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Introductions and Testimonies Please tell everybody something about yourself. Tell us a little. Tell us a lot. Its up to you!

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Old 09-17-2012, 04:23 AM   #1
aron
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Default A sample from the BARM

For those who are curious to find a "people's history" of the Local Churches of Lee, i.e. not polished messages by the publishing arm of the movement but real testimonies from the ones who sat in the chairs, there was a fairly active forum on a web site located in the Philippines.

http://www.thebereans.net/forum2/showthread.php?t=34621

The web site was called "The Bereans Apologetics Research Ministry" and one of their designated "cults" was the Watchman Nee/Witness Lee/Lord's Recovery churches. I never could understand all the "modalist" stuff the BARM administrators kept trying to impose on the conversation. I felt the website administrators were a rather heavy-handed and humorless bunch, and the threads featured the occasional "drive-by shooting" in Filipino. But it could be an interesting and occasionally enlightening bit of reading.

And the "Introduction and testimonies" thread had some really riveting stuff. I offer a couple of my favorites, to follow. Of course I am biased. But in the pages and pages of testimonies (41 in total), I think you can get a composite picture of what it could be like in the local churches of Lee, when love-bombing inevitably turned to carpet-bombing.
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:27 AM   #2
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Default Re: A sample from the BARM -- Sample One

Here is a testimony from someone ("Brent B") whose father was one of the "leading brothers" in the Mr. Lee's Recovery.

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My family moved to downtown LA in 1963, the year of my birth. We moved from the dusty plains of west Texas in a volkswagon beetle and a moving van. My dad was a youth minister at a baptist college and, after reading the inner life works, had somehow been given a reel to reel tape of W Lee. He was hooked and, after a few trips to LA, decided to give up everything for this new way. He later spoke emotionally of how at the last congregation at which he was an ordained Baptist reverend, he declared he was going on to "higher ground." We moved into ramshackle quarters near Watts during the riots. This was at Elden hall, later to be called hall 1. My memory of meetings is vague from that time, but I do remember it was intense and emotional. Downtown LA is a memory I will never forget. I watched my dad preach many Sundays and he was such a fierce lion everyone, including myself, was terrified of him.

But the raucous meetings were at least interspersed with trips to the beach. There the congreation gathered to burn precious possessions. I saw countless valuable items smashed and destroyed that could have been sold to at least support the needy. The most vivid memory I have of this time is when everyone was gathered around a bon fire located in a cave on the beach. We formed a semi-circle around the opening of the cave. In succession, people would come forward to offer an item to the flames. It usually consisted of deeply personal journals, books and photographs. It was a consecration to burn the images of those dearly precious to you. I felt very queasy during all of this. It felt wrong, even to my very young mind, to sacrifice your love for family. It felt sick inside, is the best way I can describe my feelings.

But the best was yet to come. My mom stepped forward to consecrate me and my brother Brad to the flames. She flung handfuls of photographs to the bonfire, mostly 8X10's of myself and Brad. Most fell in the flames, but the wind caught a few. An 8X10 of myself drifted 5 feet in front of the roaring fire and fell in plain view with my freckled kindergarten picture facing the crowd. I was startled.

Within a few seconds, some embers floated to the picture and it caught fire. I watched my picture slowly being eaten by flames as my face dissolved into melting running soot. I can't say I was thrilled about it, but I gulped and pretended it was great. Some years later someone who witnessed the event told me he felt I was to going to be rebellious but the fire of the Lord would eventually swallow me up. I can't say I was all that thrilled with the interpretation of those tongues of fire, but the sick feeling of violation persisted.

In 1970, Our family moved to hall 2 in the San Fernando Valley. For 5 years, I lived in a sister's house in Sepulveda, LA. (More on hall 2 later). For another 2, I lived at a brother's house in OKC, OK, as me and my bro had grown up enough to warrant the gender shift. When I had the misfortune of moving to Austin, TX to move in a communal living situation in my senior year of high school, I shared a converted half-garage with 5 other young men who paid $250 1980 dollars a month for the privelige of sleeping in the equivalent of a walk in closet. On weeknights, we spent 2 hours per evening doing dishes and other household chores for the main plantation household. On Saturday, we spent 6 hours pruning and weeding and tilling a large 5 acre grassland behind the house. At one point, the plantation owner admitted that he had no real need of that property, but that it was good for our spiritual growth and maturity, in keeping with Leeite transformationism. I looked at him askance from that time onward since I considered that something of the Lord's jurisdiction. However, I thanked him for the consideration.

The next year, after enrolling in the University of Texas, some rumblings began as I encountered other Christians and even attended a meeting of Christians on Campus. I was not too terribly impressed, but I had this horrible sense inside my young soul that it was wrong to dismiss and discount all of these believers who were so obviously attempting to follow the Lord.

Some word got back to Don Looper and the plantation owner and I was called on the carpet. In a kangeroo court, they demanded that I repent of my association with this non LC group. Even though I was quite indoctrinated and had an "elder" father, it wouldn't do for them to have an out of control member going around, without authorization, interacting with the enemy. In my young heart and mind, I knew I was bucking the whole system and how dangerous it was to make a stand with the Texas big dogs. But make a stand I did. It is one of the moments in my young Christian life I cherish the most. I flatly stated that it was ludicrous to discourage interaction and congregation with other Christians. I had been reading the bible from a very early age. There was no place for such arbitrary quarantine and self segregation.

They went hog wild. Don Looper almost lost it. I refused to back down and my dad had to fly down from OKC, OK to remedy the situation. One of the most funny scenes I remember from this trial is when we all finally got together in a room with my dad to discuss the situation. Don prayed. Then my dad. Then I prayed! Out of the corner of my eye I saw Don almost fall out of his chair. The unmitigated gall! An accused daring to pray as if he had a position of legitimacy! Yet I continued without hesitation. The trial turned out to be somewhat without resolution as I persisted in my contention that other Christians are just the same and it makes no sense to divorce ourselves from them. My dad had to reluctantly agree, although there was a lot of dissimulation about how we hate the system but accept the beleiver. I agreed with the stipulation of considering what I then had been taught to identify as the dead empty lifeless corpse which was denominational Christianity. Yet I refused to stop talking to non member Christians or attending their gatherings. I was ejected from the communal living housing the next month and I got an apartment.

For the second semester of my freshman year, I attended classes, occasionally went to meetings of both the Lee church and various campus ministries. I was cut off by the Lee church members. I was a pariah. I had a phone number listed, but never got one single call from any LC members. I got a lot of calls from fraternities. I ate steak dinner every wednessday night with the Phi Gi's. They were a friendly if rowdy bunch. I got more humanity from drunken fraternity louts than LC members. Eventually, the years of indoctrination caught up with me and I began to talk a great deal with Patsie Freeman on the phone, as I had visited Seattle the winter before.

I took the bait. I dropped everything after the end of my freshman year and moved to Washington. It felt glorious. There was a mind boggling feeling of euphoria in the air at that time in Bill Freeman's group. The contrast between Texas legalism and Seattle humanism was so profound, I could barely contain my curiosity. Here, perhaps, was a form of the LC where I could adopt and ratify the entire belief system of my youth, my parents and everyone I had ever known or loved my entire life.

Bill Freeman's ministry was an exciting departure from Lee's. I was enthralled with his constant references to historical church thinkers and writings. He spoke of the heart as I had never heard before. There was an intellectual richness to his messages I greatly admired. It was a heady contagious atmosphere. I felt enlivened. His incorporation of Lee's teachings were marginal. The singing was rapturous and I was invited to play the guitar. We went to camps and retreats at outback scenic resorts and talked up a big storm about the Lord coming back to the northwest. I lived in Bagely House, across from Bill's house and study/library. I was later to learn that this consisted of an "inner circle" which was highly coveted. But I had no thoughts of such things. I was liberated from the dungeon of Leeism and free to roam in the open pastures of Bill Freemanland
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:30 AM   #3
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Default Re: A sample from the BARM -- Sample Two

Here is another post, from Brad, the brother of Brent.

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When Brent first let me know that he was posting his writings again, concerning our/his childhood experiences in wl's lc, I resigned myself to merely check in every now and then to read what he contributed. Garner a chuckle or two and be on my way. But I was appreciative of the gentleman who wondered if Brent's experience was possibly a Texas / Oklahoma "thing" and not practiced nationwide. Because of his question, I felt the need to add a short personal story. But before doing that, I would only say that from my observational viewpoint (and from over-hearing my father) that each locality receives the "vision" of how they should run their locality from "on high" but ultimately they can choose how they want to implement it.

Thankfully, many of the localities did not hold such an extreme, legalist viewpoint as the groups in Texas and Oklahoma City did. For some reason, discernment was just not in their makeup and when they swung their "sword of faith" it took off many heads. Some unintentionally, but that didn't seem to matter. Caring for the Mother Ship overrode care for the individual.

For the majority of the children that had the sad misfortune to be raised within said group we are forever grateful of the day we left. We all mark it as our "day of salvation". It didn't matter if we were tossed out, fell out, stumbled out, slid out, walked out or ran out. We were just forever thankful that it happened and it was over. After years of mind games and endless training in hyper self-introspection than did nothing more then leave you a mangled mess of nerves, we passionately kiss freedom on the lips every day.

We cherish our freedom and will never allow someone or something to steal that from us again. We identify wholeheartedly with William Wallace in the movie Braveheart, when he cries out for Freedom. We KNOW that feeling. His cry became our cry as we too have felt the life-long crushing oppression and finally chose to no longer allow it to have a hold on us. To those that have claimed their freedom, I salute you! To those that haven’t, "keep on playing those mind games forever."

Afterwards, it takes years to orient oneself to function in the outside world. But no amount of pain or suffering derived from that adjustment was ever worth contemplating going back. I watched ABC's Primetime the other night and they focused on a Mormon polygamist extremist group located in the small town of Colorado City, AZ. Although they are extremist in a different fashion and for a different cause than wl and his lc, the dress, body language, manor of speech, manor of singing, devotion to their leader was all surprisingly and eerily the same. It seems that when a group separates themselves from the whole, they tend to pick up similar characteristics. We laugh about it now, but while we were in the group, we used to make the Amish look good. Now that's just an observation on my part. No clinical diagnosis given at this time. That will come at the end of my story.

As Brent has mentioned, we were raised in wl's lc and starting from Jr high age on, participated in every aspect of it wholeheartedly. I read every life study from Genesis to Revelation, attended every training starting with the book of Hebrews, given in the convention center, prior to the facilities in Anaheim, CA being built. (Which I worked on as well as the facilities in Irving, TX) I owned and read every book wl and wn put out accept for the ones we were told not to read by Nee. (It seems Nee feel off the wagon a few times and lost the vision of God's Economy. So we were strongly discouraged from reading those books. Apparently, in those books, Nee discusses playing chess and other distracting games as acceptable. The shame he must have for saying such things.) I came prepared for just about every meeting and testified as often as possible. Both Brent and I played guitar in the meetings for many years until that too was no longer acceptable. (A little worldly, no doubt.) It didn't matter, we pressed on to the high calling before us. (At least we thought)

I mention all this to set the ground work for my story. Brent had moved off to Austin then on to Seattle starting around 1979/1980. Other than the times I spent helping to build the facilities in Irving, TX, I lived in Oklahoma City. Our father, James Barber, died in Oct of 1984. (If pressed, someday I may tell the reason why James had to leave beautiful sunny Southern California and move us to the lc's version of Australia during the colonial period.)

This was the beginning of the removal of the oppression for Brent and myself. It is considered impolite to say disparaging remarks concerning the dead, particularly if that person happens to be your father, but the truth is the truth. One of the many weaknesses of the lc is the fact that it is strongly based upon the personality of whoever is leading the group think in that locality. Without James' powerful messages being given on a regular basis, the smoke screen began to thin a bit for me.

By the end of 1988 I seriously wanted to do something more with my life and decided to join the Air National Guard. It would still allow me to be home and attend most of the meetings except for one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer. This was my decision and I signed up. I later found out that the leaders in the group-think did not like that I hadn't come to them first before making such as "rash" decision. But off I was, none the less. I left for San Antonio, TX in late Sep 1989 for my six weeks of basic training. Forty of us trained together and were housed in large barracks with twenty on each side of a wall. Day and night we never left each others side. I was informed at this point that I snored, rather loudly they said, but I never heard a thing. So I shouldn't have been surprised when I woke up on the floor a few times.

Under this level of tension some of the younger guys begin to show signs of stress. But with an encouraging word, most were able to pull it together and go on. Sadly a few didn't. I kept telling them it was only for 5 more weeks, 4 more weeks, etc..... Strangely, in that environment time seems to stand still. You have no contact with the outside world, no newspaper, or TV. We trained every day, seven days a week and only knew what the sergeant told us. (Sounds familiar doesn't it, except our sergeant showed more heart and soul, more caring in that six weeks then I was ever exposed to during my entire time in the lc.)

I tell you all this to lead up to my point. At week four into our training a young man in our unit, who was seventeen at the time, was pulled aside by our sergeant and informed that his brother and three of his closest friends from high school had slid off a rainy road in Knoxville, TN and crashed to their death. Understandably so, this young man was devastated. There seemed to be no way to console our buddy. It was close to the end of the day when this news arrived and the unit commander, a teenager himself, suggested that after we finished our evening chores those of us that wished to could meet in the Day Room with our friend for a time of prayer.

My first thought was, "now why didn't I think of that?" It was a good idea. But I immediately knew why I hadn't thought of it. I was used to and trained to only pray with those that were "in" the Lord's Recovery. Not these outsiders; these "barely saved" people from "poor, poor Christianity". In fact, I wasn't sure if God would even listen or care about someone outside of His Recovery. Why should He? There was nothing in it for him.

They weren't going to be His first fruits. They wouldn't be attending the Wedding Feast with us. How could they, they weren't in the Lord's Recovery. I had grown up resigned to that fact. I was reminded and scared into submission by that fact. Only those in the lc would be taken by the Lord upon His return. Everyone knew that! All others would, at best, have to wait and suffer a thousand years, wailing and gnashing their teeth, wishing, oh how hard they would be wishing they had become a member of the lc. Tough luck for them. You're either in or you're not.

But I had grown fond of my new friends and after we finished our chores, 18 very young men out of the forty showed up to pray. We stood in a circle holding hands and went around the room, each one saying a little prayer for our troubled friend in need. The prayers were genuine and sweet. Very caring and very dear. Every one of the 18 prayed. And you know what happened........well, I'll tell you, God listened!

God Himself came into that room that very evening. He was as real as you are reading this post. He deeply cared about this poor young man who had just lost so much. We all felt His presence in a very powerful and moving way. My friend was encouraged, he was strengthened and was able to go on and finish training.

As for me, I had ointment placed on my blind eyes. I began to see for the first time that God loves ALL his people. Not just those in the lc. God is so much bigger then the lc. Much bigger then I had been led to believe. I was, in essence, having my salvation experience for the first time. I began to see the big picture. Now, believe me, I didn't see it that way at the time. Later through the "generosity" of the lc I would.

Fast forward a few weeks and it's now Nov of 1989. I had just returned to Oklahoma City for a few weeks before being sent to Wichita Falls, TX to begin my nine months of technical training. I continued to think about the wonderful experience I had enjoyed while in basic training. In fact I was looking forward to sharing that with the Church. It was Sunday morning in Nov of 1989 and the "rainbow booklets" were the "new move" at this time and were receiving the full court press. Now these "booklets" were nothing more then regurgitated life studies that the lsm was putting out because they were always looking for a new revenue source and this was it for the moment. (As I look back, I'm surprised that I didn't catch the similarity between these booklets and Mao Zedong's little red book used in Communist China as a form of mind control. But wait, wl was from Communist China, there is no way he would use the same simple method that his predecessor did? Or would he?)

During the meeting I was informed of there power. In fact, I was told during this meeting, that if you put one in your shirt pocket and someone on the street saw it, they would cross the street just to inquire as to what this lively colorful booklet was you had in your shirt pocket. Upon pulling it out and handing the booklet to the person they would be so moved that they would follow you to the next meeting and become saved. If they were already saved, then they would become saved to a fuller extent. (I've been told that's possible in the lc) Well I patiently waited until the end of the testimonies, not wanting to change the subject at the beginning. (I was aware of such things) I kept watching the clock and as the end of the meeting drew near a pause occurred. I had butterfly's in my stomach but I knew it was my time. Now or never.

I stood up and was greeted happily by the group. I quickly recapped where I had been for the past six weeks for those that didn't know and went into the story of how God had showed up during a time of prayer for a lost young brother. I wasn't but a short way into the story when one of the group think leaders stood up and crossed his arms. I knew from years in the lc that this was the universal sign to sit down. But I had the floor and this was Sunday morning Church in America and I was going to finish my story. The group leader begin to shuffle back and forth letting me know of his growing irritation. But I knew I could continue until the group as a whole being to moan. If the moaning started, it would get louder and louder until it grew to a crescendo of calling out loud "Ohhhhhhhhhh Lord Jesus, Ohhhhhhhhhhh Lord Jesus over and over again. If that happened, I would be done for and have to sit down. But it didn't come. Surprisingly, I still had the floor and was able to complete this wonderful story of God meeting man in his time of need. At this point I know there wasn't going to be any "Amen's" when I finished. The message of control from the Borg was loud and clear. Now at the time I had no idea why the Borg was trying to stop me. Maybe they wanted to end the meeting a little early. Maybe they had a lot of announcements and needed more time. I didn't know. As far as I was concerned, I was sharing an experience of Christ with the Church and "that's a good thing", as Martha Stewart would say.

As I sat down, I was happy and pleased that others were able to hear the good news that God will meet you no matter where you are. That He is "out there" to be experienced and enjoyed by all. Any time, any place. That was glorious news to me. But my joy didn't last long as the group think leader, the head Borg, went into a twenty minute tirade explaining that ANY experience of the Lord outside the Church was a false one. A lie! I kid you not, he said that very thing. He went on to say that in fact, Satan, God's enemy throughout the ages, was behind these type's of experiences. Satan's goal was to lead you away from the real, true experience of Christ which can only happen in his Church. He explained, if you have an experience of God and it doesn't lead you immediately to the Church, it was a false experience. It wasn't God at all. Only a facsimile of him, but it was most definitely NOT God. He wanted to make that perfectly clear. "Sorry Charlie!" Thanks for playing, but you missed the boat big time on this one. It was "all-together.... not-so-very-good". I had not obeyed rule number one. Of course, rule number one, how could I have forgotton. Silly me. He went on, "we should be thankful everyday to wl and the lsm because we no longer need to toil in the sun in order to bring an offering to the meetings. Those days are over. No need to go out and dug up verses you may have enjoyed by yourself during the day, just read the rainbow booklet assigned for you to read that week and come to the next meeting ready to share from it and ONLY from it. Nothing more. Anything else is dross to be burned away by the fire of the Lord.

When this mini-dictator started I was still on a little high myself and didn't hear what he was saying at first and wasn't sure why he was making this point. But as thick as I was, it quickly dawned on me that he was referring to my experience. It was my experience that was false! It was my experience that was a lie. That Satan was using me to spread this falsehood in the Church.

Well, boys and girls, I had just about had enough of this. I know God, and I know He was there that day. I know he cares and loves all his people, not just this handful of Sad Sacks being dictated to by some neo-Communist demagogue. I knew now that my relatives were not evil or "worldly". They were not "barely saved" as I had been taught from infancy. No! They were all dear sweet Christians. It was this sick, maniacal, extremist group that was the one that was WAY off course. So during his ranting, I stood up once again, but this time it was to give a hearty quick wave to the people and the place before walking out of there for the last time. (Can I get an "Amen" out there)

Now, you have to ask yourself, what do you call a portion of the body that separates itself from the whole and continues to grow by pulling from the host body yet rejecting the host body at the same time. I know what I would call it, but I'll let you make up your own mind. You'll be surprised at what you find.

In the end, it is what it is. As Brent has said, "If it walks like a duck, looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, well it's a pretty fair bet you have a duck on your hands". (Somebody call Dick Cheney)

There are many posts on this site that go into the lc's practice of segregation. I only relate my story to fully support and reinforce what Brent has been writing.
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:47 AM   #4
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Default Re: A sample from the BARM -- Sample One

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
Here is a testimony from someone ("Brent B") whose father was one of the "leading brothers"......


"... in Bill Freeman's ministry was an exciting departure from Lee's. I was enthralled with his constant references to historical church thinkers and writings. He spoke of the heart as I had never heard before. There was an intellectual richness to his messages I greatly admired. It was a heady contagious atmosphere. I felt enlivened. His incorporation of Lee's teachings were marginal. The singing was rapturous and I was invited to play the guitar. We went to camps and retreats at outback scenic resorts and talked up a big storm about the Lord coming back to the northwest. I lived in Bagely House, across from Bill's house and study/library. I was later to learn that this consisted of an "inner circle" which was highly coveted. But I had no thoughts of such things. I was liberated from the dungeon of Leeism and free to roam in the open pastures of Bill Freemanland"
At the end of his post, there is a note from Brent that his testimony continues elsewhere on the BARM, but I could not locate it.
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:52 AM   #5
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Default Re: A sample from the BARM

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
For those who are curious to find a "people's history" of the Local Churches of Lee, i.e. not polished messages by the publishing arm of the movement but real testimonies from the ones who sat in the chairs, there was a fairly active forum on a web site located in the Philippines.

http://www.thebereans.net/forum2/showthread.php?t=34621
Here is another testimony,


Greetings saints,

My name is Don and

I'll keep it short because it's not about me it's about Christ Jesus.

I was born and lived in California for the first eight years of my life. When I was around 6 years old my parents found the Local Church in Los Angeles, Elden Hall. We kids were in love as my parents knew as well they had touched something special. My memories of the church life are limited from then but many things did stand out and make an impression on me.

Then, we and other saints migrated to Tampa to help start a new church.
We drove in what we called a camel train with many cars from L.A. to various cities allong the way stopping at various localities to enjoy rest and fellowship with the saints. The saints offered us their beds as they went to work! This experience of the migration left a profound effect on me and I never forgot how the saints recieved us at each locality we stopped at. When we arrived in Tampa we spent roughly two years there and I remember their was not the growth expected so there became a burden for Fort Lauderdale. As I remember it a few saints stayed behind in Tampa but many relocated to Fort Lauderdale. As I was growing up I enjoyed the fellowship of the saints.

Then, " The great tribulation of the Local Churches" began. I'll have to tell you, I was pretty ignorant to what was going on in the whole worldwide scheme of it all because I was just enjoying the simple local church life the way I perceived it. And it was good. Pretty much the best thing going. But as I alluded earlier "TGTOTLC" unfolded.

It was disturbing to say the least. The saints I had come to know and love from the earliest parts of my life were now turning on each other, screaming and pointing fingers at one another! The emotions were so thick you would think at any minute some of the saints would erupt in fists fights. That never happened as far as I know but that is the way it was.

The aftermath:

I remember staying around during those times to be one with the brothers even though my wife had seen enough.

It all came down to two sides as I remember it. Those who would never question brother Lee "The Boca-ites" or us "The Us-ites."

It was a very negative time. As you know they say hind sight is 20/20. Well their right! As I see it now that what seemed to be a negative time was actually a very positive time in our history because it was an "Eye Opener."

Through all of this we can examine letters from brother Mallon and Many others who played a pivotal role in the ongoings of the Local Church. And see with such clarity how the enemy can come in and destroy such a good thing when the saints become comfortable.

Perhaps this is the way it will always be until The Lord descends with a shout and calls us up in His Glory.

But here I am, in Fort Lauderdale actually Tamarac Florida. Still happily married and having one son. Moving on with my life, still loving Jesus, Enjoying Calvary Chapel and walking with my Lord.

One more point please: I don't mean to sound negative at all but you know after the Great tribulation of the local churches here it is the year 2009 and I still know Jesus. I get fed at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, and if I'm still hungry for more guess what? I dive in myself for more! Yum! And life goes on. I guess I was lucky, I wasn't hurt from all of the fall out. I'm not bitter either. I did leave after enjoying such great teaching. With my eyes wide open. And you all know why.

Jesus to the saints,

Don jr.

P.S.

Make me your brother/buddy and I welcome the fellowship any time.
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