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2005 Boxing Day Tsunami

Our Kingdom Ministry, January 2005 For Canada km-E 1/05 Vol. 48, No. 1, p.7

Question Box

"What is the best way to make contributions for the benefit of needy brothers in other lands?

At times, we hear about brothers in another land who have come into material need because of persecution, disaster, or other difficult circumstances. Some brothers have been moved to send funds directly to the branch offices in such lands, requesting that the money be used to help a certain individual, a particular congregation, or a designated building project. -- 2 Cor. 8:1-4.

While such loving concern for fellow believers is commendable, often there are needs that are more urgent than those that the contributor has in mind. In come cases, the designated need has already been cared for. Of course, we can be confident that when contributions are sent to the local branch office for the worldwide work, the Kingdom Hall Fund, or disaster relief, those donated funds will be used as directed by the contributor.

The brothers in all the branches have been thoroughly trained to respond quickly to unanticipated needs. In all cases, the branch keeps the Governing Body informed regarding the matter. If additional assistance is needed, the Governing Body may invite nearby branches to help or funds may be sent directly from headquarters. 2 Cor. 8:14, 15.

Therefore, all contributions intended for the worldwide work, building projects in other lands, or disaster relief should be sent to the branch office in the land in which you live, either through the congregation or directly. In this way, 'the faithful and discreet slave,' through the organizational arrangement set in place by the Governing Body, cares for the needs of the worldwide brotherhood in an orderly manner. -- Matt. 24:45-47; 1 Cor. 14:33, 40.

[Emphasis Added]

2005 December 30 Private Telephone Call to Watch Tower Society (Jehovah's Witnesses)

[Watch Tower Tsunami Releif telephone call enquirey regarding use of funds and proper method for fund allocation

[DTMF "Touch Tones" calling 718 560 5000]

[0:20] [recorded voice] Thank you for calling Jehovah's Witnesses

[0:26] [WTS receptionist] Jehovah's Witnesses, may I help you?

[caller] yeah, I was just on the phone with a young lady, and must have gotten cut off. I was asking who would I speak to, to find out about putting in donations for the, uh... [missing tape]

[portion of tape missing which transfers call to this WTS rep]

[0:44] [WTS representative] [inaudible] Report to us [inaudible] ...India, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, and Thailand report that there was no loss of life among the local brothers. Sadly in Thailand at least two brothers that were vacationing were known to have been killed. There of course have been loss of homes, possessions, and Kingdom Halls. And we are asking individuals would like to donate to the relief work, if they would please put into the Worldwide Work, and it will be distributed from there.

[caller] And, what active role are the brothers taking now? Are they shipping in truck loads of goods, clothes...?

[1:39] [WTS representative] They have not given us the specifics of that, but any funds that are put into the Worldwide Work, they of course us contact the branch offices there and they are fulfilling the needs that they expect.

[caller] OK, and how about airplanes, don't we have also some airplanes that we can ship boxes of goods to the brothers there?

[2:04] [WTS representative] Are you specifically interested yourself in shipping goods?

[caller] I was just interested specifically myself in donating some cash, and I was just wondering how quickly it might get to those who are in need the most? And what avenues are the brothers are taking? Are they flying materials in? Or just...

[2:29] [WTS representative] We don't have -- I mean, I personally do not have the specifics on that. I can connect you to another department that may have that kind of infornation.

[caller] I sure would appreciate it.

[WTS representative]Sure!

[Phone rings another Watch Tower department.]

[2:49] [WTS representative] Administration! May I help you?

[caller] Good morning, how are you doing, sir?

[ :00] [WTS representative] I am fine how are you?

[caller] Not to bad, I hope the weather is fine for you up there.

[3:00] [WTS representative] Yes, fine.

[caller] I was speaking with the lady there just a few minutes about the disaster relief, and wanting to make a donation to try to help out the brothers there that was hit with the tidal wave. And she didn't have specifics, so she transferred me over to you all, and I was wondering, are you all flying in ... do you have an airplane that you fly in the goods...

[3:29] [WTS Administration rep] Actually, No. What we do is, we have a branch office located there, in fact in the six countries affected, we have branch offices.

[caller] And were they washed away?

[3:40] [WTS Administration rep] [inaudble] ..they have funds that are allocated -- No. Actually it only basically affected the coastline.

[caller] I see, I see.

[3:46] [WTS Administration rep] So as far as Jehovah's Witnesses are concerned, it was very limited damage to homes and Kingdom Halls. Ah, we have a larger number of Jehovah's Witnesses killed because of vacationing.

[caller] I see.

[4:00] [WTS Administration rep] Some of the islands that were hit bad, were vacationing islands.

[caller] I see. Do you know how many Jehovah's Witnesses...

[4:06] [WTS Administration rep] That's part of the problem, we are only just now being able to figure out who was even there.

[caller] I see.

[4:10] [WTS Administration rep] Most people don't normally, I mean, most people that go on vacation are with their family, usually don't contact the Branch Office.

[caller] So you probably won't know until later on.

[4:19] [WTS Administration rep] Exactly, actually right now we only actually know of two known Jehovah's Witnesses that were killed, washed away

[caller] I see.

[4:25] [WTS Administration rep] and two others who we are not sure if they were witnesses or that it was their wives that were witnesses. They were vacationing in Sri Lanka. [inaudible]

[caller] I see.

[4:37] [WTS Administration rep] Other than that, it was basically damage to homes and the people that were effected in the areas effected the most.

[caller] How about trucks? Are they allowing you to truck in...

[4:50] [WTS Administration rep] As far as that goes, I can only report what we have heard from U.S. News, and that they were saying that is an issue of getting food and clothing to these areas. It's going to take several months. Can you hold on for a moment?

[caller] Sure.

[on hold]

[5:28] [WTS Administration rep] Sorry about that.

[caller] No problem.

[5:30] [WTS Administration rep] So the problem they're facing is that -- 'cause I know that there are a lot of relief organizations and good hearted folks collecting food and things of that nature, but they can't get it over there, and right now they are saying it can actually take months for it to be received. [inaudible]

[caller] So--

[5:48] [WTS Administration rep] So the greater need is funds --

[caller] I see, I see.

[5:50] [WTS Administration rep] -- so they can purchase locally the medicine and fresh water needed. We allocated funds for fresh water in the local area and other parts of the countries that are affected... [inaudible] buy them.

[caller] Oh, I see. So, do you know how much money has already been donated for the water?

[6:12] [WTS Administration rep] No, I don't know what the figures are. Each branch office in the local city or area, they [inaudible] the allocation [inaudible]

[caller] So, if you were to, as you mentioned, about the trucks not being able able to get in there for a long time...

[6:32] [WTS Administration rep] I think most of the -- some of the organizations are flying [inaudible] already flying [inaudible] airplanes [inaudible].

[caller] So in other words, if we were to box things up, what would you -- the brothers have to do? Would they have to put those items on, say, a United Nations airplane? Or an American...?

[6:54] [WTS Administration rep] Actually I have no idea. From the reports we have in our office, they said to send funds to take care of what the needs are...

[caller] OK

[7:08] [WTS Administration rep] ... in fact, what they are finding now is that those larger items [inaudible] taking more time.

[caller] Slowing things up.

[7:18] [WTS Administration rep] Well, its not so much that they are slowing things up, it's the fact that it is costing more money to fly these items. When well meaning people, I'm sure doing things they can, but the thing is those things are available [inaudible]. But all of Thailand [inaudible] so, rest of the country and other nearby countries have them but [inaudible] be able to purchase water, and other items in nearby country or even within the country [inaudible].

[caller] I see, I see.

[8:04] [WTS Administration rep] Roads are washed away. Getting these items there is very, very difficult. And of course [inaudible]

[caller] Oh, yeah. I Know.

[caller] Sounds like if it wasn't for for helicopters they would really be in bad shape.

[8:32] [WTS Administration rep] Probably very much so.

[caller] So...

[8:30] [WTS Administration rep] And remember too, some of these areas were hard to get to in the first place, even before this disaster.

[caller] Yeah, what's left of 'em.

[8:35] [WTS Administration rep] [inaudible]

[caller] And do you know how many Kingdom Halls have been destroyed?

[8:49] [WTS Administration rep] Actually none. It was reported that a couple had some water damage however. Some of those islands did not have Kingdom Halls there... [inaudible] and Sri Lanka [inaudible]

[caller] Boy, that's fortunate!

[9:10] [WTS Administration rep] Yeah, [inaudible]

[caller] So, on my envelope, "Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society New York"?

[9:19] [WTS Administration rep] Yeah, you can do that. The check should say "Watch Tower" and the letter inside should say: "Work Relief Fund" or "Watchtower Worldwide Work".

[caller] OK, and that's [zip code] "11201"?

[caller] OK. Well, sir, thank you very very much. Sorry to take up your time.

[9:40] [WTS Administration rep] Not at all. We appreciate your generosity!

[caller] OK. Well, thanks again, and have a wonderful day.

[9:45] [WTS Administration rep] You too.

[caller] Ok. Bye bye.

[Emphasis Added]

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