On May 20, 2015, the head of administration of southern Russia’s largest city, Rostov-on-Don, issued a letter of gratitude to Jehovah’s Witnesses, commending them “for very active participation in the springtime beautification of the city.”
During community efforts to enhance the beauty of Rostov-on-Don, Jehovah’s Witnesses from four congregations collected trash and debris that had accumulated on city pathways and riverbanks. In just a few hours, they filled about 300 garbage bags, which were later hauled away by trucks.
Why were the Witnesses so eager to help the community? “I can’t remain indifferent,” says 67-year-old Raisa. “I want my city to be clean so that everyone can live in clean conditions. Even if only a few people know what we have done, I still enjoy the work. After all, Jehovah God sees it.” Aleksander adds: “We not only preach to others but also perform helpful services for them. I feel happiness and satisfaction when I can do something for my neighbors.”
Observers appreciated the willing spirit of Jehovah’s Witnesses. One resident was surprised to learn that the Witnesses were not being paid for their work. He decided to join them in the cleanup and later observed: “I would never have imagined that it was possible to enjoy cleaning and to get so much fulfillment from it!” He added: “Some of you don’t even live here, but you still came to clean up for us!”
A city official noted that one small group of Witnesses collected an exceptional amount of garbage. He took a picture of them next to the bags they had filled so that he could “show others how the work should be done.”