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Stolen vehicle involved in crash

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Fargo, ND (WDAY-TV) A stolen vehicle has caused lots of damage in the South Fargo area.

Tara Kohn says she and her husband were doing fence repair at Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses when they realized their blue pickup truck had been stolen.

They called 911 immediately.

A witness on 23rd Street in South Fargo says he saw the truck run a stop sign, swerve off the road, hit an electrical box, and then hit a parked car on the street.

He says the car then fled.

Police found the pickup at 1519 36 ½ Avenue South in Fargo, in an un-drivable condition.

The person who stole the vehicle fled on foot, and Kohn says police told her they were searching for the suspect with the help of police K-9s.

“So sad to not only lose our pickup truck of many years, but the damage that someone did with this. It's one thing to steal something... but to hurt so many other people. He didn't hurt people but their vehicles and their property,” said Kohn.

If you have any information, you can contact Fargo Police at 701-235-4493.



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    • By The Librarian
      No tongue have I, nor mouth, nor lip, a speech I cannot make
      But if I could, the things I'd say, would long, long hours take!

      For I was born to fill a need, in answer to a callAnd those who brought me forth to live, have named me Kingdom Hall.

      So I've a royal name you see, and royal was my birthI'm here for service to a King, I hope I prove my worth!

      I want so much to be just right. To suit the need I fillTo aid in service of Kingdom Truth, to people of good will

      Oh give me lips and mouth and tongue, and let me tell to all,The reason why I'm standing here, why I'm called a Kingdom Hall

      But what's a Kingdom Hall you ask? You mean you haven't heard?Why I'm the place where all may come, and freely learn God's word

      No, I'm no church, don't get me wrong, I have no pews or steepleAnd never will collection plates be used to milk the people

      The things you'll hear within my walls will not be false traditionYou'll never hear that Hell is hot, for that's a contradiction!

      Nor will the pagan idea of God, who's three in oneEver be preached beneath my roof; such doctrines you should shun

      But rather, here inside my doors you'll learn things reliableBecause they'll be taken from a truthful source, God's word, the Holy Bible!

      You'll learn how Jehovah God intends to rid the earth of all it's woes;Destroy it's sorrow, sin and death; all mankind's deadly foes

      Then in their place will blossom forth, a world of truth and loveAn earth where God's will shall be done; just as in heaven above

      There'll be no sickness, pain or death, no tear to mar the smileNo one will then bring grief and strife; no Devil will beguile

      But those who live in the new system will humbly bow the kneeBefore Jehovah God who reigns in Grand Supremacy

      This is part of what you'll hear within these walls of mineBut more than that you'll learn just how to make this light to shine!

      And that's the point I want to stress, which may seem rather oddThat I'm not built just as a place in which to worship God

      So here it is you'll learn of Jehovah God; to know what is his willTo learn what he requires of you, his laws how to fulfill

      To worship God means more than sit and listen to God's wordIt means to act; to serve; to preach, to all who have not heard

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      How great my joy I want to shout; My privelege is so rareYou other buildings of the earth, cannot with me compare

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      A woman allegedly caused the crash when her SUV drifted into the center lane and hit the van, injuring everyone in the two vehicles, including her own one-month-old son.

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      YORKVILLE — Even after almost seven decades together, the love between Evelyn and Earl Goebel was still evident to their fellow churchgoers.
      “Whenever we said a prayer, they would always hold hands. Even after 68 years of marriage,” said Richard Perkins, an assistant fire chief for the Town of Paris and elder at Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 14509 Braun Rd.
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      The Union Grove couple, who did not have children, lived in the area for about 38 to 40 years after moving from St. Louis, Perkins said.
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      Part of a series on: Jehovah's Witnesses
      A Kingdom Hall is a place of worship used by Jehovah's Witnesses. According Domenico Finelli, the first Kingdom Hall was constructed in Roseto, Pennsylvania in 1927, with Giovanni DeCecca offering the dedication talk. Nonetheless in 1935 by Joseph Franklin Rutherford, then president of the Watch Tower Society, made it famous and in general use for a building in Hawaii.[1] Rutherford's reasoning was that these buildings would be used for preaching the "good news of the Kingdom."[2] Jehovah's Witnesses use Kingdom Halls for the majority of their worship and Bible instruction. Witnesses prefer the term "Kingdom Hall" over "church", noting that the term often translated "church" in the Bible refers to the congregation of people rather than a structure.[3] 

      Location and Presentation
      Kingdom Halls are typically modest, functional structures with practicality in mind.[4] As Witnesses do not use religious symbols, such are not displayed on or in Kingdom Halls. An annual yeartext, or "theme scripture", which is the same for all congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide, is prominently displayed in each Kingdom Hall.[5] This text can be displayed in several languages if the Hall is used by foreign language congregations.[6] A Kingdom Hall typically has a library, contribution boxes,[7] a sound system and a literature counter, where publications are displayed, stored and dispensed.[8]

      A Kingdom Hall in Biddulph, United Kingdom

      See also: Latest Authorized Standard Design of Kingdom Halls in the USA and the May 25, 2015 Letter to All Bodies of Elders RE: Guidelines for Congregation Meeting Conferencing Systems
      Some Kingdom Halls have multiple auditoriums to allow more than one congregation to simultaneously conduct meetings. Where there is more than one auditorium, each auditorium or the entire structure may both be referred to as "a Kingdom Hall". Larger Assembly Halls or Convention Centers of Jehovah's Witnesses, or any rented arena or stadium used for larger gatherings of Jehovah's Witnesses are also regarded 'as a large "Kingdom Hall'; undignified behavior is considered inappropriate during their religious events, even if the facility is an entertainment venue.[9]

      See also: Worldwide directory of Assembly Halls 
      Meetings for worship
      Main article: Jehovah's Witnesses practices § Worship
      Congregations typically meet in their Kingdom Halls two days each week for meetings for worship.[10] Meetings usually open and close with song and prayer. Meetings held in the Kingdom Hall include Bible readings, public talks on matters such as the Bible, family life, Christian qualities and prophecy, as well as discussion of specially prepared study articles in The Watchtower magazine and other publications of Jehovah's Witnesses.[11][12][13][14] Witnesses also meet in Kingdom Halls for preparation and prayer before engaging in their door-to-door ministry.
      Worship at a Kingdom Hall in Tilburg,Netherlands  

      Among its meetings for worship, each congregation conducts a weekly Theocratic Ministry School with a common global curriculum[15] (exceptions are made for the availability of study materials). Kingdom Halls may also be used for any of several occasionally scheduled schools, such as sign- or foreign-language classes.[16] Kingdom Halls may also be used for schools especially developed for particular ranks, such as the Pioneer Service School for full-time preachers, and the Kingdom Ministry School for elders and ministerial servants.[17]
      In areas where the literacy rate is low, congregations may also arrange to use Kingdom Halls to conduct literacy or reading classes, which non-Witnesses may also attend.[18]

      See also: Video of Typical Wedding at a Kingdom Hall in the USA
      Kingdom Halls may be used for wedding ceremonies of Witness-baptized couples. A couple sends a request in writing to the congregation's "service committee", which assesses whether the couple is "in good standing, living in harmony with Bible principles and Jehovah’s righteous standards" and that they also approve of the members of the couple's wedding party (that is, groomsmen and bridesmaids).[19]
      Jehovah's Witnesses attach no special significance to a Kingdom Hall wedding over a secular service, and Witness couples may choose to be married elsewhere for personal or practical reasons. Up until around 2012, Kingdom Halls were not used for wedding receptions or other social events.[20][21]
      Funeral services may be held in a Kingdom Hall if the body of elders considers that "the deceased had a clean reputation and was a member of the congregation or the minor child of a member".[22] The family of the deceased may ask any respected male member of the congregation to conduct the service, which involves a simple Bible-based discourse.[23] Depending on family preference and local custom, a Kingdom Hall funeral may or may not have the casketed deceased present.[22][24]
      For certain prominent officials of a community we have seen some of these rules eased or waived.
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      Disaster relief efforts of Jehovah's Witnesses are typically channeled through permanent local Disaster Relief Committees[25] under the various branch offices, and are staged at Kingdom Halls and Assembly Halls as close as practical to the disaster area. Major disaster relief efforts include:
      War: During the Rwandan Genocide in 1994, a Kingdom Hall property in Goma (then Zaire, now Democratic Republic of the Congo) housed 1600 Witness and non-Witness refugees. In July 1994, relief workers set up a 60-bed relief hospital at the Kingdom Hall, as well as a water treatment system.[26] Earthquake: Following the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995, six Kingdom Halls in Kobe, Japan were used as relief centers and supply depots.[27][28][29] Following the 2010 Haiti earthquake, an Assembly Hall and three Kingdom Halls in Haiti were staffed and equipped as temporary clinics and medical centers.[30][31] Storm: In the ten months following Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, seven Kingdom Halls were used as relief centers to dispatch volunteer crews and to store tools and materials while they organized 11,700 volunteers to repair or rebuild 723 homes.[32] For over two years after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, Kingdom Halls were used as relief centers, warehouses, and fuel depots. Nearly 17,000 Witness volunteers repaired more than 5,600 homes and 90 Kingdom Halls during their extended relief effort in the United States' Gulf Coast region.[33] Volcano: On January 18, 2002, the day after the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo, six Kingdom Halls in the vicinity received three tons of basic necessities and housed 1800 refugees. One week later, these relief centers were providing daily rations to 5000 people.[34]  
      Dance Halls
      Governing Body Member Geoffrey Jackson busts a move dancing with a young woman on the platform of a Kingdom Hall.
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      July 2014 Dancing the Twist outside of the Conyers, Georgia Assembly hall
      July 2014 Conyers Assembly Hall Party and Dancing for the Delegates
      August 2014 Dancing ‘Footloose’ on the Kingdom Hall platform wearing jeans and cowboy boots
      Sept 2014 - South Korean sisters perform folkloric native dance 2nd video clip

      *Just a quick note to mention that this is a big change for most JW's back in the 1970's and earlier who would never have dreamed of holding such dances inside their Kingdom Halls. See the August 1960 Our Kingdom Ministry
      See also: New Kingdom Hall design standard for the USA implemented
      The construction crews of Kingdom Halls and larger Assembly Halls consist of volunteering Jehovah's Witnesses,[35][36] sometimes from other countries, who have been pre-approved for work on construction sites.

      In many countries, a number of standard designs of construction are used that can be built in just a few days.[37][38] The act of constructing a Kingdom Hall in this manner is called a quick-build, although typically the preparation work involving the structural foundation and surrounding surface may take several weeks prior to the scheduled build. For various reasons, not all Kingdom Halls are constructed as quick-builds or using the standard designs. There is however, a noticeably dominant architectural style of the Kingdom Hall which is often used based on standardized design concepts and models, depending on needs.

      A Kingdom Hall or Assembly Hall may be created by renovating an existing structure, such as a theater or non-Witness house of worship.[39][40] In areas of repeated or reputed vandalism, particularly in cities, some Kingdom Hall are built without windows to reduce the risk of property damage.[41]
      Local Design/Construction Department (LDC)
      See also: LDC organizational structure
      Project approvals: In the past, each body(ies) of elders, in cooperation with the Regional Building Committee, played a significant role in determining both when a new Kingdom Hall construction or renovation project was needed, as well as the scope and cost of the project. The Governing Body has now directed that much of this responsibility be transferred to the branch office. These decisions will be based on a careful examination of the circumstances of each congregation and a branch-wide plan that is being developed to assess and prioritize the need for Kingdom Halls. With a clear understanding of the overall needs, the branch office will be able to implement greater standardization and simplification for the benefit of all. Also, the time-consuming work of researching available options to meet the needs of the congregations will be assigned to representatives of the LDC.

      Branch-office approval will be needed for
      (1) any new property purchase or sale,
      (2) any new construction project,
      (3) the addition of any new major element or feature to the existing Kingdom Hall, or
      (4) any project that will cost more than three months of operating expenses.

      Regional Building Committees
      Previous to the LDC's Jehovah's Witnesses' branch offices appointed local Regional Building Committees (RBC) to oversee the construction and maintenance of their places of worship. The objective of such committees, which usually consisted of five to seven persons, often with experience in the construction trades, was to coordinate the efforts of those involved so as to provide attractive and functional facilities that are financially viable.[42]
      RBCs cooperated with local congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses seeking to build or renovate a place of worship, under the direction of the local branch office. Committees helped in assessing the suitability of a possible construction site, purchasing the land and materials and coordinating the efforts of volunteers from the wider area.[42] Members of a Regional Building Committee work voluntarily and receive no remuneration for their work.[43]

      In 1983, an arrangement was instituted whereby Kingdom Halls are financed by loans from the Watch Tower Society. In addition to contribution boxes for local congregation expenses and "the worldwide work", each congregation has a contribution box specifically for voluntary donations toward Kingdom Hall construction.[44][45] These donations are pooled by the Watch Tower Society into the Society Kingdom Hall Fund, which is used for financing the construction of Kingdom Halls worldwide, particularly in developing lands.[46][47] When a congregation receives local approval to build a new Kingdom Hall, the congregation may apply for a loan from the Society Kingdom Hall Fund.[48] The congregation repays the loan to the Watch Tower Society, in addition to its continued contributions to the Kingdom Hall Fund. Interest was charged on the loans until September 2008.[49][50][51]

      Kingdom Hall Assistance Arrangement, the Convention Travel Fund, and Kingdom Hall and Assembly Hall construction worldwide are a few of the larger arrangements set up for contributions by JW's. The KHAA has been replaced by the KHAH as of June 2015
      May 27, 2015 - Letter to All Congregations - Re: Kingdom Hall and Assembly Hall Construction Worldwide
      Adjustment to financing Kingdom Hall and Assembly Hall construction worldwide
      See updated guidance on the new funding arrangement

      See also:
      Kingdom Hall Construction Guidelines for lands with Limited Resources

      Routine maintenance of Kingdom Halls is performed by the members of the congregations that use them, typically according to a scheduled checklist.[52] The "Kingdom Hall operating committee" oversees maintenance of the building; at least one elder or ministerial servant from each congregation is selected to be part of the operating committee.[53] Kingdom Hall maintenance costs are covered by donations to a local fund.[54]
      United Kingdom: June 16, 2015 - Kingdom Hall Utility Supply - Letter of Authority

      Kingdom Hall in the USA seen using a lawn care service in 2014

      See Also:
      What Happens at a Kingdom Hall? - Official JW.ORG video
      Locate a Kingdom Hall
      Gallery of Kingdom Hall
      Information Regarding Ownership of Kingdom Halls

      2014 - Chilean Kingdom Halls flying the national flag
      2014 - David Splane speaks about KH's in the USA
      2014 - Kingdom Hall still attached to a church? (UK)
      2013 - One Thousand Kingdom Halls and Counting
      1985 - Weekend Miracle - Non WTBTS Publication report on 2 Day Kingdom Halls

      Jehovah's Witnesses – Proclaimers of God's Kingdom chap. 20 p. 319, 721 Jehovah's Witnesses – Proclaimers of God's Kingdom chap. 20 p. 319 Building Together on a Global Scale "Should We Go to Christian Meetings?", Awake!, March 8, 2001, page 12 Organized to Do Jehovah's Will p.120-123 (Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 2005) Texas Monthly magazine, July 1980, page 136,138, As Retrieved 2009-08-18, "A Witness house of worship is called a Kingdom Hall. ...Appropriate to the movement's rejection of pomp and display, the [particular Hall visited by the writer], shared with two other congregations, resembled the meeting room of a budget motel, complete with rows of stackable chairs. The lone feature that marked it as a room devoted to religion was a sign, affixed to a plain wooden canopy over the speaker's stand, that bore the entreaty, "And now, Jehovah . . . grant your slaves to keep speaking your word with all boldness." The congregation of approximately 75 included admirably equal portions of blacks, whites, and Mexican Americans, a not uncommon manifestation of ethnic ecumenicity in Witness circles." "Question Box", Our Kingdom Ministry, December 1976, page 4, "It is recommended that the yeartext be displayed in the Kingdom Hall in countries where this can be done without difficulties resulting. ...Often it is best to display the yeartext at the front or side of the hall so it can be seen easily." “To the House of Jehovah Let Us Go”, Our Kingdom Ministry, April 1993, page 4 "Bible-based Society of Kingdom Witnesses", The Watchtower, October 15, 1962, page 631 "Maintain Fine Conduct That Glorifies God", Our Kingdom Ministry, May 2000, page 6 Organized to Do Jehovah’s Will, ©2005 Watch Tower, page 138 "Jehovah's Witnesses", World Religions in America: An Introduction by Jacob Neusner, ©2003, Westminster John Knox Press, As Retrieved 2009-08-18, page 197 Organized to Accomplish Our Ministry, ©1983,1989 Watch Tower, page 131 "Jehovah's Witnesses", Britannica Encyclopedia of World Religions by Wendy Doniger (editor), ©2006, in association with Merriam-Webster, As Retrieved 2009-08-18, page 563 "Jehovah's Witnesses", World Religions: An Introduction for Students by Jeaneane D. Fowler, ©1997, Sussex Academic Press, As Retrieved 2009-08-18, page 122 "Jehovah's Witnesses", Encyclopedia of Millennialism and Millennial Movements by Richard Allen Landes, Berkshire Reference Works (Firm), ©2000, Routledge, As Retrieved 2009-08-18, page 203, "One can visit a "Kingdom Hall" (a technical term for the building at which Witness meetings are held) in Australia, Japan, Zambia, or North Carolina with the realistic expectation that congregational meetings will exhibit a high degree of uniformity in content and procedure." "Highlights of the Past Year", 2007 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, pages 6, 15-18 "Imitate the Greatest Missionary", The Watchtower, February 15, 2008, page 18 1986 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses. p. 226. "Question Box", Our Kingdom Ministry, November 2008, page 3 "Marriage Ceremony and Requirements", The Watchtower, September 15, 1956, page 571 How to Be a Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook by Stuart M. Matlins, Arthur J. Magida (editors), ©2004, Skylight Paths Publishing, As Retrieved 2009-08-18, page 128-129, "Marriage Ceremony Jehovah's Witnesses view marriage as a sacred vow made before God. ...The marriage ceremony, which may last about 30 minutes, is a ceremony in itself. ...Appropriate Attire Men" A jacket and tie. No head covering is required. Women: A dress or a skirt and blouse. Dress "modestly" and "sensibly". Hems need not reach below the knees nor must clothing cover the arms. Open-toed shoes and modest jewelry are permissible. No head covering is required. There are no rules regarding colors of clothing. ...After the Ceremony Is there usually a reception after the ceremony? Yes. It may be held in homes or a catering hall. It is never held in the Kingdom Hall where the wedding took place." "Question Box", Our Kingdom Ministry, March 1997, page 7 "Is Your Course of Life Death-Oriented?", The Watchtower, June 1, 1978, page 7 How to Be a Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook by Stuart M. Matlins, Arthur J. Magida (editors), ©2004, Skylight Paths Publishing, As Retrieved 2009-08-18, page 129, "Funerals and Mourning Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the dead are "conscious of nothing at all" and are asleep in the grave awaiting resurrection to life. ...The funeral service, which is a ceremony in itself, may last about 15 to 30 minutes. ...Where will the ceremony take place? Either at a Kingdom Hall or in a funeral home. ...Will there be an open casket? Possibly. This depends on the preference of the immediate family." "Volunteers continue Katrina disaster relief work" by David J. Bush, Salisbury Post, September 1, 2007, page F0 "Caring for Victims of Rwanda’s Tragedy", Awake!, December 22, 1994, page 15 "Volunteers at Work", Awake!, July 22, 2001, page 8 "Love Toward Those ‘Related in the Faith’", The Watchtower, June 15, 1999, page 8 "Japan", 1998 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, page 143 "Witnesses’ relief efforts in Haiti continue", Jehovah's Witnesses Official Media Web Site, January 28, 2010, As Retrieved 2010-02-22 "A Doctor Heads Home to Haiti" by Lionel J. Malebranche, MD, Annals of Internal Medicine, February 18, 2010 "Love in Action—A Marathon Relief Effort", Awake!, November 22, 2002, page 22 "A Love More Powerful Than a Hurricane!", Awake!, August 2008, page 16 "How We Escaped a Terrifying Lava Flow!", Awake!, November 8, 2002, pages 24-25 "Jehovah's Witnesses", The Encyclopedia of Louisville by John E. Kleber, ©2000, University Press of Kentucky, As Retrieved 2009-08-18, page 444, "Jehovah's Witnesses are well known in the Greater Louisville area, having been a part of "Kentucky sod" since the late 1800s. ...From 1947 to 1970 ten more Kingdom Halls were constructed in Louisville, all by volunteer labor." "Jehovah's Witnesses", World Religions 101: An Overview for Teens by Margaret O. Hyde, Emily G. Hyde, ©2008, Twenty-First Century Books, As Retrieved 2009-08-18, page 91-92 "Jehovah's Witnesses", Religion in the contemporary world: a sociological introduction by Alan E. Aldridge, ©2000, Polity Press, As Retrieved 2009-08-18, page 116-117, "Witnesses are extremely well organized. ...One particular way in which the [Watch Tower] society mobilizes its members is to build their places for worship and assembly, the Kingdom Halls. A 'rapid-building crew' of Witness volunteers can erect a functional but well-built Kingdom Hall in a weekend." Holbrook by Holbrook Historical Society, ©2004, Arcadia Publishing, As Retrieved 2009-08-18, page 63, "The Kingdom Hall. Shown here is the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses on North Franklin Street. This hall was built by the membership in one weekend." New York: The Movie Lover's Guide : The Ultimate Insider Tour of Movie New York by Richard Alleman, ©2005, Broadway, As Retrieved 2009-08-18, page 416, "Albemarle Theater, 973 Flatbush Avenue. Just like the old Stanley Theater in Jersey City, Brooklyn's 2,700-seat Albemarle movie palace later served as a Kingdom Hall for the Jehovah's Witnesses." From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship by David W. Dunlap, ©2004, Columbia University Press, As Retrieved 2009-08-18, page 117, "The remarkable Kingdom Hall at 609 West 161st Street was formerly the Hebrew Tabernacle of Washington Heights, by George and Edward Blum and Ludwig Hanauer, completed in 1925." "How Kingdom Halls Are Built", Awake!, August 22, 1972, page 23 Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom. Watch Tower Society. pp. 325–328. "Kingdom Hall Construction in the United States". Our Kingdom Ministry: 3. August 1997. "How Is It All Financed?", Jehovah's Witnesses - Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, pages 344-345 "Announcements", Our Kingdom Ministry, June 1991, page 3 "True Worship Is Expanding in Eastern Europe". Our Kingdom Ministry: 3–4. September 1999. "International Kingdom Hall Building in Some European Lands", Our Kingdom Ministry, May 2003, page 3 "A New Program for Kingdom Hall Construction". Our Kingdom Ministry: 3. September 1983. Letter to all Congregations, June 4, 2008 "Continued Expansion Increases Need for Kingdom Halls". Our Kingdom Ministry: 3. December 1993. Our Kingdom Ministry: 4. April 1985. "These loans are repaid to the Society Kingdom Hall Fund with interest at the rate of 6 percent." For example, Our Kingdom Ministry, March 2003, included a "Safety Checklist" on page 4, and a checklist for "Care of Building and Property" on page 5. "Let Us Keep Our Place of Worship in Good Repair", Our Kingdom Ministry, August 2003, page 3-4 "The Giver of “Every Good Gift”", The Watchtower, December 1, 1993, page 29
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The recent hailstorm in Del Rio Monday night caused many to reevaluate the safety of their homes and their current living situations. Window, roof and electrical damages have citizens wishing they were more prepared for this natural disaster. 
      However, the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ completion of its replacement roof was finished just in time for the damaging weather.
    • By admin
      SHOT AND PARALYSED: Pregnant woman miraculously survives mysterious bullet; now battles for life and justice

      In a private ward at a physiotherapy centre in Tema, Benita Dankwa scrolls through her photographs on a Samsung tablet. The 29-year old lady does so with a pang of nostalgia because the gloomy Benita Dankwa holding the tablet is a shocking impersonation of the breezy Benita Dankwa in those photographs. The lady looking at the photographs is not the same as the woman in those photographs.
      They differ in many ways.
      “This is not how I was,” she says, showing more photographs of her former self to make a point. And she is right. This is not how she was.
      The woman in the photograph is full of life. She is a charming beauty. The woman in the photographs is smiling. She is standing. She is walking. She is posing. She is working. The woman in the photograph is enjoying life. That woman has a “loving” husband, 33-year old Effort Dankwa. And she looks forward to a beautiful family.
      “I had dreams of a sweet husband, having me alone as the wife. No other person… having our kids, just jumping around and all that. But it never happened that way,” Benita says.
      Indeed, there is a world of difference between the cheerful woman in the photographs and the low-spirited woman now looking at the images – her former self. However, they both bear the same name – Benita Dankwa. That is where their similarities end.
      The gloomy Benita Dankwa on the hospital bed is different from the breezy Benita Dakwa in the photographs
      The Benita Dankwa on the hospital bed is paralysed from her chest downwards. Dr. Francis Caiquo of the Tema General Hospital explains that, in a layperson’s language, it means that part of her body is “dead.” The only reason it is not rotten is because of blood circulation, he says.
      Apart from her hands and head, the Benita Dankwa on the hospital bed cannot move any part of her body. Those parts don’t belong to her any longer, or rather, they do but she has lost control over them. She cannot feel any sensation there.
      The Benita Dankwa on the hospital bed cannot pass out urine. She cannot empty her bowels. A urinary catheter is attached to her urinary tract. It is emptied periodically by her 54-year old mother, Mrs. Agnes Yirenkyi, or anyone who is present when it is full. Benita also wears diapers to contain the involuntary discharge of faecal matter. That’s not all the woes of the woman on the hospital bed.
      When Benita lifts the cloth covering the lower part of her body, huge plasters covering her bedsores are exposed. She has large bedsores on her buttocks and on her hips. The Benita Dankwa on the hospital bed has swollen feet. She is bedridden. And she needs someone to bathe her and turn her from time to time to enable the bedsores heal.
      The woman on the hospital bed is also anaemic. Doctors at the Tema General Hospital say her hemoglobin (blood) level is 6.1, half what it is supposed to be. The ideal level is 12. Hers dropped to 4 and has risen to 6.1 through medication. The low hemoglobin level hampers the healing of her sores. She also stands the risk of a heart attack because of her low blood level.
      “I miss many things because now I can’t do anything,” says Benita. “I miss walking. I miss working. If I could walk, I can do anything.”
      On a bed beside Benita’s hospital bed lies Nana Kwame, Benita’s four month-old baby. Benita was supposed to be taking care of him and changing his diapers. But Mrs. Agnes Yirenkyi, Benita’s mother, now does all of that. She changes the diapers of her four-month old grandson and 29-year old daughter, the first seed of her womb.
      “This family is going through severe pain and suffering,” Agnes Yirenkyi speaks of the agony of the family since they received a dreadful call on the morning of Saturday, August 29, 2015, that Benita had been shot.
      Life for Benita Dankwa, a supervisor at Asky Airlines, was an auspicious one until the sun of her bright future set on Friday, August 28th 2015. She was seven months pregnant, the first pregnancy of her four years’ marriage. That evening Benita had closed from work and was watching television when her husband, Effort Dankwa, a teacher at Angels International School in Tema, arrived.
      “Everything was okay at home,” Benita recalls. Her husband took his bath and went to bed. She also went to bed later. When she woke up at about 5:30 am, she felt like a “balloon.” There was a “hole” on her chest and another one at her back.
      She had been shot.
      According to a report by the Tema Community 11 police, their investigation “revealed that the victim (Benita Dankwa) was shot from a close range at her chest and the bullet penetrated through her body and was rushed to the hospital for treatment, but no point of penetration or breakage into the couple’s room was detected.”
      The report continues: “A live ammunition believed to have been shot from a pistol at close range was found about 2 inches deep in the mattress [on] which the couple were lying. Blood stains believed to be human blood was also found on the bed sheet and the mattress of the couple.”
      Benita was in the room alone with her husband, Effort Dankwa. When she woke up, her husband was still sleeping. When she woke him up, “he was feeling as if he was confused, running up and down and all that,” Benita recounts.
      “He didn’t shout. He didn’t do anything. Because I was feeling like a balloon, I thought he could not carry me so I asked him to call… there were two boys on the compound… so I asked him to call them so that one could go for a taxi so that one could help carry me to the taxi,” Benita narrates what happened when she opened her eyes that morning.
      One of the young men who went to help Effort carry Benita to the hospital is John Asaah. John lives in the same compound. His room is about five metres away from the Dankwas. At about 3a.m. of Saturday, August 29, 2015, John said he heard a gunshot that was “too loud” and appeared close to the house. “It didn’t take hours and I heard my friend call me to come and help him to take his wife to the hospital.” That friend was Effort, Benita’s husband.
      Crime Scene: This is where Benita and Effort lived.
      According to John, Effort did not give him the impression that Benita had been shot.“He was coming as if nothing had happened. ‘Oh Johny, wifee no dey feel fine oo. Go bring me taxi,’” John quotes Effort asking him (John) for help in casual pidgin English.
      “You won’t even know that something like that had happened,” John tells myjoyonline.com.
      John says if he had known that it was a shooting incident, he would not have entered the room to help. Effort, he says, did not mention any shooting even as they sat in the taxi and headed for the hospital.
      “The husband didn’t tell us anything. All that I knew was that the wife was pregnant so I thought she was about to deliver.” John says when the taxi driver asked what was wrong with Benita, he (John) said it was her first pregnancy. Benita’s husband, who was also in the taxi, did not mention that his wife had been shot. John says Benita was first taken to the maternity ward of the Tema General Hospital. He says the first time he realized Benita had been shot was when a nurse at the maternity ward interrogated the husband and he said it was a gunshot.
      “The nurse asked the husband to show her where the gunshot was and he opened the dress on the chest and I saw a hole on her chest and some small blood,” John says. The nurse told them gunshots were not treated at the maternity ward and so referred them to the accident centre. At the accident centre, doctors at the Tema General Hospital realized Benita had a spinal injury so they referred her to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
      Prime Suspect: Effort Dankwa,33.
      According to Benita’s father, Mr. S.O.S Yirenkyi, Effort refused to report the shooting of his wife to the police. “We did all we could but he would not go to the police,” says Mr. Yirenkyi. “He said this was a domestic issue involving a husband and wife so there was no need to report it.” Later in the day, Bright Ofori, Benita’s 25-year old brother went to the police station to report the incident.
      “If you are with your wife in the room and you wake up to find out that she has been shot, should you not be the first to report to the police?” Mr. S.O.S Yirenkyi, Benita’s 68 year old father asked.
      John says when he returned from the hospital that day, he went round the house and tried to locate any form of penetration or break in but there was none. “We even took chairs and climbed onto the roof to see if there was anything from the roof, but there was nothing to show that maybe the thing was coming from armed robbers,” he says.
      When this reporter visited the house, he found that the windows and the doors had mosquito nets and wire mesh. They were covered with curtains so if anybody wanted to shoot from outside, they would have had to cut through the mosquito net and wire mesh, shift the curtains aside before they could locate their target. But all the mosquito nets at the doors and windows were intact.
      “Me, I can say that the thing (shooting) happened in the room,” John emphasises. “If you want to know the truth, then it will be [between] Benita and her husband who know what happened.”
      “There were two people in the room. One person was shot. Police investigation revealed that the shot was not from outside. So who fired the shot?” asked, Mr. S.O.S. Yirenkyi, Benita’s father. “I suspect Benita’s husband shot her,” he alleged.
      Benita also shares the same view. She believes her husband, Effort, shot her.
      On September 15, 2015, more than two weeks after the shooting incident, the police arrested Effort Dankwa for investigation. He has denied shooting his wife.
      On September 16th and 30th 2015, the police also arrested one Ernestina Dede Lagbeneku, who confirmed being in a relationship with Effort Dankwa for the past five months. The two of them were cautioned and bailed “pending further investigations.”
      “For now, fingers are pointing to a certain direction, but because investigations are still ongoing we cannot confirm. But then, questions are coming up and answers are coming up,” Tema Region Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Juliana Obeng told Myjoyonline.com.
      “The question now is: who did it?” ASP Juliana Obeng asked. “Let me give you an example: If I were with you alone in the house and I wake up to have some injuries on my body and I find some other things in the room that have to do with blood stains and there are no other persons in the room, and nobody came to the room, then your guess is as good as mine.”
      The police PRO, however, says they cannot draw a conclusion now.
      Criminologist and Dean of the Central University College Faculty of Law, Professor Ken Agyemang Attafuah agrees with the police that based on the facts surrounding the case, Effort Dankwa “is a legitimate person for the police to consider as the prime suspect.”
      Mr. Yirenkyi said in the panic and the desire to save Benita, the family took certain pieces of evidence for granted because it never occurred to them that the one who shot her could be someone in the room with her. One of such pieces of evidence was a bloodstained towel that Effort allegedly asked Benita’s cousin to throw away.
      Priscilla Asare, 25, was sent by her mother (Benita’s aunt) to fetch a stove at the crime scene (Benita and Effort’s home) to be taken to the hospital. This was on Wednesday September 2, 2015, four days after Benita was shot.
      “When I got there, Benita’s husband said I should tidy up the room. In the process, I found a towel stained with blood, the blood had dried up. When I told him (Effort) about the towel, he said I should throw it away,” Priscilla explains.
      When Priscilla took the towel home and told her mother about it, she asked her not to throw the towel away. “My mother said I should wash it for her so I did.” Priscilla said she was also the one who washed the bloodstained bed sheet on which Benita and Effort lay when the shooting happened.
      Benita says when she opened her eyes that morning, there was not much blood on her body. John has confirmed this. He said Benita wore a white night gown as they took her to the hospital and if there was any blood on her, he would have seen it before they got to the hospital.
      Benita at work
      Benita says when she opened her eyes, she did not see her husband wipe any blood from her body so she was surprised when the towel soaked with blood was used on her. A woman who lives in the house and was present when the police first entered the crime scene also tells Myjoyonline.com that when they entered, there was very little blood on the mattress and the bed sheet. She wondered if there wouldn’t have been more blood had there been a gunshot.
      “I think he shot my daughter and cleaned all the blood before my daughter became conscious,” Mr. Yirenkyi suggests. “He thought my daughter had died, but God saved her.”
      Criminologist Professor Ken Ataffuah says this is possible. “From the report, a neighbor heard a gunshot around 3am. It was not until at about 5am that this woman complained of pain and asked her husband for assistance. She possibly was in coma for a while or she had been chloroformed. There is evidence from what you [this reporter] tell me of a towel that contained blood and that towel ought to be taken to the police forensics for investigation.”
      Benita met her husband nine years ago. They are both members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses sect. And that’s where they met. They dated for five years and were married for four years before the tragedy struck.
      Benita says their marriage was without problems. If there was any problem, it was the suspicion of infidelity on the part of her husband. Benita’s mother, Mrs. Agnes Yirenkyi, says she once mediated one such misunderstanding that arose when Benita returned from work one evening to find her husband in their room with a woman whose pictures and suggestive messages she had seen on his phone. She says the lights were off and when she knocked, Effort did not open the door immediately. Benita said he denied having anything to do with the lady but when she sent an insulting message to the lady in question, he was livid.
      A police report signed by ASP Owusu Dwomoh, Tema Community 11 Crime Officer suggests that Benita was sharing her husband with another woman. The report states: “It was established during investigation that the suspect Effort Dankwa who is legally married to the victim was also in another amorous relationship with one lady called Ernestina Dede Lagbeneku alias Christine Dede and had been going out to places like Prime Beach Resort at Prampram and Cocoa Beach Hotel at Nungua, Accra, to relax and make love. It was also revealed that while the suspect’s wife, victim Benita Dankwa, was at the hospital panting [fighting] for her life, the suspect had the presence of mind to engage in love conversations via WhatsApp, a social network, with the said Christine Dede.”
      The police report says when “suspect Christine Dede was arrested and interrogated, she confirmed being in relationship with the accused, Effort Dankwa, for the past five (5) months.”
      Benita has revealed that while they were courting, Effort once mentioned that he did not want any children in their marriage but she “took it for a joke” until they got married and he repeated it. “When we got married, I started worrying him with kids and he started declining and all that. Fortunately, or if I should say unfortunately for him, I got pregnant,” she stated.
      When times were good: Mr. and Mrs. Dankwa
      She says he never said anything bad about the pregnancy and no issue ever came up until she delivered. Sources close to the church say there is a group of people within the Jehovah’s Witnesses who have made up their minds not to give birth because they want to dedicate their time to the “preaching of the word.” Benita is aware of this but says her husband is not part of that group.
      Benita was delivered of the baby by a caesarian section on September 9, 2015 after 31 weeks. She says when she delivered, her husband started raising issues about the paternity of the baby. “He says the baby is not his,” Benita says.
      According to Benita, a gynaecologist once attempted to have sex with her when she visited the hospital, and when she got home, that was the first thing she told her husband. She said her husband did not raise questions about the pregnancy but when she delivered he used that as an excuse to say that the doctor may have impregnated her.
      Benita’s father, Mr. Yirenkyi, believes the pregnancy is the reason Effort Dankwa wanted to kill his daughter.
      “We decided to call the child Nana Kwame because he is a male born on Saturday. We are still waiting for the father to come and name him,” Benita says.
      Today is Sunday. It’s 9.00 am. At the Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Tema Community 11, the congregation is singing a hymn. They are standing, except one woman at the back. That is Benita. She sings from her wheelchair standing next to her father and mother. In a baby cradle front of them, Nana Kwame, Benita’s four-month old baby, lies smiling. Nana Kwame is both oblivious about the teaching on today’s judgment day and the reason her mother now sits behind the congregation. After some time, his grandmother picks him up and begins to feed him with a milky liquid in a feeding bottle.
      Benita and her parents in Tema Community 11 Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses
      One medical doctor has described her safe delivery as a miracle. “Maybe God has something special for that child,” the doctor says.
      After the worship, Benita’s brother helps her out of the church. Before she is lifted into the car, she is interrupted by well-wishers from the congregation. This is where Benita met Effort nine years ago. For the past four years, they came to church together. On Sunday mornings, she fixed breakfast. And he drove her to church.
      That changed when Benita was discharged from the hospital. She did not return to their matrimonial home. For now, the Physiotherapy centre is her new home. She says her husband has never visited her there. “He asked me not to call him again so I have stopped calling him.”
      She relies on the benevolence of her father and friends to bring her to church. Today, her father and a family friend lifted her onto the front seat of her father’s wine pick up vehicle. When they parked, they lifted her onto the wheelchair and wheeled her into a space behind the congregation reserved for her. She often meets her husband, Effort, in church.
      “I often see him from afar,” Benita says. When asked whether he also sees her in church, she says she cannot tell. The congregation is not a big one. It is sub-divided into English and Akan sections. Both Benita and Effort worship at the English section, and looking at the size of the congregation, it would take a lot of effort from Effort not to notice the presence of his wife in the church. But Benita does not yearn for his presence.
      Benita being lifted into a vehicle by his father and a family friend
      “Anytime I see him, my heart begins to beat,” she says. But it is not the heartbeat of love. Since the shooting happened, she’s been living in fear. At the physiotherapy centre, her bed has been repositioned. Out of the fear for her life, she is “hiding” in the corner. She fears whoever wanted her dead could shoot from the window directly facing where she used to lie. One of the persons she dreads most is her husband.
      This Sunday, January 24, 2016, however, her husband is not in church. She has been informed that two days ago, the police arrested and detained him. How did she receive the news?
      “I won’t say I am sad about it. It is something that has to be done,” she shrugs.
      Some have described Benita’s survival as a miracle. The happy marriage and family she hoped for has now drifted from reality to a faint imagination. But her greatest hope is to be able to get back on her feet and walk again.
      Dr. Francis Caiquo of the Tema General Hospital thinks the chances of reversing her paralyses are very slim. The medical report from the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital states that she had a “complete spinal cord injury (T3 sensory level).”
      “It will be difficult, if not impossible, to reverse her condition,” Dr. Caiquo says.
      Benita’s blood level is very low but her religion forbids blood transfusion. Dr. Caiquo who saw her at her last visit to the Tema General Hospital says that impedes the healing of her bedsores and also has the potential of causing heart problems.
      When asked whether she has hopes of getting back to her former self, Benita bursts into tears. “I think it will take a long time, but I have hope.”
      “It’s rehabilitation that she needs most. She needs a physiotherapist, a psychologist… her hands are okay. If the wounds heal, I am sure she will be able to hold her baby, take care of one or two household chores,” Dr. Caiquo recommends.
      “We hope the Lord has something for her,” he adds.
      Editor’s note: Joy FM’s investigative journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni, spent weeks speaking to parties involved in this story, their family, friends and neighbours, as well as the police, medical doctors and a criminologist. He also spent time with Benita at the physiotherapy centre and followed her to church. Apart from the scenes he personally observed, all other facts presented in the story are from the interviews, police and hospital reports even when no direct attribution is stated. 
      His email address is azureachebe2@yahoo.com

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