Stay Alive to '75 - MP3 Talk

by AlphaOmega 21 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • AlphaOmega

    I have been e-mailed another Watchtower Talk

    It is the famous "Stay Alive 'to 75" talk by Charles Sunutko given in 1967.

    It is entitled "Serving With Everlasting Life in View" (Final Spring 1967 Sheboygan, Wisconsin)

    It has left Witnesses that I played it to silent. An excellent response to "Well, the Society never actually said that 1975 would be the end.."

    The talk is even more direct than the literature in regards to 1975 being the end.

    It is definately a good one to have for your collection.

    MP3 available here

    I have had a PM about the file not working...


    ... Rename the file, puting .mp3 at the end of it (it seems the filename was too long for the hosting website !)

    Any problems, post here and I'll re upload it with a shorter name


    Transcript courtesy of:

    "Serving With Everlasting Life in View"

    … for whether they be in the more affluent countries of the earth, we’ll all still hold on for life, because as long as there is life, we find that there is hope.

    If this is true of most persons, how much more true would it be of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Because not only do we have the present life to hold onto and to live for, but we hold onto the hope of everlasting life. Because Jesus promised this in Romans the Sixth chapter, that the reward God would give would be everlasting life. So we have a strong desire and instinct to wanna survive and pursue it. And to eventually realize paradisaic conditions in God’s New Order.

    But in this run for life, some of us looking forward to a change in this old system and its destruction for many years now, there are some of us who get a little weary. And a little tired. And sometimes we just want to throw our hands up and say ‘I just don’t know if I can go on any further.’

    But, just like a runner when he’s running a course, and he gets near to the end, just about the time he thinks he can’t go on any further, he realizes ‘well there’s the goal ahead of [inaudible]’ He’s come around the last lap, and there it is! Well all of a sudden he just seems to get some reserve power from nowhere, and with a sudden surge of energy, on he goes to break the finish line rope and win the prize.

    Well now, as Jehovah’s Witnesses, as runners, even though some of us have become a little weary, it almost seems as though Jehovah has provided meat in due season. Because he’s held up before all of us, a new goal. A new year. Something to reach out for and it just seems it has given all of us so much more energy and power in this final burst of speed to the finish line. And that’s the year 1975.

    There’s been a lot of talk about the year, in fact even this week some individuals have been wondering, ‘well, what does it mean? Do we dare talk about it? Is it something we can discuss among ourselves, even though we may not talk much about it in public? Do we really know what it means?’

    Well, we don’t have to guess what the year 1975 means if we read the Watchtower. Because the Watchtower has been very explicit as to what the year 1975 means to us. If you wish to write down the page, 262, in the [May 1] 1967 issue of the Watchtower, we read:

    What does the year 1975 mean for humankind? The end of 6000 years of human existence, and possibly, [voice raising dramatically] the time when God executes the wicked and starts off a thousand-year reign under his son Jesus Christ.

    Unquote. What did it say? The end of 6000 years of human existence and that’s all? NO, it gave us a little more to think about there. Did it say for certainty the time when God executes the wicked and starts off a thousand year reign by Jesus Christ? No. But it did give us a glimmer of light. It says [voice rising] possibly, possibly the time when God executes the wicked and starts off the thousand year reign of his son Jesus Christ, [voice returning to normal] 1975.

    Doesn’t that give you a little bit of excitement about the future? Even if there is the possibility, [voice rising] that’s it, when God will bring the battle of Armageddon, and clean this old Earth off? And you’ll be ushered right into a paradise Earth for ever more [voice returning to normal]. Never again to be afflicted with this old Satanic system of things. It will be GONE, DOWN. That should excite all of us.

    There are the skeptics who say ‘well, I’m not going to think about it and not worry about it. I’m not going to pay attention to it.’ Well now remember brothers, the faithful and discreet slave is used by Jesus to to what? Jesus says ‘to provide meat in due season.’ This is meat, and it’s come at the right time. And it’s in its due season. And it’s not wrong to think about it, and to look forward to it.

    As far as knowing for sure? Well, we know what we know for sure. We just read it. [voice rising] ‘The end of Six Thousand years of human history, and possibly the execution of the wicked and the beginning of the Thousand year reign.’ And that should be exciting enough, and talk enough for us.

    When you think about it, what a fantastic, short span of time that is. How many of you here were in New York City in 1958? Would you hold up your hands. A great majority of you here. Where has the time gone since then? Just seemed like yesterday that we were there. But [voice rising] do you realize that more time has passed away since that assembly in 1958 where a quarter-of-a-million Jehovah’s Witnesses gathered, [voice returns to normal] that what is left to 1975? Hard to imagine, isn’t it? Yes, that was nine years ago. It’s only eight years to Seventy-Five.

    How little time there is left. How much to happen.

    We just wait now, with everlasting life in view, and we serve with the future unveiling in front of us. Very soon now we wait for Babylon the Great to be turned upon and severely scathed and destroyed and decimated ’til where there’s nothing left of her.

    And then the cry ‘Peace and Safety. We finally got rid of the old harlot, she’s off our back. No more religion to bother us’ the nations say. Uh oh. There they are. Rearing there ugly heads up above the dust. Jehovah’s Witnesses. Now with a message more fierce than has ever been heard before. Now with a taunt song to the nations. ‘You see? We told you Babylon the Great was going down, was going to be destroyed, you said it would never happen, but you did it yourself. Now you’re next. Jehovah will destroy you.’ You think they’re going to like that? That’s when they all combine. All the communistic and democratic powers together, with one objective in mind: ‘wipe out those people. Then truly we’ll be rid of all antagonists and have peace and safety, and we’ll have our unified world.’

    But when they begin to attack Jehovah’s Witnesses, strange things begin to happen. It seems to be calamities are brought by Jehovah God in a fierce and horrifying way, as though they’ve never seen things of this nature before. Flesh eating plagues are mentioned by Zechariah that will seep this Earth, rot the eyes out of the sockets, and the tongues out of the mouths. [voice raised] They’ll run screaming out of their houses with this striking them [voice returning to normal], and yet they’ll see Jehovah’s Witnesses are untouched. ‘How will we get in now? Let me be one of you!’ Well, it’s too late now.

    And then Jehovah God seems to bring the natural forces against this old system. Terror on air, in land, and in the sea. Fratricidal warfare, neighbor against neighbor. Every un-human, inhumane thing that could occur, not only from men, but even from natural forces.

    And Armageddon seems to have two phases now. The latest Watchtower brought out, if you’ve read it, where it says there is such a thing as a just war, Phase One: All united efforts among the nations destroyed, all political organization gone. All that’s left are the kings, standing by themselves, without an ally or friend in the world, all super-suspicious of each other, all standing there tense. Phase Two: Jehovah strikes confusion into their hearts, and in a mad fury and flurry then turn on each other, destroying one another. And what is left? Then Jehovah God calls his super-natural angels and the cavalry of Jesus Christ to close in on them, 200 million angels, with all their destructive power, and what a power that’s going to be.

    One angel, in one night, when the Syrian forces of [inaudible] came against Israel, destroyed 185,000. Let’s say the the 200 million angels of Jesus Christ are limited in power and they can only destroy 185,000. [Voice rising] That would give them the potential to destroy 37 trillion persons. [voice returns to normal] There aren’t near that many on the Earth. In fact, that’s 12, 333 times the number of people even alive. All that power wrapped up in the cavalry of Jesus Christ. And all of that, possibly, has to happen and be finished within the year 1975.

    Exciting years ahead of us! And then look beyond that: the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ. Know what that means? All the dead being brought back. Just think of the dear ones you’ve lost, maybe in the last five or ten years. Don’t you look forward to seeing them coming back? Well it won’t be long now. Look at what’s ahead.

    You think you’re going to mind having to work with the crops and the land when you find out that your loved ones are going to come back and you have to plant a little extra for them? You think you’re going to mind, when you are notified maybe a little in advance, that you need some shelter? As you are going to have to build [inaudible] for your loved ones temporary living quarters for when they come back?

    Just think what it’s going to be like when the family is notified it’s time, and you all gather there, waiting, and you see them rise up out of the dust. Like Isaiah says, "Awake you in the dust, you residents. Come alive." Think you’re going to mind seeing that?

    That’s our future. What a wonderful one. The resurrection is something to stagger the imagination with immensity. When it comes to the number that will be back, we don’t know for sure, but some comments have been made by the Society, that could give some idea.

    You may want to make note of these references, read them later.

    "Things in Which it is Impossible for God to Lie" paragraph 12, page 350: "Billions who died before Jesus, billions who died since will be back."

    The latest publication, "Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God" page 393 paragraph 26: "Thousands of millions."

    The Watchtower 1964, page 722, paragraph 24, and listen to this: "TENS of billions will be back".

    How many are tens of billions? Well at least 20 billion. ‘Cause to have tens of billions in the billions, you have to have two sets of ten billion. So at the very minimum figure, lets say even 20 billion coming back. What a fantastic accomplishment that’s going to be for our Lord, Jesus Christ.

    In fact, there was a tract one time, printed by the Society, called "Millennial Hope Explained" where it mentioned an estimated 20 billion would be back in the resurrection, could be.

    This gives you an idea. Fires the imagination. Do you realize what an accomplishment and what an undertaking that’s going to be? Why if just 20 billion were brought back from the dead, every day for a thousand years, you’d have to bring back 60,000. Every day, for a thousand years.

    Of course, it most likely won’t take the whole thousand years, the Society has indicated. We don’t know how long the resurrection will take, but that will probably squeeze the number up to where possibly, even more would be coming back.

    What a thrilling time we have to live for, my brothers. How much we have to gain, by serving God with everlasting life in view.

    But you know that sad part of it? There are going to be some of use here who won’t see it, possibly. Wouldn’t that be an awful thing, with all that in the future? Some of use here tonight may not live to see it.

    Will you? You know there’s a way to find out? There’s a way to decide, right here and now, whether you’ll make it, or whether you will not. Let us see what that is.

    Turning to Luke the 13th chapter, we get some information on it. Luke 13, let’s begin to read Jesus’ words. Luke 13, starting with the 22nd verse. Now Jesus is going village to village, and city to city. In verse 23 it says:

    Now a certain man said to him: "Lord, are those who are being saved few?" He said to them: 24 "Exert yourselves vigorously to get in through the narrow door, because many, I tell YOU, will seek to get in but will not be able, 25 when once the householder has got up and locked the door, and YOU start to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Sir, open to us.’ But in answer he will say to YOU, ‘I do not know where YOU are from.’ 26 Then YOU will start saying, ‘We ate and drank in front of you, and you taught in our broad ways.’ 27 But he will speak and say to YOU, ‘I do not know where YOU are from. Get away from me, all YOU workers of unrighteousness!’ 28 There is where [YOUR] weeping and the gnashing of [YOUR] teeth will be…

    What’s Jesus saying here? What do you think he’s saying here? Well first of all, those of us here tonight, that do not do what he says in verse 24, "exert yourselves vigorously" will not be able to get in. That’s step number one. Exert ourselves vigorously through the narrow door. But then he describes a certain "class" of Christians, in God’s organization, who would find themselves in this position. It says: "once the householder has got up and locked the door, [inserted by speaker: then] YOU start to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Sir, open to us.’ " Well, who would that refer to? Well as far as closing the door, when does it shut down? The destruction of Babylon the Great, the door will be shut down. And then it says some of us will come and want to get into the Lord’s organization then, and then we’ll say "Lord, open to us" and Jesus will look out at us and say "I don’t even know you."

    But then we panic and we say "But we ate and drank in front of you taught us in our broad ways." What’s that a desperation attempt to do? It’s a desperation attempt to say to Jesus, "Its me! You remember me! I sat in front of you, and you taught us in your broad ways. Remember I came to the Watchtower study once a week? And remember when the Circuit Servant was there, I never missed? And every memorial I came?"

    What does he say then? "I’m sorry, I don’t know you. I don’t recognize you. You didn’t love the Lord’s people enough to be there all the time. You didn’t love my house enough to be there all the time. Now why try to come and show you love me? If you loved me you would have been there. So I don’t recognize you as one of my people, get away from me. You had time to work righteousness, now get away from me you worker of lawlessness. You had your opportunity. Stand out there with the weeping and the gnashing of the teeth. Beat your chests." And wouldn’t we?

    Wouldn’t we at that time, if we were left outside, beat our chests, and gnash our teeth, and weep, and say "God, I was so close. What did I fool around for? Why didn’t I do something for The Truth when I had the opportunity? Why did I make all those excuses? Why did I try to fool Jehovah God?"

    Well now, who will be there of use here tonight? Well the Society has made application of this scripture, pointing out, that those of us among Jehovah’s Witnesses that are not regularly associating with his people, without good cause such as being flat on our back, will not be in the New Order. And we’re the ones that are going to come around when the doors close and say "I want in now. Sir, open to us!" And Jesus will have to say "I’m sorry, I don’t even recognize you."

    Now wouldn’t that be an awful thing? You see now why the Society implores us year in and year out, the same old thing: "Brothers, get in the flock. Don’t let any excuses get in our way. Nothing of any nature."

    There’s only one thing that’s going to count when that time comes, and that’s that we are inside. And we hope that all of us here tonight are going to listen to the Society’s imploring.

    We’re going to listen to their agonizing entreaty "Brothers get in" because they know what’s coming! And it’s coming fast. And don’t wait ’till 1975. The door is going to be shut before then.

    So? What are we going to do now with our future? Why not be like the little piglet? Every see a piglet born? It’s quite an amazing thing. They come out from behind the mother’s legs, they’re blind, they can’t see. They’re still attached to their mother’s umbilical cord. And somehow they’ve gotta break free of that umbilical cord, come around the mother’s legs, and find the milk. How do they do it? Well watch them sometime. They tug and they pull and they scratch. They fall and they get up. And they jerk and they yank. They fall again and they get up again and they tug and pull some more. And pretty soon they break loose and those little legs, they go ’round the mother’s legs, and they come up and they find their reward, their milk.

    Now we can do the same. We’re going to fall once in a while. We’re going to slip. It’s going to be hard pulling and hard tugging, but don’t give in. Get up, get on our feet, and run! The goal is there: everlasting life! Serve with it in view! Do what Jesus Christ says: serve with everlasting view, as long as Jehovah asks us! Jesus urged "Endurance on your part" and then he says "by enduring, you will acquire your souls."

    As one brother put it, "Stay alive to Seventy-Five"

  • erandir

    Wow...what a gem! Thanks for the sources. I'm storing stuff like this on my second hard drive (not on the boot drive where it could be wiped due to windows crashing) for future reference.

    It's kind of a test, too. If God smites my second hard drive, I'll know it was wrong to have it.

  • AlphaOmega
    Wow...what a gem! Thanks for the sources. I'm storing stuff like this on my second hard drive (not on the boot drive where it could be wiped due to windows crashing) for future reference.

    I do the same thing. I have a USB drive for all my JW stuff.

    I'll pray for your hard drive

  • erandir

    I'll pray for your hard drive


    Thanks. Who are you praying to, btw?

  • AlphaOmega

    At the risk of turning this (now dead) thread into a "believer vs non-believer vs whoever" deabte, I am praying to God.

    That's a tricky question... I guess the simplest answer is "the one that Jesus prayed to".

  • LennyinBluemont

    Anybody know what the speaker's position was? DO, CO, local elder?

  • B_Deserter

    Wow. When I mentioned my doubts to my parents about 1975 they downplayed it as just a popular rumor that was going around at the time, and nothing officially recognized by the society. This DC talk just proves them all sorts of wrong (but not liars, my dad didn't join the witnesses until '69 or '70 and I don't think my mom was at this talk either).

  • B_Deserter

    If I were to play this to my parents, they would simply shrug it off as "one man's opinion," so I wouldn't get anywhere. I hate that. This is a DISTRICT CONVENTION talk, given to THOUSANDS of people. Surely Jehovah is powerful enough to prevent inappropriate opinions from spoiling the "meat in due season" being fed to THOUSANDS of his servants.

  • AlphaOmega

    According to several internet sources, he was a District Overseer.

    Sad isn't BDeserter ?

    He may well be "one man", but then, multiply the "opinion of one man" by ten and you have The Governing Body

  • AlphaOmega

    *** g05 6/8 p. 30 From Our Readers ***

    Y. P., Ukraine

    As a young person, I sometimes find myself distracted by the world and what it seems to offer. In fact, the secular career I chose could lead to fame. After reading this article, I realize that serving Jehovah was not my true motive for my choice of careers. Brother Charles Sinutko’s story touched me because he had firsthand experience with what fame is, and yet he chose to serve Jehovah. This article showed me that there is nothing better in this world than serving Jehovah full-time.

    R. K., Canada

    I was impressed by the fact that Brother Sinutko turned down a lucrative singing career to serve Jehovah full-time. I am enjoying pioneer service with my husband. We want to follow Brother Sinutko’s example by putting faith in Jehovah and keeping God’s Kingdom first in our lives. Thank you for printing this upbuilding experience!

    E. S., Japan

    *** g04 8/22 pp. 19-23 Something Better Than Fame ***

    Something Better Than Fame


    In 1957, I was offered a 13-week contract to sing in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A., for a thousand dollars a week, with an option of 50 more weeks if performances went well. That would be an additional $50,000—big money at the time. Let me explain what led up to this lucrative offer and what made the decision about accepting it or not such a difficult one.

    FATHER, a Ukrainian, was born in eastern Europe in 1910. In 1913 his mother brought him to the United States, where she rejoined her husband. Father married in 1935, and I was born a year later in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. About that time two of Father’s older brothers became Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    When my three brothers and I were young and our family was living near New Castle, Pennsylvania, our mother studied the Bible briefly with the Witnesses. Neither of my parents became Witnesses at that time, but Father believed that his brothers had the right to believe as they wished. Although Dad had raised us to be patriotic, he always stood up for the right of others to worship as they pleased.A Singing CareerMy parents believed I had a natural singing voice, so they did all they could to promote me. When I was six or seven, Dad would stand me up on the bar at a nightclub to sing and play my guitar. I sang the song "Mother." The lyrics featured words that began with the letters of the word "mother." Each word was emphasized as it was used in the description of a quality of a loving mother. The song ended with the crescendo "Put them all together they spell M-O-T-H-E-R, a word that means the world to me." The men at the bar, who had often had more than enough to drink, would cry and put money into Dad’s hat.

    I had my first radio program in New Castle on WKST in 1945, singing country music. Later I branched out into singing popular songs from the HitParade, which was a weekly network radio program featuring the week’s top ten songs. My first appearance on television was in 1950 on Paul Whiteman’s show. His arrangement of George Gershwin’s "Rhapsody in Blue" is still famous. Soon afterward Dad sold our home in Pennsylvania, and we moved to the Los Angeles area of California in the hope of expanding my career.

    Thanks to Father’s persistence, I soon got my own weekly radio program in Pasadena and a weekly half-hour TV show in Hollywood. I did recordings at Capitol Records with the hundred-piece orchestra of Ted Dale and also became a singer on the CBS radio network. In 1955, I took a musical revue to Lake Tahoe in northern California. While there, my priorities in life changed dramatically.Developing New PrioritiesAbout that time, Uncle John—Dad’s older brother who had also moved from Pennsylvania to California—gave me the book "LetGodBeTrue." I took it with me to Lake Tahoe. After our last show, which ended well after midnight, I began reading the book to unwind before going to bed. I was thrilled with finding Bible answers to questions I had long wondered about.

    Soon I was sitting around the nightclub after work talking to fellow entertainers, often into the wee hours of the morning. We discussed such topics as life after death, why God allows wickedness, and whether man will eventually destroy himself and the earth. A couple of months later, on July 9, 1955, at a district convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses held at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, I was baptized in symbol of my dedication to serve Jehovah God.

    Less than six months later, Christmas morning 1955, I was invited by a fellow Witness, Henry Russell, to go with him to visit Jack McCoy, who was in the entertainment business. Henry himself was the musical director for NBC. Well, when we arrived, Jack had his three children and his wife sit down and listen to us, even though they had just been opening their Christmas presents. He and his family soon became Witnesses.

    About this time I studied with Mother, and she really took hold of Bible truth. She eventually became one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and a pioneer, a full-time evangelizer. In time, my three brothers were also baptized and shared in the pioneer ministry for a while. In September 1956, at the age of 20, I became a pioneer.Decisions Regarding EmploymentAbout this time my agent’s personal friend George Murphy took an interest in promoting me. George had appeared in numerous films during the 1930’s and 1940’s. In December 1956, as a result of Murphy’s connections, I appeared on the Jackie Gleason show in New York City on CBS-TV. This was a great impetus for my career, since the show had a viewing audience of an estimated 20,000,000. While in New York, I visited the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brooklyn for the first time.

    After appearing on the Gleason show, I signed a seven-year movie contract with MGM studios. I was offered a part as a regular on a TV Western. After a while, though, my conscience began to bother me, since I would have to assume the role of a gambler and gunslinger—parts that romanticized immorality and other unchristian behavior. So I quit. Those in the entertainment business thought that I had lost my mind.

    This brings us up to the lucrative offer to perform in Las Vegas, referred to at the outset. I was to begin work during the week of our traveling overseer’s visit. If I did not take the job then, I would miss out altogether. I had such mixed feelings, since Dad had looked forward to my making some big money! I felt he deserved compensation for all that he had done to promote my career.

    So I approached our presiding overseer, Carl Park, who was himself a musician and had been a violinist on New York’s radio station WBBR in the 1920’s. I explained that if I took this contract, I could pioneer all my life without financial worry. "I can’t tell you what to do," he said, "but I can help you reach a conclusion." He asked, "Would you leave if the apostle Paul were visiting our congregation this week?" He added, "What do you think Jesus would have you do?"

    That was so clear, I thought. When I told Dad that I had decided not to take the job in Las Vegas, he said I was ruining his life. That night he waited up for me with his .38-caliber handgun. He intended to kill me, but he fell asleep—apparently from drinking too much. Then he tried to kill himself in the garage with automobile exhaust. I called the rescue squad, and they were able to revive him.

    Knowing of Dad’s temper tantrums, many in our congregation feared him, but our circuit overseer, Roy Dowell, did not. When Roy went to see him, Dad happened to mention to him that when I was born, there had been a strong possibility I would not survive. Dad had promised God that if I lived, he would dedicate me to His service. Roy asked if he had ever thought that God might be taking him up on his promise. That astounded Dad. Then Roy asked, "If the full-time service was good enough for God’s Son, why isn’t it good enough for yours?" With that, Dad seemed to resign himself to my choice.

    In the meantime, in January 1957, Shirley Large came from Canada with her pioneer partner to visit some friends. Shirley and I became acquainted when I went in the house-to-house ministry with her and her partner. Shortly afterward, Shirley accompanied me to the Hollywood Bowl, where I sang with Pearl Bailey.Following Through on a DecisionIn September 1957, I received an appointment to serve as a special pioneer in the state of Iowa. When I told Dad that I had decided to take the assignment, he just sobbed. He could not understand my new sense of what was really valuable. I drove into Hollywood and backed out of all my contracts. The famous orchestra and choral leader Fred Waring was among those with whom I was under contract. He told me that I would not work again as a singer if I did not fulfill my agreement. So I explained that I was leaving my singing career to expand my ministry in the service of Jehovah God.

    Mr. Waring listened respectfully as I spoke at length, and then he surprised me by his gentle reply: "Son, I’m sorry about your giving up such a fine career, but I have been in music all my life and have learned that there is more to living than just music. May God bless what you do." I still remember driving home with tears of joy in my eyes, realizing that I was now free to spend my life in Jehovah’s service."Where Is Your Faith?"I began serving in Strawberry Point, Iowa, a town of about 1,200, with my partner, Joe Triff. Shirley came out for a visit, and we discussed marriage. I had no savings, nor did she. The money I had made was all controlled by my father. So I explained: "I want to marry you, but how would we live? All I have is my special pioneer allowance of $40 a month." In her usual calm, direct, matter-of-fact manner, she said: "But, Charles, where is your faith? Jesus said that if we seek first the Kingdom and his righteousness, he’ll add to us all we need." (Matthew 6:33) That settled it. We were married on November 16, 1957.

    I had a Bible study with a farmer outside Strawberry Point who had a 12-foot-by-12-foot log cabin in the woods on his property. It had no electricity or running water and no bathroom. But if we wanted to, we could stay there free of charge. It was primitive, but we figured we were in the ministry all day and only needed a place to sleep.

    I drew water from a nearby spring. We heated the cabin with a wood stove and read by kerosene light; Shirley cooked on a kerosene stove. For bathing we used an old washtub. We listened to the wolves at night and felt so fortunate to have each other and to be serving Jehovah together where the need for Christian ministers was greater. Bill Malenfant and his wife, Sandra, who now serve at the world headquarters in Brooklyn, were special pioneers about 60 miles [100 km] away, in Decorah, Iowa. Now and then, they came and spent a day in field service with us. In time, there was a little congregation of about 25 in Strawberry Point.Into the Traveling WorkIn May 1960 we were invited into the circuit work, the traveling ministry. Our first circuit was in North Carolina, and it included the cities of Raleigh, Greensboro, and Durham, as well as many little rural towns. Our living conditions improved, as we stayed with many families who had electricity and even indoor toilets. Not comforting, however, were warnings from those who had outdoor toilets. They cautioned us to watch out for the copperheads and rattlesnakes on the path!

    Early in 1963 we were transferred to a circuit in Florida, where I contracted a severe case of pericarditis and almost died. I probably would have were it not for Bob and Ginny Mackey of Tampa. They took me to their doctor and even paid all our bills.My Early Training UtilizedIn the summer of 1963, I was invited to work in New York in connection with a large convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses that was to be held there. I accompanied Milton Henschel, a spokesperson for Jehovah’s Witnesses, to a radio talk show hosted by Larry King. Mr. King is still a prominent television talk-show host. He was very respectful and for about an hour after the show asked a lot of questions about our work.

    That same summer Harold King, a missionary who had just been released from a prison in Communist China, was a guest at the Witnesses’ world headquarters. One evening he spoke to an audience of about 700, relating some of his experiences and explaining how his more than four years in solitary confinement had strengthened his faith. While in prison he had written songs on themes related to the Bible and the Christian ministry.

    That memorable evening I accompanied Audrey Knorr, Karl Klein, and Fred Franz—a long-time Witness with a trained tenor voice—in singing "From House to House," a song later incorporated in the songbook used by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Nathan Knorr, who then took the lead in the work of the Witnesses, asked me to sing it at the following week’s "Everlasting Good News" Assembly at Yankee Stadium, which I did.Experiences in the Traveling WorkWhile we were serving in Chicago, Illinois, two memorable things occurred. First, at a circuit assembly, Shirley spotted Vera Stewart, who had witnessed to her and her mother in Canada in the mid-1940’s. Shirley, who was 11 years of age at the time, was thrilled to hear about God’s promises in the Bible. She asked Vera, "Do you think I could live in that new world?" Vera replied, "I don’t see why not, Shirley." Neither of them forgot those exact words. From that first encounter with Vera, Shirley knew that serving Jehovah was what she wanted to do.

    Second, a Witness asked if I remembered finding a 50-pound sack of potatoes on our porch during the winter of 1958. Indeed, I did. We found it after fighting our way home through a snowstorm one evening! Although we did not know where it came from, of course we credited Jehovah for the provision. We were snowed in for five days but had the joy of eating potato pancakes, baked potatoes, fried potatoes, mashed potatoes, and potato soup! We had no other food. The Witness had not known us or where we lived, but he had heard that some pioneers nearby were having a hard time. Something, he said, moved him to start inquiring about where this young couple lived. Farmers know everything about their neighbors, so he was soon directed to our cabin and carried the potatoes through the snow.Grateful for Choices MadeBy 1993, after 33 years in the traveling work, my health had deteriorated to such an extent that I had to leave that privilege of service. Shirley and I became infirm special pioneers, which we remain until today. While I regret that I no longer have the energy to do traveling work, I am glad that I spent my energy the way I did.

    My three brothers made different choices. Each eventually determined to pursue material riches, and not one of them is presently serving Jehovah. In 1958, Dad got baptized. He and Mother helped scores of people come to know Jehovah, dedicate their lives to Him, and get baptized. Both of them died in 1999. Thus, my decision to turn down worldly fame and riches likely meant life for my father as well as for many with whom he and my mother shared Bible truth. I often wonder, ‘Would I have continued to serve Jehovah had I not made the choices I did?’

    Some five years after leaving the circuit work, my health improved, and I was able to expand my ministry. I now serve as presiding overseer of a congregation in Desert Hot Springs, California. I also have the privilege of substituting in the circuit work, serving on special committees and, on occasion, teaching the Pioneer Service School.

    To this day Shirley remains my best friend. There is no one whose company I prefer. We regularly have stimulating spiritual conversations, both of us being excited over Bible truths we discuss together. I still remember with appreciation her calm inquiry over 47 years ago, "But, Charles, where is your faith?" If young Christian couples would just ask such a question of each other, I wonder how many of them might also have the joy and blessings we have had in the full-time ministry.

    [Footnotes]John Sinutko remained a faithful Witness of Jehovah until his death in 1996 at the age of 92.

    Published by Jehovah’s Witnesses but now out of print.

    The Awake! issue of February 22, 1975, pages 12-16, has the first-person story of Bob Mackey’s battle with paralysis.

    [Picture on page 20]Uncle John in 1935, the year he was baptized[Picture on page 22]Our log cabin[Picture on page 23]A 1975 photo of my parents, who remained faithful till death[Picture on page 23]With Shirley today

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