I must write this letter a bit early this month, because this is the year's shortest month, and I am in the Far-East. This letter must be mailed first to Pasadena Headquarters and then sent on to you.
The first of my public appearance campaigns in world capitals was originally scheduled to begin tonight in Saigon, South Vietnam. In my last letter (January 27), I mentioned that the Vietnamese War was still sputtering intermittently. A few days later it worsened and the government people there, who are sponsoring my campaign, felt it would be better to postpone the public meetings one month.
The people sponsoring the Manila (Philippines) campaign were glad to move their campaign up by three weeks — so now the first of these world-capital campaigns is to begin a week from tomorrow night in Manila.
I go from here directly to Manila, with just about the busiest week of my life scheduled for next week. I am to have another private meeting with President Marcos. I am to give a graduation address at the university and receive an honorary Doctor's degree. I am to speak before the Rotary Club, the Lion's Club, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, the Press Club, and I am to be interviewed on radio and television.
There probably will be private meetings or dinners with others there. Finally, of course, the big public appearance will occur on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights in public auditoriums — the final campaign in the big coliseum seating around 15,000 people.
We are hoping the war situation in South Vietnam will allow the campaign there three weeks later. As I mentioned in a previous letter, these campaigns are being sponsored or endorsed by those high in local governments, in whose eyes God has given me and my message great favor.
These public appearance campaigns in world capitals are absolutely unique in that they start from the very top of the governments.
Until now, the doors have been closed for getting God's last message of world peace and universal salvation to these countries. In the United States, Canada, Australia, the doors were open to reach the people by radio, television, and the printing press. In nations of the democratic system the people are the top authority. It is government of the people and by the people. But in other nations it is different. Even in nations like Britain, Germany, and France — supposedly governed by the democratic system — such means of public communication as radio and TV are government-controlled. They have always been closed to us.
On the present trip, enroute to Manila, I made a three-day stopover in Tokyo. The eight leading members of the Japanese Diet (who spent two weeks with us touring the Middle East oil regions on an official government goodwill tour) hosted a dinner in my honor, telling me they consider themselves my "Japanese sons." That adds another honor.
While in Tokyo one afternoon, one of the biggest of the Japanese giant sumo wrestlers, known in Japan as Takamiyama, came to my hotel room to see me. He is actually an American, Jesse Kuhaulua, from Hawaii and the only non-Japanese ever to win a sumo tournament. He received a letter dated July 16, 1972 from the White House, signed by President Richard Nixon, congratulating him on his championship.
When I went to open the door of my room to him — well! — what I beheld in the doorway was an experience of a lifetime! His head almost touched the top of the door (he is six feet four or taller). But his mountainous frame just about filled the whole doorway. He is simply huge — stupendous — weighing some 385 pounds. One of my Japanese friends brought him up. He sat beside me on a wide sofa — and his huge frame took up a full two seats of a three-seat-wide sofa. I felt like a pigmy beside him. We chatted for about an hour, and he told us many things about this unique Japanese sport.
Once he bent his arm back at the elbow, and he asked me to feel his forearm just below the elbow. I could hardly believe it — it was as hard as steel — harder than wood. When I shook hands with him on his arrival, and again when he left, his giant palm absolutely smothered my hand, and with his strength, I'm sure he could have broken my knuckles had he just squeezed a little harder!
I think someone in the room took our pictures together, and I may publish them in the Plain Truth — unless they make me look too little! I had seen these sumo matches a few times on television, but I never before had seen one of those wrestlers in person. It's almost unbelievable! Just thought this little personal incident might be of interest.
Also in our brief stay in Tokyo I visited the world-famous University of Tokyo and had a personal visit with the President of this very distinguished institution — which is regarded as the "Harvard" of Japan. The President and his wife are planning to visit both the Big Sandy (Texas) and Pasadena campuses of Ambassador College, arriving in Pasadena for the opening night of the concert by the Vienna Symphony Orchestra in the new auditorium in Pasadena.
In addition, our friends in the Japanese Diet (the Japanese congress or parliament) have decided to send two of their members to represent the Japanese Diet at this opening.
Next time I will tell you all about this first of the world- capital public appearances in Manila. It really marks a tremendous event in the Work of the Living God. I need, and humbly ask, your fervent prayers.
I am overjoyed and grateful to report that the income for God's Work is showing, so far this year (up to the present in February), around a 20% increase — and we seriously need to get back to the average increase of 30% God gave this Work for 35 continuous years. I do thank you in real gratitude for your faithful part and your continued loyalty. I do pray earnestly for you, and I thank God for your faith and sacrifice for His Work.