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Jehovah's Witnesses In The Divine Purpose

CHAPTER 29

The Door of Preaching Opportunity Again Swings Open

JOHN: The opening door to freer expression of the Kingdom good news in the United States from 1943 onward proved to be a door swinging wider than the shores of this country. Halfway around the world even total preaching restrictions were beginning to give way, although it's true that some of the "door hinges" were still rusty and squeaky.

One of our earliest victories was that gained in Australia. As you recall, political action was taken against Jehovah's witnesses in the land "down under" at the instigation of religious leaders, and the Bethel headquarters was seized by the government on Saturday, January 18, 1941. The premises were finally occupied by soldiers. Also, locally owned Kingdom Halls at Adelaide and Perth were taken over by the government. a

The congregation at Adelaide had been incorporated in order to hold title to its hall, so a test case was made. After a two-and-a-half-year legal battle, this case of the Adelaide Company of Jehovah's Witnesses, Inc., v. The Commonwealth finally was heard in the High Court of Australia. On June 14, 1943, the court gave a four-to-one victory to Jehovah's witnesses, holding that the order in council banning Jehovah's witnesses in Australia was illegal and ultra vires. The court ruled that the Witnesses were not engaged in any seditious enterprise or engaged in publishing or printing literature that was seditious within the meaning of the criminal law of Australia. Furthermore, the court said:


It is sometimes suggested in discussions on the subject of freedom of religion that, though the civil government should not interfere with religious opinions, it nevertheless may deal as it pleases with any acts which are done in pursuance of religious belief without infringing the principle of freedom of religion. It appears to me to be difficult to maintain this distinction as relevant to the interpretation of s. 116. The section refers in express terms to the exercise of religion, and therefore it is intended to protect from the operation of any Commonwealth laws acts which are done in the exercise of religion. Thus the section goes far beyond protecting liberty of opinion. It protects also acts done in pursuance of religious belief as part of religion. b


Thus the court ruled that Jehovah's witnesses were free to carry on their religious activity and that their work was not prejudicial to the official prosecution of the war.

In Canada Jehovah's witnesses were forced to suffer in silence for nearly two years, gagged so far as opportunity of lodging formal protest and making any

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defense was concerned. Then in June, 1942, they were granted an opportunity to make representations to a Select Committee of the House of Commons on the Defense of Canada Regulations, the war measures used July 4, 1940, as a basis for the order in council banning Jehovah's witnesses. This committee unanimously recommended that the ban be lifted on the legal corporations of Jehovah's witnesses. But the new Minister of Justice, L. S. St. Laurent, refused to recall the banning order. c

The liberal press became outspoken in their opposition to the ban, as also were some in the House of Commons, where a heated debate on this subject was held. Finally, on October 15, 1943, the ban on the unincorporated society of Jehovah's witnesses was lifted, but not the ban on their legal corporation. With the door only part way open it was still impossible to reopen the Toronto Bethel Branch headquarters; d so the brothers busied themselves in every way to obtain full legal recognition:


The whole month of June was set aside for obtaining signatures, but, before the Petition could be completed and presented for debate in the House of Commons, the government decided to remove the ban on the I.B.S.A. of Canada. This decision was made known by publication of an Order-in-Council passed on the 13th day of June, 1944, but not made public until the 16th. The good news was quickly circulated to all of the companies throughout the land and petition activity ceased. Though thus abruptly terminated it is known that 223,448 signatures were obtained. Though the signatures were not used for their original purpose, yet it was a pleasure for the publishers to call back on these persons and acquaint them with the good news of the ban's removal, and stimulate their interest in the Theocratic message. Jehovah thus granted another victory to his chosen people. e


Although the brothers had been unable to reopen Toronto Bethel after partial removal of the ban in October, 1943, they were enabled to engage Kingdom Halls and advertise them. In 1940, when the ban had been placed upon the Canadian work, there was an average of 6,081 publishers. But, when the last remaining restrictions were finally lifted June 13, 1944, three years later, there were 10,345 workers participating. f This was truly an encouraging increase during days of restraint, and a further evidence of the determination of Jehovah's witnesses to do the divine will.

THEOCRATIC MINISTRY SCHOOLS OPEN

In the United States, where more freedom had been allowed to operate, progress in the new educational program continued and further opportunities of service were opening up. Now the Society was ready to commence the third and most sweeping step in this instructive campaign. The time had now come to assist the congregations of Jehovah's witnesses everywhere to provide more personalized training for all the Society's ministers through local schools patterned after the advanced course in theocratic ministry that had proved so effective at Brooklyn Bethel. To inaugurate this extensive educational program, in 1943 the Society prepared its first textbook, entitled "Course in Theocratic Ministry," comprising fifty-two lessons, one to be covered each week. This ninety-six-page booklet contained full instructions on how to operate the newly recommended theocratic school in each congregation. g This was the featured and surprise release at the "Call to Action" Assembly, April 17 and 18, held in 1943 in 247 cities throughout the United States. h

The proposal to set up a theocratic ministry school in every congregation was enthusiastically received and adopted by Jehovah's witnesses in the English-speaking countries. As soon as textbooks could be

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translated the school was put into operation among the foreign-speaking Witnesses as well. It was suggested that all those congregations that wished to organize such a school immediately send in recommendations for a local school instructor or servant. i

As soon as the Society returned an official appointment, schools began to operate in the Kingdom Halls for a one-hour session each week following one of their other weekly congregational meetings, such as the service meeting. Within a few weeks almost all the large congregations in the English-speaking world were operating the theocratic ministry school. Brothers of all ages were enrolled for speech training and the sisters faithfully attended these sessions and participated in the oral reviews and later in the written reviews, to take advantage of the practical and helpful education to be used in their house-to-house preaching service.

Soon other textbooks were released by the Society to augment this course. Theocratic Aid to Kingdom Publishers appeared in 1945 and "Equipped for Every Good Work" in 1946. In 1944 the congregations were encouraged to establish a theocratic ministry school library in their Kingdom Halls. This enabled the students to have access to a full collection of the Society's publications and any other Biblical aids that might seem to be of advantage to assist them in their preparation of student and instruction talks. j

In these schools Jehovah's witnesses were trained to speak in the modern conversational manner and not in the affected, oratorical manner of the religious clergy. As a result of their improved speaking ability, gradually the use of the phonograph in the field began to drop off and after 1944 this ten-year preaching campaign by use of the phonograph recordings began to be replaced by oral sermons presented at the doors by the ministers themselves, which they were now fully qualified to deliver.

Within two years the theocratic ministry schools had produced a large staff of well-trained Bible speakers available for use by the Society. Therefore in January of 1945 a world-wide public speaking campaign was inaugurated to utilize this staff of speakers and to further advance the interest in the Kingdom message. This program was well planned and organized and designed to maintain a uniform public appeal by means of a series of eight timely, striking subjects for talks. Although each speaker prepared his own talk, to ensure uniform presentation the Society designed one-page outlines for each of these hour lectures. These outlines were sent to the congregations and used by all speakers to present, basically, certain major points of argument and information on each Biblical subject selected. The talk "Will Man Succeed as a World Builder?" was the catchy subject of the first public lecture in this opening series.

The campaign was not arranged so that only platform speakers in a congregation would share in this important work. Handbills advertising the talk were printed by the Society as ordered by the congregations, and every member of the congregation had an opportunity to take part in this public speaking program by distributing these handbills in the house-to-house witness work as well as on the streets. Placards advertising the talks were used and publishers wearing these would cover the main business sections of the town where the talk was to be held, handing out handbills to the passers-by. Furthermore, all those associated with the local congregation were encouraged to attend and welcome the newcomers and discuss

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with them the high points of the talk, answering any questions that might have been raised in their minds.

TOM: That sounds like a united arrangement all right. How did the congregations respond to the program?

JOHN: Well, in the United States for this first year of the campaign 18,646 public meetings were held, with a total attendance of 917,352. It being a new feature, this first year only 1,558 of the 2,871 congregations in the United States participated in the program. k However, the following year, in 1946, the number of public meetings rose to 28,703 for the American field, thus indicating the rapidly mounting enthusiasm for this new means of reaching the public, and demonstrating a growing recognition of the effectiveness of the new program. l

As in the case of the "Millions" campaign conducted following the first world war, an effort was made to use these public meetings in territories where no organized congregation existed as well as in the local Kingdom Hall.

The United Announcers Theocratic Assembly, August 9-13, 1944, was held in Buffalo, New York, and provisions were made to tie in sixteen other cities in the United States as well as two in Canada, the first there since the ban. In addition to the stirring and instructive talks, several new publications were released, outstanding among them being the Watchtower edition of the American Standard Version Bible. Other releases included the book "The Kingdom Is at Hand" and a question booklet to accompany it, and a new song book called "Kingdom Service Song Book." This red-covered song book was received with genuine enthusiasm by the brothers, especially when it was announced that the book would be used at the weekly service meetings because, for some time prior to this, congregational singing had been dispensed with. Now the brothers were happy to be able to sing together again.

The public talk, "The Kingdom of God Is Nigh," was carried simultaneously to all eighteen other cities and was also broadcast over radio station WHLD of Niagara Falls, New York, and WBBR, the Society's own station in Brooklyn. Attendance at the seventeen cities in the United States totaled 92,723, while in all lands, on the initial delivery of this important discourse, upward of 140,000 persons heard. A booklet containing the talk was released at the end of the hour, and subsequently millions of copies were distributed. m

FURTHER TRAINING BY SERVANTS TO THE BRETHREN

In February, 1945, the month following the start of the new public meeting campaign, the Society's program of visiting the congregations through the servants to the brethren was reorganized to increase its effectiveness and to provide further personal training to all the brothers. The Informant for January, 1945, explained it this way:


To assist the companies and others of the Lord's people in that respect the servant to the brethren activity is being rearranged and increased approximately fifty percent. Instead of having the servant to the brethren stay with the company one, two or three days, as has been the case in the past and as outlined in Organization Instructions, beginning February 1, 1945, companies of 1 to 8 publishers will receive a two-day service, companies of from 19 to 50 will receive three days' service, companies of 51 to 100 will receive 6 days, and companies of 101 and over will receive a two-week appointment.

The object of this rearrangement is to enable the brethren to stay with the company sufficiently long to co-operate with them and aid them in their book studies, back-call work, and other field activity, as well as to instruct the servants on these points. He will go with as

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many of the brethren as possible in their back-call work and in their studies and suggest ways and means of arranging such back-calls and studies and conducting them effectively.


This reorganization of the work put the emphasis more on field service and upon the responsibility of this traveling representative of the Society to assist the brothers in improving their efficiency in the various features of Kingdom preaching. Increase continued to mark the success of this service rendered by the Society to all congregations.

Then in October, 1945, a revised and augmented issue of Organization Instructions was sent out to the congregations. This time a copy was supplied for each individual Kingdom minister meeting the qualifications on page 2 of the booklet:


Each publisher over the age of twelve who has shown his devotion to the Lord and Jehovah's kingdom by giving a witness for the Kingdom for a period of three months, or who has reached the company's quota of hours in his first or second month of witnessing, should be given his personal copy of this booklet. Every publisher should be fully acquainted with organization instructions and follow the Lord's Word in the preaching of the Kingdom message.


These organization instructions became effective October 1, 1945. n

Exactly one year later, October, 1946, new amendments to Organization Instructions were sent out. This was an eight-page insert for the Organization Instructions booklet itself. A new feature of reconstruction and expansion outlined in these amendments marked another forward step in the service being rendered by these servants to the brethren. One of the outstanding features of this expanded program was the semiannual circuit assembly, together with the visit of the district servant. o This was the first time since the zone assemblies were discontinued in 1941 that the semiannual conventions became a feature of the service program, and their revival received enthusiastic response.

RETURN FROM PRISON CAMPS

Now opportunities of expanding the preaching on an ever-widening scale began to present themselves. The surprise explosions of atom bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the successful drive of the Allied forces across Europe brought World War II to a close. Following the war Jehovah's witnesses dug themselves out of the debris, and as thousands began to return from concentration camps and prisons the open door of freedom offered a new impetus to the preaching activity. Immediately in Europe, even on the way home from their places of internment, the Witnesses began to preach. p

In Germany especially, deliverance from the concentration camps was in many instances a perilous experience, though filled with joy. As the war was driving to a close camp officials feared the advance of the Russians and were determined that if they must be taken captive it would be by the Americans. Because of this, entire camps would be moved from one place to another. Here is a stirring account of the evacuation of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp from April 21 to May 5, 1945. This eyewitness report is in the Society's files and parts of it have been published in The Watchtower. q Let's all listen while we read excerpts from the report:


As the Russian armies plunged on into Germany, fear gripped the camp officials. Preparations were made for evacuation and flight toward the American lines. In anticipation of this day Jehovah's witnesses had determined that they would try to remain in one group when the exodus would begin. They fixed a meeting place and made the necessary plans. It was well that they did because chaos reigned the night before the departure. In this camp of from 25,000 to 30,000 prisoners nearly everyone that night turned robber. The camp leaders

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had robbed the Jews, rioting prisoners robbed the camp leaders and they in turn were robbed by others. Robbers became the robbed and the cycle of thievery sped along. On this night 12,000 Red Cross packages were stolen. Demonized block leaders tried to keep the prisoners in order, and many that night were whipped to death and others shot.


And where were the Lord's people during all this time? They were safe in the seclusion of the tailor shop. Here is their report:


The Lord's people were all together, waiting for further instructions from the officials. In the meantime, we tried to bring sick brothers from other sections to the tailor shop. We did not leave a thing there. We planned on taking everything along with us. Some had Watchtowers, others had Bibles and other literature. Then we had our first Kingdom assembly, something we had not had for many years! The quietness and peace of our meeting was only interrupted by the shooting of those prisoners who were caught plundering. Otherwise, our assembly was very blessed and strengthened all of us in view of our coming delivery. During the preceding years we had often talked of this day.

THE EXODUS BEGINS

Next morning the exodus started. In group-columns of six hundred they marched out, first the Czechs, then the Poles, then different nationalities and lastly went the Germans. Among these, some were Jehovah's witnesses, and all but two were able to extricate themselves from the columns and join their brothers in the tailor shop. United, Jehovah's witnesses were the last to leave.

Though they numbered only 230, no others were allowed to join their group. Why? Because they might be witnessed to? No, that did not govern decisions in this time of flight. The officials had a wagonload of goods they had stolen and they put this booty in the midst of the Witnesses' column because the Witnesses were the only ones they trusted. They knew the Witnesses were not thieves; they knew God's people would be guided by God's law forbidding stealing, even in their dealings with their persecutors! At this dramatic point listen again to the report:


Then the signal came: "All Jehovah's witnesses, ready to go!" So we packed everything together. We put a sick sister on a wagon and slowly we marched each column in groups of five out through the gate. For the first time we walked through the gate we entered from five to nine years earlier and left the place which we never believed we would leave alive. So the Devil and his henchmen thought and so had reminded us frequently. But the Lord had a different thought on the matter. Sachsenhausen was now behind us. The joy that entered our hearts can never be expressed in words.


One hour out from Sachsenhausen they could see and hear the great explosions of the Russian bombardment of that place and Oranienburg. The Russians were hard on their heels. The Nazi guards became much excited, and anyone that lagged or dropped exhausted was shot. Dawning light disclosed a road littered with dead bodies. In a short distance three hundred dead were counted. Before the flight ended at the American lines thousands were strewn along the line of march. Now the report continues:


From our troop of about 230 brothers and sisters none, not even the weakest, was lying on the road, despite the fact that we had some brothers from 65 to 72 years of age. They were all standing faithfully. You could again see the theocratic spirit and arrangement and how the Lord's angel protected us.


For the first two days and nights there was much marching but little eating and resting, and many were so weak they saw black. But a rest was scheduled when the straggling columns reached the heavily bombarded city of Neu Ruppin. Although no quarters could be found for the thousands of prisoners and much turmoil and confusion developed, all the Witnesses were housed by friendly neighbors of some dedicated women who had known one of the Witness prisoners before the war. With joy they welcomed the entire group of

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over two hundred and housed them in barns for the night. The neighbors agreed only after they realized that all these prisoners were Jehovah's witnesses. Then they not only put them up for the night, but fed them in the morning, to the great amazement of the group leaders of the prisoners. This account showed that the people were afraid to allow other prisoners to use their barns for stopovers because such prisoners generally plundered and stole everything at hand. But the people trusted Jehovah's witnesses, who testified of God's kingdom and comforted their hosts. The account shows how some of the other prisoners got their food.


Troops could be seen and troop movements [of the German forces] showed that we were close to the front. On both sides of the road we saw the dead bodies of prisoners. Then we saw homes destroyed by the aviators, and saw airplanes burning, and saw dead horses, and over the cadavers we saw the Russian and Ukrainian prisoners going out of their groups like wild beasts and with knives and fingers tore out pieces of meat from the dead horses, and some ate it cooked and some ate it raw. Their hands and faces were covered with blood. The same goes for the sacks of potatoes. They tried to rob them, and then the guards would shoot them, and often you could see the dead bodies over the sacks of potatoes.


Along the route the brothers found opportunities to witness, many times to army men who listened attentively and even helped them with money and provisions. One of the sergeants who took up a collection for them encouraged them by saying: "Keep your heads up, boys, it is only a short while and you will be delivered." From farmers they received bread and milk, flour, potatoes and even some buttered bread. One farmer rejoiced so at the message of the Kingdom given him by these Witnesses in bonds that he divided his last bread with them.

On April 29 the columns moved out from a large beech forest, where they had stopped for four days, and the march was resumed. These next few days passed as the others: the main body of prisoners hungering and rioting and many being shot, witnesses of Jehovah preaching the good news to the people and being in return blessed with food. The report describes the horrible hunger that stalked through the camp at large; grass, herbs, bark and cooked roots being eaten, and from 100 to 110 dying daily.

SUSTAINED INTEGRITY BEARS FRUIT

Then came the climactic event. The trudging columns arrived at the forest of Schwerin. The Americans were only six or seven kilometers ahead of the prisoners, the Russians hard on their heels. Even greater unrest prevailed in the camp. The Nazi "heroes" began to tremble and called the Witnesses, whom they had so vilely persecuted, "comrades." The main camp officials fled, leaving behind a few of the SS guards. They could not combat the chaos that reigned, and many of them slipped silently away in the night. For the first time in nine years the Witnesses were in the open without a guard. They erected their "tabernacle" huts in the forest and lived as before. We read again from the report:


In the evening greater activity of aviation air attacks started in from both sides, and the cannonade became more and more lively. It clattered and crashed and you could hear the rattling of the machine guns. It promised to be a vivid night. In the meantime the Russian and Ukrainian prisoners took the arms of the SS they found and a new danger started. We stuck together and uttered a common prayer and lay down, quietly waiting for the coming day and what it might bring. Through the leading major of the camp we had received the news that the Russian armies were rapidly advancing. We had to make a decision. The only way through to the American section was about six kilometers. In the forest camp there started a great confusion. The night was dark and everybody ran to and fro, and we heard the rattling of guns that came closer and closer. Even among the Witnesses there was a certain unrest.

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In a collective prayer we expressed our confidence and trust in Jehovah. Then we lay down again to rest, awaiting the coming morning, despite the chaos around us. The angel of the Lord kept watch over us and protected us from all evil. This course proved to be the right one, as we realized the next day. The order to begin marching that we had received from the Nazi major the preceding night was given with the purpose in mind of having many of the prisoners shot in the darkness. Many prisoners returned and told that they had been shot at by SS, and when day came we saw many of the prisoners on the road killed or wounded.

About 11 a.m. of the 1st day of May we started for Schwerin, the first time under our own direction without SS. The highways were indescribable. Endless rows of cars and all kinds of vehicles, people walking toward the Americans. We advanced but meter by meter and in six hours we reached our resting place, about ten kilometers from our starting place. Vehicles of the army, cars, fleeing old men and women, soldiers, men and women and children, all fleeing from the Russians toward the Americans. The highways and the fields along the road were littered with all kinds of guns, ammunition, and all kinds of equipment, paper, books, cars and wagons of every kind, destroyed automobiles, corpses of persons—a terrible mess. On the faces of the restless men were mirrored the desperation, the misery and horrors of the terrible experience and the bitter disappointment of the last days. So we witnessed here the end of a godless ruling system of crazy and demonized men—a brilliant soap bubble, after being held aloft for twelve years, exploded into nothingness.

As we heard later on, our departure was also watched over at the right time, because two hours after the departure from the camp the SS men surrounded the forest like a chain and shot everybody left in the forest [remember also that those who left earlier, at the major's sly command, were shot]. All together there were about 360 to 400 prisoners shot.


In other countries too, as we have already learned, Jehovah's witnesses suffered under Nazi occupation. For example, in the Netherlands there were, all together, some four hundred Witnesses in German concentration camps. Approximately fifty of these were murdered in the camps and a few died because of camp illness. But those not interned kept busy preaching. Before the five years of Nazi occupation began there were 317 Christian ministers preaching in the Netherlands, and at the close of World War II the diligent effort of these ministers underground was rewarded by seeing 2,166 active in the field in 1945. r

A MUTUAL EXCHANGE OF BENEFITS

Many other reports are available of the stanch perseverance of Jehovah's witnesses under the iron heel of dictator rule and many experiences have been related of the moving reception the Witnesses were given in their preaching from house to house on their deliverance. Time would fail us to speak of them all, but to the public these former prisoners in bonds seemed to be as ones resurrected from the dead.

Reorganization for service began as an effort was made to reassemble the Witnesses into congregations and become active in field work. Branch offices were reopened in country after country and there was a great demand for organizational servants with sufficient health to become circuit servants and otherwise care for the theocratic needs of the brothers. Though strengthened spiritually by their harrowing experiences of the war, the brothers were materially poor, and makeshift equipment was necessary in order to start the wheels of the publishing work in motion again and to supply printed literature and other Bible helps. Food and clothing were secondary considerations. The prime objective was the re-establishment of the spiritual nourishment of these war-torn countries with life-sustaining food from the Bible; first for the Witnesses themselves and then for the great masses of numbed and spiritually starved people of good will.

Not all countries fared as poorly in material things as those who experienced

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the actual ravages of war. And in these countries the Witnesses immediately organized a world-wide relief campaign that went into operation in January, 1946. The thousands of Jehovah's witnesses in the United States, Canada, Switzerland and Sweden voluntarily shared with their less fortunate brothers clothing and money to buy food. The relief program covered two years and a half to rehabilitate the Witnesses in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Philippine Republic, Poland and Romania. The total shipments of clothing amounted to 1,056,247 pounds, and of food 718,873 pounds. Besides, 124,110 pairs of shoes were sent. The value of all this in dollars came to $l,322,406.90. s

In addition to considering the monetary value, we must consider the many loving hours of time spent in gathering and distributing these much needed provisions. Surely the love on the part of the brothers to share their blessings is manifested and proved to be mutually beneficial. In one direction flowed material benefits, and in exchange, in the other direction, flowed an unerasable record of integrity.

Even though distribution of literature was curtailed in many countries, the world total during the war years gives record of far more activity by the Witnesses than during World War I. But the strongest evidence of continued zealous field service is the increase that took place in number of active preachers. The peak of publishers up to the second world war was 73,469, but during the war, from 1940 to 1945, the peak was 141,606—almost double.

On the surface it may have appeared the work was being stopped, with Branch offices being closed down and with thousands of ministers being imprisoned. But the record shows to the contrary. Far from being stopped or even halted, the irresistible forward movement of Kingdom service continued even during these dark years of World War II.

GILEAD MISSIONARIES TAKE UP ASSIGNMENTS

LOIS: What about the missionaries that had been graduating from Gilead since 1943? Were they able to go on foreign assignments while the war was still on?

JOHN: Yes; some were. These were sent to various outlying lands of North America. At that time, of course, since World War II was still in progress, transportation to Europe and westward to the islands of the sea and Asia was practically impossible. For that reason the first expansion was into Mexico, Newfoundland, Alaska and into the Central American countries of Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and the British crown colony of Belize or British Honduras. Missionaries also went into Panama and the French Canadian province of Quebec. t

Late in 1943 Gilead graduates were sent into Cuba, where immediate success was had in teaching eager listeners Bible truth. Missionaries soon followed into Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Trinidad, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Jamaica and other islands of the Caribbean area. For three consecutive years from 1944 onward the Society's president made visits to Cuba and other islands to stimulate the excellent beginnings that had been made. u

Early in 1945, before World War II had ended, the Society's president, N. H. Knorr, and one of the directors, F. W. Franz, made the first official visit for the Society into Mexico and Central America, where arrangements were completed to expand the missionary operations. v

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In February and March of 1945 the two representatives of the Society pushed on down into South America. w All the major countries were visited and plans were drawn up for missionary expansion into all these countries. Work in Argentina and Brazil had already been under way since the early 1920's, but there was need to draw these brothers into closer contact with the headquarters organization and give them the benefits of the latest theocratic training in service activities.

Up until the close of World War II all the lands of this continent of South America with its 120,000,000 inhabitants seemed to be the sole preserve of the Roman Catholic Church. However, in 1945, with the Western democracies defeating the Catholic-Fascist-Nazi attempt at world control, the door into South America seemed to be wide open for the penetration of true Christianity by means of these courageous missionaries representing the New World society. Gilead-trained missionaries were sent into South America shortly after the visit of the Society's president, and by 1947 there were 117 of them in twelve different South American countries. Throughout Central and South America and in the Caribbean area the Society spent upward of $125,000 in 1946 alone. All together, eighteen different countries in this part of the earth received this assistance so that the good news might be preached. x

Expansion into Europe was not far behind that of North and South America. As we have already learned, the Society's literature had been circulating in Europe since 1880. y In time all activity radiated out of three locations: Britain; Switzerland, covering Central Europe; and Denmark and Sweden operating throughout Northern Europe. From these three points the entire continent was served, with Germany eventually becoming the most fruitful field of expansion. During both World War I and World War II these three centers survived intact and became generating points for quick revivals for all other parts of Europe.

In 1942, in the midst of World War II, the Witnesses operated in thirteen countries of Europe, with 22,796 ministers, not counting the German associates whom Hitler had banned and imprisoned. At the close of the war the reorganization and reactivating of the work was rapid, sparked by a survey tour of President Knorr and his secretary, M. G. Henschel, during the winter of 1945 and 1946. z

Expansion of the work was gratifying and by 1947 the revived Witnesses in nineteen countries of Europe reported 74,196 ministers in field service, more than the highest number that had ever reported throughout the entire world before the outbreak of the second world war. Although much of the work in Europe was actually done by the local brothers, they were greatly assisted by Gilead-trained missionaries that began to arrive in 1946 and by new Branch offices, equipment and literature provided by the Society as gifts to the extent of $100,000. aa

So, especially from 1945 onward, global expansion was truly under way. The time had come for countless more of the great multitude to manifest themselves, and they kept coming into association with the New World society literally by the thousands to join in the preaching work. The door to theocratic service was now wide open, for a few years at least, and this united company of zealous heralders of the good news of God's kingdom were streaming through it in droves into the rich fields ready and waiting to be harvested.



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