WHAT A WONDERFUL FEAST! (October 15, 1979)WHAT A WONDERFUL FEAST! (October 15, 1979)

   GREETINGS my sons in Christ's Ministry, and wives!

   Surely this was the greatest, most joyous, inspiring and helpful and blessed Festival in 1900 years!

   And four days before the end of the Feast of Tabernacles, the inspiration came to see if the American Telephone & Telegraph Co. could put through for us a national hookup with all other United States Feast Sites. I was scheduled to leave Tucson the next day, Tuesday, for the Savannah, Georgia site, to speak there on Thursday morning, and at the St. Petersburg, Florida site on Sabbath afternoon.

   It was an exciting idea, though one considered technically impossible without several weeks time. The inspiration had come through Mr. Rader. He and I discussed it on Monday. Even though it seemed technically impossible on such short notice — he had already at 5:30 that morning talked with many telephone officials by long distance — they had said they would leap swiftly onto the emergency, and see if it could be done. I needed the answer by noon Tuesday, when we were scheduled to take flight for Savannah.

   Telephone officials, and Mr. Rader in constant contact with them from his home here in Tucson, worked through the day and night and by Tuesday morning, Mr. Rader told me they had already cleared the way for a hookup with at least three or four sites from the Tucson Community Center. They had put all the emergency facilities of the greatest telephone company on earth into night and day action, and would have to let us know later how many additional sites might be hooked up — if any.

   I had to make a quick decision.

   "Already we are assured that you will speak to more festival sites from here, than if you fly on east," said Mr. Rader. And there was good prospect that by the Sabbath we would be connected with more sites.

   I saw the hand of GOD in this, and made the decision to stay here — go ahead, and hook up as many more feast sites as possible.

   DO you realize the Bell Telephone System is not only by far the largest telephone system in the world, but the very largest and efficiently-operated corporation in the U.S.? When I travel in other countries I really do come to appreciate the vast superiority of our American telephone service.

   Even with their vast and intricate technical facilities it would ordinarily require a few weeks time to accomplish this!

   Did you think the Almighty GOD would ever help the telephone company?

   Well, He certainly did this time! There was NOT time to arrange the hook-up by satellite. So they went to work to do it by microwave and cable. At one site they had to build a special tower. Many of our sites are located in other than major telephone centers. This required special emergency operations. AS the days went by, they continued to notify us as they succeeded in adding more sites, and by Friday, I think it was, we had the good news they had done THE IMPOSSIBLE, and we would be hooked up with ALL — U.S. sites — and perhaps some in Canada.

   Now all this required special emergency activity also on our part. A switch at Savannah had to be made to fill in for me on Thursday morning. We had TIME ZONE differences to deal with. We here in Tucson are not on daylight-saving time, so we are in the same time zone as the West Coast. To accommodate the Atlantic time zone feast sites we had to arrange for them to start their final afternoon service at 4:30 p.m.; Central time zone sites at 3:30. We had to move the morning service in Tucson and the West Coast sites up to 9:30, and the final afternoon service to 1:30 instead of 2:30 — and have all the brethren notified in time.

   I decided, to avoid irregular timing mix-ups by having other feast sites start with their own song service and special music, it would be necessary to deprive them of this, and ALL SITES simply be with us here at Tucson, and listen in and see our opening song service and special music. Instead of a sermonette, I wanted Mr. Rader to fill in the entire U.S. membership briefly on the California lawsuit invasion. I hated to deprive other sites of your final day special music, for other sites have inspiring expanded choirs. But I felt that our brethren here at Tucson did not let you down, and provided superb, moving, special music under the direction of John D. Schroeder and with possibly the two most emotionally inspiring choral numbers — the Hallelujah Chorus, and "Battle Hymn of the Republic" — ("I have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord"), the latter accompanied by proper orchestral instruments.

   On Sabbath morning Mr. Rader gave me the final good news of the "IMPOSSIBLE" telephone hookup — some three or four Canadian feast sites had been added.

   WHAT A THRILL! It was not like an NBC, CBS or ABC national network — already smoothly operating for years. This hookup had to go into sites far off the main telephone and television network centers. It really was the "MISSION IMPOSSIBLE" — ACCOMPLISHED! I'm sure it required some divine intervention — actually a real MIRACLE!


   But SATAN DIDN'T. It seemed every possible obstacle was thrown at me personally. Three or four nights before, I came into sleeping difficulties — nerves would not let me sleep. Wednesday night I don't think I managed to get as much as three hours sleep. Thursday I was like a physical wreck from loss of sleep. That night I was troubled again, but managed to get about 54 hours sleep, due to sheer physical exhaustion.

   "Don't worry, God will give you the strength and cause you to rise to the occasion tomorrow," assured my wife. "He isn't going to let you down."

   That night again I couldn't get to sleep until after midnight — was up an hour and a half or more at one time, and managed to get no more than about 5 hours sleep. I went back to bed in one last desperate effort to try to gain a little strength in more sleep. I asked my wife to awaken me, if asleep, just in time to shower, shave, dress and get to the Tucson Community Center.

   If Satan could impotize me — make me too weak to go on — at this last moment, he could have undone the miracle God had given us in setting up this "IMPOSSIBLE" hookup. But God DID NOT LET ME DOWN! Through the morning I did succeed in getting a little more sleep — not as much as needed — but it helped greatly. My wife's faith never ebbed, and her unperturbed assurance was almost provoking — YET REASSURING to me. She never doubted a minute.

   I was certainly under par physically. My voice seemed husky, even after I arrived at the Community Center. Actually, in spite of hurrying when finally awakened, I was about ten minutes late arriving at the auditorium. I guess you all heard the long applause when I entered — as Mr. Rader was speaking. That was inspiring, and now I knew God would lift me up to the occasion!

   Local TV station cameras were there. One local TV news report that night said I started out slowly and a little tired, but gained momentum. The huskiness left my voice. I was now in the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ, safe from any further thrusts of Satan. The living Jesus DID lift me up to the occasion. I knew I had HIS Message!

   I feel God had given me the best and most complete final-day Message of my life. It is awesome to realize that God has revealed and given to all of you through me such a Message, summarizing God's Great Master Plan from original creation to now — and on through the Great White Throne Judgment after the millennia1 reign of Christ.

   Jesus Christ wanted YOU and all His people to really fully grasp that Message which came from HIM. NO man outside God's Church today has ever spoken such a message in 1900 years! IT WAS FOR YOU AND ALL OUR MEMBERSHIP — GOD'S CHURCH!

   How many REALLY LISTEN? How many really GET the overwhelming MEANING of God's Great PURPOSE? Are there some like Ezekiel reports? "Also, thou son of man, the children of MY PEOPLE... come unto thee... and they sit before thee — as my people (not as outsiders), and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: €or they hear thy words, but they do them not" (they do not really LISTEN — do not get the MEANING — could not remember afterward what was really said — did not grasp or understand the real MESSAGE) (Ezek. 33:30-32). Is not that a Message for the Church — GOD'S people — in these latter days?

   Might it not be good sermon material for you to speak on this subject of really LISTENING — absorbing the MEANING — instead of the way I find I myself listen to MUSIC? I have a single-track mind, which can be consciously on but ONE THING AT A TIME. If I hear a song, it is natural for me to hear really ONLY THE MUSIC, unconscious of the WORDS. If I especially want to grasp the words of the song or hymn, I concentrate on the WORDS and their meaning, but not the tune. I simply seem unable to consciously hear BOTH the tune and the words.

   I wonder if some people do hear the sound of the VOICE — but not the WORDS — during a sermon?

   Jesus Christ knew our brethren — the ENTIRE U.S. MEMBERSHIP AND MUCH OF CANADA, listening on this MIRACULOUS, NEVER-BEFORE, INTERNATIONAL HOOKUP — needed to HEAR and UNDERSTAND this Message! The vast organization of America's largest corporation had gone into unprecedented NIGHT AND DAY emergency activity for five days and nights to make this possible for us!

   ALL THANKS from the Worldwide Church of God to the unprecedented emergency effort and accomplishment of the American Tel. & Tel. Co. And ALL PRAISE to OUR GREAT GOD!

   It was indeed A MIRACLE!

   We are going to work NOW, a year in advance, for an even greater international hookup by satellite for next year, and hope to make it possible for ALL sites to have it visually on a large screen to SEE — as well as to hear!

   As to the Feast itself, I know that here at the Tucson festival site it seemed the BEST EVER! Sermonettes, as well as sermons, were EXCEPTIONAL. Subjects were properly varied, yet every one covered an important phase of the MEANING of this Feast — preparing for, and looking into the WORLD TOMORROW in the Kingdom of God, reigning on earth! I especially want to compliment Leroy Cole for a very moving sermonette, on ENDURING TO THE END. He, like some others, has seen two members of his family — two older brothers — go out from God's Church. He spoke with some emotional feeling, but gave us a fine example of remaining LOYAL AND FAITHFUL TO CHRIST AND GOD'S CHURCH, in spite of heartbreaking divisions in the human family. I had never heard Leroy preach before. The other sermonettes were equally good, and every sermon was an inspiring masterpiece. And the fellowship among the brethren was the best ever — a wonderful attitude of close-knit loyal fellowship — showing GROWTH in the Holy Spirit of God!

   The massive assault to destroy God's Church in January by the State of California, has only drawn us closer together than ever.

   The living HEAD of God's Church, Jesus Christ, is now moving to PREPARE HIS CHURCH TO BE READY FOR CHRISTS SOON-COMING! God's people are responding! The few out-of-harmony and embittered ones are leaving. Christ is putting us through a HOUSE-CLEANING!

   Our fellowship, during this Festival, was with ALMIGHTY GOD and with Christ, as well as with one another. As we were enjoying a foretaste of the millennia1 Kingdom of God with the GOVERNMENT OF GOD, and SATAN PUT OUT — so in this Festival we EXPERIENCED the fellowship of one another WITH God and with Christ, and hopefully with most, if not yet quite all of the malcontents and out-of-harmony dissenters having purged themselves from us! Let's pray earnestly, in love, that those who have gone out may be brought to SEE their error, be brought to repentance, and returned in harmony and rejoicing. Yet God's Word says, "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us" (I John 2:19).

   Now let us joyfully dedicate our lives to GOING ON toward complete harmony and unity, adorning the Church of God with increasing RIGHTEOUSNESS — with GOD'S righteousness increasing in our lives, looking toward another even greater Feast NEXT YEAR — preparing for the soon coming of our Lord JESUS CHRIST!


   There were 550 members in attendance at the Feast in the Black Forest, Germany.

   In Carlsbad, Czechoslovakia, 165 attended. Offerings, both sites, 1st Holy Day, 27,000 D.M. (Deutsch Mark) and second Holy Day, 33,000 D.M.

   Herr Frank Schnee reports a good increase in membership and attendance, but the BIGGEST increase was in spirit. The State of California's persecution of the Church has aroused German members to a closer loyal relationship, renewed dedication of themselves, and a more joyous and energetic interest in seeing the Work go forward, and preparing themselves for Christ's coming, and the Kingdom of God.

   There is a renewed surge forward in the entire membership worldwide!

   Herbert W Armstrong

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Pastor General's ReportOctober 18, 1979Vol 1 No. 9