HAPPY NEW YEAR JESUS!
Dear Heavenly Father -- where do I begin?! 1999 -- what a year! It was, without a doubt, the most explosive in the 26-year history of your TBN!
First of all, how about FIVE -- yes -- I said, "FIVE," new satellites which place a footprint over the WHOLE WIDE WORLD! JC SAT-3 covers Asia and the North Pacific, including India, China, Japan, the Philippines, and on and on. INTELSAT 30 covers Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific islands. Channel 7 Europe is a DBS or "direct-to-home" satellite, reaching Europe, part of Russia, the Middle East and North Africa. AGILA II is DBS to China, Taiwan, and the Philippines -- so this area is covered twice with BOTH DBS, and regular C-band satellite! I know many eyes glaze over with all this technical talk, but, dear Partners, it simply means we are blasting the devil with everything known to man: Two kinds of satellite, shortwave radio, TV stations, cable TV, the Internet, and, as I have often said, "When they dream up something new, we'll buy it, too, and preach the Gospel to even more souls!" Praise the Lord!
But the highlight of the year had to be when we threw the BIGGEST SWITCH ever and INTELSAT-804 flashed ON THE AIR, last November, during our great week of Praise-A-Thon! AFRICA, EUROPE and the MIDDLE EAST -- THE REST OF THE WORLD -- was blanketed with YOUR TBN, 24 hours a day -- LIVE! Joy unspeakable and full of glory flowed like a torrent, as thousands of you stood with us, as we reached out our arms, and, TOGETHER, threw the BIG SWITCH -- possibly the last switch, sending your TBN to virtually the whole wide world! We all sang the Hallelujah Chorus with Dean and Mary as we rejoiced, literally, AROUND THE WORLD! Later that week, Bernard Roebert confirmed via a telephone patch, LIVE, that TBN was coming in LOUD AND CLEAR in the Cape of South Africa! GLORY! We are now moving quickly to supply all of our TV stations, affiliated stations and cable stations with receiving dishes, which will carry the signal into the homes, LIVE. The satellite receivers cost about $300, and the dishes, about $4,000. Many of you pledged to provide this additional equipment to Africa, India, plus dozens of new countries -- God bless you!
For new TV stations, Latin America led the way. Our Enlace partners in Costa Rica have covered much of Central and South America with over 650 broadcast and cable TV stations. These stations were coming on live so fast last year that we lost count! Praise the Lord!
In Africa -- Nairobi, Kenya came on the air with four more stations on the way. The nation of Lesotho, in southern Africa, came on and the government was so pleased, they have offered to virtually give us their national network, since they only broadcast two hours a day! Praise God, the Lord is giving us favor with many nations.
Here at home, Full Power affiliate stations were secured in San Antonio, Texas and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Medium Power stations were built, and, in some cases, rebuilt in Elmira, NY; Idaho Falls, ID; Salt Lake City, UT; Austin, TX; Arlington Heights [Chicago], IL, and on and on! Over 126 TV stations are under construction or being upgraded to meet FCC requirements for the new DIGITAL TV age that is coming. Last count -- 1,305 stations worldwide.
Speaking of the FCC, this was a major year of decision. You wonderful Partners helped pray us through the worst nightmare of our 26 years! For eight years, we have battled to save our network. At times, it looked like all of our TV stations would be lost. Powerful competitors filed against us, seeking to win the licenses. While the battle for Miami, Channel 45, still continues in federal court, the GOOD NEWS is -- the FCC approved our settlement with all competitors, and has RENEWED ALL LICENSES FOR THE NETWORK! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Yes, Praise God, the Network is secure, but please continue to pray for Miami. We should have a court decision in a few months -- pray, pray, pray. Jan and I want to especially thank all who gave extra during our mid-summer Macedonian Calls. Because of you, we had the cash to pay our competitor's settlement, as approved by the FCC. It was a large settlement, but it is paid and finished, and your TBN is still DEBT FREE! Praise the Lord!
Also at home, was the surprise miracle of THE OMEGA CODE! Our end times thriller motion picture made Hollywood history! Again, you wonderful Partners did it with the help of God. To our utter amazement, it was the highest grossing film per screen in the nation during its first week beginning October 15th. It was number 10 in gross receipts, even though we were in only 305 theatres, compared to over 2,000 theatres for the big guys! The secular media were stunned and gave us generally good reviews. Entertainment Weekly wrote: "The Omega Code Christian thriller is getting raves. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John gave it four thumbs up." CNN's Showbiz Today said: "The Omega Code is one of the most unlikely success stories in movie history and was produced by a very UN-HOLLYWOOD source: religious broadcaster, Trinity Broadcasting Network." USA Today gave it a front page notice and carried news about it three days in a row! One comment was: "OMEGA FEVER: People are calling and clicking in!" Executives at MovieFone say Omega is showing the biggest response of any film since The Blair Witch Project. The movie is one of the five most-asked-for films in Dallas, Cleveland, Miami and Las Vegas. In Los Angeles, it has moved in and out of the number 1 position. By last count, over 900 major stories had come from the secular media, including, The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, the Washington Post, the London Times, the Boston Globe, and on and on.
Some of the testimonies were thrilling. One young Bible school student in Tulsa stood up at the end of the film and invited a packed out theatre audience to receive Christ! To his delight, about 24 came forward and prayed the sinner's prayer! One humorous report came from a little grandma. During the movie, as Casper Van Dien calls, "JESUS, SAVE ME," and the demons instantly disappear, she was heard to say, "DOESN'T TAKE GOD LONG, DOES IT?" The theatre broke into thunderous applause.
Ah, dear Partners, as little Jan said, "Let the courts take Jesus out of our schools -- we can put Him back into the theatres where all the kids are anyway!" As I write this letter in mid-November, The Omega Code is still going strong into its fifth week with over 500 theatres and more coming! Please keep taking your friends and especially the unsaved to see it. Many testimonies continue to come in with salvation reports!
Dear, dear Partners, time and space do not permit me to tell of all the great and wonderful things we have accomplished TOGETHER this past year of 1999! Our theme scripture says:
May we take this moment to catch our breath, and then gather new strength to press this battle to the very gates of Hell! We know not what tomorrow holds but --
We do not fear another New Year because -- "THE GOD OF JACOB IS OUR REFUGE."
HAPPY, HAPPY NEW YEAR 2000 to all of our wonderful TBN family around the world! We love you!
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