A Letter From the Governing Body
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
WHAT a delight it is to write to you! We commend you for the love and self-sacrifice that you continue to display. You will see from the pages of this Yearbook that much good has been accomplished during the past service year. Once again, we have spent more than a billion hours in the preaching and teaching work, directly encouraging people to draw close to Jehovah. Is it not an honor to be fellow workers with our glorious God and heavenly Father?—1 Cor. 3:9.
As we look to the work ahead, we are confident that you will continue to imitate the zeal and faith of God’s servants, as described in the Bible record. The apostle Paul, for example, was eager to be as effective as possible in promoting Kingdom interests. Evidently, it was during the last year of his stay in Ephesus that he penned his first letter to the Christian congregation in Corinth. Concerning his immediate plans, he wrote: “I am remaining in Ephesus until the festival of Pentecost; for a large door that leads to activity has been opened to me, but there are many opposers.”—1 Cor. 16:8, 9.
Paul had planned to travel to Macedonia and Corinth. However, he discerned an opportunity to do useful work by remaining for a time in Ephesus. Paul was flexible; he saw a favorable situation in which he could promote Kingdom interests right where he was, so he adjusted his schedule accordingly. A large door leading to activity had been opened to him, and Paul was eager to take advantage of the opportunity to enter it.
To do so would take a lot of work—both preaching the good news and building up the congregation in Ephesus. To the older men of the congregation in that city, Paul later said: “I did not hold back from telling you any of the things that were profitable nor from teaching you publicly and from house to house. But I thoroughly bore witness both to Jews and to Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus.”—Acts 20:20, 21.
Similarly, many of you dear brothers and sisters have taken advantage of opportunities that have opened up to you. During the past service year, on the average, 798,938 have been able to arrange their affairs so as to share in some form of the pioneer ministry. Some of you have traveled to the ends of the earth in order to serve as missionaries. You are zealously spreading the good news and building up congregations. Others of you have learned another tongue so that you can help foreign-speaking people who live nearby. Still others have arranged their affairs to work unassigned territory or to serve where the need is greater. Some have even found that a large door to activity has opened at school, on the job, or in other situations where an effective witness could be given, such as by telephone. Experiences from around the world testify that God’s people, young and old, are eagerly seeking and finding opportunities to impart knowledge of the truth to people everywhere.
Be assured that Jehovah sees and deeply appreciates your efforts. The Bible says: “God is not unrighteous so as to forget your work and the love you showed for his name.” (Heb. 6:10) Continue to be alert to opportunities that allow you to promote pure worship. Some of you may be able to expand your ministry. All of us can strive to make our ministry more effective.
We do not fulfill our preaching commission without opposition. Recall that after Paul spoke of a large door to activity that had been opened to him, he wrote: “There are many opposers.” For Paul, those opposers included both Jews and Gentiles, some who openly attacked him and others who slyly plotted against him.—Acts 19:24-28; 20:18, 19.
We face a similar situation today. As we approach the destruction of this wicked system, we expect increased opposition. Satan is filled with “great anger,” and that anger is especially directed against those who serve God. (Rev. 12:12) Never forget that Satan is “the ruler of the world.” Jesus told his disciples: “If you were part of the world, the world would be fond of what is its own. Now because you are no part of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, on this account the world hates you.”—John 14:30; 15:19.
We are determined not to allow anyone to weaken our faith in God or slow us down in our preaching work. We know that there will continue to be those who attack us and plot against us. Yet, we press on in preaching the Kingdom good news, confident that Jesus will crush Satan and his hordes in Jehovah’s due time. Opposers did not silence the apostle Paul; nor do they silence Jehovah’s servants today. Despite Satan’s anger and the world’s hatred, Jehovah’s spirit is powerfully at work among His people. What a joy to know that the number of those proclaiming the good news has reached a new peak of 6,304,645!
It is our prayer that you continue to take advantage of opportunities to further the interests of Jehovah’s magnificent Kingdom. Be assured of our loving interest in you personally as we stand “shoulder to shoulder” in the service of the Most High God, Jehovah.—Zeph. 3:9.
Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses