1. GREETINGS IN JESUS' PRECIOUS NAME!-And a very Happy New Year in the Lord to you all! Thank you so much for your very many thoughtful gifts and personal remembrances during this Christmas Season!—So many, in fact, that it would be humanly impossible for us to thank each of you personally by name for them all! So please every one of you accept this as our personal thanks for what you sent us, will you?—Thanks!
2. WE ARE MOST THANKFUL THAT THE LORD HAS BLESSED AND KEPT YOU AND MADE YOU A BLESSING TO MILLIONS THROUGHOUT THIS PAST YEAR! We could hardly ask for more! It has been a record year for us all, and we have reached in 1972 one of the mountain peaks of our history and accomplishments! The figures are not all in yet from all your December reports due probably to the Christmas mail jam and the slowness of a few‚ but we'd like to give you an approximate summary of what we did in '72:
3. WE GREW FROM ONLY ABOUT 40 COLONIES IN A MERE 7 COUNTRIES in North America and Europe to over three times as many Colonies, about 140, in nearly 6 times as many countries, about 40, on nearly every Continent around the world! Hallelujah! This is a phenomenally rapid growth and spread which only God could have done with your help and cooperation! PTL!
4. WE DID THIS REMARKABLE SCATTERING THROUGHOUT ALL THE WORLD TO PREACH THE GOSPEL in obedience to the Lord's command in only one year's time, and by an increase of only 50% in our total labour force, from about 1600 to 2400, which shows that we did it, not by a great wave of numbers, but by a tremendous individual devotion to our task!
5. IN ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING MODERN MISSIONARY MIGRATION MOVEMENTS IN ANY ONE YEAR OF ALL CHRISTIAN HISTORY, we moved nearly as many people out of the U.S. by the end of the year as we had had in the U.S. when the year began! So that we now have nearly 2/3 of our present total population and Colonies outside of the United States!—Thank God!
6. IF THAT'S NOT OBEDIENCE TO MARK 16:15, I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS! Unlike the churches, the vast majority of us have forsaken all, obeyed the Lord, left home and families and gone as missionaries to foreign fields around the world!—Instead of nearly all of us staying home and living selfishly to ourselves and sending a mere trickle of emissaries to the fields like nearly all the churches!
7. NO WONDER THE CHURCHES HAVEN'T GOTTEN THE JOB DONE IN 2‚000 YEARS since the beginning of the Early Church and its faithful and obedient disciples so long ago!—They just haven't obeyed!—But we have!—And even those remaining at home have continued to carry on a powerful witnessing campaign which has netted more souls in a single year than many denominations put together!—About 100 million witnessed to, either personally or with nearly 25 million pieces of literature and through about 330 news items and radio and TV broadcasts, books and magazines about us! You little home missionaries also won over 80‚000 souls and gained over 1600 new disciples in one year while the rest were busily moving abroad! PTL!
8. THAT WAS JUST AT HOME IN THE U.S.A.!—WAIT'LL YOU HEAR THE WORLD TOTALS FOR '72!—Nearly half a billion witnessed to through personal contact and nearly 80 million pieces of literature and nearly 700 news items, broadcasts, telecasts‚ books and magazines!—In just one year! I challenge any other denomination or Christian group to equal that record in any recent year of their history! They just can't do it, because they just haven't been doing what we've been doing, so the world hasn't been hearing about them like it's been hearing about us! Hallelujah!—Though there are only about one-millionth as many of us as them! WOW!
9. THROUGH OUR WITNESS ALONE NEARLY 140,000 SOULS HAVE BEEN WON to Christ and over 3,000 new disciples have gone into fulltime service for the Lord, plus a lot more who volunteered and were trained by us, who are now serving the Lord with other groups,—all in just one year!—Top that! Nearly 100‚000 of these converts to Christ were also baptised in the Holy Ghost, new powerful witnesses for the Lord! Not even the Pentecostals can top that one!—They're too busy enjoying the Lord and each other!
10. ON TOP OF IT ALL, LIKE THE ICING ON THE CAKE, GUESS WHAT?—We've had about 100 new betrothals and about an equal number of new babies born by natural childbirth in our Colonies, bringing our total number of couples to over 300, and children to over 200! So that means that about 1/3 our total population‚ or around 800 of us, are nice little married families with children!—What makes 'em say we don't believe in sex? Hallelujah!
11. THAT LEAVES ABOUT 2/3 OF YOU STILL SINGLE, about 2/3 boys and 1/3 girls, so you'd better get busy, boys, as there's only about one girl left to every two of you bachelors, and they're getting picked over fast, and soon all you'll have is the leavin's!—Of course‚ I'd rather have one of our leavin's than any of the System's old maids!—Ha! Besides, our girls stick even better than the boys! Although their rate of joining is much lower, their rate of backsliding is much lower, too! Once they join, they stick! So stick with 'em Brethren, an' get stuck on 'em! Hallelujah!
12. DUE TO THESE TREMENDOUS TROOP MOVEMENTS and these major moves overseas this year, there has naturally been a slight slowing down in our total rate of growth during the latter part of the year. But this is good because it has given us more time to consolidate our gains and get firmly established in our new beachheads and more thoroughly train our disciples and leaders before the next major push of our worldwide invasion. It has also slowed down our witnessing somewhat lately, as our army has been busy moving into new fields, learning new languages and customs and getting acquainted with whole new cultures of people that are totally foreign to most of us, as we are new missionaries in new fields getting adjusted.
13. BUT THIS SLIGHT SLOWING DOWN while we catch our breath has been good for us: It has helped us to take more time to train better labour leaders and labourers for the task and to get better organised from top to bottom. We have established two major centres of communication as central Offices for both Western and Eastern hemispheres, and staffed them with scores of trained personnel and moved and purchased and installed mountains of equipment for their use in the Lord's service.
14. THESE OFFICES ARE NOW REALLY BEGINNING TO PRODUCE as the volume of mail, communications and literature increases. In just this past year‚ our Publication Departments, both at home and abroad‚ have produced tons of literature in the form of hundreds of thousands of underground-type Gospel newspapers for the kids on the street; thousands of news magazines recounting our latest exploits for ourselves and our friends; thousands of newsletters, prayer letters, MO Letters, class lessons and other instructional material both for our friends and disciples; about a dozen books have been printed in tens of thousands of copies, including our history, our classes, our Letters and other inspirational books for our own use and the encouragement of our friends; and literally millions of Gospel tracts have been printed and distributed in at least a dozen languages to millions of young people throughout the world! We have printshops operating in nearly every major language area, producing their own literature for both local and international consumption. On top of all this, our Offices have handled thousands of phone calls and tons of mail regarding our worldwide work, including the amazing amount of money, manpower and materials necessary for such a vast international operation!
15. THIS HAS ALSO REQUIRED A MAJOR REORGANISATIONAL SHAKEUP, with the creation of a number of new Ministries and the appointment of their Ministers, such as Publications, Childcare, Missions, Personnel, Business and Public Relations, Food, Health and Welfare‚ etc. The heads of these Ministries now form our new Council of Ministers who discuss our major affairs of State and agree together on any major decisions made on plans‚ problems and the administration of the affairs of our New Nation as your servants in the Lord in helping you to carry on His work.
16. OUR MINISTRY OF BIBLE EDUCATION HAS ESTABLISHED A NUMBER OF NEW TRAINING CENTRES, Montessori schools and high schools for our own children and young people in our principal locations, who are already graduating grade school, high school and Bible school students for our work around the world; while the Ministry of Childcare is preparing couples for marriage‚ our pregnant girls for motherhood, nurses for our babies and toddlers, nurseries for our little ones, and ministering to the needs of our children and their training throughout the world.
17. OUR MINISTRY OF THE MIRACLES OF MUSIC begun by our own son with his own guitar and inspired compositions in our early days only a few years ago has now grown to worldwide proportions with every Colony having at least one or more Ministers of Music and Inspiration who have composed a tremendous variety of brand new music for our worldwide fellowship and enjoyment and with a message of hope for the youth in the streets. Our young people have formed about a dozen outstanding bands in each important area, and one of them has already made a hit record for Columbia called "Jeremy and The Children", led by Jeremy Spencer, formerly of the famous Fleetwood Mac of Britain, but now a happy Child of God! Hallelujah!
18. MEANWHILE, OUR ENEMIES HAVE BEEN BUSY ALSO IN PROMOTING OUR CAUSE BY PUBLICISING OUR DOINGS FAR AND WIDE and organising against us to create controversy, which has only served to create a greater interest in the news media and even broader publicity of our activities and message. God has caused the wrath of men to praise Him, and when these things were noised abroad‚ the multitudes were gathered together! Hallelujah! This has also helped to raise up friends in our defense and crystalise public opinion against our enemies, so that many have come to our aid personally and in press conferences and in the news media with glowing testimonials of the great good we are doing for the youth of many nations, and even governments are now defending us against these religious and political bigots! Thankful Parents of the Children of God have been a great help. God bless them!
19. GOD HAS MARVELOUSLY SUPPLIED OUR NEEDS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, and many miracles of faith have taken place in His furnishing of material necessities to carry on His work. We have been so busy doing the job that we've had very little time to make appeals for finances. In fact, we have actually neglected to share with our parents and friends the knowledge of our needs as much as we should have, and thus have caused many of them to miss a blessing in sharing in the giving.
20. SO IT'S BEEN TRULY REMARKABLE HOW GOD HAS MET OUR NEEDS as He has promised, many times by almost total strangers who have heard about our good work, and sometimes even through the opposition of our enemies! Our young people themselves have even humbled themselves to sell our newspapers on the streets to not only to get out the message to other youth‚ but also to help meet their own needs and those of their Colonies! Most of them have already given all that they had to help support themselves and their cause in reaching other youth with the Good News of the love of God and the joy and happiness of living for Jesus and each other, God bless them.
21. BUT WE HAVE FAILED TO NOTIFY MANY OF OUR OWN FRIENDS AND PARENTS OF OUR OFTTIMES URGENT NEEDS, so God has had to frequently provide through miraculous and unusual means! However, one of our resolutions for the New Year is to keep our parents and friends more faithfully informed of our activities and pressing needs by more frequent prayer letters and wider circulation of the thrilling New Nation News‚ so they can share in the blessings of giving and the joys of sacrificing for the Lord, and the eternal rewards of knowing they have not only helped their own children, but the youth of the world to find happiness in God's love!
22. SO NOW LET'S ALL GET ON WITH IT FOR THE COMING YEAR! Let's each of us do our best for the Lord and each other in giving more, witnessing more, winning more, loving more and caring more. Let's be more diligent in God's business and wiser in our relations with the public, parents and friends, as well as governments and officials. Let's publish more literature to better explain ourselves and our message to the rest of the world and even to ourselves! Let's carry this message and our sample of His love into many more benighted areas of the lost, hungry and unhappy youth of the world with many more missionaries moving into many more areas still unreached! Meanwhile‚ let's take better care of ourselves, our children, our disciples, our leaders, Colonies, kings, queens‚ families and friends!
23. LET'S ALSO BE MORE FAITHFUL STEWARDS and diligent caretakers of the materials, resources, properties, provisions, vehicles, etc.‚ which the Lord gives or loans to us for His use! Let's have no more of the slothfulness‚ neglect, wastefulness‚ carelessness, negligence and downright foolish extravagance of which some of you have been terribly guilty! Let's take much better care of what God has already given us so He will be able to trust us with more so we can do a better and bigger job in the future! He that is faithful in a few things He will make ruler over many things, but he that is faithless in that which is least, will also be faithless in that which is much, and cannot be trusted with more!
24. WE HAVE HAD OUR PROBLEMS THIS PAST YEAR, BUT MOST OF THEM HAVE BEEN OUR OWN leaders and former friends, our own disciples and ourselves! These have caused us more trouble than our enemies could ever hope to, and have been a far greater problem than finances or any other difficulties! Firm discipline has had to be exerted, some heads have had to roll and some have had to be replaced with more faithful, obedient and loyal servants of the Lord and shepherds of His flocks who will be more concerned about their sheep and God's work instead of themselves and their own selfish interests! Don't you be a problem child this year! Get on the ball for God!
25. LET'S EACH BE MORE DILIGENT IN OUR OWN PERSONAL LIVES and spiritual activities, such as personal prayer, study, memorisation, witnessing, teaching, training and setting a personal example in all of these, as well as personal cleanliness and attentiveness to our own duties, health‚ safety and welfare of both ourselves and others! Let's carry the burden of our responsibilities bravely, courageously, cheerfully and thankfully and not be heard to grumble‚ groan and gripe! Murmuring is the voice of the Enemy and his doubts, and a critical spirit sows dissension, disunity and discord amongst brethren, one of the seven abominations to God! God help us!
26. SOME OF YOU HAVE BEEN TERRIBLY GUILTY OF THESE SINS this past year, and have had to pay an awful price for your indulgence in them, as well as many other willful and wanton defiances of God and His authority! The unfaithfulness, disobedience and disloyalty of some have cost them their jobs and demotion or even excommunication from our fellowship! Don't let it happen to you! Let's be more choosey in picking disciples, more selective in our leadership, diligent in discipline and obedient to God, and much more unselfish and concerned about others, and devoted to God and our task!—Amen?