They Found the Truth
Juana Ventura began studying while the preaching work was banned, and she was baptized in 1960 in the Ozama River. On one occasion, an evangelical pastor in Santo Domingo wanted her imprisoned because he said that she was “taking away his parishioners.” In an attempt to prove that Jehovah’s Witnesses are liars and to discredit Juana, the pastor invited her to appear before his church to answer questions about her new beliefs.
“He asked me three questions,” relates Juana, “‘Why don’t you vote? Why don’t you go to war? Why do you call yourselves Jehovah’s Witnesses?’ As I answered each question from the Bible, all of his parishioners looked up the Bible texts and were surprised by what they read. Many of them realized that they had found the truth. The whole group began studying, and eventually 25 of them dedicated themselves to Jehovah.” This dramatic event gave impetus to the work in Santo Domingo.
Jehovah’s Witnesses Are Here to Stay
The political fallout after the Trujillo assassination was significant. The 1963 Yearbook reported: ‘Soldiers lined the streets, and days were filled with strikes and violence.’ In spite of the political upheaval, the preaching and disciple-making work went forward, and by the end of the 1963 service year, a peak of 1,155 publishers had been reached.
When Nathan Knorr came from the world headquarters to visit the Dominican Republic in 1962, he arranged to buy property in order to build larger facilities to care for the rapidly expanding preaching work. A two-story building and a Kingdom Hall were constructed on the new property. On Saturday, October 12, 1963, Frederick Franz, another visitor from world headquarters, delivered the dedication talk for the new branch facilities. It was clear that Jehovah’s Witnesses intended to remain in the Dominican Republic. Shortly after the dedication, Harry and Paquita Duffield arrived, the last Witness missionaries to be expelled from Cuba.
Increase in Spite of Revolution
On April 24, 1965, the country was wracked by a revolution. In the troubled days that followed, Jehovah’s people prospered spiritually. By 1970, there were 3,378 publishers in 63 congregations. More than half had come into the organization in the preceding five years. The 1972 Yearbook reported: “They came from all walks of life: Auto mechanics, farmers, public car drivers, accountants, builders, carpenters, lawyers, dentists, yes, and ex-politicians; all drawn together by love of truth and love of Jehovah.”