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Jehovah’s Witnesses

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2017 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Germany: Public witnessing with a cart in front of a refugee camp

 HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PAST YEAR

Dispatches—News From Around the World

Dispatches—News From Around the World

Reaching the Refugees and Migrants

The foreign-language field in Germany has grown as a result of the large number of refugees and migrants who have entered the country. In a recent nine-month period, 229 foreign-language groups and pregroups were started. About 800 publishers are attending some 30 language courses in 13 languages.

Our brothers are preaching to refugees at reception centers. Using witnessing carts at over 200 locations, the brothers have placed about 640,000 pieces of literature.

 The Governing Body approved a special preaching campaign from May to July 2016. Some 700 Arabic-speaking publishers from seven countries traveled to ten locations in Austria and Germany to preach to large groups of Arabic-speaking people living there.

Coins on the Road

The 50 publishers in the Faber’s Road Kriol Congregation in Belize usually witness in their territory on foot. Most of the brothers have little financially, but they look for opportunities to show a generous spirit. A couple of years ago, the brothers began picking up coins they found on the dusty roads while preaching from house to house. At the end of each year since then, they have gotten together to wash, sort, and count the coins they have collected.

Although most of the coins have been of little value (half a cent U.S.), each year they collect the equivalent of $225 (U.S.) in coins. The brothers use half the funds to help pay for local Kingdom Hall expenses, and the other half, they send to support the worldwide work.

A Listening Audience of Four Million!

One of the most noteworthy events in the theocratic history of Burundi occurred on March 5, 2016, during the branch visit conducted by Anthony Griffin, a headquarters representative. An entire special program for the congregations was broadcast countrywide on the main national radio station. The listening audience was estimated at some four million people!

The radio broadcast gave a great witness, and many favorable comments were heard. One of the radio technicians  who assisted in the broadcast said, “You have to do more of these programs!” And a radio official wrote: “I encourage you to continue [producing similar programs], which will no doubt save many souls.” Numerous buses and taxis were playing the program on their radios.

The Music Stopped

On the day before the Memorial in 2016, the brothers in a small isolated group in Nepal were distressed to learn that there was going to be a big music concert at the school next to the hall they had rented.

Such concerts are very loud. As the brothers were cleaning the hall the morning of the Memorial, an organizer of the concert told them, “You won’t hear a thing except our music.”

The concert started at noon, and it was as loud as expected. Though the brothers rented a loudspeaker much larger than the one they originally planned to use, they could not even hear the microphone test. The brothers were devastated but prayed earnestly about the matter. Then, 30 minutes before the Memorial, when many of the brothers were arriving, the music suddenly stopped. A fight had broken out among some people at the concert who had been drinking, and the police had shut down the event. The brothers were able to observe the Memorial in a very quiet, peaceful, and respectful atmosphere.

Praise for jw.org

Giuseppe is a regular pioneer in Italy. He works from his home for an Internet consulting firm. Last May he  attended a meeting with about 70 colleagues to discuss new ideas that could be implemented by the company. The company’s chief executive officer (CEO) began by saying that some websites could be taken as practical models of what their company was aspiring to. He then showed an example on a display screen. Giuseppe was astonished to see the home page of jw.org appear on the screen. The CEO said, “This is the best website in the world!” Then he started analyzing technical aspects of jw.org. He spoke positively about the easy-to-find links and the captivating graphics.

“My colleagues were amazed to learn how many languages the website supports,” said Giuseppe. “At the end of the presentation, my supervisor told the audience  and the CEO: ‘Giuseppe is one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.’ At that, the CEO told me: ‘Your organization is to be praised. You have designed a Web portal that any company, firm, or organization in the world would envy. I can only imagine the effort it takes to keep it updated and user-friendly and the amount of attention that must be given to details and content.’ I was a bit embarrassed to receive so much praise for something that I had not done. But I was overjoyed that a witness was given to many who knew nothing about Jehovah’s Witnesses. Now I have regular conversations with some colleagues and have even started a Bible study with three of them.” The company Giuseppe works for continues to “study” the jw.org website, while Giuseppe continues to discuss the Bible with his colleagues.

He Said No to Soccer

Argentina: Jorge playing soccer with the brothers

Jorge is a youth who lives in Argentina. At the beginning of 2010, Jorge first learned of the good news through a classmate. Subsequently, he began to study the Bible using the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? During this time, he played soccer. He excelled at the sport and qualified for a place in the lower division of a major soccer club. In April 2014, he received the tempting offer to play on a team in Germany. He was excited at the thought of becoming a professional soccer player, and he accepted the offer. A few days before Jorge was to leave for Europe, his coach said to him: “You are one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, aren’t you? Don’t ruin your life going abroad. When I was young, I was  also a Witness. I was invited to join a team in an Asian country. They promised me many things, and I was fascinated by it all. I traveled there with my family, but we came back very disappointed.” Jorge says: “His comment made quite an impact on me, and I decided not to go to Europe. In 2015, I became a publisher of the good news and was baptized.”

A Real Blessing Free of Charge

In September 2015, the “Imitate Jesus!” Regional Convention was held in Kampala, Uganda. To the excitement of those in attendance, Mark Sanderson of the Governing Body released the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures in Luganda.

One Bible student commented: “Receiving this beautiful Bible gave me so much joy! At the time, people were preparing for the pope’s visit. To raise funds, ‘blessed’ rosaries were sold for $30 (U.S.). People wanted the blessings, but many did not have the money. On the other hand, I got a real blessing free of charge. Jehovah gave it to all who came to the convention, and it was left to each one to offer a voluntary donation from the heart. Every day, when I read Jehovah’s Word in my mother tongue and get to know him better, I feel truly blessed. I thank Jehovah for giving me my copy of the Bible.”

Printing in the Spirit Realm?

In an attempt to discredit www.jw.org, leaders of some churches in a region of Congo (Kinshasa) taught their followers that publications of Jehovah’s Witnesses  are printed in the spirit world. In an effort to support this claim, they pointed to the letters “www,” saying that they correspond to the number 666 in the book of Revelation. (Rev. 13:18) Because of this, some Bible students refused to have a study.

After praying about the matter, a pioneer couple invited their Bible students and their mates to their home. Three couples responded, and after a meal, the Witness couple showed them the video Jehovah’s Witnesses—Organized to Share the Good News. What their guests learned completely dispelled the false ideas they had heard concerning the origin of our publications. The following week, the husband of one of those students insisted that the Witness couple accept and forward his contribution of $100 (U.S.) for the worldwide work, although he himself was not yet studying.

Learning the New Songs

Though the brothers in a remote area of Papua New Guinea have no Internet access, they earnestly want to learn the latest Kingdom songs. So the Mundip Congregation sends a brother to the nearest town, which requires a two-hour walk plus a two-hour bus ride. Once there, he accesses the Internet, writes the new song lyrics in a notebook, and travels back home, where he writes the lyrics on a blackboard at the Kingdom Hall for everyone to see. The rest of the congregation then copy the new songs for the meetings. They truly appreciate singing along with congregations worldwide as part of their worship of Jehovah.