THE SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
For those who may not know, Helen and I have a weekly half-hour television program that compares the teachings of Mormonism to Christianity and airs on the local Christian Television Network (CTN) affiliate, WTJR, in Quincy, Illinois. We have been on the air since June of 2002 when we were the Directors of Mormon Missions Midwest Outreach (MMMO), prior to our coming to be the Directors of the Nauvoo Christian Visitors Center, and WTJR was part of Believers Broadcasting.
On Tuesday, August 22nd, the station manager for WTJR, Donette Douglass, called me, very excited, and said "Rocky, I just got off the phone with the President of CTN. He received a letter from a wonderful Christian lady, Grandma Ruby (who is 90), asking him to put your show on the entire CTN network (10 TV stations around the USA ). This letter touched his heart and he is asking if you would send him copies of your recent programs for his review."
I immediately jumped in the car and drove from Nauvoo to Quincy and collected several of our recent programs from the TV studio and overnighted them to the company that transfers the shows from ¾ inch tape to DVD. I called the company and asked for a quick turnaround and he assured me he'd have them to me by Friday. Sure enough, Friday morning at
Before I could get them off in the mail to CTN Headquarters in Florida, at 10:00 a.m., Donette called me again. She said "Rocky, you're not going to believe this but, I just got off the phone with the Program Director for CTN, Steve Cunningham, and CTN is offering you a half-hour time slot on their international channel, Christian Television Network International (CTNi). They know you guys are a small ministry without a lot of money and they are willing to put you on the air for one year at an unbelievably low introductory price of just $80.00 per week." I about jumped out of my hair - I'm bald, so I guess I couldn't have done that!! I told Donette, this was great news, but even at this unbelievably low price, we didn't have the money and would need to raise the funds.
I hung up the phone and told Helen. We were just beside ourselves with excitement. We prayed and thanked God for this remarkable opportunity and asked Him to help us go out to our supporters and say the right thing to encourage them to support this phenomenal event.
WHEN GOD OPENS DOORS, HE DOESN'T MESS AROUND!
O. K., that phone call was at 10:00 a. m. At 4:15 p. m. the phone rings and it's Mike Workman, the previous station manager of WTJR when the TV station was part of Believers Broadcasting. When WTJR was sold to CTN, Mike remained with Believers Broadcasting managing their Christian radio station and the other ministry outreaches that they conduct in the community.
Mike said, "I hear congratulations are in order. You guys are going on CTNi. Wow, that is great!" I said, "Thanks Mike. Yes, we got the call this morning and we are really excited; but, we still have to raise the funds. Mike said, "Well, you really don't have to worry about the first year." I replied, "Well, yes Mike, we really do. We don't have the money to pay for it." Mike said, "Well, you really don't have to worry about the first year." I said, "Mike, we really do have to worry about the first year, because we don't have the money." Mike replied, "Yes you do. We heard about this opportunity for you guys this morning. We love you guys and believe in what you are doing, so the Board of Believers Broadcasting held a Board Meeting and we voted to fund your first year; so, you really don't have to worry about the money to pay for the program for the first year, Believers Broadcasting will pay for it."
I am rarely at a loss for words. I told Mike, "I'm stunned Mike. I don't know what to say." He replied, "You can just say thanks. Now, get to work. You have an international program to get on the air!"
In a little over six hours God answered a need that I thought would take weeks to accomplish.
On Monday, August 28th, I called Steve Cunningham, the CTN Program Director in Florida, and told him the good news of our funding and asked some questions about CTNi. CTNi broadcasts into Central and South America, and Europe ( France and Germany , with Spain coming online in just a few weeks). On different days of the week they broadcast in different languages. Sunday is an English broadcast day; CTN is putting us on Sundays at 12:30 p. m. Eastern Time.
CTNi has the potential viewing audience of 500 million people. 500 million is not a misprint! Did I say 500 million people - yes, that is exactly what I said; 500 million people.
IT GETS BETTER!
Steve Cunningham also told me that the CTN stations around the country are upgrading their equipment to be fully digital from the old analog systems of the past. They hope to have this done in the next couple of years. As it stands now the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has assigned a frequency bandwidth to each TV station to transmit their signal on. It requires a much larger bandwidth of frequency to transmit in analog than in digital. So, as the stations around the country upgrade to become fully digital, they will be able to broadcast their regular CTN broadcast and the CTNi broadcast, all within their assigned frequency bandwidth by the FCC. That means that within the next couple of years, not only will "Truth Outreach" be broadcast internationally, we will be available on each of the CTN stations in the United States . That will add another potential 15 million people to the viewing audience of "Truth Outreach." Plus, all CTNi broadcasts are web streamed; so, "Truth Outreach" will be available to be watched by anyone, around the world, on their computers during our broadcast time on Sundays at 12:30 Eastern Time. This is truly a capability we've never been able to provide before!! PTL!!
CAN YOU SAY " SALT LAKE CITY"?
CTN is opening up a new affiliate station in the heart of Mormon country: Salt Lake City. And -And, when it comes online it will be fully digital; so, "Truth Outreach" will be on in Salt Lake City by next month!! Oh my goodness!!
There aren't two more important geographical locations today in Mormonism than Salt Lake City, Headquarters for the Mormon Church, and Nauvoo, the City of Joseph. Besides living and serving here at the Nauvoo Christian Visitors Center, we are currently broadcasting weekly into Nauvoo on WTJR and we'll be on in a month or so in Salt Lake City on CTNI. WOW - what luck! Yes, Christian Luck - Living Under Christ's Kindness!!
OH, BUT IT GETS BETTER STILL!
Late Wednesday afternoon, August 30th, I received a phone call from Tom Bond, station manager for KFXB, the CTN affiliate in Dubuque, Iowa. KFXB serves the Dubuque, Waterloo, Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, Iowa areas. Helen and I met Tom when he filled in temporarily as the manager of WTJR right after CTN purchased the station. He asked us to come to Dubuque and be a guest on "Getting to Know You," a KFXB produced talk show hosted by Pastor Steve Hansel. So, on July 10th, we went up to Dubuque to film a program on "Getting to Know You." We really hit it off with Pastor Steve and one show led to filming four. We had a great time serving the Lord on Christian television that day!!
Since then, Tom and I have been talking about the possibility of "Truth Outreach" airing on KFXB. What was our hold back - finances. Tom says "Rocky, we really want "Truth Outreach" on KFXB. We feel very strongly about educating Christians and reaching Mormons about the false teachings of Mormonism. Rather than wait till you can raise the funds to go on the air, we just believe that God will provide those funds, so we have talked with CTN Headquarters in Florida and have decided to wave all costs for three months. We'd like to get you on the air right away. This will get your teaching out there now and we believe that God will provide the funds ($140.00 per week) by December 1st so you can go on now. If you can get some programs to me, we can have you on the air Monday night (Sept 4th)." I had the DVD's that I was going to send off to the President of CTN for his review, so I said "Tom, I've got eight programs I'll overnight to you tomorrow."
THE CAR WRECK
Did anyone actually believe that Satan would allow these events to happen unopposed? Thursday morning, August 31st, we were on the road by
I looked at the map and thought I saw a good short cut to shave a few minutes of time on this busy morning schedule. We headed down a back road into Carthage, Illinois that I had never been down before. The light colored pavement turned to loose light colored gravel and we were on it before I realized what it was. Immediately I could feel the car kind of floating and then it started fishtailing. I took my foot off the gas and we went about three or four hundred yards with me correcting the fishtailing. I thought I had it beat, but I must have over corrected and we slid off the right side of the road, down into a ditch, bottomed out and went airborne landing in a cornfield. God's hand was on us as the car should have rolled, but didn't!! The time was about
When the car came to a stop, Helen was screaming in pain - "My back, my back." Helen has had a broken back twice, and I thought it had just happened again. I tried to help her and she just screamed in pain as I tried to help. I found my cell phone on the floorboard of the car and called for help. Then I just started down the list of names on my cell phone of those Christians, Pastors and Ministries that I knew would begin praying for us. It was 30-45 minutes until the Rescue Squad could find us; all that time I was calling and praying with folks on the cell phone.
The doors on Helen's side had been jammed back together and were wedged and wouldn't open. The rescuers wanted to try and take Helen out of the car through the driver's side, but each time they attempted to move her, she wailed in pain. They forced the doors open on the passenger side and eventually got her out.
God is good in the midst of adversity. When the ambulance arrived and took Helen away, the two EMTs in the back with Helen recognized her. "You're Helen Hulse. We watch your show on TV." Wouldn't you know, one of the EMTs was an ex-Mormon, now a Born Again Believer, who told Helen he came to Christ because of "Truth Outreach?" God couldn't make a bad situation any better!!
One of the rescue squad team members was a veteran who recognized me and gave me a ride into Nauvoo so I could get another set of wheels and head to the hospital where they had taken Helen, as the car had to be towed.
Before I left the scene of the accident I retrieved the DVDs that I was going to overnight to KFXB in Dubuque. I got to Nauvoo, got my truck and headed for the hospital.
As I was driving into Ft Madison, Iowa, where they had taken Helen, I was having a war in my mind. "You need to get to your wife's side at the hospital. No, you need to stop and overnight those DVDs to Dubuque. What a rotten guy you are to even consider such a thing - You need to get to the hospital as fast as you can. Rocky, this whole event has been an attack of the "evil one" to keep the truths that are presented on "Truth Outreach" from going on the air; don't let Satan win." I mean to tell you folks, I was having a raging war in my mind. The Post Office is on the main drag in Ft Madison, and as I came upon it, I almost drove by, but at the last second I turned in, grabbed the DVDs and ran in. The Post Office was empty, not a soul was in there, which is completely unreal for the Ft Madison Post Office - there's always a line. I was in and out of there in about two minutes and on my way to the hospital.
When I got back in the truck, immediately Satan started in on me, "You rotten husband! If you cared anything about your wife, you'd have blew past that Post Office and got to the hospital as fast as you could. You call yourself a Christian? You're a worm!!"
When I got to the hospital, Helen was still in the emergency room, on a gurney, but still strapped to the board they had put her on when they got her out of the car. The time now was about
When the x-rays came back, they were negative. No cracked or broken bones. No ruptured or herniated disks. Helen was writhing in pain at the accident scene and during the ambulance ride until the doctor at the ER gave her a shot for the pain. How could the x-rays come back negative? It's quite simple. In those four hours of time from the accident to Helen going in for x-rays, the prayers of so many folks rising to heaven on our behalf were answered by our gracious loving Lord!!
THE PAIN OF THOSE FOUR HOURS
Was I in physical pain? No, I walked away from the accident without a scratch and haven't experienced anything more than a slight stiff neck. I guess in my case: no brain, no pain!! Was Helen in pain - yes, as I have previously described. But, that is not what I'm talking about here.
As the day wore on from the onset of the accident, as I went down the phone list on my cell phone, my heart was just bursting within me in pain, and overflowing within me with joy. How can this be? My heart was breaking within me as each time I came to one of my earthly family members, I had to pass them by. Tears filled my eyes as each time I came to one of my family members' names, the realization that they do not know the Jesus Christ that I know, and if I had called them and engaged in prayer with them, I'd have been praying with them to a Jesus that doesn't exist. I'm a crusty old Warrant Officer with 33 years Naval Service; emotion is foreign to my vocabulary. Oh, how my heart was just aching within me each time I had to just scroll on by. On the other side of the coin, my heart was overflowing with joy at the knowledge that our gracious Lord has replaced the loss of my earthly family with family that I will spend eternity with - those who share the common bond of Jesus Christ with me. We men are a hard lot - we don't "bond" as readily as women do. I cannot express to you the overwhelming gratitude that I have for the many Christian men that I called that morning who immediately said, "Rocky let me pray with you." My cup runneth over! Oh, that all Mormons could come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ; that in their day of adversity, they'll know the real Jesus!!
THIS IS HISTORICAL! UNPRECEDENTED! UNPARALLELED!
Never has a Christian Apologetics ministry about Mormonism been given such an opportunity to "go ye into all the world." THIS IS ABSOLUTELY UNIQUE!!
WE NEED YOUR HELP!! RIGHT NOW! TODAY!! WE CANNOT TACKLE THIS ALONE!! You may say, "Well, I don't understand. What's the big deal? You said in the newsletter that Believer's Broadcasting picked up the first year's bill for broadcasting on CTNI. What are you worrying about?" Well, we need to raise the $140.00 per week by December 1st for the KFXB broadcast into Central and Northeast Iowa, and we need to raise the funds now for the ongoing commitment to stay on the air on CTNI.
BUT THAT'S NOT THE ISSUE!!
Here's the issue. This ministry, " Nauvoo Christian Visitors Center," has the whopping staff of two people: Helen and Rocky. Right now, we get 10-20 emails a day that need to be researched and answered. What will happen when we go on the air internationally and that number increases to 500, or 5,000? We receive 20-30 pieces of mail per day. What happens when the volume of mail increases to 300, or 3000 pieces per day? Do we say, "Well we can only do what we can do? At least we're planting some good seeds out there." I don't believe God opened a door that has never been opened before, just to shut it in the face of those who will receive the benefits of that opened door. I couldn't live with myself if those who were crying out for information, believed their cries for help were falling on deaf ears because they never heard anything in reply.
For those of you who financially support this ministry, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We couldn't do what we do without you. In fact, we couldn't have come to this place of unprecedented opportunity without the team that currently supports us!!
Folks, I've been a Sailor for 33 years. I just retired from the Navy. I know how to put warheads on foreheads - that is what Uncle Sam taught me how to do; however, I was never on a ship that only had two people onboard. I can't be any more transparent and honest than to say, I really don't know how to run a ministry that is going on an international scale. I called a Pastor friend of mine last week and told him this news and I told him how unqualified I feel for this role placed before me. His reply was, "Rocky, God doesn't call those who are qualified; He qualifies those He calls." Later that same day, another Pastor friend of mine said, "Rocky, God doesn't call those who are equipped, He equips those He calls." Is God trying to tell me something here?
A good friend of mine, who lives in St. Louis and wants to go into a Mormon ministry in Wyoming, told me several months ago when I was worried about raising the funds to meet just the basic repairs needed on the Center here in Nauvoo, "It's not about money; God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. It's about need. People have to know your need. If people know the need, they will respond."
WELL FOLKS, HERE'S THE NEED:
COUNTRIES WITH THE HIGHEST MORMON MEMBERSHIP:
United States - 5,690,672
Mexico - 1,043,718
Brazil - 928,926
Philippines - 553,121
Chile - 539,193 (one in every ten Chileans is now Mormon)
Peru - 416,060
Argentina - 348,396
Guatemala - 200,537
Canada - 172,433
Ecuador - 170,736
COUNTRIES WITH THE GREATEST GROWTH (2000-2005)
Virgin Islands - 140%
Saint Lucia - 140%
Nicaragua - 50%
Venezuela - 39.2%
Dominican Republic - 34.1%
Peru - 21.3%
Brazil - 19.7%
Mexico - 18.1%
Argentina - 16.9%
FOLKS, OF THE TOP TEN COUNTRIES WITH THE HIGHEST MORMON MEMBERSHIP, WE WILL BE BROADCASTING DIRECTLY INTO EIGHT OF THEM. WE WILL BE BROADCASTING INTO ALL THOSE LISTED WITH THE GREATEST GROWTH. BUT WE CAN'T DO IT WITHOUT YOU!!
WE NEED TO BE BATHED IN PRAYER SUPPORT!!
If you think the car accident was something - YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHING YET!!
THE JOURNEY WE ARE ABOUT TO EMBARK ON IS TOTALLY UNPRECEDENTED IN THE ANNALS OF CHRISTIAN HISTORY. THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A MINISTRY THAT HAS BEEN GIVEN SUCH AN OPPORTUNITY TO EDUCATE BOTH CHRISTIANS AND NON-CHRISTIANS ALIKE, AS WELL AS REACHING MORMONS WITH THE TRUTH ABOUT THE FALSE RELIGION THEY ARE TRAPPED IN. WE ARE NOT SO FOOLISH AS TO BELIEVE SATAN WILL JUST LOOK THE OTHER WAY. PLEASE PRAY A HEDGE OF PROTECTION AND A WALL OF FIRE AROUND US. PRAYER WARRIORS, WE COVET THE GIFT GOD HAS GIVEN YOU!!
WE NEED YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT ON A SCALE THIS MINISTRY HAS NEVER SEEN!
Here's the long and short of it. This ministry received approximately $30,000 last year. That was barely enough to pay the operating expenses of the ministry. I don't know what we need monetarily to fulfill the mission that God has set before us, only He does. But what I do know is this: ONE PERSON CAN'T DO IT, BUT A TEAM EFFORT CAN!! When Helen and I first became the Directors here at the Nauvoo Christian Visitors Center, we went out in our December 2005 issue of the "Voice of Truth" with the "TEAM Nauvoo", concept. FOLKS WE NEED THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE NOT COME ONBOARD TO BECOME PART OF TEAM Nauvoo, NOW! NOT TOMORROW, TODAY!!
I DON'T KNOW HOW ELSE TO SAY IT: "THIS DOOR WILL CLOSE WITHOUT YOUR PRAYER AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT - THAT'S THE TRUTH!! PLEASE, WE CAN'T ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!