A month ago I mentioned how for more than 42 years I have felt it an important part of my calling and responsibility to try to constantly encourage and inspire all our co-workers who stand back of me in God's Work. I was just returning from the very successful campaign in Nairobi, Kenya, in central east Africa. That big audience of smiling black faces had literally inspired ME — as did the man who drove me to my New York hotel. And I realized that I NEED that kind of encouragement and inspiration, as much as the rest of you do.
I reproduced portions of about a dozen letters from co-workers literally surcharged with ENCOURAGEMENT and INSPIRATION.
But I wonder if all of our co-workers FULLY realize and understand WHY this NEW DIMENSION in the Work — reaching the great MASS-POPULATION nations around the world through their heads of government at the top — is actually now the MAIN THRUST of the Work.
This was brought forcibly to mind by a letter recently received from a deacon.
"I was reading one of your letters," he writes. "In it, you stated that your meetings and subsequent campaigns are now the main thrust of the Work. You had written that before, and I had read it, but never really got it. This time it struck me.
"What you are doing," he continues, "is not easy for anyone to see and understand. We have no biblical examples of similar activity by God's apostles of the past, or the prophets of old. Meeting as you are with heads of state, the highly educated, and numerous other officials? Unheard of! Many of God's people as a result do not understand.
"Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah, Daniel appeared before kings, but not as a means of getting the Gospel to their peoples.
"Secondly," he writes, "what you are doing takes time to see the ultimate result, unless one has vision and foresight. For I recall that even you, sir, said that at first you did not realize why you were being given such favor in the eyes of dignitaries. How much more is this true of us?"
Let me comment again here that I was positively convinced this was of GOD — He was opening the doors — because such favor in their eyes seemed completely beyond normal. I knew God was opening doors, and in His due time He would show me WHY. And He did!
"To most people," he continues, "as you know, only what is clearly visible has any meaning. God's people are no different naturally. Also, what you are doing is quite remote to most of us, or, should I say, we are quite remote to it. You, Mr. Rader and Mr. Gotoh are there. You experience it. You live it daily.... Our daily activities tend to leave us engrossed in matters totally unrelated to the great doors God is opening to you. Now, the information that we receive from you helps immensely. Please continue by alL means to keep us filled in through co-worker letters, the Worldwide News and other publications. We need this.... What I am saying may sound like making excuses. Actually, I am only trying to explain our reactions. Despite your efforts to explain, I never before really got it.... I had to ask God to open my mind to see and grasp what you were doing. Also I had to exercise faith in God to lead you to do His will, regardless of my understanding. And soon I could begin to visualize just how what you are doing is indeed the main thrust of God's Work. I think I can see now how, in a very short time, this Work could reach the world in a powerful, heretofore unrealized way. It was amazing. It was startling....
"The conclusion I have therefore come to is that we have to have faith. We must believe that God will lead His servants in all things. Even if we don't see it, we must BELIEVE it.... Mr. Armstrong, I have always been back of you in this Work. My wife has also.... We want you to know, when you are out there on the firing line, that you do have supporters.... God's people are with you! But we are weak, we are human, and we do make mistakes.... Keep on pushing. We are behind you. [Signed] Martin Manuel"
As Mr. Manuel said, it is difficult for you who cannot be there with me to really EXPERIENCE, as I do, this very VITAL and super-IMPORTANT new dimension of GOD'S WORK.
But a former graduate of the English campus of Ambassador College, Mr. Robert E. Fahey, and his wife Evelyn did have the opportunity to EXPERIENCE the Nairobi campaign. (Mr. Fahey has been for some years now manager of our Johannesburg office and the director of the Work in South Africa.) His vivid eyewitness description has already been published in the Worldwide News, but perhaps it will help others of our co-workers to "GET IT" by repeating here his report on that campaign:
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — The Gospel was preached in Nairobi. I know because I was there and heard it! You could almost say felt it. It was that strong!
Sunday, June 8, was the final night of the campaign. My wife Ev and I sat almost bolt upright as we heard Mr. [Herbert] Armstrong deliver the strongest sermon I think I have ever heard him give. The good news of man's ultimate destiny came through clearly and powerfully.
The first night Mr. Armstrong talked about the conditions in the world today. Later that evening he mentioned that he felt somewhat disappointed that he hadn't gotten into more meat from the Bible. This may have helped him get across his message more powerfully the following two nights.
The second night was much stronger than the first. Mr. Armstrong showed from the pages of the Bible that God's government was on earth, before man was created, and administered by Lucifer. Then he explained how Lucifer rebelled and the attitude he exhibited. He finished up the second night by showing that the Gospel is the return of the govern ment of God to this earth, which will solve the problems mankind faces and replace the present god of this world. I thought that was pretty strong.
But the next morning I talked to a few of our members (we have four) in Nairobi. They were very inspired, of course, but mentioned that they had a little difficulty with Mr. Armstrong's accent. They are used to English coming with a British flavor. Actually, most all the English teachers in Nairobi are Asians from India! For Nairobi Africans, American English takes some getting used to. I mentioned this problem to Mr. Armstrong, but I didn't see what he could possibly do about it. How do you change your accent in six hours? He must have prayed about it. Because to me he sounded exactly the same the third night. But our members and everybody else in the auditorium felt there was no problem whatsoever. They sat transfixed. And nobody looked at their watch as God's servant on earth today delivered the message to Nairobi of the purpose for mankind's existence on earth and what is his ultimate destiny.
To give you an idea, towards the end of the sermon (you have to call it a sermon) Mr. Armstrong said, "You know, God's face is not black like yours!" He paused as those words sank into the hearts and minds of the audience. He had our attention to say the least! Then he said, "Nor is it pale and anemic like mine! His face shines like the sun in full strength, and so will yours and mine. We'll all be the same in the God Family. There will be no divisions; we'll all be ONE!"
I felt like cheering! I got all choked up and felt like I and that black-faced audience already were ONE! I can't tell you how encouraging and exhilarating an experience it was that final night.
Later I reflected on the situation. Here Ev and I were, two Americans who live in Johannesburg, South Africa, sitting in Nairobi, Kenya, with approximately a couple of thousand Africans and about 10 other whites listening to Mr. Herbert Armstrong deliver the clearest, most lucid and inspiring sermon on the Kingdom of God I have heard to date. It just seemed incredible!
Later that night we had dinner with Mr. Armstrong and his team back at the hotel. I sat on one side of Mr. Armstrong and Ev on the other. Next to me was Mrs. [Lelah] Upton, Mr. [Stanley] Rader's secretary. [Mr. Rader is the Work's vice-president for financial affairs.] Over a fruit cocktail Mr. Rader was dictating an article for the Worldwide News, and Mrs. Upton was taking it down discreetly in shorthand. Anyone sitting much farther away than I would never have known what was going on. Mr. Rader mentioned several announcements that he had made that evening after Mr. Armstrong's sermon and general news for the Church as a whole.
Later that night as Ev and I sat and talked — we were too excited to sleep — Mrs. Upton was sending the copy back to [Big Sandy] for immediate publication. Somehow she also managed to get some typing done for me and another message regarding the accommodations through to Tokyo before leaving early the next day for Japan.
Mr. Rader and Mr. [Osamu] Gotoh [Ambassador's director of Asian studies] were busy the whole time I was in Kenya with communication with headquarters, meeting various officials and ambassadors and setting up appointments for Mr. Armstrong. And other more mundane but equally vital functions, such as hiring film crews and airfreighting the film to Pasadena, hiring the halls, cars, microphones and who knows what all else, seeing to it that the Plain Truth was on every seat in the auditorium, hiring ushers and usherettes, setting up ads in newspapers and billboards throughout the city and, of course, hotel accommodations, protocol arrangements, and becoming aware of the local conditions, economy, history, etc., etc. When you see how much they do it's amazing that Mr. Armstrong's "team" is only made up of three men, counting Capt. [Ed] Black [pilot of the G-II].
Mr. Armstrong said that he couldn't do the work without his team. I believe him! They all work together extremely well, and each contributes his own part selflessly. I was struck by how much each one of the men respects the contribution of the other. It seems that is one of the fundamental reasons for the success they have achieved. They truly respect each other's strengths and seem determined to carry their own responsibility faithfully. I never saw an instruction given twice nor an excuse for a lack of success (in fact, there didn't seem to be any lack of success!), nor a suggestion of any kind that another hadn't done his job fully. I agreed with Solomon about the four things that are "beautiful in going."
So the "team" preached the Gospel in Nairobi with the approval of President [Jomo] Kenyatta in a powerful and clear way. And for Nairobi it's the beginning. Now the Worldwide Church of God moves in as a support function to the main arm of the Work.
Mr. Rader hopes we can begin printing the Plain Truth there, and he announced that we would have a minister there within two months of the campaign. The Plain Truth mailing list has already grown from 550 to 7000 — in three days!
A Bible study is planned soon and hopefully a full-fledged office after that. The door is not only opened, it looks like it's been pulled right off its hinges altogether! No wonder nobody can close it! [End of Mr. Fahey's report]
Brethren and co-workers, the news almost every day now is ENCOURAGING for the first time in a long while. The President has announced that the economic recession is over. Everywhere there are the happy signs that the recession is receding.
The new Ambassador International Cultural Foundation (AICF) is something of a public sensation all over southern California. It has completely put Ambassador College, the Worldwide Church of God and God's Work in a NEW IMAGE.
In every way, THE WORK has been leaping ahead. In no way has THE WORK been curtailed. But we DO need now a big pickup in the income for the Work, that it may go ahead even faster.
THANK YOU for your wonderful, encouraging and inspiring letters. I feel much encouraged. I am leaving tomorrow morning for Europe, and on this trip we have scheduled the VERY IMPORTANT testimonial dinner at Jerusalem where I will speak before a large gathering of the chief leaders of the Israeli nation. THANK YOU for your urgent, heartfelt, prevailing prayers for me, for Garner Ted and for THE WORK, from the bottom of my heart.