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FMS 319       DO/TS        Love Working in Our Lives
-- More Testimonies about "Making It Work!"

Copyright © 1997 by The Family - July 1997

       More Testimonies about "Making It Work!"       1
       Love! (Poem)       4
       Marriage Prophecies!       5
       The Voice of Experience!       7
       The Humble Thing Was the Wonderful Thing       8
       To Publish or Not to Publish, That Is the Question!       9
       Our New Daddy       10
       Struck by Cupid's Arrow!       12
       A Jealous Heart Gently Changed       16
       All Hail to the Queens!       18
       Learning to Accept the Blessing of Pregnancy       21
       An Unexpected Answer to Prayer for My Mate and Children!       23

From Christina (of Marcus), Taiwan
       I was married within a year after I joined the Family. My first mate and I loved each other and had gone through the "7 Ways to Know God's Will" before being betrothed. However, our relationship gradually became more based on each other instead of the Lord; it hindered our walk with the Lord and we ended up having a permanent separation. After that, I prayed that if I ever got married again, my mate would be someone who loved the Lord very much. I learned that it's of the utmost importance that we put the Lord first in marriage.
       It wasn't long before the Lord answered my prayer! At the time I was in a small Home, and for a year I was working with a very sweet brother, Marcus, whom I eventually married. Marcus knew that the Lord was putting us together, but it took me a while to make up my mind, as I didn't have a big "falling in love" feeling with him like I had seen in the movies. Our personalities are as different as night and day; it seemed we weren't "compatible"; and our nationalities were different also. One thing though -- we had a good prayer link together.
       Finally after many battles, I took the matter to the Lord. Thank the Lord, it pays to seek Him, as He knows what's best for us and for His future work. He confirmed that we should be together.
       Our first year was the toughest. We found we were so different in thoughts, likes and dislikes, habits, etc.! Living with another person so closely day and night, all sorts of little things have to be worked out or they are bound to get in the way. There were many times I wanted to give up, but God bless Marcus, he always said, "Honey, let's just give it one more try." As we gave it "one more try," things usually worked out! Thank the Lord!
       After our first year together and after I'd had my first baby, it seemed like we were broken enough to where the Lord could start using us more. We pioneered a new Home and in a few months, four new Chinese disciples joined! (Sometimes it took a few years for even one disciple to join on this field!) Later, after the three-day fast for Grandpa's health in 1978, we had a strong burden to help on publishing the Word.
       It was then that we could see that in spite of all the trials we had had with each other, that was the reason why the Lord had put us together! Marcus has the drive and talents needed for layout and printing, and I have talents for translating, proofreading, etc. Working together with another couple, Johnny and Sunny, we exploded and started to publish Letters in Chinese. That's how the Chinese Lit-Pic was born!
       Looking back now, I would highly recommend to our young people to take any childcare training seriously, and to actively take time with children, even if it's not your main ministry or calling. I was quite unprepared when I had my first child, so I made a mess of things and initially found it very difficult to adjust to being a mom. Had I taken my childcare training more seriously before marriage, I think I would have handled being a wife, a mom, and my ministries much better. I would have had more fun and less anxiety.
       It took us years to learn to function properly as a team. I had a lot of preconceived ideas of how my husband should be, which hindered our marriage for years. Later I learned to accept the way the Lord had made Marcus, and I saw that I should help him to become the man the Lord wanted him to be, instead of what I wanted him to be.
       We also had different ideas on how to raise our children, and our training of them wasn't very Word-based at that time. Sometimes we argued about the kids' training in front of them (Lord help us!), which led them into tale-telling about Mom to Daddy and vice versa. Later we learned that it's better to be quiet when the other parent is dealing with the children, even if we don't agree. We can reason with each other in private later.
       We learned to share with each other solutions we found from the Word on childcare. After we learned to counsel and agree with each other on our kids' training, our own relationship improved a lot.
       We learned to join in with each other's hobbies to make the other happy. For example, Marcus enjoys classical music, taking long walks and computer work, etc. I learned to listen to him on things he's interested in and vice-versa.
       We also learned to "agree to disagree" -- counsel that many shepherds had given us. That means that when we have different ideas or opinions, instead of trying to get our mate to change to our way of thinking, we learned to see why the other sees things differently, and to respect that and let each other burn free, try out different ideas freely and not point fingers when failure occurs. We learned that the Lord made us opposites to balance each other out. After we see that, we actually are hungry for each other's counsel, as we have learned that having different points of view helps us to make better decisions, based on more well-rounded counsel.
       We had misunderstandings off and on, due partly to our difference of nationality. Although I speak English well, I don't grasp the usage and meaning as well as a native English speaker would. Marcus had to tune into my way of thinking in order to understand what I meant. I learned to tune into him also, as he's quiet and doesn't express himself a lot, so I learned to read his mind, so to speak.
       Another area I learned about is in pointing things out to Marcus. Even if I had good intentions, I am often too blunt and not tactful enough. I discovered that a lot of times when we need to bring up correction to our mate, we may need to do it even more prayerfully and sweetly than we had first planned. I needed to pray about when and how to bring it up, or if I should bring it up at all, as sometimes when I prayed, the Lord would lead me to leave it to Him to lead Marcus into learning a certain lesson in His time.
       Sometimes it's so easy to just share with our mate everything we feel or go through, without discretion, and in so doing we can get into gossiping or sharing doubts, and it's just not healthy for our walk with the Lord and each other. We learned it's better if we take matters to the Lord first. After that if we feel we need a second opinion from our mate, then we could share it, stating that we are seeking their counsel or safeguard or balance. We find that when we do that, our conversation behind closed doors is more edifying and we are helping each other to stay on the right track instead of dragging each other down. ({\ul \i Editor's note}: Good point! At the same time, it helps to be honest with your mate about what you're going through. Don't try to just "grin and bear it" all the time, or you could end up not communicating at all, with detrimental effects on your marriage.)
       Also, we acknowledged that we're bound to have feelings for others sooner or later, so we prayed we would be able to just accept it as part of a natural course in life and asked the Lord to help us take it positively and keep things in the right perspective, so that this would not cause us to lose faith in our mutual love, our marriage, or that the Lord had brought us together. Because we decided this before it actually happened, we found it was easier for us to be honest with each other about these emotions. This made us feel included in on each other's secrets and therefore kept us more united, and more secure about each other's love. ({\ul \i Editor's note}: Sharing hearts openly about feelings for others is explained by Mama in the Letter "Honesty in Threesomes and Overcoming Jealousy" [EDITED: "ML #2023, DB3, pg. 299"].
       (Sometimes it's good to do, and sometimes not - depending on what bears the best fruit in your situation. So please be prayerful in what you communicate, not telling details of a date with someone else in a careless or flippant attitude, but being aware of the effect that these disclosures could have on your mate. While some like to hear about all the details and emotions involved in sharing with others, others prefer not to know anything about it. Whichever the case, sharing should be done with lots of consideration, reassuring your loved one that they are your God-given mate, whom you love and cherish.)
       We had jealousy over each other's work, though. I think it has to do with the fact that we both liked our work very much and got carried away at times, not realizing our poor mate was having a hard time looking after the kids and taking on extra responsibilities to free the other one to work. Later we worked out our work plan according to priorities of what had to be done. We scheduled work hours and took turns taking care of the kids and other responsibilities, and we did better in this area.
       In recent years especially, we've made sure to take time to pray for the kids, for our ministries, and for our sheep together, and to share lessons with each other periodically. This has deepened our walk with the Lord and with each other. These are some lessons we've learned with each other over the past 19 years. We love you!
Love, Christina of Marcus

From Christina (of Patrick), USA:
       I met Patrick when I was a single mom with two children. I had just gone through two heart-breaking relationships and had more or less decided that I was just going to remain single, being a bit on the independent side anyway. When I met Patrick, little did I know that he had just prayed for the right life-time partner and when he met me, he was convinced that I was the one!
       When he tried to convince me of the same, though, he had a bit of trouble! I had told myself that I was not going to get into any relationship, unless it was with the "perfect guy." -- And Patrick, being two years younger than me and two inches shorter, didn't fit into my idea of a "perfect" husband! Ha!
       We lived in the same Home and shared sometimes, and I enjoyed the attention he gave to me and to my children, but I still definitely didn't want to marry him. Then I got pregnant with my third child, and the Lord began to speak to me about being thankful that someone was willing to live with me and take care of me and my children, and I finally yielded and agreed to get mated.
       Once I yielded, the Lord gave me real love for Patrick, though our relationship wasn't without battles. We are really opposites, and it took some doing to learn to bring out the best in each other, but knowing that it was the Lord's choice for us to be together kept us going. Now we find that being opposites makes us a good team, as we sort of rub off on each other and keep each other in check.
       Another thing that really helped us was taking advantage of all the counsel that was available through our shepherds. We had agreed together that whenever we came to a problem that we couldn't work out, we would ask for counsel. We would "report" on each other for actions that we felt were out of line, and that gently forced us to receive correction from each other, as we knew that if we didn't, the other one would report on us! Ha! This really helped us to cut familiarity with each other. Of course this was not done in a spiteful way, but just in loving conviction to uphold the standard, in spite of our personal relationship. We have been together for nearly 16 years now and have six children. Praise the Lord!

* * *

From an adult woman, Eastern Europe
       A short while ago I was a single and I was longing to share my love with somebody. But I also had a problem: I was not so yielded to the Lord as to what He wanted to bring about in my life. I had my idea of sharing love, and now I see that I was just looking for somebody to make me happy, and all along happiness was waiting for me. But thank the Lord, finally I said yes to Jesus and then He was able to bless me with the desires of my heart!
       There was a single brother in the same Home with me, and for some reason (I guess my unyieldedness and lack of real love), I never really liked him. At that time the "I Love You, Just You" GN (ML #2985, GN 627) came out, and I remember clearly that part where the Lord talks about Him depending on each one (me!) to show others love.
       Well, to make a long story short, I decided to let the Lord work in my life and love this brother and try my best to make him happy! That's all I needed to do. Now he is my husband and we are going to have a baby in one month! We really love each other and I can say that he is the person I was looking for all this time and I'm so happy that finally the Lord got through to me. This was a needed and wonderful lesson that I'm trying to apply in other aspects of my life as well, with tremendous results! Praise His name!

       What is Love? Divine adornment
       Of the soul that wears it high.
       It's the crystal-golden pathway
       Keeping us by Jesus' side!

       It's sublime and never ending
       Always following God's own chart,
       Reaching over lands and oceans
       To console a single heart.

       Jesus, Jesus, Lord of loving,
       Teach me from Thy tender heart
       How to serve all those around me,
       To fulfill my loving part!

       I found love; I found the answer!
       Finally I've found out now
       That to love and serve another
       I just have to ask You how!

       Every soul that looks to Heaven,
       Every heart that's warm and kind,
       Can discover in God's beauty
       All that no one else can find!
       --Christina Rose

From Ado (of Kanah), USA
       I was talking with a YA mom who was saying that she knew it was the Lord's will to get mated through prophecies she had received. It reminded me of when Kanah and I were betrothed in 1972. A prophecy was given that night which we fully believed and have held onto ever since. I thought I could include it here, to show not only how the Lord spoke about our future, but also as an encouragement that prophecy is real and very important.
       I still have the original, handwritten, plastic-covered copy that we wrote out in February 1972. It's lasted all these years. We've carried it around and referred to it from time to time, especially during some of our rough years when we were young and learning to love each other and the Lord together. It not only clearly showed what the Lord had called us to do for Him, but it was a confirmation to us that it was the Lord's will that we were to be together. It gave us the fear of the Lord never to doubt His hand in our lives or marriage. Here it is, as given that night 25 years ago, at the time of our betrothal :
       (Prophecy:) "I say unto you, I shall betroth you unto Me forever. Yea, and I have betrothed thee and I have called thee even to the kingdom for such a time as this -- yea, even to take care of My flock, yea, even My children that I have called, which I have raised up, which I have anointed, which I have put My Spirit upon. Yea, they shall be strong and do exploits for My name.
       "And I have called thee and I have ordained thee. And this thing is of Me, saith the Lord, and I will perform it. For I have created all things for My pleasure. It shall be done as I have said, as I have prophesied.
       "As I have spoken in times past by My former prophets, yea, even in these Last Days, yea, I will betroth thee unto Me. Thou art chosen and I have many things for thee. Be not faithless, but believing. For I will do greater things than this, that ye may know that I am the Lord thy God that called thee and ordained thee for this service. Thus saith the Lord." (End of prophecy.)
       From this we felt that the Lord showed us our major ministry was to be teaching and caring for His children. Over the past 25 years, besides our own seven children, we have taught, trained and shepherded hundreds of other children, JETTs, teens, and YAs. There has truly been a fulfillment of this prophecy in our lives and in the lives of many of the young people we have worked with, who we have seen anointed and are even now doing exploits for Jesus. Thank God for prophecy!

Jesus -- Our Joint Love-Mate!

Prophecy received for Alec and Jasmine, a Young Newly-wed Couple in WS ... with Counsel for All!

       (Prophecy:) This is the road ahead I have ordained for you both to walk together. It's a road of love, a road which I want you to enter with thanksgiving and joy, but at the same time with the understanding and foreknowledge that it can only be safely traveled with Me as your joint companion, your joint lover, your joint love-mate. I must be your focal point, that tie that binds, that living link between you both whereby My life and My Love can flow between you -- the life-blood that sustains and keeps you.
       How I love you and how I delight to travel this road with you! For you will have need of Me, for this road will not always travel smooth. It will have its costs, its tests, its trials, its sacrifices, but this is designed by Me to help you both grow in love, grow in depth, grow in maturity, in sacrifice, in giving, in learning what real love is, in drawing closer to My heart.
       Sometimes you can't see the road too far ahead of you, but I want you to trust Me. Even if the road takes some curves and turns you're not prepared for, I'll be with you each step of the way. For this is a road you both know not of, therefore hold Me close between you. Please remember to always lift Me up and give Me first place in your lives, both individually and as a unit, a team, and I will greatly bless you, protect you and keep you, and mightily use you for My glory.

The Voice of Experience!
More Thoughts on Marriage from Those Who Have Been at It for Many Years!

From Joan (of Michael), Switzerland
       Some young people, it seems, go into a marriage expecting things to be so easy and smooth, but I haven't heard of any such unions. It seems that it's through the breakings, humblings, sacrificing and giving that the Lord blesses us and makes a much stronger bond. Even after almost 22 years of marriage and 10 kids, there still are those tough times, but that doesn't mean the union isn't of the Lord. I know that it's because of desperation that we draw close to the Lord, and often the Lord does bring about difficulties to keep us dependent on Him.
       Like Dad said, "You have to keep giving, you have to keep sacrificing every day." -- But what a joy it brings when we learn to walk His way and learn to surrender to Him (and also our mate!). I'm so thankful for all the Lord has done for me and all the blessings He has bestowed upon me through giving me a sweet and loving husband and kids. Thank You Jesus!

From T., Europe
       Our marriage has gone through different stages like everyone else's, and lately I was wondering if it was maybe time for us to separate and that perhaps the Lord had other lessons for us now. So we took time to pray together and ask the Lord about it. The Lord gave me two beautiful visions: One was of two big trees parallel to each other, with their leafy crowns spreading out over the surrounding area, giving comfort and shade to those around. The other one was of two strong parallel pillars, holding up the roof in a temple. The Lord said that He was giving us a new commission -- to love, and that in making our partnership a loving one, it would be a comfort to those around us.
       So the Lord was obviously encouraging us to stick together, and indicating that He would renew our marriage. This was so encouraging to me. Then and there in our bed we got married again -- with a marriage ceremony and all. Later we also had everyone pray for us, which was very inspiring.

From Jonathan, Hungary
       Having been married 18 years, we are old-timers in that respect. We have had our fair share of marriage problems, most of which I think have been due to my NWOs of impatience, and also putting myself under too much pressure in times past in my ministries. I really agreed with the comment in the FSM about marriage ("What God Hath Joined Together," FSM 280), that relationships can suffer when we allow responsibility to rob us of time together.
       Anyway, it's encouraging to me to remember that every rose has a few thorns, and every couple has their ups and downs. I am thankful that the Lord has helped us to stay together and keep our little family united. I believe that like wine, marriages improve with age, and by God's grace we'll continue to grow closer as time goes on. n

The Humble Thing Was the Wonderful Thing
A Testimony from a Former Single Mom in Eastern Europe

       "Help From Heaven" (ML #3056, GN 686) was a wonderful milestone Letter and a real blessing to each of us here. Maybe the Lord is finally getting through my thick skin, but the New Wine is starting to feed me more and more, whereas some time back I tended to look at some of it like "liver" -- good for you but a little different-tasting than what I'd been used to! Thank the Lord! -- He's so sweet and patient.
       The part about "Fathers Desperately Needed" especially spoke to me, as it summed up all that the Lord has been doing in my life over the past year and a half. Before that I'd been quite satisfied with being single, happy with my secretarial job, and generally content with the care my kids were receiving in the Combo school groups. However, the Lord then turned my life upside down and I wound up alone with the kids in a smaller Home, where I soon found out I wasn't as strong and self-sufficient as I thought I was! The kids were going through real battles and it basically took all my strength to try to stay not even sufficiently.
       The kids themselves were always asking if they'd ever have a daddy again. I told them I didn't know, as I'd actually decided to stay clear of relationships to keep my life simple after the turmoil I'd gone through in that respect. But the Lord wasn't pleased with that rather selfish attitude, and I believe that that is why He turned up the heat. It got to the point where I could barely make it through the day and knew I needed help. I finally started to learn some humility!
       Then one day the Lord told me that at the upcoming Candlelight Service my prayer should be for Him to give me a mate and a daddy for the kids, and that my verse should be, "Not my will, but Thine be done." Boy, did I cringe at the thought of that prayer, especially the prospect of having to say that in front of so many people. I felt as if I would come across like some kind of "man-hunter" and that thereafter every single brother would think I'd be out to get him. It's obvious that humility had still not become my most outstanding attribute.
       After going back and forth on that for a long time, I finally decided to do the humble thing and go ahead with this prayer request. But as I faced the forty-some faces at the Candlelight Service, most of them visitors and people I wasn't close to, already being the nervous type in front of crowds, I backed out at the last minute. Instead I mumbled a general prayer for the Lord's strength.
       Right after that I felt terrible and pretty guilty. I wasn't up to staying around and fellowshipping with the brethren there, so I decided to just go to bed. As I went to my room, I remembered that a new mailing had arrived that day which I hadn't had a chance to look at yet. I got the envelope and took it to my room, and guess what the first Letter was that I pulled out? "Single Moms -- Love Is the Answer."
       There was the quote: "The Lord is waiting for some of you single mothers to say, 'Not my will but Thine be done. -- Not my choice, but Thy choice, dear Lord. Not my plan for a mate, but Your choice for a father for my children'" (ML #2953:9; GN 611).
       Besides the whole Letter being very convicting, that quote in particular spoke to me, because the Lord had been doing something in my life which to my natural reasoning seemed unacceptable and even scary. For some time I'd been close to a married couple (without kids), who had moved on to another country but were still writing me. They had asked me to join their family and work closely with them.
       The brother and I in particular had gotten close for some time, which was the thing that really scared me away, as I was afraid of anything "messy" or complicated, even for the kids' sake. It was so much against my natural reasoning that I kept pushing the thought away. But the carnal mind is enmity against God, and the Lord soon showed me that I shouldn't look at things that way and that I should trust Him. At that point I wrote this couple, saying that if they still wanted me, I'd be happy to join them and be a help to them in whatever way I could, and that I really needed them.
       That was quite a humbling step for me, but that's probably also what the Lord had in mind for me to learn. -- Because no sooner had I written that letter, that I heard that this couple had already decided to work in separate fields. The brother asked if I was still willing to come work with him.
       So now, over a year later, this brother and I are very much in love and the Lord has given me the most wonderful mate and daddy for the kids I could have ever imagined! Thank You Jesus! He sure knows best and He brought wonderful victories in my life and the lives of my kids from a time of desperation, for which I am so thankful!

From Becky (Chinese), Japan
       ({\ul \i Editor's note}: Don't miss Becky's fascinating life story which will be in an upcoming Family in Action mag, DV! She relates her life in Communist China, and how the Lord kept her and her three daughters through heavy persecution. Below is a testimony of how the Lord has cared for her since she was able to come to Japan from China three years ago.)
       I was a single mother for more than three years. I had been through heavy persecution in China (where I was married), but this was a different kind of battle for me. It gave me more understanding for our precious single mothers. I realize how much they have gone through and I admire them. It takes a lot of grace and sacrifice to be a single mother.
       I've shed so many tears for my children. It's a different kind of desperation from fighting against persecution. On top of that, I've been frequently attacked by sharp pains due to gallstones. My gallbladder was damaged from more than 12 stones and doctors suggested to me to remove it because it has been affecting my liver. When I would get a super strong attack, I would throw up everything including the bile, or I would faint from the sharp pain. (For my visa situation I asked the help of a doctor to check the condition of my gallbladder. The doctor who did the examination stopped counting my gallstones from the ultrasound screen when he had already counted 12 of them. He gave me a medical certificate which enabled me to renew my visa two times under medical application. Praise the Lord! He can use anything!)
       I have three Scorpio daughters, who are OC age. They are full of energy and quite a handful for me. I wasn't able to keep up with them. Every time I got hit with a sharp pain from these gallstones, I would think that I might have to say goodbye to my daughters, and even go to be with the Lord.
       I wept and cried, asking the Lord to give them a father. To be honest, I didn't have much faith that someone would actually accept us, because to accept the four of us in our condition would be very tough. I thought that it would be fine, too, even if someone would only play a father role for my daughters. I was quite discouraged about my physical condition. Maybe I should say that I was lacking in faith, so I didn't ask the Lord for too much!
       The Lord knows and He cares. The time came when one brother offered to help me after he read the GN which suggested to help our single mothers. I was thankful for his willingness to help me. At the time there was another single mother who had just moved into our Home. She has two boys and her youngest boy was only three years old. She had been a single mother for a long time, much longer than me. Actually, we know each other quite well and we're good friends.
       So in my heart, I knew that if someone offered to help, she should be the first one to get it. Also I knew that the brother who offered to help me with my daughters was not looking for marriage, but just wanted to follow the Lord and be a father figure for my children. So I had to make a decision to either grab whatever help I could get in my desperation, or to "love others as myself" and let him help the other single mother.
       I prayed and the Lord gave me peace about letting go of this brother's help. I told the brother, "If you really want to help our single mothers and not just me, please help that sister. I think that she desperately needs someone to help her boys." So he did. This single mother accepted his help as a token of the Lord's love for her.
       After that I realized that the Lord was just trying to teach me to have a soft heart and compassion on others, as the Scripture says, "Weep with them that weep." My life was still basically the same, but I was happier than before. If it had been the other way around, I might not have been happy at all.
       That was last summer. Not long after I made that decision, the Lord spoke to me. He told me that He would provide someone who would not only be a father figure to my children, but a real father, and also a husband to me. When that special someone would come, he would do it because of his love for the four of us.
       At the end of last year, the Lord sent him to us. To my surprise, he was the same brother who offered his help to us before. The difference was that this time he proposed to marry me. I could not believe what was happening. I asked him why he wanted to marry me. He told me that the Lord had put a special love in his heart for me. That really touched my heart! He also told me that he wanted to be a real father to my children. The Lord's promise came to pass!
       Do you want to know who he is? -- Philippe La Plume, the artist. As the Lord promised, he joined us out of love. He has been such a blessing to my daughters and me. He also is a big blessing and great help for the China Mail Ministry. We are very grateful to the Lord! The Lord reassured us of His love by sending a father to my children and a husband to me. Jesus is so good to us.
       I learned so much about being a single mother. Although my state is changed and I'm not single anymore, my compassion and understanding has not changed. That is why the Lord allowed me to be a single mother for three years. Philippe and I want to try our best to help the single mothers. We pray for them a lot. We believe that the Lord will hear our prayers as He did for us. Praise the Lord!
       The Lord also blessed me with better health. Gallstone pains haven't attacked me as frequently as before. I decided not to have the gallbladder operation, but to trust the Lord for His healing power. Please keep my health in your prayers. I believe the Lord will heal me in His time. I would say that even if the Lord has to leave me with a thorn in the flesh, as a reminder, I will not complain about it. I've seen so many blessings come out of it. The biggest one is that I have drawn closer to the Lord!

Much love and prayers,

Struck by Cupid's Arrow!

From Philippe La Plume, Japan
       "Lord, am I actually falling in love again? I'm quite happy being single right now. It's easier that way. I don't have to worry about being hurt again or hurting anyone else." If these thoughts have ever entered your mind, the following testimony might encourage you to step out on the water and open your heart to love.
       I'd like to give you some background on how the Lord brought Chinese Becky and me together. We first met when Becky came to the HCS on a short visit from another Home. A few months later, in August '93, Becky and her three daughters moved to the HCS.
       Becky started to help in the IVM costume department, and since my work area was next to hers, we got to see each other on a regular basis. From the very beginning I made it clear to Becky that I didn't want to get involved in a "love relationship" with her. She was very understanding and respected my position, because she didn't want to get into a love relationship either. As time went on, we became close friends, confided in each other and prayed for each other.
       One day, Becky went to Tokyo for business and got to meet with Anna (my former mate). The Lord gave them a sweet time of fellowship together. When Becky came back, she mentioned that she and Anna had prayed for me to find a wife. I was surprised, because I was set on staying single for the rest of my life. I was touched that they were concerned about me, but I thought: "The poor girls don't know what they're doing! This is one time when the Lord is not going to answer their prayers. How can the Lord provide a wife for me when I don't even want to get married?"
       Almost a year after Becky came to our Home, Becky and I began having Word time together, so that she could have a chance to catch up on the many GNs that she had missed while in China for many years (before she was able to leave the country and reunite with the Family in Japan). The Lord blessed our times of reading the Word together. It was sweet and meaningful. For quite some time we continued as close friends, having prayer vigils, taking walks together, etc. One evening Becky opened her heart to me and shared that she felt something was wrong with my attitude toward life. She felt that I was closing myself off and running away from my problems. She was as diplomatic as she could be about it, and I knew what she was telling me was the truth. But still, it was hard for me to accept what she was saying. My pride was hurt.
       For a couple of days I didn't want to go near her because I felt that she didn't have any business telling me how I should be. With those few words, she had given me a kick in the pants spiritually, and I didn't like it a bit.
       It was a time of decision in my life: I either had to stay proud and continue the way I was going, or swallow my pride and admit that she was right. Even though it was hard to do, I decided that the best thing would be to accept the truth instead of rejecting it. I could see that she actually really cared about me to share these things with me. "Faithful are the wounds of a friend"! (Pro.27:6). After crying out to the Lord for help, my attitude started to change.
       After a little while something happened that shook me up a little bit. There was a strong possibility that Becky would be moving to another Home. I then realized that if Becky would go to another Home, it would leave a very great hole in my life. I realized that I loved Becky a lot more than I thought I did.
       "Mama's Love Story" had already been published and there was a part of a prophecy that made me uncomfortable. It's from "Mama's Love Story! -- Part 5": "I have ordained cupids to go forth into this, My Family, to join many teams together. Therefore be prepared, for ye know not at what hour it might come. But if it come, be ready to receive it. Yield to this love. Do not fight it, do not resist it; accept it as a blessing from Me" (ML #2996:89, GN 639).
       To be honest, I struggled with this prophecy. I didn't want any of these cupids flying above my head! I was really scared of falling in love again. Because I had not handled previous relationships well, and because I had also been hurt in the past, I was very on guard about opening my heart to anyone. So when I found out that my heart had been struck by one of these cupids' arrows, it was a time of intense spiritual battle. On one hand I wanted to yield to this love, but on the other hand it was a scary thing to do. Mama explains so well what I was going through at the time in the GN "A New Day of Love!" (ML #3011, GN 648). She says in paragraphs 37 and 38: "He (Jesus) says it's our fears that keep the love from coming through -- fears of rejection, fears of being hurt, memories of past hurts. He says we've got to cast aside those fears and just let His love flow through us. And even though some of the things we fear may come to pass, at the same time they will also be washed by the Love, and all of them will work together for your good. If you just can't let go, if you're too afraid to open up to Him and others, just cry out to Him and ask Him to help you do it! Tell Him you just can't do it on your own, but that you want to experience His love to the full and you want to pour it out to others, so He's going to have to do the miracle to help you. And then simply take a little step and see what He'll do!"
       Another GN that had a profound impact on my life was "Go for the Gold." Following are some excerpts that spoke to me: "For he that invests in the highest, in the path of trust, in the path of faith, in the path of complete yieldedness unto Me and unto My will, he that says, 'Not my will but Thine be done,' to him are the greatest blessings and the greatest rewards. ... You who take these matters into your own hands without seeking Me, without hearing My direction, you too, are still My children and I love you. But you too must understand that I cannot bless you in full measure" (ML #2961:71,74; GN 657).
       I wanted my life to be blessed to the fullest, and I searched my heart to see if there was any area that wasn't fully surrendered to the Lord. I realized then that I had pretty much made up my mind to stay single for the rest of my life, and I hadn't left any room for the Lord to work out my love life! In other words, what if the Lord wanted me to get mated again? Was I willing to yield to Him in this area of my life? It's at that point that I opened my heart to the possibility of getting married again. I said yes to Jesus, that I was willing to get married again if it was His will.
       It was a forsake-all for me to change my attitude about staying single, and even though I loved Becky, I was fearful and insecure about myself. The Lord had put in my heart a special love for Becky, and I began praying for confirmations regarding marrying her. The Lord led me to read the Letter "The China Bride." One quote that encouraged me in this Letter is: "Fear not! Fear not, son of David, to take unto thee this thy bride, for she shall be thine, and this child is of Me and shall be thine" (ML #1836:2, Vol. 15). This prophecy talks about China as a nation, but it spoke to me personally for my situation. I felt that Dad was encouraging me to yield to this new-found love, and that I, being a son of David, should not fear to take Becky (my Chinese bride) as my wife.
       Another prophecy that helped me a lot is in "Go for the Gold," where Dad encourages Techi with her pregnancy. I felt that the Lord had gotten me "pregnant" with this new love (in my case with a wife and three daughters!). So where Dad encouraged Techi about her new baby, I replaced the word "baby" with "new relationship." Following is an excerpt from the prophecy: (Dad speaking:) "I know it's hard for you to get used to. I know it's a shocking thing for you. You weren't expecting it [EDITED: "this new relationship"]. You probably thought, 'Oh it won't happen to me!' Well, it did! And I want you to know that I'm happy about it! I'm thrilled! I'm elated! I just think it's great! I think it's wonderful! Honey, I understand your battles. I know that it's an unexpected, very big change in your life, and it will be a big change. It will be a whole new life for you. There'll be lots of wonderful lessons, there'll be lots of real blessings. There'll even be a lot of fun!"(ML #2961:258, GN 657).
       Even after all this wonderful encouragement from Dad and the Lord, I still had mixed feelings. One moment I was super happy, and later I would be fearful about this wonderful change in my life. I guess it's a little bit like when people get saved. -- It's the most beautiful experience one can have, yet at the same time there is a great spiritual struggle going on. The Enemy tries to point out all the things that the person will have to let go of in order to live in newness of life. One quote says, "In marriage you die to self, but you find new life" (ML #258:1, Vol. 2).
       One afternoon, I asked Becky to marry me. That same evening, we watched a movie and we were going to have a love-up time afterwards. When Becky came to my room, I told her that I didn't feel that I was the right man for her. Becky was heartbroken, but she stayed calm and sweet. We both were crying and Becky went to her room.
       After she left, I couldn't sleep the whole night. I felt so low, I wanted to crawl under the carpet. I felt that I was the worst sinner to have done such a thing to Becky, to have proposed marriage to her in the afternoon, and then in the evening change my mind! The GN with the prophecies against condemnation was a real encouragement to me.
       The next morning I opened my heart to one of the shepherdesses and explained to her what I had done. She was very understanding, and prayed for me. The next step was to explain to Becky why I had said that I was not the type of man she should marry. I didn't know if she'd be real mad and slam her door in my face, but I wanted to share my heart with her.
       To my surprise she let me come into her room. I shared my trials about getting married again, and my jealousy battles, and she was very sweet. She told me that she knew I was going to change my mind, but that she just hadn't expected it would be so soon. I was shocked! When I asked her how she knew, she said that the Lord had showed her that whoever asked to marry her would change their mind within three days! So it turned out that the Lord had used what seemed like a terrible defeat to me as a confirmation to Becky that our relationship was of Him! Praise the Lord!
       After realizing that Becky was indeed the girl for me, it still took a while for me to really enjoy this new relationship, because I had different fears to overcome: fear of failure as a husband and as a father, fear of being hurt or hurting someone again. I was totally honest with Becky about my fears, and she gave me unconditional love. She handled my heart patiently, which was very reassuring. I was trying to have faith for the whole life ahead of me, and it was overwhelming.
       Becky told me not to worry, and to take it one day at a time. It was the key! Dad shared this point in the Letter "To Be Faithful unto Death": "If you think about trying to be faithful the rest of your life, that just scares you, that worries you. That's just too big, you'll never make it. But what about today? Weren't you faithful today? ... So quit worrying about the future! Quit worrying about whether you're going to make it or not! ... That's the trouble, too many people think about 'faithful' as being some kind of a works thing that you worked up and you did. Faith comes from the Lord, comes by hearing the Word, reading the Word. And if you're faithful, you're full of faith!" (ML #1717:5, 9-10, GN Book 20). I've followed this advice, and I've been enjoying life much more, praise the Lord!
       One last point that I'd like to share is concerning children. If you enter a relationship with a single mom, it is important to be sensitive to the children's needs. They might feel threatened and see you as an intruder into their little cozy world with only Mommy. They might fear that you are going to take away some of the attention that they're used to getting when they're the only ones around. So it's important to see things the way they see them, and to put yourself in their shoes. When our three girls noticed that my relationship with Becky was becoming serious, they asked me some questions one evening, to see how I would respond.
       They were trying to see if I really loved their mommy, and they made some cutting remarks like, "Don't try to marry Mommy. Your chances are over." When praying about why they reacted so defensively toward me, the Lord showed me to not take it too personally and to try to understand the way they were feeling. I believe they were trying to test me to see if my love for Becky was real. It took a little while at first for the girls to warm up to me, but thank the Lord, they now feel very close to me and have accepted me as their new daddy. Thank You Jesus!
       It's been wonderful -- just as the Lord promised it would be. Praise the Lord!
With much love,
Philippe La Plume

A Jealous Heart Gently Changed
From a Mother and Wife

Dear Peter and Mama,
       I love you so much and thank you for all the Words you pass on to us. They help me so much, and so I want to share a testimony of the miracle-working Words.
       Shortly before the Charter, the Lord gave me the desire of my heart to be mated with that special person who the Lord had picked for me -- my other half. After the Charter, the Lord showed us to pioneer and look for a house before two of my mate's children from a previous marriage, as well as the rest of our team, were to come and join us. During that time, I discovered I was pregnant again, after just having had a miscarriage one month previously. This miscarriage had been a heartbreak for us, because to have a baby had been our heart's desire.
       During this time of pioneering and house-hunting, my mate was very excited about the children coming soon. They were staying with their mummy while we got set up, and they were all looking forward to coming and being able to be with Daddy and have a chance to do much more witnessing, etc. The children and my mate's former wife were always very loving and accepting of me, so I had no excuse for feeling jealous.
       While pioneering, however, whenever my mate would mention how he missed his kids and how he could hardly wait to all be together, I didn't share the same feelings and would try to change the subject. I would try in my mind to ignore the fact that they'd soon be coming, and I secretly hoped they'd never come.
       Lord help me. I knew in my heart I did not have the victory and it was very humbling to admit even to myself that I was jealous. To admit that I was jealous of another girl -- now that would be understandable. But to confess I was jealous of my future children was the most "out of it" of all. Finally I confessed my jealous feelings, and my mate prayed for me and was very reassuring. Yet I just wasn't getting the victory and they were coming very soon. I knew in my heart it was my responsibility to change and if I'd give love to them, I'd get love and they would soon love me, too. But Lord help me -- in my jealous state, I just didn't want to.
       Unless a miracle happened in my heart, I was a hopeless mess. So a week before we were to go pick the children up, the Lord let me have another miscarriage. It was quite a heartbreak, but thank the Lord, He has mercy in our breakings and breaks us in His mercy. It began during the night and my sweet mate kept claiming promises and healing and that the Lord would keep the baby. But as the night continued and he slept, I knew in my heart that our little one had just been visiting.
       I think the Lord was trying to break my hard heart. One of the hardest parts was to know my mate would be broken-hearted. If it was just for me, I knew I could accept it, but to think of my mate and how he had been so thrilled for me to be pregnant the first time, as he had been praying for a baby, and then a miscarriage, and now again [DELETED] to think of how sad he would be was the worst thing. The Lord showed me that what would make him happy was the children coming, so I tried to be positive and remind him that very soon our children would come and how much they love him.
       I just felt the Lord had been so gentle with me that night, and He kept telling me over and over how His Spirit descends gently like a dove. In the morning after my mate and I prayed, we opened our eyes and a beautiful white bird flew by our window, like a beautiful, gentle white dove. It was so sweet of the Lord to do that.
       Two days later, we received a message about the Austin teens and the accident and Jesse, who the Lord gave us a broken heart for. It showed us how the Lord lets nothing happen except what He allows, and our little baby had gone to be with them all, also. Hallelujah!
       In the days that followed I could see the Lord was trying to break my heart for my new job of being a mummy, however I still was jealous and rebellious. I was hopeless and going from bad to worse.
       So we went to another city to pick up our kids, and we also picked up new mailings. Hallelujah! We had been checking the P.O. in our pioneer situation, but due to our being a new Home it had taken a while after our first TRF for our mailings to come. This was a Romans 8:28. We couldn't understand why our mailings hadn't come yet, but now I understand that the Lord was waiting for us to be ready.
       There in the mailings was an answer to prayer with "Mama's Love Story" and testimonies from you, sweet Peter, about your battles and the victories over jealousy. As I read it, the Letters gave me such faith -- to know that you now have a total victory! How I wanted that to be me! I saw that what He's done for others, He could do for me. So I stayed up all night reading "Mama's Love Story" and praying and the next day we took the long trip home.
       I didn't have an instant victory, but definitely now I had the power to fight and to be able to face my problems and confess them to myself and to know that soon a victory would come. Something that also helped me was a testimony I'd read of a brother who, whenever he'd get critical thoughts about someone, would pray for them. (See"My Deliverance from Bitterness and Negative Thinking," DB 10, paragraph 30.) So every time I felt jealous, instead of trying to go away from the situation, I'd pray, "Lord help my mate and children to have a loving, happy time."
       And guess what? Pretty soon the jealous feelings stopped! And if I was hit with them again, I'd re-read sections about your battles and victories, Peter, and it was not long until the Lord had done a miracle for me. I must emphasize, it was all the Word and the Lord, as I barely even had the desire for the children or for the victory, but the Lord did it each step of the way, gently, like a dove.
       A short update: Now a few months later, along with a miraculous victory over jealousy and two wonderful children, the Lord let me get pregnant again. Hallelujah! After I'd accepted my children and forsaken any ideas of having a baby, the Lord did it. Praise the Lord!
       I really love you, Peter and Mama, and pray for you. Thank you for loving me. xxxxxxx!

Angels in Our Home!
From Tiago Trust, Brazil
       Something interesting happened when our Home decided to take in a single sister with five children. It's as if the windows of Heaven were opened because of our willingness to help take care of this little family. The Lord blessed our distribution by 100% and we received around $3,000 which added to our buffer. Our Bible classes warmed up, something that inspired our Home, as they had been a bit stagnant. The added inspiration and faith helped encourage us all in the work we have to do. As I was reflecting on all the inspiring things the Lord has been doing in our Home, it came to me that we had taken angels into our Home!

All Hail to the Queens!
Thanks for "Gold" Testimonies from Some of Our Mothers!

Number Eleven!
From Marianne, Japan
       One pub that particularly touched and encouraged me was the FSM "Winning Gold Medals" (FSM 304), compiled of reactions to "Go for the Gold" (ML #2961, GN 657). Considering my age, all there is to do, the number of children we already have, and the fact that we barely feel able to care for them, and considering that our youngest child is only a year and three months, Jerry and I had specifically prayed that the Lord would not give us another child -- at least not so soon -- unless it was His absolute highest will.
       We told the Lord specifically that we didn't want to be so definite that we didn't give Him room to move if His will was different than ours, and of course I've never felt right about getting in the way of the Lord when it comes to having children, since I know it is He Who opened my womb after I was barren for my first seven years of marriage (through all my FFing years and post-RNR years as a VS!). Only after I desperately prayed and asked the Lord to give me a child did I conceive for the first time, at the age of 31.
       I had had plenty of opportunity to get pregnant before that time, and the doctor had told me that there was nothing wrong with me. So I know that just like He opened my womb, He can close it at His chosen and appointed time. Both Jerry and I feel that we need to trust Him totally in that area, since He has been so good to us!
       We are extremely thankful for each one of the children the Lord has blessed us with. Even dear Gabriel (born with Down syndrome), who seemed like a mistake at first, or a punishment, and with whom everything seemed to be wrong, turned out to be one of the greatest blessings in our lives. -- And now, even though he is up in Heaven, he continues to be a witness and a testimony and helps us to reach many. I know the Lord hasn't made any mistakes, and Jerry and I are very very grateful for all these "olive plants" around our table (Psa.128:3).
       With the implementation of the "Loving Jesus" revelation and learning to love Jesus more together, we felt it left even less ground for us to hold anything back. Since we've been trying to give Him our all and follow Him as closely as we could on the path of greater intimacy with Him, we had to trust that this new pregnancy is a special gift of love, sent with a special purpose in our lives, and though we feel incompetent and unable to face yet one more responsibility, that it will cause us to lean even harder on Him.
       I was especially dreading the tiredness and weariness that often comes with pregnancy, since there's so much to do and I did not want to be drained or pooped for my other children or responsibilities. But quite miraculously, though I'm 46, the Lord has given me a very healthy pregnancy. I've been able to keep up a regular schedule and am usually able to get up between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m. to get my quiet time with the Lord before the day starts, and besides a needed nap, I keep up with everyone else till 11:00 p.m., usually. Thank You Jesus!
       The real attacks usually come in the last month of pregnancy. The doctors, particularly in Japan, make sure to warn you of all the terrible things that could happen to you or your baby, so that if anything happens they can say, "I told you so." And of course I am a "case" wherever I go, as nobody these days is crazy enough -- in their eyes -- to have 11 children! It's been a bit of a test this time to even find a place to have the baby, as most of the midwives we have contacted said they wouldn't deliver mommies who've had more than three children. But He hasn't failed, and He supplied a nice clinic with a sweet doctor who is willing to give me a chance.
       In Japan it's so expensive to have and raise children, and they have a hard time understanding how we can afford to have so many, especially when we tell them we are Christian volunteer workers. And there again, I have to just praise and thank our wonderful Husband and faithful Provider, as He hasn't failed once to supply all the needs for our family, even though we live in one of the most expensive countries in the world.
       When we looked in our suitcases before the winter, we realized that everyone had outgrown or worn out last year's clothes, and we had hardly any winter clothes for this year. So we got together with the children and specifically told the Lord our needs, and it's been absolutely miraculous to see how He has supplied everything we needed so far, and more. For Christmas we were amazed at the beautiful gifts our dear Jesus provided, even specifically what the kids had been praying for, such as rollerblades and lego sets and a brand new bicycle -- things we could never conceive of buying for them!
       As I remind myself of all these miracles and ways that the Lord has led and supplied, I should have no reason to worry or fret about the future. However, the Enemy has been coming in with quite a bit of fear about this upcoming delivery, Lord help me! So this FSM on "Winning Gold Medals" was a super encouragement to me. I decided to reread "Go for the Gold," and that, too, has been such a blessing and a strength. I made a list in my notebook of all the reasons why I should trust the Lord completely, and I've been reading these quotes and prophecies over and over again when I get tempted to worry.
       I also got ahold of this beautiful compilation of Praise verses from the Bible that you made, Mama, a few years back ("A Prayer of Praise to God!" ML #3020, GN 468). They are such a declaration and a stand of faith, a proclamation of God's power and might, that I've appropriated these to prepare me for the delivery. I've asked sweet Jerry to read them on tape for me, so that I can listen to them over and over and keep a praising and fighting attitude during these last few weeks. By the way, I'm so thankful for dear Jerry, who, just like Grandpa, loves those babies, and he's always thrilled to know I'm pregnant! He so lovingly cares for me and still tells me I'm beautiful when I feel the least like it!
       So with so much encouragement from our Husband in Heaven and my husband on Earth, with so many promises to stand on, so many miracles in my own life and the lives of others to reflect on, I don't really have much excuse to lack faith. But I do get tested in this area, so I'd like to ask for prayer that the Lord would give me good health and strength for this upcoming delivery, that it will be simple and with no complications, that the baby will be healthy and whole, and that it will be all to the glory of the Lord -- a testimony to these unbelieving doctors of God's goodness and faithfulness upon His children! (LNF from Marianne: Vincent Ryan, he's just beautiful, was born on February 24th. There were a few tests, but our dear faithful Lord and Husband and greatest Doctor saw us through one more time!)

From a 23-year-old Mother of Five!
From Fe of Valiant (23), USA
       The FSM "Winning Gold Medals" couldn't have come at a better time, because Valiant and I just found out we are expecting our 6th child in August! We accepted the "Gold" Letter with our whole hearts, but this was our first test on it. Being able to read the various testimonies of those who have gone before and the stories of how the Lord uses the children boosted our faith and gave us something to look forward to.
       Sometimes I get hit with battles when I watch the Summit videos and see old friends or hear about VS appointments of SGAs that I used to study with in Japan. I get discouraged because all I have to show for my time since leaving teen programs is five children and not a list of pioneered fields, Homes teamworked, or lives changed. But then I stop and think, "Wait! I have five beautiful children who love the Lord, love others and love to witness! What more could I ask for? 'What is that in thine hand?'"
       I pray that reading these FSMs and hearing faith-filled testimonies will help to change the minds and hearts of the YAs and teens in the Family, because since becoming pregnant I have gotten a lot of comments from young people almost criticizing me for my decision to trust the Lord about having more children. I do want to applaud the Grapevine for its list of who is expecting, delivering, etc. We print monthly shiner lists of the witnessers; why not reward those who lay down their very lives to bring new life into the world? I love you all and appreciate the many Letters that encourage us to do our job for Jesus, whatever it may be.

A Special Blessing on Both Sides!
From Tim and Susanna Prayerful, USA
       We had a special prayer that we would be able to spend our fifth anniversary at the same small motel at Lake Tahoe that we had provisioned for our little honeymoon. We were so busy lately that it almost looked like we wouldn't get the time. Well, the Lord worked it out and we were able to go just when we really needed a W&R break.
       We couldn't remember at all where this little motel was and couldn't even find the phone number from information, but the Lord led us right to it! The couple that owns it remembered us right away, even after five years, and gave us a good discount for two nights. It turned out that they are in the process of selling the motel and wouldn't have even been there if we had gone the following week. Thank the Lord! The wife was going through a time of testing and was so happy to have our fellowship, saying that it was really the Lord Who sent us back there at that time. Praise the Lord for His love and care for us and for a good time of witnessing to this precious couple.

Learning to Accept the Blessing of Pregnancy

From China (YA, of Sam), Japan
       I got pregnant when I was 16, and I was not ready for it at all! Around that time I was also going through some major battles, and deciding whether I even wanted to be in the Family. At the same time, I thought I had a lot going for me. I was super into dancing, I started getting into modeling jobs which I very much enjoyed, I was popular amongst my peers. I loved everything about the way my future seemed to be heading. So becoming pregnant was about the last thing that I wanted!
       To be honest, I didn't take it that well. It was one of the hardest things for me to accept, and I was very emotional about it. I was going with Sam at that time, but was not thinking about having a long-term relationship, much less marriage. He was also not planning to stay in Japan.
       But I really did love him, and this pregnancy made me think more deeply about my life. As it turned out, the Lord called Sam to stay in Japan. When we found out that I was pregnant, we knew it was the Lord's will for us to be together. At the time I became pregnant, though, Sam was not living with me, which made the pregnancy even harder to take. I really felt I needed a shoulder to cry on and someone to help me through my emotional first-time pregnancy. And the Lord soon worked out for me to join the Home where Sam was. Thank the Lord!
       As you can imagine, being pregnant basically put a halt to the other future anticipations which I had, and it made me go slow in everything I did. I'm by nature a workaholic, so getting pregnant was the best thing to get me to slow down!
       I also knew that the Lord required a decision in my life as to whether I wanted to be in the Family or not. I did a lot of thinking and praying, seeking the Lord about my life. I knew that the Lord had allowed this to happen for a reason. I had to completely trust the Lord and hang on to Him for everything. I'm really glad I did, or I probably wouldn't be here today. The GN "Go for the Gold" came out around the time I got pregnant, which was a great encouragement for me and helped me to realize that I was in the Lord's hands.
       The whole nine months of my pregnancy went well. I knew zero about pregnancy, so I did a lot of reading and asking for counsel from different people around me, which was a big help. I also did pregnancy/breathing exercises, which was a blessing -- though I must say, once you hit labor everything depends solely upon the Lord!
       When the time came for my labor, I was 15 days late, which was a trial of my patience. I was able to get lots of Word during this time of waiting and I learned to get desperate, because every day that went by during those two weeks seemed like a month to me, with the baby obviously getting bigger and heavier in my womb. We did some major praying and crying out to the Lord.
       Finally one night, after only an hour of sleep, my contractions started to come. I was relieved, but at the same time didn't know what was gonna happen. I thought that I was going to be one of those girls that had a super easy delivery with no complications, because I'd had a very good pregnancy, and had eaten and exercised well.
       We went to the midwife but she said that I still had a ways to go (I was only 2-3 centimeters dilated), so that whole day I was breathing and trying to stay calm and relaxed, reading and praying constantly. Finally by 11:30 p.m., I was 9 cm dilated. My mom and Sam came with me to the delivery, which was a real blessing for me. -- Even the midwife was saying how "spoiled" I was! It's true I did have it good!
       Finally it was time to push. So far everything was going really well. I ended up pushing for three hours straight -- talk about a workout! There came a time while pushing where I felt like I couldn't go any further. I had been up all night and all day, so I had absolutely no strength left. I thought that I was gonna go be with the Lord, but the Lord came through despite it all, and as little strength as I had, I felt that the Lord was there right with us and leading us every step. At 3:35 a.m., Tony was born, at 3.9 kilos after 24 hours of labor. He was as healthy as could be, and I didn't even tear! Thank You, Lord!
       The most important thing that I learned through all this was keeping faith through it all, because half of the time that I was pregnant I spent being discouraged and super low, thinking that my teenhood was definitely over and that there would just be motherhood for the rest of my life. But I knew I had to fight the Enemy's discouragement and lies, as they were just making me unhappy. The day I decided to take up the challenge of being the person the Lord wanted me to be, I felt so much happier. When I accepted myself as a pregnant mother (before that, I didn't want to believe that I was actually PG), life was so much more exciting!
       Now I don't want the life that I had before; I'm so thankful that I have a baby in my life! I can honestly say I'm a lot happier. Having a baby has definitely made me put away childish things, so to speak, and has gotten me off worldly things or the worldly way of living which would've most likely led me to the System.
       Of course the Lord has helped me and Sam a lot too, and He has given me something to live for. Just seeing our little baby has helped me to keep going. To see my very own child growing and how much he loves me, makes me want to do the best that I can and to raise him the right way. I wouldn't trade him for anything in the world! I'm so thankful that the Lord entrusted me with a child. -- It's all a miracle! Thank You Lord!

An Unexpected Answer to Prayer for My Mate and Children!

From Phoenix, PACRO
       I have been together with my sweet mate for the last 15 years. Being in a shepherding job for the last four years has required a lot of traveling. My older kids had grown up to become YAs and teens, but the Lord gave me two more children in the last four years -- just when I started this ministry -- after a break of ten years!
       My mate had been staying with my two youngest children whenever I traveled. It wasn't always so easy for him, being a man, but he took care of them because of his great love for them. But one of the hardest things for him was that he didn't have companionship while I was gone, someone whom he could be with.
       Just before the Charter, I had different helpers for my younger kids, but there never was someone who would be like a second mommy for them, who could take care of both my mate and the kids full-time. After the Charter came out, one helper we had went on to a different ministry, as she had been in childcare all her life in the Family, and she wanted to learn to witness. God bless her!
       But I felt quite bad for a long time for my children and my mate, also for my JETT daughter who was helping to care for the kids too. It seemed like I didn't even have enough faith to pray in someone to help my kids and mate permanently. I battled quite bit about it, feeling like a failure as a mother, and a failure as a wife.
       Then my husband started to have dates with a sister near our Home, and they fell in love with each other. After a while he started to have a burden to help her, as she was a single mommy, by bringing her to our Home. It took us quite a bit of time to pray and decide if it was the Lord's will for us to bring her to our Home. I counseled with my mate, as well as my shepherding teamwork and the Home teamwork.
       I hardly knew her, but when I prayed about it, the Lord showed me that my mate deserves someone to be with him. He sacrifices a lot because of my job, not having a companion all the time, and sometimes he has to be like Mr. Mom, trying to play the role of both mommy and daddy when I'm not with him, which happens often.
       The Lord also reminded me that once I was a single mom too, when I met him. I was 26 years old with three very small children after breaking up with my first mate. At that time my kids were just two years, one year, and a few months old, and I was having quite a difficult time raising these kids by myself, as well as getting over the emotional pain of breaking up with my first mate. To say the least, that was one of the toughest times in my life.
       He was only 19 years old at that time, and had joined just a year before, and had never worked with children, but the Lord really touched his heart to help this single mommy -- me. The Lord used him to help me feel His love for me; the kids and I felt very loved and happy. My life started to change at that point, and the Lord began to use me as a translator and in a shepherding job. I believe it was my mate's love for me which helped me to have faith in the Lord's love for me. I started to relax more, and have more peace in my spirit.
       The Lord used him to help me to grow in the Lord, while he remained sort of behind the scenes to help me do my ministry by always taking care of the kids. Sometimes the kids were his main ministry. I felt the Lord was telling me that this time it was my turn to be good to him for all the years of his sacrifice to help me, my kids, and my ministry.
       So after much prayer and discussion, we decided to take her in. It has been six months now that we have been living together in the same Home, and I realized this was the answer to my prayer. I prayed many times months ago for the Lord to send me someone who could be a mommy to my kids. The Lord has given her a special love for my kids also, which gives me a real peace, especially when I'm gone.
       So whenever I travel, I don't have to worry about my mate going through a battle of loneliness, or about my kids not being taken care of, because I know she will take care of them well. Also, her needs and her children's needs are now supplied. The children are much happier now, and so is she because her needs are also being met; she feels more loved in a personal way. She's been a great blessing to the Home too, and fits in quite well. She has a bubbly, inspirational personality which adds a lot of fun flavor to our Home, God bless her!
       The three of us are not perfect parents at all, but we do our best to help our children. I'm not saying that everything is perfect, or that we don't have any problems, but we are learning to try to communicate with each other whenever snags come up. Though it's not perfect, I'm very thankful that the Lord is supplying the needs of all of us through this situation! I'm very very thankful!

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