In the heart of the Amazon rain forest stands an impressive new Assembly Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Most of the 52-hectare (128 a.) property, located north of the city of Manaus, Brazil, is covered by native forest. Colorful macaws, toucans, and other birds screech from the tops of cupuaçu, majestic Brazil nut, and angelim pedra trees. Why build an Assembly Hall here?
The city of Manaus—located 1,450 kilometers (900 mi) from the mouth of the Amazon River—has a population of almost two million. The new hall will serve some 7,000 Witnesses from Manaus and surrounding towns, including settlements along the Amazon and its tributaries. The farthest town, São Gabriel da Cachoeira, is located more than 800 kilometers (500 mi) west of Manaus. To attend an assembly or a convention at the Assembly Hall, some Witnesses travel by boat for three days!
Building the Assembly Hall in the middle of the Amazon region was a formidable task. It involved shipping some 13 containers with building materials from the harbor in Santos, São Paulo; along the coast of Brazil; and then up the Amazon River to reach the construction site.
The new hall is the 27th Assembly Hall built in Brazil, and 1,956 people attended the dedication program on Sunday, May 4, 2014. Many were thrilled because this was their first time attending a meeting at an Assembly Hall.
The audience was able not only to hear the speaker but also to see him. This was a welcome change from the past, when assemblies and conventions were held at public places where many could not see the platform, not to mention the speaker. One Witness said, “I have attended conventions for many years, but I was never able to see a Bible drama; I could only hear it.” Now everyone can see the stage.