I have just returned from a twelve-day absence to find, once again, a frightening condition. We must spring to IMMEDIATE ACTION!
The whole future of this great work of God — most important activity on earth today — has taken a changed complexion since my last letter.
First, though, while the response to my last letter wasn't as great as needed, you Co-Workers did respond splendidly. GOD BLESS YOU FOR IT! But by September 28, the day I flew east, receipt of money was running low again. But since money for the work usually comes in better right after the first of the month, I felt it would soon pick up. BUT IT DIDN'T PICK UP!
Now here it is, the 10th of the month — Monday. We bank three days' week-end mail on Mondays. This week-end mail is WAY DOWN for this time of month! Co-Workers, this simply floors me — even more than when I wrote that last letter! It means CATASTROPHE in God's work — unless every one of you will again respond immediately — by air mail — before it's too late!
We are now back on all radio stations — XEG, XELO, XERB — but the question is, CAN WE NOW STAY ON? It depends on the response to this letter! And a telegram came this morning from our over-seas advertising agency in New York demanding a $2,000 check by air-mail, or we will be put off the air on all foreign stations, around the world! We are receiving SUCH encouraging letters from listeners in India, South Africa, the far-east, Europe and Britain. I wanted to reprint some of them in this letter, for they would make your hearts rejoice to see how this great work is changing lives, saving them FOR ETERNITY — around the world! But there isn't time — this must be RUSHED to you!
In the past two weeks the whole outlook for the future of the work has changed! We have learned a lot of lessons since we've been on TV. We have learned that there must be advertising accompanying it to attract bigger audiences. We have tested this in the Los Angeles area, with splendid results. We have changed — speeded up — the TV program. It is being made MORE INTERESTING to the WHOLE public. The challenge before me is to make CHRIST'S MESSAGE, and the BIBLE, more interesting, MORE exciting to the whole public than the $64,000 Question, Groucho Marx's nonsense, Lucy's silliness, or the time-wasting dream-land of make-believe in dramas, crime fiction, and movies. With GOD'S help, guidance and wisdom, it can, and MUST be done!
But HERE'S NEWS! We have now learned that even before we began to improve the program we have had by far the largest TV audience of any religious program, in the areas we cover! All the professional rating agencies, who measure the size of viewing audiences and rate all programs according to size of audience, give The WORLD TOMORROW the highest rating in its field. We rate from two to ten times larger audiences than other religious programs on TV. We even rate ahead of "Meet the Press," " Walter Winchell," and some other well-known programs.
We have also found a NEW MEDIUM for getting out the Gospel, and building bigger TV and radio audiences. Twice we have used large-space display ads in the Los Angeles TIMES, putting into this space a complete Message, similar to a broadcast or telecast. We have used one of these big ads as a half-page in Prairie Farmer, (covering Illinois, Indiana, and So. Wisconsin). These ads are actually bringing in a big response, at lower cost per 100 responses than radio or TV. We are now placing a bigger Message in Prairie Farmer's next issue — three-quarters of a page.
MORE, we have now reserved, on sheer FAITH, two full pages each issue in the largest-circulated magazine on earth — READERS DIGEST! Nearly everybody reads READERS DIGEST. Their United States circulation is over 10 million copies, read by more than 30 million people! That's almost twice the circulation of LIFE, more than twice that of The SATURDAY EVENING POST or COLLIERS. Readers Digest advertising pages are all sold out more than a year in advance. It will, of course, be one or two years before we can afford a crusade SO LARGE as this, but by SHEER FAITH, I have reserved the space for one or two years from now.
And LISTEN TO THIS! Readers Digest also publishes 29 other foreign-language editions in 12 different languages, covering all South America, Britain and Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia — the WHOLE WORLD! BY FAITH, I know that in two or three years we shall be sending Christ's dynamic and LAST MESSAGE to the best educated people and the LEADERS of the nations of the whole earth by this method!
This summer we have opened permanent offices in London, England, to supervise all British and foreign Gospel work, under direction of my elder son Richard D. Armstrong, and with him is another of our fine young ordained ministers, George Meeker.
THAT, dear Co-Workers, gives you some idea of the PROGRESS of this great work, and its promising future of MULTIPLIED POWER AND SCOPE, even tho at present we are in this tight financial squeeze!
We faced the alternative of either seeing God's Work go down and OUT — or taking the NEW ROAD of TV, along with big advertising space, the DAILY radio programs, and The PLAIN TRUTH and other literature. Those four media all work together in effective TEAM-WORK. Each one helps build up the other.
But it will STILL BE A TIGHT SQUEEZE for some months to come. We must, in the future, go on more and more TV stations. We must, in the future, put these big dynamic, effective ads in Progressive Farmer, the other midwestern farm papers, Successful Farming, The Farm Journal and in other newspapers. But we have had to start this new campaign AS SMALL as possible. We can't expand it until the financial tight squeeze is over and we have the money to do it.
Co-Workers, we are now on a NEW ROAD. We had reached the CROSS-ROADS. The old road of radio only was leading off a precipice down to bankruptcy. The NEW ROAD will carry this to the GREATEST work on earth! — but did you notice that word GREATEST has the word TEST in it? It's not a smooth or easy road. It's a hard and difficult road — and it leads to ETERNAL LIFE for, perhaps, MILLIONS of precious lives. But this is a time of TRYING AND TESTING for you and me!
Right now WE ARE THREATENED with having to go off WLS! We have been switched from 10 PM to 7 PM, Chicago time. At present I think they are on daylight-saving time in Chicago, which probably makes it 6 PM in most of the middle-west, but I believe it's a better time than 10 PM. I'm desperately trying to stay on WLS. Please PRAY for this!
STAND BY ME! PRAY, as never before! Put your whole HEART into your prayers for this work! PLEASE, dear Co-Workers, will you realize the overpowering pressure on my shoulders, and PRAY FOR ME, most earnestly? I have more than I can bear — a heavier load than I can carry alone. But YOUR PRAYERS will bring God's help to lighten the burden.
We have to be willing to sacrifice other things — to give up things we had planned, and put that money into God's Work in this crucial hour of testing! We need every dollar you can send — whether only one or two, or several thousand. Daily — yes, hourly — I have to face the possibility of seeing the work fail, or being unable to produce these next TV programs next Saturday night. Every dollar counts BIG — but send as many of them as God has made possible — and KEEP IT UP, weekly if possible!