GREETINGS! Mrs. Armstrong and I have returned to England for the opening of the 1965-66 college year. The largest incoming class so far in our short history has registered, beginning the sixth year of Ambassador College in England.
It seems only yesterday since the first Ambassador College swung open its doors in Pasadena, California, 8th October, 1947. Yet we have received new students this year at all three colleges who then were not yet born. And a student who came to Ambassador College in its second year — 1948-49 — Mr. Raymond F. NcNair, is today Deputy Chancellor of our college here in Britain.
I think that you, as a Co-Worker with the living Jesus Christ in the Work of God, may be interested in knowing something of these colleges that have been training the executives and administrators of the fast-growing world-wide organization that our glorified Lord is using in preparing for His coming to earth as KING of kings.
So far as I know, we started, in 1947, as the smallest college in our time. There were only four pioneer students, and eight professors and lecturers. Yet, today, starting the 19th year, there are the three colleges, with nearly a thousand students and around 100 faculty members.
Still, none of these colleges is yet fully built. All are still under the planned enrollment. All arc still building their physical plants, and still operating in outgrown buildings. But we are proceeding on a Master Plan that envisions completion of grounds and buildings, as well as maximum enrollments, in approximately three more years.
Most universities today are more or less subsidized — and therefore financed — by government, even though they were, originally, founded by churches. Even the older privately owned colleges have vast endowments, and also many thousands of graduates who have become successful and wealthy, able to make large annual contributions. But we had no endowment. We had no graduates, and not even any wealthy friends able to make large contributions. Certainly no government backed us.
But The Church of God delegated to Ambassador College the operation of its world-wide EDUCATIONAL programme. Actually the Bible is the FOUNDATION of all knowledge. It is the great Maker's instruction book, explaining to mankind the PURPOSE, the MEANING, and the only right WAY of life. The true Gospel is, in actual fact, ENLIGHTENMENT — true KNOWLEDGE — EDUCATION.
Almighty God has opened stupendous doors for reaching the MASSES — the peoples of the world — with this Gospel MESSAGE. Today, by radio and the printing press, we are able to reach THIRTY MILLION PEOPLE every week with this KNOWLEDGE from God. And so, for conducting this programme, the Church sponsored Ambassador College until it could become self-supporting through this very programme.
But there was, even so, very little money to start. MUCH had to be done with little. We were not able to start out with great cathedral-like buildings and vast properties. I know of no work on earth where SO MUCH has been accomplished on so little.
A year before the first college started, in Pasadena California, we found an old mansion — former residence of a wealthy family — grown to weeds, which we could purchase at a fraction of original cost We remodelled the buildings cleaned up the grounds, replanted the gardens, and soon we had, for very little money, a fine and beautiful place of tone and character, with magnificently landscaped grounds. Gradually, as the college grew through the years, we purchased four adjoining old mansions, one at a time, restoring them, likewise, by hard work and diligence, to former stately beauty.
This same procedure was followed in establishing the college here in England. We found a proud old property — still not so old, built in 1925 — which had been vacant two years, also neglected, grown to weeds hip-high. It had been a very fine property. But since the war, few if any people can afford to maintain and live in these large estates. In this case, the owners were dead, and left no descendants. We were able to purchase this property at a very low price. And it was purchased entirely with money donated by Co-Workers abroad. Not a penny of British money went into it.
Again, by hard work and diligence, we restored this fine property to even better than original beauty.
But here, as in our other colleges, the time came when we outgrew these original properties, and it became necessary to construct additional new buildings. Even so, we are not building great, costly, cathedral-like structures, but functional buildings that give us the most in usage, on the smallest budget consistent with practical quality. We remodelled and converted a former cow-barn into a modern and attractive girls' dormitory. We remodelled a former electric generator building into the student dining hall. We remodelled a former block of horse stables into our Administration building. We transformed another large block of horse stables into a men's dormitory which now can house 150 men. And at present, we are erecting our first completely new building.
But now the time has come when this whole Work of God cannot go on, and continue its normal GROWTH, unless we do now, at last, enter on a programme of new building expansion. We are DOUBLING the enrolment of students at the Texas college this week, with a new freshman class larger than the entire Student Body of last year. Now we are forced to build new dormitories, a dining hall, classroom buildings. These students simply have to have a place to sleep, eat, study, and attend classes.
And yet many of our Co-Workers are slacking off in their special and ADDITIONAL offerings, over and above tithes and offerings for the broadcasting, publishing, and personal ministry in the Gospel Work. I do not ask any to contribute what he does not have. But it has become evident that MANY have simply become NEGLECTFUL. I feel that I MUST, in this letter, remind you. The need is great, and it is URGENT!
You know Jesus spoke of the spiritual harvest (the GOSPEL harvest) being plenteous, but the labourers TOO FEW. And that is the problem we face! Precious LIVES are being converted, by the thousands — brought to God's KINGDOM for eternity! But it takes FAR MORE than the mere broadcasting and publishing! When thousands of people are MOVED, repentant, and write to beg us for PERSONAL COUNSEL AND HELP, this personal help is ABSOLUTELY VITAL to their salvation.
The Ambassador Colleges are Christ's TRAINING GROUNDS where these future ministers and helpers are trained. THEY ARE TOO FEW! Again this year, we could accept only a part of those college students who wanted to come to Ambassador College — BECAUSE WE LACK THE BUILDINGS AND FACILITIES.
Suddenly, within the last year, a tremendous NEW DOOR has opened to proclaim the Gospel Message DAILY to the British Isles — the ship stations, Radio London and Radio City in the south and Radio Caroline North. The charge for our half hour of The WORLD TOMORROW is very high, and nearly altogether paid by American Co-Workers in United States DOLLARS. And NOW — BIG NEWS!!— we have just arranged for the prime time of 7 to 7:30 EVERY EVENING — seven evenings a week — on a NEW radio ship to reach ALL SCOTLAND and north-eastern England. This, too, will be costly — very costly. It is more than our American Co-Workers, alone, can possibly manage. We do need all the help we can get from our loyal Co-Workers in the British Isles.
Co-Workers, THIS WORK MUST GROW FASTER! Time is running out on us. It is now FAR, FAR LATER THAN WE THINK! It is probable we may have only about 6 or 6 1/2 more years to FINISH this great task of thundering forth "this gospel of the kingdom of God" to "all the world as a WITNESS to ALL NATIONS" before the END of this world, and the COMING OF CHRIST IN ALL POWER TO RULE THE WORLD!
We are preparing the way for His coming! Jesus Christ Himself set the schedule! Under His guidance and direction, this Work has been growing and increasing in size and scope at the rate of 30% every year for more than 31 years. WE MUST KEEP IT AT THAT PACE. WE MUST NOW MAKE UP FOR LOST TIME!
For the remainder of this year, let us all make whatever sacrifice we can, to INCREASE our offerings over and above our tithes (God's required 10% of income), and also the special offerings above that for the Building Fund!
And again let me remind you that, where you may have a sum of money — which you are not now having to use, yet feel you cannot give it as a contribution at this time — such sums LOANED to the Work of God until you must use it, puts it to work where CHRIST is working in the meantime.
In every way that we can, let us all try to DO MORE!!!
Remember the need is URGENT! Nothing else is as important, now!