the grapevine
(Issue #55; December 1, 1998.)

Copyright © 1998 by The Family

       The Grapevine
       P.O. Box 4938
       Orange, CA 92863 USA

       The news and views from Family members published in the Grapevine are not intended to reflect WS policy.

       Suggested reading age for this publication is JETTs and up. Parents or shepherds may read with or allow portions to be read by younger ages, at their discretion.

       Happy Christmas from the Grapevine girls! Introducin g the Grapevine mascot, Mr. Cluster!


more wee ones …

       Samuel Andres, 1st child, born to Rebecca and Marcos on August 22.--Mexico
       Clarisse, born to Esther on September 1.--Japan
       Danae Kalina, 1st child, born to Ruth on September 2.--Thailand
       Mariangela, born to Trusty and Jonas on September 12.--Japan
       Eugenia Jasmin, 4th child, born to Suzana and Zaqueo on October 5.--Chile
       Martin Goforth, born to Love and Mark Goforth on October 7.--Canada
       Arielle Jacqueline, 2nd child , born to Jennifer and Michael on October 8. --U.S.A.
       Daniel Samuel, 1st child, born to Kristina and Yan October 10.--Russia
       Jalen Michael, 2nd child, born to Shanti and David on October 12. --USA.
       Lorena, 2nd child, born to Raquel and Alfredo on October 13.--Brazil
       Genrick Edward, 2nd child, born to Christina and Chris on October 14. --U.S.A.
       Danielle, 3rd child, born to Glory and Jose on October 21.--Brazil
       Tiana Karmen, 1st child, born to Christina Slovenian on November 9.--Hungar y


new laborers …
Sandra (22, Brazilian) joined in October, in Brazil.

taken …

       Samuel (21, of Ike and Meekness) and Ariane (19, of Stefan and Joy) got married on October 18th in a simple but meaningful ceremony, which young people from three other Homes were able to attend.--Thailand
       Yanek and Chris got married on October 4th. The Lord supplied a nice restaurant to hold our Family wedding party in. TYJ!--Poland

world news

       Kazakhstan - This September we had an opportu nity to do a show (aired city-wide) organized by our Child Foundation for first graders. The Lord did a miracle and unexpectedly sent a team from Uzbekistan who were willing to help us with the project. GBT! As a result we did a 1 ½ hour show, brought happiness and salvation to 40 children and got some good articles and TV translations on a few TV channels.--Peter Bigheart

       Korea - The Lord gave us the opportunity to be a witness to the nation via the media this past month. Eight to ten milli on people were reached by two TV spots and one morning radio show.--Tim and Mercy

       USA - Amber, our 16-year-old, was selected as one of 100 teens chosen by the mayor of Colorado Springs (pop. 500,000) as having a positive influence in the community. She will have opportunity for speaking engagements at city events, etc., during this coming school year.--Dominic, Lily, and Spring

legal and media

France -
Ouest France, one of the main daily newspapers in France, published an article on u s in the regional edition of Vendee. The article was a short biography of my life (Stephen), my childhood in Africa, a few years of charitable work in India with my family (Lily and the children), our shows here in France in old folks homes, and my summer restaurant singing. It also advertised our upcoming CTP project of distributing computers in village schools in Benin, Africa, this coming winter.--Stephen and Lily

Hurricane Mitch and Trip to Guatemala

--By Jason (CRO), USA
       Robin (VS) an d I just returned from one of the most exciting and exhilarating visitation trips either of us have ever gone on! Where did we go? To our neighbor just south of the Mexican border--Guatemala! The people there are some of the sweetest Latins I think I have ever encountered. They are so sweet and polite. Hurricane Mitch caused quite a stir down here to say the least, and although Guatemala was seriously affected it's nothing compared to the damages that Honduras and Nicaragua suffered. Right now t he need in Honduras and Nicaragua in the way of CTP type projects is enormous!
       At present there are five adults and 15 children/JETTs in the Home where we were staying. During the last three weeks since Hurricane Mitch hit, they've been going non-stop, visiting most of the homeless shelters in Guatemala City and far-away towns hit by the hurricane. Their programs have been full of witnessing, fun, feeding activities, and have been a big investment of their time and efforts. They've distributed free posters and tracts, as well as mountains of provisioned clothes, which one of the Homes in Houston had sent down in a large container by boat.
       When we first arrived, Praise (of Jordan), Paul Braveheart (21), two JETTs, and 1 YA were on a CTP road trip to villages six hours away from Guatemala City. On one occasion their team had to push their own train cart on train tracks for about five miles to get to a village that had been hit heavily by Hurricane Mitch. We hope to get some of this f ootage out via our next NA Video News.
       Central America is a missionary's paradise! This area, especially since Hurricane Mitch, is a "white harvest field" just waiting for reapers. We were awestruck at times by the potential and receptivity of the Guatemalan people. God bless Paul Braveheart, a Guatemalan national who rejoined two years ago. He witnesses like a "house on fire" and has been helping with the Home's CTP witnessing attacks around the country. He prays with everybody to receive Jes us, from those working in restaurants to poor vendors on the street. The people here have a deep respect for prayer and things of the spirit.
       Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador do not have Family Homes yet, and since the hurricane they are just crying out for help. The Homes here are sending out a "reconnaissance team" to scout out the land in Honduras next week. They'll be checking out the easiest routes to bring supplies in, and shortly afterwards are intent on invading the most severely a ffected areas (Honduras was ground zero, where the hurricane did the most damage and where literally thousands lost their lives!) with thousands of "Mitch" tracts, and supplies to distribute during their visit. The Home has done a beautiful job of laying out the tract, and their printing contact has agreed to print it for free. Our Family here wants to get the tract in the newspapers, and on radio as well. Please keep them in your prayers!
       To say the least, the need in Guatemala, Honduras, Nic aragua and the other Central American countries is GREAT! So if you've been praying about which mission field to go to, where there are lots of lost and needy sheep, both physically and spiritually, pray and consider these countries that are in dire need of help!
       In the tract which was received in prophecy for the victims of Hurricane Mitch entitled, "I Have Not Forgotten You!" the Lord said: "Pray also that My children in other countries will come to help you in your time of need." It is not an easy field and there are physical obstacles to overcome at times, but the gratitude and receptivity of the precious people down here really makes it worth it. If you can't help by coming down yourself, any support that you could give, either financially or otherwise, would be very appreciated.


EURCRO Web site

       EURCRO has set up a Web site to make information and materials available to Family Members in the area and throughout the world. Currently we have witnessing pubs in Euro pean and African languages available to download, as well as some childcare and educational files from EURCRO FED. We also have a computer technical support section, and we'll be continuing to add material focused on the computer needs of the Family. To visit us go to and enter the same username and password published in the Grapevine each month for the WS Members Only site.


Talk to Your Baby
(From Ruthie Virginia, Romania:) At the age of 20 (during the late '70s , in Peru) I had my first baby. Siloam, who was an experienced childcare worker, and Joy (who also had a baby), would often spend part of the day with me in my room during that first week or two after I gave birth. As some mothers experience after giving birth, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of depression (known also as the "baby blues" or more technically as "postpartum blues"), so having someone around to talk with kept me from getting too emotional or down in the dumps.
       But I believe that the most important way I benefited from their visits was to learn to talk to my baby from the time she was just a day old. I was Miss Spacy--a very avid daydreamer. I would thoroughly enjoy taking long "spirit trips" to some far-off yonder galaxy in outer space, and would totally disconnect with reality around me. Especially during diaper-changing times, sweet Siloam was there and would remind me every single time: "Talk to your baby!" It would bug me so much, but every time I was there changin g baby Christina, and immersed in some way-out daydream, again I would hear: "Talk to your baby!"
       I kept thinking: I wish she would just stop saying that! But sweet Siloam didn't stop until I would talk to my baby, and as soon as I was again silent a few seconds (taking off on some new and yet unexplored daydream adventure), there again: "Talk to your baby!" God bless her, she was very sweet about it, and explained to me many times how important it was to speak aloud to your baby, from the tim e of birth, to stimulate its intelligence and to establish your mother-baby bond.
       So, thanks to Siloam and Joy, and also sweet Margie Peruvian who often passed through my room during those first weeks of my baby's life, as they drilled this "talk to your baby" thing into me, I became used to talking all day long to little Christina, explaining to her every little thing that was going on. Sometimes the things I told her were pure nonsense, but at least I was communicating with her, and she was attentive to every word. Some of her favorite times were diaper-changing time--I guess because it meant special undivided Mommy-attention, as I became intensely involved in all sorts of explanations on all kinds of things, or would dramatically quote her my memory work.
       I believe that talking so much to her did really help her, and before she was eight months old she started saying words very clearly, such as "ball" or "bottle," and started forming whole sentences at an unusually early age.
       I later read a book entitled Talk to Your Baby, which promoted and emphasized the utmost importance of language and communicating with your baby in clear, audible words from birth on. It also had a chapter on how to handle deaf babies, and it said that if your baby is deaf, you have to talk to him even more, as that's the only way he will learn how to read lips, feel sound vibrations, and most of all learn the art of communication. It also gave many other helpful tips.
       Anyway, maybe this littl e testimony will help some people to know the benefits of talking to your baby! I love you!

The DC Band Heads South of the Border for Christmas!

--From Meeky, DC Home, USA
       Imagine yourself enjoying a beautiful, warm, sunny Christmas Day, with a taco in one hand and tracts in the other, talking to a receptive soul who doesn't care whether or not you're planning on going to college or if you own a car. Well, this idea appealed to us up North in DC who have spent our last several Christmases shoveling snow and trying to fit ourselves under five layers of clothing (which seems to be getting more difficult each year). So when our DC Band received the invitation from Jason and Cedar to come to Mexico for Christmas and perform, we tossed aside our winter coats, grabbed our guitars and dance shoes, and began filling our house with loud and joyful renditions of many of the "famous" Family Christmas songs, plus some new ones--including one that Vas and the band wrote especially for this Ch ristmas in Mexico, entitled Viva Mexico!
Jason, Seek, Ben, Maria, David and others have been busy down South doing the hard work of preparing the way with getting bookings and sound equipment, etc. We'll be performing in Mexico City on Christmas Day for the Zocalo event, and at several universities and bookings in Morelia and other cities of Mexico. Our team will be joined by a dance troupe from the Morelia, Mexico Home. Plus we have a kidz show team.
       The Lord said it would be "thousands of miles, upon thousands of miles of miracles!" (We'll travel some 7,000 miles!) Please pray for our safety, visas, vehicles, equipment, promotional materials to create, booking the shows, provision and so forth. And most of all, pray that this mission to Mexico will result in fruitful Christmas witnessing and soul-winning that will bring many into His Kingdom.
       While our DC Band team is off to Mexico for the month of December, Washington DC will rock on with the songs and witness of some new arri vals, the "Greeneyes," Andrew and Crystal and their team of troubadours.

Members Only password
       January UserID: january
       January Password: noodles!


Today's Newspaper Ads
       (From Ahlai:) Guess what? In today's newspaper advertisements, right along with ads for Star Trek, 007 and a host of other current video ads on sale at the electronics and appliance chain Circuit City, is advertised Countdown to Armageddon! Isn't that incredible?

Rolling Awa y the Stone
       (From Kristia and the Garden Home:) To improve an extensive muddy patch at the entrance of our house, we decided to make a rock garden. Peter, our inspired green-thumb, set out to provision suitable plants as well as rocks--from boulders to stepping stones to pebbles! Within two weeks, the Lord opened the windows of His greenhouse and poured out such a blessing of everything we needed--about 20,000 baht (US $500) worth of supplies!
       While talking to our landlord about ou r contract, we enthusiastically mentioned our plans for a rock garden. Much to our surprise, he vehemently objected and said, in no uncertain terms, that he wanted every rock off the property! Apparently, in a blend of Buddhism and animism, some of the local people here believe that rocks hold curses.
       When we prayed about it, the Lord told us not to be intimidated but to continue to trust Him and to fervently pray, as He was going to use this as a testimony, especially to the children, of the power we have in prayer! The first impression I got upon hearing the landlord's wrath was that fervent, desperate prayer changes things. I suggested that we all focus our prayers for the coming week on the landlord (just like the story in the Good Thots about how a few praying men converted their whole town), claiming that the Lord could change the heart of this king even though it sounded like his mind was made up. But our God specializes in the impossible!
       As the landlord and his wife were c oming for a visit, we had to decide what to do. To not offend them, it was decided to move the boulders before they came. However, because they were so big and heavy, they could only be removed with the use of a special crane. We contacted the lady who had donated these expensive boulders (each costing about US $100), and asked if she could help us. She agreed but said we'd have to wait, as her driver wouldn't be back for a few days. It was nearing the landlord's visit and we couldn't wait. We t ried to locate another crane but it would have cost us a lot of money. So we went back to the Lord. This time, the Lord indicated that we should just be honest with the landlady (who's usually more amiable) and explain our efforts to move the rocks. As it turned out, she was sweet on the phone and said that we could leave them there and they could just take a look at the rocks when they visited.
       The big day finally came. The house was spruced up and everything was looking good. They arrived an d our representatives showed them around the property. The landlady repeatedly said that they were impressed with how well we had maintained their property. We waited with bated breath for their decision on the rocks.
       The landlord didn't utter a word about the rocks but his wife said that we could keep our two boulders and the pebbles, but not add any more large rocks. PTL! Though thrilled, Christina, Bright and Peter remained composed till they escorted the landlord and landlady out the gate.
       We rocked out with a little praise celebration that evening, recounting the prophecies that the Lord had given us step by step, how the Lord had His way in directing us in His will. We saw how funnily God thwarted our mistaken efforts to get rid of the rocks, and then led us in a step of faith believing His initial promise that prayer will change things. Now we have a beautiful rock garden at our entrance that stands as a reminder of how the Lord changed that king's heart of stone and gave us this desire of our hearts.

reaches far and wide
       (From Noah and Precious:) We saw a NHK documentary on Thailand about different types of volunteer work in institutions. One clip showed an orphanage; and guess what? On the wall of the kids' playroom was a big mural of … Uncle Jim, Peepers and Bunny Big Word! There was also a picture from the Let's Be Friends video. It was inspiring. We knew who had been there!

Live-outs who are "in"
       (From Rain and Rejoice:) We have four "live-outs" that we've been ministering to for several years. Two are Indian and two are Indonesian. They all tithe and give many extra gifts to help the Family, including many large gifts for the greater Family from the Indian man.
       They are all learning to hear from the Lord and use prophecy in their daily life, and are totally sold on it! They accept Loving Jesus, and really try to love Him and be intimate with Him. Our Indian friends told us that it's no strange thing to think of havin g an intimate relationship with God, as to one Indian sect it's quite common.
       The Indians are from two different marriages and have been in a love relationship with each other for the past 12 years that brings both of them closer to the Lord and helps them love their own mates more with His love. They are both from rich families.--One was a top banker and is now a CEO, and the other is a business manager for a multimillionaire. Yet they both hunger for the Words of David, the Lord, Mama and Pe ter, and anxiously await any New Wine, prophecies, etc.!
       All four live-outs have large quote boxes of prophecies on different subjects that they go to often. The Indian woman especially uses it daily and receives many answers from the Lord from it, which she also shares with others. We have to work hard to feed them enough current Word, editing and photocopying from the current Letters to satisfy their hunger for the latest jewels on marriage, healing, hearing from Him, etc. They often ask, "I s there anything new from Mama?" Or, "Is there any Word you can find us on this subject?"
       The Indonesian couple is not rich but gives us every extra gift they receive and keep very little for themselves. In fact, they live very simply and give us more than they keep for themselves. They are our Indonesian "widow's mite," and we know they have great treasures awaiting them, as they give more than anyone we know, in relation to what they make. They have gone through difficult times with the econ omic crash, and even lost their jobs and held on "trusting." They said that they were in a "free fall," but knew He'd save them, and then excitedly testified how the Lord caught them right before they hit bottom.
       Even those still living in the world know that Mama and Peter are God's Endtime leadership, and follow Him and them, and the Family very closely!


EURCRO e-mail address change

EURCRO has changed its e-mail addresses. Our former address,, has now changed to Our FED and Open Heart e-mail addresses have changed as well to and eurohb@eurcro.organize, respectively. Please send all communications encrypted with CPYWin or CPY 96. If you don't have our public key you can download it from Log on with the same username and password that you use for the WS Members Only site.

Dear Mama …

       I want to thank you for the new GN, "The Blessings of Loneliness" (818). Reading it has been a very spe cial blessing for me. Though at this time I'm not experiencing battles of loneliness because of not having an earthly mate or someone special in my life, I have been through all of this in the past, and I can relate to and identify with and confirm all the wonderful things the Lord and Dad promise to those who feel lonely. I have personally experienced these things and the Lord has tremendously blessed me in the ways He has promised in these beautiful prophecies, and I wouldn't trade those times I went through those battles for anything, because through them the Lord helped me to grow so much closer to Him and to fall so in love with Him! Then the Lord felt He could trust me with an earthly mate, who helps me to realize even more fully how much the Lord loves me. TYJ!
       C. (female member of WS)

       Just writing a quick note to say that the Lord has brought me safely back to the fold and to His service! There is nowhere else in the world I'd rather be than in the center of His will, whi ch for me is the Family!
       After two long years of "trying things out" in the world--swimming in the mire of rock music, drugs, System jobs, System women, etc., I've had the opportunity to learn first hand what I already should have known--that "there's no place like home." I have rededicated my life to the Lord and His work, and He's turned around and given me the desires of my heart: true happiness and peace of mind!
       God willing, I'll be heading out to the field soon where I hope to stay for a long, long time, as far away from "Babylon" as I can get!
       Your humble servant, J. (SGA male)


Movies Rated for JETTs and Up

       Animated; voices of Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Sylvester Stallone
       A rather neurotic ant attempts to break away from his totalitarian society while trying to win the affection of the princess he loves.


       Tobey Maguire, Jeff Daniels, Joan Allen
       Fantasy/drama about a brother and sister who are s ucked into a black-and-white fifties-style TV show, and find themselves unable to get back to the nineties.

       Stephen Baldwin, Gabrielle Anwar, Tom Conti
       Drama about three scientists traveling on board a U.S. Navy submarine which comes into unexpected problems--and their fight for survival.

Non-Recommended Movies

       ADDICTED TO LOVE (Meg Ryan, Matthew Broderick; 1997)
       APT PUPIL (Brad Renfro, Ian McKellen; 1998)
       PAINTED ANGELS [aka THE WICKED, WICKED WEST] (Brenda Frick er, Kelly McGillis; 1998)



       (Jesus speaking:) There are many truths portrayed in this movie, disguised truths but, albeit, truths. It is similar in many ways to My sheep's struggle in the System; they don't fit in but don't quite know why. They don't want to follow the System's rules or standards, they don't want to go along with the mindless mob, but they want to discover true freedom and purpose in life.
       There are two ways to take the rebellion portrayed in this movie. The way that I would have My children see it is that it is a rebellion from an evil System, rebellion from a System that would seek to control and even destroy. But do not let it promote in your minds a rebellion against righteous authority. By righteous authority I mean My authority and the structure that I have ordained and set up. There is a big difference.
       It is also an anti-war movie, showing the futility of war and the evilness of the warmongers. (End of message from Jesus.)

Pleasantvill e

       (Jesus speaking:) My love is as beautiful colors, just as it shows in this movie. It's nice how they portrayed this. My love is alive and vibrant. It changes people's lives, hearts and minds. Then it shows the System--how they don't like change or the power of My love. They can't stand the light so they try to fight it, just like they do with you, My children. But with Me by your side you are stronger than they, and no man can defeat you! (End of message from Jesus.)

Sub Down
(Dad speak ing:) This movie is not real outstanding or lesson-filled. But it's got a few good tips of what to do and what not to do in crisis-type situations. It's quite an enjoyable movie, with some sweet people and good lessons learned by all. (End of message from Dad.)

Addicted to Love
(Dad speaking:) This is an unpleasant movie about unpleasant people doing unpleasant things to each other.       I definitely would not recommend this movie. Ugh! It almost makes me sick just to think about the crazy thing s these crazy guys did to their poor, unsuspecting former lovers. I would warn the Family to keep themselves from such impurities and such downright bad samples. (End of message from Dad.)


Single parent gift

       (From an FGA mom:) From what I've read, it seems that single mothers have been a bit neglected from time to time. So I believe it is legitimate for the Homes around the world to raise funds for their needs.
       What I do foresee, though, is that in a case where there is a Home tru ly living Acts 2:44-45, like ours, where all the children in that Home have their needs equally cared for, and the distribution of such a generous amount of money as was suggested to be given the single parents would create an imbalance in the Home, with some having more to spend on their kids than others.
       If all the kids and families draw from one communal envelope for their needs, what's the purpose of the extra funds for single parents? The needs of a single parent, I feel, are essentially those of companionship and help with the kids--not so much materially, as we all pool our financial resources together.
       In our Home there is no other source to draw finances from other than the united CC budget, which everyone has equal right to. There is no difference whether you're a single parent or a married couple; no monetary advantage whether you're a single parent or married.

       (From WS:) There are many scenarios from Home to Home--single parents with relatives who help, single paren ts with supporters, single parents without help, single parents with former mates who help, single parents with mates who don't help, richer fields, poorer fields, richer Homes, poorer Homes, Homes that common-pot finances for all the children's needs, Homes that don't, and many more. It would be impossible for WS to try to come up with an arrangement that would be most beneficial for each individual situation. But on the overall, the single parents are the most disadvantaged, and the ones that the Family has asked help for the most.
       There are Homes where everyone does carry an equal load financially and spiritually and in the care of all the children (which is the ideal and what we should be doing). But in many other Homes single parents do carry an extra physical or financial or parenting load, and this gift is being given to help them to get some needs for their children which as a single parent are more difficult for them to raise funds for than for a couple. It's not much money, but we hope that it will be a help in some way.
       Some single parents may also feel they need to set the funds aside as a small "reserve" of sorts, for future needs for them or their children, even if they may be common-potting now. For example, if a single or couple need to raise funds to go to another Home or mission field, it's often easier for them to do so than for a single parent who does not have a partner to share the load of both fund-raising and caring for the children.
       But if any s ingle parents don't need the extra funds, or if you already common pot all the finances in your Home for the children's needs, as in the one described above, then you single parents are certainly welcome to common pot these funds or handle them as you would any gift that comes to an individual in the Home, or give them to someone who needs it more. One single mom wrote in saying she would like to give her gift to someone more needy, since she has all her needs met and receives some support.
       Si nce the funds are being given to single parents, though, we will leave the final decision with each of them on how they choose to use the gift they receive. Thank the Lord and our wonderful Family for making this gift possible. We know that the sacrifice of making the attack day for the single parents will be greatly rewarded by the Lord! "Whatsoever thou spendest, I will repay" (Luke 10:35).

Hi Jimmy Sky! I'm finally home. Drop me a line. E-mail:
       Daniel Praymore (or Provisioner, from India) desires contact with (Francis and Praise; Byron and Mercy; Barney of Sarah; Abel and Angela; John and Joy; Chronicles and Madian). Add: MEHRA MBCC, 'C' Block, II Floor, Udyog Bhavan, Siripuram, Visakhapatnam - 530 003 India.
       Steven and Claire from India desire contact with Silas and Faithy. Add: SUNIL MBCC, 'C' Block, II Floor, Udyog Bhavan, Siripuram, Visakhapatnam - 530 003 India.
       Christina and Sylvia, please contact Katrina ASAP in Canada. E-ma il:
       Gloria and Estrela and Vida, would like to hear from U. Danny and Luke and Peace, ASAP! We lived together at the LIM. Add: Cx. Postal 584, Cep. 36001-970, Juiz de Fora, MG. E-mail:
       John and Lily, Nick and Sue in Cairns, Australia would love to make contact. E-mail: Add: 10 Manly Close, Kewarra Beach, 4879 QLD Australia.
       Ariana would like to hear from Elodie. Add: Mr et Mme Keating 65700 Guchan. E-mail:
       James and Paloma (Michael and Rosi) would like to get in contact with Stephen Lee ASAP. E-mail:
       Joe--searching endlessly to find the whereabouts of Khrystalle F/15. Contact me via PACRO (China desk) c/o Matthew and Claire.

seeking contact …

--from former members and friends
       Arving, from Kerala State in India, is looking for Glen and Linda. He met them in New Delhi in '85. You were in living in an apartment in Houz Kaus. He was visiting regularly, he even went with y ou to your prison ministry there. He lost contact around '85 or '86. Recently he got in contact with us here. E-mail: ARAVING@ROCKVAX.ROCKEFELLER.EDU.
       I'm Eladia Caceres Martin from Spain. I'm looking for my cousin in China or around. Write me at

The China Experience

--By Ado, USA

       [Note: The following articles are personal observations and opinions from the teens and adults on this brief 30-day trip into China. These opinions do not represent any official information r egarding that politically sensitive country. If any opinions expressed herein differ from the information published by WS, we would defer to those who have more of an understanding and grasp on the situation in China. Due to the language barrier our team had minimal contact with the populace.]

       China has long held a certain magic or mystery for many. Its ancient history and the stories of such places as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City have intrigued us for years. Is it any wonder then t hat the excitement and anticipation amongst our small group of eight (two of whom remained in China after our trip) could hardly be contained as we all met at the sprawling Los Angeles Airport near midnight shortly before our departure for that ancient land?
       We arrived at the huge, new Hong Kong airport after a 13-1/2 hour flight. As we were waiting in line to go through immigrations, two Chinese women cut in front of me. I tried to politely explain that they shouldn't do that, and would they mind returning to where they were. Either they didn't understand English, or they didn't want to understand English. They just looked at me, and so did many others around us who were standing in line. Most thought it was amusing.
       Oh well, no big deal, we thought, so we let them stay, but told them "no" when they wanted to call some more of their traveling companions to come over to get in line in front of them. I tried to look stern and shook my hand in a "don't do it" type of gesture. Ha. An interesting introduction to Chinese methods.
       Our guide, Harry, along with another friend, met us at the HK airport. The bus to downtown dropped us almost in front of our hotel. Now when I say hotel, you shouldn't be too quick to conjure up a picture of a tall modern structure, with a big lobby where you are escorted to your room by a bellboy who is carrying your luggage. First of all, you've got to imagine a busy, busy downtown street, jam-packed with people on a narrow sidewalk, with cars, tr ucks and buses zooming by only a few feet away, and now our group of ten people climbing off the bus (which missed our stop one block back) with all our bags, and having to maneuver through what seemed like thousands of people to get to the 16-story building where our rooms were located. Our rooms, at $10 per person, were about the cheapest you can get in super expensive HK. They were more like cubicles, at 8' x 12', with two beds, a tiny bathroom and thankfully an air-con in each.
       It was a fi ght each time we'd need to go up the elevator, as there were so many of us and the elevators so small. More than once the "overloaded" sign would come on and someone would have to step out in order for the elevator to even move. As we walked down the hallway with the courtyard opening on the inside, we'd sometimes have to dodge clothes hanging up to dry. Oh, it was fun! We decided right away that we would call everything "an experience," which helped us to not be frustrated or get overly-bugged by things we weren't used to.
       We arrived in Hong Kong on one of the busiest holidays of the year. It was October 1st, China's National Day--celebrating the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. We joked that in honor of our arrival they had a special fireworks display in Victoria Harbor. There were literally thousands of people in the streets. Before the fireworks display, we had taken the famed Star Ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island, had a delicious rice and roasted duck di nner in a small (four tables) working man's restaurant. When it was all over, the empty streets made it easy for the ever-present HK police to control the crowds heading for the subway, trains and buses to get to their homes. As we "flowed with the crowd" (almost literally) up the six-lane-wide main street, we saw a sea of short, black-haired people moving like a river of water up the street. People, people, people, everywhere--there were multitudes of people.
       Our second day in HK was not to b e normal by any means. Before noon, we came down to the main street in front of our building to find that it was blocked off for the "parade." Yes, here we had just arrived the day before, were treated to a full-blown fireworks display (Chinese style), and now a parade was coming right to our doorstep. It was very colorful, with dancers, dragons, sword fighting displays, acrobats, traditional Chinese costumes and much more.
       While in the supermarket with the appointed team buying the evening me al, someone pointed out a rat walking on the pipes above the shelf. We joked as to whether it was for sale or not, but wait till you hear what we did see being sold for food at a local market a few days later. We all wanted to try different local food stuffs and snacks, so we got a variety of little things like dried kumquats, dried plums, spicy dried beef and dried mango. As we sat in a beautiful little park and passed around our sandwiches and juice, we were already full of stories of the fun experiences of our trip.
       Crossing the border from Hong Kong into China was similar to other border crossings between rich and poor countries: From Hong Kong--efficient, clean, orderly and obviously rich--into China, obviously not as efficient, clean and orderly as HK. However I was impressed that across the border was not an impoverished nation. In fact, the city that sits across the river from the Hong Kong territorial border is huge. Shenzhen is a city of over five million, with huge buildin gs everywhere and more under construction.
       In this city, like in most of the cities we saw on our tour, we stayed in a university student hotel. It was interesting to learn that most universities have some sort of hotel or dorm for foreigners, or visitors. The average nightly cost per person at this hotel was $6, which was the overall average for each person's lodging throughout the trip. That is extremely cheap compared to western prices.
       That night a couple of students invited us to watch a movie at their apartment. Harry was tired, so our group went with our new "friends" for the experience. Let me tell you about movies in China. I didn't say videos, because they don't use videos. They use CDs. They had some new releases on VCDs (usually two CDs per title) and we wondered how they did it, because they're still only in theaters in the West. Apparently, someone in the West records the movie on a camcorder in a movie theater when it first comes out. The movie gets to China and imme diately is translated, because it usually has subtitles and some are dubbed. It's made into a VCD and sold for about $1.25 per title--very cheap! Of course, the quality is cheap as well. There are times when watching a movie and the villain finally gets it, you suddenly hear the theater crowd shout or cheer. Sometimes you even see people stand up and walk across the screen.
       It was late when the movie was over, so our friends asked if we could get back by ourselves. Easy!--We thought. They got us onto the right bus and even told the bus driver to take us to the university gate. We reassured them that we could find our way to the hotel from the gate. Sit back and enjoy the night view. But hey! Wait! How do we tell them they're passing the street where we are supposed to turn? With much sign language and using the simplest Chinese we could, we understood that they were going to take us to the university gate another way.
       Okay, Okay! I sat down, but this time not so relaxed. All sorts of things were running through my mind: Kidnapped! Lost! How do I tell the teens' parents about it if we get into trouble? Well, they wanted us to get out at one gate, but I didn't recognize it so I said, "No way I'm going to get off somewhere I don't know!" So on they go. They stop at another gate. It still was not familiar, but from the "conversation" it seemed like it was our last chance. There was a guard posted at the gate, so we decided to get off.
       At the gate, we explained to the guards that we were going to the hotel. I was glad to find that I had a brochure from the hotel to show them. Thank the Lord that we were going to get an escort to the hotel. Well, there seemed to be a slight misunderstanding, because our guard escort didn't know where we wanted to go. We must have walked for over an hour (it was about 1:00 AM by then) and were still getting nowhere. Maybe we confused the guard by telling him the hotel was by a lake and we made the sounds of ducks, acted like fish, ac ted out swimming--because he took us to an Olympic-sized pool. Little did we know that the campus grounds were HUGE. Finally I took out our hotel brochure again, pointed to the photo of a bedroom and told him (and acted out) how tired we were and we wanted to sleep when suddenly he said (in Chinese accent), "Oh, HOTEL!" Our escort then picked up the pace and walked like he knew where we were going. Within 15 minutes we were at our hotel.
       After our two days in Hong Kong, we went 100 miles inlan d to Guanghzhou (Canton) for two days, then by bus to a couple of cities on the coast, Xiamen (Shamen) and Fuzhou (Fujo) for three days, directly across the Straits from Taiwan. From there we went by inland train north to Shanghai for five days. On our way to Beijing by train we stopped for two days at Taian (Tie on), which is just south of Jinan, then continued on to Beijing, staying there for four days. We then headed south through Central China, arriving in Zhengzhou (Jengjo) for two days, th en back to Guangzhou again for two days before our one night stand in Hong Kong and our flight out.
       As we tell you about our adventures, to keep the trip in perspective in distances and climates, Hong Kong is about at the same latitude as Havana, Cuba or Calcutta; Beijing is about the same latitude as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the States, or Lisbon, Portugal. We were told that we came at a great time of year, because though it was still warm in the South it was not oppressively hot as it h ad been only a couple of months earlier. And in the North, it was comfortably cool and not freezing as it becomes only a couple of months later.
       Guanghzhou is sometimes called the City of Rams or simply Goat City, though I'm sure there's a lot of sheep (spiritually speaking) in this bustling city of at least 10 million. This city is probably one of the best examples of the economic freedoms that China has, as it is a very thriving city. It's funny how the communist government of China calls th e current booming economic drive a "market economy" rather than capitalism.
       As tourists and as a student group, we didn't get into many conversations with the locals concerning religion or politics. From what we understand, very few people will discuss politics openly, mainly for fear of reprisals. When I asked in private about the Tianamen Square massacre in 1989, I was told that there was a lot more behind it than one could imagine. Much of the populace supported the students; the students g oing to Beijing were even given free train rides. They said that the whole country was on the verge of civil disorder and that it was quite serious. At that time the students in universities couldn't choose their major, nor could they choose the job they wanted after they graduated. Both their major and job were assigned, and if you had some "pull" in the army or local government you could get something good. However, in just the last few years the students in many universities have been given t he freedom to choose their major and to choose their job after graduation. This apparently is a result of the Tianamen Square protests.
       One thing about China is that there was always plenty of food--and cheap too. We averaged about $1/meal/person. We'd usually eat breakfast in the hotel (often oatmeal, milk and fruit), lunch was often sandwiches of some sort, and then our dinner meal was most often in a restaurant where we'd sample many of the local foods.
       The meals in restaurants are always served with tea. We rather enjoyed the tea and would order several kettles of tea at every meal. One tip we learned from some veterans when sitting down to eat was how to clean our utensils. They'd take the hot tea and first rinse their teacup, then rinse their plate and finally the chopsticks. It sanitized everything before eating. We learned that it's considered good manners to leave some food, like some noodles in your bowl, because then your host knows you're satisfied and you've had enough . If you left it empty, he would take it to mean he didn't provide sufficiently.
       The first time we were invited out to dinner, I must admit that I thought, WOW! This will be great for the budget. The teens can eat well and we can save a few dollars. Because I thought our host would pay. Although our host had invited us, saying he wanted to take us to have a special meal, we learned he wasn't necessarily planning to pay for it. Our guide pulled me aside before we went into the restaurant and qu ietly explained that in China, although someone may invite you, we should expect to pay the bill. During the meal I kept wondering, Oh, I wonder how much that is? Maybe he should order smaller bowls of noodles. I must admit that I was a little worried that the bill would get too high. Well, we ended up paying. But thankfully, although delicious, filling and a whole lot of fun, it wasn't very expensive, less than $2/person. What was I worried about??!!
       The street market in Guangzhou was called QuingPing and it was quite the experience. We had heard that the Chinese like their food fresh and, rather than canned or frozen meats, they prefer to shop on a meal-to-meal basis. If you want to buy, kill or cook it yourself this is the place to go; it's almost like a take-away zoo. Besides the customary glass containers with aerated jets of water for the various species of fish, eel, lobsters and other seafood, we saw plastic tubs with such Chinese delicacies as scorpions, black bugs, black co ckroaches, worms and assorted small crawly things. Then there were trays of frogs, turtles, and other four-legged creatures. A little further on there were cages of live small animals that you could choose to have prepared for you to take home for dinner. Dare I go on?
       Shopping was really a special event in China. None of us needed anything other than a few souvenirs for the folks back home, but we had fun just looking at what was available. For the most part we were amazed at how inexpensive things are in China. Clothing was really cheap. Some of our girls bought dresses for as cheap as 60 cents, and shirts for 30 cents each. No wonder so many foreign companies are having their products made in China; the labor is ridiculously cheap. Food is sold by the 'jean'; that's not the kind you wear, but is 500 grams, about one pound.
       In one city in central China, we went to a local wholesale market, a large building about six stories high, just to see what was available. It sold everything from electronics to toothbrushes. In the computer software section we found the latest programs, like Windows 98 or Adobe Photoshop selling for about $3 or $4 each. They also sold many household items for ridiculously cheap prices. When I returned to the States I had become very conscious of where items were made, and nine times out of ten the little label on the item says, "Made in China."
       I was quite surprised to see "religion" in Communist China. One of the first days in China, our group w as walking down a side street in the late afternoon, when a peek into the alleyways revealed a China teeming with details of daily life. There were several old ladies lighting and putting incense sticks outside their doors to ward off evil spirits (maybe to ward off some evil odors as well), an old man was burning some "paper money" (not real) to the gods so that his loved ones would have money in the afterlife.
       There was evidence of people worshiping someone other than Mao. On a bus I saw a w oman in front of me reading a Bible; this happened several times on our trip. We also saw several government-sanctioned churches in some cities, though we did not visit any. I read in the China Daily (a government-sanctioned newspaper) an article on religious freedom. It touted the progress China has made in allowing religious freedom. But I dare say that for the amount of freedom that they profess, it was not very evident on our travels. As a foreigner it's not safe to talk to others about God, and is in fact illegal.
       One day we went on a hike around a small island where there is no motorized transportation, not even bikes. We walked by this neat banyan tree set up on a hill which had large roots growing down over the rocks to the path we were walking on. Those roots and rocks were just calling out to the teens to be climbed. So of course they took off for a brief moment of adventure. In the meantime small clusters of Chinese tourists walking on the path stopped to watch. I was curi ous about what they thought of our teens. So I asked our young Chinese guide, Tommy, if they were saying negative things about us.
       "No," he said, "they are interested that the teens would even think of climbing up there." Then he went on to explain something about the Chinese culture: "Chinese people don't like to be the first to try something new because it might fail. They wait to see if it can be done, then they do it. They don't want to be last either. They prefer to be the middle." Intere sting.
       Chinese cities were hustling, bustling centers with masses of people, motorcycles, cars, buses and bikes. I was very surprised to see such progressive, modern cities. Shanghai, a city of 13 to 15 million people, was the most modern, in my opinion. Everywhere there was construction. I was told that Shanghai alone has 35,000 construction sites and nearly 20% of the world's construction cranes. One funny thing that I heard was that, unofficially speaking, China's national bird is the const ruction "crane"!
       Traveling in China is an interesting experience. Because of our large traveling group, we found that we could negotiate bus rides easily. The trains, in an effort to keep things "non-class" (you know, in the communist philosophy there is no 1st class, 2nd class, etc.), call them "hard seat," "hard bed," "soft seat," "soft bed." The soft designates mainly a little more privacy. We traveled by "hard seat" most of the time, though we did get to experience "hard bed" once. To get a "no seat" train ticket is super cheap, because you take the risk that you may not get a seat. On one trip, there were people lying all over the place--in the aisles, in between the cars and just everywhere. When we averaged our travel costs on a per person level, we calculated that for the 4,000 miles we traveled by train and bus we spent approximately five cents or less per mile!
       China is such a potential field, and as the prophecies have said it's opening up a little now, but will open wid er in the future. God bless those who are there learning the language, customs and culture now, as they will be the ones leading others in the future. Our trip was such a blessing to the teens who went, because they got to see the field "up close and personal." Two of the girls stayed on in China and are going to be studying the language there. Another one wants to return soon and Joe, the adult that joined us, is praying about taking his family there in the future.
       Oftentimes, when talking wi th teens about going to a foreign mission field, they've told me that they don't know anyone there, or that they're not sure if it's the kind of place that they'll like or maybe that it's too hard to get a visa and the money to go, etc. Trips of a month or more help the teens to get a good idea of the country they visit; they can meet others and also see what it would take, both financially and physically for them to live there. I'm all for anything that would help get our teens out of the unfru itful fields of the West and into other needy mission fields.

       Angel (16, of Paul and Melody): Chinese are usually sweet and humble by nature--that is, until it comes time to load the buses or get on a train. Then it's a matter of "the strong take it by force!" It's funny to see how they scramble for the seats in the metro as soon as the doors open; it looks like a game of musical chairs! Crossing the streets here is quite an art. To get across requires weaving your way through the oncoming t raffic of hundreds of bikes and pedestrians, as well as the many automobiles. We soon learned that it's safer to cross in a group. Then you have less of a chance of getting run over.
I can't say that I've mastered eating with chopsticks yet, but I think I've improved from our first meal out in a crowded street restaurant. My first attempt started with my chopsticks falling on the floor. The next time they fell on my lap. My third try sent them flying across the restaurant. Suffice it to say, I didn't get too much to eat that night. But I pretty much have it down now and have stopped dropping my food into my teacup. Our Chinese guide even started eating with his left hand so we wouldn't feel so bad!

       Angelo (15, of Ado and Kanah): Once we arrived at the Great Wall, we decided to take the long walk up to the Wall rather than the tram. There are about 1,000 steps to get up to the Great Wall. Then we decided to begin our walk on the Great Wall. It took us about two hours to walk from where we got on the wall to where we stopped at the end of the reconstructed portion. I walked out to the part that is in its natural state, rather broken down and in ruins, which personally I think looked better than the part that was rebuilt.

       Ana (16, of Augustin and Paloma, in Columbia): The thing I liked best was that I became aware of the way that millions of people live. It really opened my eyes.
       One village we went to was a good display of the lives of poor peasants. We saw their wo rk in the fields, their homes, how they sort garlic, dig wells, etc. Their living conditions weren't too good. The village toilet was just a hole in the floor, and below the hole there was a pigsty. The hog actually lived down there below the toilet. It sounds like the pig is right there in the toilet shed with you. It's actually a bit scary! (That pig, by the way, is like a special treat that they're fattening up for the Chinese New Year Celebration!)

       Mari (17, of Ado and Kanah): Mao, Confu cius and many Chinese emperors had done it, along with millions of ordinary folk who had also climbed it before us, so we knew it was possible to do. In fact there's a saying here, so we're told, that you aren't a man until you've climbed Mt. Taishan. Whatever the reason for attempting to reach the top--whether to get closer to God, to prove you can do it, to add another 100 years to your life, or to make some profound statement at the top (like "The East is red."--Mao), the main thing we notice d is that it's really great exercise.
       Taishan is not just an ordinary mountain (or maybe it was till Confucius climbed it). It's a holy mountain of China, though most likely not her only one since they are rather superstitious people, and the more "holy" things they have, the better. To get to the "Gate of Heaven," one must climb over 6,000 stone steps (4.5 miles) that have been there for at least two thousand years, so that's what we had to look forward to as we began our climb.
       We saw olde r Chinese men who, for just a few cents, would be carrying huge loads up to the top. Here we were without even a backpack and barely making it! But we did make it! We spent most of the day up there, and then on our way down, about 1,000 or so steps later, one of our guys realized his backpack was still resting at the top and so went back up for it. Poor guy. But 1,000 steps are nothing when you've already climbed 6,000--or is it? Most of the steps were so small we'd fly down the steps three at a time, but whenever we'd stop, our legs would shake uncontrollably. And for the next two days our calves were so, so sore!


Being a bellwether
       (From Tim, 18:) When I first heard that there was going to be a teen camp in Madras I was very excited and inspired, but later I began to feel apprehensive. It seemed like such a big job, and our samples would be so important. The night before the camp, I cried out to the Lord and asked Him to use us all; I felt very incapable, because I'm often not as good a sample as I should be. Then the Lord spoke to me and told me to just let go and trust Him. So I prayed that He would take all of me away and leave only Him there.
       I've always had a burning desire to go to other cities and help inspire the teens and JETTs about the new weapons of prophecy and Loving Jesus, and witnessing. But I had never been able to do that because of some of my problems. So when I heard that we would be used to help inspire them, I was so thankful. I know that it was nothing that I did, but was by God's grace and mercy. I definitely didn't deserve it, but I was so thankful for the opportunity.
       During the day I prayed many times, asking the Lord to help me be nothing so He could shine through. I slipped in places, but one very encouraging thing was at the end of the camp one of the guys came up to me and said, "Thank you for all the positive peer pressure that you all created. I've always wanted to prophesy but there was lots of bad peer pr essure before." I told him it's just the Lord, and encouraged him to really take up the challenge and be a bellwether and get behind the Word time and prophecy vision. I had so much fun sharing what the Lord's doing in my life!

The other side
       (From Faith Newlife:) In the last four years I have been in five different countries in the Family. One thing that seems to be a common "problem" in all the countries I have been in is the many single mothers, with hardly any men around, and i n most situations no single brothers in sight. Well, it did say in the Bible that in the Last Days, seven women will cling to one man just to have his name, so here is another sign of the End. TYJ!
       I have been a single mom for about three years. In my case I've found many advantages to being a single mom. For one, I learned to lean on the Lord for everything, as I have no one else to lean on or go to. He's never failed me. He's supplied all my needs and heart's desires abundantly, more than ev er. I see miracle after miracle that He accomplishes to help me and to open doors for me. I've learned to love my greater Family more. I've gotten closer to people. I've learned to have more compassion for others. I've learned to love the Lord more and feel Him closer. I've learned to humble myself and open my life and heart to those around me. I've learned to live the One Wife vision more (with other singles).
       I honestly can say that I felt lonelier in my married life than I do in my single l ife. In many ways I don't even feel single as I have the most wonderful, adorable, faithful, loving dream Husband that anyone can dream of--Jesus. So being a single mom in the Family can be also a blessing in disguise, as long as we are looking to Jesus for His will and guidance and help. It just seems to me that it's a fact that there are many more FGA women in the Family than men, but the Lord knows and I'm sure He has a purpose and plan for each of us.

Personal witnessing training
       (From Thaddeus and Sara:) We had three teens come to stay with us for a month. We were surprised to see how little they knew about personal witnessing. What it seemed they really needed was a time of training by older, dedicated teens, YAs or SGAs--something the Lord brought out in "Call to the Rescue."
       Who can blame the older teens, YAs and SGAs for wanting to be on an exciting pioneer field? Perhaps, however, we could arrange on-the-job training for the younger teens--giving them an oppor tunity to join one of these on-fire field Homes for a month, such as in Africa--similar to the program from the US to India. It would be a sacrifice, but look at the fruit it bore with the US teams! Our older son is the fruit of receiving such training, too, in Thailand, and he is now in WS.
       I'm convinced the Lord was right in His "Call to the Rescue," and we just need to build some infrastructure to put it into practice. We saw clearly that unless there is a real miracle, the likelihood of th e next generations of young people becoming sold-out, dedicated and on-fire, like their older brothers and sisters, is quite remote. We have seen younger OCs, really on-fire, who were dying for an opportunity to get on the field. If we can catch them at this age, it could provide the vision they need to take them through the rough JETT and junior teen years.

       (From Simon, Christina and Bright:) We're sharing this in the hopes that it will be a blessing and help to anyone else who has the problem of bad sportsmanship in their Homes. All the sports players gathered together for a meeting, and took time to hear from the Lord as to how He viewed our basketball games and what we should do about them. It was neat to see how the Lord brought out points about how the real winners of the game are those who are samples of love and sportsmanship. He said that above all, we need to strive for love and unity; we need to have a better balance in our get-out and not only play basketball; that basketball shouldn't be the highlight of our day, that we should live for the thrills of the Spirit--the flesh profiteth nothing; and that, during get-out, we shouldn't let our guard down and let the Enemy have an inroad to our lives, causing havoc on our unity through competition.
       Some of the other points that we discussed and agreed on later, to help us overcome this problem were:
       1. To have alternative games during get-out and limit basketball to just a few times a week.
       2. To play shorter games with alternating teams, so more people get to play and the intensity of long, drawn-out competition is curtailed. This also facilitates having a referee on hand.
3. An offending player--negative, insulting, or displaying bad sportsmanship, will have to leave the game. He will be suspended from the next basketball game too.

Deserving respect
Location Unknown
       (From Anonymous:) It's sad when you see dads, uncles, or YAs not respecting the older women in a Home, b y putting them down either in meetings or cutting them off when they are trying to talk. Sometimes we may not understand all their ways or we may think they're making big deals out of nothing. Nevertheless, they are our elders and have gone through a lot, and I believe they deserve all our respect. If their own husbands or YAs don't respect them, how can they expect it of the kids?


       A big "thank you" to the young people who helped us so much over the summer months. Not only did they d ance and sing at the different festivals and shows we had, but they also willingly helped out with handyman work, face painting for fund-raising, clowning, CC, JJT and lots more. Tim (from Indonesia), Angela, John M., Jeremy, Joy and little Ryan, and Christy (from Thailand), TYSM! And thank you to the Homes who lent them to us! WLY!
       --a Home in the Mideast

Mama's Christmas message to you!

       Sweet dear ones, Peter and I love each of you so much! Happy Christmas! I was lying in bed early this morning thinking and praying, and the Lord directed my thoughts toward you, our dear Family, and your daily activities during this very busy Christmas witnessing season.
       I thought of each of you dear folks in Family Homes all around the world rising earlier than normal--the childcare folks getting the kids dressed and ready for breakfast; the sweet breakfast cooks stumbling out of bed and preparing yummy breakfasts for their fellow mates and Home members; our faithful witnessers getting the t ool bags ready, stocked and full of Christmas posters, tapes, CDs and videos; our men getting the vehicles ready for the day's outreach; and those helping to prepare sandwich lunches and fruit for meals while out.
       I thought of the witnessing planning meetings you've had and the charts on the walls that indicate the tool and soul goals that your Home is unitedly striving for; the teams of people praying, having devotions, and bathing their upcoming day of witnessing in prayer and prophecy--all that goes into the preparation of a day out witnessing. Then I thought of the teams that head out the door, bright and early. Some of you probably have to shovel snow out of your driveways before you can get your vehicles on the road; others of you prepare for a wait for public transport. Some of you dress in shorts and T-shirts, where the weather is warm and sunny.
       I prayed for each Family witnesser, asking the Lord to give you His anointing and inspiration for the day, and the strength to re ach everyone who comes across your path, and that you will present them with the tools or a tract, and a chance to accept the Lord's gift of salvation. I thought of our sweet children's groups and how they carol for people, sing at orphanages, senior citizens' homes, and help with various CTP opportunities, being wonderful testimonies of the Lord's love. I know that you dear ones persevere even when you are tired, cold, hot, or just weary after so many hours of meeting people. You keep going no matter what.
       Back at home, I thought of our mothers caring for babies, others cooking meals, JETTs, OCs, MCs and smaller children filling in on dishes, JJTs, and countless other projects. The sweet home teams keep the fires burning, and prepare yummy meals for the returning witnessing teams. In some Homes, more witnessers go out after dinner, to pass out posters, to carol, to make follow-up appointments, to sing at Christmas parties, etc. Then when the day finally winds to a close, each one--f rom the oldest to the youngest--settles down in their beds to sleep and recoup their strength for the day to come, when you wake up and do it all over again.
       After thinking about the phenomenal job that you, our wonderful Family, do at Christmas time, I couldn't help but thank and praise the Lord for you, dear ones! Peter and I admire you so much. We thank God for you every day. You are wonderful samples and witnesses of the Lord's love. The Lord sees each and every labor that you pour your he art, soul, mind and spirit into. I know you give of yourselves 100% when Christmas rolls around, and by the end of the season, you're exhausted. Jesus sees your every toiling moment, and He is going to reward you abundantly.
       Remember that your every labor is being recorded in God's great Book, and those souls that you each have a part in winning are forever remembered and credited to you as jewels in your crown--sparkling, scintillating and shining! As the Christmas season passes by, you can b e assured that each loving deed, each witness, each sacrifice, each poster, tract, tape, CD or video you distribute, each effort you make to help another or fill in for one of your fellow Home members, will be rewarded by a sparkling, shining jewel and blessing from the Lord.
       So please remember that, dear Family, when you grow tired and weary during this season of giving. Jesus gave His life for us, and now it's our turn to give our lives for others by going to great lengths to give them a cha nce to know His love. Know that the Lord is stacking up the rewards in Heaven for you! Your crowns are brilliant! And as you continue to pour out and give to the needy world, Jesus will replenish your strength as you spend time with Him.
       Happy birthday, dear Jesus! With our whole hearts we want to give You the gifts that You appreciate most--lost souls reclaimed for Your Kingdom! We love You, sweet Jesus! And Happy Christmas, dear Family! Peter and I love you!

       P.S. Though there won't be an y Christmas GNs this year, keep an eye out for an exciting series of New Year GNs that will reach you soon!

Christmas ideas for fun and fellowship …

       * Make a manger scene together as a Home.
       * Get a big, long roll of white paper; tape it on the wall and make a mural.
       * Pick names out of a hat and secretly do sweet things for that person, like a guardian angel.
       * Put together a Christmas skit.
       * Organize a little band or singing group to perform and sing Christmas carols.
       * Bake a variety of cakes and cookies for your home and neighbors.
       * Take some gifts to your neighbors.
       * Provision or purchase a big puzzle and put it together in the evenings.
       * Make a schedule (during your Christmas celebration, even if it's after Christmas) with united activities and special dinners, so the whole Home is aware of what's happening over the Christmas season.
       * Watch some classic Christmas movies.
       * A few people make a special Christmas breakfast, which they take to everyone i n bed.
       * Have a Christmas variety show where everyone contributes something--sings a song, reads something, performs a dance, does a skit, or whatever. Everyone could ask the Lord for ideas of what they personally could do.
       * Get together one evening and read some Christmas stories, with fun snacks to accompany it.
       * Have a Christmas sing-along.
       * Have someone(s) in your Home prepare a big treasure hunt for everyone else. The prize can be a special snack or something from provisioning.

       Also check out "Creative Gift Giving" on the MO site (overflow section) for more fun ideas!

Star's Secret

       Cal and Tina lived in a simple wooden house on the far side of the railroad tracks. Each day Cal worked hard to make a living, and each week they set aside half of his earnings, hoping that this Christmas their dreams would finally become true. They had no children, and their greatest wish was that someday they'd have enough money to adopt a young child to call their own.
       With Chri stmas only a few days away, Cal and Tina carefully pulled out their savings and decided that today they would look for the little life that would touch their hearts and answer their prayers. They knew the local orphanage staff well, as Tina spent many hours there each day as a volunteer cook, happy to catch a glimpse of the pattering feet and the beautiful smiles that filled the institution.
       Cal and Tina entered the big hall where all the children were gathered, busily making decorations and d rawings, cards and gifts. They carefully looked over each and every face in the crowded hall. Finally one little boy, who looked about four years old, caught their attention. The couple made their way to where he sat, his eyes lowered to the floor.
       When he looked up, he smiled sadly, and through tearful eyes said, "This is my first alone Christmas."
       Tina touched his head and looked at Cal.
       Cal smiled, and turning to the boy he said, "What is your name?"
       "Star, because I was born on Chris tmas."
       "Well, Star, how would you like to spend Christmas with us?"
       The four-year-old boy stood up and hugged the young man, and then his wife. "I'd really like that," he said, his eyes brightening.
       Immediately Cal and Tina headed for the orphanage office to ask if they might adopt the little "Star." A stern-looking official stared back at them from behind the desk, and a question followed:
       "How will you financially care for the boy?"
       Cal and Tina looked down. With Cal's paycheck, they barely had enough to scrape by. This child would mean that Tina would have to get a job and could no longer volunteer at the orphanage, and even then…
       "The greatest thing we can offer him is a parent's love."
       "Very well. Your paperwork is already processed, and you can take the boy home with you today. Just sign here."
       Cal and Tina looked surprised. Tina knew the orphanage procedures; it took many weeks before a child could be adopted. Pulling the paper towards him Cal skimmed through the letter, then gasped and handed it to Tina.
       Star's parents had been millionaires! Having no other living relatives, they had left everything in their will to their son, Star, along with a legal document stating that he was to be put in an orphanage, and the money given to whoever had love enough to care for Star as their own.
       That Christmas the three sat in front of the fireplace; Tina sang hymns to her new little son, whose pudgy little hand lay nestled in hers. And Cal, well, he silently p raised God for smiling on them on this special day.

stories and remembrances of Dad …

       Teddy: A number of years ago when living in Europe, during on an outing with Dad, we stopped to have lunch at a restaurant overlooking a beach. The scenery was spectacular, in more ways than one, as beautiful bathing beauties graced us with their presence--some of whom were topless.
       We were sitting on the terrace when a gorgeous, topless girl sat down a couple of tables away from us. I noticed that she w as speaking a language that I happen to know. Dad was always very interested in people and what was happening around us, so I informed him of what I guessed to be her nationality. Her beauty inspired him--her boldness was admirable also. Ha!
       He then proceeded to speak in a poetic sort of way: "Of all the beauties of God's creation which I have seen today, you are the most beautiful." Dad then said: "Son, I want you to translate what I've just said and tell that beautiful girl that your father has a message for her."
       Although I had to psyche myself up and not let my pride get in the way, deep inside this assignment put a twinkle in my eye. The only little hitch was that a man of decent stature (her boyfriend) was now on the scene. As a preemptive measure I rehearsed, in my mind, the worst case scenario--an upset boyfriend--and what my course of action should be.
       The happy end to this story was that the girl was very sweet. With a big smile she graciously accepted the compliment. T hose words of encouragement, although directed to her, were readily received by her boyfriend as well. He seemed to proudly relish the fact that the display of his girlfriend was appreciated by others.

       Matthew: The first time I met Dad he was giving a meeting. Midway through the meeting, Dad proceeded to take off his slippers and showed me the holes in his socks. He said he had cut off the part that covered his toes because his toes were too long. Ha!

       Barry (of Windy): One time we had an industrious but poor family come to our gate for help, and they were asking for a little financial help in order to purchase a pig. If we were willing to give them the amount needed to make the first purchase, they would then, after six months, sell the pig, pay us back and buy two pigs with the money they'd made from the first one.
       Grandpa really liked the idea, and we wrote up a little contract, which both we and they signed. After six months they came back with the money, and were very hap py with the success of their little venture. So I took the money to Grandpa and handed it to him and said, "They fulfilled their part of the bargain. They've raised the pig and they sold it, and here's the money for the loan that we gave them six months ago." And he was very impressed. He took the money and put it in an envelope, sealed the envelope, wrote their name on it, and instructed me to go and give it back to them and say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
       So I went back and gave the money back to the people, who were completely flabbergasted with Grandpa's generosity. Grandpa said that somebody's who's industrious enough to put some money to good use and try and raise more support for their little family, deserves to have the money back. The Lord blessed them for what they did and the hardships they had to go through to start this little business. It made Grandpa very happy to be able to help the poor people, and he prayed for them often.

       FAR Editor: In London in 1973, Dad held a series of business meetings with Jethro to help organize the International Office. Some time later, Jethro explained that once when he had tried to say something profound, Dad had a truly profound reply.
       "Look at the London bus system," Jethro said, "with its thousands and thousands of buses on hundreds of routes, reaching every part of the greater London area, all synchronized and keeping their schedules almost to the minute! What kind of genius do you suppose it took to figure out all of that?"
       "No genius at all," came Dad's reply. "They just started with one bus on one route." Ha!

       Joseph Reader: Dad once taught me a lesson about the importance of words. Back when the GN first began, he was intimately involved in every detail of it, including the art and layout. I remember once taking an issue to him for his approval, and he remarked that one of the pictures was a little small. I told him I'd go blow it up. He looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and sa id, "Son, we don't blow things up--although if you want to enlarge it, that's fine."

       Barry (of Windy): One time we were driving, and Dad wanted me to sit in the passenger's seat, to keep an eye on the traffic coming from the right, and he'd keep an eye on the traffic coming from the left. The traffic had been running fairly smoothly for most of our journey. Then all of a sudden we were driving through a parking lot, and from our right came this large truck which didn't seem like it was going to slow down, but was going to plow right into us! I thought Dad had seen it, so I didn't say anything. But I looked again and it was still coming, and I began making this moaning noise, but no words were coming out.
       Dad looked to the right and saw that the truck was coming, and he slowed down and stopped and let it pass. Then he slapped his hand down on the dashboard, laughing and laughing and laughing. He said, "Well, praise the Lord, Son, if that's all you've got in you, it's better than n othing!"

       Gabe: Scientists have demonstrated that it is possible to communicate with animals. Wherever we lived we always seemed to have some kind of animals. Dad loved to have animals, whether cats, dogs, birds, fish, or whatever, and loved to take care of them. He also considered them a very useful tool in teaching our children responsibility. In one location we had fourteen different species of animals! That was an unusual situation and we didn't have them for a long time.
       In one particu lar location, Dad had a burden to buy a hen with baby chicks, so the shoppers brought them home.
       Dad would sit and have his breakfast on a screened-in balcony, and one time the hen walked up the stairs and started clucking at Dad.
       "Cluck, cluck, cluck."
       Dad answered back, "What's the problem, mother hen?"
       "Cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck."
       "Oh, you want a rooster?"
       "Cluck, cluck, cluck."
       "Okay, I'll have the boys go out and buy you a rooster."
       Then the hen wandered off. So that day Da d had the shoppers go out and buy the mother hen a rooster. The next day, after buying the rooster and bringing it home, the hen came back to Dad and said, "Cluck, cluck, cluck."
       "Oh, did you come to thank me for the rooster?"
       "Cluck, cluck, cluck."
       "You're so very welcome."
       Although Dad continued to sit on the balcony to have his breakfast every day, that was the last time the hen came and communicated with Dad.

some stats - September 1998

       HOMES: The Family now has 804 Charter Me mber Homes and 536 Fellow Member Homes, for a total of 1,340 Homes. These Homes are spread out across 88 countries of the world. 804 Homes is one less than August, so CM Homes had one of those rare decreases since the Charter began.

       POPULATION: CM population now stands at 10,198. That's up 42 from last month and up 310 from last year at this time. FM membership is 2,890. That's down 66 from last month and down 289 from last year.

       AGES: In the CM Family we have 3,919 children under 12, 65 8 JETTs, 1,283 Teens, 832 YAs, and 3,506 adults. That gives us 38% children under 12, 27% basically in their teen years, and 35% 21 and over. Of the adults, 916 are in their 20s (9% of the total CM population), 833 in their 30s (8%), 1,583 in their 40s (16%), and 174 over 50 (2%).
       Our FM membership basically has about the same percentage age breakdowns, with 35% children under 12, 10% JETTs, 16% Teens, 6% YAs, and 33% adults.

       NATIONALITIES: The CM/FM Family is made up of 91 passport nation alities.--That's about half the nations of the world.

       BIRTHS/BETROTHALS: The Family had 22 births in September and six betrothals. That gives us an average of 25 births and four betrothals a month over the last year.

       OUTREACH: We distributed a total of 1.5 million outreach tools this month, in the form of 470,000 posters, 29,000 tapes/CDs, 10,000 videos, 8,000 Living Waters, as well as other tracts and lit.

       SOULS WON AND PERSONAL WITNESS: Souls won was a bit lower than normal at 60,4 85, which is still, however, in line with our 30-year average of about 61,000 a month. Personal witness was up there at 594,000 or nearly 600,000, but still below our last 12-month average of 647,000.

receipts …

--for your spirit story contributions
       Peter Shepherd (ME), Joy (13, of Simon and Merryheart, Hungary), Someone in Kenya, Joe David, (14, of Peace Jubilee, China), Peace Jubilee (China), Zeke (USA), Pailin (Thailand).

help wanted

       I'm Victory Fighter (Italian), single mom of thr ee kids and have been on the fruitful field of India for 17 years. For the past three years I've been battling with sickness. I desperately need your support to continue to reap this needy harvest of India, as well as to pay for some medical bills. Please send your gifts through your TRF to Italian Victory (IA50). Address: The Family ABC/111 Dickenson Road, Bangalore 42, India.


Dress up night at Mama's!
This past month we had a fun party activity, where all came dressed up as a Heaven's Library character. Everyone came to dinner in costume, and brought with them a small portion of text from their respective story, which they read to all as everyone else tried to guess who they were.
       Some of the illustrious characters in attendance were: Jaz, Mrs. Bradley, Shines-in-the-Sun, Rajah Sindhi and Princess Rani, Flip and Flop, the teardrop fairy, and Heloise, Ricardo, Esme and Bishop Odo. Also in attendance were some Heaven's Library characters from upcoming books: Lu Yisi, Jeannette, Rahim, Stuart, Alana and Kate.
       Try it at your Home sometime! It's lots of fun!

       The Civil War era presents a story of racial revenge, and love that transcends color. -- linkUP 02, page 8

       Check out the exclusive interview with Keana … and "A Christmas Peril" (story, by Spiro), both featured in Zine 026.

20 Ways to Know if You (or Your Parents) are Missionaries

       1. You can't answer the question, "Where are you from?"
       2. You speak two languages but can't spell either .
       3. You read National Geographic and recognize someone.
       4. You have a time-zone map next to your telephone.
       5. You consider a city 500 km away to be "very close."
       6. You watch nature documentaries and think about how good that animal would taste if it were fried.
       7. You can cut grass with a machete but can't start a lawnmower.
       8. You speak with authority on the subject of airline travel.
       9. You have friends from or in 29 different countries.
       10. You have your devotions in anothe r language.
       11. You sort your friends by continent.
       12. You realize that a furlough is not a vacation.
       13. You know how to pack.
       14. Stuffing 15 or more people into a car seems normal to you.
       15. You refer to gravel roads as highways.
       16. You haggle with the checkout girl for a lower price.
       17. You don't think that two hours is a long sermon.
       18. You have a name in at least two different languages, and it's not the same one.
       19. You feel you need to move after you've lived in t he same place for a month.
       20. You cruise the Internet looking for fonts that support your "native" language's alphabet.

TEAMWORK       Per Adult       Total
Samuel, Rosita, Mexico
       3,738       7,476
Gabriel, Ana, Faithy, Brazil
       2,500       10,000
Juan, Sara Pescador, Venezuela
       2,125       4,250
Josue Fiel, Maria Fiel, Mexico       1,171       2,342
Ezequiel, Rejoice, Jonathan, Brazil       1,125       4,500
Seth, Carolina, Angelina, Ecuador       432       1,730
Cefas, Anita, Mexico       418       835
Madras Deaf Home, India       307        922
Joao, Pandita, Obede, Clara, Brazil       300       1,200
Simon, Ruth, Francisco, Angie, Mexico       288       4,035

Ben, Meekness, Botswana
       5,000       10,000
Miriam, Spain
       2,903       11,614
Peter S., Crystal S., Mary M., USA
       2,604       10,417
Michael, Maria, Japan       2,035       4,071
Steven, Mercy, Japan       1,140       2,280
Jonathan, Clare, Japan       1,000       4,000
Pedro, Lily, Victoria, Spain       930       2,790
James G., Marie G., Ester Victoria, USA       919       5,513
Aaron, Elizabeth, Oliver, Marie, Josh, Nigeria       866       11 ,270
Adino, Joana, Brazil       843       2,530

Miguel, Cherish, Andrew, Crystal, USA
       455       38
amuel Ιclair, Pat Price, Canada       100       33
David, Madalena, Andrew, Brazil
       81       406
Francisco, Jessica, Venezuela       73       146
Pablo Nicolas, Nina, Brazil       71       143
Servant Holy Hole, Phoebe H., Mexico       68       34
hris Newman, Mady Newman, USA       63       126
Jude, Eden, Eve, Hungary       57       285
Rufus, Dulce, USA       57       170
Francisco, Joanna, Luana, Brazil       57       229

Ben, Meekness , Botswana
       100       200
Abner, Esther, Andrew, Lena, Angel, S. Africa
       62       310
David Searcher, Pandita First Love, Japan
       32       128
Andrew, Katrina, Brazil       30       60
Miguel, Samuele, Paloma, Ester, Brazil       28       114
Gabriel, Jemima, Gary, Brazil       28       140
John Ricky, Sara, Gabriel, Brazil       22       66
David Lamb, Ruthie Angela, Taiwan       21       42
Philip, Meekness, Josh, Namibia       20       41
Eva, Elias, Gabriel, Colombia       20       81


Michael, Dove, Bowy, Russia       3,214       48,218
Tim, Joy, David, Ukra ine       2,996       17,980
David, Paloma, Samuel, Christina, Russia       2,250       9,000
John, Faith, Jahmai, Poland       1,840       11,042
Dan, Christina, Vera, Ruth, Daniel, Ukraine       1,603       14,430
David, Sara, Lydia, Rose, Heidi, Ukraine       1,183       14,200
Steven, Claire, Gerson, Keiko, Russia       1,000       5,000
John, Joy, Ukraine       875       1,750
Job, Ruth, James, Joan, Ukraine       833       10,000
David, Rose, Xenia, Russia       759       6,839

(End of file.)

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family