Religion,

Footsteps and spiritual heritage.

FIRST WATCH TOWER MISSIONARIES – Yearbook 1972, pg. 144

The first missionaries of the Watch Tower Society arrived at the General Andrews airport in Ciudad Trujillo, now Santo Domingo, on April 1, 1945. “What would it be like to carry on their God-given ministry under a Catholic dictatorship?” those missionaries were doubtless wondering. Here is the story of Lennart and Virginia Johnson about those memorable days:

“The car driver took us to the Victoria Hotel on 19 de Marzo Street, just off El Conde. Rooms for the two of us cost five dollars a day, good meals included. Once settled, we were anxious to get in touch with local people. Two Dominican women with whom we had studied in Brooklyn had given us the names of their relatives and acquaintances in the Dominican Republic. First, we went to a street called Luis C. de Castillo to look for a Dr. Green. Not knowing where this might be, we took a car, and how happy we were to find him at home, and also his neighbor, Moses Rollins!

We were promptly invited to enter the neat, clean-cut wooden home. The living room, perhaps ten by fourteen feet, was furnished with mahogany chairs, with very cool reed backs and seats. Both Dr. Green, about forty, and Moses Rollins, somewhat older, gave us their undivided attention. Virginia and I explained how we got their names and addresses and why we had come to the Dominican Republic. In fact, we had arrived that very day. That afternoon we started a study in the book “The Truth Shall Make You Free.”

Moses Rollins became the first local Kingdom publisher and later proved very helpful in supplying the correct “Dominicanisms” for translating the English Informant (later known as Kingdom Ministry) into Spanish. He served as a pioneer from April 1961 until his death in October 1970. Dr. Green was finally baptized in 1963, shortly before his death. Three daughters and a son are dedicated servants of Jehovah, the son, Francisco Green, now serving as an overseer of one of the congregations that meet in the present Santo Domingo branch building.”

Brother Johnson continues:

“After that first study, Dr. Green took us house-hunting from the upper deck of a two-story bus. We rode the full bus route, finally renting a small concrete home at the west end of the city and arranging for a few items of furniture.

Our shipment of literature and personal effects arrived and so did the rain. It rained and rained and rained, torrentially, every day. We wrote in about it, and the Society said that if that was the kind of weather we had, we should get used to preaching in it. There was scant fruitage for our work in this area.

In June we were joined by missionaries Zene and Meryl Caryk, Rhudelle Baxley and Rachel Bippus, and we began pushing out to additional territory.”

MISSIONARY HELP FROM THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Yearbook 1987, pg 97

When severe persecution caused first-century Christians in Jerusalem to be dispersed to other areas, this resulted in a spreading of the good news. (Acts 8:1, 4) In a similar way, when the Dominican Republic banned the work of Jehovah’s Witnesses and deported the missionaries, this contributed to expansion in the Puerto Rican field.

On August 3, 1957, ten of these missionaries arrived at Isla Verde Airport in San Juan. There were four married couples Lennart and Virginia Johnson, Raymond and Rhudelle Johnson, George and Nellie Droge, Roy and Juanita Brandt and two single sisters, Kathryn Glass and Dorothy Lawrence. These were quickly assigned to various towns in the island, and new missionary homes were opened.

One of these missionaries, Raymond Johnson, was in his new assignment in Caguas only a short time. He was making the last house-to-house call one morning with his wife and had just placed a “Let God Be True” book when he sat down in a chair and died of a heart attack. At his funeral 192 were present and a good witness was given, even as he had given a faithful witness during his lifetime.

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