Now we are in 1969! But 1968 — that was the year that was! Just LOOK at the facts — how the world skidded DOWNWARD — DOWNWARD — yet this Work of God was propelled by the living Christ UPWARD — UPWARD, in its biggest year of GROWTH!
Here is a brief, quick reminder of how the world went:
January 16: Britain's role as a world power came to an end. Prime Minister Harold Wilson announced the complete withdrawal of British forces from the Far East and the Persian Gulf by the end of 1971, instead of 1975, as previously planned. Britain NO LONGER AN EMPIRE!
January 23: The U.S. Navy ship PUEBLO with 83 crew members captured in an act of war by the little 5th rate nation, North Korea. The U.S. has had the pride of its power broken, according to Lev. 26:19. Military might of powerful U.S. failed to go to the rescue.
January 30: The urban crisis threatened "the whole fabric of American Society."
February: In powder-keg Middle East, Intensified clashes between Israeli and Arab forces. In New York city garbage strike piled up 100 tons before strike ended Feb.10, showing a few union leaders can paralyze a city.
March 1-14: In gold crisis, U.S. ended its currency's gold backing. Value and stability of dollar in peril. Britain's worst hoof-and-mouth disease epidemic, with great destruction of cattle, (430,000 had to be slaughtered) ended March 13 — had begun the preceding October. Ambassador College cattle (we do farming, producing much of the food for our students both there and in U.S.,) unharmed. Were we not protected?
March 28: Memphis violence — 4,000 National Guard called out.
April 4: Slaying of Martin Luther King. April 4 to 11, racial violence broke out, widespread — Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Chicago, Kansas City, many others — over 40 deaths. ENTIRE YEAR GREATEST VIOLENCE SO FAR. GROWING GUNFIRE ATTACKS ON POLICE. LAW AND ORDER BREAKING DOWN. Increasing campus riots, colleges being closed down. Also VIOLENCE on campuses in West Berlin, Paris, Rome — violent demonstrations all over Europe and Britain — numerous cities.
April 23-24: Violent demonstrations, Communist inspired (as were the others) at Columbia University, New York — virtually closing the great university for remainder of school year. This sparked more rioting and violence on many other U.S. campuses. (No student revolt or trouble on AMBASSADOR COLLEGE campuses.)
May 11: Poor People's March on national capital — encounters with police, robbery, slashings, beatings — even rape — within and surrounding "Resurrection City."
May 14: University of Paris riots spread to nationwide strikes paralyzing France — almost overthrowing government. Promoted by "Danny-the-Red," "New Leftist" (Communist) leader.
June 5-6: Senator Robert P. Kennedy assassinated in Los Angeles. Might have been next President.
July 1: Common Market in Europe reaches momentous goal, bringing it closer to prophesied U.S. OF EUROPE, 18 months ahead of schedule. 29th — Pope reaffirms birth control ban — leading to protests threatening to split Catholic Church. Even churches in grip of STRIFE.
August: Several EARTHQUAKES — Manila; toppled building burying 500 occupants; heavy damage, some killed, Mexico City; 100,000 left homeless, an estimated 20,000 killed in Iran earthquake.
August 20-21: Russia invaded Czechoslovakia, arousing leaders in Europe to work harder to bring about U.S. of Europe.
August 23-30: Full-scale rioting in Chicago during Democratic National Convention. August 28, national guardsmen and police battled youths — over 100 injured, including 25 policemen. August 26, FBI reports that serious crimes in U.S. up 16% over 1966 — crime rising nine times faster than population.
September 24: Mexico City riots — many deaths reported — students battled army — battle continued into October.
December: San Francisco State College riots. President forced to resign — riots worst ever. Then, in December two events appeared to the world to be very great GOOD news — but, actually were they? 1) the release of the crew of the captured Navy ship, the PUEBLO. Naturally we were all overjoyed to know those men were home safe — if not "safe and SOUND. " Yet, the manner in which they were released was one of the most disgraceful acts in United States history. I have written an article on this, appearing in the January PLAIN TRUTH.
The other apparently GOOD news event was the incredibly successful space flight of the three astronauts, orbiting the moon ten times and returning safely. But CONSIDER: That feat cost 1 1/2 BILLION dollars! And what did it accomplish? Compare the real VALUE of that to the value of THOUSANDS of precious lives converted this past year THROUGH THIS WORK OF GOD — mortal lives now HEIRS OF ETERNAL LIFE — at an infinitesimal FRACTION of the cost. When you consider the lasting VALUE, no activity on earth accomplishes SO MUCH on SO LITTLE. Every dollar — every "widow's mite" — accomplishes a GREAT DEAL in this Work, directed by the living CHRIST — far more than any other way it might be used!
IN THE WORLD, there was very little news during 1968 except BAD NEWS, of which the above is a high-spot summary.
Etc., Etc., Etc., Etc. To say nothing of the Vietnam war, the moral toboggan-slide accelerating, increased insanity, increased suicides, increased divorce and break-up of home and family life, the population explosion gaining momentum, the increasing threat of nuclear war that would erase all human life from the earth unless God intervenes.
THIS WORLD IS HURTLING ITSELF WITH EVER-INCREASING SPEED TOWARD THE FINAL CRISIS WHERE THE LIVING CHRIST MUST COME DOWN TO EARTH IN SUPREME POWER AND GLORY TO SAVE HUMANITY ALIVE!
This great Work of God, directed by that very living Christ, has been raised up to PREPARE THE WAY for Christ's coming — to SAVE THE WORLD!
It is preparing for His coming THREE WAYS: 1) proclaiming the GOOD NEWS of Christ's coming to establish the Kingdom of God as a witness (Matt. 24:14) — 2) making ready a people prepared for His coming — 3) excavating, ln Jerusalem, down to the very spot of David's throne — clearing away nearly 3,000 years of accumulated rubble — for Christ is coming to sit on DAVID'S THRONE (Luke 1:32; Isa. 9:7).
For 35 years we have been proclaiming by radio and in print that GOOD NEWS — this past year far more than ever before. Additional THOUSANDS are being prepared for His coming every year — their lives changed — thousands converted, baptized, receiving God's Holy Spirit, through this Work. And, beginning December 1, 1968, Ambassador College entered JOINT PARTICIPATION with Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Israel Archaeological Society in what I believe to be the most important and large-scale archaeological project ever attempted. Already we have sent a number of our representatives to Jerusalem for preliminary preparations. Work on this "big dig" will get under way in earnest March 1st — when the rainy season ends.
Now look at the PROGRESS made by this Work of God during 1968 — while the world was fast deteriorating toward its final crisis:
February: The new Spanish language PLAIN TRUTH was started. In 10 months it grew to a circulation of over 25,000 copies.
March: The new Loma D. Armstrong Academic Center dedicated at the Pasadena campus of Ambassador College.
April: Negotiations begun in Brussels, Belgium, for joint participation between Ambassador College and a Foundation including a number of world-known scientists to conduct important fact- finding expeditions. This project will enhance recognition of Ambassador College in a manner to open new doors for carrying on God's Work.
May: The first full-color WORLD TOMORROW TV program produced. The WORLD TOMORROW is now going out on several important TV stations in the U.S. and Canada — more stations being added gradually. When you are able to SEE the program on TV, you'll find it even MORE EFFECTIVE than on radio. Several important TV stations have since tried to obtain the services of Garner Ted Armstrong, as a television news analyst and commentator — but they haven't got a chance!
June: The first of our new advertising campaign got started — in "T.V. GUIDE." Results were BIG, adding thousands of subscribers to The PLAIN TRUTH.
July: Advertising campaign got under way FULL-SCALE — putting our large-space ads before a readership of ONE HUNDRED MILLION PEOPLE. This included double-page ads in many editions of Reader's Digest, worldwide; Drive magazine with 4 million copies circulation in Britain; half pages once a month in London Sunday TIMES, and full pages in color in London TIMES Sunday magazine; half pages in London Sunday EXPRESS; full pages in several regions of United States in LIFE magazine — full color. These ads have brought tremendous response, greatly increasing circulation of The PLAIN TRUTH.
August: The WORLD TOMORROW radio program begins broadcasting in the ITALIAN language. New giant web-fed printing press delivered, added to the one we already had.
September: The PLAIN TRUTH comes out in a new DUTCH language edition, with large circulation in Holland, resulting from Reader's Digest ads. New men's dormitory, housing 144 men, completed on Pasadena campus, and new girls' dorm, housing 80 girls, completed on English campus. All three campuses open new school year with largest enrollment in history.
October: The new printing plant in Pasadena — one of the largest west of Chicago — completed. Constant growth of PLAIN TRUTH circulation, and demand for booklets, Bible Correspondence Course, and other literature, made great expansion necessary.
November: Preliminary arrangements completed at Jerusalem for joint participation between Ambassador College and Hebrew University in history's largest, most important archaeological project. Our Mr. Stanley Rader and I went on to Japan, where we were luncheon guests of Prince Mikasa, brother of the Emperor. Preliminary plans were laid for carrying the Gospel into Japan on a large scale — by radio, in Japanese language, reaching many million listeners — in 2-page ads in Reader's Digest and other publications.
December: Joint participation with Hebrew University in archaeological project completed in palace-residence of Israel President Zalman Shazar. Some ten days later, Dr. Benjamin Mazar, former President of Hebrew University and now director of archaeological dig, with Dr. Josef Aviram, visited both Texas and Pasadena campuses of Ambassador College, addressing students.
The circulation of The PLAIN TRUTH leaped from 1,150,000 to 1,500, 000 during 1968 — a gain of more than a third of a million subscribers. It now has a total reader-ship of around 5 million!
I repeat — every single dollar in this all-important Work of God HELPS SAVE LIVES — accomplishes more than any way it could be used!
You and I have been called and chosen by the living Christ to be HIS CO-WORKERS in GOD'S GREAT WORK. We have been DRAFTED — yet it was not a compulsory draft — we VOLUNTARILY accepted the draft. YOU have the very rewarding satisfaction of KNOWING that your sacrifice — your financial help, and that of YOUR PRAYERS — has ACCOMPLISHED MUCH that is LASTING and ETERNAL! YOU are having a PART in helping to CHANGE THE WORLD — paving the way for Christ's coming — and then to SAVE THE WORLD!
One thing you have helped pay for is the Ambassador College Bible CORRESPONDENCE COURSE. There is none like it. It makes the Bible COME ALIVE! It is INTERESTING! It is VALUABLE! As a Co-Worker, you have had a part in placing this in the hands of MANY THOUSANDS. Yet a checkup shows that thousands of our Co-Workers ARE NOT TAKING THIS CORRESPONDENCE COURSE! You simply have no idea how absorbing — how INTERESTING — it is.
I want to ask you a PERSONAL FAVOR — if you are one who is not taking this course. Will you request a copy of LESSON #l? Look it over. Read it. Look up the Scriptures indicated in your own Bible. You'll be surprised how interesting and valuable it is! You've already helped pay for it — now ENJOY IT! Profit by it! Will you do that for me? Then, if you like it as well as I think you will, go right on with the course!
Well, we did finally get through the difficult month of December. But January is usually just about as hard a month for the Work financially. So many spent so much on Christmas shopping in December they try to catch up with their personal financing in January. The financial need is GREAT. And this letter is a week late getting out. Will you PRAY EARNESTLY about it, and rush to us the largest offering, beside tithes, that you can? The need is always great.
And may I say a word about the loans of larger sums? These help tremendously — when you have sums you are not, at the time, free to give, to loan these to the Work, and let this money be WORKING where CHRIST is working and guiding and directing — and BLESSING! BUT there is one other consideration in this regard. These sums cannot be counted as INCOME for the Work, but must go on our books as LIABILITIES, as long as they are subject to repayment. This actually counts against us on our financial statement. For this reason, it occurs to me that perhaps many who have helped the Work with such loans might, at this time, be in position to cancel out a part, or all, of the loan, turning it into a donation. It is then deductible on your income tax. This would transfer such sums from liabilities on our books into ASSETS. If you CAN do this, I will be grateful. Last year we were called on to return a larger percentage of these loans than in former years. In case of real necessity, we are always prepared to repay such loans, but, unless it is a necessity you can greatly help God's Work by leaving loaned sums ln the Work as long as possible. I know that I can speak for the Head of this Work, the living Jesus Christ, in THANKING YOU, from the heart, for your sacrifice, your generosity, your prayers, your HELP in this great Work.
Don't forget to order the first Correspondence Course lesson, if you are not already enrolled — order it with your next tithe or offering if you are sending that by return mail — order it by return mail ANYWAY. THANK YOU!