“Almost Like a Family Celebration” read the headline in the newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau. Those who attended agreed.
“They made me feel right at home!” said Karla, who came from Puerto Rico.
“I felt as though I was visiting my own family, but on the other side of the globe,” said Sara, from Australia.
What prompted such warm sentiments? The international convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was held at the Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, from July 18 to 20, 2014. Almost 37,000 attended the convention.
Attendees gathered to learn from the Bible. The educational program included Bible readings, songs, prayers, two theatrical productions, and lively lectures on Bible subjects.
The audience was made up of local Witnesses and well over 3,000 delegates from Australia, Britain, Greece, Lebanon, Serbia, South Africa, and the United States. Some 234 Witnesses from 70 countries who are in special forms of service, such as missionary work, also attended.
Parts of the program were transmitted via a live webcast to 19 other locations in Germany, as well as to venues in Austria and Switzerland. The total attendance at all locations was 204,046.
In Frankfurt, the program was presented in English, German, and Greek. At the other venues, talks were simultaneously translated into 17 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Tamil, Turkish, and two sign languages.
Although the Witnesses spoke different languages and came from many lands and cultures, they were not divided
“We experienced firsthand how our international brotherhood transcends all borders,” said Tobias, from Britain.
“I met fellow Witnesses from over 20 countries. We are united by our love for God and for one another,” said Davianna, who came from Puerto Rico.
“I became one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in a small country town,” said Malcom, a delegate from Australia. “I read about our unique worldwide brotherhood and even saw video clips about it. Here, I experienced it personally. That takes it to another level. It is so faith-strengthening to be here.”
Hospitality to Remember
Witnesses from 58 congregations in and around Frankfurt had prepared gifts and evening entertainment programs for the delegates.
“We experienced wonderful hospitality,” said Cynthia, who came from the United States. “I will never forget the depth of the brothers’ love, kindness, and generosity.”
“There was overwhelming love, joyful laughter, and brotherly affection. We can learn so much from one another,” commented Simon, who lives in Germany.
“The evening program proves to me that as Jehovah’s Witnesses, we do not live a life of fanatic self-denial. We know how to have fun
—clean fun and real fun,” observed Amy, a delegate from Australia.
Taking Home Fond Memories
The Frankfurt convention was but one of a series of international conventions held in nine countries around the globe.
When asked what it was like to attend the convention in Frankfurt, one delegate replied: “Imagine that you find a close relative, a brother for example, whom you did not realize you had. Once you meet him, he opens up his home and his heart to you. You are filled with indescribable joy. Now multiply that feeling by 37,000. That’s what it was like to be there.”