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A VISIT TO EBINA BETHEL

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I wanted to visit Ebina Bethel. I really wanted to see the Japan branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses, which is one of the largest in the world. This was one of the reasons why I planned a week-long vacation in Japan .

The Bethel’s address is 4-7-1 Nakashinden, Ebina City, Kanagawa Prefecture, 243-0496.

To get there, take the Odakyu Odawara Line Express bound for Odawara, and get off at Ebina Station or Atsugi Station. The branch is a 10-minute taxi ride from Ebina Station or a 20-minute walk from Atsugi Station.

FROM ASAKUSA TO ATSUGI

From Asakusa in Tokyo, I took the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line until Omote-sando Station, where I transferred to the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line to Yoyogi-Uehara Station. In this station, I hopped on to the Odakyu Odawara Line Express to Atsugi Station. My travel time was approximately 90 minutes.

However, finding the Ebina Bethel after getting out of the Atsugi station was another story. I did not know how to reach it from there. I approached a station staff and showed him the map and address of Ebina Bethel, and he gave me certain directions. I thought that I was able to follow the map and directions given to me. However, after about 30 minutes of walking, I realized that I was already lost. I decided to try asking random Japanese walking on the street, “Where is 4-7-1 Nakashinden?” “Do you know Watchtower? Or Jehovah’s Witnesses?” But unfortunately, we could not communicate well because of the language barrier. They did not know “Watchtower” or “Jehovah’s Witnesses”. Of course, they have different [and Japanese!] terms for these. I prayed to Jehovah God to help me reach Ebina Bethel. I said that if I still would not be able to find it until lunchtime, I would just go back to Asakusa.

Finally, I chanced upon a Japanese man cleaning his car in front of his house. I gathered courage and asked him while showing him the map and address. Fortunately, he knew how to speak in English! He was also familiar with Ebina Bethel. He pointed his finger to the way. Yes! Thanks to Jehovah God because I finally made to the Japan Branch Office of Jehovah’s Witnesses!

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EBINA BETHEL TOUR

A branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses is called “Bethel”, meaning “House of God”. This Biblical name is fitting because all those serving here are ordained ministers who have dedicated themselves to Jehovah God and devote themselves full-time to promoting the work of Kingdom preaching. Bethel family members are furnished with room and board and a small monthly allowance to assist with their personal expenses.

Under the direction of Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Ebina Bethel supports the worldwide Kingdom-preaching activity in cooperation with more than 90 other branches around the globe.

Tour times are from Monday to Friday, 8am to 11 am and 1pm to 4pm

A local brother served as our tour guide. I toured with Brother Danilo Jamero, also a Filipino. He is a circuit overseer to Tagalog congregations in Visayas and Mindanao in the Philippines. He was also vacationing at that time in Japan. He was invited and hosted by the Ueno Tagalog Congregation in Tokyo, which planned a week-long activities for him. Today, his schedule was the Ebina Bethel tour.

SERVICE DEPARTMENT

The brothers serving here handle correspondence from traveling overseers, elders, pioneers, and others. This department schedules assemblies, conventions, and various schools. It also keeps records of congregation territories and field service activity.

LEGAL DEPARTMENT

This provides assistance when it becomes necessary to establish or defend the rights of Jehovah’s Witnesses.—Philippians 1:7

TRANSLATION DEPARTMENT

This receives the English text of our publications in electronic form from the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the United States. The text is then translated, checked, proofread, and composed. Translation into Japanese sign language is also done here.

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WRITING DESK

Under the direction of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Writing Desk does research and prepares material for publication in the Watchtower and Awake! as well as on the jw.org website.

GRAPHICS DEPARTMENT

This department makes printing plates using electronic files sent from world headquarters and various translating branches. For printing, pages are arranged electronically in printing order. The information is then inscribed by laser on four separate plates for printing full-color images.

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PRESSROOM

Two high-speed offset presses print Bibles, books, magazines, and brochures. A sheetfed press prints cover for softcover books.The printery produce publications by Jehovah’s Witnesses in their personal study and Christian ministry.

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BINDERY

Soft cover and hardcover bindery lines produce Bible and other literature. The bindery can produce up to 100,000 books in one day.

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SHIPPING DEPARTMENT

This ships publications to congregations throughout Japan as well as to branches overseas. It also receives and handles materials sent to the branch.

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REGIONAL AUDIO/VIDEO CENTER

This department produces audio and video publications in more than 80 languages for distribution in CD/DVD formats and on jw.org

COMPUTER DEPARTMENT

This department maintains computer systems in the Japan branch and assists other branches in Asia with their computer needs.

MAINTENANCE DEPARTMENT

Trained members of the Bethel family carefully maintain the branch equipment to keep it operating efficiently and safely.

HISTORY ROOM

After the Bethel tour, we were showed the history room. It focused on the progress of the Kingdom preaching work in Japan.

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A Special Exhibit: Which Book Helped You to Know Jehovah?

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A Special Exhibit: From Family Albums in Japan

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A Special Exhibit: Revisions of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures

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Photo Taking Corner: Donald Haslett was the first missionary of Jehovah’s Witnesses to visit Japan

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Priceless memorabilias from 1930’s to 1940’s that were used as tools for preaching the good news

LUNCH WITH JAPANESE BROTHERS AND SISTERS

We were then invited to lunch by some Japanese brothers and sister volunteering in a Tagalog Congregation near Ebina. They welcomed us warmly. They are so kind, humble and accommodating! We had an encouraging and faith-strengthening conversation with them.

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After lunchtime, a Japanese sister and her husband drove and dropped me off at Atsugi Station.

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Jehovah God is truly generous. I only asked to at least see the Ebina Bethel. But He not only let me find it, but He let me have a tour, eat lunch, and meet our loving and warm-hearted Japanese brothers and sisters. If it is Jehovah God’s will, I hope I could visit here again next time with my family and friends.

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