Recieved this by Email.
SUNDAY, 22 APRIL 2012
Zone Overseer's Visit to Australia April 22, 2012
Took place in Sydney, with invitees from other Congregations NSW and Vic. 210
Congregation Representatives, with Telephone Tie-ins to 475 Kingdom Halls, all the
Kingdom Halls in Australia and Including Norfolk Island. Those unable to attend live
session will listen in later to a recording. This is the first time all congregations in
Australia have been tied in at the same time. The entire program is broadcast on FM
89.5 frequency. Welcome extended to Bro David Splane and his wife, Linda.
Program to consist of Watchtower summary, three reports from countries under the
care of the Australian branch, and the Zone Overseer's address.
Reports from Samoa, East Timor and Australia to be given by Don MacLean, Graham
Marsden, and Rodney Spincks.
Report From Australia - Bro D McLean Bro McLean has been in Australia 64 years.
Highlight: Congregation Elders' School - 5 days - 57 classes held, 505 elders
graduated, 57 more to be conducted, and later Korean, Greek, Spanish etc. A 27 year
old elder of 2 years said he found it refreshing boost to his spirituality and confidence
in Jehovah - spiritual excitement - Trust in Him. Said it would help younger elders
draw closer to the older ones, some of whom have been elders longer than he has been
alive. An older elder said it was as if the Faithful and Discreet Slave had been sent to
give personal shepherding call, followed by a loving cuddle, bringing tears of
appreciation. Bible School for Ministerial Servants - 21 so far, 503 brothers graduated
(two-month course). Next class due in November. Bible School for Christian Couples
due in the first half of next year. Why is this necessary? There has been a constant
increase over the years. In 1950 we first reached the figure of 5,000 publishers.
Australia's population was 8 million. Now the population is 22 million, a three-fold
increase. In the same period JWs have increased from 5,000 to 68,000, a fourteenfold
increase. 800 congregations in Australia, 45 circuits, 5 districts. In 1950 meetings
were held in large halls with cobwebs and private homes - Bro McLean remembers
he often gave talks using a kitchen table as a rostrum Rapid Kingdom Hall Building
now. During April last year 68,000 publishers with 28,051 pioneers. 25,000+ DS
118,000 Memorial. Assemblies used to be held in tents, outdoors in the elements.
Now in beautiful indoor facilities with good sound and even video enhancement. Natl
Att 85,000-14,000 International Convention 2003 in Sydney - 60,000 Sydney Press
called that "the mother of all conventions". Engineering Department overseeing
construction in 19 countries. 1999 - beginning of program to assist lands with limited
resources. 1408 Kingdom Halls built in the South Pacific and South East Asia, with
39 more now planned. 300 members of Bethel family, and two remote translation
offices in Samoa and East Timor. Large printing presses. Sydney produces the
Watchtower in 31 languages. Bethel the warehouse for six other branches, 24
countries. 220 brothers and sisters with computers in their assignment. Previous
reports had to go by post and everything was mailed, taking up printing and postage
time and expense. Now with jw.org elders can log on, view letters, submit forms and
reports electronically. Video conferences with New York and the Branches are
possible. Enlargement work is under way in the Kitchen and Dining Areas. 220 tons
and 60 tons of bricks have come from the demolition old facilities New facilities will
offer seating for 400 when complete. These can be toured, but unfortunately meals
can not be offered.
Report from Samoa - Bro Graham Marsden(Martin?) Comprised of three separate
countries, Western Samoa on two islands with a population of 184,000 and 450
publishers, American Samoa, a 35 minute flight away, with 56,000 population and
220 publishers, and the Islands, Tokaloa 30 hour boat ride with 1 family of six on one
island and one sister on another. 1 circuit. The Samoa office has 30 brothers and
sisters operating the remote translation service. Bro and Sis Lucan. Local Bros
helping with KHs. One new missionary couple. Previously special pioneers in
Australia; last year were helping with circuit work in Samoa, and were invited to
132nd class of Gilead then.
Simple life, religion and family very important. On every other door they are usually
invited in and a child is sent to get the family Bible, and they follow along. At prayer
time in all the villages everyone stops for prayer, and any passing motorists are
expected to pull over and wait. New brothers have to make a real stand for the truth -
they could be evicted from their village (leading to loss of employment), could be
beaten, etc. Enthusiastic singing at the Kingdom Hall. Real love, especially in the
disaster in 2009 tsunami. One sister's house was destroyed. She asked for a share of
the available government grant, but was told - sorry, your extended family has used
up all your money allocation. The brothers heard of this, and the congregation helped,
travelling 1 ½ hours to rebuild her home. She now has the best looking house in the
village. Bro and Sis are going to a less populated island with 30 publishers in the
congregation. The Memorial Attendance was four times that. They will learn the local
language. 65 Bible studies were conducted in February, so the potential is great and
the view is good, too.
American Samoa Pago Pago (?) - Difficult to get land for Kingdom Hall. Very
limited flat land, and that is mainly family land where ownership may be disputed. 72
publishers, 30-40 to WT. Travelling from the other end of the island to the KH for
years. Some people built a building for a particular purpose (bad sound, speech
indistinct) but could not find tenants. People thought it was a church, and asked the
owners - why have you built a church? - It's not a church, it's a (?). It was in just the
right place for a Kingdom Hall, as if purpose built. Soon all three congregations will
be using that hall. There is no way they would have been able to get that land
Tokelau - isolated brothers.
Rod Spincks - Report on East Timor Quarter the size of Tasmania, but over 1 million
population. 1 hour flight from Darwin. Centuries of Portuguese rule. 1975 got
Independance but immediately invaded by Indonesia. 2002 became independent state.
1928 yearbook reported a Watchtower subscription in Dili. 1980's, 1990's Indonesian
brothers distributed literature despite government restrictions. 2000s after civil war
two pioneers assessed the conditions. There were two local baptised witnesses. 2001
12 were meeting in a local home. The Dili congregation was formed with 16
publlishers and flourished. Ongoing persecution from Catholic Church. 3
congregations, 2 in Dili, 1 in Baucau, 3 isolated groups 205 publishers, 18
missionaries, 21 regular pioneers, 5 special pioneers. 350 Bible Studies conducted.
600 attended Memorial last year (3-fold) 2009 Remote translation with 21 volunteers
a real boost to work. Now literature in Tetum language with more than 22 other
distinct languages. "Listen to God" has been translated into those languages. Released
in 11 local languages last year. Sustained applause at convention. They immediately
set to work with the new literature.
Daniel and Tanjie (?) McKluskey(?) Reassigned back to East Timor from Gilead.
There 5 years. When they were first assigned it was at the end of political crisis and
the land was war torn. Impact of East Timor - "Last jewel in Pope's crown". Very
few items of Biblical literature produced by church in all those years, and what there
was was only as small as our small tracts, with a cost attached. When our missionaries
10 years, people were thirsty for Bible truth. 11 Languages. Bible literature now, not
just tracts, but books, brochures, everything. The church is not happy and instituted
bans and restrictions, but they can't stop the work. 25% increase year after year. Sister
related how in Baucau she left a brochure with an old man operating a fruit
stall. Every time they saw him he was reading the brochure. One time they saw two
men nearby reading the by now well worn brochure. They approached, and the men
said it was the clearest, most understandable explanation ever, in their own
languages. The old man would not let the brochure out of his sight. They asked,
"Where can we get one?" The old man was known to have gone to church every week
since childhood, but never in his life did he understand the message so clearly. He
was nicknamed "St Paul" because he never missed church. Now a study is being
conducted with "St Paul", and he will need a new nickname.
Remote areas - how to reach? Hundreds of thousands live in the remote areas. Some
pioneers found a school run by an aid agency. Students came there from all over the
islands. The director asked the pioneers, "Can you give an impromptu talk? There
were 40 in attendance, excited to receive all the literature placed with them. The
brothers were contacted in two weeks and asked to give another talk. This time there
was to be 200 in attendance. They said OK, and were quite excited. They arranged a
small display of literature in the various languages. Hundreds of publications were
placed. The students were so excited. The brothers received 150 coupons requesting a
Bible Study. They reckon that the students will be taking the message back home, if
not returning as baptised Jehovah's Witnesses.
---- End of Reports --- Current audience estimated to be 57,000 known, with more to
listen and report back later. Program continued with Bro David Splane delivering
address "Should You Wear Saul's Armour?"
Notes by Rowena - Bad Sound, names may be wrong if I don't know them. Heard by
telephone connection at Collie Kingdom Hall , Western Australia