1. I WAS ABOUT 19 YEARS OLD WHEN I WAS GIVEN THE BIBLE IN PICTURES FILMSTRIPS. It was after we moved from the Church of the Open Door behind the Courthouse in Miami to the Congregational Church, which we rented for several years for $50 a month. It was when the head man of the Church introduced us there & turned over the keys of the church taking us around the church showing the place off—beautiful auditorium‚ nice pews, everything we needed to have church & meetings, etc. It had a nice big basement with Sunday School rooms, everything just ideal! Big sign out front with moveable letters that I could change every week for the new meetings, that would announce the subjects Mother was going to preach on. I was the janitor & the caretaker & took care of the whole thing!—At the age of 17 to 19.
2. IT WAS THEN THAT I GOT THE "BIBLE IN PICTURES," WHEN HE FIRST TOOK US TO THE CHURCH BUILDING TO SHOW IT TO US & GIVE US THE KEYS—which he offered us after our church which was just an old rented garage building that we'd made into a church had gotten damaged by the hurricane. The roof blew off in the hurricane so we had to have someplace pretty quick & he heard about it. I think he was one of Dr. Koger's patients.
3. HE SAID, "WE HAD A BEER PARTY LAST NIGHT & CARD GAME, we were gambling away in the church basement‚ & I got so fed up with the whole thing I said, 'Listen guys, we're not a church!'" They hadn't had a preacher for a long time, hadn't had services or hardly anything. He said, "We're nothing but a social club, why don't we just disband & let somebody use this thing that needs it!" I think he'd apparently already heard about our church roof being damaged—not the Tabernacle, but the building we moved to after we had to move out of the Tabernacle, & that we had for two or three years downtown, the Church of the Open Door. And when we moved into this Congregational Church building, we also called that the Church of the Open Door.
4. SO HE JUST SHOWED US AROUND, SHOWING US THE CHURCH & ALL OF ITS EQUIPMENT, giving us a guided tour, & while he was rummaging around the basement he found this funny-looking odd–shaped black case. He said, "What's this?" And he looked in it & saw this projector & these books & all these rolls of slide–film‚ & it all said plainly: "Bible in Pictures, Old Testament, Bible in Pictures, New Testament."
5. HE SAID, "HERE DAVE, HERE'S SOMETHING YOU CAN PROBABLY USE!" He figured that since it was pictures & I was a young fellow about 19, that I'd be interested. He said, "I think we used to use them for Sunday School or Youth Meetings or something, maybe you can use them too! Here, you can have'm, we don't have use for'm anymore!"—And he gave them to me! That's how I inherited the "Bible in Pictures"! And just think what a blessing that's been! (Maria: A real miracle!)
6. SO I USED TO GO THROUGH THE WHOLE OLD TESTAMENT, first in meetings with school children, night youth meetings or day children's meetings & things like that to tell them Bible stories, & then with my own four children. (Maria: That was a greater gift than the use of the church building!) Yes, it's had a more lasting effect than the building—which is another proof of the greater utility, usefulness & effectiveness of literature compared to buildings! Ha!
7. WE HAVE PUT ENOUGH MONEY INTO LITERATURE TO HAVE BUILT A CATHEDRAL! That would be an interesting thing to figure out sometime! We've figured up how many books & magazines & tapes & publications we have published—we made those pictures of the three bookshelves loaded full of our pubs—it would be interesting to find out how much all those cost us & how much they cost to send out to the whole Family. I'm sure it's been enough to build a good–sized church building!
8. BUT LOOK WHAT WE BUILT INSTEAD, THE REAL CHURCH OF LIVING STONES! Instead of a couple hundred members which we might have had in a church building we would have built out of dead blocks & lumber, we have built with the literature a church of 20,000 living stones all over the World, missionaries! How about that!—And used the "Bible in Pictures" & used my slides!
9. SO LOOK HOW THE LORD HAS USED THOSE SLIDES & "BIBLE IN PICTURES" FILMSTRIPS! We took all those pictures & put'm into books where everybody could have their own copies & read'm! And I used those slides & movies for years to help support us, & as a ministry. A ministry & supporter! That's how I got started on my own away from my Mother‚ that's all I had!
10. AFTER I'D BEEN USING THE BIBLE IN PICTURES FILMSTRIPS FOR A FEW YEARS, I got my slides, some from Dr. Prieger when I was 26, shortly after I was married, & the others about a year later, bequeathed to me by my Grandfather.
11. I HAD A GOOD BEGINNING WITH THE "BIBLE IN PICTURES" set but there were a lot of pictures that I needed to fill up different lectures & talks. And then I met Dr. Prieger.
12. DR. ALBERT PRIEGER WAS THE LEADING ARTIST OF THE WHOLE SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST DENOMINATION & made all their slides for their slide shows. (Maria: Even the ones they use today, did he do those too?) Yes, probably most of them, he & his staff of artists, etc. They were the big old-fashioned 3-by-4-inch slides. That's what they used then, & my Grandfather used then & all the old slide projectors used. They probably later made small slides of the very same art pictures, all the famous art masterpieces.
13. IT WAS A REAL MIRACLE THAT MY BIPS FILMSTRIP PROJECTOR HAD AN ATTACHMENT that could handle those old-fashioned slides of both Dr. Prieger's & my Grandfather's, because even then the small slide projectors with 2-by-2's were becoming popular as well as filmstrip projectors, & the others for 3-by-4's were fading out. Because who'd want to carry around huge heavy-as–lead boxes full of great big gigantic 3-by-4 glass slides that could easily break & were very heavy & hard to carry? And the old stereopticons as they called them, or slide projectors‚ were getting scarce.
14. THAT WAS BEFORE THE DAY OF COLOUR PHOTOGRAPHY when all those big slides were made, so that he had to colour them & paint them by hand! Imagine, he painted most of those slides himself by hand! He was a master German artist of the old classical school, classical realism‚ so he had only the best pictures, beautiful pictures & beautifully coloured, painted by hand.
15. EVEN IF THE ORIGINAL ART MASTERPIECES IN ITALY, GERMANY & PLACES LIKE THAT WERE PAINTED IN COLOUR, they didn't have colour photography yet, so when they took pictures of them to make copies & duplicates, they had to paint & colour them—especially for slide use, for slide shows. Colouring made them much more beautiful, of course!
16. I'VE FORGOTTEN JUST NOW EXACTLY HOW I WAS PUT IN CONTACT WITH DR. PRIEGER ... Oh, now I remember! He was located in Tampa‚ Florida & I went one night to a Seventh-day Adventist Meeting which had been highly advertised. They really knew how to advertise & get a crowd in a public auditorium of some kind, not church‚ & advertised a big show, moving pictures, colour pictures‚ etc. I got a lot of my ideas for my own slides & movies, from the way they did it, incorporating both in lectures, etc.
17. FOR ONE THING, I WENT JUST BECAUSE I WAS INTERESTED IN THE SUBJECT! That night, by the way, they were having a lecture on what they call "Pre-existence"‚ one of the Seventh Day Adventist doctrines that souls exist in Heaven before they're transplanted into babies on Earth. That's where I got interested in that subject & started studying about it & thinking about it! And it's one of our doctrines today which the Lord has pretty well proven by actual testimony, experience‚ vision, prophecy, whatever you want to call it! We sure know that Techi was around before she was born, that's proof enough for me!—Her name & everything about her! (333C, 381‚ 698, 760, 794‚ etc!)
18. SO ANYHOW, I OF COURSE GOT INTERESTED IN THE GUY WHO WAS CONDUCTING THE SHOW, particularly the fellow who was operating the machine for the lecture. I don't think I got acquainted with the lecturer himself, but the guy up in the balcony. He had his two machines & a really terrific set-up with a sliding switch. Remember how Enrique did it in Tenerife? He had two projectors which he operated so that one slide would fade out while the other faded in. Then he would change the slide in the one that was off, & when he was ready for that picture he'd slide the switch over again the other way.
19. BY USING TWO SLIDE PROJECTORS, JUST LIKE THEY DO TWO CAMERAS ON TV, ETC., YOU COULD FADE ONE PICTURE OUT WHILE THE OTHER ONE FADED IN! It made it a lot nicer than sliding the carriage back & forth, you know‚ just sliding the pictures across the screen. You faded'm in & out! Remember what a beautiful lecture Enrique had, manager of our hotel there in Tenerife? Well, that's the kind of set-up this fellow had. Maybe that's where Enrique got the idea!
20. I THINK THEY ALSO USED SOME KIND OF RECORDINGS OVER THE P.A. SYSTEM SO THE GUY DIDN'T HAVE TO ALWAYS REPEAT THE SAME SERMON ALL THE TIME! That's something I never got around to. It would have been good if I'd had some kind of recorder in those days, but that was even before the days of tape recorders. Apparently the Seventh Day Adventists had records made which they could play—which is the only kind of recordings you could have in those days.
21. SO I WENT UP IN THE BALCONY & WATCHED HIM OPERATE, because I'd been doing some of the same sort of thing. Only they really had it down to a finesse, a fine point, everything geared just beautifully—music, recording, pictures! Oh, it was gorgeous! Sort of like Enrique did his travelogue on Tenerife! Terrific! It was beautiful, & I was just thrilled! I thought, "Wow, these guys have really got it!"
22. SO I TALKED TO THE PROJECTIONIST AFTERWARD—who of course had to be a genius to operate everything just in sync & synchronise everything—& I got to discussing the slides & asking him where he got his beautiful colour slides. So many of them were artwork & art pictures of the Coming of the Lord & things that, of course, you couldn't have actual photos of‚ but somebody had drawn them.
23. HE SAID, "DR. PRIEGER WHO LIVES RIGHT HERE JUST OUTSIDE OF TAMPA MADE MOST OF OUR SLIDES‚ & he makes most of them for all of our Seventh–day Adventist lecturers all over the country! He's got a collection of over 20,000 colour slides on every conceivable subject, of course mostly on the Bible & Bible Prophecy." They were very good & strong on & Daniel & Revelation & all those things. I got lots of my ideas from them, as well as a lot of my pictures!
24. HE SAID, "HE HAS THIS HUGE LIBRARY OF OVER 20‚000 SLIDES, & HE SELLS SLIDES TO US, SO HE'D PROBABLY SELL'M TO YOU IF YOU'RE INTERESTED! And they're very reasonable, anyone in the Lord's work he gives them a special price!" That was good news, because we were very poor, Mother & I & Eve. We were just newly married & she was pregnant with our first baby, Deborah‚ & we'd just been holding a meeting in a little town in Central Florida.
25. WE WERE BETWEEN MEETINGS, getting ready to go to another little town in Florida & hold another meeting, & we had about two weeks off. We'd rented a little cottage by a lake out there in Lakeland, Florida just outside of Tampa, & that's how I happened to be free to go to this meeting that night in Tampa. I saw it advertised in the paper & I was very interested & I'm glad I went! In fact, I think I went to two or three of them while we were there‚ & one of them was a health lecture. They also always had health lectures on health food, etc., & of course they always had health food stores in almost every city in the United States. In fact, now we've found them all over the World, everywhere from Europe to S. Africa!
26. SO I WAS FASCINATED BY THEIR SLIDES & THEIR EQUIPMENT & ALL, & HE OFFERED TO INTRODUCE ME TO DR. PRIEGER who was a very outstanding famous man, big man‚ one of the former leaders of the Seventh Day Adventist denomination. So this young fellow offered to introduce me & I followed his car out there to Dr. Prieger's. He had a beautiful country place out in the Florida lake & hill country not far from Tampa, & lived there with his wife, an elderly couple.
27. AND RIGHT AWAY I TOOK TO HIM & HE SORT OF TOOK TO ME! I was just about 26 then. I think Mother even went with us the first time to meet him‚ & they hit it off great, she being closer to his age & all. But he liked me a lot & the fact that I was interested in slides & had slides of my own & gave slide lectures & had been attending their lectures. I told him about how I was familiar with the Seventh Day Adventists & had Seventh Day Adventist friends & all, so we hit it off great!
28. SO HE TOOK ME INTO HIS SLIDE LIBRARY & IT WAS THIS HUGE ROOM, & the walls were literally covered with book shelves containing slide trays, alphabetically & subject–indexed & everything else‚ on every subject, every conceivable kind of a picture you could possibly imagine! And of course I was absolutely fascinated & enthralled! He took me around at first showing me how he had them sorted in various classifications by lectures & subjects such as Bible Prophecy, Daniel, Revelation‚ Bible Stories & all these different things, & he showed me a lot of them. He had a projector right there in a sort of a dark back room & he'd take a box & go through a few of them & show them to me. And I was just thrilled!
29. SO I ALREADY SAW SEVERAL THAT I WANTED SO I ASKED HIM HOW MUCH THEY WOULD BE, & he offered them to me at the almost unbelievable price of only a dollar a slide! Hand–painted slides, if you can imagine! Beautiful! I mean, that was hardly the cost! But I think he realised I was just a young fellow trying to get started in the Ministry, so he really took a liking to me & tried to make it easy.
30. HE SAID, "OH WELL, I'M GOING TO DIE BEFORE LONG ANYHOW‚ & IT'LL ALL FALL INTO THE HANDS OF OTHERS. My wife can't carry on in business without me & she'll probably just sell'm all anyhow, so you might as well be one of the beneficiaries!" In other words, he was actually starting to sell out then. So he said, "Help yourself, a dollar apiece!" I said, "The trouble is, I don't have very much money in cash right now." He said, "Well, you pick out as many slides as you want, & I'll let you have'm for $5 down & $5 a month!" And that was just almost unbelievable‚ because that was just about the limit of our financial capacity right then—especially mine personally.
31. SO THAT AFTERNOON RIGHT AWAY I STARTED FEVERISHLY TRYING TO PICK OUT SLIDES, BUT IT SOON GOT LATE. I think he'd invited me to dinner, but I said no because Mother was waiting & getting impatient. I'd been there about two or three hours looking through the slides, thinking I could do it all in one afternoon & trying to pick out the best ones & the ones that fitted my lectures & subjects that I wanted to talk about—especially Bible Prophecy slides like Daniel & Revelation, & I got a lot of good ones on that!
32. SO HE SAID, "WELL, YOUR MOTHER'S GETTING TIRED, WHY DON'T YOU COME BACK TOMORROW? Come back in the morning & spend all day!" Well, I wound up spending all week! I came back every single day for five days‚ all day long, & I went through, believe it or not, nearly every one of his 20,000 slides on every subject that I was interested in! There were some things that I wasn't at that time interested in, a lot of his health lectures & health slides & things on medicine, etc. I had "Bible in Pictures" so I didn't need many more along that line.
33. BUT I WAS PARTICULARLY INTERESTED IN TWO THINGS: THE BIBLE PROPHECY SLIDES & WONDERS OF GOD'S CREATION—which I found fascinating & could lecture against Evolution with‚ excellent for young people & kids at schools & a lot of places I went. They were beautiful pictures of God's natural Creation, Wonders of His Creation!—Everything from astronomy to wonders on Earth & wonders of the Heavens! He had everything! Gorgeous slides! Sad to say, a lot of them got ruined when the basement flooded in Tenerife.
34. WELL ANYWAY, I SPENT NEARLY A WEEK JUST GOING THROUGH ALL OF HIS SLIDES, OR MOST OF THEM‚ HUNDREDS & HUNDREDS OF THEM! He said, "Here's a table, here's a chair, here's a white piece of paper"—& he laid it on a table right in front of a window. He knew just what to do! He said‚ "Now here's a box, you just go through it"—& he showed me how to do it, how to pull them out one-by-one & hold it right over the white piece of paper‚ & with the light shining from the window on the white paper I could see the slide clearly. And I just got to where I could really go through those slides fast! And each box would hold about 50 slides.
35. SO I CHOSE 300 SLIDES OUT OF HIS COLLECTION! My Mother was just aghast, $300 worth of slides! My payments went on for just about five years. Every month I sent him his little $5, & he'd send me back a receipt every time. And we kept in touch & he followed my travels like that all over! I'd send him his $5 every month from everywhere & sometimes he'd put a little note on the receipt, "Hi Dave, God bless you!" or something. And I faithfully sent that $5 every single month for nearly five years!
36. WELL, I REMEMBER WHEN IT GOT CLOSE TO SOMETHING LIKE $30 FROM THE END, HE WROTE & SAID, "WELL, THAT $30 IS MY TITHE, 10%. I'm cancelling the rest of it, it's free!" (Maria: That's so sweet!) It was already a bargain‚ he didn't have to do that, but he was just a real sweet old fellow! And I had lots of interesting long conversations with him about the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, their organisation & their beliefs & doctrines, very interesting doctrinal discussions in which he explained a lot of their doctrines to me.
37. THEY WERE REAL STRONG ON POST-TRIB RAPTURE! He was one of the first ones that really got me thinking & convinced about the Post-Tribulation Rapture. And they had so many good slides about it & everything‚ it was terrific! I had so many good pictures we could have used if those things hadn't gotten ruined. Well anyhow, PTL! Our artists wouldn't have had such a job.
38. I REMEMBER ONE OF THE THINGS HE TOLD ME, he was not very churchy, & the Seventh-day Adventists, you know, were so strong on the Sabbath Day, & in his later years he sort of fell out with the hierarchy. He said he was really holding them to the Scriptures their legalism & their supposed obeying of the laws. You know, they make a big distinction between the ceremonial & the religious laws & the health laws. They claim that the spiritual laws, such as the Ten Commandments, & the health laws were still in effect, but the ceremonial laws were the only ones that were done away with when Jesus came. So all this sort of thing was very interesting & I learned a lot about the Seventh-day Adventists.
39. BUT HE SAID WHERE HE REALLY FINALLY FELL OUT WITH THEM WAS WHEN AS HE GREW OLD HE GOT TIRED OF GOING TO CHURCH ALL THE TIME & kind of fed up with the organisation, hierarchy, etc. I think he'd tried to get up in it & somebody muscled him out or something, there was a lot of politics. He was still Seventh-day Adventist & still had fellowship with them & all that‚ but the thing that really finally did it & really pretty much got him sort of out of touch with the hierarchy was that they kept bugging him so much to go to church on Saturday! That's their big shibboleth, you know, you've got to go to church on Saturday.
40. HE SAID, "WELL, I FOUND THAT ACCORDING TO THE MOSAIC LAW, THE SABBATH CELEBRATED BY THE JEWS OF ISRAEL DID NOT CONSIST OF GOING TO THE SYNAGOGUE OR THE TEMPLE ON THE SABBATH, BUT OF JUST STAYING HOME & RESTING! So I'm going to observe the Sabbath the way they did it in the Old Testament, I'm going to stay home & rest!"—Ha! And that just made'm furious, because that just knocked their whole system into a cocked hat! Just like if you'd tell Christian Church preachers that the people didn't have to go to church on Sunday—which I have done since then!—Ha!
41. SO WE HAD A GOOD LAUGH OVER THAT & HE & I REALLY HIT IT OFF GOOD! I'm sure the Lord put him there to be an influence in my life as well as supply me with slides‚ & he just almost gave'm to me! And I really used them in our ministry for years after that. It took me almost five years to pay him off, but I really sent that $5 diligently every single month.
42. HE WAS VERY SMART TOO, LET ME TELL YOU! He'd been in missionary work on the foreign field & raised money & done all kinds of things in the Lord's service, lived by faith, & every month with the little receipt he sent me for the $5 I sent, he'd send me back a nice little self–addressed envelope with his name on it ready for the next little payment! So I always had an envelope there to remind me that I needed to pay my $5 a month!
43. AND THEN, just about a year after I'd gotten those slides from Mr. Pieger, my Grandfather died & I inherited some beautiful slides from him. He put that in his will, that I was to get any slides that his wife didn't want. Well, of course, she picked out a whole lot of his best slides, but she was more interested in personal family pictures & his travels & stuff like that, especially stuff she & her children were in.
44. SHE WASN'T TOO MUCH INTERESTED IN THE BIBLE SLIDES OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT, SO I GOT THE ONES THAT I WANTED—Bible stories & Bible pictures, plus a lot of his travel pictures that neither he nor she were in that she didn't want, but were beautiful pictures of these places & wonders of Creation, etc. (Maria: They were hand-painted by her?) No, not by her. She was his second wife, Auntie Grace. They'd been hand–painted many years before by my actual real Grandmother, my Mother's mother. (Maria: How many were there?) I got about four boxes from him, a couple hundred slides, one of them was mostly his travels & the other three were Bible slides‚ Bible pictures & Bible stories. I think my Mother had the idea it would be good to have a few pictures in her meeting. She already had some slides about the Florida hurricane that she would show them to her congregations. She'd preach on the Miami Hurricane or work it into her sermon‚ & show slides about it, anything to try to help get a crowd & get people to come to church, any kind of attraction, pictures or anything.
45. SO I USED ALL THOSE SLIDES FOR YEARS! I used to carry about a dozen boxes of slides, about 50 in a box, so that's about 600 slides, & I showed'm at churches & schools & outdoors in trailer parks & anywhere I could get a chance to get a crowd! (Maria: Just like our Family's doing all over the World!) Just like we're doing now!
46. I GOT STARTED using them in church since I was a song leader, I first figured out sets of slides to go with songs, & ever night, besides the regular song service, I would always sing at least one special number‚ a solo, just before the sermon. So I'd get back there with the slide projector & microphone & sing & change the slides at the same time, if you can imagine! I was like a one-armed paper-hanger! But I memorised all my songs so I didn't have to look at any music or anything. I had slides geared to every possible scene in the song, so that I would just sing a line or two with each slide. I'd usually have anywhere from a dozen to two dozen slides per song‚ which meant I could change them, like two or three for each verse & chorus. I usually only sang about two or three verses & choruses.
47. AND THAT MADE QUITE A HIT, THE PEOPLE SEEMED TO ENJOY IT! After the song service while the preacher was making the announcements, etc. he'd introduce my special number, & I had everything set up in the back ready to go, they'd dim the church lights & I had my screen on & I would show slides with my solos! And they were pretty good! I sang fairly well & the pictures were beautiful & really brought out the thought of each song just beautifully. In other words, you were seeing these gorgeous pictures with musical background & a song to fit them, a lot like you see on television now with music & songs & pictures blended together. (Maria: Just like we're getting MWM to do!) Yes! So that's how I really first got started using the slides.
48. SO WE WORKED OUR WAY BY FAITH CLEAR ACROSS THE COUNTRY WITH MY MOTHER RIDING ALONG just to kind of watch & see how I did it, & she was quite tickled by the way I worked! I think she was also trying to kind of help me get on my own. So we worked then little-by-little, Mother let me begin to show slides before the regular service.
49. EVERY NIGHT BEFORE HER REGULAR EVANGELISTIC MEETING, about a half-an-hour early, one of the attractions was I'd put on my slide pictures & give a little lecture. A few times I ran over & she didn't like it‚ but it was kind of hard to quit! Half-an-hour is not much for me! Can you imagine? People who wanted to see it bad enough would come early, at 7:00 o'clock instead of 7:30. You know how the meetings always started in the States at 7:30 & were supposed to run 7:30 to 9:00? Well‚ in special evangelistic meetings they'd sometimes let them get away with running over to 9:30, but they never started before 7:30. But we'd advertise my pictures & lectures for 7 o'clock so the people had to come early for those. Well, there would usually be a fairly good little handful‚ maybe a couple dozen people would come early, & I thought it was worth it to give them a little lecture on Creation & against Evolution & on Bible Prophecy & things like that, & that's how I got started!
50. BUT I GOT REALLY FED UP & SICK & TIRED OF GOING TO CHURCHES & THE SAME OLD STUFF, same old saints already saved for 50 years, "been in the Way 50 years" & whatnot! Sometimes I wished they'd get out of the way of progress! But the Lord used it, first with my Mother & then on my own. And then with my little family, my wife & then four children, & we kept on going, praise the Lord, living by faith, trusting the Lord, holding meetings like that.
51. THEN BY & BY I BEGAN TO TRY TO FIGURE OUT WAYS TO REACH PEOPLE OUTSIDE OF THE CHURCHES WITH MY SLIDES. I had enough lectures & movies & equipment assembled, & I was tired of talking to the same old church people all the time who already knew it all & were already saved—what was the use of spending all that energy on them? So in-between Mother's meetings, working with her, I'd try to fill in with some overnight stops here & there to show my pictures & give lectures. And it worked‚ we did real well! We earned our way across the country many-a-time & worked in conjunction with Mother in her meetings & in–between her meetings & finally on my own!
52. IN SMALL TOWNS WHERE THEY HAD NO CINEMA, BEFORE THE DAYS OF TV‚ YOU COULD GET A CROWD OF HUNDREDS IN NOTHING FLAT! There was no television & no cinema in the town, no movie house, so nearly everybody in the small town would come to see the pictures. I'd put up signs all over town & advertise my little lectures on "The Wonders of Creation" & "The Wonders of the Future" & stuff like that‚ just to arouse their curiosity!
53. I WAS TRYING TO REACH PEOPLE OUTSIDE OF THE CHURCHES, THE GENERAL PUBLIC, & IT WAS REALLY A FRUITFUL MINISTRY! I got good crowds & offerings, & best of all, I usually got a show of hands of people accepting the Lord at the end of every meeting in prayer. So the Lord really used it & I had a lot of real interesting experiences that I've told already.
54. ONE OF THE MOST OUTSTANDING EXPERIENCES WAS THE TIME I SHOWED THE SLIDES ONE NIGHT IN THAT TRAILER PARK WHERE THAT NEWSBOY WAS. He was an older fellow about in his 30's that delivered the papers & lived there in the park. I think he was sort of a distributor, the guy that supplies other newsboys too. I was leaving the next morning after I'd shown the slides that night, but the trailer park man had allowed me to show my slides only on one condition: "You can't take an offering." He didn't want me to do it for money, like I was making money off of his customers.
55. SO WE WERE REALLY FLAT BROKE THE NEXT MORNING. We had a dollar-&-a-half or something like that & I said‚ "Well, it's enough to buy a tank of gas & at least we can get to the next town." And just as we were packing up & hitching up our trailer & leaving, the newsboy walked up with his hand clasped, he had a bill palmed in his hand, & he put this folded bill into my hand. I shook his hand heartily & thanked him, & of course it wasn't exactly polite to pull it out & look & see how much it was, so I just stuck it in my pocket. I'll tell you what I had faith for, about $5, & that was quite a bit in those days.
56. SO WHEN I GOT OUT ON THE HIGHWAY I SAID, "WELL, WE'D BETTER STOP & GET SOME GROCERIES NOW WE'VE GOT SOME MONEY!" So Mother stayed in the car & Eve & I got out & started walking across the street. We were right outside of Phoenix on that huge big six–lane highway that runs between Phoenix & Tempe, you know? There's a huge big six-lane highway. And I got across the first three lanes, about in the middle, when I pulled out the bill to see what it was, & I jumped straight up in the air & shouted "Hallelujah!"—right out in the middle of all that traffic! It was a fifty-dollar bill! That was one of the biggest gifts we ever got!—And from a newsboy! It's the poor who support God's Work!
57. I'LL NEVER FORGET, WHEN HE PUT IT IN MY HAND HE SAID, "HERE, PREACHER! You know, it was a good thing you did last night, & these little kids here, they really needed it! They're a bunch of wild Indians & they never go to church & they've never heard anything like that before‚ so that was really good for them! I'm so glad you did that, that was really good!"—And he shook my hand & put the bill in my hand!
58. HERE WAS A MEETING I WASN'T EXPECTING TO GET A THING OUT OF BECAUSE THE MANAGER WOULDN'T LET ME TAKE AN OFFERING, & HERE THIS NEWSBOY WALKS UP & GIVES ME $50! So that not only bought groceries, but gas, & we went a long ways on that $50 in those days! It really thrilled me, & boy, I really went great guns with my slides & showings & meetings from then on! In fact, on that particular trip with my Mother in our little trailer, that's the way we earned our way virtually clear across the country to a meeting that she had in Beaumont‚ Texas.
59. WE DIDN'T HAVE THE MONEY OR ANYTHING TO GET THERE, so we just stopped in little town after little town & showed my slides & had meetings. We'd drive as far as we had money or as far as we could in the daytime, then we'd park in some little town that I'd pick out as being a good prospect for maybe a slide show the next night, sort of working & earning our way across the country.
60. FIRST THING THE NEXT DAY I'D PRINT OUT MY LITTLE SIGNS & STICK THEM UP ALL OVER TOWN: The post office, the grocery store & everywhere! Well, first of all I'd get the use of some kind of a hall or something. In one town I even showed them outdoors on the side of the post office that had a big white wall! Outdoors, trailer parks, schools, buildings, all kinds of places! They even let me use City Halls! I'd just go up & ask them if I could show some "Gospel pictures‚" etc. & they were usually pretty generous & hospitable. The Americans in the Southwest, you know‚ cowboys, they were always favourable toward religion, as a rule, & always quite friendly to help a young preacher out that's obviously an itinerant preacher living by faith with his little wife & family.
61. SO I HARDLY EVER HAD ANY TROUBLE GETTING AN AUDITORIUM! I used to try for the schools most of all‚ because that was neutral ground & people of all kinds of churches or no churches could come. If I couldn't get the school I'd get some kind of club room, or often the City Hall had a hall. And my last choice would be a church because I was trying to get out of the churches & away from them & reach the people outside.
62. SO WE LITERALLY WORKED OUR WAY HALFWAY ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO TEXAS WITH MY SLIDES & PICTURES! That was about two-thirds of the way, actually, to Beaumont, the East side of Texas. By this time I also had a silent movie projector & a record player. So while the movies were running I'd play the record player for musical background, & the record player was also a P.A. system, & I'd speak on the microphone. I would manipulate the volume control so that when I didn't have to talk I'd turn up the music, & then when I wanted to say something as the movie went on‚ I'd turn it down.
63. BUT WHEN IT CAME TO THE SLIDES, THAT WAS REALLY MY CLINCHER! The movies were usually just to draw a crowd & get people to come. I had pictures of all kinds of natural catastrophes & disasters, earthquakes, fires, volcanic explosions, old news films & all kinds of interesting stuff!—Silent movies that I'd play these records to.
64. I'D ADVERTISE "MOVIES & COLOUR PICTURES!" So I'd show the movies first to get the crowd, then I'd work into the colour slides, & finally into the Gospel message at the end. And at the end I never had anybody object to my having prayer. I'd have them all bow their heads & tell'm, "Let's pray now"—& I'd give a Gospel invitation for those who'd like to receive Jesus to raise their hands. I always got a show of hands, anywhere from two or three to dozens, so I was always thrilled!
65. I WAS USUALLY ONLY THERE ONE NIGHT, & a few times I spent two or three nights, & one time we spent a whole week in one school showing different slides & pictures every night! I had enough that I could have gone on for two weeks every night with an entirely different lecture, different movies & different slides!
66. IF I DIDN'T THINK IT WAS THE TYPE OF GROUP THAT COULD STAND ANYTHING RELIGIOUS to begin with‚ I'd start off with pictures of "The Wonders of Creation", as I called it, news films & all kinds of interesting things. Then I'd work into the Gospel message on Who was the Creator. Or Bible Prophecy—what's the future hold? I'd have films on news events & current events‚ things like that, & then work into Bible Prophecy! It really made a good combination!
67. AND THEN I WOULD WIND UP AT THE END WITH A SPIRITUAL MESSAGE & THE INVITATION. And usually just before the final invitation I would say, "I'd like to sing a little song for you, if you don't mind," & I would sing a Gospel song illustrated with the beautiful slides. That was a real good ending while it was dark & with the beautiful pictures & the pretty music, & I very often sang without any musical accompaniment if they didn't have a piano. If it was a hall where they had an instrument, Eve would play in the dark by ear at the piano while I sang, or I sang without music if there wasn't any.
68. THAT WAS THE USUAL FORMAT, I STARTED OFF WITH SOMETHING THAT APPEALED TO EVERYBODY, & THEN GRADUALLY WORKED INTO THE MESSAGE, & FINALLY TO THE APPEAL. The song was always some kind of an invitational appeal like "What Will You Do With Jesus?", things like that. And with beautiful slides‚ pictures of Christ on the cross, or Christ with the children, Christ giving an invitation, Christ with the Disciples, all kinds of different scenes. Those various songs like "I Will Pilot Thee", "Christ as Our Helmsman", "Lost Sheep"‚ all pictured in beautiful pictures & slides!
69. AND AT THE END OF THE SONG THEN I WOULD GIVE THE INVITATION: "I'm just going a to say a little prayer before you go." I'd have'm bow their heads & I'd say, "I wonder if anybody here has never really received Jesus as your personal Saviour & you don't know the God that I've been talking about. Even though you may have been to church, or maybe not, you don't really know about the joy & happiness that I've been talking about, & the Love & Salvation."
70. I'D TELL'M, "WE'RE NOT GOING TO CALL YOU OUT‚ WE'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE AN ALTAR CALL OR SERVICE"—in these general public meetings, GP meetings—"this is not a church & you don't have to join anything. I'd just like to know how many of you would like to receive Jesus into your hearts tonight as I pray. Why don't you just lift your hand & pray this little prayer with me"—& I'd end with the Sinner's Prayer, & that was it!
71. AND OFTENTIMES PEOPLE WOULD BE WEEPING! They'd come up & shake hands with me afterward, put gifts in my hand. Some places I could take offerings, other times they could just put a gift in my hand afterward‚ & they'd thank me with tears in their eyes: "Oh, that was beautiful! That was wonderful! I'm so glad! I'm so happy! I never had that experience before!"
72. AND ALTHOUGH MOST OF THESE THINGS THAT I WENT THROUGH WERE JUST ONE OR TWO NIGHT STANDS, OR ONE WEEK AT THE MOST‚ WE HAD QUITE A FEW SOULS SAVED! And although I couldn't follow'm up, I'd always encourage them to try to go attend some good Gospel church of some kind. I'd tell'm‚ "You can go to church on Sunday & learn more about the Lord." What else could I do? I had nothing else to offer'm! There was no Family then! So I felt a lot of satisfaction that I'd led a lot of souls to the Lord & I believe I'll see'm Over There! And it came through my pictures & my movies & slide shows & illustrated songs, followed by the Sinner's Prayer & a show of hands, them praying with me‚ that many souls were saved!
73. SO I BELIEVE IT WAS A REAL FRUITFUL MINISTRY! If you measured our success by how much money we earned, it wouldn't have been much, but at least we survived. We lived by faith & I enjoyed it & it was interesting & a lot of variety & a challenge to try to have meetings outside of the churches, to reach what we called the sinner & the lost & the unchurched. That's what interested me the most.
74. THEN AS THE CHILDREN REALLY BEGAN TO SHINE, THEY BECAME THE ATTRACTION & WE DIDN'T NEED PICTURES & MOVIES ANYMORE! They were the living stones, the living lively examples! Their litnessing & witnessing & interesting testimonies were enough to draw crowd anywhere, either in church, on the street corner or anywhere! So I sort of got past showing pictures any more because Eve & the kids didn't seem to need it. I just hung around in the background & engineered things & provided the transportation & the chauffeur & the camper & the teaching of the children during the day, then they'd have meetings at night.
75. BUT PICTURES WERE REALLY MY START when I was a teenager with my "BIPs" for kids in children's meetings, youth meetings, schools, etc! They really taught me a lot too! The "BIPs" were my Bible College!—Ha!—Then the big colour slides with my songs, & finally slides & movies with my lectures on my own!
76. IT WAS A THRILLING TIME & LOTSA FUN & EXCITEMENT & TRAVEL & LIVING BY FAITH! My own kids were brought up on it & that's how we all got our start!—Until they could carry the ball without me!—Like you are now! GBY! ILY! Keep'm rollin'!
77. I STILL THINK THE PICTURES ARE A TREMENDOUS TOOL & HELP WITH CHILDREN & EVEN BIG FOLKS in poor places without TVs or cinemas. Even in places where they do have other forms of entertainment, they can be a terrific attraction to your meetings in churches, schools, hospitals, old folks' homes, outdoor meetings, campgrounds‚ etc. So don't knock'm!—Use'm!—Amen?—GBAKAMYABTM!—IJN, amen!