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FSM 272 / FN 381 DO/TS
THE SWIFT!--Summer Witnessing Inspired Family Teams!
© Copyrighted May 1995, by World Services, Zurich, Switzerland

       Introduction       1
       How We Hit the Road with Our Nine Kids!       1
       "The SWIFT Is the Best Thing that Could Have Happened to Our Home!"       4
       Witnessing with Kids Is Exciting!       6
       Reconnecting with Our Children!       6
       SWIFTing: How We Supported It!       7
       Lessons Learned Through the SWIFT!       8
       Miracles of Provision and Witnessing for a Big Team!       9
       SWIFTing Leads to New Homes Opening!       11

Introduction--By WS Staff
       As reported in various testimonies in the FUN and other pubs, last summer all the Homes in Europe, as well as many Homes in other areas, launched out in a summer witnessing program called the SWIFT, which stands for "Summer Witnessing Inspired Family Teams." The goal of the SWIFT was for each family (or in some cases a family team of a couple and another single or two, or two couples together) to go out on the road with their children for at least two weeks out of the summer--longer if possible. The teams rotated so that some personnel always stayed back to keep the home fires burning.
       The SWIFT had four main purposes: Firstly, to make it possible for the children, who in many large Homes had not been out witnessing much, to partake of this important part of our life for the Lord and experience firsthand the thrill of striking out by faith and witnessing full-time. Secondly, to make it possible for the parents, many of whom had little interaction with their children other than parent times and family days, to renew their contact and communication with their kids, particularly their older children. Going on the road together gave the parents the opportunity to shorten the cord, and be able to pour into their kids a greater measure of love, attention and parental care than many had been able to provide due to their other responsibilities in the Home. Thirdly, the SWIFT was to be a fun time of fellowship and "vacation" for the parents and children alike. It was an occasion to do exciting activities together, have a break from the usual somewhat restrictive schedules of a large Home, and launch out into whatever they had the faith for and were inspired of the Lord to do! Finally, new Homes were opened in fruitful areas!
       As you'll read in the following excerpts from testimonies by some of the Homes who participated in the SWIFT program, the results were tremendous! Many victories were won, not only in witnessing, but in the lives of the parents and children alike.
       With summer approaching in the Northern Hemisphere, as well as the advent of the Love Charter, we felt it might be helpful to publish these testimonies in case your Home would have the burden and inspiration to implement a similar plan for the summer. It is an ideal season, since the children can be out of school and the weather is conducive to road trips. We're not suggesting that every Home should go "SWIFTing" for the summer, but if the Lord leads you to do so, we're sure you'll find it very inspiring! Whatever you do, keep pouring out the Lord's Words to His hungry sheep! God bless you! We love you!

How We Hit the Road with Our Nine Kids!
From Michael and Mary, Germany:
       We've been on the road with nine of our eleven children for three weeks now. When we first prayed about how to plan our SWIFT trip, the Lord gave us a broad outline, which we tried to follow. Now looking back, we can see so clearly how He has helped us step by step with every detail. He's helped us to fulfill the vision that He first gave us of getting a caravan, tents, the needed supplies and the van, provisioning costumes for the singing group, working with the kids on learning to sing, etc. This has been a real lesson in itself on the importance of prayer and how God answers! The Word became alive as we read up on different topics that we needed help on, or that we felt were needed on a day-to-day basis.
       Being out together has really improved the communication between the different age groups within our family. Before the SWIFT, there was hardly any communication between the teens, and the JETTs and younger ones. Now there is a lot of interaction and they're learning to grow and love and learn together. Steven (our eldest teen boy) has been taking up the torch in talking to the JETTs about behavioral problems or different things that come up, or talking to our YC when he steps out of line. They're taking correction very well from him.
       It's been real encouraging to see how each one has become a needed part of the team. Steven takes care of the finances, the stats and the tools; David (our other teen boy) helps with the cooking, the kitchen and the shopping. David and Steven have also been going out together provisioning daily needs, from stacks of pizzas to bread, vegetables, meat, etc. They have been going on outreach together too, which has been very fruitful.

Our Children Are Our Sample
       It took a bit of work to get our singing troupe going, as the children were not used to singing together and we hadn't done it for many, many years. But we were encouraged by the Lord's supply of costumes for a country-western type music group with leather cowboy hats, vests, shirts, scarves and belts. After about a week or 10 days of preparation, we were ready for our first attempt to go out on the street with a set of country- and gospel-type songs, which we found were generally very well received wherever we went.
       We put together a little flyer explaining ourselves and our work with pictures and a few captions. We're also planning on printing a little calling card with a picture of our singing group. We find that for us, café singing is better than street singing, but there are pros for both. When we sing on the street, we usually meet a lot of people, and it has been a very good opportunity to win souls--young people who stop and sit down and listen to the music. Having somebody go around to the listening crowd--usually Mary in our case--has also been a good way to get out tapes. On the other hand, we've found café singing is more fruitful financially and the people we reach are of a higher social standing. Every day we gather a few addresses of sheep who got saved or who would like to stay in touch and need following up on.
       We found that singing with the children goes best when they are really happy and inspired. It's not something we can do in the flesh or our own strength. To help inspire the kids, we've been trying to make the trip as fun as possible with outings. For example, when it's hot, we go swimming in the afternoon or see different scenic spots or points of particular interest which we come across on our travels and which we feel are worthwhile for the children. These have included museums, fairs, historic buildings and exhibitions. We found that after an afternoon of swimming or having a fun excursion, everyone is more than happy to go restaurant singing. This has been the main source of our financial income, as well as resulting in the supply of our evening meals. It's also been very inspiring as we've met a lot of receptive and interesting people.
       One evening we decided to go to a very small restaurant to warm up for the evening's witnessing. But we didn't get any further than that restaurant all evening because the people there were so sweet and receptive! One man invited us all for dinner. Another table invited us for drinks and then started planning a garden barbecue party for the weekend where they invited us to put up our tents in their garden and use their swimming pool. The Lord seems to be opening doors to meet various people who could help support us.
       Another time we were about to do some singing in the early afternoon with all the kids, including the little ones. Just the sight of everyone dressed up in their cowboy costumes and being happy and sweet with each other attracted so much attention that by the time we had gotten out of the car, two groups of people had stopped to marvel at our large family. We talked to them and they ended up taking two tapes. Having a large family is quite unheard of these days, especially in Germany. Most people either don't have any children or just have one or two. So we're creating quite a reaction and some excitement everywhere we go! The response is usually very positive, and people express how they respect and admire us. In this case, we didn't even have to sing--just the sample of being a family and having everyone dressed up in matching clothes and looking nice opened the doors to get out the tools and meet some people who want to keep in touch with and visit us, or who asked us to visit them.

Our Schedule and Setup
       In our particular situation with such nice weather, we have been doing most of our singing in the evenings between eight and ten o'clock, covering outdoor cafés and restaurants. In the mornings we usually rest up, have devotions and clean up camp. That carries us almost to lunch time. A few times we tried to go out singing during lunch time, but the heat of the day was quite tiring for the kids, so we found that that didn't work so well. We switched to using the afternoon for recreation, get-out and swimming, and by evening everyone is really inspired and happy to do more singing and witnessing.
       On rainy days we go DTD, STS or OTO with the tools. Usually it's one or two teams--Daddy with the JETTs, or the two teens together. This has been very fruitful, often resulting in the provisioning of our daily food needs as well. During our trip we distributed tools in a lot of little towns that had never seen the videos or tapes before.
       We have a small caravan, where we sleep with the five smallest children; our two JETTs and two teens share two small tents. We try to provision the campgrounds ahead of time (either free or for a large discount), as we found that adding up all the normal campground fees can be quite expensive, coming to at least $50-$60 a day. It has been working out quite well, and the Lord has provided good campgrounds to stay at with all the needed facilities--from showers to laundry machines, recreational sites, etc. We prayed for and provisioned a set of tables and chairs that fit nicely under the awning of the caravan, where we do most of our eating and cooking.

"On Stage" All the Time!
       One night we were thinking about how because we have to spend so much time caring for the children, we could not get out witnessing as much as we would like to. Then the next morning, while having a fun inspiration at devotions time with the children, a reporter from a local newspaper came over, attracted by our singing. He said he wanted to include something about us in an article he was writing on the campground. After listening to our testimonies and witness for awhile, he decided to do a whole article on us instead! We were also able to give him the Endtime message, which he wrote about in another article. He wanted to know how the teen boys were faring with our kind of life, and instead of answering for them, we called them over to be interviewed by him as well. Their answers to his questions about what brand-name clothing they wear, friendship, and our biblical beliefs were powerful and full of conviction! It really touched our hearts, and we saw how the Lord was encouraging us and making us a testimony as a family, even though we are out on the road on our own.
       Actually, the reporter ended up doing three articles, which appeared in the paper along with a picture of our family. They are very favorable and give a clear, ringing witness! It was also a good lesson for us on being ready at all times when living on the road, being "instant in season and out of season" (2Tim.4:2), and having a good physical sample. We had just pow-wowed how we should always look presentable with our hair combed, etc., and our camp neat and clean even in the mornings, when unexpectedly, this reporter came over and started to take pictures of us.

Witnessing to Our Fellow Campers
       After camping next to us for three weeks, our neighbor, a German construction engineer on assignment here, received the Lord with Julia (9) and Angie (8). He has grown very close to the children, playing and fellowshipping with them every day when he comes home to his caravan after work. The kids have "adopted" him into our family during our time here. This has helped alleviate his loneliness, as he had just gotten divorced after 30 years of marriage. The day after he prayed with the girls, he asked Julia to record the salvation prayer for him on his tape recorder so he could listen to it again. What a victory! Having sometimes driven us, he saw how we do provisioning pick-ups, so the next night he came home with cake and buns that he had provisioned for us at his job site.
       The children are learning how to feed "their sheep," as they are the main ones who see him in the evenings after work. They are learning to tell and read to him stories from the Good Thots and do little skits like "Rock in the Road" and "Change the World." The children have learned a big lesson not to just lightly fellowship with him and others or expect him to tell them stories, but to give and pour out and share of their spiritual riches.
       Also, one day we received more vegetables from our provisioning contact than we could use, so we set off around the campground with our pram full of veggies, the little children, and a handful of tracts. We made friends with lots of precious people by distributing of our abundance. It was a very fun way to get to meet and witness to the people there.
* * *

"The SWIFT Is the Best Thing that Could Have Happened to Our Home!"
From Magda, Finland:
       The SWIFT has been the best thing that could have happened to our Home! We've had a wonderful summer. It has sparked so much inspiration in everyone. None of us want to settle back down to the old way of having so many folks home all the time, but rather be out witnessing and reaching others more.
       One of the most rewarding things I experienced this summer was to see our teenagers get excited to be out there witnessing, and grow so much in faith. When we first started, everyone was a bit shaky when it came to being out witnessing all day, provisioning our meals and making it pay. But by the end of the summer, the teens were going out       distributing tools two-by-two and doing great--in fact, they are the shiners! Their presentation has gotten much better, and they have real conviction in presenting our work for the Lord.
       I myself have been on the road for five weeks and have been so happy and fulfilled. It's great to be out on the battlefront, to burn free and see the Lord do so many miracles. And besides having inspiring and touching witnessing experiences, we always end up having so much fun as well!

From Michael and Anna, Italy:
       We are very thankful for the opportunity to go on the SWIFT this summer. It is a real blessing to be able to concentrate on outreach, while at the same time learning with our children, and teaching them to get out of themselves and pour out to others in need. The children are really inspired and happy to be on the road; they are learning more what this Family and our life of faith is all about. It's so beautiful to see the Lord working and supplying our needs as we go.
       The Lord did a real miracle in touching the hearts of some of our friends to receive our entire family of five kids plus another sister into their own home. During our stay here we have been able to pour into this precious family, and both the parents and their children received the Lord. We are giving them Endtime classes, which they really appreciate and are hungry for.
       During this time, all our kids have been exposed to a lot of System influences that they had never experienced before, but nevertheless we feel that they have been quite faithful to uphold the standard that they have learned back home. Overall it has been a real positive and learning experience for them.
       We are very encouraged to see our three-year-old greeting people in a sweet and friendly way, our seven-year-old always being faithful to give a "Somebody Loves You" tract to everyone we meet, and the rest of our children getting out of themselves and pouring into others.
       We have been out for less than a month now, and the Lord has helped us to get out about 100 videos, 1,000 pieces of lit, 70 tapes and win over 50 souls to the Lord! Thank You Jesus! We have also been able to do a lot of follow-up and meet many precious new people whom we'll continue to follow-up on.

From Lily, Belgium:
       One thing that inspires me so much about the SWIFT is to see how enthusiastic and willing our children are to go out witnessing. In our Home we scheduled about two weeks for SWIFT prep. During this time, teams alternated between going out and staying back to "hold the fort," in order to raise funds and prepare for the SWIFT trips. It's so beautiful to see how our younger children, who don't usually go out so often, can be real soldiers for the Lord out on the field, and are willing to go any time. It really renews my vision to see how the Lord can use our little ones and how we need to schedule them to go out more often even after the SWIFT, so that witnessing becomes a real part of their life for the Lord.

From Tabitha (of Chris), Norway:
       When I first introduced my kids to the idea of SWIFTing, I invited them to a meeting in their room. I told them I would bring out the ceramic tea set and serve tea and cookies, if they would bring their ideas! God bless them, they were full of ideas, and we divided out areas of responsibility according to their talents. Then I asked them to pray desperately for the Lord to do miracles, as we didn't have anything to start with. We were planning to go by boat to another country, and at the end of the trip we were going to visit Chris' relatives there, whom neither I nor most of the kids had ever met.
       One week before our departure date, we still didn't have anything! So we got real desperate! Then in that week the Lord supplied super discounts on all the boats we had to take. He touched the heart of a very close friend to sponsor a brand new rental nine-seat combi van for a whole month! We got one tent and 12 mats. All inspired, we set out with one little gas burner and a few cups between the 12 of us (ha!), and expected the Lord to supply on the way--and He did!
       During the trip, I started to realize that things weren't really turning out the way that I had planned. The kids' singing didn't really come together--they would definitely need more practice and preparation. The driving to do all the things we wanted to do took a lot more time than I had counted on. But I realized that the Lord seemed to have other plans, and His were a lot more important than seeing my own plan fulfilled. As a result, I learned a lot more about my kids, where they are at, what they need and what I need to tune into with them.
       As for the kids, they really enjoyed being out there. It was so wonderful to see them so happy and inspired and so easily making friends with people and other children. This was a big victory, because for the last couple of years we have lived in a Home up in the mountains--very beautiful, but so far away from people and the rest of the world. In spite of that, they didn't have any problems walking over to people, talking and witnessing to them. It just shows the marvelous upbringing and input they receive in the Family.
       When we took them out postering and witnessing, my little five-year-old girl wouldn't stop and would beg me to go out again and again. My nine-year-old boy was my partner for a few days, and he had so much faith and was a real shiner! When we were wondering about asking a restaurant to supply a main meal for the 12 of us, he said with real conviction, "Of course we should ask, and of course they'll say yes!" And they did!
       Another thing "we" had planned was that the busking was going to be so fruitful financially that we would be able to go out and get all the kids' needs. But not so! Again, since the kids were having fun witnessing and we were learning things too, the Lord saw to their needs in a different way. At the end of the trip we went to see Chris' relatives and one day his brother took us out, dropped me off at a shopping mall and said: "Pick out all the clothes you need for the kids! It's on my card!" And with seven kids, that was no small amount! God bless him!
       All in all, it was a wonderful trip--just a little different than what I first had in mind. As unprepared as we were, the Lord did not fail, and we really had lots of fun. We got so much closer to our children and can now honestly say that we know the "state of our flock." All the kids are asking if we can do this every summer! We also learned a few practical tips so that we will be better prepared next time, and the children and I got a taste of what it's like to live on the road and be gospel Gypsies for the Lord!
* * *

Witnessing with Kids Is Exciting!
From Peter and Praise, Italy:
       We had a wonderful SWIFT trip to the Ukraine. Altogether we traveled 7,000 km! It was one of the most beautiful times we've had lately in our service for the Lord. We had a chance to live by faith with our family (five children ages ten and younger), and the Lord did a lot of miracles--large and small--of supply, protection and witnessing.
       One of the highlights of our trip was being able to perform at a summer camp which over 4,000 kids from the Ukraine and Russia were attending. It's a very large camp, very well organized and run by the police. Despite the camp management officially saying they're not communist, in practice they maintain the same status quo and did not allow any religious engagements. So it was difficult to get in with our show, but the Lord did a miracle!
       Before the show we asked which of the kids spoke English. Most of them said they did, so we decided to sing "Jesus Come into My Heart" in English at the end of the show after the heart skit (the management didn't understand English). All the children in the audience stood up as we were singing and held their hands up together, almost as if they were praising the Lord. Then they began to chant, "Thank you!" The management was so thrilled by the show that they gave us permission to go in and out of the camps as we liked, as well as use their beach resort.
       Our children loved the trip so much. We gained a lot of victories in reconnecting with our children, doing fun things and working together as a team. Pioneering with our children is so exciting!

From Patty, Hungary:
       For the SWIFT I went to Romania with my kids. Over 400 souls got saved and thousands of posters were distributed! The Lord provided a hotel for the 10 days we were there, as well as a restaurant where we had all of our breakfasts, lunches and dinners. The kids put a show together which we took to restaurants, hotels, an orphanage and a senior citizen's home. They really let the Lord shine through them, winning their audience with their love and smiling faces.
       During their last performance we met a lady who was a representative of "humanitarian aid" for kids in Romania. She was very impressed by our tapes, took different samples of them and asked us to contact her upon her return to Bucharest, as she would like to use them in her work. Most important of all, we were very happy to see the kids really enjoying giving out, postering and leading others to the Lord!
* * *

Reconnecting with Our Children!
From Micah and Jewel, Belgium:
       When we first heard about going on the road with all of our family it was quite a challenge! We are two adults, two teens, one JETT, one OC, two MCs, two YCs, and one preschooler--11 people! On top of it, Jewel was pregnant! But the Lord was merciful and made it easy for us by supplying the needed camper for our family.
       It was very inspiring to see all our kids get out and witness. It made them realize what we are here for, and as the Lord provided through provisioning and witnessing, their faith increased! Now they all talk about how the Lord can supply this and that if we pray "just like when we were on the road"!
       Also, having our kids closer by to help and teach is changing our lives. We are realizing more and more how much these children need personal attention and care, and we are happy to be able to give it to them. Thank You Jesus!

From Peter Grin, Denmark:
       We have been gaining victories of greater openness in communicating with our children. This time of closeness has helped us to see our own standard of discipleship and to practice what we preach to the children, showing them the right way through our sample.
       Witnessing more has also been a great help in relieving the lifelessness of not doing much during the summer when school is out. It is helping us to pour out to them about our main reason for being here--telling the world about His love! The children have a real desire to go out, and when it is their turn to stay back they sometimes have battles because they want to be out on the front lines!

From Andrew and Miracle, Finland:
       We have been SWIFTing in the Algarve, the resort coast of Portugal, for over two weeks. The Lord's blessings have been so many that it's difficult to begin to list them all--it's been like living in the Millennium!
       Our main ministry has been restaurant singing with our team of three children, one JETT, and one teen. Their beaming smiles have been the key to winning the hearts of everyone here, both Portuguese and foreign tourists.
       We lived here four years ago, and singing was also our primary ministry. On this trip we have had a chance to visit and follow-up on many of our old restaurant contacts. One precious man was so happy to see us again. After our show he came to us and asked, "Didn't you used to have tapes?" We showed him one, and he promptly gave us a very big donation. Then his workers began lining up to also get tapes, and he advanced money to several of them so they could buy one.
       The Lord has provided us with a beautiful camping spot (one of the best in the area, with a swimming pool) for one month. All the kids have made a real improvement in their swimming abilities, even the smallest ones. The kids have also enjoyed different water parks, dolphin shows, circuses, amusement parks, etc., which we have been able to provision for them. Nothing is too good for His children! Besides all the fun and excitement, the Lord has also mightily blessed us financially through our singing and witnessing.
       In this campground we have a ripe harvest field at hand, as we meet lots of foreigners, mostly English, Dutch and German. Some of them are unemployed or have quit their jobs and have just packed their bags to travel and look for a purpose for living, with no place to go back to.
       Our kids have also taken big steps in their spiritual lives--memorizing, being more positive, and generally looking more to the Lord. Seeing the Lord in action is a real cure to all our problems. We have tried to daily pow-wow with them different things that happen, and they are becoming more and more whole-hearted soldiers for Him. Since we are a smaller group, we have also been able to zero in on manners, personal hygiene and neatness, as we have often been invited out for dinner. The kids have been learning to act like the Lord's stars, as the Portuguese look up to them.
       This trip has taught me lots of lessons, mainly on training the kids. I have seen the importance of us adults being a sample of the Word for our young people to follow. Otherwise we can become like the churches, telling our kids the right things, but being hypocrites by not doing them ourselves. It becomes a fake lifestyle, and they will rebel against it.
       I have also seen how important it is for our youth to have a say-so in most matters. Their opinions should always be considered, and they should be asked how they feel about things. They make very mature decisions, and then they get behind the task wholeheartedly because they had a hand in the decision.
* * *

SWIFTing: How We Supported It!
From Joan, Japan Media Home:
       After a recent shepherds' meeting we got together as a Home and took time to hear from the Lord for His guidance regarding our summer outreach. He spoke beautifully, and when we studied the prophecies we felt He was leading us to reach many lonely old folks as the main part of our SWIFT vision. We named this summer program "SEND," which stands for "Summer Encouragement to Neighboring Districts."
       The Lord started supplying right away. After only a few phone calls, Joanna provisioned a free bungalow and tent site--already set up--for two whole weeks! Next we needed a vehicle, and the Lord provided a free rental van which we only had to pay insurance for. In provisioning our needs, the SEND project seemed to be a real key and something people could relate to, and they were very supportive and helpful.
       Stevie worked on appeal letters for supporting this SEND program and we got some responses right away. We called the institutions before the road trip and we were able to book five to seven shows. Since we felt the Lord was leading us to reach the "poor," meaning "old folks" in this case, we didn't feel led to charge for our show. We offered them free shows, hoping the result of our appeal letters and witnessing during the road trip would supply the needs.
       Our performances were simple, as we didn't have any "show group" or any older children who could really perform professionally. On top of it, we only had a few days to practice, and had to make some very simple costumes on the fly! So our presentation was very very simple, but we felt that the Lord could still use us to encourage and comfort the old folks. The kids were on fire! They were shining, which was the key, God bless them!
       At every institution someone was moved to tears by our show. People were so happy to see our children perform for them that they didn't want to leave the hall even after the show. What really touched them were the children's hugs and shaking hands after singing. Our kids also gave them personal cards that they made before the trip. It was very touching to see the confirmation of His leading, as it was so clear that we had to come here to encourage these people.
       Before the trip we prepared simple cards explaining this SEND program and asking for support for this two-week trip. We used this in our witnessing, and raising support was quite easy as many people gave happily and willingly when presented with our appeal.
       Although we didn't put so much time into provisioning with all the witnessing we were doing, the little we did try while on the way to the institutions went well, and the Lord supplied fresh vegetables, fish, bread, etc.!
       Since we had our campground for two weeks, we were able to have a basic daily schedule. When we had a show, we left early after breakfast and Word time. On the way back we went witnessing. When we cooked our dinner back at our campground, we also cooked for the next day's take-out lunch. The days we didn't have shows, we went at a slower pace, and helped the kids get rested up, then went out witnessing, took hikes, etc., which the kids really enjoyed.
       We did everything together with the children. We cooked together, did dishes together, laundry together, shopping together, and of course witnessing together. It was a very precious experience which drew us all closer together. I am very thankful for this SWIFT vision. Before this trip I was a little nervous, as it had been so long since my last road trip. But I learned so much about faith, depending on Him, desperation, initiative, care for the children, training our children, doing things together, and all the other precious lessons that I could never have learned if I hadn't gone on this trip.
* * *

Lessons Learned Through the SWIFT!
From Mark and Mila, Russia:
       The SWIFT was an excellent opportunity for the teens in our Home to get desperate with the Lord, as well as do more witnessing and strengthen their faith muscles. As a Home we had Word studies on listening to the Lord and making our decisions based on what He shows us. It seems that it's easier for our younger generation to depend on what we tell them than seek the Lord themselves. In a way it's sweet, as they are very cooperative and obedient, but in the long run they're actually suffering by simply following without giving any input from their side. As long as they are simply following what they're told, something will be missing in their lives. Placing the decision-making responsibility on their shoulders puts them on the spot, helps them to grow and is a challenge.
       Often when talking with them and asking them what they would like to do, they would say, "Whatever you tell me, I'll do it." This is what we usually heard when making decisions about the SWIFT or even Home responsibilities. Finally we said that we were not going to go anywhere or do anything until we all had the faith for what we believed was the Lord's will, and in order to do that we had to get desperate with Him. The result, was that the teens commented in their OHRs that the studies on hearing from the Lord were helpful, and that it is something that they definitely have to work on. It also helped them to realize that once they make their prayerful decisions, they have to stick to those decisions and can't give up the fight just because something goes wrong.

From Paul and Charity, Belgium:
       Living completely by faith for two weeks with a family of nine was a real inspiring challenge. The Lord was faithful to take very good care of us, providing our daily needs, special treats and even a one-day trip to England for Daddy and our five oldest kids!
       Being nine in a small caravan and a tent was sometimes a fight, as we were on top of each other at times, and could see each other's weaknesses and mistakes so well. But the Lord used it to bring us closer together, especially to our teens and JETTs. Through battles and victories, the Lord helped us parents to tune in more to our children's needs. We were not as aware of their needs when they were in their groups during the school year, as we only spent daily parent time and family days with them.
       I (Charity) also learned good lessons on having more faith and letting the Lord use me wherever there is a need. Being an office person and a teacher, I have not gone on outreach very much, except personal witnessing with the teens. As far as being a fund raiser, I did not think I had the anointing or that the Lord could use me in that area. Even though our SWIFT was fun, we had (and still have) quite a lot of financial pressure on us, so each time I went on outreach, I was really desperate! But the Lord did many miracles and gave me faith that He could use even me!

From an Italian Home:
       During one of our recent witnessing adventures, I learned a lesson about taking the time to listen to the children's needs, staying in tune with the Lord and being ready and open to change and follow where He leads.
       After singing and witnessing, some of the children asked if they could go play at a nearby air-mattress recreational "castle." We adults were not so sure if this was the best time for it or if it was necessary. But as we stopped and prayed and listened to the children explain their eagerness to try it out, we felt we should at least give the Lord a chance to answer their prayers. The Lord supplied, and the children saw how good the Lord is to us by even giving us extra surprises and rewards, and that it's fun to serve the Lord. We adults also realized how much these little things mean to our children.

From John W., Rose, and John, Denmark:
       One of the lessons we learned was that all seven of us needed to be praying for the Lord to supply, and not just the person doing the provisioning. It brought us closer to the Lord as a family. Also, we started out by distributing tools in the shops, but the Lord didn't bless it as we weren't bringing the kids into the witnessing. After we turned to postering and singing with the kids, we started to win souls and the Lord blessed financially too.

From Rose F., Denmark:
       It was exciting to be able to SWIFT with our kids! We are all thankful and appreciate that special opportunity to get out and live totally by faith. However, although it was inspiring, our trip was not very fruitful when it came to tools given out or funds raised, so I wanted to share some of the lessons I learned through this time:
       1. We got out the door too quickly because we were planning on visiting my mom first. The result of this rush was that our team didn't pray much unitedly about the trip and its details beforehand.
       2. We also didn't assign a team captain to lead our counsel sessions and push things along, so when decisions needed to be made it took us quite a while to agree together, get up and go.
       3. Personally I learned to take more responsibility and to stand up for my convictions. We had had a few days of old-style shop-to-shop witnessing which the Lord didn't bless. Finally, I pulled myself together and was reminded that this trip was first and foremost so that the children would be able to witness and sing, etc. So we started singing and witnessing with the kids much more. The Lord blessed it, and we had so much fun. A lesson all of us adults had to learn was to not just follow along or be in an old rut, but to really be a part of the team and take responsibility.
       4. Something else I think we all thought about was how abundantly the Lord supplies in our Homes. This trip made me so much more appreciative of our provisioners and of the contacts who faithfully give week after week. Since I have been a teacher more or less full-time, I haven't had my faith tested that much when it comes to supply and finances. I'd like to do more of my part now by praying and doing faithful follow-up.
* * *

Miracles of Provision and Witnessing for a Big Team!
From Andrew and Crystal and team, U.S.A.:
       (Teri, 17:) We had an exciting opportunity to go on a SWIFT team! We were three adults, seven YAs and senior teens, and thirteen junior teens, JETTs and kids--23 people in all! We struck out by faith with a trailer, tents and a couple of vans. We started from Houston, Texas, and drove up to Kansas City, Missouri. It was two weeks of fun, miracles and travel.
       (Vincent, 15:) When we finally got out the door, we were so excited! We were low on finances, so we decided to do some postering. In about three hours the Lord had supplied all our food and our gas money. We stopped at a Home in Dallas to borrow some tents and spend the night, and the next day we were off to Oklahoma! We got to Oklahoma, pitched our tents and set up camp. Then we realized we had a little problem: We didn't have any protein to eat for dinner! There was only one restaurant in the whole campground....
       (Sara, 19:) The manager wasn't there, so a little team went to ask the lady he had left in charge if she could help us with some meat. Meanwhile, three of us stayed outside praying that the Lord would do a miracle. At first she was going to give it, but then she thought, "Oh well, I don't know if I can do this or not!" She went to call the owner to ask him, but couldn't reach him as he was sick, so the Lord gave her the faith to go ahead and give us 13 pieces of chicken, which made a yummy stew that night! Thank You Jesus, He never fails!
       (Rebecca, 20:) Every single day was a miracle to get enough food for 23 hungry people! Plus our van door broke, but the Lord worked it out to get it fixed. We were also "rained in" our first night camping, but the next day we were able to provision a laundromat to dry all of our sleeping bags and sheets. That day the Lord supplied a full tank of gas for free, which got us on our way to Wichita, Kansas, where we stayed for a full day of fruitful witnessing!
       (Abby:) Judy and Essex were a couple who were met when there was a Home in Kansas City. Essex was met at a gas station when we were provisioning gas. When we came back through another time he was at the same gas station. He again helped us with gas, and he invited us to his home, where we met his wife Judy.
       When we came through his city this time, we gave him a call and they immediately invited us to come over. All 23 of us piled into their house and they were thrilled to meet so many people from the Family. We were able to sing them some songs, and have good fellowship with them. They have opened up their home to some System teens who are having problems, so there were a few teens there who we were also able to sing for and who were really turned on by our visit--and so were we! Essex and Judy again helped us by filling our gas tanks and gave us a lot of supplies to take on the trip.
       (Sara:) All along the way, the Lord put special people in our path to help us on our way to the next place. We never lacked a meal, we never lacked gas, and the Lord never let us down. After leaving Essex and Judy, that night we arrived in Kansas City. The Lord touched the heart of a lady, even though she wasn't very sheepy, to let us stay at her campground free for the night. The next day we had a little bit of a rest day. We had good Word time and also played a fun game of soccer.
       (Claire, 16:) After that first night in Kansas City, we didn't have a place to stay anymore. However, the Home that was there before had a friend named Lee, and when we called him up, he said he'd try to get a place for us to stay. He asked the pastor of his church and the church board if we could use the church facilities, and they said yes. So we had the use of their Sunday school classrooms, as well as their kitchen and bathrooms, which was quite convenient. We stayed there for the next four days.
       (Andy, 12:) One day when singing for the staff of a Wal-Mart store that helped us with clothes, we met a real nice guy named Charlie. He's with a youth group and he wants to be a youth pastor. He was real sweet and wanted to go witnessing with us. He invited us to come to his house, so we accepted and met his parents as well. Charlie was really turned on about the Family, how we live communally, how we witness, and said that he would really like for his youth group to learn how to do that too.
       (Teri:) We had a blast witnessing at this teen hang-out called "The Madhouse." The teens there looked real tough and hard at first, but when we witnessed to them about the Endtime and what's going to happen, they were really excited and wanted to help us warn others too. We won lots of souls and they just loved the posters! Thank You Jesus!
       (Vincent:) The last day we stayed at the church, an older couple from the church came to bid us farewell, as well as the pastor and his wife. Through them, the Lord supplied $120 before we even got out the door! We did a car wash that day to raise some funds for our trip back to Houston. At the car wash, this nice man whose car we had washed came back and gave us 96 mini pizzas for our lunch!--We even had some to bring back home with us!
       (Dust, 19:) Thank the Lord for His protection, as apart from the broken door we had no vehicle problems all the way there, nor on the way back. Thank the Lord for an exciting road trip with lots of witnessing and provision!
* * *

SWIFTing Leads to New Homes Opening!
From John and Marianne, Italy:
       The last week of our SWIFT we headed towards Torino (the second largest city in northern Italy), as we felt the Lord wanted a Home there. The reason we had a burden for that area is that one year ago when visiting Torino, I was walking down a main street and ended up in front of a large monument of a saint, Don Bosco. (Don Bosco [EDITED: "1815-1888"] was an Italian priest who started a mission in Torino, helping young people by taking them off the street and giving them a Christian education and a job. He opened many orphanages around Italy and eventually around the world.) As I was looking at this monument, I had a vision of Don Bosco and he told me, "If you come to Torino, I will help you."
       I felt strongly that Don Bosco was pleading for the Family to open a Home in this city. During the following year we made trips to follow-up on some precious catacombers there, which resulted in a new disciple joining full-time, but still no Home. I thought that maybe our job there was done, but while on a provisioning pick-up trip in Torino I began thinking about the vision I had had of Don Bosco. As I was driving I asked the Lord to give me a sign if it was His will for us to open a Home here. I stopped at a deserted red light when suddenly I heard a knock at the window. It was a poor boy, and as I rolled down the window he asked me, "Can you come to Torino to help me? Do you have a job for me?" I was so taken aback! I gave him a donation and felt that the Lord must really want a Home there.
       Towards the end of our SWIFT, we felt that this was the golden opportunity to go to Torino and see what the Lord would do. The Devil tried to discourage us even before we got started. We had a flat tire with the caravan on the way there, and the weather started getting cold real quick, plus it began raining. When we arrived it was quite difficult to even find a camping place. But thank the Lord, He finally led us to a place where we were able to set up camp with our family.
       We soon found that it was quite a juggle to care for six children, support ourselves and do househunting all at the same time. We committed it all to the Lord's hands, though, and just started going out witnessing, asking everyone we met about housing. All the real estate rental agencies were quite pessimistic, and it seemed there wasn't anything available at the moment that met our requirements. I got quite discouraged and almost gave up, but God bless my sweet wife, she encouraged me to fight and try a little longer. We agreed to stay until the weekend and claimed that if it was His will, He would supply a house by then.
       I picked up the paper on Friday afternoon to see if there were any possibilities, and it seemed like there was an opening. But Saturday morning, when I tried to phone different places, nothing came through except one man who said to come by that afternoon. We went to see the house, and there it was--exactly what we were looking for! By a miracle the landlord agreed to all our conditions, and we now have a Home in Torino! Thank You Jesus!

From Phillip and Maggie, Italy:
       It all started a few months before the SWIFT, when we began to feel a little restless and tired of being in the same situation for such a long time. At the time we didn't know what to do, but we just prayed and left it in the Lord's hands.
       Then came the SWIFT, which in itself was an answer to prayer, enabling us to launch out by faith, even if just for a few weeks. As our preparations for the SWIFT got into full swing, we started thinking how nice it would be to just go out and open up a new Home. Then our shepherds presented us with the option of doing so!
       Well, needless to say, dreaming about it and actually doing it are two entirely different things! I started to get hit with all kinds of doubts about how the Lord was going to supply and how were we going to do it with four young children, one junior teen and a pregnant mommy. Thank the Lord, Maggie and the kids were much more up to the challenge and full of faith than I. So I knew that I was going to have to have the faith; I couldn't fail them! The Lord worked miracles and we were on our way.
       After spending a couple of weeks with Maggie's parents, we were able to find temporary housing near one of the main tourist lakes in northern Italy. From here we were able to begin in earnest our search for what the Lord had in store for us. We really didn't know where He wanted us to be, so we just prayed and asked Him to open a door that no man could close, in whatever city He so desired.
       At the same time we were also busy getting to know our kids better, thanks to the SWIFT. We were going postering and witnessing a lot, although it was a bit difficult as our youngest kids, aged two and four, couldn't do much. We were reminded of what the Lord said through Dad so many years ago, "What Is That in Thine Hand?" We knew we had to do more with our kids and get them involved more in the witnessing with us. So we dusted off our guitar, prayed, and after quite a bout of the jitters, we stepped out and began singing with all the kids in restaurants. We then became a family witnessing team like never before, and the Lord used it to not only touch the lives of many, but also to provide our daily expenses so that we could devote more time to the kids, as well as spend more time looking for housing.
       As we continued our search, we knew the Lord was going to have to provide something soon. We couldn't afford living month by month in temporary housing, and with September and the school year quickly coming up, we knew that we would have to get a more stable situation. By this time it was the middle of August. We had been on our own for almost a month, and had already looked at a number of houses and apartments that were nice but were either too expensive, too far away from the cities or too high up (in large apartment blocks). We were definitely getting more desperate by the day. Maggie had been looking in the local newspaper every day and making calls every morning and evening.
       Finally, the Lord led us to a five-bedroom house in a main tourist town. Although it was too expensive for us, it seemed like something worth going to look at. Somehow the Lord really gave us the peace that this was going to be it. We even went so far as to stop calling anyone else after making an appointment to see this house. Two days later we went to see the house and we knew it was what we needed. The landlady was very friendly and was desperate to rent her house, as she was moving to the U.S. on September 1st. She was very happy to hear that we were returning missionaries looking to set up a center in the area. She readily accepted our conditions as well as the price we could afford, so we said yes!
       But at this point it was all by faith, as we still didn't have a penny to our name, and we didn't know where we were going to get the money from. Maggie's parents, who are the real "ragman"-type, were upset with us for some unfaithfulness on our part when we visited them. Lord help us, we learned some real valuable lessons during the time with them on simple things like not being wasteful with food or throwing things away too soon. We never even suspected that they would have the amount of money that we needed to rent this house, but when Maggie called her mother to tell her the good news, out of the blue her mother said that she would lend us the money that we needed, but that we would have to pay it back real quick. We were leaping for joy that she even had the money to lend us, and readily agreed.
       The next day when picking up the money she asked if we had learned our lessons on faithfulness and not being wasteful. When we affirmed we had, she then gave us the money, telling us that there was no rush to pay it back, provided that we didn't forget the things we had learned. Praise the Lord! We called the landlady, gave her the money and moved in three days later! What a miracle! The Home is less than an hour by train to one of Italy's largest cities as well as four other provincial capitals. On top of that, we can stand on our balcony every day and see the most beautiful lake in Italy, with sailboats sailing by constantly, just like in the poster "The Magic River of Life." Praise the Lord!

[EDITED: "end"]

Copyright 1996 The Family