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THE CHURCH MINISTRY!--The Dangers of Going to Church!       DFO848_2       18/10/79
--Part Two of "The Sinking Truck"!

       [EDITED: "Caption: How Not to Invade a Church!--They got 6 months in jail for disturbing a church service--Jim Ballister, Shad & others stage red-sackclothed Prophets' march-in of formal church in San Francisco, 1971."]

       48. GOING TO SOME CHURCHES IS LIKE AN ATTACK ON ENEMY TERRITORY! But nothing ventured, nothing gained! You have a possibility of either winning or losing when you attack! If you don't try something, you may stay nice & safe living in your own little garrison & your own little territory, but you don't really gain new territory that way!

       49. CHURCH WITNESSING IS ONE AREA WHICH WE HAVEN'T DONE MUCH FOR IN YEARS! But it has tremendous potentials of getting new ready-made disciples who can help in teaching others to teach others to witness etc. But, of course, it also has very serious risks that, in getting in with them, you might be tempted to compromise & get sucked in all the way!

       50. OUR LITTLE "FIRST FAMILY" DID IT FOR YEARS! That was one of our main ministries, going to the churches. (Maria: But we kept getting kicked out!) Yeah, but we'd still go & minister till we got kicked out! We kept going & they usually kept resisting. But we'd always glean a few, particularly the young people who were hungry & liked us.

       51. (MARIA: BUT SEE, YOU ALWAYS TRAVELLED. Now most of our Family situations are settled down, & they're apt to get sucked in.) Well, if they do what we recommend, they won't be. They should be getting into trailers & campers just like we did, & keep travelling from church to church, you know? See, if they're strong enough they can do it.

       52. IT'S JUST LIKE BEING A GOOD FIGHTER or a good soldier: He has a chance of winning the battle & gaining new territory, if he attacks. But if he is too weak & tries to attack an Enemy who is stronger than he is,--then it's dangerous! The churches are pretty strong in numbers & organisation, & they've got everything down to a system, & they really stick together & have been at it for years. In their doctrine & everything else, they're strong in their ways of thinking & their minds are made up, they don't want to be confused with the facts.

       53. IF YOU ARE NOT AWFULLY STRONG, YOU COULD GET SUCKED IN. Sometimes I was tempted to get sucked in, it was such a tough battle! I was always looking for a church home, you know, always looking for the perfect church where we could feel at home & I could rear my kids in a nice church that really preached them the Gospel & lived it.

       54. SO WE WOULD GO FROM CHURCH TO CHURCH trying to find the right one. We found a lot of good things about some of them, but then there was so much that wasn't. Particularly what we didn't like was that they hardly ever knew anything about witnessing or ever tried to reach people on the outside.

       55. THAT'S ONE THING MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME--she was an evangelist & she did try to reach people outside. She was always witnessing to people wherever we went, on the train, in restaurants or anywhere. I can always remember her talking to people about the Lord. But how many Christians do that now?--Not many! (Maria: No!)--But there are a few - thank God!

       56. SO THERE IS THE DANGER OF SLIDING BACK UNTIL YOU GO OFF THE DEEP END & get sucked into the System again, if you're not strong. That I was able to get out of the truck, I guess it was symbolic that I was a strong Christian. I was like temporarily trapped in their System, but I was strong enough to get out of it, see?--As the truck was going down, I got out! (Maria: But barely!)

       57. BUT I COULDN'T SAVE THE OTHERS, the church people. There were several of us that got out, but there were some that were still trapped in the car, & that woke me up! Whew! (Maria: But you couldn't save them, so what did you get out of it? I mean, what was the purpose of it?) Well, there were some of us who got out. (Maria: Oh, you saved them?) Some, yes.

       58. I THINK THE PURPOSE OF THE DREAM WAS A WARNING TO WATCH OUT, that there are some of our people who are not strong enough, & if they try going back to church or the System, they'll compromise & they won't be strong enough to take it, & they'll just get sucked back in again to the same old System again, the same old business as usual, the same old "go-to-church-on-Sunday" religion, & because they've got a job & whatnot, be too busy to do anything else.

       59. THAT'S ONE REASON CHURCH CHRISTIANS DON'T WITNESS, BECAUSE THEY ARE JUST SO BUSY! I mean, they get home from working eight hours a day or more, & they're just too tired to go out & stand on a street corner passing tracts! About the only time they would have free to go witnessing is on Sunday, & they've gotta go to church on Sunday--half-a-day in the morning & half the night!

       60. THEY'VE GOT TO GO TO CHURCH even though they're too tired & Sunday is their rest day. They're so tired that when they go home they eat a big dinner & go straight to sleep for a Sunday afternoon nap. They're just too tired to go witnessing, really!

       61. I USED TO REALLY ADMIRE THOSE SACRIFICIAL ONES WHO WENT OUT SUNDAY AFTERNOONS TO THE JAILS & HOSPITALS ETC. There was always a tiny little group, you know, a brave little band who would do that sort of thing, & I thought, "Lord, that's really something for people to take their whole Sunday afternoon serving Jesus, when I want to go home & read the funny paper!" (Maria: I wanted to go home & go to bed for my Sunday nap!--After a week at work I was exhausted!)

       62. YES, WHEN YOU'RE A CHURCH CHRISTIAN WITH AN EIGHT-HOUR-A-DAY SIX-DAY-A-WEEK JOB, WHEN DO YOU HAVE TIME TO WITNESS?--And when do you have strength to witness? I feel sorry for them! The only free time they have to witness, the church takes it up!

       63. THAT'S ONE THING YOU'VE GOT TO HAND IT TO THE JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES FOR! You know what they do on Sunday morning?--They go out witnessing while all the other Christians are in church!--Ha! While all the faithful church Christians are in church, the ones that they are pretty sure they can't change their minds, the Jehovah's witnesses are going around & around visiting the people who are not in church because they're fed up with the church, sick of the church, & the Jehovah's Witnesses preach to them how they are sick of the church too, sick of religions & denominations! "Yes, but look, see? We've got the real thing!"

       64. SO, OUR FAMILY SHOULD FIND THAT THE DOOR-TO-DOOR-MINISTRY ON SUNDAY MORNINGS SHOULD REALLY PAY OFF! If you go out during that time when you are sure every church Christian is in Sunday School & church between 10 & 12 on Sunday morning, & catch the non-church folks at home, they've got no excuse: They're not busy, they're not in church, they're not on a job, & they have time to listen.

       65. SOME OF THE UNCHURCHED ARE HUNGRY, some will accept your literature, listen, & a lot of them will invite you in to talk. I can remember inviting Jehovah's Witnesses in, sitting down with them & having a cup of coffee or tea, & at least talk, you know. I was curious about their religion & to see how they did it, what made them tick, & I always bought some of their lit just to help them out.

       66. SO, TO ME IN THE DREAM, it seemed like although we were a witness to the churches, like Paul was to the scribes & the Pharisees & the lawyers & the doctors of the law in the Temple & synagogues, he was more a witness against them, because it didn't do much good except to condemn them all the further, because they wouldn't listen & they wouldn't obey!

       67. WE USED TO GO TO THE CHURCHES, & THAT WAS OUR MINISTRY--PROPHETS OF GOD, JUST WARNING THEM! (Maria:--And it was just a one or two-time thing, usually, anyway, so it didn't last very long.) Yeah, that's why our first little tract we ever got out was the little "Warning Tract" (see No.655). We really wanted to shake them up & scare them & show them what was gonna happen, so we put the whole Message in one little tract!

       68. SO, IN A WAY, THE CHURCHES ARE GOING BACKWARD, the truck is sliding backward, & we just have to be warned not to get in with the System so tight that you can't get out, that you don't go backward & get completely sucked in & go down with it! So, right after the "Invade the Churches", maybe the Lord is holding that letter up so we can put this one with it!--In other words, here's a suggested ministry, but it's a dangerous business!

       69. INVADING THE CHURCHES, ATTACKING THE CHURCHES, IS ALMOST LIKE ATTACKING THE ENEMY'S OWN TERRITORY, where he has got the church Christians so opiated, doped, brainwashed & dead they're not good for anything! If he can't stop them from being Christians, at least he keeps'm from doing much good or preaching much Gospel or witnessing or litnessing or getting out & reaching the rest of the world!

       70. SO THE CHURCHES ARE LIKE TERRITORY THE DEVIL HAS TAKEN OVER BY SLOW PARALYSIS! They are asleep & don't know it! It's an attack on the Enemy's own System, Churchianity, that building & that go-to-church-on-Sunday building-type of Christianity! I consider it diabolical! (Maria: And there are some of your biggest demons there are, right there in church!)--Yeah, yeah!

       71. YOU KNOW IN THOSE "SCREWTAPE LETTERS" by C.S. Lewis, he talks about the big Uncle Devil coming along checking on his workers, & he finds his little nephew devil sitting out on the front steps of the church sound asleep! He shakes him angrily & says, "What's the big idea? I want you to get in there & get busy!" But the little devil said, "I don't have to!--They're all asleep!"

       72. SO, ATTACKING THE CHURCHES IS DANGEROUS BUSINESS! It can wake'm up & make'm mad, sad or glad! But it can also really pay off in a few good workers! You won't convince them all but you might get a few real hungry young disciples that are just about our age now, the age of our young families, the age when young people begin rejoining church with their small children.

       73. REMEMBER IN TENERIFE THOSE YOUNG COUPLES who began having young children & who had long ago left the church when they were teenagers, fed up with it, sick of it, & saw nothing in it but corruption & lies & what-not! But suddenly when they had little ones of their own, they knew they had to teach them about the Lord, but they didn't feel capable of teaching them themselves.

       74. SO THEY FELT A NEED TO GO BACK TO CHURCH FOR THEIR CHILDREN'S SAKE, so their kids could get some kind of religious training, the Missal & the Catechism, etc., & they'd at least hear some religion & have some religious influence. It's at that period when young couples are at just the stage of our own young couples right now, with young children, that they begin to want to go back to church.

       75. SO THE CHURCHES ARE FULL OF YOUNG COUPLES WITH YOUNG CHILDREN. Not so much the older children, as when they get up in the teens many of them start quitting church & they can't control them anymore. But the young couples with younger children about the ages of our small families, they would have a lot in common with our young couples, & I think we could be a tremendous influence on them!

       76. WE COULD TEACH THEM TO TEACH THEIR CHILDREN LIKE WE HAVE TAUGHT OURS. That's most probably the biggest influence we could have, to teach them Bible-reading in the home, Scripture memorisation, & sneak them our lit, at least our Komix & stuff like that, & as the preacher would probably say, poison his congregation!

       77. SO IT'S A DANGEROUS BUSINESS! You are invading the Enemy's territory which he has got almost totally under his control, & you not only are going to run into a lot of opposition, but to protect yourself, you run into the temptation to compromise & get sucked in yourself, because it is such a battle, see?

       78. IT'S A MATTER OF EITHER WINNING THE VICTORY OVER THE ENEMY OR JOINING THEM! You can either fight & get the victory & not get sucked in yourself, but be a faithful witness, or you can be tempted to compromise to the point that pretty soon you're going their way rather than to fight the battle against it.

       79. WHEN WE & OURS WERE YOUNG, WE ALWAYS HAD TO PULL OUT, SOONER OR LATER, OR WE WOULD HAVE GONE DOWN WITH THEM! (Maria: There'd be that real strong temptation, especially when our people are settled down, when our kids are settled in little stable Homes, they've made friends with church people & they have some needed fellowship. If they do go all out for the Lord, some of their friends & members of the church are eventually going to reject them & the whole message, they'll be driven out & won't have anywhere else to go.)--Unless they've got a trailer or camper & can live by faith & keep moving--or try another church!

       80. WE HAVE HAD QUITE A FEW APPEALS FROM HOMES THAT NOW FEEL ISOLATED. They're just their own little family & they have no fellowship with other Homes. They are either in a place where there are no other Homes, or they don't get together as they should!

       81. NOW, THAT WAS ONE THING ABOUT THE AMISH! The Amish of Pennsylvania are called "Pennsylvania Dutch", but they were actually old German Mennonite settlers. They did not believe in church buildings! They believed in sticking to the old ways & the horses & buggies & the old clothes, & they didn't want to take the pledge to the American flag & they don't want to send their kids to the Godless public schools!

       82. I CAN SURE AGREE WITH THE AMISH ON A LOT OF THOSE THINGS! You know what they did?--They got homes that were big enough so that they could alternate every Sunday, & they would all meet each Sunday in a different home! They would always build a home that had a living room large enough to hold a small local congregation, so they could meet in different homes.

       83. IF SOME OF OUR KIDS WOULD TRY TO GET BIGGER HOUSES--if they're going to stay in houses at all--houses that are big enough so that they could meet together, sort of in secret, you know, not quite so openly as we used to, because of the propaganda against us, then they could at least have fellowship there in the home with each other & have inspiration, sing songs, pray together, read & study together, etc.--things they miss that they used to have.

       84. SOME OF THEM REMEMBER THOSE GOOD OLD INSPIRATION MEETINGS! Well, meetings have their place. I don't like the way the churches have gone for nothing but meetings, you know. That's all they do is have fellowship & nothing but meetings. But you do need the fellowship. That's one thing Paul did say that the churches use to the limit!: "Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together"--Ha! So the preachers say, "See!--There's the commandment!: Go to church on Sunday!"

       85. YOU NEED FELLOWSHIP & YOU NEED TO GET TOGETHER at least once or twice a week, & especially if you are holding secular jobs, Sunday is about the only day you've got! You can develop into little "Churches in the Home", "Churches of Love".

       86. IF YOU HAVEN'T GOT A HOME BIG ENOUGH, YOU CAN RENT OR GET THE USE OF A CLUB OR SCHOOL OR COMMUNITY HALL ETC. Some of our people have had the use of a community hall where they could go & have Sunday School & Sunday meetings, & a lot of the local town's people have even come &/or sent their children, & they've got a little church of their own started, a church that is really preaching the Gospel & really trying to teach others & really preaching the Truth & the whole Message!--And witnessing!

       87. THIS IS WHAT THE JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES FINALLY HAD TO DO.--They refused to build big churches & waste money on buildings. Their whole push was lit & reaching outsiders. God bless them for that! So they refused to waste money on fancy church building as they preferred to put their money into literature & witnessing. So they would not build any buildings or even buy any buildings. They would just rent store buildings for meetings, & call them Kingdom Halls!

       88. THE PLYMOUTH BRETHREN, THEY ALSO DIDN'T BELIEVE IN CHURCH BUILDINGS AT FIRST, the very strict Brethren sect, pre-Trib people. They just rented little "Gospel Halls" & put in some seats. They didn't even have any set pastors or set leaders!

       89. THEY WERE ALL BUSINESSMEN, LABOURERS, CLERKS, ETC.--ALL HAD JOBS OR BUSINESSES. They supposedly never knew who was going to speak until they got there! Like the old Quakers, they would wait until somebody was inspired to speak. Well, it was, of course, usually the most knowledgeable & Bible-trained businessman who would finally get up & give the message after a few prophecies & a few songs.

       90. THEY WOULD SIT IN A CIRCLE AROUND THE WALLS so that there was no front & no back & no leader except Jesus, they said, "Just Jesus"!--Good! But it was usually more or less the same two or three guys who would get up & lead the meeting & finally preach the sermon, which was fine! That's natural.--Some people are called to be pastors & some aren't.

       91. SO WE NOW NEED SOMETHING ALONG THAT LINE OURSELVES. The idea of your going back to the churches was to be a substitute for fellowship, if you can't find another Home nearby, then alright, go to church & try to see if you can find a little fellowship there--it might do you some good! It's better than nothing!

       92. (MARIA: BUT OTHERWISE IT WOULD BE GOOD TO EVEN MEET IN A FRIEND'S HOME, to have a little group from your DTD ministry.) Yes! This is what the Jehovah's Witnesses do! This was also Fred's vision: Go & win a few converts DTD & use their home & have them gather their neighbours & friends & teach them! This is what the Jehovah's Witnesses do, & it's paid off! I mean, look at them! They are the fastest growing religious group in the world!

       93. (MARIA: YOU COULD PRINT UP LITTLE CARDS & distribute them DTD: "If you are a young couple with small children & wish your kids to have a firm foundation, come meet with us Sunday at __________.") Or put an ad in the Want Ads or on the Church page, stuff like that! They've got a Church page every Saturday in nearly every newspaper to advertise all the churches, & you could advertise your meetings! (Maria: Yes, & wish for a more homey little fellowship than the big cold churches! I mean, you could really go into it & really make it sound good!)

       94. PARTICULARLY IF YOU WOULD PRESENT IT PERSONALLY DOOR-TO-DOOR! This right away wins the people's hearts, because when they see you & your kids, then they really are won over to your sweet spirits! Just like the little blind lady in my dream! See, that was like door-to-door witnessing!

       95. IT WAS A SAMPLE!--And that's the difference, like in the dream, between the way we go door-to-door & the way some of these high-powered rich denominations do it: When they give out expensive stuff like that Bible, they can't afford to do much witnessing! They've got to save money for the church building, the program, the preacher & the denomination!

       96. BUT YOU NEED FELLOWSHIP--YOU DEFINITELY NEED FELLOWSHIP! It was our communal living which first appealed to you, our togetherness. There was strength in unity. We need to solve that problem somehow, now that so many of you have gone home & taken jobs alone.

       97. IF YOU ARE TOO WEAK TO GO BACK TO CHURCH, THEN YOU NEED TO GET TOGETHER in little fellowships of your own local Homes in whoever's Home's got a big enough living room that you could meet in. Where there are now two or three Homes in some cities, you could call it a Sunday Party! People have parties & family get-togethers on Saturdays or Sundays, so it wouldn't be too conspicuous. You can all meet together in one Home.

       98. WE USED TO DO THAT IN MIAMI WHEN OUR KIDS WERE SMALL. We would just get a big enough house with a big enough living room, some old rickety mansion or something where we could all meet in the living room. It made a perfect little meetings room for our schools etc.

       99. IF YOU ARE FAIRLY QUIET & INCONSPICUOUS about it & you don't have too much activity, the neighbours shouldn't complain, especially if it is only one or two meetings a week like on a Saturday or Sunday etc. We started having classes all day for disciples & meetings at night for friends, etc.--that's when trouble began!

       100. BUT THEN WE STARTED GETTING SOME PENTECOSTALS WHO WOULD SCREAM LOUD at the top of their voices, & this poor Catholic across the street finally filed a complaint. He said, "I'm trying to take my Sunday nap, & there's this guy over there moaning & groaning & screaming at the top of his voice!"

       101. THIS WAS ONE OF OUR YOUNG FELLOWS with whom we had a lot of trouble, a typical Pentecostal young boy preacher! He didn't think he was preaching unless he was preaching at the top of his voice, & he would pray that way too! It was in Miami in the hot Summer, & you couldn't stand to have all the doors & windows shut, & we were having crowds of 20 & 30 people in this big living room.

       102. AND THEN, OF COURSE, EVERYBODY HAD A LOT OF LITTLE CHILDREN RUNNING ALL OVER THE YARD next door to Mrs. Mercer who used to be my study hall teacher in High School, so she complained that we were running an unlicensed kindergarten!--Ha! But we said, "We're not running a kindergarten, that's just our children & those of our friends who come to visit us!"

       103. BUT FINALLY, THE LAST STRAW WAS WHEN I HAD THREE TRAILERS PARKED IN THE YARD! I was just buying trailers for our own Trailer Park on Key Largo, & I hadn't been able to move them down there yet because we didn't have the cesspool holes dynamited yet, so I just parked them in our driveway. But they said, "Now you're running a Trailer Park! You're not allowed more than one trailer on a property, & just stored for your vacation!"

       104. SO FINALLY IT TURNED OUT THAT THE CHIEF OF POLICE LIVED IN THE SAME BLOCK, & Abe Aaronovich of the City Council lived in that block too, a very fancy neighborhood! So the poor rich owner came & said, "Listen, Dave, we're having so many complaints, they're going to file legal process against me if you don't get out! I'll be glad to pay you back your rent if you'll just please move!"--And he did!--And we did! He gave us back two months rent, $300, & helped us move our trailers just in time! We had our Trailer Park ready to move down to Key Largo, & we moved out!--Ha!--So if you're going to have "Church in Home" you'd better get your trailer ready!-Ha!-Amen!

       105. SO, ANYHOW, BIG HOMES, SOMEBODY IN YOUR AREA COULD HAVE A BIG HOME & HAVE FELLOWSHIP MEETINGS TOGETHER. Why do you complain about not having fellowship with other Homes, when you don't have to live singly? You could still pool resources & two or three families live together in our usual communal way. That way, you could be a big help to each other.--Amen?

       106. MANY OF OUR FAMILIES ARE NOW LIVING TOGETHER THAT WAY, TWO OR THREE FAMILIES IN ONE HOME. This way you can still live like we used to, & you don't have to live separately. You could even live cheaper together like that, & have more people to share the work & more time to witness. So why you don't, I don't know.

       107. WHY YOU THINK YOU'VE GOT TO LIVE SINGLY NOW, I DON'T KNOW. Maybe you thought that for security you had to live separately, because you get that many people living in a Home with a bunch of kids, naturally the neighbours are going to know it. But so what?--You're just living together, & you like to live that way!

       108. YOU JUST CAN'T HIDE YOUR CANDLE UNDER A BUSHEL, THAT'S ALL THERE IS TO IT! "A city that's set on a hill cannot be hid!" (Mt.5:14 &15.) We may try to because of the persecution & the propaganda, you may try to hide to some extent. But we just can't hide our witness, our lamp, our flame, even if it's only a candle!

       109. YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BE MUCH GOOD TO THE REST OF THE WORLD IF YOU KEEP HIDING YOUR LIGHT & CRAWL INTO A HOLE WHERE NOBODY CAN SEE YOU, never hear you singing or anything! I mean, you're never going to get anywhere that way, if you can't be a witness to the world at all!

       110. IT'S A SACRIFICE TO WITNESS!--IT'S DANGEROUS TO WITNESS! You're bound to get some propaganda, persecution etc. But we still have to do it! I mean, all the early Apostles died martyrs, & lots of the early Christians, but they continued to be faithful witnesses just the same!

       111. SO WE CAN'T GO FROM ONE EXTREME TO THE OTHER, from all-out loud mouths to timid frightened silent tiny little mice! Some of you were so bold & out-spoken, you'd holler at people on the streets & try to shove it down their throats, until some of them resented it!

       112. WELL, NOW YOU'RE GOING TO THE OPPOSITE EXTREME, now you're going into almost complete hiding in trying to keep from being known at all or identified, & not even meeting together or fellowshipping, for fear you will be found out! You'd think there was already a Roman persecution on! Well, there is not!--It's a Jewish persecution!--Ha!--And they always stir up the Romans! So we can't just go hiding our light altogether!

       113. "THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE, I'M GOING TO LET IT SHINE! Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine! I'm not going to let the Devil blow it out!" Don't let the Devil hide it under a bushel either, or in a little single Home without fellowship or witnessing! Don't go from one extreme to the other.

       114. WE JUST CANNOT HIDE OUR WITNESS ENTIRELY, we cannot hide our lamp & our flame, not even a candle! We can't hide our light entirely, & if we show it & if we witness, we are bound to get some opposition & some persecution, but we have to go ahead & shine for Jesus anyhow, live or die!--Amen?

       115. SO I THINK THIS IS THE ANSWER TO SOME OF YOUR NEEDS: Stable Homes are going to have to get together in a Home or a hall or something for some fellowship. Even if you are back in the System at an eight-hour-a-day job six days a week, you are still going to have to have some kind of fellowship & service for the Lord!


       "GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN"--Reprint from the Tuscon Daily Citizen (Old Goldie No.8)
       [@ April] 1969 by Dave Green--Citizen Staff Writer
       'Revolutionaries for Jesus' Holding Services in Their Church at 2570 Menor Stravenue.

       Scores of hippies are flocking to Tucson, and with them has come a small band of reformed hippies carrying Bibles, whose mission, they say, is the conversion of their bearded brothers to that "old-time religion."

       Most of the new arrivals are here to escape the "great earthquake," which they contend will cause most or all of California to slide into the ocean by the middle of April. Dozens are here now and they say that as many as 500 are expected here within two months.

       Not so, however, with the eager little group who call themselves "The Revolutionaries for Jesus," They have discarded their love beads and taken to Bibles. They have given up their pads and gone to church.

       Befriended by an artist-missionary on Tucson's South Side, the small, but energetic little band began collecting its flock of would-be converts just last week. Invited to Tucson from Phoenix by the Rev. Edward "Ted" Ware, pastor of the "Fellowship Church," at 2570 Menor Strav., the six-member team moved into the pretty little white church--and things haven't been quite the same there since.

       First, they removed the pews. Then they removed all images, except the wooden cross at the front of the church. In came the pillows--they prefer sitting on the floor--and the bongo drums and guitar. They were ready for services.

       Soon some members of the small congregation of the Rev. Mr. Ware were raising eye-brows and a few felt the need to look for a church where hippies are not allowed. The Rev. Mr. Ware, a globe-hopping missionary with an abundance of faith, shrugged his shoulders, called it the will of God, and prepared to aid his new flock of former drug users.

       Asked if he was not afraid that perhaps his church would be turned into a pot-smoking pad, he simply replied, "It will not happen."

       On nearly any afternoon now you can walk into the church and take in a most unlikely sight. The faithful are squatted on pillows under the huge cross. The guitar is being played, and the ex-hippies are singing songs about Jesus. In a corner, a bearded one, arms folded, is quietly studying the Bible.

       In late afternoon the searchers go out. They go to East Sixth Street, the closest thing to a hippie colony in Tucson, an area which police formerly termed a "real problem area for drugs."

       The group passes out pamphlets quoting scripture and invites its hippie friends to a "feed in". It's free chow, for those willing to sit through a sermon.

       Back at the church, by 7.30 p.m. a spontaneous and impromptu worship session consists of songs and a few words from the Bible.

       The band's trek began in Huntington Beach. Calf. early last year. A missionary, David Love, a long-time friend of the Rev. Mr. Ware, took his family and organized a small singing group. "Teens for Christ."

       A teenager suggested that it was too bad the hippies were channeling all of their energies to the devil instead of God.

       The Rev. Mr. Love had founded, nearly two years ago, an organization called the Light House, in Huntington Beach. Here the hop heads could get religion and get off the drugs. He decided to search out the hippies.

       He and his teen-age followers contacted businessmen in the community, who financed a dinner at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Buses were charted for hippies, about 150 of whom came to the feed-in. From it stemmed the first conversion.

       Danny Anderson, 23, a Vietnam veteran, was a user of drugs at this time last year. "I spent 18 months in Vietnam as a helicopter machinegunner. There I got hooked on drugs," he says. After his discharge in October 1967, Danny went back to California, longer hair and more trips on "everything from marijuana to LSD. It got so bad that I finally knew I had to get help from somewhere." He went to the Light House.

       "Hippies are right when they say that they get a glimpse of the spiritual world on those drug trips," he says. "But it is the world of the devil, not God. I got so bad that I was seeing demons."

       Eleven months ago Danny took his last trip on drugs. He believes that the search for God and the failure of man to accept the Bible are what really lie at the root of the hippie problem.

       "We are really not hippies any more," a member explains. But we have been and we know what the other kids are searching for. We have kept our clothes and long hair. You can't get to these people (other hippies) by going down there on 6th Street in a business suit. They wouldn't even talk with you."


Ex-Bible Smuggler Leads Tucson Flock

       The Rev. Edward "Ted" Ware may be what you would expect of a minister with a church full of hippies--a smuggler. He's never been a runner of guns or gold bars. His "racket" was smuggling Bibles.

       Pastor of a Tucson church, Ware is a missionary whose globetrotting began in the early 1950s. When he married a London nurse in 1944, he was a member of the British Royal Air Force who yearned to move to "the new world, where a man could build his own house." Then the RAF transferred him to Canada and he left the service in 1945.

       "We actually built that house," he said. "Then God began to come into our lives. With all we had we were not satisfied. We discovered that there was more to life than just building a house." The feeling was so strong he joined the Salvation Army.

       "By this time, however, we had seven children and the Salvation Army had no facilities for married couples with a family. So we were fortunate to meet Paul Fleming, the founder of the New Tribes Mission. Fleming told them that "God had everything He needed for missionary work but the people to do it."

       Ware and his wife helped establish missions in Canada. They sold their home and by the mid-1950s were doing mission work in the U.S. Then they went to Cuba.

       "We were in Cuba at God's hour," he says. "It was wide open for the Gospel at that time". There were fabulous results, with churches springing up overnight." The revolution had begun, however, and Fidel Castro's guerrillas and Juan Batista's soldiers were in the field." Both sides left us alone, Ware says. He helped establish several churches in the back country.

       On Nov. 14, 1958, he and another missionary and their families were riding at night in a Land Rover when they came upon one of Castro's bands. The revolutionaries were burning a bridge and "apparently thought the army had surprised them," Ware said. Shots rained on the missionary vehicle, and four bullets struck Ware in the head. The other missionary's daughter was wounded.

       Later the apologetic soldiers freed them. It was 30 miles to help, but the vehicle's bullet-shattered radiator "did not conk out until we reached the village." Ware lost his right eye, which is covered by a patch. Three slugs were removed from his face and another remains lodged in his jaw.

       Ware made five more trips to Cuba and was detained for a short time the last trip. Then he did mission work in Mexico, Latin America and Spain. In Spain he turned smuggler because distribution of religious literature is forbidden there. The intrepid missionary hid Bibles under a truck seat. With a pretty daughter sitting atop them, he drove through checkpoints, smiling.

       The affable missionary said he settled at the Fellowship Church in Pueblo Gardens here at God's direction. "We were on our way to Florida but stopped here and visited friends. One told me of this vacant church."

       Ware told his wife, "Well, that's it. The Lord wants us here." He and his family bought the building, converted its nursery into a small but comfortable living space and waited for "God to act."

       There are no collection plates, and all Ware will say about finances is that things "are a bit tight" and "The Lord will provide."

       As a metalworker and painter, he turns out "works of art," but he doesn't believe in advertising and his finely cut, delicate roses, charcoal sketches, paintings and other works go unsold. Neighbors and parishioners bring odds and ends and often food. "Things are going according to God's plan," he says.

       "The only thing that hurts," Ware reflects, is "seeing some of our church members leave because we let a few persons with beards or different dress into the Lord's house."--DAVE GREEN

       Directions to Lighthouse: Alvernon to 36th St. exit Turn left, go 1 mile to Pueblo Park, turn right to Lighthouse behind park. Happenings nightly after 8:00. PHONE 624-5639.

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family