Personal from the Editor
Plain Truth Magazine
February 1968
Volume: Vol XXXIII, No.2
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Personal from the Editor

   Personal from Herbert W Armstrong - TODAY I am writing from the island of Barbados, in the British West Indies. It is one of the farthest south and the farthest east of the West Indies in the Caribbean Sea, and not far from the north coast of South America. It is also not very far north of the equator.
   On arriving at the airport here, it became quickly evident that just about everybody in Barbados listens to The WORLD TOMORROW. Someone at the airport terminal learned my name, and soon it seemed everywhere I looked, someone was pointing me out to others.
   The instant I was shown to my room in the Hilton hotel, before there was opportunity to clean up or rest, a hotel official told me newspaper reporters were already outside my door, seeking an interview. Simultaneously, the telephone began to ring. The hotel telephone operator asked if I was free to receive calls many radio listeners were clamoring to extend greetings. Someone said a local radio station had mentioned my arrival on a news broadcast.
   My experience here has convinced me that there must be a special school for training newspaper reporters and that the reporters here, like myself, had never heard of that school, because these reporters had not been trained in the art of Misquoting one interviewed, twisting and distorting everything said. These reporters in their honest simplicity quoted me truthfully. But then, I found that they, too, had been listening to The WORLD TOMORROW for two or three years and also subscribing to and reading The PLAIN TRUTH.
   Before I describe what I think must be the nature of that school for newspaper reporters, let me explain how I came to find myself here so suddenly and unexpectedly.
   Last Wednesday noon, at lunch in our faculty dining room on the Pasadena campus, Mr. Dibar Apartian, professor of French and speaker on the French language WORLD TOMORROW program, mentioned that he was flying down, early the next morning, to Barbados. He is heard, in French, on radio stations in the West Indies, beside French-speaking eastern Canada, and France and other French-speaking regions in Europe. Having been in the West Indies three times before, in answer to many requests for personal counseling; he had also visited Barbados, an English-speaking island, and had baptized several here. This trip he was to meet with a number of these people in Barbados, besides visiting Martinique, just north of Barbados.
   I had never been to the West Indies. I knew that we had radio listeners all over these islands. Instantly the thought came that it would be good for the Work if I visited this region, got to know something of the people here, their life, and what interest they might have in the Truth.
   I decided to come along with him.
   This visit has been an eye-opener. If we are to go TO the world with the very Message God sent by Jesus Christ, and which He has commissioned us to proclaim to ALL THE WORLD, as a witness to all nations, we need to know something about the people we are commissioned to reach. In a sense we are Christ's salesmen "selling," without money or price, God's TRUTH about WHY they were born about the PURPOSE God is working out here below for them about their potential and God's gift of eternal life through Christ.
   Many years ago, as a salesman of advertising space in magazines and newspapers, I learned that the very first need in successful salesmanship is to know your prospective customer to know what he thinks, and why how he lives what is his attitude toward what you want to advertise.
   Always I made surveys of customer-opinion, before writing ads to sell goods or services in print.
   We have been preaching to these people down here without knowing what they are like, how they live, what they think and believe. It was important TO THE WORK that I familiarize myself with these facts, and this was the first opportunity I had had to come. So I came.
   And I have learned MUCH that I hope will result in MUCH GOOD to these people that will help us to serve them better.
   It is like a strange new world. Somewhat like some of the South Sea Islands in the Pacific, only having had much more of the influence of British civilization.
   The people here are mostly colored. Here the white people seem to be outnumbered about 10 or 20 to one. The newspaper reporters were colored. Most businesses appear to be run by colored people. But, unlike United States Negroes in the South, they have not known slavery. They have compulsory education. They are not illiterate. They have an attitude of self-respect, and I have seen no racial prejudices. They seem to be a happier people than those of many other countries.
   A while ago it was close to mid-afternoon, and I had skipped lunch I went down to the outdoor snack bar for a sandwich. The waitress asked, "Are you Herbert Armstrong?"
   "How did you know?" I asked.
   She grinned. "I hear you on the radio, and I saw your picture on the front page of the newspaper this morning."
   Almost immediately four or five men attendants at the snack bar were around me, asking all kinds of questions.
   "I don't agree with everything you say," exclaimed one, "but I listen, because the program is interesting, and I like to hear all the facts you keep giving."
   "You learn more about the world you live in, and world conditions, and what they mean?" I asked. "Yes, that's right," he answered.
   That pretty well sums up what I find to be the average attitude. Nearly everyone here, it seems, listens. The fact many, perhaps even most, do not AGREE with everything we say, only indicates that these people are a thinking people. But, also, the fact that several on this island have already requested a personal conference and baptism, and have been found ready for baptism, shows that these THINKING people, once they find what we say PROVED, are willing to accept truth, and turn from former ideas and beliefs, and ways of life, when proved erroneous and wrong.
   Just at this point I was called to the telephone. The manager of one of the two local radio stations, Radio Barbados, was on the telephone. He asked for a telephone interview that he could put on the air in the news hour.
   I said, above, that reporters were at the door of my hotel room before I could unpack traveling bags, wash and clean up, or sit down for a moment's rest. That was early evening, about sundown. Next morning, a feature writer and a photographer from one of the papers appeared for an interview and photographs. So, we were on the front page this morning.
   But here is a remarkable thing, in my experience:
   So far, both newspapers have honestly and faithfully reported what I said, without twisting and distorting it. I think it is about the first time in my experience this has happened. It made me think there must be a school for newspaper reporters that teaches most of them to misquote those interviewed, distort what is said, omit what the reporters don't like, about what is said, and add what is not said.
   This idea comes from having heard Bob Newhart's comedy record, with the skit on "the Bus Drivers' School." The idea was that the drivers of city street buses, according to Newhart, could not possibly do things so badly unless there was a school to teach them how to do things that way.
   In lessons simulating, and acting out actual situations, at the school, he had this little old Mrs. Silkirk running to catch the bus.
   "Hold it, hold it!" he called to the bus driver, impersonating the instructor at the school. "You pulled away altogether too fast. Did you notice, she gave up about the middle of the block. You want to always hold out the hope that she might catch it. But you must remember that some of these little old ladies run at half-speed, and if you're not careful they might suddenly put on a spurt, and before you could speed up and pull away, they might catch you and hop on. For homework tonight you are going to study on how to mispronounce the names of streets."
   I have often wondered how newspaper reporters can misspell names, misquote those interviewed, omit important facts, and put emphasis on others and manufacture things the person interviewed never said UNLESS there is a school to teach them such things. In any event, these Barbados reporters must never have attended such a school. What they have reported so far has been honestly done and I trust the feature story to appear in next Sunday's paper will be as accurate.
   One thing has impressed me in Barbados. Even though three or four have told me they don't agree with everything we say on the WORLD TOMORROW, they not only keep listening, they THINK, they enjoy the program, and they are friendly.
   One of the employees at the snack bar said The WORLD TOMORROW has made quite a change in the religious ideas people here hold. I think they realize we are always saying: "Don't believe ME, because I say it, but listen without prejudice, check up, search out the facts, and believe what is PROVED." That, it seems, is what these people do.
   There has been so much interest here so many have written to us requesting personal interviews, counseling and help, that we have sent here, to take up residence in Barbados, one of our ordained ministers, Mr. Clarence Bass. He is competent, well educated, having earned the M.A. degree. He also has done graduate studies at Ambassador College in Pasadena. His charming wife is a native of Jamaica, and will feel right at home here.
   Mr. Bass will not call on or visit anyone unless requested to do so, but any of our Barbados readers who might desire to meet Mr. Bass may contact him by writing the Pasadena Headquarters for his address.

Fort-de-France, Martinique:
   It is now Monday afternoon. This morning, early, we left Barbados and flew on a short distance north to the picturesque island of Martinique. There is one noticeable difference here. The people on this island speak French. Most do not speak a word of English.
   Here, it is Mr. Dibar Apartian who is well known. He is the voice of The WORLD TOMORROW in French. He is heard Monday through Friday on the station most listened to in Martinique. A number whom he had baptized on previous visits here met us at the airport. Whereas Barbados was more or less flat, I find Martinique hilly and even, in parts, semi-mountainous.
   Mr. Apartian is to speak here tonight. Even though very few understand English (and I do not speak French), he wants me to speak briefly, and he will translate for them as I go along.
   Wherever I find people converted having been baptized by our ministers their lives changed having received God's Holy Spirit they are all alike in spirit and attitude. They are warm, friendly, happy, their faces illuminated and in smiles. It's the same all over the world, regardless of climate, country or race.
   It makes me realize one thing about the various cultures one finds in different parts of the world. Americans traveling in England notice a different culture a different spirit and attitude even though basically the British and Americans are the same people, from the same stock.
   One even notices this difference in different parts of the United States New England, Deep South, Middle West and West Coast. Travel through Germany and you notice a still different culture. France is not like any of the others. Spain has a culture all its own, and so does Italy. The same is true in Switzerland, and, somehow nearly everyone likes the Swiss. Go to the Arab countries in the Middle East and you find a totally different culture, also in Russia, China, Japan, and Australia. Canada is different than the United States.
   BUT one astonishing thing I have noticed: wherever you go, regardless of nation or race or part of the world, wherever you find GOD'S people those who have really repented, surrendered to GOD and His authority, really received Christ into their lives, and received God's gift of His Holy Spirit these people are ALL ALIKE all of the SAME CULTURE all of the same happy, beaming, spirit. I know those who are Chinese, Russian, British, South African (and Afrikaners), German, French, Mexican white, black, yellow all are of one culture, one MIND, one LOVE, one HAPPINESS!
   How do you explain it?
   I know how, and I hope you do!
   It is the same here in Martinique as in Barbados as on the Ambassador campuses in Pasadena, Texas and England. It is mighty REWARDING!

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Plain Truth MagazineFebruary 1968Vol XXXIII, No.2