This week's 7 On Your Side investigates Direct Mail Ministries. The Better Business Bureau regularly receives calls about these Direct Mailings and you should be warned.
A KLTV viewer who wishes to stay anonymous sent us one of these Direct Mail Ministries letters she received by a Reverend Ike. The letter stated if she sent a donation back with the featured "bad luck cow" within 18 hours she would receive cash money blessings.
The two page letter is almost overwhelming to read with pictures of the "bad luck cow" spilling over your blessings represented by a bucket of spilled milk. Four times it is noted to send a donation back with in 18 hours and to "borrow or do whatever necessary to get a donation of $20 or more."
Think Reverend Ike doesn't exist? Think again. We checked. Revered Ike has been in the ministry for decades. His church is a lavish former theater hall in New York.
His web site features testimonials. One couple says their 2 cents plus a borrowed donation blessed them to buy several homes and cars. The revered himself is pictured in front of lavish cars.
Minister Darryl Bowdre has been serving the East Texas Community for more than 20 years and his memory of Reverend Ike's ministry is full of skepticism.
"I don't remember anything as far as preaching. I don't remember anything as far as a choir. All I remember Reverend Ike doing, I'm not saying he didn't but all I remember and I seen him since I've been grown for the past twenty years. All I remember is he begs for money. He makes a ministry of begging."
We contact Revered Ike and a representative of his ministries said he declined our interview. He did send us a statement that said "...mailing list of consist of people who have contacted them by mail or at our church meetings and the intent of his letters it to deal head on with peoples problems fears or superstitions.
If you are still unsure of the Direct Mailing Ministries, the Better Business Bureau suggest calling and finding out if people have complained against them; but have faith that this billion dollar industry is not going out of business anytime soon.
Christine Nelson, reporting. firstname.lastname@example.org