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Getting On : Faith

God's Supply--In response to Amos

from Christy - Saturday, May 22, 2004
accessed 2144 times


I was reading some of your posts today and wanted to share some of my experiences with God’s supply. Since you’re a seventeen-year-old male, I’m going to assume that you are not the primary person actually doing the provisioning and fundraising. You are young and idealistic and I get that. I was a hard-working dedicated Family member for many years. While I certainly had my doubts about doctrines, I was convinced that the Family was still a good place to serve the Lord and to make a difference in the world. As someone who was often one of the main (and most successful) fundraisers in most of the homes in which I lived, I want to relay to you a few of my experiences.

About seven years ago, I was sitting in the backseat of a rental car heading to yet another hotel to try to provision a room for the night when I made my decision that whatever it took, I was going to go to college and have a career. I was on the road in Western Europe, raising funds to keep my home in Russia running. In fact, I had been on the road fundraising for almost that entire year. Sure, I had done fundraising since I was about six years old, and sure, I had almost left the Family when I was 18, 20, and 21, but this time it was different.

Before I started going to Western Europe to raise funds for my home in Russia, we had tried to support ourselves on a local level. At the time, we had established an outpost in a city that was practically located in the Arctic Circle. At first we were able to support ourselves, at least to some extent, locally. But there were really only a few people and businesses with any money in that town, and pretty soon our resources began to dry up. We spent months in the dead of winter (-40 degrees Celsius) living on tea, bread, and sugar). I lost about 20 lb., which for someone who already tends towards the slim side, is quite a lot. I spent about six months sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag. Ok, it was made a little easier for me since the guy in the sleeping bag next to me was a truly good person and a great friend. But anyway, this was while we were working hard on the mission field and working hard to raise funds. I’ll just say that unlike what Berg often said, I have missed meals for God’s lack of supply! We were willing to go through this because of the excitement of our ministries and because of our “flock” to whom we were ministering.

When some of my friends and I opened our own home, we decided that we should have road teams to Western Europe to help support our effort. This would help us to avoid the poverty we had experienced in our previous outpost. Most of the time it would be me teaming up with people from another home to go on fundraising trips. I would get back from my road trips only to find that my home really hadn't accomplished much. There were only two people, besides me (out of 6-8 home members), that actually participated much in witnessing or "volunteer" work. The others were more than happy to stay home and sit around or occasionally be a partner for one of us in our projects. When I would return from one of my fundraising trips, I would hear comments like, “We were waiting for you to get back to begin on such and such a ministry or project.” This was what people were donating their hard-earned money to.

Most of the people in that home were really great, solid people. I’m still in contact with many of them. They simply were not cut out to be missionaries. Yet, they felt like they would be failing God or missing out on future heavenly rewards if they were to go and get a regular job. This scenario was not unique to my home. Before leaving my field I attended a delegates meeting with representatives from about 20 homes in the country. Almost every home complained about the same problem. Many F. members seem to believe that they are fulfilling God’s will just by physically being on a mission field. Even if they are distributing gospel tracts (as you mentioned that your team has been doing), how much good is that really going to? And, are these people that are repeating a prayer after you really going to change their lives? You’re not going to stick around long enough to really establish a church in your area and feed these people. You’re simply hoping that if there is enough interest, these people will write to the address and get further taken care of through the mail.

I’m not just saying this to challenge your dedication. It’s simply a fact that most F. members don’t stick to a field or ministry long enough to make a lasting difference. It’s just not the focus of the group. There’s always some new push or phase that gets people to leave their fledgling work and go off to start something else on the other side of the world.

There were, of course, those times that I really felt like I was making a difference, and that I was doing something worthwhile with my life. But now I realized that I didn't want be 40 (or 50) years old, without any steady source of income and still going around asking for donations of money, meals, or a place to sleep for the night. Yes, I stayed in many a five star hotel and ate in many a five star restaurant. However, there were also the nights when I slept, squeezed into a tiny car in the middle of winter, under as many coats and sweaters at I could pull together since I didn’t have blankets with me. This was after hours of trying unsuccessfully to provision a hotel for the night.

I work a lot harder at my job now than I ever did in the F. But, at least now I know that I’m actually doing a service to society, rather that leaching off of hard working citizens. I’m also preparing for a real future, not one in which someone comes riding through the sky on a white horse to whisk me and my fellow believers away to rule the earth for eternity. I’m still a Christian, and I don’t negate that all those Biblical prophesies may someday come true. I’m just not hinging my future on the belief that it’ll happen during my lifetime. I saw what it did to my parents’ generation and I don’t want to let it happen to me.

Reader's comments on this article

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from Wolf
Tuesday, May 25, 2004 - 20:25

Good stuff, Christy! Sounds like one of TF’s testimonies in reverse. You “experienced the best of what TF had to offer” (an “exciting mission field”) and found it lacking. I wish I left as long ago as you...
(reply to this comment)
From Christy
Sunday, May 30, 2004, 17:22

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
Wolf, I'm glad that you and your family have all left. I too wish I'd left a lot sooner than I did. I knew my days in the group were numbered long before I actually left. I wish I had listened to my mom and siblings that left before me. They tried their best to raise doubts in my mind and instill a desire for a formal education and a respectable career. Yet, after the Charter came out, I thought it would be possible to do these things in the Family. The questions and doubts that they helped to raise did have an effect, even though I would argue and try to stand up for TF. I really did want to believe that the changes in TF were for real and that leadership had learned from the mistakes of their past. There were other reasons I didn't leave sooner such as a fear of what would happen in I got out of "God's will", and not wanting to disappoint my dad. Thankfully, he too has finally left.(reply to this comment
from exister
Monday, May 24, 2004 - 15:55


"others were more than happy to stay home and sit around"

The Family is full of slackers? Big surprise there.
(reply to this comment)

From Joe H
Monday, May 24, 2004, 19:17


I believe "gospel bums" is the term they prefer. "Slackers" is so systemitey-sounding.(reply to this comment

From Bum for Jesus!!
Friday, May 28, 2004, 08:39

I'll show my Bum to Jesus. (*)(reply to this comment
Tuesday, May 25, 2004, 06:45

Yeah, or "gospel gypsy pirates," which I have not quite been able to figure out the meaning of, although it does not sound too reputable or neighborly.(reply to this comment
From itsxena2u
Tuesday, May 25, 2004, 16:39


Why would anyone in their right mind want to be a "gospel gypsy pirate?

Gypsies were known to be thieves, practitioners of the magic arts, beggars, etc. Their itenerant lifestyles, non-conventional behaviors and mystical image brought them under governmental suspicion from the early Middle Ages on. They were fairly consistently defined as "stateless" wanderers, a threat to the moral order and a burden upon society. (hmm... sounds familiar, doesn't it?)

The Greek historian Plutarch, writing in about 100 A.D., gave the oldest clear definition of piracy. He described pirates as those who attack without legal authority not only ships, but also maritime cities. Piracy was described for the first time, among others, in Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey. For a great many years there remained no unambiguous definition of piracy. Another popular meaning of the word in medieval England was "sea thieves". (reply to this comment

From Banshee
Tuesday, May 25, 2004, 17:04

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

Huh? I think you missed the idea, xena. The conversation went: Family members=slackers, aka "gospel gypsy pirates." And since we all know that no family member is in their right mind, they are the only ones wanting to be "gospel gypsy pirates" as they sail o'er that truly uncharted sea of no return to a right mind. But thanks for the history tidbit! (reply to this comment

From night_raver
Thursday, May 27, 2004, 09:20

Yes I guess TF would have the singular claim of "wanting to be GOSPEL GYPSY pirates". However I don't think TF's romanticisation of pirates is very different from pop culture views, pirates as a whole seem to be the most romanticized class of criminals (the seafaring ones, not the Chinese who burn illegal Britney Spears CDs). I guess it started with RL Stevenson’s Treasure Island , Pirates of the Carribean is another example of society’s continuing romantic notions of pirates. Now that I think of it, our town’s local high-school’s football team is called the Pirates.
I can’t think of too much pop culture that romanticizes gypsies like TF, best I can think of is Brad Pitt in Snatch . Now all we’re left with is the “gospel” part, I guess John Goodman in Blues Brothers might come close enough (blues and gospel singers?)
So now at the end of my pointless exercise, TF just combined 3 genres romanticized to varying degrees by pop culture (I know I’m using the wrong term here Joe, but oh well) gospel (as in gospel singers), gypsies (as in Snatch), and pirates (Pirates of the Carribean) to create their own.
I guess then that if John Goodman and Brad Pitt were to join Orlando Bloom on the Black Pearl, you would have a band of “Gospel Gypsy Pirates”, and thus we can finally understand what we were all aspiring to be when in TF.

(reply to this comment

From Joe H
Thursday, May 27, 2004, 10:43

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
Ah, you forget the sweet, sensitive, sexy gypsy played by Johnny Depp in one of the worst movies ever made, Chocolat. I could rant about this piece of crap for hours, but I think we've all got better things to do.(reply to this comment
From moon beam
Friday, May 28, 2004, 08:34

Average visitor agreement is 2 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 2 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 2 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 2 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 2 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
It failed to make sense after the scene where she tries to throw the amulet overboard. Being the un-dead and all you'd think that they'd be able to retrieve it.(reply to this comment
From a girl
Thursday, May 27, 2004, 16:57

Hey. I liked that movie.(reply to this comment
from neezy
Monday, May 24, 2004 - 15:39

So have we converted him yet?
(reply to this comment)
from Fun with semantics!
Monday, May 24, 2004 - 11:01

Suppy! Great word - what does it mean and how is it used? Also, how does one become God's suppy? Sounds like quite a perk!
(reply to this comment)
From Christy
Monday, May 24, 2004, 17:50

Oops! What good does a college education do me, if I can't even edit my own articles. (reply to this comment
Monday, May 24, 2004, 12:41

Maby it's the cute term for what happens when "If any man hear my voice, and open the door I will come in to him, and sup with him and he with me."(reply to this comment
from Ne Oublie
Monday, May 24, 2004 - 02:40


This is, IMO, one of the best descriptions of the challenges faced in the Family by those who sincerely want to accomplish something. Well written Christy!
(reply to this comment)

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