I remember the first time Jamie and I heard preaching on prosperity. The message was great, and we needed to hear it again and again. But we couldn't afford to buy even one tape. Jamie was eight months pregnant, and we hadn't eaten in days—we couldn't afford food. As I looked at the tears in her eyes, I made a commitment to God: "If You ever give me something that will help others, I will never refuse them access to it because of lack of money."
I really had no idea what that would mean, but thanks to the faithful support of our partners, we have now given away over six million tapes, CDs, and booklets. We receive emails and letters every day thanking us for the free materials and telling us how their lives were changed as a result.
Those early times in the 1970s were days of humble beginnings, to say the least. There was absolutely no evidence back then that would have convinced anyone of where the Lord would one day take this ministry. As I look back over the years, I am amazed at what He has done.
Today we have the potential of reaching one-third of the people on the planet with the Gospel Truth television program. Our signal is being broadcast around the world by satellite and being received by viewers through satellite dishes and cable and even old-fashioned antennas in underdeveloped countries like Uganda. Certainly not everyone who could view our programs does, so there is still much to be done.
We have begun broadcasting in other languages. This year the Gospel Truth can be heard and seen through the CNL network across the eleven time zones of Russia, in their language. I can hardly imagine what I must sound like speaking Russian or Hungarian.
Much of the world now has internet capability. Anyone, anywhere, anytime can go to our website and watch or listen to the Gospel Truth and download hundreds of hours of teaching materials. We are currently receiving nearly 600,000 website visits per month (over 19,000 per day). And new for 2010, we have just launched Charis Bible College (CBC) Online.
The CBC Online school is changing everything about the way people can study. We will go to them wherever they are via the internet, with downloadable lessons and videos and a facilitator to lead interactive discussion forums online. This will be as close as one can get to attending classes in person. Based on the interest we've already gotten, I believe that thousands of students from across the globe will be enrolling in online school in the next few years.
The CBC first-year curriculum is designed to build a strong biblical foundation through basic course study. Therefore, it can easily be accomplished online. The second year, however, requires class attendance because it goes beyond study to hands-on, practical ministry. Second-year students participate in events, are given opportunities to minister, and must travel abroad on a missions trip.
Upon completion of the first-year classes online, many of these students will find themselves wanting to enroll in one of our schools to complete their second year. In America, besides our parent campus in Colorado Springs, we have schools in Atlanta; Chicago; Kansas City; Dallas; Jacksonville; and Dyer, Indiana.
Worldwide CBC schools are located in Walsall, England; Belfast, Northern Ireland; St. Petersburg, Russia; Belize City, Belize; Chennai, India; Kampala, Uganda; and soon, Heidelberg, South Africa. We currently have over 1,000 students attending our schools, over 1,000 enrolled in correspondence courses, and now the online school will provide thousands more with the opportunity to learn.
During my recent trip to Europe, I witnessed the power of books and literature. Will Graham, the director of Andrew Wommack Ministries Europe (AWME), has overseen the translation of many of my books into thirty-seven different languages. Every place we held meetings, from Poland to Hungary to Germany, teaching materials in printed form were in high demand. When people can read about the message in their languages, it makes all the difference. When I leave, those materials stay behind and keep on teaching. They are usually passed from one person to the next, affecting dozens of lives.
To help distribute materials and serve needs more efficiently, we have opened several new offices in addition to the AWME office in Walsall, England. We are now operating from offices in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; St. Petersburg, Russia; Kampala, Uganda; Heidelberg, South Africa; and Chennai, India. As you can see, offices and schools usually work hand in hand using the same facilities.
To say the ministry is experiencing growth is an understatement. Since 2001, when I first began on television, we have grown at the rate of 28 percent per year. That means we have doubled every 2.6 years. I could give you all of the statistics that measure the growth, but there is something much more important than statistics: The lives that those statistics represent.
In America, for instance, over 20,000 people per month call our Helpline, most of them in need of prayer. We see people healed and set free all day, every day, through the anointed people in the Phone Center.
Our Production Department ships over 30,000 packages of teaching materials each month. Combine that with the 122,000-plus downloads through the website, and it gives you an idea of how hungry people are for the truth of the Gospel. By the way, all downloads are free, and 52 percent of what we ship has been requested and mailed without a gift of any kind. Thank God for the many faithful partners who make all of this possible.
Growth is a blessing, but it also presents us with the challenge of accommodating the results. The school is the most pressing issue. At the present rate of growth, we will be maxed out in three to five years. It leaves us with the choice of expanding and building or limiting enrollment. I believe God wants us to expand, and He has just provided us with a miracle that will allow that to happen.
In September of last year, we purchased 157 acres of pristine mountain property within the city limits of Woodland Park, Colorado, fifteen miles west of Colorado Springs and only thirty minutes from the Colorado Springs Airport.
One year ago, the property was priced at over $10 million. We closed on the property September 21, 2009 for $4 million. As a special bonus, there is an 8,400-square-foot lodge that by itself is worth over $2 million, not to mention the three ponds, the barn and other outbuildings, and the fact that it backs up to the Pike National Forest. This purchase would not have happened in a strong economy. Only God could have arranged this timing. It's the blessing of the Lord.
We are currently working on a master plan with architects and going through the process of city and county zoning and approval. It is my hope that we will complete the first phase of this project by the end of 2012. That phase will include an auditorium, facilities for the school, and the Phone Center. The rest of the AWM departments will move to the new location as phases two and three are completed in the years to come.
I am not condemning or criticizing other non-profit organizations; they all have reasons for the decisions they make. But for little more than the price of purchasing and operating a large private jet, we can complete this entire project. I would much rather change the lives of thousands of future students who will impact the world than fly in comfort.
On our website, you can find artist renderings, pictures of the property, and other details. Please prayerfully consider becoming a Foundation Builder. Ask God what He would have you do to help with this building program.
Jamie and I could not be more thankful to our partners. Yes, God is changing the lives of thousands through this ministry. However, it's not just Jamie and me. We cannot complete this project any more than we can provide free teaching materials without the Lord first speaking to you about helping. God has built a team to accomplish His purpose. Thanks for being a part of the team.
We love you,
Andrew & Jamie