We have an urgent situation which I wanted to bring directly to your attention. Please take a few minutes to read this letter completely. Jamie and I continually praise the Lord for this great opportunity to share the gospel with the world and all our wonderful partners He has given us to get the job done. And we need your help now to get another job done.
The conditions of our European offices and Charis Bible College in Walsall have become intolerable. We’ve been renting this facility from Grace Centre International to house our ministry headquarters for the last 4 years and it’s been a blessing. However, the building has been deteriorating and we are at the point that something has to be done.
The heating system, which is over forty years old, is failing and we have been without heat much of this year. The plumbing in the toilets is deplorable and the roof has been leaking. In fact, one of women at CBC actually had to use an umbrella in the one working toilet. In addition, the windows need replacing and the electrical system is outdated and in very poor condition.
We have tried to get all of these fixed repeatedly, but for whatever reason, it hasn’t been done satisfactorily. The building has long been in need of major repair which our landlord has been unable to perform. We can’t wait any longer; We HAVE TO do something NOW.
As you may know, we started looking for a new facility over a year ago as a possible solution. We hired an architect to design a new building and began looking for land. They estimated the cost of the land and new building was between £6 and £8 million. At the same time we began an extensive search for other existing property to either buy and renovate or lease. But we have been unable to find a cost effective solution, UNTIL NOW.
It’s a long story, but the landlord is willing to sell us the building we are now renting. We’ve had a thorough survey of the building, the heating system and the services and installations. This was carried out by Chartered and Building Surveyors and Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.
They have concluded that the building itself is essentially sound but in need of major repairs. They have estimated the cost of the essential items to be £800,000 and have identified many hundreds of thousands of pounds of less urgent repairs and upgrades that are needed.
I believe our quickest and most cost effective choice is to buy the building and make the needed repairs ourselves. Our landlord has offered to sell us the building for £1.5 million less the cost of some of the repairs - which we will then have to carry out immediately ourselves.
We have begun negotiations on the price and will be getting quotes for the repairs, so the final figures may change, but the bottom line is that to buy the building and do the essential works and some of the fairly urgent repairs would cost around £1.75 million. (The total cost of buying the building and doing all the works recommended by our property advisors is nearer £3.9 million!).
I would like to reiterate; this is not a luxury. Our Bible College in Walsall is now training around 100 full time students with more coming. Our UK staff has grown to 27 people and increase is on the way. I believe, once we make these repairs, this facility will work wonderfully for our AWME offices and Bible College for a long time to come.
The auditorium, which seats over 700 people, has accommodated our meetings in the past and will continue to do so for most events. However, because of the size of the crowds and the inadequate parking, we will have to rent other venues for the meetings we hold when I come over each year.
There are currently other tenants in the building with long term leases which provide a positive cash flow. If we bought the building on credit and made monthly payments, we would actually see an improved cash flow and this would help to grow the work of the ministry more quickly. In the end, we would also own the building. Taking this God-given opportunity is a “no brainer.” I feel we need to do this as quickly as possible.
However, this is the catch and the reason I’m coming to you. A number of banks have evaluated this project and they feel it merits a loan. But with the current financial situation they want a 10 % down payment and the essential repair work completed up front. Then they would lend an amount towards the purchase of the building and then a further amount towards the additional repair work. This means we still have to come up with £175,000 to go forward.
As I’ve prayed about this, the Lord told me I need to share this need with our partners and friends and get you involved. In 2003 we undertook a similar project in the States. The Lord told me then that our partners were our bank and we wouldn’t have to borrow money to complete the 3.2 million dollars of renovations needed. Our U.S. partners took the challenge and 14 months later we had the building project finished and are still reaping the benefits of no payments today.
I would like to ask you to help us in this project. I wouldn’t come to you if the need wasn’t real. I’m a giver, not a taker. But givers have needs too. And this is definitely a need. I’m embarrassed by the conditions my staff and students have to put up with. They have a wonderful attitude but this isn’t representing the Lord well. We’ve been working on solving this for a long time and now is the time to act.
There are 17,000 people receiving this letter. To fund the £1.75 million would only take a £103 gift from every person. Of course, not everyone receiving this letter can or will give. Therefore, those who can do more will need to do whatever the Lord enables them to do.
The minimum we need to obtain a loan is 175,000 pounds which would amount to a gift of 12 pounds from each person. We have never had a 100% response so again; those who can do more need to do so as the Lord lead you.
I purposely avoid making requests like this over TV because of all the negative attitudes people have towards ministers asking for money. I know that even among those receiving this letter, some will just dismiss this as another ministry trying to fleece the people.
But I don’t believe you can honestly say that about us. We are givers. We give away millions of CD’s, books, videos, and other materials to people all over the world. My desire is not that you give to me, I’m in the ministry to give to you. But we do have needs and it is scriptural for those who have been ministered to, to give back financially to the one who has ministered to them (Galatians 6:6-7).
So, I’ve made this need known to you and now I’m asking you to pray about it and ask the Lord what He wants you to do. Just obey the Lord is all I’m asking. I believe the Lord will meet this need and He does that through people (Luke 6:38).
Some of you will want to give but find yourself unable to give large amounts of money. Remember that a £20 per month gift amounts to a £240 gift in one year. If everyone would just become a £20 per month giver, we could have the money for the building and the initial works in less than six months.
As I’ve said, our need is NOW! We would appreciate your positive response as soon as possible. We can receive credit card gifts over the phone as a convenience to you if you would like. That phone number is +44 (0)1922 473300 and our phone lines are open 7.00 am - 4.00pm GMT Monday to Friday, or you can make a donation any time by clicking here.
Thanks in advance for your help. We have the best partners in the world. Jamie and I appreciate you and want you to know that together, we are making a difference. You are not just cursing the darkness, you are lighting a candle that is giving light to all who have eyes to see.
God Bless You,
Andrew & Jamie