Former Champion for Christ , MorningStar, Victory Campus Min
Date: November 18, 2004 02:01AM
BREAKING AWAY FROM MARANATHA CAMPUS MINISTRIES
January 18, 1981 . . . the peak of the pressure and disillusionment that had been mounting for months, if not years . . . or the lowest point in my life of faith and perseverance . . . depending on how you look at it. I got up calmly enough, my plan well determined in my mind, and went to have breakfast with one of my disciples. Having just returned from ministry in Brazil, I had not seen her for months. I felt much warmth, and a kind of maternal love for her, since the day I'd seen her make her decision to become a Christian. She had been single, alone and pregnant, and was tired of being used and confused. I assured her that Jesus would never leave her nor forsake her, and that as her sister in the Lord, I too would love her with His love and help her in any way I could. Now I was telling her that I was going to leave the fellowship we both were in . . . that I needed to sort some things out and be with my family. I knew what she would be told about me after I left, and I wanted to counter those accusations now; to assure her that I did love God and that I did love her . . . but I was afraid to say anything that would seem to discredit the elders and further confirm their suspicions that I was in rebellion against God and their authority. So I hoped she would just remember me and somehow know these things herself, at least someday.
By noon it was time to pack . . . my decision to leave would now be public and the next few hours would be draining, if I could even make it to the plane at 5:00. Katharine looked at me as I walked into the sisters' house and ran up to me with a hug. "I knew you would get an answer from the Lord! He's told you, hasn't He? He's told you what He wants you to do! I can tell by the look on your face that you have a peace. What is it? Are you going to start up a ministry in Columbus or Boulder or where?" I savored the moment that I was about to shatter and then with a sigh and a smile that I hoped would continue to convey peace and assurance, I told her I was leaving for awhile. As I went on to explain what I felt God was saying to me to the other girls in the room, Katharine quietly slipped out and called Mark, the co pastor, to tell him of my defection. He called me to the phone and asked me why I felt it so necessary to leave . . . then with all tenderness and love, encouraged me not to be afraid, not to isolate myself, but to repent, that no one would look down on me, everyone loved and respected me, we all have low times and that is why we need each other . . . I told him I needed to think and would call him back. It was very appealing. His words ran through my mind as I tried to put my things together. Maybe I was overreacting. Sure there were some things wrong with the group, but wasn't I being overly harsh? shouldn't I stay and try to work it out? but I had and they wouldn't listen or budge. It was all my fault, my wrong attitude, my lack of faith, my deception. Not a word of mine had penetrated in the last two weeks other than to provide evidence to them that I had become carnal, soulish, selfish and proud. Obviously I was under a strong spirit of deception that was leading me astray. God wanted to use me in mighty ways since I had such a close relationship with Him so Satan had come against me with great force to keep me from my true ministry in the group . . . somehow I had let Satan have an open door to my heart and now I was to repent and renounce him so I could get on with God's will and be a full time worker in the ministry. This was such a high honor, how could I even think of doing anything else? Yet, after many days of fasting and praying I could not honestly say that God had shown me any sin to repent of and for some reason, I had come to the limit of blindly following directions from the leadership.
But where had this led me? . . . to this black day in which I was packing my things and preparing to turn away from three years of memories, love, friends and a home. Surely this could not be God's will? Still, could I go back to the total submission I had been under? to be told when to fast, how long and what for? to have to get permission to visit my grandmother, or to travel at all? to be instructed in the use of feminine hygiene products to use or avoid, and if not heeded, to be in rebellion against God Himself? Was it true that reading any books by non Christian authors would reap corruption? They taught that whatever one is not willing to give up for God is an idol which will eventually cause the destruction of the believer . . . surely God was worthy of absolute obedience . . . but was He the one requiring all these things or were fallible men and women using His name to demand things He never wanted? And if so, what was the effect on my life? Where I had been happy and joyful in God, now I was rigid and suspicious . . . where I used to serve people for the fun of giving, now I kept track of my "increasing faithfulness" and "potential for leadership" . . . where I used to love God with open affection and awe, now I was scared and intimidated by Him. Could I continue to do this to myself, to Him, and to us? Could I continue to share the gospel and have people come into the group that would bring them into this attitude as well? I had had faith that had witnessed miracles before; now I was so dependent on the leadership and the "proper principles" that my faith had withered. Why was it that I found myself explaining the teachings to new believers so they sounded less harsh, reassuring them that living by these principles was really pleasant and fulfilling? and now that I was up and coming leadership, could I really back up what was being taught by my peers? Yet, being a woman, wasn't I more easily deceived? Maybe I needed to respect the brothers' teachings and not think so highly of myself to regard them as peers at all. Perhaps that was why they felt I had become proud and independent. Could I repent from that? Still, God was powerful. You don't walk out on people just because you disagree with them. What was I doing anyway? Didn't I trust God to take care of this?
The phone rang. It was Mark. He had just spoken to Steve, the other pastor who had been the main one counseling me these past weeks; exhorting me to submission and delivering me from demons. They had agreed my situation was serious and the only possible solution was my repentance, or I would continue to displease and fall away from God. But why wouldn't God tell me this? I used to hear Him so well. Surely if He knew I was sincerely wanting His will, He would tell me no matter where I was . . . how often I had openly admitted my sins, made public confessions. He knew I was open to Him. Meanwhile the pressure was mounting. Mark was waiting for an answer. I was without a job and had only two dollars. My choice was clear: to repent, submit and move to a new state to start a new ministry and forget about my nursing career or further schooling (they said it was carnal) or to take a few days off to think about things away from the pressure. I told Mark my decision was the same. Now the tone changed. Evidently I had no intention of trusting the leadership God had established for me, so there was no use in my staying in the fellowship at all. After all, there is no fellowship between light and darkness. Until I repented, there was no place for me among the committed members who truly wanted to serve God. So it was done. 3:30 pm.
The flight was the most calm, smooth ride I had ever been on. I fully expected the plane to crash and didn't think I'd mind if it did. I felt like Jonah, running away from God. I was certain I was condemned to hell, and that my leaving was a result of my inability to maintain the high standards that the others could. When we touched down and I saw the mountains of Denver, so comforting and strong, and knew my parents were on the other side of the door, my failure overwhelmed me. Twenty six years old and running home like a whipped puppy with its tail between its legs. Where was the victory and abundant life I had been preaching all these years? The smiles, the assurances, the optimism for an alternate lifestyle that was far superior to ordinary life? I had experienced it, but it turned on me. Now what?
How had I come to this place? When did it start?
I had become a "born again" Christian on June 20, 1973 while selling Bible reference books door-to-door. My roommates that summer were "Jesus freaks" who at first repelled me, then drew my admiration. Having always been a kind of "goody two shoes" I had never been impressed by the witness of evangelical Christians who tried to convince me their destination was heaven and mine was hell. Their lives struck me as rather clique-ish, but certainly no holier than mine. In fact, they seemed rather arrogant. But when I lived with Darla and Claudia, I saw quite a difference! They prayed every time they turned around, they fasted because "God told them to fast and pray" and they wouldn't stop until He told them to stop. They witnessed at the most inconvenient times, like when we were getting gas on our way home from selling for 12 hours. They were kind when people were rude to them and they were absolutely convinced that God knew them and was concerned with them on a personal level. How often I heard them praying at night into their pillows that God would find them worthy to be used by Him. I was amazed, curious, finally ashamed. By their example I began to see that my grand goodness was nothing but a sham arrogance and stupidity. I worked to please men, and brought God out on the shelf when it would be convenient or look good. I began to believe I would go to hell and rightly so. As I listened to them, openly now, they described a God who was personal, who loved me deeply and who had provided righteousness for me freely, as a gift. On June 20th, walking down a country road in North Carolina, it occurred to me that my life would be worthless without Jesus Christ. As I embraced this realization I told God I needed His forgiveness, asked Him to save me and gave Him my life for His use and good pleasure. From that moment on I was a different person. I had met the living God and He had saved me! taken me in as His own child! His work on me began immediately. Motives that had hidden behind my "good" behavior came to light. Issues of trust, of obeying Him even if it had nothing to do with the ten commandments. Would I fast when He asked? Would I delay my dinner to help someone I didn't even know? Would I share the gospel on the spur of the moment even if I was nervous or embarrassed? Still His love for me far outweighed whatever He asked of me. He said He wanted us to be either hot or cold for Him; not lukewarm. To know Him and follow Him then meant one was to be hot for God. There was no other option, and I would have none of compromise for One who had done so much for me so undeservedly.
Sadly, my newborn zeal was greatly disillusioned when summer ended and I returned to college life. I visited church after church after church but they all seemed so lifeless . . . so compromising . . . everything went by status quo. It didn't even seem anyone was expecting God to lead them or speak to them.
After a year, I finally found a small band of young people known simply as "the body" whose life and love and being centered around Jesus. I moved in with some of the "sisters" and immersed myself in their lifestyle. Praying, Bible study, witnessing, community meals and teaching nightly. We believed in poverty since "the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head". There were clear-cut roles for men and women; and we all lived as brothers and sisters. No one dated unless they felt "God was knitting their hearts together" into a bond like Jonathan and David had. Ninety nine percent of those who dated married each other within a short time. Over the next three years (1973 76) our group grew so quickly we were awed at God's work among us. We never held outreaches or revival campaigns, but word of our total commitment spread on campus and young people searching for a radical and livable community devoted to God flocked to us. Many felt the typical youth fellowship groups on campus were too watered down and more concerned with having a good time and cliques than they were in following a personal Creator.
There were many errors and difficulties however that arose with this group. Because we expected Jesus' imminent return we did not pursue schooling or careers, but spent our time witnessing so no one would go to hell on account of us. We got our food from periodic "dump runs" (to dumpsters behind stores) so we would not have to use good money to buy food when instead we could use it for printing evangelistic tracts. As people began to marry there was no one old enough or wise enough to deal with the myriads of issues and dilemmas of family life. Arrogance was widespread as we felt we were the only ones truly following God. In 1976 our pastors disbanded the group, to the great sorrow of its members.
Throughout the following year I suffered many losses. I no longer had a church family the one solid thing I had counted on was gone without my consent or agreement. My Brazilian boyfriend with whom I shared a seven year relationship decided he didn't want to get married after all. My goal as a graduate nurse to ease pain and assist in healing was demolished as I watched babies, toddlers and teens die weekly from leukemia and cystic fibrosis. In fact I seemed to bring pain to them by administering the chemotherapy. Friends from the old fellowship began to move away as well to start new lives. I decided my problem was that I was out of God's will so I moved to Lexington, Ky. where I hoped God would show me what to do.
Less than six weeks later I was living with a new set of Christian "sisters" who belonged to a highly committed fellowship as well. What a relief! Loving people, Christian values, goals and direction, leadership and so much loving support! I was assigned to Karen to be my personal "shepherdess". It was her entire responsibility to see that I grew in the Lord. She spent many hours with me, cultivating our friendship and drawing me out. I wasn't used to people caring for me and was very flattered and thankful to God for leading me to this group. They reassured me as well that I must have a very high calling from God since He sent me to them to be discipled. Over the next three years (1978 81) I was groomed and prepared for leadership. Leadership was a top priority quality that Maranatha Campus Ministries worked to cultivate in its members.
Although I had many doubts and skepticisms about many of the teachings I encountered in the group, I was impressed by its radical nature. These people were fully convinced of the call to total commitment to God. Besides, they also stressed holiness, faith, victory, overcoming and zeal. I felt they lacked a perspective of mercy, grace and love and decided God must have brought me to them so I could impart what I had as well as learn discipline from them.
Some of their teachings, however, went beyond the bounds of any coherent theology connected with the real world. They told us that disease, death, poverty, or any "earthly struggles" are simply a result of Satanic curses, demon possession, sinfulness or lack of faith. In one way it appealed to me because now I knew why I had so much pain in my life and could fix it. But I kept picturing the little ones I had cared for in the hospital and could not imagine them being at fault. When I asked questions I was told that God had shown Bob, our leader, these things and we must trust the Lord in him to teach us accurately. I learned that my mind had been totally perverted by the Fall and that a mental analysis was a totally unreliable test of truth. I was to listen only to my spirit to discern good from evil. The more I abandoned my mind and felt truth in my heart, the faster I would grow spiritually. And as I grew spiritually God would reveal things to me Himself and I would also understand better what teachings I now felt were contradictory to the Bible.
Apparently I was unable to divorce my mind completely, and I continued to listen carefully to try to understand and make sense of what Bob taught. I was called by Karen to Bob's house where he, his wife Pat and Karen confronted me. They felt a demonic spirit was keeping me from accepting God's truth unhindered and told me I needed to be delivered of that spirit in order to grow. As they prayed over me, they decided I had a spirit of mind idolatry, critical thinking, a masculine spirit (because I was "analytical like a man and not open and innocent like a woman"). I also was found to have spirits of independence, rebellion and mistrust. To top it off they felt I had a seductive spirit that was causing some brothers to come up and talk to me after meetings. They surmised if it were the Holy Spirit drawing, each female would be talking to a male. (I sorely wanted to suggest the girls smile a little, but was afraid this would reveal another spirit). I found it hard to believe I had all these demons, and when I voiced my objection they pointed out that at that very moment I was manifesting their presence. I was given a choice to repent and submit, or to pack up and leave the fellowship, since rebellion against God cannot be tolerated. I had so many friends in the group, I was anxious to serve God, I had no idea where I could go. I concluded that if they were right, deliverance would help. If they were wrong, it would do no harm. I decided to submit. Once I did, they were so loving and helpful that I actually left that humiliating meeting feeling closer to God. As I left they called out "Are you willing to be retarded for Jesus?" and I answered "Yes!" to which everyone nodded approval. Looking back, I see my conclusion was wrong. It did harm me to submit to this. A precedent was set that my mind was useless, and for the next three years I obeyed blindly without any capacity for self – observation. All self responsibility was abdicated. I had only to submit to be safe.
My lifestyle began to change dramatically as I was indoctrinated into God's "higher plan". We did not date in Maranatha Campus Ministries, as dating was seen to originate from the devil to bring scars and hurts as well as to lead young people into immorality. Since "Adam and Eve didn't date" it was reasoned unnecessary for us as well. God would supernaturally reveal to a believer the name of the one He wanted them to marry. They then submitted this name to the elders for confirmation, which had to be unanimous from the national elder board. Time was given for the other prospective spouse to "hear from God" if it had been confirmed. After a month they were approached to "pray about marriage". With this nudge they oftentimes did "hear from God" and were engaged immediately. No physical contact whatsoever was permitted until after the wedding. If one "heard wrong" as I did, they were delivered of spirits of lust and seduction.
Faith was an important aspect affecting daily living. We were never to complain or speak negatively. We were told that what our lips said, would come to pass. That is, if we said we felt sick, we would become sick. We were to speak faith. If ill, we could say we were getting the victory over it. Medications were looked down on as indications that one was not spiritual enough to have the faith to "stand against" sickness, pain or discomfort without pills. Depression was a sign of spiritual oppression that one could and should be delivered from. Anger was sin; unless it was against outsiders in which it was probably righteous. Tears of sorrow, grief, doubt or fear were seen to glorify the devil; unless of course they were from righteous pain like grief at sin in the world. Our "counselors" or "shepherds" job was to take us back through old wounds, discover the sin or curse that caused them and pronounce healing over us.
Submission to leadership was essential. One submitted first to one's personal discipler (as unto God) and they in turn to the local leaders, who in turn comprised the Board of Elders. Soon after joining Maranatha Campus Ministries, I discovered I was to hear from God on every single area of my life. No area was neutral. If I wanted to visit relatives I had to get permission. If I was becoming too close friends with anyone we were separated. Disobedience was equated with the sin of witchcraft and obviously was grounds for being banned from the group.
Friendships with others outside the group were terminated except within the framework of "evangelistic potential". That is, one could develop friendships for the purpose of witnessing. To "draw life from" loving relationships outside the group was felt to contradict the command to "keep oneself unstained from the world". Other Christians could conceivably fellowship with us, but they had such a lower revelation of God that it was rhetorically asked "How can two walk together who do not share the same vision?" Sometimes the burden of these many sacrifices to live such controlled lives weighed heavily upon us. We were quickly reminded to be thankful to God that He had placed such a high calling on us. After all, God told us in a prophecy that we were His end time army, the Green Beret of His army, in fact. As a reward for our zeal and commitment we had a good chance at being those called to rule and reign with Him in the Holy of Holies. After all, we were baptized in the Holy Spirit, spoke in tongues, utilized all the gifts of the Spirit and were operating at 100% obedience level. Besides, we knew that Hosea 4:6 "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" referred to the fact that many Christians suffer poverty, disease and misfortune for lack of knowledge of God's provisions for them. This was a crucial reason Maranatha Campus Ministries stressed leadership so much. It was our expectation that in the millennium we would be the ones to "rule and reign" with Christ since we were "100 fold Christians". We would help the lesser Christians along. To walk away from such a destiny was unthinkable.
In short we were an enclosed community of idealistic young people full of vision, ready answers and zeal without knowledge. I began to see this after two and a half years when I went on staff and was sent to Brazil to begin a campus ministry in Rio de Janeiro. I arrived in Brazil in June 1980 and was met there by Bert and Karen a couple who had been sent on earlier to learn the language. I was already fluent in Portuguese since I had been to Brazil several times previously. Bert was to be the primary pastor. I found them to be very sensitive and loving people who welcomed me warmly.
Removed from my Lexington friends who had ushered me into Maranatha Campus Ministries and interpreted difficult teachings for me, however was quite a shock. Living with a married couple I'd never met and being in a foreign country with them began to unsettle me. I felt awkward and out of place. I began to reevaluate what I was doing and why. I worried about my family in Denver who did not want me to make this move and felt a terrible misgiving about missing God in this. I had a strong sense He wanted me to go back to Denver and heal our long broken relationships. Then I dismissed this notion as 'of the devil' since the elders had all prayed and confirmed it to be God's will for me to be in Brazil.
Soon Nick arrived. He was a traveling evangelist with Maranatha Campus Ministries and was to help launch our initial outreach and assist Bert with pastoring a young church in its early stages. Nick was a very dynamic Greek, full of strong emotions, plans and demands. A power struggle developed between the two leaders with Nick the usual victor. I couldn't believe that the fights and manipulations I had thought I had escaped by joining this group were now being reenacted before my very eyes. I began to see that decisions handed down "from the Lord" and backed by His total authority were nothing more than decisions reached after arguments and power plays. When I confronted Nick with my concerns he rebuked me, saying that sisters were to not be questioning the authority of the leaders.
Soon I noticed as well that newsletters sent to our U.S. offices had glowing stories about miraculous healings (a man who fainted in our meeting was proclaimed "raised from the dead") and how Nick was preaching before 300 (chairs, only 11 people were there). In one meeting Nick spoke to medical students and said "when I studied Medicine. . ." I asked him afterwards when he studied Medicine since I knew he had never graduated from high school. He claimed his uncle was a doctor and he had looked at his books once. I further challenged him on this apparent lie and he answered "The Bible says to become all things to all men in order to win the few".
By this time I was seriously disturbed with the growing discrepancies between the Jesus I had met and the one being presented. Holiness and commitment were stressed over and over. But where was holiness in lying and fighting? Love and grace seemed like wishy washy female ideas of no value. After all, we were an Army. Meanwhile I was receiving warm friendly letters from a brother in Lexington, and decided it must be God's will for me to leave and be married to him; so I submitted his name. Much to my sorrow and embarrassment the elders called and said he was getting engaged that night to another girl and that I was to "gird up my loins" and resist the devil and lay down my life for God.
With the outreach fully underway we were living 18 hour days, witnessing, holding meetings, discipling new converts. Money was draining quickly away. I had sold my car to come to Brazil, now the proceeds from that were almost gone. I had one pair of sandals to wear and began to understand the hospitality of foot washing after myself being out on dirt roads in the hot sun all day. With no real cash, and the fact that my visa would expire the end of November, the elders began to question what sins I was committing since "God wasn't blessing me with abundance". I was delivered of a selfish spirit for not ironing Nick's shirts more willingly so he had several to choose from at a time. I had also expressed concern privately to Karen that I had not menstruated in five months. In the deliverance session this was brought out in front of everyone as evidence that I was "withholding" from the group spiritually, even as my body was "withholding its life blood". Once again I repented, but this time it was with a measure of resistance. I fought doubts and questions daily. I spent my day off walking the beaches alone, trying to sort out why a heathen waiter I'd never met before was so kind to me, to reheat my meal I hadn't touched and to give me words of comfort. Why was our life so unloving and harsh? I prayed constantly, but of course tears were impossible. When I finally confessed my doubts to Bert, he told me the devil was after me and that I was no longer to be alone on my days off or anytime. That way they could gird me up.
Now that I was discipling 14 girls myself (who were to obey me as unto God just as I did to my elders), I felt a greater weight of responsibility on my shoulders. The Bible had many things to say about false teachers leading innocent ones into error. When it had just been my life at stake, it didn't really matter. But now it was my job to call others to enter this group and follow the principles we lived by. Could I?…using Jesus' Name?
What about the teaching that God does not know the future? that Jesus paid for our sins in hell and not on the cross? What about the faith teaching? I was a nurse. Could I stand by and watch Jose, a man with a serious heart condition requiring medical attention, refuse to get it because Nick said he was healed? What would be my responsibility if something happened to him? What about when Diane got a head injury from a bike accident and was prayed over and anointed with oil? Only days later, after pus was oozing from her head did they say she could go to the E.R. But were these questions even possible? After all, we were taught that once we became members of Maranatha Campus Ministries we had entered into a covenant relationship with them. To leave the group would be breaking covenant not only an admission of failure, but an act of supreme betrayal. Everyone knew covenant breaking was the worst offense one could commit worse than divorce because it was against GOD.
Wouldn't God just take care of any errors Himself? Shouldn't I just trust God's appointed leadership even if I disagreed with them? Perhaps I did not understand... or was He holding me responsible to hear Him myself even if it contradicted the leaders? But they were men. Wasn't I as a woman more easily deceived? Didn't I as a single woman need their covering?
With these questions in the back of my mind, no money and an expired visa I returned to the U.S. in late November. I had told the brothers in Brazil I felt God leading me to get more money for the ministry there. They confirmed this in the Holy Spirit. I was so torn, yet hopeful that everything would make sense once I got back to Lexington. That was not to be so. Immediately I encountered more control measures. I was told that sisters were not to use tampons anymore since the Lord showed the elders they were unsafe. Since the sisters' house had 8 women and only one bathroom, there was no privacy ever. Even an infringement of this rule would be reported. As a nurse, I resented the intrusiveness on decisions involving something so personal. I also discovered that married couples had to submit to the elders if they could try to get pregnant or not. So now, rebellion against God could even be found here! I decided to test my heart and see if I were in such a lost state as it appeared. I asked to go to Ohio to help with the outreach there for awhile. I knew it would be impossible to witness or read the Bible if I were in real sin. Yet I found my heart quite willing and comfortable with the Gospel and the Scriptures. I talked for hours with my close friend and former shepherdess, Judy. She confided in me some very deep, personal hurts she was going through as a result of the dating revelation (the system designed to prevent pain in affairs of the heart). Yet she continued to believe she was to serve God no matter what the cost was and exhorted me strongly to do the same. I agreed with her words but had come to doubt whether it was God creating such demands and hurt, or if it was men.
Throughout the next days I fasted and prayed and met with Steve and Brenda, then pastors in Lexington. Their five-year-old son sat in on the 'counseling'. Steve was angry and disappointed at my return from Brazil, believing it to indicate a loss of faith. He felt my visa would have been miraculously renewed and money also provided supernaturally, had I enough faith for it. When I shared what I had seen and heard, he declared I had a spirit of pride and was unwilling to yield to the Lord. He felt I had become mediocre and now only wanted to marry and be a rich, wishy washy suburban housewife... that I was no longer under Jesus' lordship and was therefore in danger of losing my salvation altogether. My choice was to repent and then to pray about where next I should go in full time ministry or to rebel and break covenant. I burst into tears. As he had verbally battered me I had been able to remove myself from the room emotionally and mentally. At this last statement I could no longer control the distancing and sobbed in his living room. He was quite pleased, taking this for repentance, and prayed over me and told me to go hear the Lord about my next assignment.
On January 17th I talked with my parents in Denver. I told them of my deep confusion and inability to make a decision. They offered to buy me a plane ticket home the following day so I could think things over away from the intense pressure. My father, who had just become a Christian, read to me from I Corinthians 13. He told me he didn't know all the accusations against me, but he did know I had demonstrated to him the love described in that chapter. Surely something I had been doing must have been right.
Love. It had seemed so unconditional at first . . . so tangible . . . so strong. But now it had become conditional entirely on my behavior. I was not heard unless I was giving the party line. All else was evil. I was no longer a person but a cog in a vast machine. God was not the God we worshipped. The Vision was the god. Everything was to be sacrificed to it. The work was important, not the individuals. We were to dress like overcomers, serve like overcomers, behave like overcomers. We were to have faith, victory, generosity and obedience. Outsiders, especially Christians who did not know us except at a distance, marvelled at us. We were the most dynamic, exciting young people for God they had ever seen. We reveled in our glory. God's Green Berets.
I could not continue in this group and maintain my relationship to my first love, my Jesus. I never thought I would have to choose between serving Him and "breaking covenant" with His people, but that is how it appeared.
So on January 18, 1981, splintered and broken, I walked away from the Vision and into the arms of my God.
Denver, Colorado 1983