December 08, 2004
December 8th, 2004
Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ,
Greetings from Charlotte, NC! I am starting to write this on December 7, 2004—"Pearl Harbor Day"! I will never forget the time—63 years ago—when I was herded into the West Central Grade School auditorium along with hundreds of little children. We saw the sober faces of our school teachers and principal and noticed the hushed tones in which they spoke. A large radio with some attached speakers was set at the front of the stage of the auditorium. Soon, we were to hear the voice of President Franklin D. Roosevelt declaring, "Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy…." As little children—I was only 11 ½ years old at the time—we did not understand the full import of what our President was saying. But as the next four years of this violent struggle continued, it affected all of our lives. It was a time I will never forget.
But now, our beloved United States and the other British-descended nations are being slowly "ground down" in a totally different kind of catastrophe than that which befell the world at the beginning of World War II. For all over the world American power and prestige are plummeting. Our dollar is plummeting. Even the head of one of the world’s largest bond firms is questioning whether America’s "AAA" rating as a debtor nation can long continue!
In Iraq, American soldiers and allies are being shot at, harassed and murdered day in and day out. An unending stream of wounded men and women are being sent back to our military hospitals in Germany and elsewhere—many of their bodies horribly mutilated and unable to function again in many of the activities of life. Our growing impotence in dealing with Iran, North Korea and other international crises is becoming increasingly apparent. As God prophesied of our peoples, "Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples; Ephraim is a cake unturned. Aliens have devoured his strength, but he does not know it; yes, gray hairs are here and there on him, yet he does not know it. And the pride of Israel testifies to his face, but they do not return to the Lord their God, nor seek Him for all this" (Hosea 7:8-10).
But this Work of the living Christ is now surging ahead with renewed growth and vigor! I feel it important to tell you that this coming January 2, 2005, marks the twelfth anniversary of this revival of God’s Work! For we had our first Sabbath service on January 2, 1993, and have grown and developed a great deal since that time. Under Christ’s leadership, plans are being made to move this Work forward faster than ever before. Prophetic events are also swiftly speeding up.
At this time, I am delighted to announce the big news that we are starting to air the Tomorrow’s World program on two different television outlets in Britain beginning in early February! The potential audience within the "footprint" or coverage of these stations is in the tens of millions! Also, here in the U.S. and Canada, we have been receiving excellent responses of over 2,500 per week for a number of our weekly telecasts! We are now in the process of updating our Internet Web site and plan to greatly increase the power of our Internet usage. I have before me an inspiring report from Mr. Wayne Pyle, our Television Coordinator. He writes:
"The Tomorrow’s World magazine has been showing considerable growth. Thanks to the Tomorrow’s World telecast back in January-February 1999, the magazine was launched with a circulation of 11,721 subscribers. By the end of 1999, the magazine grew to over 76,000 subscribers—more than a six-fold, or 550 percent increase! Now, circulation has more than tripled the first year’s count in 1999, reaching 238,000 this month. The magazine has averaged a 25 percent growth rate for the past five years.
To date, since the magazine began five years ago, 4.2 million copies have been sent around the globe. Here in the western hemisphere, the English edition is sent to subscribers spread from the southern regions of Argentina and Chile, near the tip of South America, all the way to subscribers in Canada’s newest province, Nunavut, in the far north; and to the United States’ northernmost town, Barrow, Alaska.
In addition to the 4.2 million Tomorrow’s World magazine copies, nearly a million other items have been sent upon request, including our booklets, Bible lessons and audiotapes. By the end of this year more than 200,000 booklets will have been sent, including thousands of booklets downloaded from our Web site, www.tomorrowsworld.org. Sixteen thousand subscribers have become new students of our 24-lesson Bible Study Course. In the past six years, more than 60,000 subscribers have signed up for this unique Bible course.
Over the past six years we have produced 235 half-hour Tomorrow’s World television programs. During this time these programs have been aired on 238 TV stations in North America, the Caribbean, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand. They also are viewed in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Presently the telecast is being carried on 146 TV stations in the United States, and on 18 TV stations in Canada and other international areas. In addition, the Tomorrow’s World program can be heard on radio in various parts of the world in English, French, Spanish, Afrikaans, and a Filipino dialect.
As of this week, since the first airing in January 1999, more than 6.3 million TV households in Canada and the United States have now viewed the Tomorrow’s World telecast. Presently, the telecast is going into 75 million TV households in the United States and Canada. Fully 62 percent of all TV households in these two countries can now get the program over the air, or by cable or satellite dish. Like the presenters say on the telecast, stay tuned!"
Dear brethren and co-workers, as this Work grows in power, we are humbly reminded that we are simply "carrying on" the Work which the living Jesus Christ began through Mr. and Mrs. Herbert W. Armstrong so many years ago. For God used Mr. Armstrong to preach the full Truth more powerfully than any other man that we know of in nearly 1,900 years. Most of you older members and co-workers remember Mr. Armstrong and the debt of gratitude we owe him for yielding to Christ in restoring so many Truths of God.
As one of the pioneer students at Ambassador College, I had the opportunity to work very closely with Mr. Armstrong for most of the last 36 years of his life. Only a very few people still alive knew him as well as I did. For I spent thousands of hours with him, traveled with him, ate hundreds of meals with him and—along with a few other early leaders in the Work—helped him build the Worldwide Church of God into a truly globe-girdling organization.
So, as we approach the 19th anniversary of Mr. Armstrong’s death (on January 16, 1986), we do honor his memory and the powerful work he did. As many of you fully realize, we are actually "following in his footsteps" far more than any other organization on earth! But Mr. Armstrong himself always put the emphasis on Christ and not on his own human leadership. So throughout the first twelve years of this Work, that is what we have done and continue to do. Nevertheless, I feel it appropriate at this time to remind all of you of his pioneering leadership and of the fact that we are, indeed, carrying on that Work in a significant way.
Mr. Armstrong himself deeply recognized the importance of certain numbers. He often explained the importance of numbers such as seven and twelve. And, as he said, "Twelve is often used in the Bible as the number of organizational beginnings." For God had twelve "patriarchs"—the sons of Jacob. Later, Jesus Christ Himself appointed twelve apostles. Even into eternity, we find that the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, will have twelve gates and on them will be written "the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel" (Rev. 21:12).
So now that we have had twelve eventful years to get organized and ready, now that we are in Charlotte, NC, and own our own building, we are prepared to do a much more powerful Work! With your help and support—and with the fervent prayers of God’s people everywhere—we will do just that. The next two to five years will probably see a swift increase in prophetic events all over the world preparatory to the literal return of Jesus Christ. The very end of this first 6,000 years of human experience will soon be here. The return of Jesus Christ as King of kings is enormously needed to alleviate the suffering, the starvation and the physical and emotional "hurts" which are increasing all over this sin sick world. Let’s all do our part to prepare the way for our Savior’s return!
With Christian love,
—Roderick C. Meredith
P.S. Please remember that any December contributions that are postmarked with a December date will be counted as year 2004 donations, even if we receive them in January 2005, and may be tax-deductible in 2004. So be sure any December donation is postmarked no later than December 31.