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The branch office in Rio de Janeiro in 1923 and the current branch office in Cesário Lange

MARCH 7, 2023

Brazil Bethel—Supporting Spiritual Growth for a Century

Brazil Bethel—Supporting Spiritual Growth for a Century

The year 2023 marks the 100-year anniversary of the establishment of the Brazil branch office. Throughout the branch’s century-long history, Brazil has seen continuous growth—evidence of Jehovah’s ongoing blessing.

The history of the preaching work in Brazil goes as far back as the late 1890’s, when issues of Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence first began to be distributed in the country. An increasing number of people started to show interest in the magazine. So in March 1923, Brother J. F. Rutherford dispatched Brother George Young to the country to establish a branch office and organize the preaching work.

Brother Young rented a small office in the city of Rio de Janeiro, and it became the first branch office to begin operating not only in Brazil but in all of South America. He also made arrangements for the publications to be translated from English into Portuguese and then to be printed by a local commercial printer.

In 1925, Brother Young continued his missionary service in Argentina, and Brother John Rainbow was appointed to serve as the branch overseer of the small operation in Brazil. In 1926, a small printing press was sent to Brazil from the World Headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A. This allowed the local brothers to print their own magazines and booklets.

Starting in 1945, missionaries from the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead were assigned to assist with the preaching work in Brazil. Jehovah greatly blessed their efforts, and between the years of 1948 and 1968, the number of Kingdom publishers increased from 1,000 to 50,000. In the last three years alone, an average of over 21,000 people have been baptized each year. Today, there are some 900,000 publishers sharing the good news in the country. This remarkable growth has repeatedly brought with it the need for updated and larger Bethel facilities. In 1980, the branch relocated to the town of Cesário Lange, some 150 kilometers (93 mi) from São Paulo. Since then, the Cesário Lange facilities have been expanded three times. Today, more than 1,200 brothers and sisters work there.

We rejoice to see how Jehovah has blessed the disciple-making work in Brazil over the last one hundred years.—1 Corinthians 3:7.