Many things have happened since I last wrote to you a month ago. The passing time seems to speed up. These are the summer months in which we cannot afford to bask lazily in the warmth of the sun in idle leisure. Rather, more than ever, we need a sense of URGENCY. Events in the world are not taking a vacation, but speeding to the climax of this world and civilization as we know it.
Since my last letter I, with several members of the editorial staff and the television crew, attended the 40th anniversary of the San Francisco Conference of 1945. Ambassadors to the U.N. from many nations were there. I was one of three or so who attended the entire Conference of 40 years ago. Most are not still living. I was honored by sitting at lunches and dinners at the speakers' table, and introduced to all delegates each time.
I was glad to renew acquaintance with General Carlos Romulo of the Philippines, with whom I have maintained an acquaintance on my frequent visits to Manila. The Ambassador from the Soviet Union spoke to me twice and said I am too hard on the Soviet Union on the air, although he admitted I was not as hard on them as other TV evangelists, and invited me to visit the Soviet Union.
On June 25 I attended the 20th anniversary of the church at my home city of Des Moines, Iowa. It was an experience to be photographed at the very spot where I was born, and to see the tremendous change that has come to the city where I grew up. The anniversary service was held in a new hotel located over the very spot where I worked for three years as editorial representative of the nation's largest trade journal — The Merchants Trade Journal — during the years of 1912-19l5.
Since, I have visited the YOU camp sites at Orr, Minnesota, and Big Sandy, Texas, and spoken to the campers at each. All international camp directors were in session at Orr. What these camps are doing for the youths of the Church is amazing. There is no other youth program in the world that remotely equals what is being accomplished at our YOU camp.
The great Work of God proceeds full steam ahead all over the world. In the first five months of this year a new all-time record was set in number of letters and cards received worldwide. A total of 3.8 million cards and letters were received, as against 3.1 million last year. In 1984 we averaged 465 baptisms per month worldwide — and for the first four months of 1985 the average was 597 baptisms per month. God is adding an average of one new large church congregation per month. This year our ministers have averaged 1,972 new contacts requesting a visit, compared to 1,292 last year.
Again I repeat, the harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are too few. The need for more ministers is still urgent. We have a large waiting list of graduates of Ambassador College qualified for the full-time ministry, devoting what time they are able now; but they need to be put full time into the ministry.
We have added still more TV stations. As other religious evangelists begging for funds from the public over the air go broke and are put off stations, their time becomes available to us. We could add still more than we have if funds permitted. But in God's own Church we can still say our bills are all paid. We never have to beg the public of the world for money, and we still have money in the bank — only barely enough to keep the work going from month to month. God's Church, too, needs more money — but God does not want us begging Satan's world for it. When Moses needed money he sent a proclamation to God's own people, and the response was overwhelming. God has promised to supply every need.
Brethren, I know many of you have made real sacrifices to send money for God's Work, yet some have not. I do not want to put pressure on you who have. Rather I ask you to PRAY very earnestly that God will lay it on the hearts of those who are able to send in more and more, that all needs can be met.
We have put a few more ministers full time into the field so far this year, but the need is still great. At the moment our budget is virtually balanced — just a fraction under — and we must maintain sound financial balance. We do and must continue to pay all bills on time. I just ask you to do faithfully what God makes you able to do, and to join me in prevailing prayer that God will move on those who are able to supply every need.
Brethren, I do thank you from the heart for your faithfulness, and I rejoice that God does so bless his Work and his people. These are the most trying months of the year to keep meeting every financial need.
We are already looking forward to the greatest Feast of Tabernacles ever. It is fast approaching.