An hour ago I had just ended an address before the ministers of the world's newest government, the entire legislative assembly and others of the general public.
This morning Mr. Rader and I both spoke to the Prime Minister and his ministers in their ministers' or cabinet room.
It was a rare once-in-several-lifetimes experience. Because a week ago across Africa on the west coast I addressed the 80 or 85 delegates who were drafting a new constitution for another soon-to-be NEW nation, Southwest Africa. I addressed them in their famous Turnhalle in Windhoek, their capital city. They held this special session for the sole purpose of hearing my address. Everyone I talked to in Cape Town, it seemed, was simply amazed that such a special session had been called to hear an address from one of another country.
So far this has been one of the busiest, most productive trips of my life. Mr. Robert Fahey, Manager of our South African office in Johannesburg, surely takes me seriously when I give my age as "37 going on 36." Not many of that age could keep up the pace he has set for me—and he does the planning for my South African trips before I come. There have been meetings, addresses, speeches, interviews, luncheons, dinners planned for morning, noon, afternoon and night nearly every day since Mr. Rader and I arrived.
However, my badly sprained ankle (it happened last November 11 just after I finished a campaign speech before hundreds in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, on my last trip down here before this one) has improved.
I will try to fill you in on what's happened so far on this trip.
I had been in Bucharest, Romania, expecting to stay two more days, when I was suddenly called to London by telephone. This got me out of there just barely the day before that devastating earthquake (7.2 on the Richter scale). In London on Thursday night I had dinner with all the ministers stationed in England we could get together. On that Sabbath I preached once again at Bricket Wood. By telephone they managed to reach about all from the London Church and also several from churches to the north in England, so the gymnasium was well filled.
After another day or two in London and stopover in Rome, we left Rome Wednesday, arriving Johannesburg at 1:00 a.m. Thursday morning. It was 3:30 a.m. by the time I had gotten from the airport into the city, my luggage brought to the room, and I had turned out the bedside light to get some sleep. I had to rise early enough to drive to Pretoria to speak at a luncheon before the Rotary Club of Pretoria. At 2:45 of the same afternoon we met with the new Mayor of Pretoria in his very elegant office at City Hall. We found him to be an ardent reader of The PLAIN TRUTH. He asked me to autograph two different issues for him and another piece of white paper for his son. Dinner that evening in Johannesburg with Mr. Fahey and his chief assistants.
Friday, March 11: Luncheon engagement with Mr. and Mrs. Owen Williams at Ellis Park (he is the leading tennis promoter in South Africa), together with Arthur Ashe (he is President of the Black Tennis Foundation). A connection is being considered with AICF to assist underprivileged and promising blacks to develop and enjoy tennis. During our talk following lunch we were able to watch Bjorn Borg (Swedish and Wimbledon champion) defeating Fred McMillan. That night we had dinner with several of our South African ministers and their wives.
Sabbath, March 12: Church services of combined churches of this area. Mr. Fahey led and gave announcements. Mr. Rader spoke on the comparisons between Joseph's life and this Work today, and I spoke on "JUST WHAT IS CONVERSION?"
March 13: Could this be possible? Mr. Rader's report indicates I had a day of rest—but I wrote an article or two. Mr. Rader to tennis luncheon to meet Judge Blen Franklin, President of the South African Tennis Federation. Mrs. Rader arrived from New York.
Monday, March 14: In the morning flew to Windhoek, Southwest Africa (Namibia). Arrived 12:30 p.m.. Met by Martin Bode and Frank Nelte, ministers from Johannesburg. At 3:00 p.m. met Mayor and Mrs. Yssel, Mayor of Windhoek. Mayor Yssel is a PLAIN TRUTH reader, though he holds to his own Protestant beliefs. Also present were the City Secretary and the City Engineer. The Mayor welcomed us to Windhoek and presented me with the Windhoek Yearbook. We discussed my worldwide work and portions of the book of Revelation. Our visit was 46 minutes.
At 4:00 p.m. Mr. Rader was interviewed by press and radio preparatory to my address to the Turnhalle that evening.
6:30 p.m. Came the big event. Representatives of 11 population groups who were framing the constitution for the new nation, being given its independence by South Africa, came in special session to their grand meeting room to hear my address. They had been meeting since September, 1975, in a constitutional convention at Turnhalle to draft a constitution, form an interim government, and achieve independence by December 31, 1978.
Mr. Rader introduced me. He said he understood they had been criticized for taking so long, then explained that only the Declaration of Independence was signed in the United States on July 4, 1776, and that the Constitutional Convention, which began in Philadelphia in September, 1787, took considerable time and effort to draft the United States Constitution. He also told them of my worldwide work building bridges between nations and peoples, etc. I followed by mentioning that I had attended the entire San Francisco Convention where the Charter for the United Nations was drafted, as well as the first meeting of the Security Council in New York. I emphasized the difficulties they face in starting a new nation and new government in today's world with governments of nations crumbling at the rate of one a month. I then explained how this whole confused world—chaos in government—as well as in all society worldwide—had started at the incident of the forbidden fruit. How angels had first inhabited the earth—rejected God's government based on God's law of LOVE and turned to the way of life of "GET" instead of God's way of "GIVE" or LOVE. How Adam and Eve had disbelieved God, believed Satan's deceptive lies, took to themselves the knowledge of right and wrong, rejected the government of God and cut themselves and their posterity (all mankind) off from God.
Whereupon God adopted the "hands off" policy toward humanity for 6,000 years. Now man had been left to devise HIS OWN government, HIS OWN religion, educational system, commerce and industry and total society and way of living.
Today's world with its scores of varied man-made governments and all this world's evils was the result. I explained how God knew that, left to himself, MAN would within 6,000 years DESTROY HIMSELF—and that we have reached the very LAST GENERATION of this present evil world. For the first time in human history the weapons of mass destruction exist that can erase all human life from this earth— UNLESS Almighty God intervenes to save us from ourselves. How God reserved to Himself the right to intervene if and when necessary for His ultimate purpose—that MANKIND LEARNS THAT ONLY GOD'S WAY OF LOVE CAN BRING PEACE AND HAPPINESS.
I mentioned how God had intervened in the case of Abraham, Moses and the ancient nation Israel; Christ and the church. How Christ's gospel was the ANNOUNCEMENT of the restoration of the GOVERNMENT OF GOD to bring the world peace and happiness—but how they put Him to death and suppressed His gospel ANNOUNCEMENT of the KINGDOM OF GOD before the end of the first century. The world went on ignorant of God and His WAYS.
Today we approach the END of the 6,000 years and of this civilization. We have reached the last GENERATION—the very GENERATION in which the nations would destroy all humanity IN NUCLEAR WAR— unless God intervenes to save humanity ALIVE. He raised me up for the purpose ONCE AGAIN in THIS FINAL GENERATION of getting out the GOSPEL ANNOUNCEMENT just before it HAPPENS.
Then I said, "You gentlemen are faced with the solemn task of trying to hammer out another NEW government in the kind of world we live in today. In such a world you have to deal with other nations, and you will not be able to form a government based on GOD'S LAW, for you would be a lamb among wolves. But you CAN try to form a government that gives equal justice, opportunity, protection and concern for the WELFARE of your own people in your domestic policies. And the nearer you can come to forming foreign policies and pursuing dealings with other nations as nearly like GOD'S WAY as possible, the more you will be specially blessed by the God who is CREATOR and SUPREME RULER OVER ALL. And you will live into His WONDERFUL WORLD TOMORROW—when the KINGDOM OF GOD rules your people and all the world in PEACE and HAPPINESS and WELL-BEING and JOY. It is THE WAY—and the ONLY way that will lead to GOD and the welfare of us all."
That in essence was my message to them. God strengthened me to deliver it to them in POWER and with AUTHORITY and I can say truthfully that they were really MOVED and impressed.
I give you this much detail because I wanted you co-workers to know JUST HOW this urgent and necessary gospel MESSAGE is now reaching the heads of governments AROUND THE EARTH. I feel that my message this afternoon to the world's YOUNGEST nation, which was along somewhat similar lines, was even stronger, with greater power and authority, and I know it shook and moved the audience, including the lawmakers and the heads of those who execute the law in that nation.
Much more work lies ahead for me here in South Africa the next several days. Expect to be in Durban for Passover.
This is by far the MOST IMPORTANT WORK BEING DONE ON EARTH. It needs your EARNEST PRAYERS—and your most generous financial support— that is YOUR PART—and you have a part the same as I. Time is getting shorter. Pray HARDER MORE OFTEN! GIVE more generously and more often. WE are being judged NOW and shall be REWARDED according to our works.