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FSM 273 / FN 382 DO/TS
TSers on Small Homes

Copyright June 1995, by The Family, Zurich, Switzerland

       Our Life and Ministries as TSers       1
       Children Come to Life with the Word!       3
       The Word and Prayer Solve Our Problems!       6
       Showers of Blessings on Small Homes       9
       Lessons Learned as a Small Home       12
       More on the Advantages of a Small Home       14

By WS Staff
       Since the implementation of the Love Charter, many Family members are setting up or moving into small Homes. Quite a few of our TRF Supporters went through the same type of transition from combos or large Homes to small Home situations some time ago when they left the DO Family. We thought you would be encouraged and inspired by reading some of their experiences and victories, and seeing how the Lord supernaturally guided and supplied as they pioneered their new Homes and outreach methods. These testimonies are from TSers who, despite the difficulties they have gone through, have borne good fruit, God bless them! We are also including a "small Home" testimony from a DO Home in Southeast Asia. We pray that all these will be a blessing to our DO and TS Family alike. All these testimonies show how "Little is much if God is in it!" We love you! God bless you!

Our Life and Ministries as TSers
From Michael and Ruth (TS), New Zealand
       We knew that the Lord's hand was on us and our situation when we became TSers over two years ago, and although the change was not without trials, we felt it was what we needed. Despite the problems, we were excited about being able to work as a family unit with our five children (aged 10 to one year). We were more desperate with the Lord since we didn't have shepherds immediately with us, and felt strongly that our walk with the Lord was much more between Him and us. Our children were excited about the changes and about being with us all the time (though the novelty did wear off, ha!).

Setting Up
       Most of our clothing, furniture and kitchen needs were miraculously met when we first returned to this field, although we still had to continually pray and fight discouragement about not having all of them right away. The Lord has been so wonderful and faithful to supply absolutely every need with time. We also had to fight the feeling that now that we were "just TSers," the Lord wouldn't supply for us any more, which was such a lie of the Devil!
       Since many of our supporters lived in this field and we had been ministering to them for many years, they were a great blessing when we first arrived. They helped by giving us needed appliances, furniture and even some finances as well. We were very thankful for having faithfully kept up our mail ministry. Our main support comes through a regular job, and we presently get some support from abroad. However, we have recently received some very generous gifts from parents and kings.
       Physically, it has been a challenge to find the time to do all that needs to be done. Schedules are a big issue, as no one does them for us, ha! I, Ruth, was often frustrated at the beginning if I couldn't keep the house clean, children schooled, meals cooked, etc., exactly according to a written schedule (and still have battles about that). But we have learned that, in our case at least, we need to be guided by the schedule but not imprisoned by it. Now we see that flexibility is actually one of the blessings of being in a smaller Home.

Our Witness Through Children's Programs
       Our children are all home-schooled and this often opens an opportunity to witness. The government here pays a small amount to parents for schooling their children at home. This financial help pays for our curriculums and school supplies, field trips, etc. Our schooling is Word-based and Ruth has been able to work with other home-school families in the community, helping them incorporate the Bible, memorization, etc., in their schooling.
       Our witnessing is mainly focused around Ruth's work with a church which is located just across the road from where we live. We were ministering to home supporters at this local congregation, and felt led to start a ministry there for the many children in the area. We didn't feel that we could just jump into it, being relative newcomers, so it was a real answer to prayer when Ruth was approached by a woman in the church. This woman was very burdened for the spiritual welfare of the children, and wanted to start various programs for them. She had heard that Ruth worked with children on the mission field and asked if she would be willing to organize and run, with others' help, a kind of Sunday School and twice yearly holiday program!
       We do find that the church's lack of vision and foolishness is very difficult to handle at times. We also found it difficult to accept being so closely involved with church people; working with the church has really confirmed all that Dad has said about churchianity. But we realize that as difficult as it is to get things done in the Church System, it would be almost impossible for us to do programs such as these on our own.
       Many souls have been saved as a result of this ministry. At the moment we are ministering to between 35-40 children weekly, and about 130 children attend our holiday programs. We have now started inviting other youth workers (one or two at a time) to join us in the planning and presentation of the holiday programs. They are then able to take a basic plan back to their own communities and run their own holiday programs--2 Timothy 2:2.
       Last year we ran a successful home study group, using as our starting point a video series about godly financing, called "Financial Freedom," by a leading home school group in the U.S. We found it to be a good tool, emphasizing honesty, tithing, prayerfulness, good stewardship, etc. About eight people (couples and singles) attended. We are starting another home study group next week, using a video series called "Raising Kids God's Way." We have been able to minister to a number of the parents through these home study groups.

Lessons Learned from Being on Our Own
       We miss the safeguards that our former shepherds put in place to help guard us against our NWOs. Sometimes things work well between us, but other times familiarity makes it difficult; we need to diligently fight against familiarity and sensitivity. It's actually taken us these two years to realize how important it is for us to talk together, pray together for each other, and take time as a couple to pour out and listen, etc. Not being able to do that from the beginning made our adjustment a bit more difficult and caused unnecessary problems that are now being worked out and prayed through, thank the Lord! We're seeing how much we need each other to counsel and pray with, to shepherd ourselves and to be our own safeguards!
       We have gotten to know our children better, and have been better able to respond to their different needs individually and with the Word. We spend more time praying for each of them and with them.
       We are more desperate with the Lord and taking more personal responsibility in our walks with Him. There's no person checking on us, and even though it was always our own responsibility to follow the Word and the Lord, somehow that principle is brought home more now. For example, if we don't take enough Word time, we can feel and see the bad fruit.
       As we look back to our time in the DO Family, we realize that we should have been the same then, but instead we would often rely on others to point out to us what the Lord was trying to show us or do in our lives.
       The amount of love we feel from the Family and the Lord now is incredible. Whenever we receive a note from our shepherds, it makes us feel really loved and cared about. We now can see what an act of love it was to give us the opportunity to continue serving the Lord in this capacity. We're so thankful for the Word we receive and that we can still continue to report, and feel we are a part of the Family. We really pray that we can continue to grow as His disciples and that we can be more of a blessing to the DO Family through gifts and prayers!
God bless you! We love and pray for you!
       Much love, Michael and Ruth

* * *

Children Come to Life with the Word!
From T. and R. (TS), Europe
       ({\ul \i Editor's note}: This family, who just recently became TSers, is a good example of how the Lord can work in our children's lives when we, and they, reconnect with the Word.)
       In this month after we just moved out of a DO Home to an apartment with our children, the Word has been so feeding, and I feel like I have been coming back to spiritual health. We are amazed at the things we read now, and feel a desperate need and hunger for the Letters. I am ashamed to realize that when some of these Letters first came out, I read them only for interesting information, whereas now I see they contain so many answers.

Taking Stock and Setting Goals
       In our new situation, we saw some obvious problems right away that we had to overcome. As parents, we needed to be daily inspired and motivated by the Word and set an example of dedication. I also needed conviction not to compromise in our dealings with the children, as I have a weakness in wanting to please them at any cost. Desperation and the Word are helping me to want to please the Lord first, as only what He shows us will work out.--And when the Lord shows us something, that is what will help the kids too.
       As the Word says, the answer is falling in love with Jesus and His Word, and this is our main concern: How do we help our children become disciples for the Lord? First of all, we tried to set some goals: to get into the Word together, look for the answers and guidance and inspiration we need in the Word, raise the standard spiritually by developing a hunger and obedience to the Word, memorize, and behave as disciples. An important part of this also was to get out witnessing and see the Lord move.
       Morally, we set the goals of learning to be considerate, kind, well balanced and mature, and to learn to take responsibility. (The lessons and stories from Life with Grandpa are the most helpful tools to use daily for this.)
       Practically, we needed to raise our standard in cleanliness, manners, diligence, orderliness, being on time, etc. Scholastics is another area to work on, but we realize more and more that one thing they need to learn is to use the language well--to read, spell, express themselves and communicate. They are doing well in this. We make an effort to all read aloud in our devotions, as this is a real help.
       Being in a simple situation with our children is such a blessing. It is also sometimes a battle, and we get attacked by discouragement or condemnation, but we have seen our situation as a very good and needed thing for us all. The biggest advantage I see is that we are close together all the time, and can take the time to deal with and study up on things as they come up. We have done a lot of desperate praying, and we see the Lord moving. We also see that it is going to take time to make progress, so we have to keep on "believing, obeying and pressing in" every day! We're leaning on the Lord and the Word to be able to make the changes we need to in our personal family.

The Word Takes on Life and Priority
       One of the first things we realized was that we couldn't do it ourselves, and we really needed to labor to get in the Word and pray for a hunger for the Word. We decided to memorize together, and started with the set in the Memory Book on "Our Relationship to the World." For the first week, it was a real blessing to be in an environment free of computers, videos and TV. We got lots of Word time and personal time, and in the evenings we played Bible story games, with two teams acting out different things in a story, etc. It was a lot of fun and unifying, and everyone wanted to do it again every night.
       Later when we got a video machine, we counted it a privilege and had a fear of the Lord about using it. It was nice to see some documentaries and inspiration videos, and the fact that we watch together helps the kids. We decided that before we allow ourselves any movie nights, we have to learn one whole category in the Memory Book together, and all of us have to know it real well. We choose the category we feel we need the most, and so far we have done "Our Relationship to the World," "Discipleship," "The Word," "Prayer," and "Yieldedness."
       It has really made the Word alive, as we try to apply and use these verses actively in our everyday life and witnessing. We see the results, and slowly the Word is coming more and more alive to us as our hunger for it develops. This is taking some time with the kids though, which makes us as parents really cry out to the Lord, as we are desperate to see the Lord work in our kids' lives. We find ourselves reading, studying, taking notes and talking about the Word all the time. Recent breakings have also made the Word all the more clear to me personally, which is the Lord's mercy and His doing, as I now have much more depth and conviction when reading and pow-wowing it with my children.

"Shiner or Shamer" Incentives
       We had a car and could easily get out and do provisioning, etc., so we didn't need much cash income at first, which was good, as we really needed to tune in to the kids and the Word. We went DTD a little, but soon felt a need for a more active witnessing outreach where all of us could be involved. We prayed desperately for this as we really felt the kids needed to see the Lord moving and answering prayer.
       We tried to encourage the kids to practice some songs so we could go out singing, but this was a real trial for them. They are all talented musically, but didn't have the faith or vision for it. Our three boys said it would look funny with no girls and no dancing, that no one would listen, etc. We tried to explain how the Lord certainly would bless them for using their talents to reach out to others and give out the message. We gave them the Word on it, but to no avail.
       We prayed together for them, and as we counseled about it, we felt that if we could give them a personal incentive to at least try it once they might get inspired when they saw it work. We read "Shiners or Shamers" on the subject, and decided we would suggest to them to try it one day, and they would be able to use half of the income for that day for something they would like--an outing, swimming, ice cream or whatever--but they would also tithe their half. We did a study with them on finances and "honoring the Lord with all your substance," and they got excited about that idea.
       So they wholeheartedly went to it, practicing. J. (12) played the guitar (all we have is a little old nylon string), P. (11) used a little rhythm shaker and sang, and M. (8) sang and gave out posters to those who gave donations. Their first performance was a great success, and many people came to talk with them and compliment them!

The Miracle Reward!
       From their singing that day, the children got half of the income, tithed it, and were thrilled! They paid for all of us to go swimming, and still had quite a bit left, with which they wanted to buy a little pool table (pocket billiards) game. We tried, of course, to encourage them to use it for something more useful--for example, saving up for a guitar--but we wanted to keep our word that they could decide what to do with this first income, as long as it wasn't something bad. Still, we continued to pray that the Lord would work in their hearts on this matter. Meanwhile they made phone calls themselves to some shops to find prices on pool tables, and discussed their plans for a few days.
       Then one day we delivered some clothes to a friend who was taking provisions to Romania. She is a Christian lady who also helps us sometimes with children's clothes from her shop. She was having a get-together for the young teens in her town, which she organizes once a week in the basement of their church to minister to them. They asked if we could come, and half an hour later our boys were faced with about 15 to 20 young teens who sat on the floor to listen to them sing! They really liked our kids' singing and clapped along, and soon the priest himself came in and sat with them, clapping along too! Afterwards they started singing "Glory to the Father" in English for us! They asked us questions, so we gave testimonies and witnessed to them all, and they were so happy.
       Later the teens took our boys to the next room where they had a little pool table game (!) and they had lots of fun playing it. And guess what? The lady said, "I see your boys are really having fun playing that game, and the Lord put it on my heart that I should buy one for them. Would that be okay with you?" I could hardly believe it, and excitedly told her that the boys had been wanting to buy one, while I'd been praying they'd decide to save up for a guitar instead! She said, "Tell them to save their money for the guitar, and the Lord will supply the game!"
       It was such a reward to see the Lord working and answering prayer. It was such a testimony to the boys, too, of how real the Lord is and how He cares about us and will manifest Himself to us if we love Him and put Him first in our lives. Hallelujah!

Seeing the Lord Move in Witnessing
       In their singing they are meeting lots of precious people, and this has been some of the best fruit of it. People we've met come over to our apartment and we sit together, singing, witnessing, sharing the Word and praying. One girl we met was with the Family in Brazil eight years ago, and she had been praying to meet the Family again. When she came home with us, all the kids got so involved in showing her pictures and telling her things, showing her the videos, etc. When she watched the "New Worlds" video, she was fascinated and she cried through the whole salvation message and prayer.
       I was so thankful that the kids could experience this, as they saw the impact and power of our sample and message on a sheep. Also it showed them the power of our videos, as at times they can get familiar with them and get critical instead of really appreciating them. This girl has visited since, and the Lord is really using our contact with her and many other precious sheep to teach our children through feeding, witnessing to and winning them.
       What is most exciting about these witnessing experiences is that the boys get to partake of them in such a real and personal way, and that is what we have been praying for. We're so thankful for every moving of the Lord's Spirit and for every lesson and every verse coming alive that the kids can relate to!

* * *

The Word and Prayer Solve Our Problems!
From Abe and Maggie (TS), U.S.
Dear Family,
       God bless you! We love you! We wanted to write to encourage others that truly "All things work together for good" (Rom.8:28). The verse that really encouraged us when we first became TSers was "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not freely give us all things" (Rom.8:32).
       I (Abe) joined the Family in '72. Maggie joined in '75. Our kids have been in the Family their whole lives, which is why we're all alive and happy today! We've been TSers since October of '89, which makes it five years for us now (at the time of this writing). We've learned once again how far-reaching God's grace really is!

"Bye Bye Birdie"--Growing Up
       (From Maggie:) In making the transition from DO to TS status, the toughest emotion to work through was an intense feeling of being lost and abandoned. It had always been in the back of our minds that if the Family loved us and accepted us, then we knew God loved us. Then here was the Family seemingly casting us out. "Oh no! All is lost! We've sinned beyond redemption!"
       In retrospect, the lesson we needed to learn (and one which I believe has helped us to grow) was to keep Jesus in His proper place in our lives. For so many years, we had in effect relied on the Family to be our link to God, when of course only Jesus can fill the role of "mediator." The Lord wanted us to grow up.
       One night when I was listening to Abe read the Kidz Komic "Bye Bye Birdie" to our little girls, I realized it had already happened in our personal life. The window had been closed and now we had to grow up and fend for ourselves. We were so "spoiled" by Dad and had become such fat lazy little birds. It was a real shock at first, but oh so necessary to our growth! It was a real blessing to renew our personal link with the Lord, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that we were still desperately lonely for "someone with skin on!" Ha! We missed our brethren.
       As far as the reaction of our children then, most of them were too young to understand reclassification. The older ones' reaction was similar to ours--a great sense of loss in not living and working with DO brothers and sisters anymore. Mostly loneliness--we were all feeling kind of alone and afraid. As I explained earlier, we had been leaning on the Family for too long and not leaning hard enough on Jesus. I know with my whole heart we needed this to shake us up, but of course it's always difficult at the time.

Adapting to a Small Home
       Getting set up from a practical point of view was easy in some respects and tough in others! The easy part (in our personal case) was getting a place to live and all the usual trappings that go with it. I think the Lord was having mercy on us. Fighting a battle on two fronts (physical and spiritual) might have done us in!
       The day-to-day running of the Home was tougher, though. We've learned such high standards in our Family that we really wanted to carry on with. But with seven kids (the oldest 13, and the youngest a newborn) and a daddy at a new System job, it was a monumental task! I was driving myself (and the kids) crazy, when the Lord showed me I was striving too hard in the flesh to keep every little jot and tittle of the law. We were trying to run our little personal Home just like it was a big Family Home and it was not working. (It was so miserable that one of my children still gets teary-eyed when I mention we need to make a schedule for something!)
       The thing that saved us was when we recalled some counsel from Peter Amsterdam in an old FSM. Peter talked about folks visiting Dad's Home and going away with set ideas of how things should be run, and getting very dogmatic about things (which of course leads to problems). The sad part was that people didn't realize things may have totally changed two weeks after their visit. Dad was always trying to improve the running of his Home and did whatever worked best in each new situation. I realized that this was the problem in our little Home.
       When we all sat down together and decided which physical standards were absolutely fundamental and necessary to our spiritual lives and discarded those which were not appropriate to our present situation, things began to go much easier and we began to accomplish more! For example, the Lord always blessed it when we put the Word first, even if it meant the breakfast dishes stayed a bit longer in the sink than I was used to!
       One thing that turned out to be a big blessing for me personally was that I got to be very close to my children. I was involved in their daily lives on every level. We all had to work very hard to maintain certain standards, but it brought us so close! Our kids became (and still remain) our best friends! I think it really helped them to grow and mature as well. I had no choice but to rely on my two oldest kids for help, and it absolutely amazed me how extremely capable they were for 12- and 13-year-olds. They were almost carrying an adult load in our Home. Now they're 16 and 17, and there's no doubt in my mind that they could run circles around Abe and me!

God's Faithful Supply
       (From Abe:) One of our main problems was condemnation thinking that Jesus didn't love us as much and couldn't supply during this time. It was a lie that the Enemy told us so we wouldn't claim God's promises of His constant supply. Even under this cloud, and Maggie being pregnant with number seven, the Lord supplied abundantly for us, for though we are faithless, "yet He remaineth faithful, for He cannot deny Himself" (2Tim.2:13). And "through it all," as Singing Sam sang, "we learned to trust in Jesus, and we learned to trust in God." Adam and Eve went out of the garden, as Dad has explained, but were a lot closer to the Lord through their struggle for survival than when they were in the garden. Lessons like this came to life, and continue to do so to this day.
       Let us just say that in that first year the Lord supplied $10,000 through a relative that never supported us before, two vehicles, a tent-trailer, money for the new baby, a house in a decent neighborhood, plus a survivable job to be able to help support the Family and ourselves comfortably.

Learning to "Shtick"
       After making it past the hurdles of the first year, new battles set in, and we realized they were going to be long-term! At first we made the mistake of bouncing around from job to job and house to house, which caused some tough times that taught us some hard-learned lessons. But through it all, the Lord saw us through!
       In one of our moves, we landed in an expensive situation too close to relatives and too far from fellowship! We were living in my old Egypt and only a miracle could turn things around. So that's what the Lord did!
       My best jobs have always been through friends, and in the case of my present job, a friend we witnessed to. As Dad said, "Witnessing always pays." Our friend is a professor at a university and owns his own business as well. It's a field of work requiring a good bit of education--way over my head--but nothing is too hard for Jesus. So we claimed Phil.4:13 and jumped in with both feet through this open door. It has turned out to be the best-paying job I've ever had, with benefits and an opportunity to support the Family like never before.
       Even though everyone else at work has a college degree and has paid the price of a devilish education (my boss has a doctorate in psychology!), I was put into the "desk" by the Lord! Now it's just a matter of "shticking" until He says otherwise. The good jobs (i.e., the ones that not only pay decent wages, but also don't disgust you so much by their values and attitudes that you can hardly bring yourself to show up for work each morning!) are hard to find. When we did find one, we felt we should stick to it, as it seemed to be God's set-up. Lord help us to do so, as that's one of our toughest trials--staying put after being on the road for Jesus for so many years!

"His Promise Is unto You and to Your Children" (Acts 2:39)
Of course, the other main concern we had from the beginning was for our children, who knew nothing but Family fellowship and had had full access to it all of their lives. The adjustment for them was not easy either, but the answer was to hold onto them tightly through the Word and love and plenty of good communication. This has always been the answer to success with our children, whether in the DO Family full time or as TSers. The Word and prayer solve our problems and will always bring us through to victory, especially out here with less Family fellowship. In the System it's even more important to keep the "absolutes" taught to us by Jesus, Dad and Mama. Some folks have felt discouraged and just let go, and have lost their children to a System willing to gobble them alive like the god Moloch. But if we fail our children, we'll fail the Lord, so we have to consider "what is that in thy hand?" Even though we make plenty of mistakes, He always brings us through if we refuse to give in to the Enemy and his discouragement.
       Our two oldest children became our closest fellowship. We depended on their help for four years, physically and spiritually, and claimed them for Jesus. By God's grace they made it through the fiery furnace of System school and outside influences. Recently, as our two oldest were given the blessing of forsaking all, to experience living in a DO Family Home and serving Jesus again full time for the first time in four years!       ({\ul \i Note from shepherds in North America}: God bless Abe and Maggie! It was a sacrifice for these dear parents to let their older children go, as it is for all of the TS parents of teens and YAs who move to a DO Home. God bless them!)
       Our children wrote testimonies of their experiences in System school which have been used as testimony in court against our enemies, who say we supply a substandard education for our children. I can only say, "By their fruits ye shall know them" (Mat.7:20). We are the fruit of the Lord and Dad and Mama's love, and we have the beautiful kids to prove that our way of life--which some said was only a temporary fad--has endured the test of time. "If this thing be of God, nothing shall stand against it!" (See Acts 5:38,39.)
       Needless to say, we miss our oldest two, but know that they need to move on in order to fulfill the plan which we believe the Lord had in mind when He gave them all of that training while helping Mom and Dad and their five little brothers and sisters. The Lord blessed their faithfulness to us, made a place of service for them in His bigger Family, and gave them a chance to serve Jesus full time. What else could we possibly ask for? He's answered all our prayers out here, not only for our physical needs, but our spiritual needs as well.
       Thank you for hanging onto us, Dad and Mama, so we could hang onto our children. If you hadn't made a place for us with TS status, we would have never made it! "Better to be a doorkeeper (TSer) in the house of our God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness" (Ps.84:10)--alone in the System with no hope. We are really thankful for the love shown us when our area shepherds visited our TS fellowship. It was like a healing balm, and we know the other TSers in our area feel the same! We love you so much! God bless you!
       Love, Abe and Maggie

* * *

Showers of Blessings on Small Homes
From Gabe and Heaven (TS), Japan
       We are excited to write to you about our past year as TSers! Our Home consists of just ourselves and four children, ages one to eight, and we are expecting number five in August.
       The transition from DO to TS status was not easy and seemed very unnatural, as I had never done anything like this since joining the Family. However, we had been praying about such a move for a couple of months before leaving, and received confirming Word about it from the Lord. We didn't feel we were moving into a compromised lifestyle, but that we just needed to get away for awhile.
       I had fallen into a rut of introspection from just wrestling with my own NWOs for many years, and it seemed like I wasn't growing or making much progress. Leadership had tried to help me and keep me challenged, but I was getting more and more frustrated with myself, and others must've been frustrated with me too. Everyone was as patient and loving as they could be, but I felt I needed some change.
       One of the reasons I wanted to get our own place was to just experiment and try new ideas, new keys and ways of reaching the field, especially in the areas of teaching English and using this as a follow-up tool to win lasting friends. I knew the Lord had given the key to reaching this tough field in the Folks' counsel on reaching Japan, but I felt I had yet to really try it, so this was our desire when we decided to take our step of faith.

Miracles Rained Down Around Us
       At first we felt some condemnation about our decision, and that we were "really out of it" and on the verge of receiving a spanking from God.--But at the same time, miracles were raining down all around us! We would no sooner pray for something than it was done. The more specifically we prayed, the more specifically He answered.
       One morning when we first got here our eight-year-old, Yuki, said, "Wow, I've never seen so many miracles before!" Every day was (and is still) such an adventure of praying and seeing the Lord work! Though on one hand we were feeling some condemnation, or were unsure of our move, and got lonely and missed fellowship, on the other hand it seemed the Lord was saying through so many answered prayers and miracles, "Come on, cheer up! I'm still with you!"
       Getting set up was exciting, as the Lord made it so easy for us. When we left our DO Home, we landed at Heaven's parents' place temporarily, and told them we would only be there 10 days. This was all by faith, but we asked the Lord to give us a place within that time, as that's the longest we would want to spend with her parents. We had made a list of all that we wanted in a house, including essential furnishings to get started (it's hard to find a furnished place in Japan), a garden, a good location close to town and public transport, enough room for someone else to live with us, close to a park, a deposit of only two months rent (usually five to seven months' rent is required before moving in), and to be able to move in right away. The Lord answered all these requests specifically, and her parents were shocked when we moved into our own place exactly 10 days after arriving! A real estate agent said something just like what we were looking for had become available the day before. The people moving had just built a new house and bought new furniture, so they would leave their other furniture for us!
       The house had nearly all that we needed as far as nice furnishings and kitchen supplies, but we needed a couch. A week or so later we put our name in a contest drawing where they were giving away a living room set in town, and they pulled our name out of hundreds of entries! It was a special day for us and the kids, as we had just prayed that morning for a living room set and the Lord supplied in this special way!
       We have witnessed the Lord's personal love and tender care for us in every way, and it has really broken our hearts and brought us much closer to Him. All that Dad has ever written about the advantages of small Homes and how God just seems to shower down His blessings has come to mind so often in our situation. The Lord supplied so easily and quickly for us in the beginning that by the end of our first four months we had only had to invest 10,000 yen (about $100) into home furnishings!

Counting Our Small-Home Blessings
       I don't know if I could possibly list all the advantages of living in a small Home that we have experienced, as there are so many, but one of the biggest is the simplicity of it all! The ease with which we can come to a decision about doing something or trying something, and how simple it is to carry it out, is such a big blessing! Here are some of the other blessings we've seen:
       --We're able to "plan our work and work our plan." We can make a plan and not have it easily or quickly disrupted or pre-empted.
       --To be able to experiment and try new ideas that the Lord gives is liberating! It seems so much more conducive to following the Lord's fresh and newest ideas and inspirations, which in return challenges us to want to pray more, hear from the Lord and expect miracles!
       --In the big Homes we were constantly faced with "emergencies" (financial or otherwise) that would take lots of time, or make it difficult to formulate and/or give much attention to new plans--those which could, in the long run, establish a solid support base, such as teaching or taking more time for follow-up. There are obviously fewer obstacles or delays in a smaller situation.
       --We have experienced a real strengthening of our faith muscles and a greater dependence on the Lord.
       --Word time and prayer time are both more meaningful to us. The Word becomes more alive and feeding when we're pouring out a lot and in the battle. When the Word is simply a scheduled thing every morning, you can really miss things, but when we are clinging to the Word for life daily, it becomes real and a part of us.
       --We have more time for the Word in the morning, as we can adjust our schedules more easily.
       --I've even had more time to work on a mail ministry, which has started to be a support again.
       --Supporting a small Home is quite easy as expenses are lower. I only have to teach about 10-12 hours a week to support us.
       --We're able to provision just as easily for a small family as for a big school. It's easier for people to understand who we are because we're such a small unit, and fewer questions are asked.
       --We have more time with the children in a small Home, and more time to talk about things as they come up. We have our hands full with the children, but since I usually teach English in the late afternoon and early evening, we have our parent time in the morning.

Children Thrive on Small Home Responsibilities
       The kids have grown a lot and learned more responsibility in a small Home. We teach each one a little responsibility or job (from three years and up), and they take their jobs seriously. We are shocked to see how much Yuki and Megumi (8 and 5) have grown, and how much initiative they take here.
       In some ways, Yuki does as much as a JETT in a school Home. He comes up with ideas on how to do things, and reminds us of shopping needs or errands, etc. Megumi does such a beautiful job of helping wash dishes, and she has real organizational ability which we had never seen before. More is expected of them here, and they want to do more. It's inspiring to see how much more they've grown in a small Home.
       We don't send them to public school and have no plan to do so. We went directly to the local authorities when we got here, and the local school respects our not sending them to school. They've even brought us the school books for Yuki to study at home!

Our Teaching Ministry
       The real challenge in Japan is not finding people who want to study English or even in making it pay, but finding the receptive students and having your follow-up pay off immediately. We prayed for people who were worthy of our time and who would be paying as much as possible per hour.
Group classes: When we first arrived, I organized four group classes for business people, with five to ten people in each group. I submitted a very nice-looking résumé and explanation of my classes to them, and asked them to commit themselves to one year of classes for a set amount per month or per hour.
       They agreed to this, and for almost one year now most have stuck with their promise, even though some students have dropped. They now want to continue the class longer than the full year. Two men in the group have become good friends, respect our work and have helped with things like a 50% discount on air tickets.
       During the time we were preparing the class curriculum we constantly committed it to the Lord, asking Him to close any doors that were not of Him. When it finally came through, we felt sure of God's leading in it.
Private classes: The private classes allow more freedom because we ask the students to pay for only one month in advance. We found that just going out and meeting people one on one, and giving them a little flyer explaining that I'm looking for students, was the simplest and best way to meet people. I think Japanese like to be met almost "accidentally," or to feel our first meeting with them is special and personal, and not that they are just another student that you're trying to dig up. Personal face-to-face contact is nice, and you can more easily discern who is sheepy.
       We have met most of our students after praying together specifically, and going to the place where the Lord leads for that day, which is just as miraculous as any open door that comes from a witnessing or provisioning adventure! When we go out in our own strength without really acknowledging the Lord, it just doesn't happen, so it's really fun and challenging!
       Most of the students that we teach or have taught have gotten saved and become friends. The closer a student becomes as a friend, after they get saved, the freer we feed them the Word and witness to them. The Lord is always faithful to open doors for witnessing. One student who studied for six months got saved and loves the Word, but he has since moved away. He is now on our mailing list, and gets fed regularly!
Our curriculum: We are able to use the Word a lot in our curriculum, especially with some of the advanced students, and it really bears fruit. We give one girl a constant dose of Mountain Streams, then she explains it in English as part of the class. "The Big Lie" was one of the most shocking things she had ever read, and she couldn't stop talking about it. She said, "Why do our schools lie to us?" She's saved and very hungry for the Word; we give her a new stack of material to read every week.
       Our classes often turn into counseling sessions, as the students pour out their hearts about wives or husbands, boyfriends or girlfriends, problems at work, etc., and they are so appreciative of our answers and counsel. They shower us with gifts to show their appreciation. The mother of one student just can't give us enough; she's always sending us something for the kids. Most of our students are upper-class business people or from upper-class homes, and we feel they could really help us in the future if we present them with special needs.
God bless you! We love you!
       Love, Gabe and Heaven

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Lessons Learned as a Small Home
From Abner and Promise (TS), Japan
Our Vision Kept Us Going
       The biggest battles for us at first were spiritual. We felt so alone, discouraged, condemned, and fearful to do anything. But when we got into the Word and had desperate prayer, we felt encouragement and power--the thrill of the battle that made us want to press on and fight and really accomplish something for the Lord! Our vision was to reach Japan through personal witnessing, so that meant that every person we met was important and could be the key to another door! This kind of vision is what kept us going through some very difficult times, as without a vision the people perish (Pro.29:18). It came through the Word, and through our then taking initiative and seeing the Lord bless every little effort.
       Other trials included frustration in not being able to do as much as we wanted, and the fear of being alone, thinking we were accomplishing nothing. So many times, all we could do was teach the kids, clean the house, take the kids for get-out and teach a little English. But when we did what we could, then the Lord was always faithful to do something. We'd meet someone important, or make some breakthrough that inspired us to keep fighting.
       We found that when we took care of the children's needs and got Word and prayer, we would accomplish more than if we just tried out of frustration to do something on our own. Then at other times, the Lord totally inspired us to attack full time to get a particular job done.
       For example, when we were working on a project to publish the message, we were also planning a Christmas party for 100 people, as well as teaching English every day, homeschooling the children, and getting out a lot of posters and tapes. During that "red alert" time I was constantly busy from early morning to one or two at night for two months, but the Lord gave the strength when we had to go through with it and get it done!
But most of the time we just went calmly about our business of teaching the kids in the morning, witnessing or having get-out in the afternoon, and teaching English or conducting follow-up (or both) in the evenings.

Endure Hardness as a Good Soldier
       Our methods of witnessing have changed some during the last few years. At first we postered, taught English and sold tapes, but being on our own with small children, we weren't getting enough support, so the Lord supplied more teaching jobs. I didn't even need to seek them out (they came mostly from friends or contacts), but it wasn't easy. That has been one of the biggest trials of all, to teach English so much and seemingly accomplish so little for the Lord. Dad's testimony of teaching school for three years, and the Lord telling him to "endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ," has really helped me to keep going. I didn't know how to teach and had to learn as I went along, and had to have desperate prayer and Word before each class. I didn't understand why it was such a battle, just teaching, but it must be that the Lord had a bigger vision than I did, and through it He was going to get some great victories in my life, as well as help me reach others.
       The vision of wanting to touch each person with a message or sample of Jesus kept me going through those years of teaching. Classes and places kept changing all the time, but the Lord was faithful to always open up something when we had a need. Learning to be faithful, and be in the System yet not of it, was hard. But it was good training, as I couldn't be lazy. I had to be diligent, on time and a good sample, as I was constantly on stage and dealing with owners of businesses, hospitals, government officials, etc.

Witnessing as a Small Home
       We did a lot of personal witnessing and follow-up. We didn't have much of a sample, such as a school, or a Christian work to ask people to support, so sometimes we'd just witness as friends, or show our tools. Sometimes we befriended people as we witnessed to them, and a lot of these people became the sponsors and supporters for our projects. They sponsored sets of tools for orphanages and kindergartens, Christmas parties for support and as a witness, as well as projects to get the message out that cost thousands of dollars to produce.
       So although we had no big supporter or king, the Lord kept raising up a lot of somebodies to help when we needed it. The Lord was faithful to supply all kinds of people, like Dad said--a king for every area--food, money, personal needs, advice, visas, open doors, etc.

Small Home Experiences for Children
       It was difficult doing everything: homeschooling the children, supporting ourselves, being missionaries, learning the language, etc. But we had the conviction that the children were going to be in the DO Family, and if they weren't now, then we'd act as though they were, by having a similar schedule and growing them up in the Word and witnessing.
       Our kids have been our biggest attraction, and because of them we have been welcomed into so many people's lives, and thereby able to witness to them, or find ways for the Lord to use them to further His work. The children have gained a lot of experience in visiting, witnessing and postering, but because of the language, not as much experience in really winning souls and feeding others.
       Perhaps a weak point in being on our own is that we've been limited in our sample. But our children constantly stand up for their convictions, such as telling neighbor children or people we visit or encounter about food, candy, unclean food, homeschooling, etc. That has given Ambrosia (12) conviction, and she can now lovingly share about these things in Japanese. David (4) has much less tact and is constantly telling others that smoking, playing with guns, fighting, and saying bad words are bad! But even that ends up in a good witness, as people ask us why we don't do this or that, etc.

All Things Are Possible to Him That Believeth
       If we were to say any special word to others who might be beginning to be on their own, pioneering a new ministry, or starting a small Home, it would be this: It can be so thrilling!--So fight any discouragement and frustration right from the start! Because, contrary to being "put on the shelf," new aspects of your life for the Lord can now begin, as now you have the opportunity to use all the good training and Word you have in new ways, and put it to good use in whatever ways the Lord leads.
       You can be so inspired to do things you haven't been able to do in bigger Homes. You can pioneer many new methods in any ministry, and the Lord is going to now have to use you in many ways, in many kinds of ministries, and it is thrilling! "When we pray, things will happen, things will be different, and God will answer prayer!" (MOP 97:93). You can now follow the Lord in all the ways you have always dreamed of that may not have been possible in other situations.
       Perhaps the Lord will use you to pioneer something that will be useful for all the Family, or methods that will change the world, or be a witness that will reach a whole country, if not the whole world. All things are possible to him that believeth! Also, being in a smaller situation gives time to be able to learn needed lessons and get over problems that we have, as the Lord gives such strength and power as we lean on Him alone. For us personally, we needed some time to learn not to rest on others' faith or drive, to learn to appreciate our shepherds, and to do a lot of things that others used to do.
       We now have to do everything and learn everything. Many times in the course of one day we have to be the cook, driver, teacher, get-out overseer, witnesser, provisioner, dishwasher, and do follow-up, business and mail ministry, etc.
       For example, although Promise would perhaps prefer to have someone tell her what to do, she is now in charge of the kitchen, clean-up, and home schooling the children. She does handyman work, organizing, neighbor relations, club work, teaching and witnessing. Organizing the kids' school was a big job for three different ages, but she dug into the Family materials and learned how to do it. She didn't have this much responsibility in a large DO Home and her first reaction was "I can't," but she learned it. She had to change to being a pioneer mother on the mission field with only the Word for her encouragement and instruction. But being out on her own, in a "sink or swim" situation, helped her to fight.
       We were in constant contact with people in the System through our ministry and teaching, and so we needed extra rest, Word, and desperate prayer. With all of our contact with the System we had to be aggressive, and have the vision that we needed to use each situation as an opportunity for the Lord, or else we wouldn't be any different from them. So we witnessed a lot, and fed people spiritually, so that it wasn't just teaching English, and this kept us inspired spiritually.
       It is encouraging to look back and see how the Lord used so many little things and little people to keep His work going, and that faithfulness in a lot of little things adds up to a lot in the end. Now we are trying to live more of the faith life, not depend on teaching, and live for the Word and trust the Lord. Thank God we have had the Letters and other Family pubs that were the source of power and wisdom and strength to do it!
       We love you!
Love, Abner and Promise

More on the Advantages of a Small Home
From James and Charity, Thailand
       (Although most of this mag contains testimonies from TSers, we'd like to include this one from James and Charity, who pioneered a smaller DO Home of 17 members in a provincial city in Thailand.)
       From Charity: I have always liked living in a small Home for many reasons. One is that we have more quality time with the children. Being in a smaller situation allows us more time to sit down with any of the children, and talk with them, pray for them, or read with them as the need arises. We are not so "bound" by big groups or schedules, etc. Here, when things come up, we just pray and talk about it right away. I am able to help more on a daily basis and be more involved in the children's training and care. This has been a big blessing for me, and the kids seem much happier.
       We have also been growing closer as an adult population, counseling and praying about things together when they come up, and trying to involve everyone. In previous, bigger Homes, we had especially felt bad at times about the childcare people, who I felt could sometimes feel quite isolated and separated from things.
       In being more closely involved with our children, we encounter different battles with their behavior. We parents are learning to work together regarding their care, and we have been able to go to the Word together on these things, which has borne very good fruit.
       The kids have had a lot more exposure to System kids and their influences, which is something that we have had to read about and discuss with them. However, I personally feel that if they can learn to fight these influences rather than only "be protected" from them, then they will ultimately be stronger for it!
       We often have Word time together as a Home, including the children. This has also been very inspiring and is so much more unifying for all of us, as there doesn't seem to be any big "division" between the kids, adults, the teamwork, etc. The Lord has been teaching us all how to work in counsel, humility and prayer together. Of course, we have had our share of battles and difficulties, but having the time to deal with and talk about them right away has been so worthwhile.
       We have also seen so much in the Word on the advantages and benefits of living in smaller Homes! We haven't been looking for it, but it just stands out. We also have seen how much the Life with Grandpa stories apply with our children so much more, as a part of the daily Home life.
       I have personally felt that I have been enjoying my service for the Lord much more, not feeling this big "pressure" that I felt before, that spilled over and resulted in getting "up tight" with people or the kids. Just learning to be happy and enjoy my service for the Lord has been a major revolution!
       One of the reasons I wanted to pioneer was that I wanted my younger children to be raised witnessing and interacting with people and learning the language and culture. My first three children were raised that way--always out witnessing, performing, and on the road. I feel that this training has developed into quite a strength for them. Although I do feel that there are also benefits in "training programs" and activities and special pushes in the big Homes, it has always been my heart's desire that our children's thrills and happiness would come more from witnessing and winning and reaching others--seeing the Spirit move with miracles and answers to prayer, all of which is happening in our lives now.
Being in a small Home, the children are much more a part of all that. Instead of having to think up activities and things to keep them happy and inspired in the Word, it's "just happening" and we are seeing things come alive through obedience to the Word.
       I feel, after having worked with teens for a long time, that small Homes will fill that need in our young people's lives in the training in how to win and witness and feed the sheep. It also helps the Word become something that applies to them daily! I don't mean in any way to say these things to undermine all that has been poured into our young people. It just seems that the Lord knows what we and they need next, having learned so many things over the past years living in large Homes and combos.

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       From James: Being in a small Home has been more conducive to praying and counseling together when things come up, and for the plans for the next day or next week. Living in a small Home, we have had a lot of things happening quite quickly with home improvements, visitors, etc. These same things also happen in a big Home, but in a big Home it can sometimes be difficult to get the whole Home or even just the teamwork together. However, here we have been able to sit down and pray and hear from the Lord as things come up.
       Even though our finances have been quite tight, and we've had a lot of expenses getting set up (especially because we did not have many provisioning contacts at first), it has not been such a big problem because the need is not such a mountain either. Our overhead is reasonable, and even if we are a bit tight, we are able to tackle things as they come up. The Lord has been and is continuing to do mighty miracles. Thank God for His supply, and thanks to our Family for their donations and help.

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       From YA David: I like living in a small Home because I feel that everybody, even the older children, carry more responsibility on their own, so they feel more a part of the Home and they have more of a say. They are not just another number following a schedule, but they are involved in the whole picture of helping each other and reaching others.

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       From Thai Praise: Since we are fewer people, if someone makes a mistake or something comes up, everyone knows about it and it can be prayed for and worked out right away.

       From Mike: For me, being in a small Home has been a big blessing, as I was a little frustrated living in a big Home, wanting my children to have more training as disciples. It's not that I feel we have "attained" in this situation, but it is more conducive to spending more quality time with the children and pouring into them.
       My relationship with the Word has become more alive. In the past, when I would read the black and red MO Letter Volumes, I would often read them from an historical viewpoint--like this is the way things were: to pioneer Homes, win national disciples and establish an indigenous church. So seeing all this happen here and now has been very inspiring for me!
       We have developed a very personal relationship with everyone here. Though there are only 17 people living in this Home, it is very wonderful and so much happens! I feel that sometimes more happens in one week to affect my life and my children's lives than has happened in some months in large Home situations.

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Our Kids Like Our Small Home!
       From Angela (11): I wasn't used to being in a small Home, so at first I didn't like the idea and was unhappy about coming here. Now I like it for several reasons. We have more responsibilities but also are given more privileges. We get to do lots of fun things, lots of fun work, and it's quieter! Ha! We also get to go out more, mostly witnessing or sometimes as a learning experience, such as shopping with an adult. I really like it here! Also, there are less dishes to wash, as before it seemed to take forever to do dishes.--Ha!

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       From Stevie (11): I like it much better because we get to go out more and I have been able to spend more time with my parents.

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       From Angel (12): I like it here because it is quieter and you never get overlooked, as it's not a big crowd!

Copyright 1996 The Family