I have to call on you now to join me in asking God for a near-miracle! Nothing short of that, it seems now, will solve our emergency.
But first, from the very bottom of my heart I want to THANK you dear loyal self-sacrificing Co-Workers for standing so unselfishly and dependably with me through this past summer. I know that many of you have done almost more than you could for God's great work. And God's greatest blessing is on His work. It is prospering and growing mightily. Still it seems our best efforts are hardly enough to keep up with the necessary growth God is granting us.
Our short summer is over. College starts on the Ambassador campus NEXT MONDAY, August 24th. The largest freshman class so far is on the way to Pasadena — some already have arrived.
My, I don't know how we are going to provide for all of them. We are fast outgrowing our facilities here at the college. We are no longer the smallest college in America. The college is growing rapidly — but not rapidly enough to provide the needed laborers for God's harvest!
Two of our three baptizing teams have returned, with a big harvest of precious lives for God's Kingdom. One of them went clear to the Atlantic coast baptizing people whose whole lives have been CHANGED. The third team is still out, but expected back in a few days. Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Marion McNair, who have spent the summer at Oregon State Normal School making final preparations for opening our own first primary school in the Tabernacle at Gladewater, having finished their summer course of studies, are out on a baptizing tour in Oregon and Washington, with some 40 people awaiting baptism — all this in addition to the other three teams.
I have just returned from a quick one-day trip by plane to the big Tabernacle near Gladewater, Texas. It is now TWICE as big as last time I saw it — now 105 feet in width. The foundation is laid for the room which is to serve as combination dining- school-church room. No part of the structure is completed as yet, but the roof is being laid over the wings of the main auditorium, and, even though unfinished, the school room MUST be put up before the Feast of Tabernacles or we will have no way to feed the people. The ground is now cleared for the building of the little booths to serve as sleeping quarters for the people who attend.
BUT — and read this carefully! Here is where we need a near-miracle! Unless we raise our voices in united earnest and believing prayer for God to move on many hearts who are able to send large sums for this purpose, we will not be able to erect any housing facilities for the hundreds who are coming!
It is going to take every dollar we can normally expect to raise for the Tabernacle fund just to get the big Tabernacle itself far enough along to permit holding services, and to feed those attending. It will not be possible to finish the Tabernacle.
We will not even start the building of the great lounge room at the front of the building, which also is to serve as a dining room. We may not even be able to get the sides built on the large auditorium. But we shall make every effort to have the big building in rough shape so that we shall have a roof over our heads for the meetings and for eating, even though we shall have to clear the chairs in the auditorium and set up tables and eat in the same room in which the services are held.
While over there on the Tabernacle grounds the other day I made plans for building at least two or three of the little sleeping booths — just to show those who attend what they are to be like.
But now let me explain our big emergency problem. As I stated in my last letter, if we do not have our own sleeping accommodations built, even 700 people attending and having to go to various cabins, auto courts and motels up and down the highway will pay out to those motels about $10,000 in cabin and motel rent during the eight days. But now it appears there will be more than 700 — perhaps 900 or 1,000 people coming. And that means that we shall lose about $12,500 paid out in auto-court rents which could be paid in on the cost of this housing. IF we only had the money to build the housing BEFORE the Festival.
There is still time to build our own housing IF we had the money. The contractor says he could put on a large crew of men and get it done fast. But our Tabernacle grounds and everything on them are CLEAR — PAID FOR — there is no mortgage, and WE INTEND TO KEEP IT THAT WAY. We have designed absolutely the LEAST expensive type of sleeping cabins that could be built. There will be two sizes, most of them little 8 x 12 sleeping booths, some with two double-deck bunks for four people, others with one double-bed or bunk, and one double-deck bunk. These will accommodate two, three, or four people. There will be no windows — but a screened-in ventilated space all around the top. There will be only an electric light — no plumbing at all. Then there will be small quonset-huts, in which 5 or 6 people may sleep. There will be a men's and women's sanitary building, each containing sufficient wash bowls, toilets and shower-baths to accommodate a housing district of 400 people. There will be a small laundry room with washing machines, wash trays and ironing boards. Each housing district, built to accommodate about 400 people, will cost, according to best estimates, somewhere near $40,000. But of course that is a lot of little houses, and a lot of people! We should need two such housing districts to accommodate all the people we expect at this Festival. That would cost upward of $80,000. It just isn't possible, unless there should be one or two among our Co-Workers who would advance a large sum and give us from one to three years to repay, without security and in faith in the work of God. That, of course, would allow us to collect some $10,000 or $12,000 in rentals that otherwise would be paid to the highway auto-court owners, which could then apply on this building cost. Including the Passover and the Pentecost Festivals, we could take in close to $20,000 per year rentals to pay off this building cost, IF we had the housing districts built. That means that the rentals would pay for the cost of construction, and retire the indebtedness, in from four to six years. Anyone familiar with loans and investments and real estate and business operations will know that that would be a very sound operation, indeed.
Now Brethren and Co-Workers, that is the near-miracle we need. I feel that we could agree to pay off any loan for this housing construction at the rate of $20,000 per year, IN ADDITION to whatever rentals are taken in, which ought to be about $20,000 per year if we build the entire two districts, or a little more than half that if we build only one.
But in any event, I need to call upon EVERY CO-WORKER — yes, EVERY ONE of you — to stand with us now as NEVER BEFORE, with regular tithes and special generous offerings as often, and as large, as you are able. Send all you possibly can for the TABERNACLE FUND, so we may at least get it far enough along so we can hold the Festival there, even though it will be altogether unfinished.
Also, with the college year starting next Monday, additional expenditures are necessary here at the college. We have the largest incoming class so far — 25 new students have already been notified of acceptance of their applications, and I know a few more whose applications apparently were not in. We have now entirely outgrown our facilities. BUT THE COLLEGE IS TURNING OUT FINE AND CAPABLE CALLED MINISTERS to help me reap the great harvest God is blessing us with.
Also, it appears now we have an opportunity to go on the powerful ABC radio net-work on the West Coast, and perhaps by next year the entire net-work Coast to Coast. On September 2nd, we go to a far better NIGHT time on Radio Luxembourg reaching Britain and all Europe, and in addition the new broadcast in the FRENCH language, by my son Richard D. Armstrong, starts over Radio Luxembourg on that date. Beside that, short-wave stations reaching around the ENTIRE WORLD are now available, and going on the ABC net-work stations ALSO OPENS UP TELEVISION for us.
Yes, truly the original identical GOSPEL JESUS PREACHED is once again going AROUND THE WORLD. God is opening opportunities — providing a harvest of souls — faster and bigger than we have laborers (both as trained ministers, and as finance — laborers, supporting the work with tithes and offerings) to reap the harvest. TRULY THE HARVEST IS GREAT, BUT THE LABORERS FEW. PRAY, AS JESUS COMMANDED, FOR GOD TO SEND FORTH MORE LABORERS — those supplying the day-to-day and week-to-week finances, as well as God-called, trained and consecrated ministers.
THANK YOU, dear Co-Workers for your regular and loyal and generous part in this great work of God. We must PRESS ON as never before! GOD BLESS YOU!