Report of Executive Vice President
Montreat, North Carolina
I want to share with you two verses of Scripture—not because they particularly are related to what I have to say today but because they have been such a blessing to me. In Psalm 37 we read these words, "Fret not thyself." The second thought is in these words, 'Trust in the Lord." A man that is trusting never frets and a man who is fretting can never trust in God. I believe God is speaking to us on these two matters. The third thing is in the fourth verse, Delight thyself also in the Lord." He is to be our delight. The fourth, "Commit thy way unto the Lord." Then, "Rest in the Lord." Rest means to relax—not to go ahead of the Lord but to relax. A man walking in daily communion with the Lord does relax in the Lord.
I want to thank each of you who had any part whatsoever in our going to the British Isles—especially those of you who prayed. I believe that everything accomplished was in answer to the believing prayers of God's people. Night after night when we were weary and exhausted from the strenuous itinerary, oftentimes sick, we just sat there on the platform and said, "It is not us. God the Holy Spirit is just moving in and about us." It was not anything Cliff or Billie or I did—it was God the Holy Spirit; I want to give all the credit to HIM today for anything that has been done. If I stood here and claimed the credit, I would be a liar!
During our first itinerary on the British Isles last year, the burden for a team to go back to that land came to all of our hearts. One day at lunch the fellows pointed their fingers at me and said, "Billy, it is you." The burden became heavier, and as Wesley Hartzell and I flew home together, I felt that I had just had to go back—not because I desired to go to that land with its inadequate food supplies, inadequate heating supplies, etc., but because I must go back.
Our budget was set for $15,000, and that sounded like a mountain to me. That news came to me at Maranatha Bible Conference. Immediately after the meeting, a fellow handed me $100, telling me that he felt I had a financial need. He did not know that the wire had been handed to me before going into the meeting, stating that a total of $15,000 was needed for the itinerary on the British Isles.
All in all God sent in about $26,000. Our total expenses in Britain were over $50,000—transportation, food, hotels, rental of halls, advertising, and all the other incidentals connected with six months of meetings. The British people paid approximately one half of the $50,000.
God worked in the selection of Cliff Barrows to go with me; he was chosen of God. The same is true with George Wilson who went ahead to set things up for us and for Gavin Hamilton. If it had not been for Gavin Hamilton, we never would have been able to accomplish the work on the British Isles.
Other friends helped so much from time to time—Peter Deyneka gave us a mighty lift. Dr. Paul W. Rood boosted the work of YOUTH FOR CHRIST everywhere he preached in the British Isles and the Continent. Dr. Oswald J. Smith gave the best reports of YOUTH FOR CHRIST, to dispel and meet the stories which preceded us that we had a trick horse, a circus and that Cliff Barrows swallowed swords!
We went first to Bristol. We learned in a hurry about the food situation and the lack of coal. In Wales 700 people jammed into a place seating 400... and how they could sing. The next night we moved into the biggest auditorium in the city and it too was packed to overflowing. When the invitation was given, scores came. As the throng wended its way homeward, the people sang our theme chorus, "Let the Holy Spirit come and take control, send a great revival in my soul."
Manchester was next, and again the initial crowd was small because of the rumors that had preceded us. One night we had a wonderful service, we thought, but no one came forward. Finally one man walked down the aisle gripped my hand and went into the inquiry room. He was the district attorney of the city of Manchester. His wife and daughter had accepted Christ in one of our previous meetings. Before the campaign was over, there were between 400 and 500 decisions.
R. G. LeTourneau was with us one night in Newcastle. It was there that a Nigerian nobleman came to Christ. He came back four days later and said that his greatest desire now was not to teach his people engineering upon his return to the native land, but to tell them about Jesus Christ.
Birmingham—it was hard at first but God broke down the barriers and we had a glorious campaign. It was there that a girl of the streets was marvelously saved. Today she is teaching a Sunday School in one of the churches in Birmingham.
Belfast... the crowds were so great we had two meetings—at 7:00 PM and one following. It was there that little Jimmy, a juvenile delinquent if there ever was one, was saved. The next night he brought his gang with him. In the inquiry room he had a big fellow holding two little fellows down and making them pray! A police sergeant who was saved that night came over and told us that Jimmy and his pals had been arrested three times and had spent time in reformatory. The police sergeant's entire family was converted before the campaign was over.
We went to Dublin next. There the weather caught up with me, and I was out for a week with the flu. Cliff preached all this time. Here again, even though the weather was so bad, converts came by the scores. Our campaign in Mr. [Thomas] Livermore's church was another heart-warming experience. One night three gypsies came to Christ; the following night they were back, all cleaned up and full of smiles.
Then all along the way we had great campaigns... I would not say it was revival, but God gave us great outpourings of the Holy Spirit.
Aberdeen should be mentioned. We arrived there in a terrific snowstorm... drifts up to our shoulders. On the final night we went into a big theatre for the rally. A snowstorm hit that afternoon and we wondered if anyone would come. As we were praying in our rooms, a call came through that the auditorium already was filled and "what should we do now?" So we started the service as soon as we could get there. The crowd was unruly—smoking, laughing but the Holy Spirit worked and 275 people walked down the aisles that night to accept Christ.
From the very beginning of our planning for the Birmingham Conference, God was in it. You have no idea of the obstacles to overcome in setting up a conference in England. But God took care of everything. On the third day a Baptist pastor moved that an organization should be formed. Another suggested that the matter be taken to God in prayer first. After a long season of prayer, it was unanimously passed and the crowd sang, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow."
An office has been set up in London with a very efficient secretary. But even with all of our cooperation, Britain needs prayer. We stand hand in hand with them in many things and above all, spiritually. If we do not have a revival—God help us!
I feel that first of all we are faced with a philosophical crisis in these days—materialism which defies the supernatural. We are deifying man. Secondly, we are faced with a moral crisis. It is going on now and will be the cause of a deterioration of everything we have in our civilization. The super structure we have built is about to fall—unless God sends a revival.
Thirdly, we face a political crisis. General Eisenhower was not just talking the other day when he said that war could come within a year. Ideologies in the world are clashing, and there can be an explosion any minute. The only thing that will stop another war is a revival.
Lastly, we are facing a spiritual crisis. Many of our churches are empty—not only in Britain, but here in America.
As we stood in Thames, France, one day and saw the place where 50,000 Christians had been slain because they would not say, "Caesar" I said to myself, "Lord, help us in this day when the world is hanging over a precipice." Today we need to stand up and be spent for Jesus Christ.
By the Grace of God I am going to give more than ever before during this coming year—that the cause of Christ, through YOUTH FOR CHRIST, might move forward!
From BGC Archives Collection 48, Box 13, folder 38
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