My time has been so crowded that I simply did not get around to writing you, at the first of January, in regard to the renewing of statements of intention for this year for the building fund.
But now this fund is sinking so low it has brought us to a serious CRISIS. I am forced to drop everything else and write you about it.
Brethren, I have done everything I could to make clear to all members just WHAT IS "THE WORK." It is the Work of God, which He carries on through HIS CHURCH as His instrument, with the living Jesus Christ as its guiding Leader and HEAD. But all this WORK OF GOD is actually done BY AMBASSADOR COLLEGE. It is the Work of getting Christ's own GOSPEL to all the world as a witness. We do it by radio and the printing press — reaching MORE THAN 45 MILLION PEOPLE EVERY WEEK around the world! And also, now, beginning on color TELEVISION. But it is AMBASSADOR COLLEGE which actually purchases the radio and TV time. It is the COLLEGE which operates the four printing plants — in Pasadena; Big Sandy, Texas; Watford, England; and Sydney, Australia.
It is a BIG Work. It is a very GREAT Work. Just to maintain a mailing list of 1,200,000 subscribers to The PLAIN TRUTH — and to print all those names and addresses on copies of the magazine every month is an operation of great MAGNITUDE. Beside, there is The GOOD NEWS, the CORRESPONDENCE COURSE, and thousands of booklets to be addressed and mailed out EVERY DAY. Several thousand names and addresses have to be CHANGED every month, because people are always moving, and out of more than a million several die every month. Did you ever stop to think HOW GREAT is the job of keeping up such a vast mailing list, printing all those names and addresses every month?
Years ago, Mrs. Armstrong and I did it all by ourselves — by pen and ink. But there were only about two or three HUNDRED names on the mailing list, then. Today there are two HUNDRED THOUSAND more than a MILLION! Today that can only be done on the very latest COMPUTER which cost 1 1/2 million dollars! Today it takes BIG BUILDINGS to do this gigantic work!
Today we are building a giant new PRINTING PLANT in Pasadena — to be the second largest printing plant west of Chicago! And all the great subscription list has to be done in ANOTHER large building that houses this great computer! We have to keep training MORE AND MORE STUDENTS — some to be MINISTERS to pastor the local churches — some to be technicians trained to operate the computer — some to be editorial writers for The PLAIN TRUTH — some for the expanding News Bureau — some to be office managers, department heads, or to operate new branch offices. Just last year we opened up THREE new branch offices — in Jerusalem, Palestine; in Nicosia, Cyprus; and in Mexico City.
Do you realize that GOD'S WORK keeps on in full-time employment EVERY GRADUATE from our three college campuses — except the VERY FEW who may fail to qualify, or some of the young women who marry some of our young men. But even those who marry become either ministers' wives, having THEIR PART in the ministry, being a HELP to their minister husbands, or a help to husbands who have other important jobs in THE WORK. And nearly all young women graduates who do not marry are employed FULL-TIME in the Work.
And so AMBASSADOR COLLEGE I S the "Work." And God's Work has to GROW. You know how Jesus said "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are FEW; PRAY YE, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into the harvest." (Mat. 9:37-38). Do YOU PRAY for more laborers — more students to BE TRAINED for this labor in THE WORK? And do you HELP provide the necessary buildings, and equipment, and facilities for their training — and for their WORK?
Do you know that every year God has been sending FAR MORE laborers to apply for admission to Ambassador College than we can take — BECAUSE YOU BRETHREN HAVE NOT KEPT UP THE BUILDING FUND, and we had no dormitories for them to sleep and study in — not enough class and lecture rooms for them to be taught in — not enough buildings for them to WORK IN?
Right now a large new dormitory is nearing completion on the Pasadena campus to house 144 men — and one in England to house 80 women. But we only have about HALF enough at the Texas campus, and so even when Christ SENDS laborers, we have to turn them down — for we do not have a place for them to sleep and study!
For more than 34 years I have tried to be very careful, as a steward, UNDER CHRIST, handling God's money in God's WORK. It has been a long, hard, uphill STRUGGLE. But finally we have succeeded in getting the Work into a very fine financial standing that is RESPECTED in banking and financial circles. A large Los Angeles bank LOANED US SIX MILLION, SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS — a 100% loan — so we could build the direly-needed new Administration building for THE WORK'S HEADQUARTERS OFFICES — and this new printing plant, and the new dormitory building on the Pasadena campus. This made it possible for us to BUILD NOW, IMMEDIATELY, and pay it out at the rate of $150,000 per month. Now we simply made this arrangement with the bank, BECAUSE you brethren — GOD'S OWN CHURCH — were sending in $150,000 per month in extra special offerings for the building fund. We knew you could back us in this obligation, because YOU WERE ALREADY DOING IT!
But BRETHREN! You didn't keep it up! When I had so many things to attend to that I didn't send you a special letter to PROD YOU ON, many of you JUST LET UP — you just quit sending these special offerings!
NOW LISTEN! It is absolutely necessary that you understand how this has HURT THE WORK! We have had to dip into cash reserves, set apart for PREACHING THE GOSPEL, BY BROADCASTING, and PUBLISHING, until we are now several hundred thousand dollars SHORT!
Dear Brethren, IT IS A SHAME! It has HURT THE WORK!
I have to ask you, now, to SEND IN STATEMENT OF INTENTION cards, for this vital special BUILDING FUND. I have had to postpone TELEVISION broadcasting ONE WHOLE YEAR because of this! MILLIONS of people who WOULD HAVE heard Christ's last Message, are not going to get to hear it! I ask God to FORGIVE those of you who got careless and let us down! I think YOU'D better pray earnestly, TOO!
These DIRELY NEEDED BUILDINGS are a VITAL part of GOD'S WORK! We have just finished the two new class buildings here at Pasadena — and this at last, after 21 years, COMPLETES our needs for-classroom and lecture room space in which to teach students. These new buildings combine with Ambassador Hall, and the fabulous formal Italian sunken garden which multi-millionaire Hulett C. Merritt built (and we obtained the entire fabulous property for less than the iron fence along the front would cost) — to form our new Academic Center — and the whole complex is now named the "LOMA D. ARMSTRONG ACADEMIC CENTER" in memory of my beloved wife of 50 years. God used her to bring me to His truth, and into His Work. He used her to START His Work. She labored loyally and diligently as my helper until death. This fine new Center is being dedicated Wednesday of this week.
But we do NOT have needed classrooms at the Texas and English colleges. THE NEED IS STILL GREAT! And we MUST continue to meet these $150,000 per month payments!
Brethren, there are many thousands of us, now — and, with all of our Co-Workers, upwards of 100,000 families to support this Work. There are enough of us to do it — IF WE PUT OUR HANDS TO THE PLOW AND DON'T TURN BACK! I know that to some it may be hard to grasp the magnitude of God's Work — some might be tempted to say: "My small part that I can contribute is too small to help in such a BIG Work." But THIS WORK ONLY GREW BIG BECAUSE GOD HAS USED HUNDREDS, AND THEN THOUSANDS, JUST LIKE YOU, to make it BIG! There is strength and power in NUMBERS! Remember, Jesus Christ said, "This Gospel of, the Kingdom shall be preached IN ALL THE WORLD for a witness unto ALL NATIONS" (Mat. 24:14). He did not say it shall be a LITTLE work, preaching to 36 people, like I did 35 years ago. It is because a FEW Co-Workers, like YOU — people of small means — joined with me, and with me became Christ's own Co-Workers, that I was able to go on radio and reach HUNDREDS, instead of 30 or 40. It is only because more and more kept joining us, as Christ laid it on their hearts, that the Work grew, and grew, and GREW, and GREW! The smallest amounts HELP!
The living Jesus Christ would not be opening doors before us — sending more full-time LABORERS to be trained at Ambassador College — UNLESS HE KNEW THAT YOU CO-WORKERS HAD BEEN MADE ABLE TO SEND IN ENOUGH TO GO THROUGH THOSE DOORS! It is not just a matter of what you can easily afford — the question is, ARE YOU SACRIFICING to put more money into CHRIST'S WORK?
This statement of intention card IS NOT A PLEDGE OR A VOW! But it will assist us in planning for the future. If your financial circumstances change, or you find yourself unable to send in this amount, or keep it up, you are not bound. AND REMEMBER — this is a SPECIAL FUND — BESIDE, and OVER AND ABOVE, and IN ADDITION TO your first tithe and regular offerings for the Work. This is to be something EXTRA. We shall of course rely on you to be faithful in sending in the first tithe, and whatever offering in addition for the Gospel Work, beside.