Dictators and Bans in Times Past

It’s a very interesting experience preaching in a country with such a ¬†difficult history in regards to the activity of Jehovah’s people. What am I referring to? Well as I get to work out in service with different brothers here in Spain I soon learn that they were likely imprisoned because of their refusal to perform military service under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco from 1936 to 1975. This dictator was closely aligned with the catholic church (no surprise) and banned the witnessing work as well as meeting openly. It is quite amazing to hear first hand from brothers who were imprisoned about their experiences. Or to hear about the different things that were done to still be able to preach and meet together. Before Kanicia and I left the United States we read the 1974 yearbook profile on Spain to learn about the history of the work in this country. It’s one thing to read it on paper but it’s another to hear it told by someone who lived it. We really appreciate the faithfulness of these dear brothers who suffered because of their determination to not transgress Jehovah’s laws.

In some countries today Jehovah’s people are imprisoned for certain periods of time such as 2 or 3 years for refusing to perform military service. From what the brothers here told us, this was not the case under Franco’s rule. The witnesses were imprisoned indefinatley. It was not until Franco died that the brothers were soon freed. What a fine example of loyalty!

A couple blocks from our house their is a field that is owned by a sister. When the work was under ban the brothers would meet in a sheltered area of the field out of site of passerby and act like they were having a picnic. There were brothers designated as the lookout and if the police would approach they would give a signal to alert the others. These kind of stories really makes us appreciate the freedom that we have to meet together freely today!

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Kanicia, Antoine & Francisco (Special Pioneer)