January: Excerpts from a letter Jim Bakker wrote to his partners:
“It’s hard to believe that it was just one year ago that God gave us the 450 acre Camp of Hope on beautiful Lake Paradise. The kids of Camp of Hope have grown so much in all ways this past year…
With God’s help, the new television equipment was ordered and Global Christian Broadcasting Network was founded…
One of my dear and long time friends has agreed to put us on satellite and carry my new program daily on all of his television stations. Businessmen gave us our own computer network so we can broadcast to the world via the Internet. You can see the beginning of that network at www.jimbakker.tv on the World Wide Web. This means that we will be on two satellites…
A few days ago Lori and I met with the founder of the new Christian Television Network in Europe, that covers the continent of Africa as well, and the next day we flew to Canada to minister and meet with the founders and head of Christian Television of Canada.
We are making arrangements for both of these important networks to be seen on our network…”
On January 18th there was a suspicious fire at Heritage USA that completely destroyed Kevin’s House. The 36 room 13,260 square foot home that PTL built for handicapped children went up in flames during the night. The local newspaper, The Herald, reported that two fire departments responding to the blaze could not save the home as it was too engulfed in flames. It was ruled suspicious by York County Fire Investigator, Charles Williamson.
During the spring, Jim Bakker’s television equipment was stolen, and then the new TV studio was vandalized. Christian leaders rallied around his misfortune, giving him television cameras, studio lights, an audio board, as well as some monitors. Heads of Christian television stations told him that they would help to get his new program on their stations. Friends gave the ministry a 48 foot remote television truck that once belonged to Ted Turner and filled it with equipment so that Jim could go back on the air.
July: Jim Bakker wrote his partners, “It seems like everything we do we have to battle to win the victory. Well, I used to say, ‘There is no victory without a battle.’ But I did not know the battle would be this hard at times. Thank God I am learning more and more to use the weapons of prayer and the power of God’s Word. We cannot win if we fight in the flesh. God’s Word says: ‘For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.’ We have the tools to defeat the Devil!”
September: The property that the Camp of Hope was being built on was suddenly sold by its owner. Jim and Lori were given 30 days to relocate. Consequently, Jim Bakker was forced to leave. He wrote his partners, “So here we were, with a burning passion to go back on television, a truck full of television equipment ready to go…television stations all over the country offering to air our program for free…And we have no home…”
He went on to say that a friend had supplied him with a building (a former nightclub/restaurant) in Branson, Missouri. Lori and Jim with their staff immediately moved to Branson, bringing some of the children from the Camp of Hope. Lori had no children of her own, so she and Jim planned to adopt them.
October: “The Studio City Cafe” in Branson, Missouri became the new location for the live TV show that was about to go on the air. The concept was for an audience to be there for each broadcast. Food, fun and ministering the gospel would be the format of the show named, The New Jim Bakker Show.
Branson, Missouri, a town populated by 6,000 people, was a family friendly city. It had more seating for shows than New York City. It was the hub of wholesome family entertainment and a destination that attracted thirteen million people each year.
The sudden change was reflected in this excerpt from Jim’s letter:
“I am the first to admit that it isn’t easy to be part of our family. Thank you for ‘hanging in there’ with us as we have followed the leading of His Holy Spirit to this new place of ministry- Branson, Missouri. I know in my heart you will soon see the fruit of this new move of God. Anytime God has so clearly opened a new window of opportunity as this – real ministry has followed!”
November: The New Jim Bakker Show needed financial support to move forward. In his newsletter Jim wrote, “Please don’t give up on us now. Just to keep food on the table is a struggle right now.” He talked about his staff of volunteers that he gives a place to stay and helps with their needs. He felt that this was only temporary and, that as soon as they opened the cafe, things would change.
Heritage USA remained on the market.