Text of article on page 3 of the USA Kingdom Ministry for July:
Title: They Have set an Example of Faithfulness
The year 1937 witnessed the beginning of a new avenue of full-time service--the special pioneer activitiy. Capable men and women, experienced in the Christian ministry, willingly accpted assignments to serve wherever the organization directed. Now, decades later, special pioneers continue to set an example of faithfulness worthy of imitation. -- Heb. 6:12
They Took the Lead: At the outset, special pioneers spearheaded the preaching work by using the portable phonograph at the householder's doorstep. They also used recordings as the basis for Bbile discussions on return visits. This was done in large cities where congregations were already established. Later, special pioneers were sent into areas where there was a greater need for Kingdom proclaimers. They followed up on all interest and conducted Bible studies. As a result of their earnest efforts, hundreds of new congregations were formed. Their tireless evangelizing contributed to the tremendous expansion of the organization that we see today (Isa. 60:22). Special pioneers continue to play an important role in spreading the good news "in all creation that is under heaven." -- Col. 1:23.
Worthy of Imitation: Some special pioneers have been serving in the full-time ministry for decades. Over the years, these loyal men and women have had their faith refined under various circumstances. (1 Pet. 1:6,7) They have been willing to sacrifice material comforts in order to serve in places of special need. Some are now advanced in years and face poor health, or they confront other challenging circumstances. (2 Cor. 4:16, 17) Yet, they "keep on thriving during gray-headedness." (Ps. 92:14) They put their trust in Jehovah and experience his blessing. -- Ps. 34:8; Prov. 10:22.
Special pioneers certainly deserve our warm commendation. If you are privileged to have special pioneers assigned to your congregation, take advantage of the opportunity to spend time with them and benefit from their experience. Show appreciation for their service as faithful Kingdom proclaimers. Draw strength from their steadfastness. All who imitate their faith can likewise enjoy Jehovah's favor and blessing because "those acting in faithfulness are a pleasure to him." -- Prov. 12:22
Sir's observation: In the same issue of the KM, it is to be noted that there were 212 special pioneers, out of 1,010,868 publishers in March 2006 in the USA. I believe that special pioneers are typically assigned in pairs, so there maybe 100 congregations, out of the 10,000+ congregations in the US, that actually have special pioneers assigned to them.
So maybe 1 out of 100 congregations have a spcial pioneer pair assigned to them. And, for the most part, the special pioneers are assigned to really remote areas, Appalachia, the Dakotas badlands, Idaho, etc. The vast majority of JWs have never even met a special pioneer, much less have one in their congregation.
Suddenly we get a article extolling their virtues? "If you are privileged to have special pioneers assigned to your congregation..."?
Explanation: several dozen, perhaps up to a few hundred, of the Bethelite layoffs are going to be assigned as special pioneers. Some, apparently, will be assigned to urban, well-established areas where the local brothers seem to be "slacking off" (see paragraph 2 above, the sp. pios. were originally assigned to "large cities").
An influx of special pioneers, when this work has been de-emphasized over the past several decades, might raise eyebrows. That, and the news of the Bethel layoffs has still not been "officially" communicated. The Society is "softening the field" for these ex-Bethelites to plop into the congregations, so it won't be so much of a surpise / shock for the congregations about to be blessed by their presence.
The hoped-for reaction, when these special pioneers come, is "Oh look! We just had an article of special pioneers, and now we have 2 of them assigned to our little ol' congregation! What a coincidence! What a blessing! Jah provides!"