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"Why are we here?" asked H. B. London at a meeting of the executive cabinet at Focus on the Family. London, vice president of ministry outreach and James Dobson's cousin, opened the meeting with a devotional, citing projections that the influence of Christianity would decline in the next millennium. Then he read from Esther: "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" (4:14).

During the meeting the cabinet addressed the problem of a backlog of unresponded-to correspondence. In October, the constituency response department received over 260,000 letters or calls, which was 20,000 more than the average. "Creative broadcasting scheduling" in October accounted for the higher-than-usual response (the topics included the killing of homosexual student Matthew Shepard, Y2K, and Frank Peretti). At the time of this mid-November meeting, the constituency response team was backlogged by about 38,000 letters or calls that had not been answered, and they were concerned about "how long someone out there [was] waiting for a reply."

Twelve thousand people a day write or call 1-800-AFAMILY ordering resources or soliciting advice. This does not include the radio listeners who hear Dobson's broadcasts on 2,500 stations in 95 countries (in six languages); or the 600 million radio listeners in China. There are "easily a billion" worldwide, according to one Focus VP. Focus has 75 outreach ministries and an annual operating budget of $116 million.

Why are they here?

There is more than one way to answer that question. One VP at the meeting answered it this way: "America ...

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March 1, 1999

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