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FSM 303       DO/TS
Growing Up Witnessing!
--Early Family Life as Seen Through the Eyes of Our Teens, YAs, and Second-Generation Adults

© November 1996, The Family, Zurich, Switzerland

       "MY FONDEST MEMORIES!--Leading People to the Lord!"       2
       "THOSE WERE SPECIAL DAYS!"       5
       "THE VISION WAS IN THE AIR--And We Caught It!"       11
       LEARNING ON THE ROAD--Reaction to FSM 263, "Educating Our Children"       11
       A SHY GIRL, PRINCE AND A KING!--Tales of a Missionary Childhood in Exotic Asia       11
       TOO YOUNG TO GO WITNESSING?--Early Memories as a Pioneer's Partner!       13
       "AS A CHILD, OUR AGE DIDN'T MATTER.--The Lord Could Still Use Us!"       14
       ENCOURAGEMENT FOR PARENTS!--It Doesn't Take Much, Just Letting the Lord Shine!       18

"MY FONDEST MEMORIES! --Leading People to the Lord!"

{\b \i From YA Stella, of Micha and Sally}
       Growing up in the Family has been the most exciting, delightful, fabulous and fantastic thing in the world for me, and I'm convinced that it can be the same for every child! It's not always easy, nor will it ever be, as it's a rough and rugged road, but I believe that the foundation in the Word and witnessing that my parents gave me as a child is what's carried and pulled me through a lot of the battles I had while growing up.
       Ever since I can remember, my parents placed lots of emphasis on the Word and witnessing. Everything we did, read and memorized was centered around the Word and sharing it with others. They taught us to redeem the time by memorizing whenever we could, and they were a sample of that themselves--memorizing in the car on the way out witnessing, in a café when taking a break, etc. They were faithful to have good devotions and Word time with us in the mornings and before bed, and as often as possible during the day.
       When we would go on road trips, we would spend an hour or so before going witnessing working on our scholastics, which was based on the Childcare Handbooks. We would also help add up the stats at the end of the day, or help with the shopping and other day-to-day chores. My parents would do what they could to make sure that the things we did were turned into learning experiences. I don't remember having any actual classroom and desk schooling until I was 7 and attended public school for a time.
       ({\ul \i Editor's note}: In recent years we've seen the need to put more emphasis on scholastics for our children. In order to help us keep the proper emphasis on this, the Charter requires that our children and teens get a minimum number of hours of scholastics each week. [EDITED: "See the Charter, pages 122-124."] A specific number of hours of scholastics doesn't always mean hours of "desk-sitting"--as there are many other ways in which students can learn basic scholastics. As many home schoolers will testify, home schooling opens the door for learning from many different sources and experiences, as is described above. However, you do need to have a consistent learning program whereby the child can make steady progress in each subject. Remember to keep a good record of the scholastic experiences your children have, whether you are using a program such as CLE, or using Family materials.)

"I Knew Prayer Worked! I'd See It!"
       Witnessing was something that we did on a daily basis, and not going out was the rare exception. When I was 3 to 5 years old, we lived in France and would go on frequent road trips, which I always looked forward to. Camping, eating out, and going to special and famous places was always fun and exciting. When I was little, we didn't have all the wonderful tools that we have now. In fact, we just had a few MO Letters for distribution, so most of the time I would just go find someone to talk to and lead them to the Lord, whether it was on the bus or train or on a park bench.
       As neither of my parents are musicians, we didn't have a family show group, though when I was 8 we teamed up with another family and did quite a bit of busking, which was fun in lots of ways. But the fondest memories I have are of sitting down with people, witnessing to them and leading them to the Lord.
       Being out witnessing was a thrill, as I could see the Lord answering prayer all the time! I knew that prayer worked, because I'd see the results with my own eyes! I knew the Word was true, because I'd see it work and change people's lives!

"I Understood What the Family Was About"
       The beauty of having grown up with witnessing as the center of my life is that from the time I was small, I understood what the Family was about--witnessing and sharing Jesus with others. I knew that it was exciting, fulfilling, inspiring, and that it was my job! And I didn't just know it from sitting behind a desk and reading about it--but from my own personal experience of being out on the front lines.
       Witnessing and the Word were what I grew up with, and they were what kept me going, along with learning to love Jesus through His Word!--It was simple, it was easy for me to believe, obey and practice, and I loved every minute of it! My prayer is that each and every one of our precious children can find the fulfillment that I, and I'm sure everyone else, have found in witnessing!


{\b \i From Melody, of Zach and Lamb}
       Whenever I think back on my earliest memories of "living mobile," it brings me such happiness, as I remember the joy, fun, fulfillment and challenges we experienced in full-time life for the Lord! It was so exciting for us, as we were always witnessing! It didn't depend on a set schedule of when or where we would go, because even just when stopping at a campground to wash our laundry and empty the porta-potty, there was always an opportunity for witnessing!
       My parents always emphasized the need for us to continually be a good sample so that people would see Jesus in us. Even at a young age, I understood that and felt the responsibility we had. Of course, like any kids, we failed plenty, but the conviction was instilled in our hearts to want to do things for Jesus!
       I really admire my parents for the faith they had in hitting the road, because they wanted their children to have the best heritage possible--that of living for the Lord, being trained in His Word, building a foundation in the life of faith, and learning to have a sincere love and desire to reach the lost for Him.
       We were four children and lived in a van and caravan till I was about five years old. I often think about those days, and wonder in amazement how in the world our parents managed to raise support, witness, care for and teach us how to witness, as well as handle the multitude of details that need attention when raising small children, all under the age of six. This testimony expresses my thanks and great appreciation for my dear parents (and all our faithful parents and teachers) for their faithful and unconditional love, and the sacrifices they made to teach and train us in the way we should go.
       Our main method of witnessing was singing and busking, as well as performing our little "Heart Skit!" Our little show was very simple--which is what encourages me that anyone can do it. It was the happiness and love that won people's hearts. Often we would sing in prisons, hospitals, homes for the elderly, etc., and it was beautiful to see how just a little bit of love would go such a long way.

A Hug That Meant So Much!
       I remember one show we did in a correctional institution. After singing, we kids would usually go and talk with the people. I talked with one young man who looked so sad and lonely. Although, as a little kid, I didn't understand the deepness of his pain and the loneliness he must have been experiencing, I sat by him and gave him a hug. I can't remember anything I said, but when I gave him a hug, he put his head on my shoulder and cried. It was just a little bit of love that meant so much to him! Experiences like these are what showed me the power of the Lord and His Love, which can heal any heart and change any person.
       When I became a teen and started to care for children myself, my heart's desire was for them to be able to experience what I did as a child. I believe it means the world to them--at least it did for me. I'm so thankful that I had the opportunity to live my early years on the road, witnessing and reaching out to people. I believe it's done a lot for me, and that it's the reason why I'm in the Family today.

Learning What Being in the Family Means
       Witnessing as a child was what helped me to understand what being in the Family means--giving your life to reach others with the love of Jesus. Helping to get people saved and knowing they would go to Heaven after this life was so important to me. I used to feel that Jesus was really proud of me. Even though I was very young, I knew it was my duty to help that person get saved; it was such a fulfilling thing for me.
       As a child you have such simple faith, you don't worry whether or not this person is an atheist, or what they're going to think of you, whether they'll receive it or reject it, etc. All you know is that Jesus loves them and they need Him in their heart. I know our children can be such an asset to our witnessing, as just their simplicity and conviction can win the hardest of hearts--souls that adults would find very difficult to reach! Most importantly though, I'm sold on giving our children a foundation in witnessing and teaching them to have a love for the lost and souls.--And the way to do it is by them getting out there and seeing the need.
       One last point I'd like to bring out is the importance of instilling the Word in our children. As kids we used to memorize a lot. When we were just two, three and four years old I remember learning Hebrews 11, whole chapters from the Psalms, etc., and to this day I still remember them. My dad always read us stories from the Bible; most of the time, it wasn't from a child's picture Bible, but from a large print KJV, and we read the "real stuff." I remember being fascinated by everything.
       I really believe that giving our children a solid foundation in the Word is equally as important as witnessing, as that is really the only thing that will keep us going right through the end, and it's what gave us the conviction to witness. Praise the Lord!


{\b \i From Lorraine, of Tim and Praise}
       I think that nearly all of us Family young people have had outsiders who've seen us witness or who we've witnessed to, tell us that they have never seen or heard of any other young people who have the same boldness, conviction, knowledge of the Bible and desire to witness as we have. The people that I've heard say how impressed they were by the way we witness were from all walks of life--university students to rich middle-aged people, other missionaries, etc.
       I'd wonder why people would say things like this about us, when witnessing comes so naturally and easily for us. After thinking about it, I can only attribute it to all the training and experience in witnessing which my parents and teachers gave me almost from the time I was born. Some of my earliest memories are of walking through trains passing out literature to the passengers, smiling and saying little phrases, like "Jesus loves you." I think I was about two or three, and that was the beginning of my life as a "little" missionary and witnesser.
       I remember when I was small, on weekends or during school vacations we'd dress in our cute matching outfits which made everyone think that my older sister and I were twins, and we'd drive into town and busk and litness on the streets. My dad would play the guitar and we had a little sign explaining who we were. We'd attract crowds, because no one can resist two little kiddos singing and smiling away.
       A lot of people I helped witness to when I was little became our supporters for years when we were on the field. Just recently I had the opportunity to meet some of these precious people whom I had last seen when I was maybe seven years old, and it was thrilling! They remembered me as "the little kid who prayed with them."

Languages, Socialization and Superior Education
       When we were in Western Europe and plans were made for our family to move to the mission field of India, we kids had a big part in raising the needed funds by accompanying our parents out witnessing. It wasn't a chore at all--it was fun for us to be out, because we were indoors for school so often, and getting out and going places was a great education and fun in itself.
       Kids pick up languages easily. I remember not speaking a word of German, but I learned in a short time how to lead people to the Lord, and it was my job to pray with each person we met. I remember being shy at first, but I soon got used to being out and meeting people, and learned not to be afraid to talk with people and other kids my age whom I'd meet. In witnessing I'd meet and talk with so many different people that I can say that socializing was never something I was deprived of!
       Since then, I've been to quite a few mission fields, including India, South America and Eastern Europe. Witnessing to people from different cultures has taught me firsthand more than any geography or social studies class could ever teach about these countries and their religions, traditions, languages, etc.

Learning What It Means to Live for Jesus
       Being out witnessing taught me a lot as a child; it especially showed me at a young age what it meant to live for Jesus. For some time I was attending a public school, and at the suggestion of our parents, my sister and I began praying with our friends at school. We were seven or eight years old, and we'd do this all on our own with no adults around to encourage this. We'd feel so good about it, and knew we were really doing something for the Lord! We were able to witness and win souls on our own as kids, because our parents had taken us out and shown us how from the time we were very young.
       This is all to the credit and in appreciation of the parents and teachers who took the time to witness with us and teach us how to win people to the Lord. I know that if our young children have more opportunity to witness now, it will be a valuable foundation for what they'll later, Lord willing, have as their career in life--serving Jesus!


{\b \i From Tiago, of Simon and Naarah Black}
       As a kid growing up in the Family, witnessing was the "in" thing! Witnessing was part of our daily lives. Human nature is such that when one performs a series of operations over and over again, it becomes dull and boring and unchallenging--that is, of course--only if those operations are dull, boring and unchallenging in themselves. When everyone's on fire for the Lord, it creates positive peer pressure which you don't want to be left out of. The most wonderful thing about it was that witnessing was a family affair! Everyone in the Home was involved and responsible for making it work.
       One of the main witnessing methods we used as kids was group singing. My earliest memories of witnessing are those of my dad and mom, our helpers, and all of us kids (6 or 7 at the time) performing at many different places, such as schools, orphanages, homes for the aged, shopping malls, radio, TV and even for some top social and governmental gatherings, such as for the ambassador to France during the Christmas season of 1982 or 1983.
       Those were special days! Getting prepared for our next day's appointments was a family affair, or, I might add, a Home affair! (Those were the days when our Home consisted of 2-3 families.) If you'd been in our Home observing us as we prepared for our performances you might've been surprised! Without much advance notice, our schedule and our priorities as a Home would change each time we had a performance coming up. And since we had so many witnessing opportunities, it wasn't too hard to keep our Home's priorities straight.
       Once we knew when and where we were going to be performing, we all got together and prayed and planned. We would usually prepare a day earlier. We all helped Mom iron and neatly lay out our clothes. Dad would come around with his guitar for one last practice run, then we all pitched in to gather, sort and count the literature we planned to pass out the next day.
       The way our school time was organized was simple: we usually went witnessing for half a day every other day, so we were all busy with our home schooling and our other duties the other days. Sometimes we'd have a solid week or two booked for shows. In that case we would make up for time lost back home by not having too many shows the next week, or by having two or three extra hours on our homework.

An Angel for Encouragement!
       The Lord allowed many situations to happen for our encouragement while out witnessing, such as the time we met an angel when I was eight. We had just finished witnessing when another sister and I went to buy a snack. We didn't have much money, and we were waiting in line behind an old man who was talking away with everyone. After ten minutes, this big old man turned to me with a grin on his face and said: "I always wanted to do something good for someone ... here you go, sonny," handing me a large donation. I was dumbfounded! As soon as he went out the door, we both ran out the same door to thank him. This big old man? He was gone! He was nowhere to be found!


{\b \i From Peace Livingstone, of Andre and Praise}
       Like a lot of other YAs, I spent most of my earliest years traveling with my parents during the early pioneering days of the Family in Europe. We traveled and lived in 8 countries during the first 6 years of my life.
       Both of my parents tried to do their best to faithfully witness and get out the Word, in the form of lit, or by personal witnessing and sharing verses from the Bible to the sheep we met.
       In those days, the Family didn't have nearly as much of an abundance of tools as we are now blessed with, such as the posters and the audio and video tapes. Nor did we have as many beautiful follow-up tools, such as the Mountain Streams, DFs, Living Waters, Treasures and the GP Daily Might. All we had was the MLs, which were distributed to the millions by all those who faithfully litnessed.
       It was the Word from Dad in Letters like "Shiners or Shamers," "Rolled Gold" and "Crystal Streams" that motivated our parents to "get on the ball" for Jesus, and get out the wonder working words, "millions for the billions." Regardless of whether or not they felt it was their specific talent or calling to litness, they would faithfully be out on the streets day after day, and week after week (sometimes even for years) with the lit and their Bibles, with their only purpose being to obey and be faithful to Jesus' commandment to "preach the Gospel to every creature."
       As a Family we've gained a lot of wisdom through the experiences of our first early disciples--our parents. And now together with their wisdom and experience, along with the "new bottle" fire of our growing population of our generation of teens, JETTs and children, we can still set this world afire for God and expect even greater miracles to happen in our witnessing!

The Amazing Faith of Our Fathers!
       As a young girl, one of the things I always admired in both my parents was their crazy faith, and their determination to obey and heed Dad's call to get out the Word and be a witness everywhere we went, during all times of the day and even night. There were sacrifices involved in doing this, but the feelings of satisfaction that came from witnessing still greatly outweighed any personal sacrifice of time and energy on their part.
       My dad was a good example of being on the ball and taking advantage of every opportunity to get out the lit. He had a gift of knowing how to approach all kinds of people and give them not only a good witness, but also a good "sales pitch" and ask for donations and support. As a result, he was almost always a top shiner in both lit distributed and donations in every Home we lived in, God bless him!
       My mom spent her time mostly in childcare, which was her main ministry in the Homes we lived in. She also took me, and sometimes other younger children in our Homes, out witnessing with her, weather permitting. Even during her pregnancies she still tried her best to get out and do what she could to teach us kids how to approach people and witness.
       Those days were exciting times, and I remember clearly how every disciple went out almost daily. Witnessing was everybody's job regardless of other talents, or whether they were a top shiner or not. My mom made an effort to get out almost daily (even though it was for fewer hours than the singles and those who didn't have kids), and she had our children's schedule centered around witnessing and other witnessing activities that we could do around the Home, and even incorporated into our scheduled "school time" while we stayed back.

Our Flexible Home Life and Schooling
       Our schooling was always a priority, but it was never so regimented that we were bound to keeping strict daily hours of schooling during certain hours of the day. We had our home schooling dispersed throughout the day, along with some set periods of "study time" which allowed for in-depth study of certain subjects from our curriculum.
       Most of my early education continued throughout the day as we learned different life skills through other facets of our Home life, similar to how we home school our kids in most Homes today. We learned to take on responsibility and care for others while still quite young.
       As for schedules in the Homes I lived in as a child, we worked everything around our witnessing hours. That meant getting out witnessing, having sheep come over to our Home, and having babes and catacombers to teach Bible classes to was a part of our everyday life, and even as a child I remember really enjoying it! It seemed like everything was centered around witnessing in our Homes. Our evenings together were the highlight of the day, as we would unite as a Home to share testimonies of what happened during the witnessing that took place each day.

The Joy of Daily Witnessing!
       Witnessing was lots of fun. My mom always made it challenging and something that I very much looked forward to! By going out almost every day I would learn the language of the country I lived in quickly. By the age of five I could speak basic Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and French--just from going out and learning to witness to people. Another advantage of going out often was that I also learned how to approach people and make friends easily, so this was a good method of socialization.
       When out witnessing, if my mom sensed that I was getting a little bored with using the same approach for distributing the lit, she would challenge me by starting a little game to spark some inspiration and give me a needed "boost." For example, one game she often used went like this: She'd say, "How about giving the lit to all the ladies wearing a fur coat?" or "all the men wearing a necktie" or "all the young girls wearing red." She had other little games like this one to make litnessing all the more fun and different, so that I rarely had a chance to get bored!
       I remember a few times I dressed up in a colorful little outfit and put on clown make-up, and the results were terrific! People gave very generous donations. Who could resist the sight of a little girl all dressed up like a clown with big red hearts on her cheeks and a little donation can in one hand, while the other hand had a piece of lit or tract to offer them? (My mom only gave me the "milkier" ML titles to pass out.)

"Soul-winning Became My Passion at Four and a Half!"
       About teaching kids to win souls: I was four and a half when I learned how to win souls on my own.--Then soul-winning became my passion! I'm very thankful that my parents took the time to teach me how to lead someone to the Lord at an early age. It was their example which has given me a real love for the lost and motivated me to want to win as many people to Jesus as I could as a young child (and to this very day).
       Sometimes my parents would give me "shiner prizes" if I did well and eagerly got the lit out to as many people as I could, even when just out for walks.

Witnessing to Classmates in Public School
       When I was enrolled in public school for the first time in France, I was only 5 years old, but because of the schooling I had already received from my mom I was able to enter into first grade. There I learned to read, write and express myself fluently in French, which enabled me to express myself better when witnessing to my classmates. My mom always encouraged me to carry lit and tracts with me every day, and I would give it out individually to my teachers and classmates whenever I got a chance and our conversation led to talking about Jesus and my faith.
       On one occasion my teacher asked the students to bring our favorite book or piece of literature to class so that we could read it to the other students in literature class. My mom encouraged me to bring the letter "Sounds in the Night." I asked the teacher if she could read it for me since I lacked confidence to get up in front of a classroom of 30 French students (I was afraid I'd get all nervous and not be able to read clearly). She did read it, and then congratulated me in front of the class for being such a good little foreign student who was learning the language and contributing something to the rest of the students. When I told Mom what had happened, she encouraged me to bring more literature the next day to give out to the class, so I brought with me more copies of "Sounds In the Night" and also "Love Never Fails" to give out, and looked for opportunities to lead the children to the Lord on an individual basis.

Other Home Activities Based on Witnessing
       As for other witnessing activities that were included in our schedule, my mom and sometimes other adults in the Home would ask us kids to prepare cookies or snacks for our visitors. We also worked on learning songs in the local language to sing.
       A few times at Christmas we even made small manger scenes out of what we had available in the Home, like little cardboard cereal boxes for the stable, the people figures out of modeling clay, sheep out of little cotton balls using small colorful beads for eyes and other features, tin foil for stars, etc. We used what little we had available in the Home and then added our imagination and turned our little art projects into a witness to give out to sheep, neighbors and friends.
       There were always plenty of little projects to keep us kids out of trouble, and instead keep us challenged and inspired about pouring out to others, either in person like when we went out witnessing, or else in the form of little gifts and cards we made in our spare time to give to others.

New Changes Will Increase Talents
       I have several artistic talents that the Lord has given me, but I wouldn't have developed them as much as I did if it wasn't for the encouragement of the adults around me when I was a young child. I think this is a real need amongst our children in most Homes. I've seen some children lacking in the encouragement they need from their parents and teachers in order to build up their self-esteem and confidence.
       I think it would help if each child were cared for and tuned into more, almost on a one-on-one level, by other concerned adults in our Homes. This would bring out the tremendous potential in the form of talents, abilities and skills that each child possesses, and is capable of developing even more, with our help and encouragement.
       This is one reason I am sold on the changes that have been put into effect for our Homes to reduce size and become more indigenous and self-supporting. These changes compel a lot of people within our Homes to provide more time and opportunities for our precious children, which in turn can and will help them to grow into fully capable little disciples. It should result in children who are developing their talents, and absorbing more educationally and spiritually from the Word, and who will therefore be happier and better adjusted and have even more love for Jesus and others.
       I am thankful for all the many changes that have transpired throughout the years. Each change has been well worth the time invested and the seeming sacrifices it took for us to get desperate and change, leaving no stones unturned. Yet like David Livingstone said, "I have never made a sacrifice! No matter how much I gave, God always gave me back more!" We will be able to say the same, and feel the great satisfaction of knowing we are fulfilling our mission, even amongst our own children who will be used in even greater ways, and who will undoubtedly continue on in our place one day!

Making Solid Witnesses Out of Our Youth
       I want to encourage each of our precious teachers who are laying down their lives for the children day-after-day and month-after-month. I have also worked for several years in childcare and shepherding JETTs. One thing which kept me going when I felt like quitting when the job seemed insurmountable with the many little details that this ministry involves, was the times I went out witnessing with the children, and I saw the beautiful results of the Word becoming alive in their lives! To see the results of your labors reflected in the children or the JETTs and teens' sample and witness makes it worth it all!--And you certainly feel rewarded, even here on earth, when you realize how much the children love Jesus and love souls!
       It's the best ministry, because you are helping to make solid witnesses out of these children and young people! All the Word and everything you pour into them "will not return void, but will accomplish the purpose whereunto it was sent" (Isa.55:11). Praise the Lord!


{\b \i From David F., of Cris and Joy}
       As the world today grows darker and darker and as times wax worse, it may be tempting for some parents to feel they ought to keep their kids sheltered safe within the walls of our Heavenly Homes. Or maybe it seems rather "inconvenient" and too taxing to load a bunch of kids into a van and take them out when "we could be using our time more 'wisely,' witnessing ourselves." While these may be valid points to some degree, at the same time, I feel depriving our children of the same early witnessing experience I had while growing up would be depriving them of a world of excitement and learning opportunities!
       I spent a good part of my life with my family on the road, staying in hotels, trailers and tents. Besides being taught our normal scholastics, the main thing we concentrated on was reaching others through witnessing. I was encouraged from a very young age to witness to just about everyone. It was not simply a fun outing for an hour on Sunday, it was part of our lives, just like eating, sleeping, devotions and scholastics.

Witnessing -- A Favorite Activity!
       It's interesting that though we had the opportunity to participate in scores of extracurricular activities such as fishing, swimming, hiking, camping, etc., witnessing was one of our favorite activities. We understood exactly what we were doing and witnessed--with conviction--to just about anyone and everyone. Of course this didn't come naturally; it was taught to us by our parents, who were right there with us, witnessing themselves and guiding us, encouraging us and teaching us every step of the way. We could see they had a personal desire to win souls and witness, and they represented all that we wanted to be like in our witnessing.
       Is it necessary that our kids have witnessing integrated into their lives?--In my opinion, absolutely! Whatever fears may exist, however inconvenient it may seem, it would be robbing them of a wealth of opportunities and robbing the people of the world of Salvation, by keeping our young ones out of the limelight.

"What If We Hadn't Gone Out That Day?!"
       Just after the RNR, my parents left the mission field (as others likewise did), taking my brother, my sister and myself to the States. It wasn't too long before my dad got a System job and then a better job and then a better one, until we had lost all contact with the Family and were living a fairly secular life.
       Thankfully, at heart my parents were still the same missionaries that they were before, so our time in the System didn't last long. After a year we were on the road again. Packed in a trailer were my parents and five of us little rascals (I was a nine to ten-year-old rascal at the time and the oldest), all with a definite desire to witness. We had school part of the day, played outside part of the day and went witnessing in the evenings. On the weekends we would often go out for longer. We also had plenty of spontaneous witnessing opportunities throughout the day to the people in the places we camped--trailer parks, national or state parks, the beach, etc.
       During this time we were on the lookout for the Family--this was our dream! We weren't aware, though, that most of the Family had moved from the States, so the chances of finding them were much less than we had anticipated. Day after day when my dad came home, undoubtedly exhausted from a full day of witnessing and fund raising, he would rarely fail to take the whole family out on our own witnessing adventure. Day after day we would go out, enjoying every minute of it. Then one hot summer evening in Texas, my 5-year-old sister witnessed to an exceptionally sweet lady who just so happened to be a Family member!--We had at last found the Family!
       After rejoining we continued witnessing, of course, only this time it was with the priceless benefit of working with others to reach a united goal! I sometimes wonder, though, how many years it would have taken for us to find the Family had my parents thought it was "too inconvenient" to take us out witnessing that evening!


{\b \i From Angie, of Sam and Abb}
       I went out witnessing with my parents a lot. It was tons of fun for me, and it made me feel like I had a part in what was going on in our Home.
       I remember the first time I ever won a soul to the Lord on my own. I was five years old and we were passing out tracts on the street in Bangladesh. I gave one to a man who was really receptive and quoted him Jn.3:16, and then I prayed with him to receive Jesus. I remember I was so thrilled to realize that he was now going to be able to go to Heaven, and that the Lord used me to lead him to the Lord. It was such a big deal for me that I never forgot it!
       I remember witnessing was so fun! It was exciting for me to see the Lord change lives and do miracles. The more our kids witness now, the better witnessers they'll be when they get older, and it's a great way to help them sharpen their swords.
       We used to go out singing a lot as well, to many different places such as old folks' homes, schools, churches, etc. When we'd go to old folks' homes, after we'd sing, we'd go and talk to them, and it would touch their hearts so much to have little children come and cheer them up. They loved it! And of course it made me real happy to be able to change my part of the world!


{\b \i From Marie E.}
       I have good memories of my childhood, witnessing, traveling, and being schooled by my parents. Since I was two and even younger, I would always go out singing and soul-winning with my older sister and later my younger brother, and my dad playing the guitar. We'd sing in old folks' homes, in parks, and for just about any lonely soul we'd see! And if we didn't have the guitar with us, we would just sing a capella.
       We learned to pray with people, witness and win souls at a very young age, and for a lot of us it came right along with learning how to talk. We did have scholastics, but many of the things I know, I learned while out--memory verses, how to relate with people, etc., and I'd do reading with my mom in the car (whether traveling or on our way to a witnessing spot), math, etc.


{\b \i From Jonathan}
       God bless you! I'd like to share some things from my heart and experiences on the subject of (and the need for) our kids' witnessing.
       I can remember how my parents always stressed to me that our main job was to witness and reach the lost. Since I can remember, we kids were always involved in singing groups, performing at hospitals, old folks' homes, orphanages, parties in public places, and at friends' houses. We were always a very important part of our parents' witnessing and outreach activities, which helped to give me a good witnessing foundation, and it was an excellent education as well. We always looked forward to our parents taking us out on road teams. We had loads of fun, as it was always a time of recreation as well as witnessing.
       I remember that they helped to instill in me a love for and fear of the Lord, which helped me to have that understanding of why it was so important to try to please Him and win souls for Him. I think that a lot of witnessing has to do with the individual's personal desire and fervor to witness, and for me the thing that turned me on and gave me the fire, besides reading the Word, was just getting out there and doing it, and seeing other on-fire witnessers getting out and doing it, too!


{\b \i From Mike Sunrise, of Andrew and Priscilla}
       Looking back on when I was age nine and ten brings back good memories of witnessing with my parents. At the time we were living in Japan, and we used to get out a lot of posters in parks and around temples. I liked the way my dad would stop and explain different historical sights or occurrences such as festivals, parades and ceremonies. We learned as we went.
       My parents always encouraged us to step out by faith and witness to different people and try to win their souls to Jesus. While on the way to our witnessing sites, we would read a lot of verses and Bible stories on witnessing, which would give us faith for the day ahead. Also, during the day we would stop once in a while to talk about any questions we had or to get another boost by reading more Word.
       Most of the time when out, one or two of us kids would go with a parent or another adult and take turns talking to the people. At times, we would receive shiner's prizes for winning many souls or getting out a lot of posters, etc. This helped to motivate us. But the main thing that stood out to me as a kid was to see the fire and spirit of my dad as he'd be witnessing and pouring out to the sheep, and seeing his concern for lost souls! This in turn gave me a burden to be like that, and it has helped me in my witnessing.


{\b \i From Valiant}
       One thing I remember from my early days of witnessing was that it was a lot of hard work, but we enjoyed it and felt that it was our duty for the Lord. My dad and mom tried to make it fun, and I think back on those days as being very exciting and full of adventures!
       We went out nearly every day doing our little part for the Lord. My dad had a vision for us. My family was mainly involved in singing, and from the time I was a few years old I was out singing regularly with my dad and my older brother. We did a lot of shows, and learned to play the guitar at an early age, a skill which the Lord not only used in those days, but which has also been used a lot since then.
       Witnessing was emphasized for all disciples, which we considered ourselves to be, even though we were only children! Because there was that kind of vision and desperation in the air, we caught it, too!

LEARNING ON THE ROAD--Reaction to FSM 263, "Educating Our Children"

{\b \i From Joy Rose and Joanie}
       The FSM "Educating Our Children" was very good! It was nice to see that many of the suggestions and tips on outreach, schooling and so forth were a lot of the same things we did when we were younger.
       For example, when we were traveling along with another family from Canada to Mexico through the States, we learned so much about the States. Every aspect of our lives was turned into a learning experience. We rarely remember a time when we were sitting behind our desks for hours on end. Most of the things we learned and are still using were learned from times spent out, either going on shopping trips (learning about prices and quality), or being on outreach (learning how to give Bible classes to friends and contacts).
       Wherever we went, our mom was always faithful to bring along our memory work, times tables, phonetics flash cards and other such material for our daily school work and she'd teach us along the way, whether it was on a bus or when we had a break from outreach in the park. It was so much fun, and we only have good memories of it.

--Tales of a Missionary Childhood in Exotic Asia

{\b \i From Victoria, of Andrew and Mercy}
       Having spent most of my life in Asia, and having been involved in many pioneer and witnessing situations, I can say that my childhood and preteen years were always full of excitement and change!
       I remember being very much included in many aspects of my family's day-to-day home life as a child. Whether I was taking care of and teaching my younger brothers and sisters, or cooking and cleaning, I was always quite busy. Besides helping with many of the household duties, we children would go out witnessing basically every day, which I remember proved to be very fun and exciting.

God Used a Shy Girl, a Simple Show, and Simple Songs!
       When I was about seven years old, my parents and another family organized a little singing group which consisted of my two younger sisters, myself, and two kids our age from the other family. Our little show team wasn't anything fancy, it was actually quite simple. We sang simple little kids' songs like: "Squeeze, Don't Jerk," "I Believe in Love," "Rockin' Robin," etc. We didn't have any fancy steps either, but we'd do shows in universities, schools, orphanages, and even fancy five star hotels. At the end of the shows we would pray and lead our audiences to the Lord.
       I think being out in the public so much as a child and having the chance to talk to so many people from so many different walks of life helped me to learn to relate to others. Witnessing was fun and exciting for me, but there were times that I did have some trials about going out. I have always been a little bit on the shy side, especially when having to meet and talk to new people. As I got older and became more aware of people around me and concerned about what they thought, shyness started to be more of a battle.
       Doing Word studies, having prayer and getting filled with the Spirit is what helped me to overcome this. It was a miracle, as the Lord helped me to face my fears and go on the attack, and I'd find it wasn't difficult at all, after I took the first step and talked to the first person. At times I still get hit with "before the battle blues," but it encourages me to remember that once I take the first step, the Lord always does the rest. Praise the Lord!

Meeting and Singing for Important People
       Through our witnessing we were able to meet and sing for many important people. When I was about eight, through the introduction of a friend of the family, we met and sang for one of the main princes of Saudi Arabia. At the time he was the Minister of Sports for his country and was accompanying the Saudi football team at an international sports event in India. All of us kids from the singing team sat by him while he told us about his country and how he lived in a palace by the Red Sea, and that the sea there had gotten the name by the red rocks that are on the shore.
       It's amazing for me as I think back on how the Lord was able to use us little kids to get the message out through our singing. We used to sing, "Why Couldn't There be More Love," shaking our finger while singing, "Now you may be some big important man, a judge, a president, or king; but if you don't have love in your heart, you're really not much of anything." They got the message for sure!
       Seeing the prince's security system during his departure at the end of the party was also quite an interesting sight. The prince got into one of about a dozen white Mercedes cars, and all of a sudden all of these identical white cars scrambled up so you couldn't tell which one he was in, then they roared off.--Quite a sight for a little kid!
       A few years later when I was about ten, we were also able to sing for the personal staff of the king of Jordan, such as his personal physician, whom we got to talk to. Through him we were able to send a letter, some posters, and a tape to the king.
       I think I could go on and on with all the testimonies and miracles that the Lord did. I believe that the Lord can do so much with our children.
       I want to mention that when I went out witnessing as a child I never felt any concern, much less pressure, for funds. We just went out to win souls, get out tapes and posters and make people happy. Of course, there were times that I was aware of some financial need. Once when I saw the adults having desperate prayer that the Lord would supply finances, it sobered me up and helped to remind me of our life of faith. But that didn't affect or in any way alter our main motivation for witnessing.

Schooling Comes Alive: The Taj Mahal and Chinese Embassy!
       Although we did do some schooling, it was not the major emphasis: we didn't spend much time actually sitting behind our desks studying. Since we were almost always out, especially in my earlier years, I remember my parents turning many things we did into learning experiences. For example, once we went on a road trip to the city of Agra where the Taj Mahal is. We took some time to look around, and then later studied about its history and the king that built it. Going out and seeing things like this, and later studying about them, also helped to make our schooling more alive. We learned a lot that way.
       When we did have "schooltime," my mom usually tried to make it as fun as possible. For example, when we studied about China for geography, my mom arranged for us to go and visit the Chinese embassy. They were overjoyed that we wanted to learn about China, so they took the time to show us around and explain to us everything they could about their country, the history of the Great Wall and their legends, etc.
       We spent a whole morning there, and left with lots of books, catalogues and souvenirs. It was an exciting experience for me, and I was fascinated by it all. When we got back home we had to do a summary about our trip, so we got to include several subjects in one class. That was how I remember doing most of our school.
       Our parents taught us most of the time, but we also had childcare helpers who would teach us. One German brother taught us science. I remember looking forward to his classes, as we'd do so many experiments. He was always coming up with new contraptions. It was real fun!

The Bible and Letters a Major Emphasis
       When we were growing up, reading, studying, and memorizing the Bible and Letters was a big part of our lives and a major emphasis. I can still remember my dad sitting down with us every morning on the balcony, memorizing and reviewing chapters and the set card. He'd also read to us every night, besides our morning Word class. We'd have classes working through and studying different books of the Bible together, which I remember being very fun, and which I benefited from. I'm thankful for the time that my parents took to give me a good foundation in the Word, as I believe that is what has really been a help and a blessing to me throughout my life.
       In conclusion, I'd like to say that I'm very thankful for the blessing I've had to be born in this wonderful Family, and I know that I wouldn't take anything in the world in exchange for the life I've had, being brought up actively in the Lord's service. Thank You, Lord!


{\b \i From Ezra}
       Each day, after school time, I would go singing with my brothers and sisters and my dad. We would pass out tracts and leave the guitar case open for donations. Whenever I had battles because I wanted to play instead of witness, once I got out and started singing I got inspired, and was happy I went out.
       I was a little too shy to go talk to people and witness personally, but when I was singing, I would do it with all my heart, and witness as much as I could with smiling and a happy attitude while singing.
       When we sang in parks, we would sometimes see lonely people sitting there, so I would give them a little tract. Even if I didn't talk much to them because I was shy, they would still brighten up and smile, because they saw that someone cared about them enough to stop and sing for them and give them a tract, even if it was just from a little child.

TOO YOUNG TO GO WITNESSING?-- Early Memories as a Pioneer's Partner!

{\b \i From Ligaya, of Paul and Melody Rainbow}
       My earliest memories are of busking and litnessing with my parents. We'd get up each day, memorize and review the set card, learn some sight words for our reading, then go out witnessing. We were the only family in one small city that we helped to pioneer in the Philippines, as the family that started with us went on to China. So for a while, my younger brother (four) and I (five) were the only partners my dad had. We would provision our ride to the city on the bus and visit contacts and sing for them. Afterwards we sat quietly while my dad taught a Bible class to a shopkeeper or bank manager.
       We did a lot of shop-to-shop witnessing and got out the tapes and posters. One time my dad told us, "This time I'll stand outside the door and you two can go in to this man's office and you can tell him all about our work and the tapes, etc." We walked in, talked to the man, introduced our work, showed him the tapes and he bought all eight of the tapes we showed him. He also prayed with us to receive Jesus, praise the Lord! ({\ul \i Editor's note}: Be sure to pray and ask the Lord in your particular situation, though, as this may not be wise or advisable in some Western countries, where you could possibly be accused of "using" your children.)
       The Philippines has a lot of resort towns on all the islands, so when other brethren came to work with us, we were able to go on faith trips to other islands by boat. It was so much fun! We would usually provision our boat rides, all our meals, hotels, everything! We learned to live by faith, praying desperately for everything, and the Lord always honored our childlike faith!

"AS A CHILD, OUR AGE DIDN'T MATTER. -- The Lord Could Still Use Us!"

{\b \i From Miracle}
       We teens and YAs who have grown up in the Family certainly have a wonderful heritage! I remember being so happy as a kid, and witnessing was what I lived for. God bless my parents, as well as the other adults we lived with, as they really instilled in us the desire to witness. I don't remember a lot of details, I just remember doing it and enjoying it; but I remember feeling a strong sense of duty to witness and having a broken heart for the lost.
       We usually lived in or near the city, so we didn't have to spend a lot of time traveling. We usually had Word and school time in the mornings and went witnessing in the afternoons, or vice versa. A lot of our witnessing was impromptu, and we learned to witness to just about everyone we came in contact with. We also did a lot of singing and performing, which we kids really enjoyed. One testimony I remember particularly well, as it was a bit out of the ordinary, is this one:
       I was only six at the time, and we were on a flight from Hong Kong to Taiwan. I began witnessing to the young woman I was sitting next to. She was very sweet and prayed with me to receive Jesus. During the course of our conversation she explained to me about her work and gave me her boss' phone number, and told me if I called him, he'd probably want to meet us.
       When I called him a few days later, she'd already told him all about us. He was very glad that I'd phoned him, and invited my parents and my sister (four) and I out for dinner the next day. When he came to meet us and take us all out, my sister and I explained to him in the firmest of our convictions that we didn't eat pork or seafood because it was unclean. Of course, he thought it was cute to see little kids speak with such conviction about what they believed, and we had an enjoyable evening witnessing to him.
       It was very encouraging to me as a child that our age didn't matter, but the Lord could use us to help win people to Him as long as we had the Spirit and the faith to follow through on what the Lord showed us.


{\b \i From Gideon (Zack Attack), of Meekness}
       My dad and I began busking together on the streets of Uppsala, Sweden, in 1977, when I was 10 years old. I think we were some of the first Family members to try this witnessing method. It went very well--we even had a photo of us busking appear on the cover of the New Nation News, ha! We used to get huge crowds of up to 400 people and it brought in a considerable amount of income. When we first started, it was only my dad and I, so it's possible to do it with only one child and one adult, although it's usually better with more children, of course.
       I can remember some people complaining that they didn't think it was right for my parents to be "using their children to make money," but these were usually just a few, as most of the crowd really enjoyed the show. Often we wouldn't even have to defend ourselves if someone voiced their criticism. Others in the crowd would hoot down the critics and say something like, "the children are obviously enjoying themselves, so leave them alone!" Praise the Lord!
       When I was 12 we moved to South America, and I began taking my younger brothers and sisters out busking in the town plazas. Since I'd learned to do it with my parents, they were confident I could handle it. In today's world, it wouldn't be a good idea to send JETTs or junior teens out witnessing alone with children, but with good training they can learn to lead a singing group under the supervision of an accompanying adult.
       As a young teen in South America, I would also go out singing in the evenings in restaurants and cafés with my dad. As well as being a good way to minister to people, this was one of our main ways of raising support. It was a novelty for people to see a father and son singing together and we would do well.
       I was extremely shy as a child and young teen, and had the hardest time carrying on a conversation with anyone I didn't know. But thank the Lord, He helped me not to be shy about performing!--I guess I learned to be comfortable with it since we went out so often, and also because my dad was right there doing it with me. It was also through watching him personal witness to people that I learned how to lead a soul to the Lord.

My Kids' Sample Sells Message
       I started taking out my own children busking in the parks in Japan. The three little boys were only ages 1 to 3-&-a-half years old when they first started. People just loved them and would readily receive the posters when they would go out to the crowd and distribute them after singing. I saw that it was a powerful witness, even though the boys could only sing mostly in English, and mostly off-key at the time, ha!
       I knew that they were touching hearts and making people eager to read the literature we gave them. I'd gotten out the posters many times before that and been discouraged to see a few thrown on the ground or in the trash. But when we went busking with the kids, I don't think I ever saw a single piece of lit discarded after the crowds were gone. This seemed to show that people were very touched by the children's sample and thereby interested in knowing what the message was in our literature.
       I was very encouraged to see what a powerful witness the kids were just through their songs and smiles, even though they couldn't speak the language.--How much more so when children are able to sing and witness in the local language!
       Here in the U.S. my kids have sung for many visitors, and we take them to some of our shows with the Washington, D.C. Show Troupe. They're always enjoyed immensely by the audience and sometimes end up being the favorite part of the show. It's such a good testimony too, and people are very impressed. They often make comments about how well-trained and happy our children are, and how they wish that they could do the same with theirs.
       A sociologist who visited our Home said that when he saw the boys sing for him he was convinced that everything he had heard about our children being abused was lies. He said, "Until the day I die I will still have a picture in my mind of those three boys singing together! I'll never forget them!" This man is writing a book about the Family.

Pointers for Singing with the Very Young
       Here are a few tips I've found helpful with my children's busking:

       1) When practicing, it helps a lot to make it exciting by being very enthusiastic yourself, and showering them with praise for every little bit of progress.
       2) So that the kids won't lose interest or get discouraged, it's important, especially in the beginning, to give only a minimal amount of correction on their performing.
       3) Work on a few things at a time, and not everything at once. For example, start off by teaching them to smile and project with their expressions. With young children, that is the most important thing and what will have the greatest impact on your audience.
       4) If they don't always sing on key, you may have to let it slide sometimes while you work on other things, and then get back to that later. The more you practice, the better they will get with time.
       5) It's wise to keep the practice sessions very short, especially with younger children. My children are all under 6 years old, so I try not to practice for more than 15 to 20 minutes in one sitting. With older ones you can practice more, but it's still wise not to make it so long that it becomes boring for them.

       (These tips are mainly for very young children, as with older ones you can teach them dance steps, which is an added asset.)
       1) Something I found helpful with my boys when they first started was to have them stand on my guitar case, using it as a miniature stage. This served two purposes: Number one, it kept them in their places, as the youngest was only one year old and would otherwise walk around during a song. Standing on the guitar case kept him from going anywhere. Number two, it also looked good for presentation and was appealing to the crowd to see them on the "guitar-case stage."
       2) Having instruments for the children to play is a big help. I have a toy ukulele for my oldest, bongos for the second and a microphone (unplugged) for the youngest. I made a little stand for the bongos out of a guitar stand, so he can play them standing up, and it looks real cute. It adds to the presentation and also helps inspire the kids to want to perform. A child that can play the guitar is a big plus as well.
       3) We also have several songs they do with motions, without the instruments, for variety. The crowds really enjoy motion songs.
       4) Matching outfits are very good and make a big difference. Matching hats seem to add a special touch, too.

       1) It's very important, as Dad said in "Teaching Children to Sing," (ML #1107), to be sure to play the songs in a key that is easy for the kids to reach, and also to pick songs that have an easy range.
       2) It takes time for some children to learn to sing on key, but eventually they do learn. With my boys it's taken a couple of years, and I still have to coach them, but they're now singing on key quite well.
       I was a little discouraged for a while that they didn't seem to be learning, so if you're going through the same thing, don't give up! Just keep working with them and eventually they'll learn. Remember, it may take time. You don't want to get impatient and show frustration during practice--as I have at times, Lord forgive me! Practice times need to stay upbeat, happy and positive.

Praise and Prizes:
       We always try to give them a little shiner prize after they perform. Occasionally someone will miss out if they were exceptionally misbehaving, but usually this doesn't happen. They often appreciate the praise and encouragement just as much as a shiner prize, and they're always thankful when they can go out witnessing because it means extra time with mommy and daddy, as well. Plus, it's a fun change from their usual routine.
       Happy performing with your children! I love you!


{\b \i By Jonathan Waters, of Paul and Rebecca}
       Traveling on the road with my parents, witnessing and serving the Lord with them, are some of my fondest memories! We traveled all around England in a big Mercedes van that my father had converted into a motor home . It was exciting for us kids--never knowing which new place we might be in the next day!
       Now that I've grown up and have more responsibility, I marvel at all they were able to accomplish with us kids, besides all their other responsibilities! They managed to find the time to not only take us out witnessing, but also to give us scholastics and teach and train us in many ways. It's a thrill for me to look back now on my childhood, and share with you a few testimonies of how the Lord did it!

Holland and England
       My very first memories of going out witnessing are from the time when we lived in Holland. My father would often take my brother and I out singing in the parks and on the streets of Amsterdam and Hilversum. I was around three years old at the time and my brother was two.
       We would wear traditional Dutch outfits, complete with wooden clogs we'd provisioned. The people loved it. I think it touched their hearts that we were trying to "become one" and adopt their customs. I remember visiting all kinds of neat places, like the beautiful tulip fields they have in Holland, going inside huge old windmills, etc. Going out witnessing with my parents at an early age was such a thrill for me, and I'm very thankful for those experiences.
       When we returned to England I remember going litnessing on the streets and door-to-door with my parents. We would usually have our school time during the week and go out witnessing on the weekends.
       My parents' fire and love for the lost would get us kids inspired about witnessing and soul-winning, too. Many times we would all go out together--our whole family of five kids, even the little baby--and I (the oldest) was only six at the time! We were all very involved.
       Mom would get us dressed up in nice matching clothes, so we could be as good a testimony as possible while out witnessing. Like so many Family kids, we did countless shows and performances in schools, old folks' homes, putting on Christmas shows, Easter shows, etc.
       For about six months I attended the local church school in the small town where we lived, and my parents encouraged me to try and win at least one soul every day. When I'd come home with a testimony of a soul saved or someone witnessed to, they would rejoice! It helped me have such a desire to witness.

Word and Scholastics
       My mom was faithful to motivate us to memorize and get in the Word. In fact, she would not only motivate us, but often required us to do so, and would not let us go out to play until we had memorized our verses for the day. She also used every opportunity to review with us. Whether we were taking a walk, on our way out witnessing, or sitting in a restaurant, she was filling us with the Word.
       Like so many of our dedicated Family mothers, ours taught us to read at an early age, and as everyone knows, that is a real key to learning. We were home schooled by my mom (except for the six months I went to a local school). The best how-to tip I can give to other home-schooling parents would be this: Do a little bit every day, and consistently give your kids the Word!
       We had at least some scholastic study time faithfully every day. I'm thankful for the consistency of having mom teaching us most of the time. She knew exactly where we were at in each subject, so she was able to keep us progressing and challenged.

Singing in the Far East!
       Around 1981, shortly after the "Go East" vision came out, our family took off for the Far East, and landed in Hong Kong. There we got traditional Chinese outfits and began a ministry of witnessing in song to the Chinese. We learned a few simple songs in Chinese and slowly increased our repertoire. We would busk right on the busy overpass going to the main post office, where thousands of people would pass each day, and would sing our hearts out! The Hong Kong Chinese can be pretty tough people, and it was sometimes rough, but we knew we were out there to give 'em Jesus, and we knew we had to be good soldiers!
       In the evening we would give out Chinese tracts by the thousands, and spend time witnessing to the people we'd meet. I can remember taking it seriously, knowing that I wasn't out there just to fool around or goof off, but instead felt I had a job to do. There was a high standard of conduct that we wanted to maintain while we were out, and we were expected to be a good sample to those we came in contact with.
       After about a year in Hong Kong, we prepared to go to Thailand. I remember getting together with my family and having a prayer meeting to ask the Lord to supply the funds. The same day my dad took us to the Japan Airlines office downtown. We spoke to the manager, explaining our missionary work, and he offered to help us with half-price tickets! Praise the Lord! That was just one of the many miracles that I can remember the Lord doing for us.
       In closing, I'd like to say once again how thankful I am for growing up in this exciting life of faith. I'm so appreciative of my parents being such samples to us of faithful witnesses, and it has encouraged me to want to do likewise!

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR PARENTS! -- It Doesn't Take Much, Just Letting the Lord Shine!

{\b \i From Christy, of Tim and Praise}
       I wanted to write a little on singing and performing with children, as that was a major part of my early witnessing experience, whether singing in cafés or busking on the street. It doesn't take a dad or mom that's a musician, singer and choreographer to put together a little performance with their children.
       My dad could play basic chords on the guitar and we did simple choreography. My younger sister and I would get up in front of people in our little matching outfits that our mom sewed, and that was all we needed. We were able to pour out and witness, and at the same time raise support for going to the mission field.
       Of course, now we have the blessing of different performances on video which give many good ideas and dance steps, etc., but I wonder if sometimes people feel inferior and think that they could never match up to that, and therefore feel incapable of putting together a little family singing group.
       I hope this can be an encouragement to anyone who doesn't have particular talent in the area of singing, music and dancing--that it really doesn't take much, other than just letting the Lord shine and doing what you can! It's funny to think back on some of our early performances and how simple they were, but the perfection is not what wins people--it's the happy, shining faces of our children that draw people to us.

Lasting Lessons: Learning Along the Way!
       My first personal witnessing experience on my own happened when I was going to school in the second grade. Our parents encouraged my sister and me to witness to our classmates. We were receiving the "Heaven's Children" series at the time and I was full of my subject, so one day I told a classmate all about the Endtime. When telling her about the Battle of Gog and Magog, she got scared and asked if God was going to burn her up. I told her that if she prayed with me she would be saved and be in Heaven and this wouldn't happen to her. She prayed right then.--I basically scared her into Heaven, Lord forgive me, ha! I was all inspired about this, and when I got home and told my dad, he then explained to me about meaty and milky Word, and that babes need the milk of the Word, to hear about God's Love, etc. That simple little spontaneous class on witnessing really stuck with me.
       As a child I looked forward to witnessing (and definitely still do), and was always excited when someone got saved, especially if it was through me they were led to the Lord. When I started learning to play guitar, I began using it right away, playing and singing to people we were visiting, even to big crowds of school kids, all by myself at times.
       I loved being on the road, too, away from business as usual. I felt like a real missionary and that I was doing something for the Lord.


{\b \i From Christina Willing, of Ivan and Joan}
       My parents' job was translations (into Russian), so living in translating centers when I was a child, I wasn't often out on the streets litnessing and witnessing like a lot of other Family teens and YAs were in their early years. But the thing that made my childhood most exciting was the regular trips my parents and teachers took us on into the "East Block," as it was then called, when I was young.
       Thinking about it recently, I realized it was almost a risk to take us because the situation in Eastern Europe was very different at that time, still tightly under Communist rule. But when I balance out the risk with the wonderful experiences gained and invaluable training it gave us, I'm really thankful to my parents for taking those "risks."
       Our trip to Russia when I was six was one of the most exciting events of my childhood, as my brother and I sat in the back of the van during our travels and memorized license plates of cars that seemed to be following us. It became even more exciting when one actually was following us, and we got to see KGB agents firsthand. We weren't something special, as they followed almost all foreign cars to check them out, but to us it was sheer excitement.
       We learned good security lessons, too, on how to hide our Bibles and Gospel literature, and how to check if someone was following us. It also taught us to be good soldiers, as before visiting our friends and disciples we had to walk for a couple of hours to make sure we weren't being followed by the KGB, and in situations like that there's not much room for complaining.
       Another trip we made was to Yugoslavia, where we witnessed to everyone we met. I was seven then, and it was the natural thing to witness to those we came in contact with. A brother and I met a girl in our campground once while we were washing dishes. We witnessed to her and then followed up on her at her campsite, singing to her and finally praying with her. It was a real thrill to us all when we later found out that the owner of the campground we stayed in, whom we all witnessed to, later joined the Family.
       Even though we were just little kids, whom most people don't respect as having much wisdom, they'd seem to really respect us and listen when we'd pull out our Bibles and start showing them verses, trying our best in childish language to explain them. A lot of our life revolved around witnessing, and our classes would often center around witnessing verses, which we would go out and start using the next day.
       I could go on and on with testimonies from these and other road trips which we also often made to Hungary and Czechoslovakia; each one brought new witnessing experiences, as well as lots of excursions and fun.
       It's a blessing when the kids can become a part of the parents' witnessing trips, to where there's not a question of "Should we take them?" but, "Is there any reason to leave them behind?"--And the general trend is to take them along.
       Going on the road, there's so much schooling you can get out of it, especially along the lines of geography, languages, history, etc. And most important of all, you're not just seeing it on a blackboard, but you're seeing it in real life. It made us kids deeper in the spirit, seeing how prayer works, experiencing miracles, etc. All that to say--I'm all for it! I love you!


{\b \i From Nick}
       One of the earliest witnessing adventures I can remember is when my family was living in Hong Kong. My dad was taking my younger brothers and myself out one day when our car broke down, and a very sweet man picked us up. It turned out that he had a school in mainland China, and because he was also a Christian, he offered my dad a job of teaching English in his school, which would enable us to witness there. Of course we were very excited about it, and about a month later we went.
       When we first arrived in our new home in China we were quite a spectacle, as most of the people in the small village had never seen a white person before, much less three young blond children. They were very happy to come to our room where we would show them our simple children's picture Bible. (We could not distribute lit, and it was even dangerous to have any Christian literature in Chinese, because of the Communist laws.)
       One day my parents came out when I was playing in the school grounds, put my brothers and myself on the stage in one of the school halls, and asked us to sing. None of us had practiced, so we just sang a song that we all knew, and the people loved it--especially since we were kids, and they didn't expect us to be professional or perfect.
       I also remember well when my dad would take us provisioning in Hong Kong. Of course we didn't speak much of the language, so one of the national disciples would write out a simple sentence for us, explaining our work. We would show this card to the people in the market and they would gladly put things in our bags. If someone was particularly sweet we would sing them a song, and sometimes they would be moved to tears. Thank the Lord!


{\b \i From Christina, of Michael and Mary}
       "Chrissy, c'mon, the boat is leaving!" Full of excitement, I climbed up the stairs that led to the ship. We were on our way to an all-summer road trip to the picturesque Greek islands, the tourists' dream! The team? Mom, Dad and I! I was about 11 and I didn't know what to expect, since I found it sort of funny or different to be going on the road with just Mom, Dad, and me. It was definitely all by faith!
       We hardly had any funds, but full of faith that God would supply, we boarded the ship and talked to the captain. He gave us free tickets. He was very sweet and arranged that his shipping company would provide us with tickets wherever we went. God bless him!
       So off we went to the first island, and from there, from island to island. Everywhere we went, the Lord provided all our needs. We'd stay in five-star hotels, guest houses, luxury apartments, using transportation of every sort (since we didn't have a vehicle). We'd provision breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily and we'd even book meals for days to come!
       We were constantly witnessing in every way we could, going shop-to-shop, door-to-door, and getting out the posters. At the end of the day we had often prayed with as many as 100-150 people for their Salvation just by going shop-to-shop. It was inspiring and so much fun, since I had never done that much constant witnessing before in my life.
       The main reason it was so fruitful and inspiring was that every morning we'd have a good dip in the Word and start the day off right. First place always went to spending time with the Lord, and we found that if we did that, then the rest of the day would work out wonderfully! We also had to be very united, and tried to stay on a positive note, which helped us not to get down and discouraged.
       In our three-and-a-half months out on the road we pretty much covered all the islands, witnessing wherever we'd go. Lots of times we'd give out from 80-100 tapes a day. I remember our record was 172 tapes in one day! It was amazing how the tools went out like hotcakes. We'd go to fancy hotels, and besides talking to the owner, we'd ask if we could give out the tools around the hotel. They'd usually say yes, and we'd bombard the place with tapes and posters. It was great fun. Another thing we'd do was go to big hotels, motels, etc., and while dinner was being served in the dining hall we'd get on the mike and present our work to the people eating and offer them tapes, and the tapes would go as fast as we'd get 'em out of our bags!
       The Lord did marvelous miracles during this road trip. If I were to try to tell all the different experiences we had, it would take pages to write it all down. In many circumstances we encountered, it would sometimes look like an impossible situation, but we kept our eyes on the Lord and He took care of us every step of the way! Praise the Lord!
       To wrap this up I'd like to say that it was the best road trip I've had in my life. It all seemed pretty crazy at first, being in such unusual circumstances, but it was inspiring, adventure-packed, thrilling and a very fruitful three-and-a-half months!

Copyright (c) 1997 by The Family