Dear Brothers and Sisters:
“We always thank God when we mention all of you in our prayers, for we continually remember your faithful work, your loving labor, and your endurance because of your hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father.” (1 Thess. 1:2, 3) How beautifully these words convey our feelings about you! We thank Jehovah for you and for the good work that you are accomplishing. Why so?
Over the past year, you have been busy performing “faithful work” and “loving labor” in connection with Kingdom activities. Many of you have looked for ways to expand your ministry. Some have moved to serve in areas, even to other countries, where there is a great need for Kingdom evangelizers. Others have expanded their ministry by engaging in public witnessing. Many were motivated to auxiliary pioneer during the Memorial season, during the month of the circuit overseer’s visit, or during the special campaign in August 2014. Although your circumstances vary, we see that you are working whole-souled for Jehovah, and we commend you. (Col. 3:23, 24) Your “faithful work” is indeed a reason for us to thank Jehovah!
We also deeply appreciated your “loving labor” in connection with the construction of various theocratic facilities around the world. We urgently need such facilities, as the number of Jehovah’s people continues to increase. (Isa. 60:22) Just imagine, our peak publishers this past year was 8,201,545, while our Bible studies averaged 9,499,933 each month. As a result of the increase, many branch offices are in need of expansion or renovation. Of course, this also means that we need more Kingdom Halls! At the same time, remote translation offices are needed in many parts of the earth so that our translators can live and work in the area where their language is spoken.
Consequently, we can ask ourselves, ‘What can I do to support the construction of these facilities?’ Some of us may be able to volunteer to share in the construction work. And, whether we have construction skills or not, we all have the privilege of contributing our valuable things toward these important projects. (Prov. 3:9, 10) At the time of the construction of the tabernacle, the Israelites were so moved to give that an announcement had to be made to restrain them from giving more. (Ex. 36:5-7) No doubt, such Scriptural examples touch our hearts and motivate us. Your “loving labor” in these important areas of sacred service is another reason for us to thank Jehovah!
We have special reason to rejoice as we see the steadfast endurance of our brothers. For example, consider our dear brothers in South Korea. Since 1950, young brothers in that land have been subjected to prison sentences of varying lengths because they would not violate their Christian neutrality. Generations of our brothers have endured this treatment, without wavering. Their example of endurance strengthens our faith!
In Eritrea, three of our brothers have been imprisoned for more than 20 years. Others, including our sisters and their children, have been imprisoned for shorter periods. Many efforts have been made to gain their release, but none of them have thus far met with success. Our brothers have not compromised. They have kept their integrity under grievous circumstances. We do not forget these faithful ones in our prayers.
Of course, most of you are not imprisoned because of your faith. Nonetheless, many of you are coping with advancing age, chronic health problems, opposition from unbelieving mates or relatives, as well as other personal challenges that may be known only by you. Even so, you continue to serve Jehovah faithfully! (Jas. 1:12) We commend you. Your faithful endurance is another reason for us to thank Jehovah.
Yes, your faithful work, your loving labor, and your endurance provide wonderful reasons for us to “give thanks to Jehovah, for he is good.” (Ps. 106:1) We truly love all of you, and we pray that Jehovah will strengthen you, sustain you, and bless you so that you may serve him forever.
Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses