THANK YOU — THANK YOU — for responding to my last letter. In the last thirty days we have made a GOOD START on the way back up in God's Work — but only a good start. Now we must KEEP things ROLLING!
I am sorry that the NEW magazine for Co-Workers — Tomorrow's WORLD — is not yet ready for mailing — or even on the press. After all, it takes organization, a large staff, a great deal of work, and TIME to produce a magazine of quality. And we don't want to produce anything less than high quality, both as to contents and printing. But it is well on its way! We hope to have it ready for mailing by or before the end of April. Thank you for your patience. I think you'll be delighted with it when you receive it!
Now let me report to you just what has happened since my letter of a month ago. I did have to proceed immediately with cancelling our advertising contracts in several of the overseas editions of Reader's Digest. But, so far, we are retaining the most vital countries — the British edition, those of South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, and Canada. I had cancelled the French language edition in Canada, but I received such vigorous appeals from Mr. Dibar Apartian, Editor of the French edition of The PLAIN TRUTH — and, in fact, even from the Reader's Digest people also — that I ordered it restored. We have been receiving a very fine response from the French-speaking Canadians.
Also, for the present, we are retaining the German edition of Reader's Digest in Germany, and the French edition in France — but cancelled French language Swiss, and Belgian, the Belgian- Flemish language, and the German language Swiss edition. I had cancelled the Dutch edition, but may reorder it, since we have started a new Dutch language edition of The PLAIN TRUTH, just for Holland. Already it is climbing toward a circulation of 10,000 copies! I am also retaining the Spanish language Mexico edition of Reader's Digest, for Mexico only, but cancelling South America, Central America and the Caribbean editions.
Already I have had to cancel out some of the radio stations, and have about 50 more stations under study for possible cancellation. We cannot just indiscriminately cancel out radio stations. If cancellations must be made, we have to make a careful detailed study of responses from each station — of local conditions — of whether people in each area can hear the program on some other station. Our various departments, and our advertising agency, are bringing a mass of tabulations to me to study before definite decisions are made.
Meanwhile, we have brought heavy pressure on various divisions and departments of the Work here at Headquarters, to make reductions here and there in expenditures. Thus we are cutting down the budget everywhere we can, postponing seriously NEEDED enlargements and expansions.
Meanwhile, although amount of loans sent in have taken a sharp drop — considerably under the same month last year — the dollar-income has begun to show a nice increase during March. Our Co-Workers DID respond generously — at least many did. Still, because the income for January and February was considerably below the percentage gain we needed (compared to 1968) even the good response in March was not able to bring the income for the year to date up to normal increase. It is still considerably below budget necessities, even though we have trimmed down the budget every place we possibly could.
BUT — and listen carefully — we have made a fine START. If we can keep up the good response our Co-Workers have made during March, I feel sure we will come out at least even with the board by the close of our fiscal year, June 30th, so that we may yet be able to show a good sound financial statement that will maintain our very fine credit standing at the bank.
And let me say right here, that, IF we can do this, I am hopeful that we may restore all the advertising and broadcasting we have had to cancel — and avoid any further GOING BACKWARD.
Dear Co-Workers, I have always said that every little setback in this Work of God is like the cocking of a gun. You pull the trigger backward so it can spring forward, sending the bullet on ahead at lightning speed.
I wonder if you would not like to read excerpts from some of the letters I received from some of the Co-Workers, after reading my last letter of a month ago?
A Co-Worker in Arizona wrote: "When I heard the terrible news of God's Work going backward, it cut me like a knife. It is just too terrible to put into words. I know I can't do very much, but I did send in a loan and had to use part of it" (which we paid back on request) "but paid part of that back. Now I would like to turn that loan into an offering. If enough of us will give all we have, maybe those radio stations can stay on the air."
A Kansas City Co-Worker writes: "I have to write this letter with mixed emotions. The feeling is that of great sadness; that I and my fellow Co-Workers would be so weak and lax as to let a letter come out from Mr. Armstrong stating the Work would have to go backward unless we as Co-Workers wake up and do our part. For this I have wept and prayed that some way may be opened up that this great Work may not slack off, but GROW in power to warn this world. I personally have only my tithes and offerings which I am sure mean so little alone. I do, however, have a place I am trying to sell. God willing, I will be able to at least put most of it in God's Work. Please Brethren, you of Headquarters, pray that God will open our eyes that we may better see how we too, may serve and bear our share of the load."
Letters like that rend our hearts here, and I hope they serve as an inspiration and encouragement to all Co-Workers!
A Florida Co-Worker writes: "Having just received your Co-Worker letter of February 27, this small amount is sent as an offering to help in holding open the doors which Jesus Christ has opened. Mr. Armstrong, you have an awesome responsibility, and we pray for you and that Christ will give you strength and wisdom."
Remember that even the widow's mites HELP GREATLY in this Work.
A woman in California writes: "My tithes are from the ironings I take in and also what allowances my husband gives me. To me it's the greatest Work on this earth and the most important. It's the only money that I feel is worth spending. I pray every day for this great Work and for His servant's wisdom, guidance, and good sound judgment."
Your earnest PRAYERS are as needed as money offerings! A Tennessee Co-Worker writes: "As I read your letter I was stricken with the dire necessity of keeping the Work going and I, having no money, asked God to let me have $5 or $10 to send. It then occurred to me that I had not balanced our bank statement received yesterday, so I sat down and went to work on it. What did I find but an error in our favor — in the amount of $10! The power of prayer is indeed awesome!"
That reminds me of the time, when Garner Ted was a few months old and hungry and we were out of both milk and money — and I went into the bathroom, closed the door knelt beside the tub, and asked God to please send a dime for a quart of milk — and within the minute it came! At another time, when Ted was two years and five months old, and had been dumb — unable to talk — he was stricken with pneumonia. My wife called me. I rushed to his side, knelt with her beside his bed, asked God to heal him — and then it occurred to me to ask God to give him the power of speech. The fever left quickly. The next day he was able to say a number of words. In three days he was talking in sentences! The power of prayer is, indeed, AWESOME! YOUR prayers — believing prayers — are needed!
From Spokane, Washington, a Co-Worker writes: "God has shown me that I have too much money invested in the farm for the amount of return. So I have decided, or I should say 'WE' (my wife and I) have decided to sell the farm. After certain obligations are met, we plan to give the rest to God. We certainly hope and pray that our brethren together with us, will be able to scrape enough money together so that you will not have to cut back on the broadcast and advertising, or any other phase of the Work. We also hope that the new job that I have decided to accept will enable us to send much more to God's Work than we have been able to give in the past."
A comment on that. I was asked, some time ago, whether I would recommend that farmers sell their farms, get a job on salary, and put the proceeds from the sale into the Work. I canNOT make such a recommendation because the advisability would depend entirely on individual circumstances. The man whose letter is reproduced above, evidently will be BETTER OFF himself doing so, as well as helping the Work. In such cases, IF you can better your own position and that of your family, then it helps both you and the Work, I think the answer is obvious. But I certainly do not urge any to just sell all you have, leaving you destitute and without income, and give "all" to the Work. God BLESSES His people — prospers them — He is the GIVER of all good, not the TAKER. His way is not to take from you what you have, but to guide you and prosper you so you have more to GIVE to His Work WHILE YOU BETTER YOUR OWN FAMILY POSITION AT THE SAME TIME. If you have such a problem, PRAY for wisdom and guidance.
One more short letter, from Oklahoma: "Just a few lines to let you know I am still on the job. Your letter received yesterday. If you sold your home and put into this Work of God, surely I can give another hundred. God bless you for your generosity."
I don't think I ever quoted a number of letters from other Co-Workers for you to read in my letter to you, but I thought it might be helpful and inspiring to know how other Co-Workers — in this Work with YOU, and with CHRIST — really feel. Their hearts are IN THIS WORK! That's one of the reasons why this Work grows in POWER, and has such impact on the whole world today!
For the Work to constantly EXPAND its power for doing GOOD to so many millions of people worldwide, has required constant SACRIFICE on the part of all of us together who are Co-Workers with Christ. Even in the conduct of the Work, we here in the offices of top responsibility have to constantly cut back on the budget, watch our spending for the Work very carefully, postpone or give up entirely things that we would like to have for the Work. And if all you Co-Workers would FOLLOW our example in our direction of the Work, being willing to GIVE UP wants and desires that are not an absolute necessity, we WILL accomplish more in the next three years than in the past 35!
I do not mean that each Co-Worker should contribute more in the next three years than the past 35 (assuming we are speaking of Co-Workers who have been Co-Workers for 35 years). But pray that God will ADD MORE AND MORE CO-WORKERS EACH MONTH — so that there will be MORE AND MORE OF US!
Let me, finally, summarize this recent crisis problem:
Not only were receipt of tithes and offerings falling short of the needed annual increase, but the LOAN situation became acute. Many Co-Workers, thinking that dollars LOANED to the Work would be doing as much good as dollars GIVEN, began sending their offerings as loans. The thought, of course, came to mind that this way they could get it back someday if needed or desired. But we had to show it on our books as "DEMAND loans." It became top- heavy. We foresaw that our next financial statement would APPEAR to be unsound. Now WE knew, from years of experience, that only about 20% of these loans would be demanded for repayment — 80% eventually would be converted to donations. But a banker examining our financial statement would not know that. Actually, we maintained a 20% cash reserve to back up these loans. Actually our practice was TWICE AS SAFE as bank practice. But we cannot afford to have it LOOK unsound. God's Work MUST NOT BE BROUGHT INTO DISCREDIT by any act or oversight of ours!
So I have had to ask all of you who can to cancel out your loans by converting them into donations or freewill offerings. And, if you simply CANNOT do that at this time, to convert them into FIVE-YEAR loans instead of demand loans — that is, we would not be legally bound to repay more than 20% in any one year. I have explained that, IF an unexpected emergency should arise and you should seriously need more than 20% at any time, we would try to accommodate you and do the best we could, at our own discretion — but without legal obligation. And I feel sure you can trust the men the living CHRIST has chosen and placed in the top responsibilities of His Work!
YOU CAN GREATLY HELP THE WORK BY DOING THIS!
The last report from our business office shows we are making A GOOD START in solving this loan dilemma. Of course, additional loans have been sent in and accepted by us — but from January l through March 21, even with the new loans added, our total loans on the books have been reduced by 22%. However, 19% of the amount of loans remaining on the books have been converted to 5-year loans. Thus the total DEMAND loans have so far been reduced by 36.4% since the first of the year.
That is a GOOD START! I want most sincerely to THANK all who have turned loans to freewill offerings, as well as those changing loans to the 5-year plan. But I feel we must at least DOUBLE that reduction before June 30th. Please pray over it — those of you who still have demand loans on our books — and see whether you cannot convert them to offerings, or, if unable to do that, at least change to a 20% a year basis.
Also, since January 1st, we have been called on to repay a little more than 4% of the total loans on our books. Let's all pull together — each do all you possibly can for the Work of God!
I feel hopeful, now, that we shall be able to show a good sound financial statement by June 30th. Mr. Portune, Controller, head of the Business Department, smilingly says he feels he has at least three more black hairs (replacing some gray ones he was getting around the temples). Let's help him get rid of the gray ones!
The Work is on the home stretch! From here on out it is going to require sacrifice, foregoing things we would like, HEARTRENDING EARNEST BELIEVING PRAYER!
Soon our LIVING Head of God's Work, Jesus Christ, will return to earth in supreme POWER and GLORY, to restore PEACE and HAPPINESS, and to SAVE THE WORLD, giving us His Gift of ETERNAL LIFE! It's a supreme GLORIOUS future just ahead. He is using US to prepare the way.
YOU are helping to CHANGE the world — and, soon, to SAVE the whole world!
The need is still MOST URGENT, and will continue to be! But we are making GOOD PROGRESS! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!! Let's keep this Work MOVING — and I believe soon we can restore what had to be cancelled, and then go on to reach additional MILLIONS with Christ's Gospel!