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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 10-02-2010, 05:14 PM   #1
Curt
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Post A Brief Testimony

I am a former local church member who met with the local church in San Diego from 1974 to 1986. The elders there during that time were John Smith, Les Cites, Roger Beck, and Willy Samoff. This is a testimony of my experience.

I was born again on May 23, 1974 in the kitchen of an upstairs apartment in San Diego. The apartment was being rented by a couple who were meeting with the local church in San Diego at the time. The next night, Friday, I attended my first meeting of the local church. The speaker was a small Chinese brother by the name of Witness Lee. I didn’t understand much of what he said, but it seemed to make sense.

After the meeting, some arrangements were made for me to move into a brothers house. The next morning, some brothers stopped by to help move me into a house near the Naval Training Center in San Diego occupied by thirteen brothers and a couple who ran the house. That night there was a love feast at the meeting hall. Some were saved and I was baptized along with them (the meeting hall was formerly owned by the Baptists and had a built in baptismal). The next day, being Sunday, there was a message meeting in the morning, and that night I had my first Lord’s Table. Thus began thirteen years in the local church.

I recall being eager to get to each meeting: prayer on Tuesday, message meeting Friday night, service groups Saturday morning, love feast Saturday night, message Sunday morning, and Lord’s Table Sunday night. Additionally, there were guest speakers, weekend conferences in Anaheim, and the bi-annual ten day trainings. There were countless times of building with saints from around the world, some of whom we would only have contact with around training time (pre-internet e-mail days).

Then, in 1985, I began to notice a difference in the church life. There were still shouting, happy, smiling saints at the meetings praying, singing hymns and spiritual songs, sharing messages and giving testimonies, serving on service groups, etc., but all the activity seemed now to lack any “weight” or “energy” behind it. I felt my walk with the Lord becoming weaker and my closeness to Him becoming more distant. I did not realize that other saints, both in San Diego and other localities, were having these same feelings. After fighting these feelings for about a year, in 1986, I left not only the local church, but abandoned my walk with the Lord altogether.

I immediately returned to the life of alchohol and marijuana in which I had been immersed before my salvation. This led to my eventual separation and divorce from my wife in 1991. As the years went by, I sank deeper into alchohol and marijuana. This led to the ruin of my career, and ultimately an extended period of unemployment, the loss of my life savings, and homelessness in August of 2008.

Then, by the Lord’s mercy, in November of 2008, He brought me back to Himself. I began to read the Bible and pray once again. In March of 2009, I began to sense the need to fellowship with saints on a regular basis once again. Through a series of divine arrangements, I was able to get in contact with John Smith in May of 2009. He put me in touch with Ron White, who was meeting with some saints near where I was living. Ron had been with John in San Diego until 1973, when he and Max Rapoport and some others moved to Anaheim. So on May 22, 2009, I began to meet with saints on a regular basis once again.

During the last two years, the Lord has blessed me greatly both spiritually and practically, and has delivered me from homelessness, providing me with a job and a place to live. I have some things to share with you all concerning the local church, the oneness, and the end times which I hope to post soon on the board titled “General Discussion” under a new thread. I look forward to fellowshipping with you on this website.

Love in Christ,

Curt
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Old 10-03-2010, 05:32 AM   #2
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Default Re: A Brief Testimony

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Originally Posted by Curt View Post
I am a former local church member who met with the local church in San Diego from 1974 to 1986. The elders there during that time were John Smith, Les Cites, Roger Beck, and Willy Samoff. This is a testimony of my experience....
Welcome Curt. There are some other posters here from San Diego during the 70's.

Thank the Lord He brought you back to Himself and back into fellowship with those brothers you once knew. That was the real "church" to you. What happened to you back in 1985 also happened to many others. You are not alone!
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Old 10-04-2010, 05:41 AM   #3
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Default Re: A Brief Testimony

Curt,

A warm welcome. Your testimony is proof that it is the Lord Himself who shepherds us. Wherever we go, He is there with us. As David said, even if I go to the depths, you are there.

Roger
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Old 10-04-2010, 12:55 PM   #4
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Hi Curt,

I hope you remember me. I met with the church in San Diego from 1975-78/79.

I have a lot of posts here & on the other forum. I'm not posting as much these days as I used to.

Anyway, I remember you and your ex-wife. I was very shocked and saddened when I learned you & D divorced. Once in a great while I hear from a few people who are still in San Diego I'm sure you remember.

Priestly Scribe also was in San Diego and posts here and at the other forum. He recently left the "Lord's recovery". I am positive you remember him. You can pm him and he'll reveal who he is to you if you want.

You may or may not remember me but I do remember you well and always enjoyed your testimonies back then.

Overall, San Diego was a good healthy church many thanks to John Smith in particular. I was never a true blue Lee-ite. I was 'absolute' for Christ Jesus and the 'church'. I did not realize however, the 'church' under Lee was sooo sectarian until around late 77/78. While you noticed a difference in the church life in the 80s. I saw the adulation of Lee in the late 70s but never said anything of course. In looking back, God's anointing on the church had departed. ( Back then I did not know what the Anointing meant.)

I moved to Tempe with some 'rebellious' saints around 1978/79. There was a lot of venting and 'openness' but few, if any of us knew how to read/pray and fellowship in Newness of Life. So the church life fell apart there and everyone went there seperate ways. I kept the Lord at a distant but would keep an eye on the Eternal Flame which was on the back burner while I dabbled in the world. I didn't go through what you went through but I too not only walked but waddled in the valley of the shadow of death for many years. In 2001, I became violently ill with an auto immune affliction. However, it was not until 2004 I recommitted my life to Jesus. Long story short, (if that's possible , I repented with buckets of tears. Psalm 51:17 tells us a broken and a contrite heart God will not despise. His Word is absolutely TRUE. The Blood of Jesus did a thorough cleansing and Healing of my spirit and my emotions.

Like you I began to read/pray/study the Word of God and this time, I allowed God the Holy Spirit to enlighten me and give me Wisdom and Understanding of the scriptures. I love studying the endtimes we are living in. I personally believe Jesus is returning very, very soon for us. It's a touchy subject on this forum and the other forum so I don't talk about it too much here. Nevertheless, Revelation 1:3 tells us those who read and hear the prophesy of this book (Revelation) are BLESSED. Of course we are blessed when we read the Word of God but the book of Revelation is the only book in the bible that tells us we are blessed for reading and/or hearing the prophesy of our Lord Jesus Christ.

John Smith was greatly used by God to teach us the WORD of God.
I also loved and still love Les & Carolyn who are still in the LC. I last saw them in 2005 when I visited San Diego and that is when I learned of your divorce. I don't know if anyone there knows what happened but if they did, it was kept to themselves. In other words no gossip-true or false was shared with me except you were divorced as many others from San Diego. :frown: I pray you've made peace with your ex as you have made peace with yourself through Christ's forgiveness and deliverance of all you went through. To GOD be all Glory, Praise and Honor with Thanksgiving. I rejoice with the angels and with you and our brethren for your deliverance.

Surely we know the true meaning of Christ coming to set the captives FREE. Glory to His Name.

We are your friends here as well as your brethren.

Welcome Curt. I/we look forward to hearing more from you.

Carol Garza
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Old 10-06-2010, 07:54 AM   #5
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Default Re: A Brief Testimony

Welcome Curt and thanks for posting your testimony!

It never ceases to amaze me how similar our stories are. Especially the problems that so many encounter upon leaving the LC. People handle the shock in different ways to be sure. One of my greatest hopes is that this forum can be a place that current LC and those considering leaving could see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and the light is not something bad, it is God himself. We were always taught in the LC that the light at the end of the tunnel was surely an oncoming train, ready to run us over as punishment for leaving. As His Word says, God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all. I know that now, you know that now, but it sure is good to hear the confirming testimonies of those who made it. Of course we are still on the way. Thanks again and we look forward to your participation on the forum.
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Old 10-06-2010, 10:11 AM   #6
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Then, in 1985, I began to notice a difference in the church life. There were still shouting, happy, smiling saints at the meetings praying, singing hymns and spiritual songs, sharing messages and giving testimonies, serving on service groups, etc., but all the activity seemed now to lack any “weight” or “energy” behind it. I felt my walk with the Lord becoming weaker and my closeness to Him becoming more distant. I did not realize that other saints, both in San Diego and other localities, were having these same feelings. After fighting these feelings for about a year, in 1986, I left not only the local church, but abandoned my walk with the Lord altogether.
Amazing observation, Curt.

Of course, we were made to believe that any change was on our part, thus the guilt was heaped on our souls. This is exactly what John Ingalls and others were crying about -- "the nature of the Recovery had changed." Prior to this, most of our energies and activities were focused on Christ or at least the church where we were. After this, all attention was focused on WL, his ministry, his directions, his plans, his laboratory, all summed up under the banner of the "New Way."

Those who were closer to Anaheim, confronted more obnoxious "Office" abuse, and began to cry "wolf," but no one listened. At least no one that I knew here in "greater" Ohio. We were instructed by TC to "stay close to WL." Who cares if saints were discouraged and departing, the Lord will add new fruit, who were willing to walk the "new way." Elders had no time, nor were they allowed to hear any "cold winds" from discouraged saints.

We were repeatedly told that "all the blessing and all the riches" came via WL. In other words, WL took the place of Christ, our head. The ministry of the word was adulterated, with a cheap substitute replacing the real thing. The Bible had become a commodity to peddle in order to build up the empire of WL.

Many of us suffered just like you, Curt. In my place, we had 4 divorces in one year, with more to come.
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