“One Day We Will Find Them”
About 1935, in a region of the country called the Cibao Valley, Pablo González began reading the Bible. He associated briefly with a Protestant group, but he left when he saw that their conduct did not line up with what he had read in the Scriptures. However, he continued studying God’s Word on his own and began telling others what he was learning—first his family and neighbors and then others in nearby communities. He sold his farm and cattle and used the money to finance his traveling ministry.
By 1942, Pablo was visiting at least 200 families in the surrounding areas and holding regular meetings, although he had not come in contact with Jehovah’s Witnesses. He urged people to study the Bible and to live in harmony with it. Many took to heart what he said and stopped using tobacco and practicing polygamy.
Among those who listened to Pablo’s Biblical message was Celeste Rosario. “When I was 17,” she recalled, “my mother’s cousin, Negro Jiménez, belonged to one of the groups directed by Pablo González. He visited my family and read some scriptures from the Bible, and that was enough for me to decide to leave the Catholic Church. What was read to us in church was in Latin, which we didn’t understand. Shortly thereafter, Pablo González visited us and encouraged us. He said: ‘We don’t belong to any of the many religions that we know, but we have brothers around the world. We don’t yet know who they are or what they are called, but one day we will find them.’”
Pablo had formed groups of Bible students in Los Cacaos Salcedo, Monte Adentro, Salcedo, and Villa Tenares. In 1948, when he stopped in Santiago to change buses, he saw some Witnesses preaching on the street, and they gave him a Watchtower. On another trip, a sister placed two books with Pablo and invited him to the Memorial of Christ’s death in Santiago. At the Memorial he was very impressed by what he heard and came to the conclusion that he had at last found the truth and that those present at that meeting were the ones whom he had been hoping to find.
The missionaries visited those with whom Pablo had been studying. At one of Pablo’s meeting places, they found 27 adults happily waiting for them. Some of those in attendance had trekked 15 miles (25 km) on foot; others had come 30 miles (50 km) on horseback! At the next meeting place, 78 people were present, and at another location, 69 had gathered for the meeting.
Pablo gave the missionaries a list of some 150 interested people. Those humble and spiritually-minded people were already studying the Bible and applying its principles. What they needed was organization and direction. “The missionaries visited us, and we had a meeting,” recalled Celeste. “Arrangements were made to have a baptism. I was the first one in my family to be baptized. Later my mother, Fidelia Jiménez, and my sister, Carmen, were baptized.”
The first circuit assembly in the Dominican Republic, which was held in Santiago on September 23-25, 1949, provided further impetus to the preaching work. Many inquisitive ones came, and the attendance swelled to 260 for the public talk on Sunday. Twenty-eight were baptized. The three-day assembly convinced many new ones that this was the organization that God was using to accomplish his will.