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My beliefs as a Jehovah's Witness

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Rollo Burgess

Rollo's beliefs were well cared for during his time at Cranbrook School

It was a great day when my mother and I were both baptised on the same day in 1953. Two of my sisters, also baptised, later married and went on to serve in ministry assignments abroad with their husbands.

It was during the Second World War that my mother, then living in Matfield in Kent, started to study the Bible with Jehovah's Witnesses and invited two young teenage girls from the nearest congregation in Tunbridge Wells to study the Bible with my sisters and me. The two girls went on to become missionaries and have worked in many parts of the world.

I obtained a scholarship at Cranbrook School where I was the only Jehovah's Witness but the headmaster, a very kind man, made sure that my beliefs were cared for. I always recall the school chaplain taking a great interest in my religious beliefs and one day admitting that the main difference between us was that I accepted the whole Bible whilst he did not. I respectfully asked him how he decided what to believe and what not to believe. His reply was that he believed what he could understand.

On leaving Cranbrook School I declined to take up a university place offered to me in favour of a full time ministry. As all the ministry of Jehovah's Witnesses is voluntary it was necessary for me to find part-time paid employment; so I became a window-cleaner. Many of my window cleaning customers asked why I was doing this work and this gave me many opportunities to explain the work that my heart was really in.

I was invited to serve in Scotland and then in the Midlands where I met my wife, Carol, who joined me in our ministry together. This she has done for the forty-four years of our married life.

The arrival of three children curtailed my ministry as I had to get full time work to support and provide for the family. However during that time I was still able to serve as a presiding minister of different congregations.

With my children happily married I was free again to give up full time work and spend more time in our ministry once again.

This renewed freedom has enabled me to volunteer for work abroad. We were able to work with the Witnesses even prior to the demise of communism in Poland. What a joy it was to be invited to the first convention of Jehovah's Witnesses at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin just a few months after the Wall was breached.

Soon thereafter we were at the first convention of Witnesses in St. Petersburg in Russia. We could hardly believe that we were there mingling with faithful Witnesses who had survived years of banishment in Siberia.

It continues to be our joy to have the opportunity to work in our ministry in remote parts of the world such as Easter Island, the islands of Lake Titicaca, the far reaches of the Amazon Basin, Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego or the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. It also gives us joy to be back home and visiting the congregations in Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

The faith that I learned back in Matfield all those years ago is the same as ever and stronger than ever. It is that the world is one family and that Jehovah God is there for people of all nations and languages and races and tribes and tongues (Acts 10:34). It is that, wherever we live or wherever we come from we need the same faith in God's wonderful promises of a Kingdom government ruled by Christ Jesus from Heaven that will bring peace and security to mankind in a Paradise earth ( Isaiah 35 and Psalm 37).

This Kingdom Message (Matthew 24:14) provides comfort and hope for all mankind.Rollo Burgess


BBC Religion and Ethics: Jehovah's Witnesses


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      Bonjour mon frère 
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