HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG P.O. BOX 431, TUCSON, ARIZONA 85702
January 23, 1980
Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:
Suddenly we are in a different world! We are 23 days into the NEW DECADE OF THE 80s! This decade was born in TURMOIL! Suddenly it's a different world! To use a modern slang expression, "it's A WHOLE NEW BALL GAME!"
The Russian military march through Afghanistan poses a threat to the world—to HUMAN SURVIVAL—even greater than World War II! Humanity survived alive through World War II! This Russian military invasion threatens a NUCLEAR WORLD WAR III that could blast all human lives —including yours and mine—off this planet!
Actually—thanks to God and His foretime prophecies, humanity will survive—and a new world of PEACE, HAPPINESS and JOY will follow! Yes, THANKS to that END-time Message that your tithes and offerings are making possible to THUNDER to a sick and dying world!
Yes, YOU are directly involved! It's time and already past time for you and me to WAKE UP to conditions as they are—and WHAT'S NOW COMING on the world.
The NEW DECADE also was born in a REAL UPSURGE in the Work of the living God, which you and I are engaged in—and I have very inspiring news to tell you about that in this letter.
President Carter's State of the Union Address tonight to the entire Congress and to the nation (and to the Kremlin) warned the Soviet Union to keep hands off driving south to the Persian Gulf, or the United States will USE MILITARY FORCE! The U.S. government regards any Russian military and naval drive into the Persian Gulf as an act jeopardizing U.S. national security and an act of WAR! And that would mean NUCLEAR WAR that could erase all human lives off this earth! That's the first threat of ACTION by FORCE that the President has used since we entered the crisis of the hostages in Iran!
Those who know Communist goals and procedures, and the philosophy behind them, know that NOTHING short of equal or stronger military FORCE will now turn the Russians back. They are in Afghanistan to STAY!
The United States now has three huge aircraft carrier naval ships in the Persian Gulf, besides other naval ships—and more could be sent there quickly.
But the Russians—as I've said—are like a huge lumbering BEAR. Once they put their foot down in an invaded country, they will not remove it unless superior military force drives them back! They don't want to fight! That is, not against an equal or superior force. The U.S. naval might in the Persian Gulf—IF they believe President Carter is not bluffing—will not drive them back out of Afghanistan. Put this down in your mind—the Russians are in Afghanistan to STAY!
If they think they dare, they might go on through Afghanistan. And they might delay doing even that for several months. Like a massive BEAR, they move slowly. They do not move in "blitzkrieg" speed.
Meanwhile they are calling up reserves to their army and other military forces. And they are massing heavy military forces, poised to invade Yugoslavia, and also in East Germany, threatening EUROPE!
So NOW WHAT?
The Soviet Union will finish its job in Afghanistan and make themselves secure there against the Moslem Kurds. They don't have to hurry. Their strategy plan to conquer and rule the whole world with Communism—to STAMP OUT ALL RELlGlON—does not have an immediate time limit on it. They haven't planned to accomplish that ultimate objective within the time of a single generation. They are in no hurry. They move slowly—ponderously—but they keep moving and they do not plan to lose ground.
The Kremlin Masters do NOT want a nuclear war with the United States. But they know the U.S. has been weak and vascillating. As God has foretold, we have LOST THE PRIDE OF OUR POWER —or rather, God said "I will break the pride of your power"—and He has done that! America HAS THE POWER! But America is AFRAID to USE IT—and the Kremlin bosses KNOW THAT better than our politicians in Washington!
It is now after midnight, and before retiring I come back to the typewriter. Just before midnight, on an ABC Network special News Report following the President's State of the Union Address tonight, an ABC Network news commentator had, by satellite, a Soviet Union TV news commentator in conversation, showing the Russian commentator as if he were in the same TV studio with the ABC man in New York. It was tomorrow morning in Moscow.
The ABC speaker asked the Soviet speaker if he thought the cancellation of the Olympic games would punish the Soviet Union.
"Sir!" answered the Russian sharply, in angered pride, "Nobody—NO NATION—punishes the Soviet Union! No nation has that power!"
He was indignant. He showed the Russians have PRIDE in their power! But because our nation has transgressed God's Laws—violated His trust—God has BROKEN the pride of U.S. power! The U.S. no longer has pride in it, and is afraid to use it! God is starting to PUNISH America for her transgressions of GOD'S WAY!
Now, what about the grain embargo, and the threat to withdraw from the Olympic games? The leaders in the Kremlin anticipated all that. To them it was a calculated risk! What they have done and are doing, they considered as WORTH IT! These things—all the United Nations resolutions against them—that all is considered part of the price the Russians have to pay. Those things WILL NOT DETER THEM!
But, meanwhile, since President Carter has told the world it will mean MILITARY WAR if the Russians invade the Persian Gulf and thereby control the INDIAN OCEAN, they will simply SLOW DOWN SHORT OF THAT FOR THE TIME! They can bide their time and WAIT! Meanwhile they will THREATEN EUROPE—but, for now, ONLY threaten. But heads of government in Europe don't know that! As the Russians mass more troops and other military hardware closer to West European borders, and as the United States vascillates, European leaders will become more and more frightened—and they are frightened against this Russian threat already!
Vice Chairman Tan Zehn-Lin—one of three top leaders of the Communist People's Republic of China—told me with emphasis that the Russians do plan to invade and take over Western Europe, and even urged me to warn western European leaders of this. Then I told the Vice Chairman what he didn't know—saying before I told him that he would not believe it (which he didn't) that Europe would unite with ten nations or groupings of nations in a Church-and-State revival of the medieval "Holy Roman Empire," uniting with the Roman Catholic Church, and that THIS, not Russia, would plunge the world into a frightful chaos which would be cut short by a powerful "unseen Strong Hand from someplace"—which he very well understood to mean intervention by Almighty God. I told him this "Unseen Strong Hand" would then rule all nations and bring us WORLD PEACE at last! He is one of three men primarily responsible for the beliefs of ONE-OF FOURTH OF ALL MANKIND!
Even if the Vice Chairman of so large a nation did not believe it, HE WAS TOLD! He GOT THE MESSAGE! And I told him, smiling, to remember, when it happens, that I told him. He still smiled, and invited me to come to China again.
Well, Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ, WORLD EVENTS ARE SPEEDING UP SUDDENLY! They will speed up faster now!
What Russia is doing will be the spark to bring the heads of nations in Europe together with the Vatican to form a "United Nations of Europe." The politicians cannot do this by themselves. Only with the collaboration of the Pope can they do it.
Russia will move slowly—but will keep moving! Other nations and events will move FASTER!
From here on it is an altogether NEW world picture! The END-TIME events I have been telling the world for 47 years ARE NOW BEGINNING TO MOVE FAST! You see and hear of them daily on your television screen!
It is YOU DEAR BRETHREN AND CO-WORKERS who have gotten this Message to MILLIONS of people. Through YOU, as Christ has opened doors, I have been able to get that Message to kings, emperors, presidents and prime ministers of MANY nations over Europe, Asia, Africa and South America—and to many of their leaders.
And now the Work is TAKING ON NEW LIFE—all around the whole world!
However, the events of the past few days may mean that my invitation to visit Moscow and talk with Kremlin leaders may have to be cancelled. But remember—that's more their loss than ours! That is, it's their loss if they do not hear THE MESSAGE!
It is now Thursday, January 24. I wrote the above after evening TV news on all three networks, until after 11:00 p.m., and then after midnight again.
Now I want to give you news of the progress of God's Work AROUND THE WORLD. Yesterday I spent the time from 12:00 noon lunch until nightly newscasts with Messrs. Dean Wilson, manager of the Work in Australia and Eastern Asia, Leslie McCullough, head of the Work in Canada and supervisor over foreign Work, and Joseph Tkach of Ministerial Services in Pasadena.
Mr. McCullough had recently returned from a visit to South Africa and Britain. The report these men had for the overseas Work was exciting. EVERYWHERE around the world, Jesus Christ is speeding up the Work! It has taken on NEW LIFE and is surging ahead at increased acceleration!
First let me give you a report on South Africa. The very first service there was March 23, 1963, conducted by Gerald Waterhouse; 33 in attendance. That was the START!
There has been steady growth. Average attendance, 1979: Johannesburg, 478; Durban, started 1965, now 223. Cape Town, started 1973, now 180. Salisbury, Rhodesia, started 1972, now 157. Pretoria started 1975, now 152. There are 9 other churches in South Africa, and the combined average attendance, including the above, is now averaging 1,834.
We operate a good-sized office in Johannesburg, of several office rooms. 12 full-time ministers serve the 14 churches. There are also 16 other outlying Bible studies being conducted.
From 1954 to 1972 we broadcasted half-hour programs over Radio Lourenco Marques. 1975-1977, broadcasted over Rhodesian Broadcasting Corporation. 1977 to now, Radio Swaziland.
Incidentally, I have made three visits myself to South Africa, and have spoken to all our principal churches there, besides many other speeches before Rotary and other such clubs, public evangelistic services well advertised, and other clubs and groups. I have visited with the King of Swaziland, besides many other leaders, including the Prime Minister of South Africa.
We have been on TV in Rhodesia in 1973 and 1975-1977.
The PLAIN TRUTH is on newsstands in South Africa—1973 to now. Approximately 30,000 copies distributed monthly. This produces an average of 1,200 new yearly subscribers per month!
We ran one-page or two-page ads in Reader's Digest in South Africa 1968-1972, besides miscellaneous other magazines.
And REMEMBER, Co-Workers, WE DO NOT SOLICIT MEMBERS! We are completely NON-proselyting. Jesus sent His apostles out to proclaim HIS MESSAGE (which is His Gospel) of the coming KINGDOM OF GOD.
Remember, Jesus Himself did NOT solicit converts or members when He was on earth. Neither did His apostles. NEITHER DO I! I myself, on radio and TV, in advertising, in speeches before the public MAKE NO SOLICITATION for either members or contributions! God has called us to PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS OF THE SOON-COMING KINGDOM OF GOD.
OUR REAL SUCCESS IS COUNTED BY THE NUMBER REACHED WITH THE MESSAGE—WHICH IS REALLY AN ANNOUNCEMENT of the coming KINGDOM OF GOD. We NEVER try to talk people into conversion or membership! THEY MUST COME TO US! NO OTHER CHURCH ON EARTH DOES THIS AS CHRIST DID AND SENT HIS APOSTLES OUT TO DO! So, the real report on the RESULTS produced by YOUR OFFERING and payment of GOD'S TITHES is how many of the public we REACH—not how many members; GOD ADDS the members, as you will notice in Acts 2:47.
The PLAIN TRUTH circulation in South Africa in 1967 was 9,000, and has grown to 91,200 today. At least 4 people read each copy. We are reaching more than a third of a MILLION PEOPLE in South Africa!
God has ADDED steadily to Church membership. In 1963 it was 42. 1967, 292. 1971, 551. 1975, 869. 1979, 1264 average. God has blessed us steadily and continuously!
Now AUSTRALIA. Hold on to your seat! I can't believe it myself. We now have SIXTY churches in Australia! We have TWELVE churches in New Zealand. There are now 19 church congregations in the Philippines (including churches and Bible studies being regularly held). There are ordained ministers in all these! We have churches in Mexico and South America.
WE ARE HAVING GROWTH EVERYWHERE AROUND THE WORLD!
We have 2,200 members in the Philippines.
While we have income from all areas, the financing of GETTING THE GOSPEL TO THESE FAR-FLUNG AREAS AROUND THE WORLD must come from the U.S., Canada and Australia. Canada provides $400,000 annually for overseas carrying of the Gospel Message. Australia helps finance Gospel proclaiming in Southeastern Asia. As a result we have members and churches in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Southeastern Asia generally.
We now have churches in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Burma, India, and Sri Lanka, besides a regular Bible study in Hong Kong. Another is being started in the Solomon Islands.
The invasion of the State of California on Church Headquarters at Pasadena has aroused our members in Australia and Southeastern Asia! Like the United States, they are CLOSER TOGETHER now—and CLOSER TO JESUS CHRIST!
We used to blanket Australia by local radio stations. All those broadcasts are gone now. I worked hard for several years to get the Message on those radio stations, but my son cut it all to five-minute programs—they produced no results, and we are off radio in Australia. But now we use newspaper and magazine advertising, getting The PLAIN TRUTH into additional thousands of hands, and the WORK KEEPS ON BOOMING!
Now CANADA! THE WORK IS BOOMING IN CANADA! We have just been able to get a half-hour program on the CKO News Network—a major network in major cities of Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and other major cities. These stations have an ALL-NEWS format, except my 30-minute programs. Many Canadians catch our TV programs from northern U.S. cities.
In Canada we are sending out a 4-page insert in newspapers having 5.8 million subscribers. This 4-page insert is the same page size as The PLAIN TRUTH, with an attractive PLAIN TRUTH cover page, and three other very attractively and professionally designed pages —soliciting 1-year FREE PLAIN TRUTH subscriptions. It is one of the most effective advertising projects we have done anywhere. It is GETTING THE GOSPEL OUT—and The PLAIN TRUTH subscriptions resulting will keep it going out! Of the 22 million Canadian population, this is reaching 17 MILLION!
In addition, The PLAIN TRUTH NEWSSTAND circulation in Canada is now 350,000 copies per month!
NOW EUROPE! In Great Britain and Ireland, The PLAIN TRUTH started in 1953 with about 1,660 copies, gradually growing to 125,000 in 1974. Up to then we were broadcasting over Radio Luxembourg, the ship station, and advertising The PLAIN TRUTH in Reader's Digest and full pages in the Sunday London Times. It has gone down to about 50,000. We need to use more advertising in Reader's Digest and the Sunday London Times.
Newsstand circulation in Britain went up to 275,000 in 1976. We have let that slide down since, and must renew it and see it GROW!
Church membership started with a very few in 1955 and has gradually increased to about 2,200 in regular attendance. British income has increased gradually from a few dollars in 1954 to $1,625,000 per year (1979).
In SCANDINAVIA (three nations), PLAIN TRUTH subscribers started 1969 with 1,000, and rose to over 18,000 in 1975. That has shrunk since to 8,000 in 1979. We need to SPEND MORE MONEY TO CARRY THE GOSPEL INTO SCANDINAVIA!
We now have a little over 5,000 on newsstands—but in 1974 we placed 20,000 on newsstands. THIS NEEDS INCREASING—and that MEANS WE NEED MORE MONEY!
Membership in Scandinavia: From about 12 in 1972, it has grown to about 62 members. MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE IN SCANDINAVIA!
In BLACK AFRICA: We had 9,000 PLAIN TRUTH subscribers in 1970. It rose to 70,000 in 1973, and sunk very low in 1975, but has gradually grown since to 20,000. Membership, from 6 in 1970, it has gradually GROWN to about 375.
So you see the WORLDWIDE GROWTH—and the NEED to proclaim the Gospel in greater force especially in Britain and Scandinavia.
We have about 15 churches in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, with good, solid membership.
I think I forgot to mention 76 churches in Canada, 10 in the Caribbean, 6 in East and West Africa, 1 in Holland, 16 French speaking, 3 in Scandinavia.
Overall, THIS IS A TRULY GREAT WORLDWIDE WORK! The Work is BOOMING!
But time is GROWING SHORT! There is still much to do—and it will take more money! I hope sincerely that this report ENCOURAGES YOU, STIMULATES YOU TO THE NEED, AND THE SHORTNESS OF TIME! We still have a BIG JOB TO DO!
We must now be willing to SACRIFICE TILL IT HURTS!
God be with you! I pray for you DAILY! and I need your prayers!