1984 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses
Proclaimers of the Good News!
JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES are declaring “everlasting good news,” and millions are responding to the message.—Rev. 14:6.
Although people can see that world conditions are critical, they may not understand their significance. Jehovah’s Witnesses are proclaiming that these events are a sign of the time of the end for this system of things and that God’s day of deliverance is at hand. That is “good news”!
The Witnesses believe that since the year 1914 mankind has been living in the last days of this wicked system. Deliverance from Satan’s system into Jehovah’s righteous New Order under Christ’s Kingdom rule will come about by eliminating the incorrigibly wicked at God’s war on the battlefield of Armageddon.—Rev. 16:16.
They also believe that millions will survive Armageddon to live in the earthly Paradise of God’s promise and that they will be joined by many millions more through a resurrection from the dead. Those finally approved will live forever in perfection on an earth created to last forever. That is the Kingdom good news that Jehovah’s Witnesses are declaring throughout the world “for a witness to all the nations.”—Matt. 24:14.
Bearers of this good news are commissioned by Jehovah to proclaim not only “the year of goodwill on the part of Jehovah” but also “the day of vengeance on the part of our God.” (Isa. 61:1, 2) With reference to this time, the disciples of Jesus asked him: “What will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?” (Matt. 24:3) Jesus listed these events as part of the sign: great wars, famine, pestilences, earthquakes, persecution of his followers, increasing lawlessness, and nations in anguish, not knowing the way out of their dilemma.—Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21.
Since 1914 two world wars have killed 69 million persons. Smaller wars have added millions more to the casualty list. Famine is widespread. One billion people are now starving or are desperately undernourished. Since World War I, pestilences have swept the earth. There has also been a rapid rise in the death toll from heart failure, cancer and other degenerative diseases.
More than 1,600,000 have died in earthquakes since 1914, and during the past year further major earthquakes have struck, killing thousands more.
Moral standards are crumbling. Immorality sweeps in like a tidal wave under the euphemistic label “new morality.” Adultery is viewed by many as normal, and fidelity as prudish. Family ties and social relationships deteriorate as juvenile and adult delinquency flourishes. There is crime in the ghetto, crime in suburbia, crime in the highest echelon of business and of government.
Many of these things have occurred before, but they have not all occurred together or on such a large scale as they do today. However, one feature is unique to the time in which we live—that of “ruining the earth.” (Rev. 11:18) Global pollution is ruining the air we breathe, the water we drink and the soil in which our food grows. Scientists warn that if polluters do not stop, the earth will be uninhabitable before this century ends. But it is Jehovah who will stop polluters in order to save the earth for his divine purpose. This is good news indeed for the human family!
HOW THE GOOD NEWS IS PREACHED
An outstanding part of the sign of the conclusion of this system of things is the fulfillment of Jesus’ command: “And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matt. 24:14) Jesus foretold that such Kingdom proclaimers would be hated and persecuted in all the nations. Truly, this has been the experience of Jehovah’s Witnesses!—Matt. 24:9; Luke 21:12-19.
In spite of this, the Witnesses have expanded their preaching until it is now being done earth wide in 205 countries, by 46,235 congregations, in which 2,501,722 publishers are actively preaching. Hundreds of millions of books, Bibles and magazines are distributed annually, as the proclaimers of the good news go from house to house and make return visits on those who are interested. They also conduct Bible studies free of charge in the homes of those desirous of learning God’s purposes.
FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
More than a hundred years ago, around 1870, a few sincere Christians began to meet in the town of Allegheny in the state of Pennsylvania, U.S.A., to study the Bible. Out of this small group grew the worldwide organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses. These men and women have come from all walks of life, all religions, all nationalities, all tongues, and have gladly undertaken to carry out Jesus’ command to preach the good news of God’s Kingdom and to make disciples of people of all nations.—Rev. 7:9; Matt. 24:14; 28:19, 20.
To organize the preaching and teaching work better, in 1881 these followers of Jesus Christ formed Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society. It was incorporated in 1884, and later the name of the corporation was changed to Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. The purpose for which the corporation was formed, said its charter, was to make possible a great Bible educational work. It had to do with the Kingdom message.
As time went on, similar legal, nonprofit religious corporations were organized in other lands. All these religious corporations work harmoniously together to accomplish one work, the preaching of the good news of God’s Kingdom in all the world. So it is just as Jesus taught his followers—he is using his “faithful and discreet slave” organization to educate people in the truths of God’s Word. (Matt. 24:45-47) In harmony with Matthew 24:14, the good news has to be preached for a witness to all the nations before the end comes. Therefore, Jehovah’s Witnesses keep up their organizational preaching, and they teach and train those persons that respond to the Kingdom message. Their desire is that all lovers of righteousness will join them in this most urgent work. And they hope that millions now living will never die but will survive with them as a distinct people through the war of the great day of God the Almighty, to enjoy Paradise on earth forever.
So that the religious activity of Jehovah’s Witnesses may be carried on as smoothly as possible, the Watch Tower Society has established branches in many lands where the good news is now being proclaimed. The facilities in a number of these branches include printing plants where Bibles, books, magazines and other religious publications are produced for use by Jehovah’s Witnesses and for distribution worldwide to benefit truth seekers. The production and distribution of these publications, such as My Book of Bible Stories, You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth and the Watchtower and Awake! magazines, constitute an integral part of their religious activity.
During the past service year the 2,501,722 proclaimers spent 436,720,991 hours preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom. They distributed Bibles, books, magazines and pamphlets to people of all the principal nations. To date, this literature has appeared in some 190 languages.
The Watch Tower Society has sent out ministers and other representatives to the far corners of the world. These are serving in the capacity of missionaries, special pioneer workers, circuit and district overseers, and the expense for this activity alone was $20,084,360.82 last year. Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide have gladly supported this work through voluntary contributions.
Working at the Society’s headquarters and other factories, offices and farms are 6,582 members of Bethel families. Bethel means “House of God” and aptly identifies the residence of devoted men and women who care for the various activities at the 94 branch locations. The members of each Bethel family have a unique privilege of sacred service. They are able to spend their full time at various assigned duties that serve the interests of the Kingdom in all parts of the earth. By close cooperation, members of the Bethel family are able to accomplish a tremendous amount of work in getting the Kingdom message out in printed form in many languages. For example, during the past year they shared in producing a total of 53,517,808 Bibles, books and booklets, and 460,072,255 Watchtower and Awake! magazines, besides tracts, programs, handbills and millions of pieces of other printed matter. They also shared in preaching in association with many congregations to which they are assigned.
THE WORLD REPORT
A quick rundown of the figures in the world report indicates that the vast majority of the countries have seen increases in the number of publishers and in many features of the Kingdom work. For the 205 countries listed, there has been a 6.8-percent increase in Kingdom publishers reporting service activities. The peak in publishers was 2,652,323, which is a growth of 309,689 over last year’s average. The hours devoted to the preaching work also increased to the number of 436,720,991. There was a 9.8-percent increase in return visits and a 13.3-percent increase in Bible studies. It was thrilling to see the number of those baptized, 161,896, which represents a 16.9-percent increase over 1982.
Outstanding was the Memorial attendance for 1983. On March 29, after sundown, the beginning of the Biblical day of Nisan 14, we had the greatest number ever attending the Memorial of Christ’s death—6,767,707. That was an 8.2-percent increase over the previous year’s record attendance. This means that 514,920 more people were present, giving evidence that the brothers gave fine support to the arrangements to help many new ones to be present for this most important Christian event of the year. We cannot help but be impressed with the potential that exists for an increase in the number of proclaimers of the good news.
INCREASES IN COUNTRY AFTER COUNTRY
In country after country we see living faith, as Jehovah’s Witnesses preach the good news. We rejoice to see in Norway a 5-percent increase in publishers, with more Bible studies being conducted than ever before. In the month of June almost 9,500 more hours were devoted to the field ministry than in June of 1982. Memorial attendance was 14,135; that is 1,071 more than last year.
Finland attained a new peak in publishers when 14,365 shared in the Kingdom service in April. Conditions in the world have many people in Finland puzzled; they are wondering where this world is heading. Many of these same people are now paying attention to the message of the Kingdom. Thousands of them are accepting a home Bible study.
For example, in November 1982 two sisters going from house to house with the Kingdom message met a young man who showed interest. They offered him the book You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, which he gladly accepted. He asked them if they would bring him a Bible later. In a week they returned with the Bible. He surprised them when he asked: “How can I become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses?” This young man was a teacher, also a top-ranking athlete and a highly respected sports coach. A home Bible study fortified him spiritually so that he was able to withstand much opposition and any temptations that came his way. At the “Kingdom Unity” District Convention in Helsinki this last summer, he symbolized his dedication and today he is active as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
India, with an average of 5,574 publishers, registered a 9-percent increase. Bangladesh and Nepal both show increases in publishers. The branch in India sent the keyboard layout and character designs for the Devanagari script, which, when set up on the Watch Tower’s MEPS computer, will give the branch the capability of typesetting Hindi, Marathi and Nepali, thus opening the door wider for millions more to hear the good news.
The 81,098 that attended the Memorial in Venezuela represented four times the number of publishers in that land! Zimbabwe had in attendance almost three times the number of its publishers. They had a 63-percent increase in the peak number of regular and auxiliary pioneers. Korea showed an outstanding increase in the pioneer work. The number of regular pioneers has passed 3,200, with an average increase of 39 percent. The auxiliary pioneers reached a new peak of 5,669 and averaged a 34-percent increase. This activity has contributed to new all-time peaks in publishers (over 33,000 for the first time) and in placements. Magazine placements have grown 36 percent, while the obtaining of subscriptions has increased 55 percent! One brother obtained 164 subscriptions in a single month and 656 subscriptions in nine months.
Denmark showed a 9-percent increase in the number of Bible studies during the year. The average number of pioneers rose by 9 percent and auxiliary pioneers by almost 30 percent. A young girl who was a drug addict began studying the Bible; she made a remarkable change from her previous life course. In five months’ time she was baptized. Her zeal moved her to auxiliary pioneer; then she became a regular pioneer. She now has a number of Bible studies with people of her former circle.
Austria rejoiced when, for the first time, the number of publishers went over the 15,000 mark. Belgium was also pleased when it passed its previous peak and now has more than 20,000 publishers. The number of pioneers increased 30 percent compared with the previous year.
Greece reports that now “all the brothers are very zealously preaching from door to door and are doing street work and informal witnessing. Their zeal for the preaching work is running very high.” The number of regular pioneers increased from 397 to 636 in a year. The peak number of auxiliary pioneers more than doubled to 2,456 in April. Bible studies were at a peak of 7,811 in April. And the number of publishers reached 21,143 in August, the 20th consecutive peak.
STORMS THAT FAILED TO STOP THE WITNESSES
In March 1983 Cyclone Oscar slammed into Fiji, leaving 10,000 people homeless; of these, 50 were Jehovah’s Witnesses. One Kingdom Hall was completely demolished, another badly damaged. About 100,000 people were put on food rations. One elder wrote: ‘When disaster struck, how quick the brothers were to respond!’ The Governing Body arranged finances to help the brothers build temporary shelters and receive food. Brothers from less damaged areas braved swollen rivers and landslides to aid in the rebuilding program. Seeing this, a man of the world said: “This is real Christianity!” In spite of two typhoons in March, the brothers reached a new all-time peak in publishers that month, namely, 806. Another peak was reached in June with 819.
MANY REMARKABLE EXPERIENCES
The increased Kingdom activity worldwide has brought the brothers much happiness and many fine experiences. A pioneer from a town in Crete had this to say: “We placed 800 tracts, along with 6 magazines and 2 books. We were full of enthusiasm. We experienced some opposition from a person who was prejudiced. He tried to arouse the people against us, but they would not respond. So when a priest walked by, he thought that the priest would support him. But to his surprise the priest replied: ‘They’re not doing anything wrong. It is just an advertisement, and that is not illegal.’ Then a teacher approached us, accepted a tract and magazines. He mentioned that he wanted to get to know the Witnesses better. A sister gave him the address of a Kingdom Hall, and the next day he attended the meeting. He is now making good progress in the truth.”
France writes: “It was a joy to see 77,867 publishers in the field during April—a fifth peak and a 10-percent increase over the previous year. Among the immigrant population, the majority of whom are Muslims from Algeria and Tunisia, the good news is finding its way into people’s hearts. With a close-knit religious and family structure, these people often meet up with severe problems when they take a stand for the truth.”
Back in 1979 several Witnesses had been attacked by a certain Muslim. A brother reports: “One day on my way to a meeting I saw him on his doorstep. ‘I don’t want you passing in front of my house anymore,’ the man said. To keep the peace, I took a small path that passed elsewhere, but he would follow me and shout abuses. Then he took out a knife and struck me on the nose. I prayed to Jehovah for help. Just then a couple of dogs appeared and started barking at him. This scared him, and he fled.
“All this hatred was because I had witnessed to his son who was a fellow worker of mine. At first the son thought I was a Catholic, and he did not want to listen. But I kept up the discussions, sharing with him what I had learned from the Bible. He closely observed how I treated workers on the job, to see whether I practiced what the Bible had to say. To please me, he accepted a couple of magazines. When I asked questions about various articles, he felt obliged to read them. He gradually started to ask questions himself. Then out of curiosity he came to a meeting at the Kingdom Hall. Finally, he inquired about a Bible study so that he could learn more. Little by little the truth of God’s Word started to penetrate. He began to make changes in his personality and he cut his hair. He got new clothes, much to the astonishment of his friends. Also he began to talk about the things he learned, but his friends made fun of him. In 1979 he symbolized his dedication to Jehovah by water immersion. The result of this informal witnessing is that 15 fellow workers, 7 Muslims, including 2 of this man’s fleshly brothers, have taken their stand for the truth in the face of severe persecution from their families. One of them has even enjoyed the privilege of regular and special pioneering.”
MORE NEW PEAKS
El Salvador, with 12,008 publishers, has had a series of new peaks. Their Memorial attendance reached 44,967.
In May the publishers in Ireland rose to a new peak of 2,215. The 127 baptized is the highest number in years, and that figure represents a 16.5-percent increase over the number baptized last year.
Senegal has made a special effort to preach in the interior, with good results. It reported a new peak of 389 publishers in May, as well as 688 Bible studies for the same month.
The Faroe Islands had a 15-percent increase in publishers. The average number of regular pioneers was up by 75 percent! In April, 34 percent of all publishers were either auxiliary or regular pioneers.
Ecuador had an outstanding Memorial attendance of 36,827. They have had nine publisher peaks during the 1983 service year, with 7,504 reporting in August—a 27-percent increase over last year’s average. Bible studies have grown by leaps and bounds, with eight new peaks for the year, the latest, in July, being 11,047, a 43-percent increase. For the first time ever the brothers in Ecuador are averaging one study per publisher. So prospects for future growth are indeed marvelous in that land!
There are, of course, countries that have had fantastic growth for many years. For example, Japan has had 56 consecutive peaks, with an average of 35 percent of its 77,577 publishers in the pioneer work! The number of publishers reached 82,160 in August, a 21-percent increase over the average of the last service year. Japan now has 1,504 congregations, and there is an average of more than 10 regular pioneers for every congregation!
Mexico, too, has been outstanding in its increase of publishers, reaching a peak of 133,852. They have conducted almost 160,000 home Bible studies, a 44-percent increase compared with 1982’s average. One family of four conducts 18 studies.
The United States also had an outstanding year of growth. It was thrilling to see a peak of 643,170 publishers taking an active part in the ministry. Particularly encouraging is the pioneer spirit, with an average of 29,197 enrolling in the auxiliary pioneer work each month. And the Memorial attendance of 1,574,212, with 74,928 more attending than last year, shows what potential lies ahead.
LIVE FOREVER AND BIBLE STORIES BOOKS
The book You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth is indeed a gift from Jehovah. It has helped many to learn the truth. In Costa Rica what was thought to be a two-year supply of the book was exhausted in a few months. Thousands of new home Bible studies have been started with its help.
In Ireland a study was started in a Catholic home. The husband was bitterly opposed and threatened divorce. The wife, however, continued with her study. One day she gave her husband the Live Forever book. It had a powerful effect on him. He was attracted by its illustrations, also its clarity and directness. The next time the Witnesses called on his wife, they were greatly surprised by his more favorable attitude. This young Catholic couple were impressed to learn that God’s name is Jehovah and that religious titles for men are contrary to the teachings of Jesus. Shortly after the husband began his study with the help of the book, he quit smoking. Not long thereafter they both resigned from the Catholic Church and destroyed all their so-called holy pictures. The wife was baptized recently and shares in the auxiliary pioneer work. The husband, too, is making fine progress in the ministry.
My Book of Bible Stories is still a very popular book and is helping young and old to know the Bible and to transform their lives in imitation of some of the fine Bible characters discussed in the publication. For example, a young man in Jamaica had a reputation for being a dishonest person. He was arrested twice for larceny, and he smoked marijuana. He got a copy of the Bible Stories book and read it. Now he is a changed man. He stopped stealing. He quit all smoking. He got a haircut. He has now begun to tell others the good news. Throughout the neighborhood the changes in this young man have become a topic of conversation.
Not too long ago a pastor in Kenya got the Bible Stories book. He was scheduled to deliver his sermon, but he became so engrossed in the book that he forgot about conducting a religious service at the church. The parishioners waited and waited for him to show up. Then they sent two ministers to find out why he was not coming. When the two got to the pastor’s house, they found him reading the Bible Stories book. He had completely forgotten to go to church! But the two who came to find the pastor also got engrossed in the book, so much so that they failed to return to the church. Next the whole congregation went to the pastor’s house. To their surprise, they found the three discussing the Bible Stories book. That morning the church service was canceled. The congregation sat around in the pastor’s home and talked about My Book of Bible Stories. Requests for more information resulted from that timely distraction.
“KINGDOM UNITY” DISTRICT CONVENTIONS
The 1983 “Kingdom Unity” District Conventions highlighted the international unity of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The 104 district conventions in the contiguous United States attained an all-time peak attendance of 1,124,070. Those baptized at these conventions numbered 10,530.
In a world so divided, it was wonderful to observe the peace and unity of God’s people. The conventioners appreciated the directness and timeliness of all the counsel presented. Bible dramas emphasized the need for faithfulness, loyalty and integrity to Jehovah and his organization. The Declaration of Unity reaffirmed their determination to maintain the grand unity into which Jehovah has gathered them like a flock in his pen. “Who Are United in This Strife-Torn World?” was the title of the public talk on Sunday. Appropriately it outlined the Scriptural reasons for the international unity that Jehovah’s Witnesses enjoy. It pointed out that the Witnesses have become a “mighty nation” in the earth, drawing strength from being united under God’s Kingdom, a real government for lovers of righteousness.
A unique feature of the “Kingdom Unity” District Convention was the telephone tie lines that linked together many cities with a key convention center. On July 8 and 9, 48 cities were tied together by wire. Twenty-seven of these were conventions in the United States, 17 in Canada, 3 in Hawaii and one in Bermuda. The combined attendance for those 48 conventions was over 400,000. Being joined together in this manner, the brothers felt a real sense of unity.
Expansion in the field has meant the need to expand the facilities of a number of branches. Matters pertaining to property acquisitions and construction projects received attention in the following branches: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, Hawaii, India, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Martinique, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Tahiti, Trinidad, Venezuela, Zaïre, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In some places missionary homes had to be purchased.
Additionally there were construction projects involving Mountain Farm and Watchtower Farms in New York State. In Brooklyn, New York, the 360 Furman Street building and the 175 Pearl Street building were purchased to make room for the expansion taking place. New high-speed rotary offset presses were installed, as well as “burst” bindery equipment, to keep pace with the demand for literature in the field.
GROWING WORLD VIOLENCE
Jesus declared: “Because of the increasing of lawlessness the love of the greater number will cool off.” (Matt. 24:12) In many areas of the world it takes courage to carry on the preaching activity and to travel to assemblies. Consider our brothers in El Salvador. Because of warfare, it took a little group of seven adults and their children a day and a half to get to a circuit assembly. The trip ordinarily would have taken them six hours. Despite the time and funds spent they returned home happy for having attended the assembly.
Due to outbreaks of violence in that country, some Witnesses have had to abandon their homes and properties. There is often a lack of water and electricity. Brothers have shown themselves willing to risk their lives to help interested people who have chosen to remain. In one instance the brothers walked 14 miles (23 km) to see if they could encourage the brothers who had remained and who had been so affected. They were stopped, searched and questioned by the armed forces. The result? The soldiers were given a good witness, and literature was placed with them. When the brothers arrived at their destination, they were searched and questioned by the guerrilla authorities, who controlled the town. Again, a good witness was given. The brothers presented the brochure Enjoy Life on Earth Forever! and told them that it, along with the Bible, would show them how to find happiness. The men showed so much interest that the brothers explained to them how to use the brochure to help others back at the camp. When the publishers finally met up with the newly interested ones and some brothers who had become inactive, they were welcomed with great appreciation for having undergone such trouble and danger to visit the group.
“How can you prove that you are neutral?” a soldier asked one Witness, a sister. “By not taking sides. I’m not on your side nor am I on the side of the others,” was the reply. “How did you learn to speak so clearly and convincingly?” the soldier asked further. The Witness answered: “From the Bible. Jesus taught us to speak with boldness.”
About that time another soldier spotted her tape recorder and said: “Give me that tape recorder, Woman!” She replied: “I will not give it to you, although I know you are going to take it from me.” A woman accompanying the soldiers inquired: “Can you tell me how I can learn to explain my ideas to others as you do?” The reply: “Well, read the Bible.” The woman explained that they did not have much time to read. The sister then said: “In the tape recorder there is a tape; listen to it.” The soldiers left, taking the recorder with them.
That afternoon some fishermen came by the sister’s house. One of them asked: “Lady Catalina, did the soldiers take your tape recorder?” “How did you know?” she asked. “Well, we were passing by the guerrilla camp when we heard a voice say: ‘The Good News According to John.’” This sister is a fine example of courage in the face of danger.
In an African land where the Kingdom work is banned, our brothers still speak the truth, but discreetly. At a filling station where a brother worked, a nun came by for gasoline. The brother spoke to her. He asked her questions, which led to a Bible study. The nun was prominent within the convent, and great effort was made to dissuade her from continuing her Bible study. Letters from “Mother Superiors” pressured her to stop the study. One “Mother Superior” made a journey by air to visit the nun. She reasoned with her this way: “If you continue with your study, you will lose all and have nothing in the end—no money, no furniture, no job, no place to go because all your relatives will disown you. What you face is a miserable life.”
“God will help me,” said the nun. The “Mother Superior” replied: “God does not do such things anymore.” To this the nun said: “Maybe the Catholic god does not do such things anymore.” But she was sure that the true God, Jehovah, would help her.
The nun committed her anxieties to Jehovah and continued her study. She resigned from the Catholic Church. Imagine her surprise when one of her relatives took her into her home! Shortly thereafter she got employment as a kindergarten teacher, even though it did not seem that she qualified for the job. She was allowed to take her furniture out of the convent and was given a settlement of a large sum of money. So in the end, she had money, furniture, housing and work. Most of all, she had her faith in Jehovah, a God who provides. She continues to make fine progress as a preacher of the good news, trusting in Jehovah.—Prov. 3:5, 6.
A young brother in Senegal tells how prayer helped him. Opposition started as soon as he began to associate with Jehovah’s Witnesses. He writes: “I found everyone against me. My parents threatened me. My father told me never to come home again. My mother not only refused to talk to me but cried incessantly. She thought I had a spell cast on me. Prayer to Jehovah is what helped me. I prayed day and night. Now, after my baptism, the attitude of my parents has softened somewhat. How happy I am to be able to help my family and to serve Jehovah who hears my prayers!”—Ps. 65:2.
REACHING OUT INTO RURAL AREAS
From Northern Ireland comes this experience: “We were trying to reach people in the rural areas, but I was having trouble with my car. So I decided that if it would not start the first time, I would work local territory instead. The car started the first time, and so we set out for the rural territory. We had a talk with a nice lady who recommended that we not go to the farm up the lane, because nobody was there. I decided to go anyway and leave a tract. When at the door, I felt: ‘Might as well give a knock.’ To my surprise a lady came to the door in a distressed state. Her first words: ‘Are you one of Jehovah’s Witnesses?’ When I replied that I was, she invited me in. I must say that she was absolutely delighted to meet one of the Witnesses.
“It so happened that three years previously, when she lived in Australia, she had a Bible study with one of the Witnesses. She felt that she did not have the courage to stand for the truth. Her family opposed her so severely that she stopped studying. She did not know that there were Witnesses in Northern Ireland. She felt that Jehovah had forsaken her. While I was there, the postman brought her a letter of encouragement from the sister with whom she had studied in Australia. On the following Sunday, she attended the meeting at the Kingdom Hall. She has done well spiritually ever since. The chain of circumstances made us feel that the angels were strongly at work that day.”
NEVER OVERLOOK THE LOWLY ONES
In an African land where the work is banned a Bible study was started with a schoolteacher. But the Witness did not give the teacher’s maidservant more attention than to greet her politely. The maid felt that she did not have enough education to qualify for such studies. She soon gave up this job for a better-paying one, and saved what money she could. When she thought she had enough, she went to the brother’s home and asked him to teach her the Bible. Now she could pay him. The money, of course, was not accepted. The brother pointed out the principle of Matthew 10:8: “You received free, give free.” A Bible study was started with her. She soon realized that she had to make changes in her life. She had had an immoral relationship with the teacher for whom she had worked. The two got married. Now they live together as husband and wife and are active in the Christian ministry.
KINDNESS BEARS FRUIT
Traveling from England to Ireland aboard a car ferry, a woman with a very young baby was feeling the distressing effects of seasickness. One of the Witness sisters offered to look after the baby until the woman felt better. After a three-and-a-half-hour journey, the woman thanked the sister for her help. “I really don’t know how to thank you for your kind help with the baby,” she said. The sister replied: “I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The next time a Witness calls at your door, please listen to what he has to say.” A few years went by, and then they met each other again. Where? At a district convention in Dublin! They embraced each other like long-lost sisters. This lady had indeed listened when a Witness called on her the next time. Now she and her husband are dedicated servants of Jehovah.
YOUTHS PROCLAIMING THE GOOD NEWS
Judy lives in Nairobi. She is five years old. She accompanies her mother regularly in the field service. She knows how to give a simple magazine presentation. One month she placed over 50 magazines by herself.
Judy’s sister, Mary, is 13 years old. She, too, is a good Witness. One day at school her examination paper had the question: “Where are the dead?” Mary answered according to the Bible, that the dead are in the grave. The teacher marked her answer wrong. Mary went to the teacher to find out why her answer was wrong. The teacher said that ‘everybody knows that when you die you go to heaven.’ Mary opened her Bible to John 5:28, 29 and showed the teacher that the dead are in the grave awaiting a resurrection. Seeing what the Bible said, the teacher marked Mary’s paper as having the right answer and all the others wrong. As you can imagine, considerable discussion followed. This resulted in Mary’s placing 20 copies of the Secure Future booklet with her classmates. She even started a Bible study with a classmate. What a joy it was to see the classmate at the next circuit assembly!
Glancing back at the past service year’s activities and all that was accomplished, we can say humbly with the psalmist: “[Jehovah,] you have crowned the year with your goodness.” (Ps. 65:11) How? Because of the great witness given with the aid of his spirit.
[Chart on page 24-31]
1983 SERVICE YEAR REPORT OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES WORLDWIDE