In 2015, nearly 175,000 visitors toured the Central America branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Mexico—an average of 670 every workday! Many of the visitors came in large groups, traveling for days on chartered buses. Some planned their trip months in advance.
“The Bethel Project”
For some, visiting the branch office, called Bethel, involved personal sacrifice. For example, most Witnesses in a congregation in the Mexican state of Veracruz did not have the money to pay for the 550-kilometer (340 mi) bus trip. So they developed a plan they called “The Bethel Project.” They organized groups to prepare and sell cooked meals. They also recycled plastic bottles. After three months, they had earned enough money to make the trip.
Was all the effort worthwhile? They felt sure that it was. For instance, Lucio, a young man from the congregation, wrote: “Our visit to Bethel moved me to set further spiritual goals, and now I serve more fully in my congregation.” And Elizabeth, who is 18, said: “At Bethel, I could really see and feel the genuine love that characterizes those who serve Jehovah. I was motivated to give more to God, so I became a full-time minister.”
They Come by the Thousands
At times, thousands of visitors arrive for a tour on the same day. The Tour Desk personnel work hard to receive all hospitably. “It is encouraging to see how many come,” says Lizzy. “My faith is strengthened when I see the visitors’ appreciation and hear about the sacrifices they make to visit the branch.”
To receive the thousands who come, those with other work assignments at Bethel also give tours. Though this means extra work, they enjoy receiving visitors. “After I give a tour,” says Juan, “I see the visitors’ happy faces and I know it is worth the effort.”
“Children Just Love It”
Children also enjoy visiting Bethel. Noriko, who works in the Computer Department, says: “I ask the children in the tour group if they would like to serve at Bethel. They all say, ‘Yes!’” One of the children’s favorite spots is “Caleb’s Corner.” There, they can take pictures with life-size cutouts of Caleb and Sophia, animated characters from the video series Become Jehovah’s Friend. “Children just love it,” Noriko says.
Many children express how much they appreciate the work that is done at Bethel. For example, Henry, a little boy from Mexico, saved money in a piggy bank to give as a donation when he came to Bethel. “Please use this money to make more publications,” he wrote in a note that accompanied his donation, adding, “Thank you for working for Jehovah.”
You Are Invited to Come
Jehovah’s Witnesses offer free guided tours of their offices and printing facilities around the world. If you would like to visit a branch office, we warmly invite you to come. We are convinced that you will enjoy your visit. You can find more details about these tours under ABOUT US > OFFICES & TOURS.