Here we are again, in the very midst of probably the most frantic, chaotic rush of Christmas shopping in all history—people pawing over one another in the stores—the mails jammed—people swapping gifts that are supposed to be birthday presents FOR CHRIST —and yet CHRIST IS BEING NEGLECTED! People don't give their gifts to HIM!
1935 years ago Jesus Christ, at age 30, started A WORK. It was the WORK OF GOD. He said that He, of Himself, could do nothing. It was the HOLY SPIRIT of God in Him that did the Work.
What was that WORK OF GOD? It was proclaiming the GOOD NEWS (Gospel) of the Kingdom of God. But God Almighty did not purpose to carry on His great Work in and through the single individual human body of Jesus Christ. It was necessary for mankind that Christ die for us to reconcile us to God—and that He be resurrected that through His life WE may receive eternal life. And so Jesus called and chose twelve whom He taught and trained to become Apostles—leaders of His Church. And on June 18, 31 A.D., after Christ had ascended to heaven, He sent the same Holy Spirit that had started THE WORK OF GOD through the individual human body of Jesus, to enter into and empower the COLLECTIVE BODY of disciples who became God's Church—the BODY OF CHRIST. From that moment, the resurrected living Christ led, guided, directed this collective BODY in carrying on THE WORK OF GOD—that is, proclaiming Christ's MESSAGE, the GOOD NEWS, to the world.
But have you read, in the parable of the ten virgins (this BODY of Christ), in Matthew 25, that, in proclaiming the second coming of Christ to set up the Kingdom of God, while Christ delayed coming as soon as they expected, they all "slumbered and slept?" That is, the WHOLE CHURCH of GOD went to sleep on the job of proclaiming that Good News of Christ's coming and the happy and peaceful WORLD TOMORROW! For 18 1/2 centuries, that Gospel was not preached. Instead men preached a gospel about the person of Christ, a part of the true Gospel, but mixing with it a FALSE gospel. Then, as Jesus foretold in this parable, the midnight hour struck when the cry went out that CHRIST WAS SOON COMING! The true Gospel Message Christ had taught His disciples was thundered AROUND THE WORLD!
My dear Co-Workers, do you realize that this very living CHRIST is, right now, using YOU and me as HIS COLLECTIVE BODY through which HE is shouting that dynamic and precious Message over every continent around the world today?
Yes, the time is short, and getting daily shorter! This world is hurtling to its END! If God Almighty was not going to intervene, inside of the next fifteen years, and send Jesus Christ again to this earth—only this time in ALL THE SUPREME POWER AND GLORY OF GOD—to RULE THE WORLD WITH FORCE—I tell you solemnly, on His authority, neither YOU nor I, nor a single human being, would still be left alive on this earth! The great nations of this world now have the destructive weapons to blast all human life out of existence many times over!
THE MOST IMPORTANT ACTIVITY ON EARTH TODAY is this WORK OF GOD which Jesus Christ is directing through us—in thundering to this world His last warning of the soon-coming KINGDOM OF GOD! Yet the people in this world continue on, heedless of impending colossal events, trading presents among themselves, but with NO GIFTS FOR CHRIST, whose birthday they suppose they are celebrating! Of course we know Christ was not born at this time of year— Christmas started (under a different name) hundreds of years before the birth of Christ as the birthday of Sol the SUN-god—as a festival of pagan SUN-worship—as IDOLATRY!
Co-Workers, we are now coming down the homestretch in this great WORK OF GOD. This work NEEDS, as never before, our PRAYERS, our sacrifice, our loyalty, our utmost financial support.
Never has there been such serious and desperate need of your most generous offerings, beside your honest tithes for GOD'S WORK. But right now a SPECIAL PROBLEM has become a most serious emergency. The time has come when l have to explain to you what it is.
This great Work of God, empowered by the mighty Holy Spirit of God, has, for 29 years, grown steadily at the phenomenal rate of 30% a year. That means it doubles in size and scope and power every two years and 7 1/2 months.
Here are the breath-taking, almost incredible FACTS:
Today this work, in every phase and department, is four times bigger than it was just a little over five years ago. We receive four times as many letters from radio listeners, and readers of The Plain Truth, as we did then. We publish and send out four times as much literature, to four times as many people, as we did five years ago! We have four times as many students in Ambassador Colleges. We are broadcasting on four times as many radio stations—with four times as many watts of power.
Now what does all this mean? For one thing, it means PROBLEMS! I have to face and meet them. And I need YOUR PRAYERS and YOUR HELP!
I want to take you into my confidence, and let you know some of these problems. A little over five years ago we had expanded to the place where it required 14 men to open, read, and channel incoming mail for reply. We had outgrown our space for them—they were crowding into one small room. But the way had opened up for the purchase of an empty store building, a former furniture ware- house, which we remodelled into our present Ambassador College Press building. These 14 men moved into what then seemed, by comparison, a large room, about three times larger, on the second floor of the new Press building. But today it requires 58 specially-trained men to open, read, and channel incoming mail—and again that department has outgrown its space! In two or three more years, it will require 100 men in that department. WHERE WILL WE PUT THEM? Where will they work?
A little over five years ago our Printing Department consisted of two small Davidson duplicators—small offset presses not much larger than a mimeograph. (We do not print The Plain Truth ourselves—it is printed in a giant commercial printing plant which also prints West Coast editions of Time, Life, and Newsweek). This printing department had outgrown its one comparatively small room on first-floor rear of our comparatively small Administration building. At that time the Printing Department moved to new quarters in the new Press building, and two real presses—Miehle job presses—were purchased. About two years ago that space was outgrown. We had purchased a small one-room building across the street that had been a small cafe. So we moved the Davidson presses into that room, trading one for a new larger one, and the offset Department expanded and grew. Now we have outgrown everything again. We have made a temporary solution by leasing a ware-house about three blocks away from our campus, and the two printing departments are being moved there, with the addition, now, of a large new offset press—our largest press so far.
Our mailing room—where all requested booklets and literature, and The Plain Truth, are addressed, sorted, and put in mail bags—has been completely outgrown in the Press building. Temporarily we are solving that problem by letting this department expand into the space vacated by the printing department. But what will we do two years from now?
You will realize that, with more than 100,000 letters coming in every month, it is not possible for me, personally, to write a personal answer to them. Of course, most of them request booklets or The Plain Truth, or the Correspondence Course. But several hundred a month ask questions that require a personal answer. To solve that problem, I began several years ago, to train, first one man, then two, then more and more, to answer such letters for me. These men are either ordained ministers, or ministerial assistants —qualified and trained men, called of God to this dedicated special work. At the time we moved into the Press building, I think we had only one man in the Letter-Answering Department, with two or three part-time assistants. That man today heads the department at our European headquarters, at the college in England. Today, under direction of Dr. Zimmerman, there are 17 men in that Department at Pasadena Headquarters, occupying two rooms which are now totally outgrown. In an adjoining room are crowded 20 women secretaries who are typing the personal letters these ministers dictate. Jammed into another room on second floor of the Press Building is the Correspondence Course Department.
This gives you just a slight idea of our problem of GROWING PAINS. Yes, we have PROBLEMS!
Now look at the situation of the colleges. Enrollment is increasing at the same rate. We have no dining hall in which to feed more than 400 students on the Pasadena campus. They are, under very unsatisfactory conditions, jamming into the first floor of Mayfair, one of our girls' student residences. We do not have space to feed them at one sitting, so we have to stagger classes through the noon hour so students eat in successive shifts from 12 until 2. Our very first priority need is a new dining hall!
We have completely outgrown our Assembly Hall, and have had to give up using it for Assemblies. So far, this school year, we have been forced to hold assemblies out doors, and as winter comes on and chill weather outdoors, students are exposed to colds, flu, and pneumonia. WE NEED A NEW LARGER ASSEMBLY HALL. We are temporarily solving that problem by renting a second ware-house, outside our campus, —as soon as present tenants vacate. But we seriously need a new assembly hall!
We need new class-room buildings. We need a new and much larger Administration Building. We need, and MUST build, within a year and a half, a new wing on the Press Building that will triple the present floor area.
Because we have already accepted more students at the Pasadena campus than we originally planned—and have just about reached the very ceiling we feel it is wise to have on any one campus—we are planning to open a third Ambassador College next September, in Texas. We already have a plot of ground there, near Big Sandy, 100 miles east of Dallas. By building immediately one small class-room building of five rooms, and temporarily using some existing facilities already there, we can start the new college without further expenditure—and this one small building will not be a costly one. We already have the adequate teaching staff that can be transferred to this new college.
This past summer and fall we were unable to accept but one out of four students who applied for admission. Three out of every four had to be told we had no room. We can't stop the GROWTH of the great WORK OF GOD! We feel we ought not take over 550 students on the Pasadena campus, and already we have almost that many. Therefore the new, and third, college has become a necessity. Yet we can accept only about 65 students at the new Texas campus this first year. It has to start relatively small and GROW.
Co-Workers, I could go on and on. But here is OUR BIGGEST, MOST SERIOUS PROBLEM! The expanding operational expense of this great WORK OF GOD increases 30% a year. Our income increases at almost exactly that rate. This last fiscal year our required operational expenditures from the administration of the Work ran just a few hundred dollars more than income. The year before it was just a few hundred dollars less. The two years just about balanced out.
The BIG PROBLEM is, our regular income is all taken for the regular routine daily administering of THE WORK. It leaves nothing over for property and new building—for providing the PLACE in which to do the Work. GOD'S WORK cannot continue to expand unless we have a place for these people to work. Even if the buildings in which our growing staff must DO the work should be bombed out of existence at the time when our work is finished. THAT WORK OF GOD CANNOT BE CARRIED ON AND FINISHED, U N L E S S the trained workers who DO the work have room and facilities with which to do the work! I say this, because some unthinking Co-Worker is bound to find fault and say we are putting up buildings we may not be able to use after nine, ten, or twelve short years from now.
The point is, the BIGGEST part of GOD'S GREAT WORK remains yet to be done, dear Co-Workers. This is the MOST IMPORTANT thing on earth today! Sure, I keep telling you, with emphasis, we may have only another nine or ten years in which to do it. We are near THE END of this world. TIME IS SHORT! Well then, shall we lay down on the job, and FAIL to let Christ do GOD'S WORK through us, because the few buildings we must have to do it in might be of no further use to us after our work is done? We are not concerned, now, with what happens to these buildings AFTER the finishing of GOD'S WORK, which Christ started 1935 years ago and now is finishing through us. WE ARE TO BE CONCERNED, above everything else in our lives, WITH GETTING THIS STUPENDOUS JOB DONE, BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!
This is no longer a little one-man work. Soon it will require a hundred trained men to open, read, and channel some 3,500 letters received every day seven days a week. I can't do all that myself, nor can Garner Ted Armstrong. Soon it will require fifty, and then later, a hundred called, consecrated and trained ministers to give personal reply to thousands of people who write me about personal problems, asking advice, or Bible questions. It takes a lot of people to put names and addresses on 400,000 copies of The Plain Truth every month, sort them according to towns and states for the post-office, put them in mail bags and transport them to the post-office. It takes bigger and bigger printing facilities employing many men to print the tons and tons of literature we mail out to hundreds of thousands of people. DO YOU REALIZE WE ARE NOW REACHING SOME TWENTY-TWO MILLION PEOPLE, every week, with Christ's dynamic Gospel Message, on every continent ALL AROUND THE WORLD?
All this takes HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE. These people have to be specially trained—so to train them WE HAVE TO HAVE OUR COLLEGES. To have colleges, we have to have classrooms, dormitories, dining halls, assembly halls. To open letters, read them, answer them, we have to have ROOM and FACILITIES for these hundreds of trained workers. To print and mail out literature we have to have new buildings, machinery, equipment to work with and ROOMS to do it in!
These needs are a serious part of GOD'S WORK. You know, when you stop to think about it, the great St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican in Rome, if built today, would cost billions of dollars. It is vast—it is rich and costly, in shining, glistening marble, gold, silver, and precious stones and jewels, gilded with hundreds of great and costly STATUES, mosaics that look like fine great sized oil paintings. Yet today I never hear anyone find fault, or criticize, or talk about the extravagance of it. In your town or city are probably a few fine church buildings or cathedrals —but you don't find fault or criticize.
Now in GOD'S WORK, we have no such thing. We do not build costly churches and cathedrals all over the world. No, instead we PROCLAIM CHRIST'S GOSPEL in great POWER, to MILLIONS of listeners all over the world. We spend God's money for GOD'S PURPOSES. The buildings we are going to have to build are not going to be costly, extravagant, gilded and jeweled palaces or cathedrals or basilicas. They are going to be plain, low-cost structures NEEDED TO DO THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL TO THE WORLD. Yet I know some few probably will criticize and find fault. But I believe nearly all of you will want to help, as far as you are able—and PRAY for this great need!
The WORK OF GOD cannot go on and be COMPLETED before the soon-coming end of this world, UNLESS these needs are met. Business and industrial concerns finance expansion programs and new properties and buildings by borrowings, to be paid back during future years out of PROFITS. But GOD'S WORK makes no profits. It is a NON-profit work. Also it is almost impossible for churches to borrow—except, in our case, for the comparatively small amounts a few of our Co-Workers have been willing to lend to God's Work— cases where they felt unable to give these sums outright.
There is, however, one way that we Co-Workers, together, CAN solve this difficult problem. That is to raise a SPECIAL PROPERTY FUND. If we will "tighten our belts," so to speak, and most of us make further sacrifice of some things we would like to buy, or have, or do, and undertake to give an additional SPECIAL amount for this special PROPERTY FUND, the special need can be met. However, this MUST NOT be taken out of tithes or regular offerings. Otherwise the daily operation of the WORK would stop! It must be a special, separate, ADDITIONAL offering—every month, or as often as possible—OVER AND ABOVE—and in addition to, our tithes and regular offerings.
One thing about it—this money will become an investment—an ASSET. The Work will still have it—in form of the property—for continued use as long as GOD'S WORK continues. And also remember, all such special contributions, as well as tithes and regular offerings, are deductible on your income tax return—up to 30% of income.
I realize that some of you may not be able to squeeze to an additional and separate regular offering for this special fund—or, some would be able to give but very small amounts, while others ARE ABLE to give larger amounts. But I feel I do have to ask EVERY CO-WORKER WHO POSSIBLY CAN, URGENTLY, to subscribe the most liberal separate and special amount you are able for the PROPERTY FUND— every month—beginning now. I ask you to fill in the enclosed "STATEMENT OF INTENTION" card. This is not a pledge or a vow. It does not bind you, if for any reason your income should be cut off or reduced. Yet if several thousand of us Co-Workers will subscribe to this special fund, even though a few might be unable to keep it up, I know that most will—and we may rely on the approximate amount subscribed.
This is certainly no lack of faith. We must not "tempt God" by making definite commitments for this building program with no basis whatever. God does not rain money down from the skies—He works through us, as Co-Workers, and even Christ told us to COUNT THE COST, and be sure we have assurance of enough to COMPLETE it before we start to build! IT TAKES LONG RANGE PLANNING AHEAD. Architects' plans must be completed before building permits can be requested. Without this advance assurance from our Co-Workers I could not even start to make plans. So these special "STATEMENT OF INTENTION" cards are NECESSARY, before such planning may be started. AND THE NEED IS IMMEDIATE!
THIS IS OUR ONLY SOLUTION! As Co-Workers with you and with Christ, Mrs. Armstrong and I are signing card number 1, before these are mailed out to you, for the largest monthly amount we are able. We trust you will now join us, happily, joyfully—and I shall continually PRAY that God will bless and prosper you with enough to give.
AND REMEMBER—in sending these monthly special offerings (or, if some, such as farmers, send their amounts once or twice a year in larger lumps), BE SURE TO STATE PLAINLY IN YOUR LETTER EACH TIME WHICH AMOUNT IS FOR THIS SPECIAL PROPERTY FUND—otherwise it will have to be used in the regular daily operation of the Gospel Work.
Co-Workers, the need continues great in all areas of this great Work. PLEASE RUSH TO US YOUR TITHES AND REGULAR OFFERINGS for regular operational expenses. We do still need special LOANS from those few who have amounts of from a few hundred up to several thousand dollars which you may feel unable to give outright at this time, but could LOAN for a year or several years. This allows that money to be WORKING WITH CHRIST IN HIS WORK. In the bank, it may pay you 3% or 4% annually—and if you are a Christian living by the Bible you would not be able to accept interest from God's people or His Church—(although often we can arrange otherwise for a regular income to be paid back to you)—yet, WORKING WITH CHRIST IN HIS WORK, it will increase, not a mere 3% or 4%, but 30% per year— DOUBLING EVERY two years 7 1/2 months!! This increase is not paid to you—but it goes into GOD'S WORK! Yes, THINK OF IT! Money put into this Work pays INTEREST (to the WORK), and actually INCREASES, at the rate of 30% per year!! Perhaps you never thought of it that way before! Money thus loaned is WORKING with Christ, bringing precious lives into His Kingdom, UNTIL you find that you have to ask part or all of it to be returned. And if, later, you find you are able, and willing, to make part or all of it a contribution, you can then notify us, and then deduct it on your income tax return.
I do earnestly ask every Co-Worker to PRAY CONTINUALLY AND FERVENTLY for this Work—for me personally and for Garner Ted Armstrong and all our ministers—and for all other Co-Workers, that God will prosper and provide each of us with sufficient to GIVE that HIS WORK may be kept going—and GROWING!! Keep sending in tithes and regular offerings just as before—beside this special fund offering.
Thank you most sincerely,