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MARIA TELLING HER LIFE STORY--PART 1!        6/84        Maria No.11        DO 1799

       I WAS BROUGHT UP UNDER MUCH THE SAME RIGID SYSTEM OF RULES AS DAD WAS. There were so many "Thou shalt nots"!--And my parents went strictly by the rules! They never deviated! Of course that set me apart socially from the other children & young people that I grew up with, as I couldn't participate in many of the activities of other children & young people. My parents felt that part of a Christian's life & witness & testimony was not to do these so-called Worldly things, so I didn't dance or play cards or wear makeup or jewelry or listen to "Worldly" music or even go to movies! (A religion of don'ts!--D.)
       2. I REMEMBER ONE TIME WHEN I WAS IN JUNIOR HIGH, the most popular & richest boy in our class, Kent Pope, invited us all to his birthday party. I enjoyed the refreshments & games, but then they really pulled a fast one! They announced a big surprise, that we would all be going out together for a movie! So, instead of doing what I knew I should & staying back & saying, "No, I'm sorry, I can't go," I went along to the movie. That was my first movie & almost my last, until I was in college I think. I felt so condemned through the whole movie & afterwards! The movie wasn't bad, it was a nice kids' movie, but it was almost the worst thing I'd ever done & I felt so bad & so sad that I'd failed in standing up for my convictions!
       OH YES!--I STILL DIDN'T GO TO MOVIES OR SCHOOL PARTIES OR DANCES OR ANY OF THOSE THINGS! I even had to wear special gym clothes because we didn't believe in wearing shorts. Even though my gym class was all girls, my gym suit went down to just above my knees instead of the short shorts that most of the others wore.
       4. IT WAS EMBARRASSING AT TIMES, ESPECIALLY BECAUSE I WAS SO SHY & I really didn't have the power of the Holy Spirit to give me the strength to stick up for my convictions & to go on the attack & be proud of what I was doing & that I was different & actually witness & give the kids a real sample of the positive side of being a Christian. If it came to a crunch, however, & I had to make a stand for what I thought was right, then I usually did, but as far as getting up in class & saying why I didn't do these things, I never did that! For one thing, I didn't know the Word well enough, & people who don't know the Word are afraid to witness because they don't have anything to back them up! I suppose I could have just said that the Bible says these things are wrong, & I suppose that would have been a better witness than none at all, but I didn't even know where in the Bible it said it was wrong & half the time I suppose I didn't even know if the Bible said it or not!--And I know now that much of what I thought at that time was wrong is not actually anti-Scriptural after all! (Amen! Now she at least dances & watches videos!)
       OH YES, MY WORST I SUPPOSE! Not only was I naturally shy, but having to follow our conservative church rules & doctrines greatly compounded the feeling of isolation & inferiority. For example, in gym class, not only was I embarrassed because I had to be different & wear the longer suits, but then because I had been brought up in such a prohibitive, restrictive atmosphere where nobody ever took off their clothes in front of anybody, it was difficult for me to undress in front of the other girls, & on top of that I was developing more slowly than some of the others, so that was embarrassing too. I think that's a problem which a lot of girls that age have, but I had the added problem of being embarrassed of just being naked! I would have been embarrassed no matter what I looked like. I was quite painfully shy! (Now she's almost always naked! Ha!)
       6. ALSO, IN ABOUT 5TH OR 6TH GRADE I STARTED GETTING ACNE QUITE BADLY & I had quite a bad case of it until about 11th grade. But then, thank the Lord, my complexion started clearing up! When I joined the Family I still had some acne, but it wasn't as bad as when I was younger. For about seven years I had quite a bad case, with my face pretty much constantly covered with pimples, & of course that made me even more self-conscious & shy! I had a few counts against me but I had the Lord, & He was a comfort & I don't think these things hurt me emotionally, but they were all contributing factors in making me a very shy teenager, in all of which I'm sure the Lord had His way & was working things out for His purpose.
       I THINK THE MAIN THING IS THAT THE LORD WAS USING ALL THIS TO KEEP ME HUMBLE & knowing I was nothing & nobody, feeling incapable & inferior & lacking in confidence, so that I would look more to Him & depend more on Him!--And I think the same thing applies to the present.--He used the past to make me what I am today--still shy, incapable & lacking in confidence--so I'll know & others will know that He's the One Who gets the credit for anything good that I may do or any accomplishments. Of course, I still have to claim His help & victory in my battles with shyness, & thank the Lord, there's been some progress through the years. But that kind of pride is deep-rooted & maybe something that ironically the Lord even uses to keep me humble. I have to ask Dad if this makes sense. I hope he'll tell me if it doesn't. (Of course! Everything you say & do makes sense!) The Lord has gotten rid of some of my inhibitions & restrictions & He healed my acne with Dad's help, who completely denied me all the sweets that I used to eat, which was one of the reasons I had such bad acne in the first place. I always have said that the Lord knew I had to be with Dad for so many years because it has taken me so long to learn the lessons I need to know. He's mercifully gone very slowly with me.
       WHEN I WAS A TEEN, IF I'D BEEN IN THE FAMILY I COULD HAVE BEEN PROUD OF BEING DIFFERENT. I WOULD'VE HAD THE SUPPORT OF MANY OTHERS IN THE FAMILY WHO WERE THE SAME AS ME & BEEN ABLE TO FIRMLY BACK UP THE WAY I BELIEVED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORD! Furthermore, if I'd been in the Family I would have known that nudity is nothing to be ashamed of. Also, I would have avoided the problem with my complexion by realising that sweets were poisoning me & by not eating them. To be in the Family is so wonderful & our teens should be so very thankful to the Lord & their parents for the priceless privilege of being one of the chosen few in the entire World to have such an honoured place!
       MY GRANDMOTHER LIVED WITH US ALL MY LIFE! She had a pretty rough life living with my parents. Of course, they were sweet & tried their best, but she sort of got shunted off into the background & didn't really have any say in any of the decisions. I imagine that's the way most grandparents are treated in American homes, they have to stay home & take care of the kids & not receive much appreciation for it, which is the price they have to pay for the privilege of living with their children.
       10. MY SISTERS & I DIDN'T REALLY CARE FOR HER AS WE SHOULD HAVE. We appreciated her being our Grandmother, but we didn't take the time to talk & fellowship with her & give her what she needed most, love & affection & to be needed. Some grandparents have a very close relationship with their grandchildren, but in my case my life was pretty separate from hers. It's so sad for me to look back & realise what a lack of communication I had with my relatives, with almost everyone, in fact. How important is deep communication, not only for our own benefit, but to be able to comfort & help others.
       11. HOWEVER, I'M SURE SHE WAS MUCH HAPPIER LIVING WITH US THAN SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN IN AN OLD PEOPLE'S HOME! She lived in a nice home where she was taken care of & appreciated & given nominal respect for being the Grandmother, but she didn't have any say in the decision-making, it was all just handed down to her as though she was one of the children. It is sad to think of old people, like Dad said in "Solitaire". Whether they live by themselves or they live with others, they're still so often alone. I never thought these things out at the time, but looking back on the picture you can see a lot of places where you failed & where people were sad & needed help & were really so lonely, but you didn't realise it.
       12. BOTH OF MY GRANDFATHERS DIED BEFORE I WAS EVEN BORN, BUT BOTH OF MY GRANDMOTHERS ARE STILL ALIVE OVER 30 YEARS LATER! Imagine, she never had any sex for over 30 years, unless she did it herself! Where would she have gotten it? She lived with my parents & they didn't believe in extramarital sex & she never got married all that time! She must have been in her middle 50's when my Grandfather died, so she still would have been healthy & able to have sex & companionship, but she never remarried. She's been so alone in her own little world for all that time. She told me one time she was called to be a foreign missionary when she was young but she said no to the Lord. If she had obeyed the Lord, things would have turned out better, but I guess that's the retribution for what she didn't do. In "The Almond Tree" (No.158), the Lord said, "Your Grandmother's prayers for you have risen to Me," so she probably really repented of what she didn't do & she prayed for me, as she didn't want me to fail too.
       13. SHE MUST HAVE BEEN PRAYING A LOT FOR ME! She very rarely talked, probably because my parents did all the talking. She didn't have much to say, but she must have done a lot of praying! She had every right to be saddened about the way she was sort of pushed aside, but she never criticised, never said a cross word, she always took everything like a real saint. She must be a saint for sure! At least the Lord heard her prayers for me! I guess you could say that she had a lot of influence on me through her prayers! (Amen! Look what they helped make Maria!)
       LOOKING BACK, I'D SAY ONE MAJOR THING THAT IMPRESSED ME about my parents was that they never disagreed in front of us or never fought in front of us. They believed in having a united front, & in fact they didn't even discuss sad church business or any business in front of us. They didn't believe we should be upset by their problems or others' problems & disagreements, & although I'm sure they had some, we never heard about them. If they ever argued they did it in private, thank the Lord! I had a very stable childhood & I never had anything to fear. We were a bit poor, lower middle class, I guess, but very stable. We could always depend on my parents to be united & take care of us & to love the Lord. I knew the Lord loved us & my parents loved us, & that provided enough stability for me as a child.
       15. MY PARENTS WERE STRICT DISCIPLINARIANS WHO DIDN'T BELIEVE THEY SHOULD PUT UP WITH DISOBEDIENCE OR FOOLISHNESS. They would often quote that verse, "Spare the rod & spoil the child." (Pro.13:24) And while we didn't often get a literal rod, we were very familiar with my father's wide leather belt when we were small. I chalked up plenty of bruises across my legs & on my bottom, good reminders for a few days at least not to disobey again. My parents were very loving & kind & really did not like to have to discipline us, & we were used to hearing them say, "This hurts me more than it does you" & sincerely mean it. I don't recall that they ever punished us in an enraged out-of-control manner but always in the righteous indignation & anger of the Lord, & would always be sure to give us lots of love & comfort afterwards.
       16. WHEN WE WERE SASSY OR TALKED BACK TO OUR PARENTS we usually got the good old-fashioned mouthwash treatment. And let me tell you, having your mouth washed out with soap is no fun & you don't want to repeat the same experience again very soon. I also remember a few times of standing in the corner of the dining room while the rest of the family was eating, & repeating over & over, "Number one, I will come to meals on time. Number two, I will come to meals on time. Number three, I will come to meals on time."--Usually up to 100 because my parents wanted to make sure we got the point. Of course, it would have been more effective if we had been quoting Scripture, but at least it helped us thereafter not to ignore the dinner call just because we wanted to play a few minutes more. (Ha! GBH!)
       17. MY PARENTS ALWAYS WARNED US IN ADVANCE OF WHAT OUR PUNISHMENT WOULD BE if we deviated from the straight & narrow. So we had plenty of advance warning, & I must say that I considered that my parents were always quite fair & just with us children in whatever chastisement they administered. And we certainly needed it!
       18. I BELIEVE THAT ANY LACKS IN THEIR TRAINING OF US WERE CAUSED BY IGNORANCE & their being the victims of the System in which they were trained & brought up. After all, no one had told them differently. I would have followed in the same pattern as they if someone had not shown me something different. Of course, I would wish that they had taught us to witness more actively, stressed more the importance of memorisation, passed on to us the knowledge of the gifts of the Spirit, trained us more in living by faith. But in all of these things they were ignorant.
       19. PHYSICALLY MY PARENTS WERE VERY PARTICULAR IN THEIR CARE OF US & we were admonished to always eat everything on our plate, to dress warmly when necessary, to wash behind our ears & brush our teeth, to read in good light, & taught the multitude of good rules & cleanliness standards that small children should be trained in. Almost their only major lack in this area was that they allowed us & even encouraged us to eat far too many sweets by making them so readily available. Both my mother & grandmother were very good cooks & loved to bake the most delicious cookies & cakes & pies & puddings & sweet treats that you can imagine, not realising that it was poisoning our systems & was responsible for my mouthful of cavities & my terrible complexion! Looking back now I wonder how they could have been so ignorant, but I know they would never had done anything that would have deliberately caused us pain & agony, not only then but in later years. Thank God for all the wisdom that He has given Dad in every area of our lives that helps us to live happy & healthy lives free from the poisons & perversions of the System. (Amen.--TYJ! TTL!)
       20. ALTHOUGH MY PARENTS NEVER HAD MONEY TO SPARE, THE LORD ALWAYS TOOK CARE OF US & WE ALWAYS HAD ENOUGH to get by, in fact, they always tried to give us a small amount of spending money as an allowance each week for being faithful to keep up with our home chores & for doing obediently the things that we were asked. It was generally a little sum that was agreed on beforehand for all of us children & we expected to get it every week as a little honorary recognition for being a member in good standing in our family by making ourselves useful & worthwhile by our little contribution to the workload. We always helped our parents with vacuuming the floors, weeding the onions & strawberries in my father's small gardens & a variety of other jobs, also the ever-present dish duty, as well as personal duties like making our beds & taking care of our rooms.
       21. AROUND CHRISTMASTIME WE HAD SAVED SOME of our allowance through the last few months to be able to buy a little gift for each member of the immediate family, as well as our aunts & uncles & cousins, & that was a big occasion, shopping in the five-&-ten-cent store for something for each one within our budget, usually only a 25-cent to 50-cent gift, which we would then take home & giftwrap lovingly.
       22. SINCE MY PARENTS' FINANCIAL SITUATION DID NOT ALLOW US MANY LUXURIES throughout the year, usually at Christmas they would try to get us a few of the things that we wanted as well as many of the things that we would need for the next year, such as sweaters & robes & dresses. We usually had a very nice Christmas with quite a few gifts, as they were mostly things that we needed or instructional educational toys, games, books etc. that could be very well-used.
       23. NOR DID OUR PARENTS LET US FORGET THAT CHRISTMAS WAS JESUS' BIRTHDAY & WE SHOULD BE GIVING TO HIM FIRST & foremost. And every Christmas for years I can remember the little Christmas tree down at the front of the church, where on the Sunday before Christmas the entire church would have a little ceremony & they would present their gifts to Jesus, walking up to the front one-by-one, with a little giftwrapped jello box in which there was a slot, where we had put the money we had all saved for Jesus to present it to Him at Christmastime & hang it on the tree as the gift to Him, to be sent to the foreign missionaries on the fields overseas. (GB'M!)
       OH YES! IN GENERAL I HAD A VERY HAPPY CHILDHOOD, AS FAR AS I CAN REMEMBER. In many ways I was a normal little girl going to a small town public school during my first six grades, riding my bicycle after school all over our little town, waving to the neighbours, playing games with the neighbourhood kids in the evenings & on Saturdays, making pretty little Valentines for my parents & schoolmates on Valentines Day etc.--Being a member of the Brownies & Girl Scouts for awhile, we were taught good practical skills like cooking & camping & good rules for living & to be responsible members of our family society.--We went on holidays with my family during summer vacation, enjoying picnics & trips with my aunts & uncles & going to church camps & daily Vacation Bible School.
       25. DAILY VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL WAS A TWO-WEEK BIBLE TRAINING COURSE where the children could come every day & stay for several hours in the morning & have lunch, stay for a couple of more hours in the afternoon & go home. The kids that really liked Vacation Bible School could usually make the rounds of two or three different churches each summer. The various churches often scheduled them at different times so they could get more participation from more children. You could go to your own church's daily Vacation Bible School. Then the Methodist Church down the street had one & you could go to that one for another two weeks. It was lots of fun & it was like an extended Sunday School every day. We learned little songs & choruses & heard Bible stories & did Bible activities, a lot like the things we're putting in the Activity Books for our Family children. It helped us get over the boredom of some of the school holidays.
       26. I DON'T REMEMBER ANYTHING PARTICULARLY BAD ABOUT CHILDHOOD. Well, maybe there were a few things here & there, but not many. Of course my acne, my shyness & my competitive relationship with my sisters wasn't very pleasant, but my problems have always been small ones.
       27. IN FACT, I'VE BEEN THINKING LATELY HOW AMAZING IT IS THAT MY WHOLE LIFE HAS BEEN SO FREE OF MAJOR DIFFICULTIES OR SERIOUS ILLNESSES OR ACCIDENTS. Neither I nor my family was ever in a serious vehicular accident, we never had any serious illnesses, broken bones, I never got bitten by an animal, was never the object of bullies, had no unkind teachers or classmates, took no drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, had no alcoholic relatives, no mental illness in my family, no arguing parents, no divorce in my family, no failed subjects or grades, no deaths in my family, no great heartaches or heartbreaks, not even a knowledge of the cruel & ungodly perverted World around me.
       28. I WAS SO IGNORANT OF THINGS THAT WHEN I WAS IN 7TH GRADE I came home one day from school after having seen a Shakespearian play & was pacing back & forth across the room exclaiming "Out, damned spot, out, I say! Out damned spot, out, I say!" without even realising I was using a word that my parents would not approve of. It sounded so rich somehow, but I soon found out that in my home you didn't use language like that.
       29. IT WAS AS THOUGH I WAS LIVING IN A LITTLE HEAVEN-ON-EARTH, in a way, where most everything was happy & peaceful & loving, so I've never considered that I've had any traumas or hardships in my life, even up to the present. It's been so very happy, especially the last 15 years in the Family, knowing I was fulfilling my place in the Kingdom & having so much love showered upon me from David & the Family. (Amen. GBH!)
       YES, THAT WAS HIS MAIN JOB & CALLING, BUT OFF & ON HE HAD TO HAVE OTHER JOBS ON THE SIDE. I'd say a good part of the time he had a fulltime job during the week, so it was a pretty big burden. It wasn't so easy for my parents, they were usually struggling financially as well as spiritually. Those little churches hardly pay anything, actually you have to support them! Being a pastor in a situation like that is quite difficult! You're not always appreciated &, as we know, preaching the same message to church people over & over again is a useless, hopeless task & it doesn't really bear much fruit & you don't get much satisfaction out of it.
       I THINK THAT'S VERY TRUE. My parents were very sincere & very sweet & loving to us & to others & tried to teach us to love the Lord, so the Lord certainly has blessed them for that. All their labours were not in vain. Although I'm their only child serving God fulltime, at least the other two are saved & love the Lord.
       NO, THEY DON'T EXACTLY THINK SO! It's like Dad got in "Your Glory to Their Shame" (ML No.991). But at least they don't fight me actively & they are still happy to hear from me. They know the Lord, so they're probably afraid to actively fight me. They've always respected what I wanted to do, even if they thought it was wrong. Of course, usually I didn't do things they thought were wrong, & I think this is the only thing I've done that they thought was a big mistake! Even though they might not understand what I'm doing, I don't think they'd be able to fight me on it. The Holy Spirit's faithful, & because they are Christians & they really do know the Lord to some extent, I don't think they'd feel it was right to fight me, I think the Holy Spirit restrains them.
       WELL, MY FIRST ADVICE IS THAT THOSE WHO ARE IN THE U.S. & CANADA & EVEN EUROPE SHOULD OBEY DAD & HEAD SOUTH & EAST. Secondly, I think people in our Family who have had good communication with their parents should start or continue going on the attack with good P.R. more than ever before. This holds true especially for those who are getting Home Support from parents & friends in the North! They'd better really start praying & going on the attack to strengthen that friendship, because this barrage of bad publicity could be the worst we've ever gotten in the States, because it's been initiated & pushed by Deborah, who is Dad's own daughter & supposed to be "in the know"!
       34. I SUGGEST THAT THE FAMILY MAKE AN ACTIVE EFFORT TO WOO & WIN & STRENGTHEN THAT BOND WITH THEIR PARENTS & TO GIVE THEM A LOT OF GOOD INFORMATION & GOOD PROPAGANDA TO COUNTER THE BAD. They also need to be on their guard, since some of these favourable parents may turn into enemies, but, as instructed by FreeCOG & similar organisations, not really show it outwardly. They are telling parents, "Keep in contact with your kids & don't threaten them. If you want to know their whereabouts & know what they're doing, just continue to be friendly to them even though you're anti-Family & you want to get them out, just be nice to them & go on as usual!" So the Family had better watch that! But most of all, if their parents have been friendly, then they should try to keep that friendship by keeping up safe communication & by telling them about all the good things that the Family is doing & the good fruit that we have.
       35. I WAS THINKING ABOUT WHAT I WAS GOING TO WRITE MY PARENTS, who, although they aren't in agreement with the Family, at least haven't actively fought me, & I'm praying that they won't! They really aren't too naturally aggressive & they're not real fighters anyway.--They're not Jewish enough! Both of my grandmothers, however, are quite Jewish, so I have a little bit of Jew in me at least, but not to the extent that made us naturally aggressive & bold & antagonistic & pugnacious. But except for the Lord, anyone can turn into an enemy.
       I DON'T REMEMBER MUCH FROM MY PAST.--And when you said you wanted to hear more about my childhood, I groaned, since I remembered so little! But since really praying for the Lord to bring back to me the things that I should tell you, I've been amazed at some of the details I've remembered. It's funny, but most of the things that are coming back to me are from when I was about 9-13. I can remember one house in Pennsylvania. (It always helps to have the aid of a photo.) It was a big old white stone house on the top of a hill out in the country, about three miles outside of a small town. It had a steep driveway & my mother had a rock garden that went all the way down the hill, & it was beautiful! She loved flowers & she planted flowers all the time, she especially liked pansies & I loved pansies. Now I like artificial flowers, they're much nicer & they're always in season & they don't require water & they don't wilt & die! But she loved real flowers & she was really good at gardening & her rock gardens were always beautiful & artistic! Actually she was fairly talented in a lot of little things, she wrote poetry & even some songs! Of course they were not professional, & I don't think she ever had them published, but she did have some talent.
       37. WE HAD AN OUTHOUSE (OUTSIDE TOILET) AT THAT HOUSE, & THAT WAS THE FIRST TIME I REMEMBER HAVING TO USE ONE. In Pennsylvania it gets very cold in the Winter, & when you had to go potty you'd sit out there & freeze your bottom & your legs! At night, if you didn't want to go to the outhouse, you'd have to use a big porcelain potty. That outhouse was the bane of my existence! If you had to have a BM, & you had to sit there for an hour you'd just freeze! I guess that's why my BMs are so short now, I must have learned to make'm come quick out of necessity because of the weather conditions! Ha! It was a bit primitive, living out in the country, but it was a lot of fun!
       38. I ALWAYS LOVED WALKING IN THE WOODS & beside the streams & liked to go down to an old cemetery close to our house & lie on the grass amongst the headstones & read. To me they seemed so peaceful & friendly. I was probably surrounded by lots of good spirits, good Christian country people from several generations past. Besides, the Lord always protected me & I never had any fear. (TTL! GBH!)
       YES, I REALLY WAS A LONER! I usually only had one girlfriend at a time that I was close to, probably because I was so shy. I really didn't care to be in big groups of people but preferred to be alone & read. I was never very active & I didn't care too much about sports or anything like that. I liked to sit by myself & read books & I did it all the time. It didn't bother me to be alone at all, & it still doesn't. In fact, I prefer it! I don't mean completely alone, you understand, but with just a few people. (Amen!--Me too!--Like you! ILY!)
       40. IT CAN SORT OF BE A LITTLE BIT OF SELFISHNESS TO BE A LONER, TO WANT TO BE ALONE. Shyness tends to exclude others, & in a way that's selfishness, because you're more worried about yourself than having an outgoing concern for other people. It seems that wanting to be alone & to be a loner can sometimes be selfishness, I don't think it always is, but maybe it is with me a little bit. But still, I always prefer not to be in a big group of people!
       41. DAD WAS A LONER! Maybe part of the reason he was a loner was because he was so shy. (Amen.) He was quite shy when he was young & evidently he didn't have too many friends that thought the same way as he did about things. (Hardly any!) A lot of the kids his age were toughies that weren't Christians & they weren't interested in the same things anyway, so it forced him to be alone with the Lord more & alone with his studies & his reading & things. That was obviously the Lord, so being a loner isn't always caused by selfishness, but sometimes I think it can be.
       OBVIOUSLY MY FAMILY & MY SUNDAY SCHOOL & PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS. I was very fortunate to have mostly good public teachers. Although a few did not understand children & were not at ease with them, & some of them just weren't naturally talented as teachers, none were mean or evil. Most weren't Christians, but most of them were at least good people. The ones who influenced me the most were those who loved us kids & really gave their lives to teach us. I admired people like that & it made me want to study all the harder!
       43. I GOT OFF TO A VERY GOOD START AT FIVE YEARS OLD IN KINDERGARTEN in Amsterdam, New York, with a teacher who understood the fear & uncertainty of little ones entering the outside world for the very first time. She soothed our fears & made us comfortable, & with her we played in the big red playhouse & with the colourful wooden blocks. She made sure we all knew our ABC's & our 1,2,3's & we progressed from there to our first spelling words & were introduced to our first simple math. Altogether it was an enjoyable first school experience that helped me in looking forward to the next grades. And they were good too. I really enjoyed learning.
       44. IN THE LITTLE TOWN WHERE I LIVED UPON MOVING TO PENNSYLVANIA WE HAD A CATHOLIC TEACHER who taught both 5th & 6th grade of public school in one room, & while 6th grade had study hall, she taught 5th & vice versa. Her name was Mrs. Kirby, she was an elderly woman & the thing I remember most about her was that she always had a Bible prominently displayed on her desk. Of course at that time the Bible was read in school & we read ours before each class. Sometimes somebody would make the mistake of laying something down on top of it & she'd always rebuke us, "Oh, don't ever lay anything down on the Bible!" She was a very sweet Christian lady who was a good influence on my life & started me realising that there must be other Christians in the World besides those in my own little denomination.
       45. MY CLOSE GIRLFRIENDS ALSO HAD SOME INFLUENCE ON ME. During 8th & 9th grade my Baptist girlfriend, Cheryl Stahlman, had a big influence on me. She taught me by her example that you didn't have to be ashamed of being a Christian, she was proud of it & everybody knew it! (Probably Jewish!) She was sort of looked upon as a bit of a snob because, although she was very sweet, she was rich & also she walked with a queenly bearing unlike that of the other kids in the class. (Like Maria does!) She walked regally with her shoulders back & her head up, & other teens just thought she was stuck up. I really admired her & respected her & looked up to her, so I started copying her. She not only helped my posture but also my way of looking at things! (TG!)
       46. ANOTHER CLOSE FRIEND WHO INFLUENCED ME WAS VIRGINIA HETRICK, who attended our church when I was a young teenager, & was the eldest of about six or seven children. Her mother was a little emotionally weak, so Virginia, besides studying & attending high school fulltime, ran the whole home & cared for all the children! She led her sisters & brothers to the Lord & made sure they got to church & Sunday School. I really admired her greatly for being such a responsible girl & a very beautiful Christian. (Like Maria!)
       47. ANOTHER GOOD INFLUENCE ON ME WAS MY RED-HEADED FRIEND PAT BASTIN while I was in my first year of college. She was quite a character, very uninhibited & sensitive & I really admired her because she had so many characteristics that I admired but lacked. She was quite an oddball but she could sit down with someone & in two minutes perfect strangers would completely open up to her & tell her all their most intimate problems! She was totally honest & open & I wanted to be the same. One day she & I stood on a busy street corner downtown during the lunch hour & just smiled at people as they passed by to try to cheer them up. Of course it would have been better if we'd been passing out tracts, but somehow that idea had escaped us. How sad!--And I having been brought up knowing Jesus all my life! Pat had such outgoing concern for people & was really interested in them, she took on their burdens as her own & people just loved her for that. (GBH!--Just like Maria! Wow!)
       48. I THINK PROBABLY MOST OF THE EVANGELISTS THAT I HEARD PREACH THROUGHOUT MY CHURCH HISTORY INFLUENCED ME FOR THE GOOD. I remember when I was quite young living in Pennsylvania, an evangelistic family preached in our church who had twin teenage girls who played accordions & piano, they were really talented musicians & singers & that of course impressed me! (The Kemper Twins?!)
       49. I REMEMBER ONE EVANGELIST, HAROLD BARTON, WHO REALLY IMPRESSED ME. Brother Barton was an old white-haired man who played an autoharp as he sang. He was homey & backwoodsy, not polished at all & very humble & he really knew & loved the Lord & others, also us children. He had a tremendous burden for souls & I think that must have been what impressed me so much, his love for souls.
       50. THERE WAS ANOTHER EVANGELIST THAT REALLY LEFT AN IMPRESSION ON ME WHEN I WAS A TEENAGER, but I don't remember his name. I only saw him once, on a Sunday afternoon. I was having some problems at the time, I felt so far away from the Lord. And I was visiting this little free Methodist church where he was holding evangelistic services. He looked like such a wonderfully sweet man & I poured out my heart to him before the service. He didn't have time to say much to me because the meeting was about to start, but he did the most amazing thing! He got up to preach in the meeting, & he started preaching a sermon right to me! "Young lady, the Lord loves you & has His hand on your life," etc. I don't remember what he said, or what the answer was, but he so sweetly gave me what he'd gotten from the Lord for me. I just started crying & I cried & cried through the whole sermon. It really impressed me & showed me Jesus' love that he would change a sermon completely from what he had planned just to try to help me, a young teenager he didn't even know! (God knew who she was!)
       51. ALL THESE PEOPLE THROUGHOUT MY LIFE WHO REALLY WERE DEDICATED TO THE LORD & LIVING FOR THE LORD IMPRESSED ME, not only evangelists but also the missionaries that we had come to our church & whom I met in church camp. We usually had a two-week family church camp every year where all the members of our denomination within a certain State or group of States would get together, sort of like our NAF meetings. It was usually held in a beautiful place with trees & streams & lakes. There was lots of fun, fellowship & freetime activities, & there were different meetings to attend, like missionary exhibits & children's & youth meetings in the afternoon & then the big evangelistic meeting at night. If you were a pre-teen or teenager you helped in the communal dining room setting the tables, washing the dishes & waiting on tables. We normally went to church camp every year & it was quite thrilling & inspiring to see that there were other Christians besides those in our own little church. The missionaries on furlough attended & tried to recruit young people for the mission field. They always had thrilling stories to tell of their experiences & faith life & saving souls, along with pictures & slides of their field.
       52. WE HAD A NEIGHBOUR, MRS. BOWSER--IT SOUNDS LIKE THE NAME OF A DOG, DOESN'T IT? I EVEN HAD A BIG SQUEEZY STUFFED DOG WITH BIG FLOPPY EARS THAT I CALLED BOWSER. This was my favourite stuffed animal that I kept for years. I think maybe I even named him after this neighbour. Mrs. Bowser lived next door to us with a vacant lot in between. She was rather poor & had a couple of kids. Their house & their personal care of themselves wasn't at all up to our standard. She even had B.O. part of the time! But the one thing that us kids in the neighbourhood loved about her was that she loved us. Nothing seemed more important to her than being with us, talking with us & playing with us. She'd get out in that vacant lot & play not only with her own daughter & son but with all the neighbourhood kids! She played ball & games & had picnics with us. If you wanted to play you could always go over & get her & she'd organise the neighbourhood games & would play right along with you. That's probably why she had a little problem with body odour, because she was always participating in strenuous physical activities.
       I REMEMBER WHEN WE WERE STILL LIVING IN NEW YORK, where I lived until third or fourth grades, that my mother took me to visit a little sick girl when I was about five. We went to the home of this fairly wealthy family where the little girl had polio & was partially paralysed. I remember that I had the impression that I wished we could have prayed for her, that if we had just prayed for her healing, she would have been able to walk again. Of course my mother didn't do that, & even though we believed in healing to a certain extent, as far as really exercising gifts for difficult healings, I don't recall that my parents really had too much faith for that. I'm sure they believed it was possible but they didn't really practise it & I never remember any exceptional healings.
       54. BUT I HAD SUCH A GUILTY FEELING AFTER WE LEFT THE LITTLE GIRL & FOR YEARS LATER! I wondered, "Why didn't we pray for her? Why couldn't we just lay hands on her? The Lord must certainly love her & want to heal her!" I felt so bad, like I should have done something, that I failed because I didn't do anything. The Lord was evidently trying to get through to me even then that if I had the faith then He could do it, just like He'd done in all the Bible stories I knew. (She probably had the gift then!)
       55. I REMEMBER A COUPLE OF THINGS THAT REALLY SCARED ME AS A LITTLE GIRL!--Barking dogs for one thing really terrified me, especially when they were barking at me!--Also being on a ferris wheel once when I was little & getting so sick to my stomach! I remember I went on a merry-go-round & I liked that, but that ferris wheel scared me to death! I always thought I'd like to go to Disneyland, but who needs Disneyland when you can have Heaven! (Amen!) I guess everything in Heaven will be interesting & I'll be able to make up for all the things I didn't get to do when I was young, like going to circuses & fairs, if I still want to & I don't have more important things to do.
       56. WHILE I WAS STILL LIVING IN NEW YORK & ABOUT SIX OR SEVEN YEARS OLD, for several summers I visited my little girlfriend, Alice Case, on her father's farm in the Catskill area. After having lived in the town, the farm was a new & exciting experience for me! And my friend, Alice & I, had so much fun riding on the hay, helping to milk the cows, taking care of the chickens & running in the fields! I think, however, my most vivid impression of visiting the farm was something that also was very frightening to me at that time.
       57. IT WAS THANKSGIVING & THEY WERE KILLING SOME OF THE CHICKENS FOR THANKSGIVING DINNER, & my little friend Alice & I happened to come upon the scene just as the chickens were getting decapitated. To me this wouldn't have been too great a traumatic experience, but what happened afterwards left a vivid impression on me to this day!: Seeing headless chickens dancing wildly all over the place was one of the biggest shocks of my life because I had always learned that when animals die they die, they don't even go to Heaven, there's no resurrection for them. I think it would have been less a shock if they had killed them by breaking their necks & then I'd seen them resurrected to full life & health! (Ha! What faith!) So it's another case of what, to adults, seems very normal & commonplace in a certain situation can be a very frightening experience for a small child, to whom everything is very new & unexperienced previously!
       58. ON A TRIP TO CANADA DURING THE SUMMER VACATION with a very dear Aunt & Uncle, we lived in a small cottage on the lake, & during the day fished & swam & went out on the lake in a boat. This was when I was six, seven & eight. I loved riding along on the water singing with my Aunt & Uncle, "Through the storm, through the night, I'll keep holding on, with His hand holding mine, hope is never gone. When I've gone the last mile to Heaven's land, I'll be led by the Master's hand." On one of those trips to Canada we visited my great Uncle who lived near the lake, & at one point during the visit he took me out to show me his pistol & how to shoot it, & we were out on the back part of the property. As he drew the gun from the holster for some reason it went off before he got it out, going through his leg. This was almost my first experience even seeing a gun at all & certainly my first at seeing someone shoot himself or being near any shooting whatsoever! But the thing that impressed me so much was that I didn't even realise what had happened until he calmly sat down & told me to run & get someone because the gun had gone off through his leg. (Thank God for His protection of Maria!)
       59. I REMEMBER ANOTHER THING THAT FRIGHTENED ME WHEN I WAS VERY LITTLE, was when I went into a bank with my Daddy one day. We stepped inside the big heavy swinging doors of this monstrous building & the minute I saw that huge checkered polished floor that looked to a little four-year-old like it stretched for miles, I couldn't take another step! I didn't know why, but I got dizzy just looking at it & felt sick to my stomach & Daddy had to take me home! (A sort of hypnotic attack of the Enemy!) It just shows what unusual things can frighten children & that we must always be sensitive to their feelings. What seems perfectly okay or natural to us may seem traumatic to them, & sometimes they are frightened without even knowing why, or what the cause is. Sometimes they think it is one thing when actually it may be something else. Don't judge everything by what they say, because they may not understand themselves. They may, on the other hand, tell you one thing & hide the real reason out of embarrassment, but be easy on them. Remember that you often do the same thing. Pray & ask the Lord to show you what's behind the problem you see on the surface.
       60. AMEN! GBH! WHATA GIRL! WHATA MIRACLE! THANK GOD FOR HER!--Amen? She's the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me outside of the Lord & His Spirit & spiritual experiences!--And she's really one of them! GBH! Thank You Jesus for Maria! I love her! God bless her forever!--And I know He does & will! Please take good care of her, in Jesus' name, amen!)

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family