Highlights of the Past Year
“I WILL praise Jehovah during my lifetime. I will make melody to my God as long as I am.” (Ps. 146:2) How thrilled the psalmist would be if he were alive today to see Jehovah praised as never before! Contributing to that praise is the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? which is reaching the hearts of many who are searching for the truth about God.
To increase the praise rendered to Jehovah, many branches have sponsored language classes so that publishers and pioneers can reach out to even more people with the good news. Perhaps you may be moved to think about expanding your own ministry by learning another language.
Another example of praise given to Jehovah was the three-week global campaign to distribute the special handbill advertising the “Deliverance at Hand!” District Conventions, held in some 155 lands. Millions of Kingdom publishers in over 99,000 congregations shared in the campaign, the first of its kind. “It prompted some new ones to begin publishing, and some who had lapsed into inactivity were stirred to get back into action,” wrote a Convention Committee. One brother who was inactive for 35 years received the handbill at his door and has not missed a meeting since! The following are just some of the experiences received from various branches.
While visiting a relative, a Catholic lady and her husband saw the handbill in the home and were intrigued by the questions it raised. They attended the convention along with their three children. When they arrived, an attendant warmly greeted them, gave them Bibles, and seated them next to a Witness family who lived just two miles [3 km] from their home! The two families spent the day together and made arrangements for a Bible study. The week after the convention, the interested family attended a congregation meeting during the visit of the circuit overseer.
A well-known singer named Sunita went to Canada to perform. Witnesses who met her there invited her to a Punjabi meeting. She accepted the invitation and enjoyed the meeting especially because of the emphasis placed on the Bible. When she received the convention handbill, she promptly canceled her performances for that weekend so that she could attend all three days. Sunita did not regret her decision. “This is the truth,” she said at the end of the first day. Upon returning to India, she went to the local Kingdom Hall, along with her mother, her son, her nephew, and a friend. When approached by her former pastors, she expressed her determination to become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In fact, she told them that they too should come to the Kingdom Hall!
A Chinese lady whom we shall call Mei Li lives in Belgrade. In 2006 she began to read The Watchtower in her mother tongue. When Mei Li received a handbill inviting her to the Chinese-language convention in Leipzig, Germany, she was determined to attend even though Leipzig is about 600 miles [1,000 km] from Belgrade. She obtained a three-day visa, flew to Munich, and went by train to Leipzig, a journey that cost her the equivalent of two months’ wages. What she learned from the program and from her conversations with other delegates moved her deeply. When Mei Li returned to Belgrade, she and her mother accepted a home Bible study and began to attend a Chinese-language book study.
“Visitors were noticed throughout the audience on all three days,” reports a Convention Committee. “One visitor was a woman who received an invitation the day after praying to God for direction in her life. She drove two hours to the convention on both Saturday and Sunday and accepted a Bible study.” The report continues: “One man actually ran down the street after a brother who had left an invitation with the man’s son. The brother was not sure what to expect but was delighted when his pursuer kindly asked him to return to his home for a discussion. Bible in hand, the man asked a number of questions, and a study was started.”
A brother offered the handbill to a man at a construction site. “May I tell others about this?” the man asked.
“Sure!” said the brother, unaware that the man had his own radio program on Saturday mornings. True to his word, he told others about the invitation by reading from it during his show! In response, many people inquired about the handbill.
Twelve-year-old Morgan serves as an auxiliary pioneer. A week before the special campaign, she met a man who asked a number of Bible questions and invited him to the public talk at the local Kingdom Hall. He came even though he had to leave immediately afterward to attend a family funeral. When the special campaign began, Morgan gave this interested man a handbill. “I will definitely be there on Saturday and Sunday, but I have to work on Friday,” he said. He then asked what the Witnesses do in such circumstances. “They usually get the day off, but sometimes they have to quit their job,” said Morgan.
When Morgan called again, the man said that he had asked his boss for permission to take Friday off, telling him that if he could not, he would quit his job. His boss said that he was too valuable a worker to lose and that he could have Friday off and Thursday as well so that he could prepare.
The man attended all three days of the convention but not alone. He was joined by 8 members of his immediate family and 12 of his friends and their families
“I understand,” he said. “We will sit in the rafters if need be.” Of course, they all found comfortable seating.
“THE BOOK . . . TEACHES AS JESUS DID”
Reports indicate that the Bible study aid What Does the Bible Really Teach? is proving to be a boon to the preaching work. “It opens the eyes and feeds the heart and mind,” said one Bible student. A district overseer reports: “The book grabs your attention because it teaches as Jesus did. It does not waste words, it is straightforward and clear, yet it is also very heartwarming.” Consider the following experiences.
While doing repairs on the home of a woman who was ill, a brother told her about the Kingdom hope. A few days later, when he called on her with a pioneer sister, the lady asked about the last days. The Witnesses opened the Bible Teach book to chapter 9, entitled “Are We Living in ‘the Last Days’?” and discussed the material with her. The woman was amazed at the things contained in the Bible. “My church has kept me in the dark,” she said.
The brother writes: “When we returned, we studied chapter 1, ‘What Is the Truth About God?’ and the related item in the appendix, which explains why God’s name is omitted from some Bibles. When the lady read in the foreword of her Bible that the translators had substituted ‘Lord’ for ‘Jehovah,’ she was angry, for she had been told that hers was a good translation. The woman has expressed the desire to attend Christian meetings.
A sister named Ingrid met an African woman who was prejudiced against Jehovah’s Witnesses. When Ingrid kindly showed her the Bible Teach book, her attitude softened, since she was eager to understand God’s Word. She even accepted a study, insisting, however, that all the scriptures be read. This lady now attends the meetings, often comments, and wants to become a Kingdom publisher.
The Witnesses studied the Bible with Paulo when he was in his early teens. Sadly, when he was 16, his family broke up. In order to support his mother, Paulo joined a samba band but soon became involved in immorality and heavy drinking. Still, certain truths remained in his heart. For example, realizing the connection that voodoo has with demonism, he was upset when he had to play at a voodoo center. He also began to see how empty his life was. When a young brother showed Paulo the Bible Teach book in 2005, his interest was immediately rekindled, and he began to study. Before long, he quit the band, and now he attends Christian meetings.
While in the door-to-door ministry, Marilyn met Melanie, a young mother who expressed an interest in the Bible. Marilyn left her a tract, promising to return. After several attempts, Marilyn found Melanie at home. “I decided to go straight into the Bible Teach book,” says Marilyn, “and this resulted in a progressive Bible study. Just before Christmas, Melanie surprised me by saying that this was to be the last time that she would have a Christmas tree. She had been reading ahead in the book and learned the truth about Christmas.”
Consuelo obtained permission from her supervisor to take time off from work to attend a district convention. When Consuelo returned to work, her supervisor asked how the convention went, and a lively discussion ensued. When Consuelo showed her the Bible Teach book, she asked if she could borrow it. Two days later she returned it, saying that it made for interesting reading. “It’s not just for reading but for studying,” said Consuelo, who then showed her how a study is conducted. “Do you mean that I can study this book?” asked the supervisor. Needless to say, a study was arranged, and soon thereafter, the woman began to witness to family and friends. She also started to attend Christian meetings, sometimes accompanied by her son and her grandmother.
Joseph, a regular pioneer, started a study in the Bible Teach book with a man who had met the Witnesses years earlier in Georgetown, the capital. When Joseph arrived for the first study, he found the man and his two adult sons and their wives waiting. They too accepted copies of the book. The following week, the father said that a local schoolteacher had borrowed his Bible Teach book and read it. “It contains the truth,” the teacher said. The teacher joined in the study as well. Meanwhile, a neighbor heard about the study and asked if he could attend. About that time, Joseph invited all to the Memorial. Although the man with whom Joseph first began to study was unable to go because of sickness, his family did attend the Memorial, as did the teacher and his family. All are continuing to make fine progress.
While street witnessing, Lucjan met 50-year-old Jan, a school friend whom he had not seen for years. During their discussion, which included points from the Bible Teach book, Jan revealed that he had lost his wife in death and that he had taken up smoking and become an alcoholic. “When a friend and I called back a few days later,” says Lucjan, “Jan was waiting for us. At his request, we immediately started to study the Bible Teach book.” The truth is reaching his heart, and he is trying to overcome his addictions and to control his language, which tended to be vulgar.
Why would a hematologist advise a patient suffering from depression to study the Bible? Two members of a Hospital Liaison Committee visited this doctor and placed with him a copy of the Bible Teach book. Both he and a patient were suffering from depression resulting from serious illness. Impressed with the Bible Teach book, he showed it to his patient, assuring her that by studying with the Witnesses, both of them would be able to look to the future with confidence. Within a couple of days, a pioneer sister who was engaging in street witnessing met the lady, and she accepted a study. The hematologist too began to study and is already attending Christian meetings.
Goliath, a village headman who had two wives and ten children, is no giant, but he and his family have taken giant steps spiritually. Goliath began making changes soon after reading the Bible Teach book. In January 2006 he and his family started attending Christian meetings, and in February he asked his second wife to leave and legalized his relationship with his first wife. (Matt. 19:4-6; 1 Tim. 3:2) During March he resigned as village headman, and in April he and his wife, Esther, became unbaptized publishers. Their decision to serve Jehovah evidently displeased the demons, who began to harass Esther. However, she opposed them, as directed at James 4:7. The result? “Along with my husband, I am now a free person,” she said.
REACHING OUT TO WITNESS IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE
A number of countries have seen a large influx of immigrants who speak a foreign tongue, and many of these people come from lands where the preaching work cannot be done freely. As a result, “a large door that leads to activity has been opened,” and many brothers and sisters are going through that door by learning another language. (1 Cor. 16:9) In addition, some countries have a sizable indigenous population whose tongue is not widely spoken. Kingdom publishers are learning these languages too and are reaping rich rewards.
To advance the work in such territories, a number of branches have organized language classes. Designed to accelerate learning, the lessons often focus on real-life situations that occur in the ministry. “The course helps you to immerse yourself in the language,” says Elisa, who is studying Albanian.
The branch reports that more than 300 publishers have attended 17 classes in ten languages, the students ranging in age from 9 to 71. “I have learned the Turkish language and grown to love the people,” says Enora. Annelies is studying Chinese, and she was interviewed by a reporter from a national television network. He wanted to do a story on someone who is doing something new in life. Of course, Annelies explained why she is learning Chinese. A year later when the reporter returned, Annelies explained the good results that she had seen in her ministry. The reporter was evidently impressed, for the program was aired on prime-time national television, and it included an interview with Annelies and a film clip of her witnessing in Chinese at a bus stop.
“Besides getting more workers into the foreign-language field, the language courses have helped brothers to take the lead in the congregations,” writes the branch. In Netherlands, an urgent need existed in the relatively new Romanian field. The branch had organized meetings occasionally, but only one brother was able to take the lead, and his health was poor. Now, thanks to the language course, additional qualified brothers have been able to take the lead. One brother conducts a weekly book study, another conducts the Watchtower Study, and a third is already serving as an interpreter when talks are given in Dutch.
Since 2003 the branch has sponsored 48 classes in ten languages, with the result that the number of Bible studies has increased dramatically to nearly 50,000. Juan and Mari Paz, a married couple who serve as special pioneers, were invited into the home of a Romanian family. Soon 16 people gathered to listen, including 19-year-old Mario, who was most attentive. Though he spoke no Spanish and the pioneers no Romanian, he accepted the Require brochure in his language. The following week, Mario asked for a Bible study and attended a special assembly day, even though he understood very little. Within a few weeks, he was attending all of the congregation meetings and began to offer simple comments in Spanish. He improved his appearance and began to share his newfound hope with others. He now conducts a Bible study with a Romanian couple, who are making fine progress.
Meanwhile, Juan and Mari began to study Romanian, and before long they were conducting 30 Bible studies in that language! Juan also conducts a book study in Romanian. After the study, ten publishers attend a Romanian-language class conducted by none other than Mario, the original Bible student.
More than 50 million people speak a language other than English in the home. Among Jehovah’s Witnesses, some 254,000 publishers serve in 3,052 Spanish-language congregations and 53 groups. An additional 26,000 publishers serve in 690 foreign-language congregations and groups other than Spanish. To facilitate the work in this huge diverse field, the branch has sponsored over 450 classes in 29 languages. “The last two years have seen four new congregations formed in our circuit,” reports a circuit overseer. “Three of them are a direct result of the French-language classes.”
“This has been a dream come true for us,” says a brother who learned Spanish. “For years my wife and I wanted to be missionaries, but we had two children to raise. Now our children are grown, and I have retired from secular work. So three months ago, my wife and I moved to a Spanish congregation, and already we have been assigned talks in the Theocratic Ministry School. We also have many return visits and possibly five Bible studies. At 67 and 64 years of age, we have learned that one is never too old to learn a foreign language.”
If your territory is not producing many new disciples and if your circumstances allow for it, why not give prayerful thought to learning another language with a view to moving into a foreign- or an indigenous-language territory? Such a move can be very fruitful, and it may breathe new life into your ministry.
Language courses commenced more than 30 years ago in this country, and over 1,000 students have been trained in nine languages, from Albanian to Vietnamese. “This is much better than the course I took at a university,” said one sister. Because students also learn how people from other countries think, they are better able to reach hearts when giving a witness.
Paula, who is 82 years of age, began learning the Vietnamese language and travels about 100 miles [150 km] to attend meetings. “I am not gifted when it comes to language,” she says, “but I am very grateful to Jehovah for giving me so much joy.” Paula studied with a Vietnamese family. The husband was the first to take an interest in the truth, and his wife followed. Both are now baptized.
Since their baptism, the couple and their daughter have realized their dream of serving Jehovah in their home country. They built a house with enough space for congregation meetings, and the husband serves as an elder and auxiliary pioneer. His wife is a regular pioneer. Paula’s joy was unbounded when she received a letter from this family saying that the father baptized his own daughter. In a letter to Paula, the girl wrote: “Dear ‘Grandma.’ I miss you. I often think of you. You will always be my Grandma Paula. I love you.” What a heartwarming experience this was for our dear sister, who took on a difficult language late in life!
Since 2002 a total of 554 students have attended 31 language classes in ten cities. Paul, who is an elder and a paraplegic, was learning Mandarin. Linda, his part-time nurse, is Chinese. Because her church had maligned the Witnesses, Linda did not want to hear the Kingdom message. One day Paul asked her to take him to the Kingdom Hall so that he could hear a public talk in Mandarin. She obliged but kept to herself and showed no interest. Not long thereafter, she took Paul to the book study. This time Linda, a single parent, listened closely because the study dealt with family life. Afterward, a pioneer sister offered Linda a Bible study, which she accepted. She made rapid spiritual progress and is now one of our sisters.
Canada has many indigenous people who speak their own language. A few years ago, a pioneer sister named Carma witnessed to a man who is a Blackfoot Indian. “When I tried to witness to him in English, he refused to listen,” says Carma, who lives on the Blackfoot reserve with her parents. “He said that I belong to a white man’s religion and that the Bible is a white man’s book. I thought, ‘If only I knew more about Blackfoot language and culture, he might take me seriously.’” Carma decided to learn the language and later assisted 23 publishers who attended a weekly Blackfoot-language class.
One of the students witnessed to a Blackfoot couple who were visiting their sick son in the hospital. Impressed that the sister took an interest in their language, the couple gave her their address. Carma learned that the husband was the very same person whom she met a year earlier! So she accompanied the sister on the return visit. “They not only listened but also agreed with what the Bible says,” relates Carma. “The sister offered them a Bible and a study aid. With tears in her eyes, the woman held the two publications to her breast, her husband nodding approvingly. She now studies, and her husband listens in.”
Pointing to the success of the language class, the branch reports that 34 Blackfeet attended the 2006 Memorial held in their own tongue!
Some 7,200 publishers have attended classes in 18 languages. One of these students met Samson, who came from a land where the Kingdom work is banned. At age 24, Samson set off on what he called a journey of hope, first crossing the desert and then sailing to Italy. There he met the brother who had learned his language. Samson listened with interest and even attended a Christian meeting. After losing contact with each other for ten months, they met once again, and the brother began to study the Bible with Samson. The study was conducted at fast-food restaurants, subway stations, and parking lots. After attending the Memorial, Samson began to clean up his life, even ending a relationship with a woman he had been living with for about a year. He is now one of our brothers.
During 2006 the brothers were able to give a good witness to the indigenous Mayangnan people for the first time. Most Mayangnas are of the Moravian religion, a Protestant group, and the unofficial mayor in each town is usually the pastor. One of these pastors broke with tradition and allowed Hamilton and Abner
In view of the extraordinary interest shown, the branch agreed that the pioneers could stay in the assignment indefinitely. But would the local authorities approve of this? At a town meeting, some accused Jehovah’s Witnesses of being the antichrist. One man, however, had studied with the Witnesses, and he was on the town council. “Since these two young men have been in our town,” he said, “I have never seen anyone cook for them or do their laundry. They take care of everything themselves. They have even learned our language! What is more, they have taught us things from the Bible that we never knew. If these men were not from God, they would surely have given up by now.” The brothers were allowed to stay.
TRANSLATION FOR THE DEAF
In 2006, The Good News According to Matthew was released in American Sign Language in the form of a set of DVDs. For the first time, deaf publishers are able to read entire chapters of the New World Translation in their own language. “This is the best personal letter I have ever received from Jehovah,” said one deaf elder. Another said, “Now I can see how every verse fits into its context.” A sister who makes it a goal to cover one chapter a day writes: “Before I know it, I am running late for an appointment because I have covered four or five chapters and lost track of the time!”
The work in the sign-language territory is growing at an amazing rate. At present there are 232 sign-language congregations, and these make up ten circuits and one district. Over 1,000 elders and ministerial servants as well as 146 special pioneers, 8 of whom are deaf, are working in the sign-language congregations and field. Of the elders and ministerial servants, more than 100 attribute much of their spiritual growth to the fine publications that Jehovah’s organization is providing for the deaf. These study aids include Knowledge That Leads to Everlasting Life, What Does the Bible Really Teach?, Keep on the Watch!, What Does God Require of Us?, and The Watchtower. Starting in 2006, the Theocratic Ministry School was adapted for sign language, using publications available in that language.
“Having attended services at various churches,” said a 30-year-old schoolteacher, “I now recognize that only Jehovah’s Witnesses are really capable of teaching the Bible to the deaf.” What her church taught, she said, was illogical and ineffective. Despite pressure from her friends, she is determined to keep attending Christian meetings. May Jehovah continue to draw such honesthearted ones to his Son!
Because our brothers did not vote in the national referendum, a 1994 presidential decree revoked the citizenship of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The decision caused our brothers great economic hardship, and hundreds fled the country, seeking asylum elsewhere. Others stayed, including some with school-age children. When in the ninth grade, all students
Attending congregation meetings and sharing in the preaching work have proved hazardous; whole congregations have been arrested! Still, our courageous brothers and sisters continue to “obey God as ruler rather than men.” (Acts 5:29) At present, 31 brothers and sisters are in prison, including a 73-year-old brother who is a citizen of Netherlands. Others are in prison for refusing military service. Three brothers
On February 25, 2005, an application was filed with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding the unjust taxation of the Association of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Over 874,000 people signed a nationwide petition against this injustice, and the document was submitted to the Court. Even so, in January 2006 the tax authorities ordered the brothers to pay the balance of the tax bill.
Jehovah’s Witnesses urgently contacted the ECHR to inform them of these developments. The Court immediately began a preliminary examination of the application. On May 4, 2006, the Court asked the French government to submit its case in writing. The objective is to determine whether the religious freedom of Jehovah’s Witnesses has been violated and whether there is any discrimination involved.
On February 10, 2006, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig ruled that the State of Berlin must recognize the Religious Association of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany as a public corporation. This ended a 15-year legal battle. The Religious Association is now entitled to tax exemption and other privileges enjoyed by the major religions. On July 5, 2006, the State of Berlin issued its official recognition, presenting the corresponding certificate to two members of the Branch Committee.
For years, permits to build and occupy Kingdom Halls were delayed or denied because the law required that they first be approved by a Greek Orthodox bishop. On May 30, 2006, parliament ruled that the Ministry of National Education and Religions alone will handle permits involving non-Orthodox religions.
On July 15, 2005, the administration of a covered public stadium in Loutraki, Corinth, revoked its decision to let the brothers rent the facilities for a district convention. The administration questioned whether Jehovah’s Witnesses are a “known religion.” The ombudsman intervened, and in February 2006, stadium officials promised to consider new applications on the understanding that Jehovah’s Witnesses are a recognized religion.
Jehovah’s Witnesses were successfully registered as a religious society in October 2005. One of the chartered purposes of the organization is to “promote spiritual education.” This registration should contribute to the advancement of the good news in this predominantly Hindu land.
Although Jehovah’s Witnesses were registered as a religion in 1990, they were omitted from a State-issued list of officially recognized religions released in 1997. Consequently, the brothers were not allowed to build Kingdom Halls, and they were denied exemption from military service
After the branch filed for registration as a religion, the government claimed that registration is impossible, even though legislation has been amended to comply with European Union standards. The case is currently in the domestic courts, but ultimately it may go to the ECHR.
Another challenge relates to military service. Brothers are called up three or four times a year until they are over the age limit. Each time, they are sentenced. Some have repeatedly been fined, and others imprisoned. In 2004, Yunus Erçep filed an application with the ECHR. Although fined many times, Brother Erçep was imprisoned in October 2005 and released after serving 5 months of his 12-month term. On the day of his release, he was called back to court and fined for refusing military service on previous occasions.
The past four years have seen over 1,100 documented cases of our brothers’ being arrested, detained, fined, or beaten. More than 800 of these incidents occurred during the Memorial in 2005 and in 2006. At many locations, baton-wielding police arrived in buses and arrested all in attendance. Many were fined; some were severely beaten.
Nevertheless, the brothers have given a fine witness. Consider the case of a brother and a sister who faced criminal charges for attending congregation meetings and for witnessing. Their lawyer asked for an in-court analysis of the literature that had been confiscated during the arrest. The Knowledge book and the Require brochure were read out loud, the judge sharing in the reading. Because he had a special interest in chapter 5 of the Knowledge book, “Whose Worship Does God Accept?” the judge ordered that the reading continue through the lunch break.
When Matthew 28:19, 20 was quoted, the judge exclaimed, “So that’s why you preach!” When he asked why Hitler’s Nazi regime persecuted Jehovah’s Witnesses, he was given copies of three videocassettes: Purple Triangles, Jehovah’s Witnesses Stand Firm Against Nazi Assault, and The Bible
As of June 2006, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been registered as a religion in eight states. The brothers have built Kingdom Halls in these areas and have openly held large assemblies. Our literature is freely imported, and the brothers have an office in Khartoum.
On April 12, 2006, a congregation of 200 in Moscow were observing the Memorial in a rented facility when over 50 armed policemen appeared. The head of the Lyublino Police Department stopped the meeting, claiming that the ban on Jehovah’s Witnesses in Moscow precluded such gatherings. Police checked identity papers, confiscated literature, and took 14 brothers to the Lyublino police station, where they were detained for over four hours. When a brother went to the police station to render legal aid, he was thrown to the ground and threatened at knifepoint. He was told not to file a complaint. Nevertheless, 4 of the 14 brothers filed a complaint against the Lyublino Police Department on April 17.
A court hearing began on May 16 in the Lyublino District Court in Moscow with Judge Z. V. Zubkova presiding. None of the officers who participated in the raid were present
On June 15, 2006, the judge ruled that the detention of the plaintiffs was unlawful but failed to rule against the disruption of the Memorial. The decision also claims that the rented auditorium does not meet the requirements for a religious service. Jehovah’s Witnesses filed an appeal with the Moscow City Court on June 30, 2006, citing, among other things, the many procedural violations committed by the Lyublino District Court during the hearing. The Memorial was held without interference in 22 other locations in Moscow.
The opening paragraph of these Highlights mentioned the psalmist’s desire: “I will make melody to my God as long as I am.” (Ps. 146:2) Today, millions of Jehovah’s servants have provided abundant evidence that they have the same burning desire. Yes, for as long as the present system continues, may we not let prison walls, official decrees, or language barriers stop us from making melody to our heavenly Father!
More Than an Invitation
Printed on the handbill was a coupon that enabled people to request a Bible study, a copy of the Bible Teach book, or both. Completed coupons soon began arriving at branch offices around the world. The United States branch reports that they received just under 2,000 coupons, including 300 requests for a Bible study. Clearly, the hard work of our brothers and sisters in distributing the handbill will continue to bear fruit.
Bible Teach Books in Demand!
By the end of July 2006, over 47 million copies of the Bible Teach book had been printed in 155 languages, not including 10 Braille editions. In one month alone, congregations in the United States requested an average of 42,000 books per day. One third of these were rush orders. The worldwide Bethel family considers it a privilege to work hard to provide such literature for our brothers and sisters.
The 50-year ban on our work ended in 1992. The 325 brothers and sisters who attended the dedication of the new branch, located on the outskirts of Tiranë, included four elderly Witnesses who served God during the years of the ban. Also present were delegates from 32 foreign lands. When missionaries arrived in 1992, there were just nine baptized publishers in the country. Now there are 3,617. Governing Body members Theodore Jaracz and Gerrit Lösch shared in the program, which was held on June 3, 2006. On the following day, they spoke in an open-air stadium to an audience of 5,153, who listened attentively despite heavy rains.
The past year saw a double blessing: the release of the complete New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures in Croatian at the district convention and the dedication of the recently completed extensions to the branch in Zagreb. On Friday, August 11, an audience of 142 listened as Brother Jaracz delivered the dedication talk. The original dedication occurred seven years earlier, in 1999.
On Saturday, August 12, Brother Jaracz delivered the dedication talk at the new branch in Kamnik, a town located about 12 miles [20 km] north of the capital, Ljubljana, and about 80 miles [130 km] west of Zagreb, Croatia. Previously, the Bethel family lived in various apartments in the capital, so they were thrilled to be living together as a family at last! The audience of 144 represented 20 countries.
Albania branch office building
A special meeting was attended by 5,153
Extended branch facilities in Croatia
[Picture on page 6]
Witnessing to a deaf woman, Brazil
[Picture on page 17]
First Hindi class, Germany
[Picture on page 19]
Linda and Paul
[Picture on page 19]
Carma witnessing in the Blackfoot language
[Picture on page 20]
Spanish-language class, Rome, Italy
[Picture on page 20]
Witnessing to Samson
[Picture on page 21]
Hamilton and Abner teaching the Bible in Mayangna
[Picture on page 27]
Kingdom Hall in southern Sudan