GREETINGS again from Pasadena! Time is flying! And to carry on our part in God's Great Work it seems Mrs. Armstrong and I have to keep flying also. Next week we shall have to leave Pasadena again, returning to England for the opening of the fourth year of Ambassador College over there.
This time we shall have to go by plane — although Mrs. Armstrong dreads flying. It doesn't seem possible that we are now in the 17th year of Ambassador College here in Pasadena. Many of our new students who have entered college this year were only two years old when Ambassador College first swung open its doors in 1947. And here we are, almost a month into this 17th year already.
The college in England opens later than the one here — usually around the middle of October in England. This makes it possible for Mrs. Armstrong and me to be present at the opening of both institutions every year.
Now let me tell you the NEWS. We have just had the annual meeting of the Board of Trustees. In order to hold property and conduct this Work it became necessary, many years ago before the college started, to incorporate this Work. It was also necessary to incorporate the College after it was founded. Otherwise, of course, it could not hold property or confer degrees.
I was able to present to each Board a report of the greatest year's growth and accomplishment of any previous year — by far. God has blessed His Work abundantly. Our fiscal year, in our business office, for keeping the records, ends each June 30th. This past year more people heard Christ's Gospel over the air, and read it in The PLAIN TRUTH, than ever before — more than 22 million people every week!
More people have been converted and baptized — now living CHANGED LIVES — than ever before — many, many hundreds. More qualified and fully trained, dedicated and consecrated ministers were ordained than ever before — to serve out in the field — around the world. Men have been sent to Australia, the Philippines, Germany, Switzerland, South Africa, and are now stationed there — in addition to those stationed at various points all over the United States. Some, graduated from the college in England, have been sent to posts in the United States — others to Scotland, Germany, and locations in England.
And I am especially happy and grateful to be able to report to you that our "austere year" is producing results beyond expectations!
Once again let me explain what this austere year is. Some still seem to misunderstand. One Co-Worker somehow got the idea that it meant God had "withdrawn His blessing" from His Work — that God was withholding money for the operation of the Work. THAT IS NOT THE CASE AT ALL. The austere year was NOT put in effect because of any reduction in financial income. On the contrary, as this Work has grown at the phenomenal rate of 30% a year for the past 30 years, the income to operate it also has increased 30% a year — otherwise the Work could not have continued to grow!
But such a fast-growing Work does involve and force upon us financing PROBLEMS. It has been difficult to keep expenditures down to a 30% increase each year. Let me assure you that we HAVE managed to do that, and keep our obligations within our income, even though it has been difficult. It would have been far easier to have committed ourselves to increased expenditures of 40% or 50% a year. This we had to resist — or, obviously, the work would have gone bankrupt and been STOPPED long ago.
This Work of God, as I have explained many times, started the very SMALLEST. When GOD is starting a Work through human instruments, He ALWAYS starts it the very smallest, and then causes it to GROW. It took real FAITH to be able to pay out $2.50 per week for radio time, back in 1934. But today God's Work has grown to a world-wide POWER, carrying Christ's Message to more than 22 million people every week. Today a million people read The PLAIN TRUTH every month. Today some fifty thousand students are enrolled in the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course. Today 500 students are resident on our two college campuses, being trained for future service in God's Work. Today scores of specially trained ordained ministers are serving people who have been brought to Christ through this Work in all parts of the world. Today it is necessary to appropriate millions of dollars a year for the powerful operation of this Great Work.
When this work was operating on an expenditure of some $5 per week total, we were able to manage when "today's money came today" — or even tomorrow! It wasn't even necessary to handle the financing through the bank, then. But today it could be handled in no other way — and this, of necessity, requires a limited reserve at the bank. THAT IS WHY I put the austere year into effect — and I feel we ought to continue it a second year. Already, since last February, we have made very satisfactory gains, in this cash position at the bank. This has been accomplished by reducing certain expenditures, temporarily, where it has not slowed the forward growth of the Work in any vital phase of it.
The Work of GOD must be able to show a financial statement that, as a banker would examine it, is sound and healthy. THAT IS THE POSITION WE ARE GETTING INTO, and rapidly! The money we have been forced to put into property, buildings, and equipment, to provide facilities for conducting the Work, is still there to our credit. In fact we have improved all properties, and they have gone up in value. Our financial statement showed adequate net worth. But it is NECESSARY that we show a reasonable cash balance at the bank — otherwise no bank would want our account, and the whole Work might fail.
Never before have I seen my way clear to make this adjustment in the financial position of the Work. It would have stopped the Work. Now we ARE DOING IT. And we are NOT slowing down the Work of God — RATHER, THE WORK IS ADVANCING FULL SPEED AHEAD, SHOWING GREATER GAINS AND REAPING A BIGGER HARVEST THAN EVER BEFORE! Never before was it possible to do this.
So, I want you to know that I am personally very much encouraged by this progress. A Work of this magnitude cannot be operated in the manner any one of us, as an individual, would manage his personal affairs. The BUSINESS MANAGEMENT of God's Work must be handled in a business-like manner!
Now I have to tell you about a new development that has occurred just over this past week-end.
The City of Pasadena is governed by a Board of Directors (who act like a City Council), and administered by a City Manager, appointed by and responsible to the Board of Directors. Last week one of the Directors turned attention to Ambassador College. He introduced a resolution for a probe into our building program.
As I have reported to our Co-Workers, we have acquired most of the ground area needed for the construction of the new buildings which we must have before the college can grow a whit more. Our architects have, for the past nine months been working out the design of the Master Plan for the required and necessary expanded campus. This particular Director knew none of the facts, except that we had acquired properties not as yet being used for actual college activities. I could have given him all the facts in two minutes had he cared to contact me by telephone. But, instead, he introduced a resolution which made big newspaper headlines, demanding a probe to find out whether we are being allowed tax exemption on properties not now being used for school purposes.
The facts are that we have not applied for, nor received, any tax exemption on such properties—but we do, of course, have tax exemption on those properties which are being used for school purposes.
But, further, the City of Pasadena is presently engaged in a redevelopment project of certain districts. A portion of our campus falls within, one of these redevelopment zones. There is an agency, called the CRA (City Redevelopment Agency), in charge of this project, in conjunction with the City Planning Commission. The CRA is financed by the Federal government. They chose, about last February, the firm of architects we had engaged for our own expansion program. Our architects, having just previously signed up with Ambassador College, were obliged to decline the appointment to become the CRA planners. However, they have been working with, and constantly counselling with, the architectural firm which was appointed by the CRA. Thus the CRA planners were fully aware of, and had completely approved the Master Plan we have been developing for our own campus expansion.
However, it had not as yet progressed far enough to present to the City Directors — although the City planning Commission are fully apprised, and in full accord with, our plans.
But the upshoot of the whole thing is that now public attention has been focused on our plans, we are going to be forced to proceed, without any delay, with the clearing off of the ground, and the actual construction of the buildings. Otherwise the CRA will find it necessary to allocate this area to certain other usages. This would lead to the condemnation of our properties, their acquisition by the CRA at great loss to us, and the ruination of Ambassador College.
The CRA planning for this area cannot wait. They fully approve of our plans. They WANT our college, as we plan its expansion — in fact they are enthusiastic over it. But also they want the area CLEANED UP, as this portion of land has been a blighted area. They would rather see our campus extended and built into this area than any other purpose. But now WE DO NOT DARE DELAY LONGER!
There is another factor even more serious. The entire Los Angeles and Southern California area is in process of building the most elaborate system of Freeways in the world. A new Freeway is being planned to proceed north and south through Pasadena. There are some four possible routes under consideration by State Highway engineers. One of these would cut right through our campus. Engineering surveys are in progress right now.
One of the things the Planners want to AVOID, if possible, is a college or school. IF we move fast, and are actually in process of erecting our new buildings in this area under discussion, we feel that they will route the Freeway on the other side of the Union Pacific railroad tracks. Our planned campus extends to these tracks from South Orange Grove Boulevard. But if we do not, and they route the Freeway along the WEST side of the tracks, IT WOULD RUIN OUR COLLEGE IN PASADENA.
There is only one thing we can do: WE MUST MOVE FULL SPEED AHEAD WITH OUR DIRELY NEEDED BUILDING PROGRAM. It will take five or six years to carry this out. We do not plan to build but one building at a time — but if our program is moving along, now that we have the entire Master Plan to present on paper to these various Agencies, they will work with us, not against us, and I feel the Freeway will be routed so as to spare the College.
Until now, I have been delaying the building program as part of this "austere year" — but now further delay would be disastrous. We must proceed immediately.
Our first and greatest need is the new Dining Hall for students. They are forced to eat, now, in a disgracefully congested manner, in one of our girls' student residences. I wrote you before how, out of more than 600 applicants, we had to reduce the number accepted this fall to 70. Hundreds of prospective students had to be disappointed — many shed tears — because there was not room for them. Normally we should have taken in about 150, as new Freshman students. For the first time in history we have had to reduce the total student enrollment this year — and ONLY because we have OUTGROWN present buildings and facilities. We have no auditorium or assembly hall. The one we had converted to that temporary use was outgrown over a year ago. We do not have enough class rooms. We do not have enough office space to carry on GOD'S WORK.
As I have said before, A GROWING WORK makes necessary expanding facilities.
What it all sums up to is this: GOD is BLESSING His Work as never before. The Work is GROWING in every way. We are now getting the Work into a sound financial condition. We have a reasonably good START in our Property and Building fund, but now there is NECESSITY that we build this up FASTER! If we can just maintain the receipt of regular tithes and offerings for the operation of God's Work, and then INCREASE the EXTRA, SPECIAL offerings for the Property and Building SPECIAL Fund, everything will work out just splendidly. But the time has come when we MUST put on SPECIAL EFFORT to increase this special fund.
If you are one who has NOT as yet sent in a statement of intention for SPECIAL offerings, in addition to tithes and regular offerings, will you not do so BY RETURN MAIL, so that I may know how to plan. Remember, I do not ask for a binding pledge, or a vow, or any such thing — merely a statement of INTENTION, of how much per month you expect to be able to send in for this SPECIAL fund. If circumstances rise that prevent you from keeping to the stated amount, then you are not bound. But there is IMMEDIATE AND DIRE NEED to expand this fund NOW!
Many of our Co-Workers have sums of money you may not feel free, at this time, to give to God's Work as a donation — feeling you may have NEED of it, or part of it, at some future time. I have been asking such Co-Workers to PUT THIS MONEY TO WORK WHERE GOD IS WORKING, by sending it in on a LOAN basis. These loans ARE HELPING A GREAT DEAL! Some have written that you do not understand just HOW you can make such a loan to the Work. If you will just request it by return mail, we will send you, immediately, full instructions.
Many others are concerned about making a WILL. Everyone ought to attend to this, and make a WILL — and not neglect it. If you would like to do this in a manner to leave a part or all to God's Work, our legal department will give you FREE LEGAL SERVICE, and send you full information. Just write direct to our legal department. They will be glad to help you.
REMEMBER that all you put in this SPECIAL Building Fund is invested in property — and WE STILL HAVE IT! REMEMBER ALSO, this Work is approved by the Bureau of Internal Revenue as a NON-profit corporation, and all tithes, and contributions, are DEDUCTIBLE on your income tax.
This is the GREATEST, MOST IMPORTANT, MOST GLORIOUS WORK on earth. This is where GOD IS WORKING. He is guiding, directing, and BLESSING this Work. It is bringing THOUSANDS of previous lives into GOD'S KINGDOM for all eternity! So now LET'S GO FORWARD TOGETHER, and see this wonderful Work triumph over every obstacle! PLEASE KEEP PRAYING for me, and for this whole Work, earnestly, and constantly! And THANK YOU from the heart!