first showed an interest in the truth, put his light on a lampstand. Now the special pioneer and his wife conduct five studies with nine interested persons in that same family. How encouraging it is to see this big family sitting together at the meetings in the Kingdom Hall.
INDIA Population: 550,000,000
Peak Publishers: 3,347 Ratio: 1 to 164,326
India’s teeming millions do not live in big cities. There are seven cities with over one million people, but many more millions live in hamlets, villages and small towns scattered over vast areas, and this is the real India. It is not surprising, then, that we have only 64 congregations but 105 isolated groups reporting service. There are two whole states with no publishers whatsoever, and six with only isolated groups reporting. Expansion is taking place mostly in the rural areas. Very fine progress has been made during the year in the very primitive Andaman and Nicobar Islands, while on the mainland quite a few publishers who are farmers have migrated to new territories, resulting in the formation of several new isolated groups.
One such group did some witnessing still farther out from their settlement. As a result one person attended a circuit assembly forty miles away. He was so impressed that he returned home and began in real earnest to talk about the truths he was learning. Now there is a new group of about forty persons in that area studying the Truth book in the Malayalam language. The local priest got to hear of it and denounced Jehovah’s witnesses before his congregation as drunkards and rowdies. A woman immediately got up and shouted: “That is false. My son was a drunkard when he attended your church, but now that he is studying with Jehovah’s witnesses you see him carrying a Bible in his hand instead of a bottle.”
The Truth book has certainly done much to help people of all sorts to flee from Babylon the Great. We now have the book in three Indian languages and three more are being printed. A Catholic took the book, read it through before the publisher returned one week later, and remarked: “That book is necessary for all Christians.” A study was started immediately. They came to the subject of worshiping God with spirit and with truth. The following week the publisher found all the religious pictures removed from the walls and in their place a simple Scripture text: “As for me and my household, we shall serve Jehovah.”
The churches of Christendom in India are still well attended, even to overflowing. But increasingly large numbers of churchgoers are beginning to see that there is something wrong with their church organizations. Especially is this so in the case of Roman Catholics because of the many changes that are now taking place in their ceremonies. It is officially announced as an “Indianizing” of the church, but some call it “Hinduizing.”
NEPAL Population: 10,000,000
Peak Publishers: 4 Ratio: 1 to 2,500,000
Nepal is an independent, sovereign state on the northern border of India, famous for its Mount Everest. During the year a family of four moved from India to Katmandu, the capital, and are doing good work there as they have opportunity. It is a Buddhist state with a large admixture of Hinduism. Christian proselytizing is forbidden. However, several subscriptions for The Watchtower and Awake! have been taken, and a limited amount of witnessing is being done, chiefly among the Indian and other communities working there. It is a state slowly emerging from the very primitive past.
INDONESIA Population: 119,000,000
Peak Publishers: 2,563 Ratio: 1 to 46,430
Jehovah’s witnesses in Indonesia responded enthusiastically to the invitation, “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them.” Jehovah blessed their zealous efforts as many disciples were made, resulting in more than four hundred being baptized. The increase came from people of many tribes and racial origins. To date, persons from at least twenty-two tribes are already among those mentioned in Revelation 7:9, and the discipling work is prospering. They came from all walks of life and from those adhering formerly to the Protestant, Roman Catholic and other “Christian sects,” from the Buddhist and Islam religions and from those who practice animism and from professed atheists. In a land so rooted in mystic, tribal and family traditions and superstitions, it has required good discipling because conditions developed as foretold by Jesus in Luke 21:16, 17, namely, that those discipled would be delivered up by relatives and former friends, becoming the objects of hatred by all people because of his name.
How would you stand up under severe whippings and beatings every time you returned from attending meetings at the Kingdom Hall or book study? This was the experience of a young Chinese girl being discipled by a special pioneer. The information brought out on the soul, trinity and earthly hopes from the Truth book, convinced her that her church was not teaching the truth. The father, a rabid Buddhist, threatened to shear off her long hair if she continued, repeatedly beating her severely. The girl continued her studies at the home of an aunt, has withdrawn from the church and plans on being baptized at the next circuit assembly.
“My life was filled with fear and mystery for three years. I was also a member of a banned political party,” relates a Chinese high-school girl. Although accepting the Paradise book from a Witness, she intended to hide herself because of fear and uncertainty, if the brother returned as promised. He appeared unexpectedly. His friendliness and invitation led to a regular home Bible study. She soon experienced threats and provocation from her schoolmates, teacher and her Buddhist family, who fanatically clung to spiritism and tradition. Persuasion and threats failing, the family refused to speak to her, giving her only disdainful looks. Relates the girl: “I knew this involved my future life and I continued the Bible study even though my family charged that this would prevent me from going on to the Teachers’ College. I remembered Jesus’ words that those who followed him as true ministers would suffer opposition and persecution. Finally, I decided to dedicate my life to Jehovah and be baptized, to become a true minister of God. Now I am filled with joy, serving as a vacation pioneer. The feeling of fear is no longer present, because I know Jehovah is always there to help me.”
A study in the Truth book not only helped a schoolgirl to understand the truth but prepared her to teach classmates. At the Islamic school she attends, religious lessons are given. To the displeasure of her classmates, she refused to attend the lessons, saying that she now had another religion since studying with Jehovah’s witnesses. When small parties were conducted in the school she contributed by singing Kingdom songs, which resulted in interest on the part of some of her classmates. A study was started with five of them, using the booklet “This Good News of the Kingdom.” The schoolmaster permitted her to use a vacant classroom while the lessons in the Islamic religion were conducted. Soon two of the classmates began attending meetings. A change of teachers brought a change of attitude. “I don’t want you to make Christians in my school,” said the headmaster. The girl tactfully explained that she did not believe in the doctrines of the “Christian sects,” and only wanted to continue giving lessons to her five pupils. Reluctantly the teacher consented. Later he apologized for his attitude and said she was free to teach. The girl looks forward to being baptized at the next circuit assembly.
“Read the Al-Koran every day” read the writing in Arabic on the walls of the home of an Islamic family. A back-call here on a magazine placement resulted in a home Bible study, using the Paradise book. Now there are writings on the walls that read, “Read the Holy Bible every day,” “‘You are my witnesses,’ says Jehovah,” etc. After three months of study the man offered his home for the congregation book study. Being a musician, he taught his seven children to sing Kingdom songs, and the whole family are now making fine progress.
The discipling work has brought the ire of the Protestant leaders. They circulate pamphlets containing derogatory information about Jehovah’s witnesses and endeavor to use civil and military authorities to stop the work of Jehovah’s witnesses. A brother working from house to house witnessed to a Moslem head of the military court in A————. After hearing the witness, this man informed the brother that the leaders of the local Protestant organization had approached him to have the work of Jehovah’s witnesses stopped. He had asked them, “Do they have a different God from the Protestants?” “Yes,” they answered, “Jehovah’s witnesses have only one God, whereas we have a three-in-one God.” The man answered, “I have never read in your Christian Bible of such a God. Now if you want Jehovah’s witnesses stopped because of believing in only one God, then you had better have the Moslem religion stopped also because we also believe in one Almighty God.” He pointed out to them that this land is not a Christian or Protestant state but that under the state laws each one is permitted to profess the religion of his choice. The man further expressed his appreciation for the teaching done by Jehovah’s witnesses and suggested that they go to the schoolteachers to help them teach the children, as the children no longer had respect for the teachers or for the parents.
IRELAND Population: 4,405,000
Peak Publishers: 987 Ratio: 1 to 4,463
This year has been one of unprecedented progress. September saw a new peak of 880 publishers, an increase of 7 percent over the previous year’s average, and this was followed by eight successive peaks, building up to 987 publishers, an increase of 19 percent.
Two special pioneers who recently moved out to a town that had never been assigned before had a fine experience that illustrates the benefits of leaving a Bible study folder where people are not at home. After completing one side of a street in the house-to-house ministry they were approached by a young man who had found a folder behind his door. He immediately propounded a series of questions and, much to the surprise of the brothers, readily agreed with the answers they gave. He went on to explain that he had lost faith in the Catholic church and that for seven years he had read his copy of the Douay New Testament over and over again. As a result he had come to recognise the falsity of doctrines such as the trinity, immortality of the soul, the use of images and other related teachings. In consequence he had been searching for the truth, but feeling that he was the only one who believed the way he did. He eagerly took the Truth book. Three days later he searched out the two brothers and found them talking to the local priest. The priest was just telling them that they were wasting their time, as none of his parishioners would listen to them, when the young man walked right up and greeted the two special pioneers by saying, “Hello, my brothers!” He was bubbling over with excitement. Having read the Truth book twice, he was convinced it taught the truth, and asked if he could join the brothers in their ministry. The next day he accompanied them as an observer and expressed deep joy and appreciation. In his keenness he urged the brothers to conduct Bible studies with him three and four times a week. Studies in the Truth book were therefore completed in five weeks. From the outset he severed all connections with the church and a local political party and began travelling seven miles each way to attend meetings. Within the first month after being contacted he had read most of the Society’s recent books and had begun giving student talks in the Ministry School. Despite much opposition from relatives and other townspeople, he soon began to share in the ministry and, seven weeks from the initial contact, he attended the district assembly and was baptized. You can imagine how his devotion and zeal have been a source of much encouragement to the special pioneers in their isolated assignment.
The power of the Truth book to deepen appreciation of Jehovah and his Word is highlighted in the following experience, which also shows the effectiveness of giving one of the Society’s books as a present. One interested person, after having a Bible study for more than a year, felt no desire to respond to the things she had learned. Then the study was started again, using the Truth book. Within a few weeks she began to attend meetings and share in the ministry. Her comment was: “That book kept putting me on the spot, and it really deepened my appreciation of the Bible.” Despite financial difficulties, she attended last year’s international assembly in London along with her two children. At the assembly she obtained a copy of the book Is the Bible Really the Word of God? as a present for her husband, it being their wedding anniversary. Her husband had not shown any interest in the Bible and was not favorably disposed toward Jehovah’s witnesses. Seeing her enthusiasm, however, and much to her surprise, he read the book through in one evening. This so established his faith in the Bible as the word of God that he attended the next congregation meeting and requested one of the brothers to study the Truth book with him. The study quickly deepened his appreciation and within three months he was going out in the field service. Both he and his wife are now baptised and conducting a study in the Truth book with another young couple.
ISRAEL Population: 3,923,600
Peak Publishers: 167 Ratio: 1 to 23,495
The receipt of new publications in some of the many languages encountered both in the territory and among the members of the congregations equipped the publishers to accomplish more effective service. Outstandingly, our first bound book in Hebrew, “Things in Which It Is Impossible for God to Lie,” as well as the Truth book in Arabic, have proved valuable aids. New peaks were attained in literature distribution as well as in other features of the ministry.
Constant reports of border clashes, along with uncertainty as to the outcome of the situation, distract people’s minds from spiritual matters and foster strong feelings of nationalism and, among the young, a philosophy of ‘live for today.’ However, some do see the need to turn to the Bible as a source of information regarding the future, rather than viewing it as just a book that relates the history of their nation and land. The local publishers go calmly on with their work, sharing busily in all features of the ministry, and some people have responded to the “good news.”
Most of our witnessing is to Jewish families. This requires a different approach to people, but basically the same kind of experiences are encountered. Here, too, the ministry receives heavenly support, as the angels direct the proclaiming of the “everlasting good news.”
There is the case of a man who was formerly a devout believer but who found that his faith in God was slipping away. He prayed to God that someone would show him the way to build true faith, and he looked around for someone who could help him to understand the Bible. In casual conversation with a neighbor from the same housing project, a teacher, he asked: “You’re a teacher. Do you know anyone who could teach me the Bible?” This schoolteacher is a brother in the local congregation. His response was: “Certainly I do, but I don’t think that it would be quite what you had in mind.” He explained our method of study, and a regular home Bible study was started. Instead of the course of orthodox Jewish instruction that he originally sought, this man has now come to see that Jesus is the Messiah, and he has set aside a number of false traditional ideas. He views this course of true Biblical studies as the answer to his prayer for help.
As in other lands, here, too, the message of truth acts like a “sword” in dividing family members, but firmness by the new believer brings a blessing. Calling back at an apartment where the occupants previously had been not at home, a young pioneer sister met a housewife who showed interest. A study was started and held regularly despite protests and opposition from her husband right from the start. Her attendance at her first meeting was under the threat that it would mean the end of their marriage. His opposition was so strong that she was forced to leave home for a short time. All this time the husband had not met the publishers, but the congregation servant and his wife sought him out to try to effect a reconciliation. Their approach was friendly and reasonable, and misunderstandings were soon cleared up. The husband also began to study! Then he had to contend with opposition from his relatives, but he has progressed well. Now the couple stand firm as a united family. The wife was baptized recently, he has taken a determined stand for Christian neutrality, and both are regular in service and at the meetings.
There is a lesson to be learned from the life story of one young man in the territories occupied by Israel since 1967 and who has made fine progress in the truth in the last few months. His father was in the truth for many years, but rather isolated for much of the time. He failed to raise his family “in the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah.” One of his sons became an ardent Communist and confirmed atheist. Because of Communist party activity he was exiled to a desert prison camp for seven years. Over the years he had occasionally read some of the Society’s literature and had heard his father witnessing about a new system of things. In due time he became disillusioned with Communism’s promise of “paradise,” and disgusted with the political and commercial elements of this world. Following his father’s death, he and his wife and children moved from the family home to a town where a congregation is located, taking with him his father’s library of the Society’s literature. Here the Witnesses soon visited him, started discussions and then a regular study, which aided him to build faith in God, the Bible and the Kingdom message. He made fast progress, was baptized at his first assembly and is already serving as a vacation pioneer. During his first month in this service he contacted a very interested family and is now conducting a Bible study himself. He is certainly a fine inspiration to the brothers in the little congregation, as all the family attend meetings and manifest enthusiasm for everything. His father would have been especially happy to see such a change of outlook! And here is the lesson to be learned: It is not sufficient just to have the literature in one’s home and to talk with the children from time to time, but a regular home Bible study with the whole family is vital to train young ones in the way of the truth and to safeguard them from the deceptions of worldly propaganda and the dangers of unwholesome associations. Our new brother is convinced that it would have helped him!
A happy and united spirit prevails among the brothers in their congregations, untainted as they are by any interracial bad feelings and distrust that the local political situation engenders. The truth certainly brings freedom!
ITALY Population: 54,033,652
Peak Publishers: 18,636 Ratio: 1 to 2,899
This has been a special year of activity for Jehovah’s witnesses in Italy. For the first time there have been more than 3,000 new publishers in one year. Besides the work in Italy, the branch office in Rome has directed the activities of Jehovah’s witnesses also in Libya, San Marino and Somalia, and the following are the reports from these countries.
The international convention held in Rome in 1969 brought plenty of fruit. A man casually entered the Sports Palace, where the convention was being held, and listened to a talk. As he enjoyed it, he remained for the entire session. From what he heard for the first time at this convention he realized that he had found the truth. He then came to the branch office, asking how he might get to know the Witnesses better. It was arranged for someone to visit him. He accepted literature, and a Bible study was started. After some visits, he started talking to friends and relatives about the truth. Shortly, he was attending meetings and making comments. His wife was opposed to the truth and was not favorable to the Bible study. But he, without arguing, made her participate in the study and led her to the meetings. Now they both are enrolled in the Theocratic Ministry School, attend all the meetings and go out regularly in the door-to-door service.
The truth, when it enters the heart of a person, even if he is very sick, urges such one to share the good news with others. A young man was struck in his early years with a severe form of paralysis. He could not move a single limb nor could he speak, and he could express himself only by moving his tongue. By the age of thirty this young man had got to the point of hating everything. A priest of Christendom, with whom his family was very much tied in, could never give him even the slightest hope. One day a witness of Jehovah came to see him. From the very first visits his relatives noticed the change that was taking place in him. He showed joy over the truth that he learned and the marvelous hope that Jehovah offers. He wanted to share the good news with others, but how could he do it, since he was not able to move even his head of his own will? The only thing he would do was to move his tongue. The person that spoke with him repeated all the letters of the alphabet till the man did not move his tongue, thus showing that was the correct letter. This letter then was written down, and the speaker started all over again with all the letters of the alphabet till the man did not move his tongue out again, thus indicating another letter. Of course, to make up a single word required quite some time, but, with tremendous effort, the young man dictated in this manner, letter after letter, sermons and letters addressed to neighbors, friends and relatives, and was thus able to become a publisher of the good news! A few months after his baptism this young man, struck with influenza, died; but he died with the marvelous hope of the new order where he will be able to express himself audibly.
Children that are well trained by their parents in the Word of God can give a good witness about the truth. A boy, duly trained by one of his parents, understood, from the second elementary class on, about the need to stay aloof from everything connected with Babylon the Great. His father exempted him from the hour of religion. When the schoolteacher thought that there was nothing wrong in his taking part in the school prayers, the boy said that as one of Jehovah’s witnesses he could not compromise under any circumstance. At school the boy had exemplary conduct, and this was noted by the teacher, who, as she was giving prizes one day for those who had behaved best, gave a prize also to this young witness of Jehovah, bestowing on him a badge with a cross on it. The boy thanked her politely but said he could not accept it, as the cross is a pagan symbol. At this point the schoolteacher said that this was impossible, whereupon the boy said that if the schoolteacher wished he would have his mother explain what the Bible teaches about the cross and other subjects. As a result of the visit that ensued, a study was started with the schoolteacher, and now the schoolteacher is a dedicated and baptized witness of Jehovah together with her eldest son, who is also a Ministry School servant in the congregation, while the younger son is a regular publisher of the good news.
LIBYA Population: 1,803,000
Peak Publishers: 41 Ratio: 1 to 43,976
The beginning of last service year coincided in this country with the overturning of the monarchist rule by a council of young military nationalists. Under the former government the theocratic work was already banned, and the change in government has not changed things for us. For years, however, the brothers have operated under hard conditions, and so, trusting in Jehovah and in his organization, they continue to carry out the work as best they can.
Sometimes children manage to give a witness where the efforts of adults have proved vain. The neighbor of a family of Witnesses that had to leave the country went to greet them for the last time. The four-year-old son of the brothers said sadly: “You know, I love you, but why don’t you study the Bible?” The neighbor had never wanted to listen to the good news, though she had lived nearby for the past seventeen years. Now, thoroughly moved, she said to the child: “You are right; I too want to read the Bible!” The brothers gave her a gift copy, inviting her to study it. When she went out of their house, the neighbor met a friend who was living in the same building and who asked her what the book was that she was holding. Upon hearing that it was a Bible, she said: “How come you are reading the Bible?” After she explained how she got it, the neighbor returned with her friend to the house of the brothers to get another copy, and the brothers gave her another copy immediately.
SAN MARINO Population: 18,000
Peak Publishers: 21 Ratio: 1 to 857
During the year a good witness was given quite freely in the Republic of San Marino. The arrangement of splitting up the territory and of working the areas separately so as not to cause difficulties was put into practice.
Though it is forbidden to Italians to preach in this territory, the local witnesses of San Marino are free to carry on the ministry and cannot be chased out of the Republic.
The following experience shows how Jehovah oversees the work so that those that want to can come to a knowledge of the truth. In the work from house to house a lady was found who, after the introductory remarks, asked the Witness whether she was one of Jehovah’s witnesses, and then invited her into the house. She said her husband had studied in Belgium with the Witnesses. She listened with much interest and then said: “I am looking for the truth. I know that the religion of my parents won’t do for me, but I don’t know where to find the truth. Last night I wrote to a Bible society asking for a Bible study. Today God has sent you to me.” A Bible study was immediately arranged, and the next day the publisher returned to speak also with the husband. He said that he had lost sight of Jehovah’s witnesses and that he was now interested in politics, but that he did not know whether he was following the right road or the wrong one. The study was taken up with him too and is continuing with excellent progress. The husband understands what the correct attitude is toward the world, and both husband and wife already attend the meetings, bringing also his sister and brother-in-law.
The faithful and chaste conduct of wives can gain husbands to the truth, as occurred in the following case. A husband considered Jehovah’s witnesses queer people and opposed his wife in every way so as to get her to discontinue associating with Jehovah’s witnesses. But she continued and the husband began gradually to note her conduct, and this made him think that his wife’s religion had something good. He asked for a Bible study and quickly understood the need to share with others the things he learned. But a difficulty arose; his work linked him to the government for three years as band musician, with the obligation of taking up arms in the event of an invasion. As his agreement expired after some months, he decided not to renew it so as to serve Jehovah fully.
SOMALIA Population: 2,745,000
Peak Publishers: 1 Ratio: 1 to 2,745,000
The light of the truth continues to shine forth in Somalia. The sister who for some years has been the only publisher in this territory that is predominantly Mohammedan continues with zeal and determination to devote herself to the publishing of the good news of the Kingdom. A certain number of persons listen to the truth. The local situation is not very sound for Westerners, and many people that had shown interest have returned to their respective countries. The sister also took the opportunity to witness to the students of the Italian school during the hour of religion, even though, for obvious reasons, the friar that had invited her did not repeat his invitation. The good news continues to be preached also in this territory where the need for other publishers is really great.
JAMAICA Population: 1,954,000
Peak Publishers: 5,556 Ratio: 1 to 352
The apostle Paul witnessed to a jailer and got satisfying results. (Acts 16:16-34) We have cases today of jailers witnessing to their prisoners with the same results. There is such an instance in Jamaica. A young man got mixed up in bad company, leading to stealing. He was among those caught and sentenced to prison for three years. A prison warder, one of Jehovah’s ministers, witnessed to the prisoner, eventually placing a “Look!” booklet with him. This changed his outlook on life. When released from prison, he was contacted by a sister who was engaging in the magazine service. The man asked her to come to assist him to understand the Bible. Arrangements were made for the overseer of the congregation to conduct a home Bible study, which began in May of last year, and in November this man symbolized his dedication, gaining real freedom from captivity to false religion.
A thirteen-year-old publisher used to ask himself: “Can I, in my young years, conduct a study?” He found the answer when working with the circuit servant. The two of them started a home Bible study that the young publisher continues to conduct, together with two additional ones that he started by himself since then.
Making melody to our God Jehovah cannot be done by using the religious songs of Christendom in the schools. A young publisher was questioned by the headmistress as to the songs that Jehovah’s people sing in their worship. The student took one of our songbooks, “Singing and Accompanying Yourselves with Music in Your Hearts,” as a gift for the teacher, making reference to 1 Corinthians 8:5; Exodus 6:3 and Psalm 83:18, which she had written above the title of Song 112. The headmistress asked her secretary if she recognized any of the songs, and, of course, she did not. The student was asked to sing one of the tunes and she chose Song 112: “To Whom Do We Belong?” The listeners were delighted to hear the words and melody and thanked the student for the gift. Later the secretary was heard humming the tune as she went about her work.
The name Jehovah’s witnesses is not popular with many persons, and in many cases this is because of not knowing who the true God is. One young lady found out that Jehovah is God’s name and reasoned that if that is his name then Jehovah’s witnesses must be his people. Here’s how it happened: One Sunday morning her mother was approached by the Witnesses in their regular door-to-door ministry. After the discussion the mother approached the daughter with the fact that she had learned that Jehovah is God’s name. This was interesting to both of them. The daughter took up the books that were placed with her mother and read them with pleasure, and when the Witnesses made their return call, both mother and daughter were prepared for a study of the Bible. This was in March. The daughter revealed that she figured it was about time she started learning what the Bible teaches so she could begin serving God. She really meant it, because she began attending meetings that evening and arranged for regular attendance at all other meetings. During the special meetings in April she heard that new ones were encouraged to engage in the field ministry and she volunteered to begin. She did not hesitate, because already she knew that the door-to-door work was important, as she would not be in the truth today if Jehovah’s witnesses had not come to her home. And she feels that there are others that must be found, persons who do not know Jehovah, as was her case. She was baptized in August.
One overseer started a home Bible study with a person who, in turn, invited others to attend. The studies eventually had an average attendance of eighteen persons. Within nine months, eight of the group symbolized their dedication to serve Jehovah.
CAYMAN ISLANDS Population: 9,754
Peak Publishers: 14 Ratio: 1 to 697
The brothers on the Cayman Islands enjoyed their very first circuit assembly during the month of May this year. Since the congregation is made up of fourteen publishers, it was necessary to import the program and participants from Jamaica. A plane was chartered and ninety-four brothers indicated their desire to attend and participate in this assembly as well as to have a part in the field ministry. The excitement that was stirred up could be compared to that aroused for attending a big convention. When a native of the Cayman Islands saw the brothers busy tacking up placards advertising the public meeting he immediately offered his services, showing the brothers the best places for the signs, and he did the hanging himself. Everyone was impressed to see so many persons leaving their homes to come to these islands for a religious convention. It was a common experience for the brothers, when walking to and from the assembly site, to be offered a ride in a taxi and, when their destination was reached, to have the taxi driver refuse the fare, stating he was glad to be of service.
JAPAN Population: 103,100,990
Peak Publishers: 9,478 Ratio: 1 to 10,878
Early in the service year we enjoyed the grand blessing of the “Peace on Earth” International Assembly, held in Tokyo’s Korakuen Cycling Stadium. It was thrilling to see 12,614 attend the public talk by Brother Knorr and to have a record baptism of 798 new brothers and sisters. Within nine months, 81 of these have enrolled as regular pioneers. Indeed, the vigorous pioneer spirit has been a big factor in Japan’s recent increases. Vacation pioneers have increased 49 percent over the previous year, and in just twelve months regular pioneers have increased from 592 to 1,111. New publisher peaks were again recorded every month, with July marking the completion of three full years of successive monthly peaks. August’s peak of 9,478 publishers is a 38-percent increase over last year’s average. Of these, 2,245 were baptized during the year, more than double last year’s 1,023.
The six-story Tokyo branch building, which seemed so large when completed in 1963, can no longer handle all our work. How delighted we were, then, when Brother Knorr approved the purchase of a new property in Numazu City, seventy-five miles to the southwest of Tokyo in the Mount Fuji area! Here nine Japanese-style buildings, located on an acre of land, are serving well for storing and shipping literature and magazines, as well as for a Kingdom Hall, the Kingdom Ministry School and a missionary home.
Our young publishers appreciate the magazines, as shown by the following letter received from an eleven-year-old: “We are overjoyed that there is an article for children in the July 15 Japanese Watchtower. Father and mother are delighted too. We each read and reviewed it, and then studied it with mother. It was very easy to understand. I am now in my fifth year at school and conduct a Bible study with a friend. So, now we are going to study this Watchtower article. Two other school friends, also, said they found the article very interesting. Please give us more articles like these. Greetings to all at Bethel.” The youngsters in this family are following in the steps of father and mother, who are both pioneers.
The thousands of youthful publishers are making a valuable contribution to the work. One young boy, son of a regular pioneer, followed up on what his mother had taught him about the good Samaritan. When an insurance saleslady called at the home one hot summer day, he insisted that she cool off with a glass of lemonade from the refrigerator. The lady made a point of calling again to inquire about the boy’s training, with the result that she herself is now a Witness, baptized and vacation pioneering until she qualifies to be a regular pioneer.
Other new ones, too, are quickly building a heart appreciation of the truth and applying themselves in dedication to Jehovah. In March a student happened to visit a friend’s home while one of Jehovah’s witnesses was conducting a Bible study there. He was interested at once. A pioneer started to study with him, and one quarter of the “Look!” booklet was covered at the first study. The study was stepped up to twice a week, and the booklet was completed the next week. Already the young man’s thinking had made a half-revolution. Five more weeks saw the Truth book study completed. By now, the student was not only sharing enthusiastically in all the meetings, but accompanying the pioneer each day in field service. In April he reported 112 hours of service, placed 161 magazines, made 41 back-calls and conducted a home Bible study himself. In June he was baptized. He has abandoned his previous goal of schoolteaching and now does part-time work while preparing for his new vocation of pioneering.
Toward the end of the year, a sister started a study with a “hippie”-style youth. He came to all the meetings, but seemed to see nothing wrong with his “hippie” appearance. Then he attended the Yokohama district assembly. On the first day he was the complete “hippie.” But by the second day he had had his hair cut. And on the final day he looked all bright and clean with a new shirt.
At the “Peace on Earth” assembly in October, our brothers were delighted to meet at first hand so many of the brothers from other lands, and to hear Brothers Knorr, Franz and Suiter on the program. And when Brother Franz so kindly gave the public talk and closing comments at our “Men of Goodwill” assembly in Yokohama, all who shared therein were again greatly encouraged. All are stimulated to keep giving this witness, even “to the most distant part” of Japan.
KENYA Population: 10,506,000
Peak Publishers: 947 Ratio: 1 to 11,094
The brothers under the Kenya branch are preaching the Word urgently, maintaining exceptionally high service averages and, whenever possible, sharing in the pioneer ministry. Their loving labors have been richly blessed with an abundance of new disciples throughout the territory, which consists of Kenya, Burundi, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
Do you thoroughly cover your territory so that no one will miss the message you bear? Two sisters completed a section of territory and were about to return home when one of them, just to make sure every house had been visited, went around to the back of the last house and, to her surprise, found a small cottage. Literature was placed with the family and a lively study was started. After chapter 3 of the Truth book was covered, there was a cleaning out of all images. Studies were requested twice a week, and within nine months the material in the Truth, ‘Impossible to Lie’ and Life Everlasting books had been covered. During this time the family had left Babylon the Great and were publishing. The steps of dedication and baptism were taken despite opposition and pressures from relatives. As one of the family said: “I thank God for the day you knocked on our door. Just think, we could have missed all this!” How happy that sister was that she thoroughly covered her territory that day!
A brother tells of the fine results he has had in building up the appreciation of his Bible students for the meetings. One young Catholic man, on recognizing the truth, resigned from his former church and started attending all the meetings. However, he had to work different shifts and found that every third week he was missing the Theocratic Ministry School and service meeting. He thought about it and decided that, since he gets thirty days’ leave a year, he would take one day of his leave every three weeks. After doing this twice his foreman asked why he did so. He explained. Now his foreman has arranged to change his shift so that he can attend all the meetings. The young man has progressed to the point of publishing and was recently baptized.
Though religious pastors are taking the lead in opposing the Kingdom work, some of them are being obliged to recognize the power of the truth to change lives. When a young man started to study the Bible with the Witnesses, his pastor father became very angry. Then, as time went on, the father observed great changes in the life of his son. About this time another member of his flock, together with his large family, took an interest in the Kingdom message, and as the family made progress he noticed remarkable changes as to cleanliness and attitudes. This also caused him to wonder. But what really did impress him was the change in another of his sons. This older son was very rebellious, drank heavily and abused his family, and the old pastor had done everything he could to help but to no avail. Now for some months the younger son has been studying with his brother and the brother has completely cleaned up his life. This has impressed the pastor so much that he now allows his son to witness to him without opposition.
BURUNDI Population: 3,274,000
Peak Publishers: 46 Ratio: 1 to 71,174
Further fine progress of the brothers in Bujumbura, the capital city, has made it possible to form a healthy congregation there. The increase has been 200 percent over last year’s average in spite of opposition to the preaching work. Seven brothers were imprisoned, and for part of their punishment they were forced to stand in two feet of water for two days. They found many opportunities to preach to fellow prisoners and as a result a number of them have attended the meetings since they were freed. Some brothers were arrested a second time and when they were released they were told to stop their preaching. In answer they repeated the words of the apostles Peter and John: “We cannot stop speaking about the things we have seen and heard.”
ETHIOPIA Population: 25,000,000
Peak Publishers: 498 Ratio: 1 to 50,201
This has been an outstanding year in the theocratic history of Ethiopia. A wonderful increase of over 25 percent was enjoyed, field service averages were almost double the suggested goals, and more and more brothers have taken up the full-time service.
Love of God and of neighbor causes some to accept the truth after many years. Back in 1963 a young man heard the truth and sought out his friend to share it with him. Both of them were subjected to persecution by family and friends. The friend gave in under opposition and stopped his study, but the original young man remained firm in his integrity to Jehovah although first he was expelled from school for refusing to be a scout, was imprisoned for some days because of preaching from door to door, and finally was cast off by his parents. He was forced to move elsewhere to earn his living. As the years went by, he constantly thought of his friend and prayed that someday he might help him to take his stand. Eventually, after six years, he was transferred for a six-month period back to his hometown. Could he teach his friend the truth during that time? He writes saying that after four months their study of the Truth book is nearly completed and his friend is publishing. Also other relatives of both these young men are accepting the truth.
There are opportunities to give a witness by our example of honesty. One brother went to the bank to withdraw money from his account. In checking his book he noted that an amount the equivalent of $100 had been overpaid with his interest. He reported this to the auditor, who was surprised at such honesty. He spoke of it as an ‘impossible happening.’ The brother took the opportunity to explain that he was one of Jehovah’s witnesses and that it was unthinkable for him to violate God’s law. The auditor was so impressed that he agreed to have a Bible study.
RWANDA Population: 3,110,000
Peak Publishers: 3 Ratio: 1 to 1,036,667
In March this year it was possible for two special pioneers to enter Rwanda and open up the preaching work in the capital city, Kigali. They have found the people warm and responsive to the Kingdom message, and one interested person has already started out in the service. The pioneers have already started ten studies among the limited number of people who speak Swahili. They are now trying very hard to learn the Kinyarwanda language so that they may give a wider witness.
SEYCHELLES Population: 49,981
Peak Publishers: 9 Ratio: 1 to 5,553
Three years ago a Bible study was started with a man who showed great interest in the truth. After a few studies in the “Good News” booklet, he found better employment on one of the outlying islands and moved out with his family. Every time he returned to the main island, he always took back with him many books and magazines. On reading them he found that he had to make changes in his life, and as he started to talk to others about his new belief, changes did take place. He returned to the main island and started to associate with the group. A Bible study was again started with him and his wife, who by that time was as interested in the truth as he was. They were both baptized during the visit of the circuit servant, and what a great joy it was for them to be among the group of five who made the 1,300-mile journey to the “Peace on Earth” assembly in Nairobi.
SUDAN Population: 15,000,000
Peak Publishers: 54 Ratio: 1 to 277,778
The truth is making steady progress in the vast territory of the Sudan. Until this year no one from South Sudan had shown interest. However, a young man from the south joined in a study that was being held with his landlady. He took a keen interest, obtained a Truth book and soon read it. He was employed as the editor of a Catholic religious magazine. Appreciating the value of our publications, he began to include material from them in his articles. The brother conducting the study asked him: “Is it nice to offer good food in a dirty dish?” The young man got the point and in a short time he resigned in spite of the problem of unemployment and an offer by the priest to raise his salary. He now attends all the meetings and preaches to his friends.
A pioneer teaches language as his part-time employment. He began to give lessons to a schoolteacher and soon found that this man had relatives in the truth in his own country. A study was arranged in the Truth book, and right from the start fine progress was made. After the second study the teacher could see that it was no longer possible for him to lead his class in singing at the church. In order to be relieved of this duty it was necessary for him to present the matter to the president of his community. Before doing so he requested the brother to study with him the chapter “How to Pray and Be Heard by God.” He explained later that his reason for this was so that he would know how to pray for Jehovah to be with him to guide the interview with the president. His wish was granted, and now he is attending the congregation meetings regularly and has many opportunities to witness to his fellow teachers.
TANZANIA Population: 12,231,342
Peak Publishers: 1,222 Ratio: 1 to 10,009
The Tanzanian people are warm and friendly and have a deep respect for God’s Word. It confuses many that their authorities hold that it is unlawful just to be one of Jehovah’s witnesses, when these truly Christian people are so willing and helpful in aiding them to understand the Bible. In a number of places during the year the brothers have been stopped and searched on the streets and in their homes and have been arrested if found in possession of a Bible or Bible literature. Usually they are held a short time and then released. However, in some instances they have been imprisoned without trial for as much as eighteen months. One pioneer, after serving such a sentence, was rearrested shortly after release, simply for possessing a printed list of scriptures. In spite of such treatment, the “good news” has not been hindered; rather there has been fine increase.
Prevented from holding their own assemblies, three hundred of our brothers from southern Tanzania hired four motor coaches for the 900-mile journey to the “Peace on Earth” assembly in Nairobi, at a cost of more than $2,500, paid by brothers who have few of this world’s goods. How would they fare at the border? Would they be turned back? The brothers left everything in Jehovah’s hands. After all, he had invited them to the assembly! The brothers answered the questions, “Who are you?” and “Where are you going?” truthfully and fearlessly. The customs officer kindly said: “Go, and pray for us, please.” Returning home, they were called to the area commissioner, who asked who this man Jehovah was whom they were following. The brothers showed the man from his own dictionary that Jehovah is the Creator, and he admitted that if he were a Christian then Jehovah would be his God. He next asked them where the money came from for the buses. The brothers told him: “From the maize and the coffee we grow. We do not spend money on unwise things or drink.” The commissioner, in dismissing them, said: “I wish I were you. You seem to be humble and clean Tanzanians.”
A sister about to give birth was taken to a hospital and told she would die unless she had a blood transfusion. She explained that she would rather die than violate God’s law on blood. Though about to give birth, she was rudely dismissed from the hospital. Arriving at the hospital in the next town, she had to face the same issue. The sister maintained her faithful stand and, before the doctor could offer further resistance, the sister gave birth outside the delivery room. Mother and child were just fine, without any need for extraordinary medical attention. How happy the sister was that she stood firm in these very difficult circumstances!
UGANDA Population: 9,528,717
Peak Publishers: 97 Ratio: 1 to 98,234
During the service year the circuit servant traveled three thousand five hundred miles through the outlying parts of Uganda. During a six-week trip almost 500 books were placed and a number of subscriptions taken, also the places were located where special pioneers are most needed.
Throughout the territory the people were friendly and showed outstanding hospitality. As in other parts of Uganda, an almost total ignorance of Jehovah’s name was observed. But when God’s name was explained to them it was a delight to the circuit servant to see them busily discussing with their neighbors what they had learned. Visiting one town, he was happy to meet a lady with whom he had studied six years ago in Burundi. While she was preparing refreshments he got into conversation with a district chief who was also visiting the home. It was surprising to hear that the chief was familiar with Jehovah’s name and what it signifies. Who was it that had told him? The lady from Burundi. A book was placed with him, and on the return journey the traveling brother was received very warmly at the chief’s house. He had read the book and remarked how strikingly what he had read concerning the “last days” fit his experience. He had to put up with so much abuse from young people who had previously shown great respect. We look forward to being able to send more special pioneers to serve the needs of such sincere people.
KOREA Population: 31,726,867
Peak Publishers: 12,267 Ratio: 1 to 2,586
The service year started off with an outstanding international assembly in Seoul last October and ended with four fine district assemblies in July and August. The big thing about these assemblies has been the baptisms. Starting off with an amazing number of 1,511 baptized at the international assembly, the year ended with a total of 3,290 baptized. Together with the 2,226 baptized last year, it means that one half of our baptized publishers in Korea were immersed in the past two years. What a great responsibility we have to teach, train and assist the great number of new ones!
One must be careful not to think of them in terms of numbers, for each one of these newly baptized ones is an interesting story in himself. Take the fascinating story of a brother in Inchon who was baptized at our international assembly last October. He had joined the Communist Party in North Korea when he was twenty-five years old and rose rapidly in the ranks. He became a police chief in his county, and after the Korean War started he became a colonel in the Red Army, assigned as a regimental commander. His disillusionment with communism came to a head when he learned that his family had been killed by a fellow communist as a result of local intrigue in his hometown. He eventually deserted the Communist army, and after 187 days of intense efforts to capture him he was finally picked up by the American military forces in the sea where he had been swimming around an uninhabited island for three days. After his defection to the Republic of Korea, he was given special assignments with both the Korean and American military. Finally he was set free of all duties to the government and given a special concession business that was to have provided for him financially. But in time he found that his business grant could be successful only with bribes and dishonesty so he quit and was satisfied with a modest living. Though he had shed communism, he had not yet found another real hope for the future to sustain him and he still held to his atheism. Leaders of false religion had tried to interest him, but to no avail. Then one day a young sister witnessed to him and, though only partially satisfied with her answers, he told her that before he talked to her again he would buy a Bible and for the first time would read it clear through. When she returned she learned that he had sold one of his pigs to buy the Bible and had read it not once, but twice from cover to cover. She introduced him to a mature brother with whom in one year he studied the ‘Impossible to Lie,’ Life Everlasting and Truth books. He showed the district servant recently how he prints his little seal at the place in the Bible where he stops reading each day. He has the proof to show that he has read the Bible through fifty times in the past two and one half years. His wife opposed his new belief at first, but now she and the children are accompanying him to meetings. He is truly happy with the faith he now has, but he says he is sorry it took almost fifty years of his life before he found it.
Although the pioneers and publishers are conducting fewer studies at any one time, on the average, they are actually studying with more people because for dropping the unproductive studies in six months or so. They are now spending their time on the ones who respond. Even so, some pioneers report that they are hard pressed to find time to study with all the genuinely interested ones they find. A special pioneer in the Yungdungpo section of Seoul reports that, after systematically weeding out the unproductive studies, he still has fifteen excellent ones and now he can start a new one only by combining two of his present ones or by turning one over to someone else. He has helped fifteen persons to baptism in the past fifteen months that he has been in his present assignment. (His wife has helped nine to baptism in the same period.) One of his interested persons is conducting a study with someone else and is placing sixty magazines a month even before he is ready to be baptized. This pioneer brother says he endeavors right from the first to reach the heart and make his students feel the urgency of the time in which we are now living.
A brother who is a schoolteacher in a girls’ high school in Chonju learned the truth through a fellow teacher who has been dedicated for a number of years. The newer brother became so seriously ill that he apparently needed surgery. When he refused the surgery unless the surgeon agreed to do it without blood, his fellow teachers forcibly took the first brother to the hospital to influence the newer brother to accept blood. He explained that the matter was up to the conscience of the ill brother. When the high-school girls heard of it they were set to walk out of the school in a protest demonstration unless the teacher accepted the surgery. He was a popular teacher and they did not wish to lose him. When it looked as if death were imminent, the ill teacher wrote a letter to be read to the teachers and students in the event of his death and handed the letter to his fellow teachers. They were touched by his letter, for he explained in detail that he received his life from God and that he must use it in harmony with His laws. His hope was in the resurrection and he alone was responsible for his decision, he wrote. The reason is still unknown to the doctor and hospital authorities, but the brother took a sudden turn for the better and has now recovered without surgery. Now the teachers and students alike are sure that it was this brother’s faith in Jehovah that saved his life, whereas a few weeks previously they were saying his faith was going to kill him.
The pioneer ranks continue to grow and, although the special pioneer work has had splendid results, it is the regular pioneers that are doing the bulk of the work and getting the bulk of the results. Many of these pioneers are housewives, such as the wife of a schoolteacher in Chochiwon. She has three children and none of the conveniences known to the Western world. She does her housework early in the morning or late at night and does her preaching during the school hours of the day. For ten months she was a vacation pioneer, not wishing to take the obligation of a regular pioneer for fear she might miss making the required hours. But now she has been a regular pioneer for three years and she has earned two nicknames from her neighbors: “wood owl” because she is always doing her housework late in the evening, and “jet plane” because she is always in a hurry and walking fast to her territory and Bible studies. She says she does not mind being called those names, as the past three years have been the happiest of her life.
Things are happening here as elsewhere in Jehovah’s wonderful organization. It has been a happy and busy year, but we especially appreciated your visit, Brother Knorr, and Brother Franz’ two visits during the year. Those visits help our brothers, especially the many, new ones, to feel close to the governing body and to understand Jehovah’s backing of his organization. We look forward to still another fine year in 1971 and daily pray for Jehovah’s direction over his people.