GREETINGS! Again I am a couple weeks late getting this letter to you! Mrs. Armstrong and I have been back at Headquarters from England only a short time, and the pressure has been so heavy on us I simply could not get to everything at once. And now our Business Department is putting pressure on me to write you this letter. IT IS URGENT!
We are right in the midst of opening the 19th year of Ambassador College—Pasadena campus. About 192 new freshmen students have arrived—our largest incoming class in history. The start of a new school year always brings a buzz of activity.
More than that, Mrs. Armstrong and I have been in the throes of moving. I think I had mentioned in a previous letter that the California Institute of Technology is in a multi-million dollar building expansion program—even as Ambassador College is. We have lived only a block from their campus. They are taking all the property in our block—in fact, about a twelve square block area, and we have been forced to sell. Our own staff of carpenters, plumbers, electricians, etc., have remodeled one of our college- owned houses for us. We had lived at the same place for over 18 years—ever since Ambassador College was founded—and when one must move after 18 years, it is a big task. And now we have to leave in two days, for the opening of Ambassador College in Texas—and after that, we must undergo the long, tiresome flight back to England again, for the opening of the college in England.
I wish you could be here, and see the students queued up in a long line, extending more than a block, and out into the street, from the entrance to Mayfair. Mayfair is one of our women's student residences, but for years we have had to use the entire ground floor as a dining hall. Now not even half of the students can be seated at once. If it rains, students must stand in line out in the rain, waiting. It is a very unsatisfactory situation. If you could see it, you would realize WHY our new expansion program of new buildings is so urgently IMPERATIVE.
Our new dining hall is under construction, to alleviate this overcrowded situation. But all building operations in Southern California were at a standstill for a good part of the summer, due to a general building industry strike. Our dining hall should have been completed in another two or three weeks—but now we are just HOPING we may move into it by the first of January. The college is now seriously handicapped for lack of buildings and facilities. And God's Work can GROW only as we graduate more young people trained for the many, many different operations required in getting out Christ's own GOSPEL to THIRTY MILLION PEOPLE every week!
For years the college operated in old mansions—former residences—which we were able to buy at a fraction of the cost of new buildings. But now we have outgrown all of them. and we are forced to build. Recently I received a letter from a radio listener and PLAIN TRUTH subscriber in Worcester, Massachusetts, commenting on our building expansion program that has become such a vital necessity to God's Work. I wish all our Co-Workers could UNDERSTAND this need—and the manner in which we are meeting it at such comparative LOW COST, as this man does.
I want to quote what he wrote: "An enclosed article asks as follows: 'Are Big Cathedrals on the Way Out?' It is interesting to note that Ambassador College would never waste its money on such useless overgrown stone barns. Ambassador College, as I can plainly see, gets the most mileage from its money; i.e., restoring fine old estates, and where new buildings are needed, erecting the most tasteful and functional structures of contemporary architecture. (The proposed new auditorium at Pasadena is an excellent example.) The motto of the Ambassador College building program could well be: 'Useful, Functional, Beautiful.'"
This man grasped what I wish all our Co-Workers might understand—that, as far as possible, we have utilized fine, well-built old structures, acquired at a fraction of their original cost, and put in shape at a comparatively very low cost.
For example, take Ambassador Hall on the Pasadena campus. It was a mansion of Hulett C. Merritt, who was by far the largest shareholder of United States Steel Corporation. He also owned some 65 other corporations outright. He was reputed to be worth two or three hundred MILLION dollars. He told me that this one building on his grounds, built between 1905 and 1908, cost $1,100,000. That much money, in 1908, was about equal to five or ten million dollars today.
But then there are the magnificently landscaped grounds, including the breath-taking Italian formal sunken garden, which must have cost several hundred thousand dollars more. It was the most fabulous place in Pasadena. All this, with its four or five acres of grounds fronting on Pasadena's finest residence boulevard, came to us for less money than it would cost today to install the ornate iron fence around the front half of the property.
Then consider the case of fabulous Memorial Hall in England. This was built in 1925 by Sir David Yule, whose wealth was, on today's dollar value, equal to just about ONE BILLION dollars. It is about the same size as Ambassador Hall in Pasadena, and equally fine. Yet in 1959 we purchased that fine mansion, with some ten acres of fantastically beautiful grounds, for—believe it or not!!—$22,400. And those grounds included the formal garden in front, with its costly urns and its aviary; the breath taking rose garden—the largest and finest rose garden I have ever seen; the exotic Japanese garden, which is absolutely the most beautiful garden I have ever seen, and makes one wonder how the Garden of Eden could have surpassed it in beauty; the large informal but gloriously beautiful English sunken garden; and the wide stretch of beautiful lawns, with the stately huge and magnificent cedars of Lebanon.
Of course we have since added more acreage, bringing the college grounds up to about 180 acres. This included a number of horse stables, and cow barns which we have remodeled into offices, dormitories, dining hall and classrooms. All this was purchased at far below current market value, and the conversion of the stables and barns into functional use cost only a very small fraction of what new buildings would have cost.
Let me tell you, dear Co-Workers, I know of NO PLACE in the world where every dollar is made to stretch SO FAR, and where SO MUCH is obtained for SO LITTLE! Of course it does cost a lot of money to operate such a large WORLDWIDE and powerful Work. But what I want our Co-Workers to UNDERSTAND is that our Living Christ has opened doors and guided us into being able to make fantastic savings—to operate at TOP EFFICIENCY on a comparative low cost that is almost unbelievable.
By enlarging our own printing department at Pasadena, we are now SAVING, on the cost of publishing The PLAIN TRUTH alone—beside many other savings—$15,000 every month!
The new gymnasium, natatorium and physical education facility at Pasadena is the most beautiful building of its kind any of us, or any of our visitors, have ever seen—YET, it cost NO MORE than the ordinary barn-like "UN-beautiful" average gymnasium. The difference was in the KNOW-HOW, and careful selection of architects and builders.
At the new campus in Texas, we have been using already existing buildings so far.
But now the time has come when the whole Work of God cannot go on, and continue its normal GROWTH, unless we do now, at last, enter on a program of new building expansion. We are DOUBLING the enrollment 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, class- room 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.
When I asked those who were willing to send in a statement of intent for this SPECIAL building fund—at the beginning of this year—I made it plain that it was not a binding pledge at all, and that I realized some might encounter unforeseen circumstances that would make it impossible to continue. 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 laborers 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.
And not only that!! But just today, I have had to make the decision NOT to accept excellent times offered us by SEVERAL additional radio stations. Our advertising agency has worked for months, and even years, to get some of these fine stations to clear time for The WORLD TOMORROW. Now at last, time has been cleared and offered on SEVERAL very good stations. But we have to watch our budget! And so far this year our Co-Workers are not keeping the income for this Work of God up to its normal 30% increase over last year. It has dropped down to about a 25% increase.
This means that thousands of people who would have heard Christ's Gospel will be deprived of it. We cannot increase the radio broadcasting faster than Co-Workers make possible.
Co-Workers, THIS WORK MUST GROW FASTER THAN THAT! 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—perhaps $500 up to several thousand dollars—which you are not now having to use, yet feel you can-not 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!