On Oct. 22, eight brothers were released from prison in Turkmenistan by presidential amnesty. (See 2014 Yearbook, p. 31) The ninth brother is still imprisoned, but it is hoped that he will be released shortly. Some were already in prison for three or more years and had been severely mistreated. Further details will be posted on jw.org. We rejoice with them and the evidence this gives that Jehovah looks down and hears the sighing of the prisoner as mentioned in Psalm 102:19, 20.
The service committee report for the past year: Efforts were made to reach the millions of people living in remote areas, cultivate the interest, and start Bible studies with the goal of moving progressively through the territory and starting groups and congregations there, not just a blitzing of the territory and talking only to those at home at the time. The results have been very good and give evidence of the guidance of the holy spirit. Missionaries have also been assigned to preach to large foreign-language communities in a number of countries such as England, France, and the United States.
The special campaign in August to acquaint people with the jw.org website had good results. The page containing the request for Bible studies was viewed a total of 363,000 times in August, compared with 20,000 times in July. A total of 9,845 users filled out and submitted the form requesting a Bible study.
The figures for the 2014 service report: Peak publishers - 8,201,545 - a 3% increase over last year. Hours - 1,945,487,604; equivalent to 221,000 years! Baptized: 275,581. Bible studies: 9,499,933 - a 2.6 % increase. Memorial attendance: 19,950,019. Regular pioneers: 1,058,792 - a 6.2% increase. All evidence of Jehovah's blessing on the work and the increase yet to come.