KEYWORDS: teens, people, kids, lot, family, age

Teenage Challenge, A

Karen Zerby

—By Maria DO 2561 Maria #108 12/87

1. In some ways, I think we've spoiled our young people. We've pampered them with so much love & praise & attention, & even exaltation, we've given them everything in the way of our support. They've felt nothing but approval in our communities‚ & most of them haven't had much contact with negative outsiders.

2. Most of them have never personally felt very different, ostracised, persecuted, or like they had to really fight for anything.—They've just ridden along on the adults' coattails. They haven't had any big problems, like all the difficulties their parents went through in the System, trying everything & finding that it didn't satisfy. They don't really realise the horror of the System, & most of them don't hate its evil. In fact‚ many are even tempted by its glitter & false front.

3. They've just had it too easy‚ really! They may think they have it hard, they have to get out & litness, they have to memorise & have Family responsibilities, but spiritually they've really had it easy.—"My Mom & Dad are Christians so I can just follow along after them." Too many of our teens don't really have strong conviction themselves that the Lord & the Family are the only way.—Which tends to make them very weak.—Not compared to System teens, but when we compare them to the way their parents were at their age, they're really babes. They should have stronger convictions, but I guess they can't because they didn't come out of the System, they didn't go through its horrors.

4. (Fam: Like Dad says in one of the early Letters‚ the younger generation always has a harder time having conviction because they didn't have to fight & die for it. They just got it handed to them so they don't have that same do-or-die spirit. They didn't have to go through the revolution, so to speak.)

5. They're getting a lot of Word, & that will probably be their saving grace some day. When they're put under real pressure & in a genuine emergency, then they'll have to be responsible & they'll have to make decisions! Maybe then they'll decide whether they want it or they don't want it, & decide if they're really going to take the stand for the Lord & the Family.

6. Maybe as they grow up they'll lay aside some of that worldliness & foolishness & daydreaming & selfishness, & just make a decision for the Lord & decide they won't be weighted down with those things any more! Maybe it's just that they haven't really had to make a decision along those lines yet.

7. As far as them being in Teen Outreach Homes, from what we've heard, the pull of the World is apparently so strong on many of them‚ it's very difficult for them to be in such Homes. It's a real problem. If they don't have very spiritually strong Shepherds who are going to crack the whip, then I don't know if a lot of them would do very well or even make it in such Outreach Homes.

8. It's a wonderful idea if you have very strong Shepherds & truly dedicated teens who really want to do the right thing & for the right motives—to win souls, & not just to get out from under their parents' control & family responsibility. It would be such a challenge for them. At one of our most successful Teen Combos the people come to them to be witnessed to. That's really the ideal because your teens don't get out from under your thumb or your sight that way, the outsiders come to you right there in your Home or Club.

9. That's basically the way it was in Huntington Beach, really, because when we did go out, we went out in big teams, like we did with the old Holy Ghost samples in the parks. There is certainly strength in unity, & most teens don't seem to stand up for their convictions on their own very well‚ they need the group to help back them.

10. Even in Huntington Beach we would go out en masse picketing & to churches & parks, but then the people visited us at the Club. When you're witnessing on your home territory & you've got everybody there, the Lord's Spirit is stronger & you are better able to overcome the forces of the Enemy than if you're out there with only two of you.—Who knows what you could be tempted with & what you could get into!

11. (Fam: In our early Homes‚ people came to our Home & we witnessed to them, even one on one, but the older brothers would always be going around & tuning in to what we babes were talking about, & if we needed help they'd come & help us witness. You couldn't just get tripped off talking about the World or the Beatles, for example, because somebody was right there to hear you.)

12. Well, we can't have many Holy Ghost samples nowadays, & to have a lot of people coming to the Homes would mean the Homes would have to be pretty open & well-known. Our place in Huntington Beach was a club, & we were above-ground, & we didn't mind people knowing where we were, it was a special spot where the kids could come. In our early Homes it was a similar situation, everybody went out & brought the kids back in by the droves. So where you can be above-ground & in a place where the kids are, a Club might work great.

13. From all the reports we've received, the kids in Japan love clubs. Everybody wants to belong to one. That's why their Catacomb Kidz outreach worked so well there. It might still work again‚ at least for a little while, but we are more hampered by security considerations in a World that has been turned so much against the cults, & even more specifically against us. But who knows, if it's the Lord, we could get around it somehow & perhaps do something along those lines.


14. That Catacomber Ministry that Josh started there in Japan years ago really had good fruit! And now 10 years later, the Japanese kids should be even more ripe & ready, because they've gotten richer & they've gotten more dissatisfied.

15. In our Family, we seem to have a big gap in disciple-winning. I don't know why‚ I guess we were busy raising families & didn't have many big reapings in between. We had a very big reaping at the beginning‚ & then we began having our children‚ but there doesn't seem to be too many in-between, people in their 20's. (Fam: It's like one of our leaders replied when we asked him who are the people that they're winning.—He said a lot of the ones we're winning even now are people who are our age, parents with kids, because that's who we relate to. We don't relate so well to the average kid on the street.)

16. Well, if we older adults can't win the younger ones, who is going to do it? It's going to be hard for our 13, 14 & 15-year-old teens to win them on their own. Like someone brought out in a recent report, he said our teens are spiritually mature in some ways, they know a lot about the Lord & the Word, but in almost every other way they're pretty immature. They can have a lot of Word, but if you put them out in the World‚ a lot of them are going to get sucked in real quick. They have a lot of spiritual knowledge but I guess they haven't had to put much of it into practice yet.

17. So although they can witness beautifully & win lots of souls with good supervision, I don't think most of them are sufficiently equipped to go out on their own & really pull in fulltime disciples. I might be wrong, maybe I just haven't seen them do it. I know we did hear about one Japanese teenager who was won fulltime, & who was disappointed & disillusioned with the shallowness & worldly tendencies of our Family teens, & I suspect this might be the case elsewhere as well.

18. But I don't really agree that people our age, 30 & 40's, can't win the youth! I remember when we were kids‚ there were always older people we looked up to.—Not very many, but a teacher or youth leader or somebody's Mom or Dad that all the neighbourhood kids loved. They were usually twice our age, but they really knew how to get down to our level & capture our attention & respect & admiration.—Look what Dad did with those teens in Huntington Beach!

19. It's just not true that we can't relate to System teens & win them to the Lord. Unlike their parents, we can show them that we understand them. When I was a kid we used to say, "Boy, he's a real groovy teacher!" It didn't matter about his age! It's just that not very many adults were capable of relating to people much younger than they were. But it's not impossible. We, of all people, ought to be able to relate to teens & get down on their level & challenge them & give them something exciting to live for!

20. They're looking for somebody to lead them, & they're not necessarily looking for somebody their own age to follow. They look for teachers & leaders & gurus! Look how much older Dad is, & that certainly hasn't hurt his appeal.— In fact, it's enhanced it! So it's just not valid to say that we're too old & we can't reach'm, if we do the right things. I just don't see how our teens are going to be able to reach them by themselves. They can do some‚ & maybe we can push them out a little bit, but we don't just want to win the 13 & 14-year-olds‚ we want the 20-year-olds too! A 13 or 14-year-old Family teen won't often be able to reach a 20 or 21-year-old very easily!

21. We adults are much more capable of winning university students & up—& a little below—than our 13, 14 & 15-year-olds. But some of our adults have said, "Oh, we can't win them, forget it!" Or, "They can't give us enough support" or whatever. And they haven't always wanted to win them.

22. But the kids in a lot of countries today are ready & ripe! I'm not saying we necessarily did wrong in other places in not emphasising the youth at certain times, but right now is the time for reaping the kids in many places, & they could win them! If ten years ago was the time for the kids there in Japan, how much more now! So we need to reach the kids! Of course, a strong point for emphasising young catacombers of 15–17 over older university students, is that they're much more tender, less decided on their role in life, not tied down to years of expensive university training, & are still searching for what they want in life.

23. I always looked up to older people much more than I did to people my own age. I thought that certainly they must have more sense than I & all my friends did! There were always a few adults here & there that we looked up to as our ideal & our standard & somebody we could really relate to & talk with.—And that's how we should be to kids today! How much more should we be able to understand them & what they're going through!—Much more than our 13, 14 & 15-year-olds can! We can understand exactly what they're going through‚ when most of our teens can't relate to them at all! In fact, some of our kids even want to get out there & go through it with them because they don't know what it's like, & they want to find out!—But we know!

24. I'm not saying we should all go after the kids now‚ but as far as using our age as an excuse not to, that's not any excuse! The main reason for winning the older people in a lot of places is for support & protection so that the Family can be free to minister to the younger ones! It's the same all over. The younger ones are definitely the ones we should try to win, the most potential ones, but we've got to get a few of the older ones who can support us, a few kings. Each Home should do all they can to have 2 or 3 kings so they can afford to go out & win & minister to the kids. Our adults should be able to minister to the teens & the young people.

25. There's so much potential, & all the World's teens & kids in their 20's are going to Hell!—Nobody else is reaching them, so we'd better! Amen?

(From a Report by Marianne:)

Something that I'm really thrilled about is what you wrote about us older people being able to reach the teenagers. I think this is a thrilling vision & will break some preconceived ideas that some of us have that now we are more part of the middle–aged generation & so our teens should be the ones reaching the teens. But all that you said about our teenagers not having gone through what today's teenagers are going through is so right on!

It reminds me of what I experienced when I was a teenager. I was raised in a Capitalist society by Communist parents & I had to really stand up for my convictions in school. I was actually proud to be a non-believer & proud to be Communist, proud to have a cause to stand up for. In my early teens I was really on-fire for my cause, & it was quite a shock when I went to the USSR at the age of 16 & I found the teenagers there so lukewarm. They were much more interested in the abundant society I was coming from than really preaching to me their message or standing up for the type of society they were living in.—Maybe a little bit like some of our Family teens, the Russian teenagers hadn't seen that this materialistic society I was coming from had nothing to offer them—other than a few material goods that they couldn't get or afford in their own country.

Those who really won me to the ideals of Communism were members of my father's generation‚ people who had more maturity & experience & who'd had to stand up for their convictions. But the young Communists from the USSR didn't really have that fire that one has when they know what they're standing up against.

Anyway, in the case of Communism, I could see for many reasons that it was not really the answer. Later on when I was searching to find the Truth, I knew that's what I liked in Dad, the fact that he was so young in heart, yet he had the maturity & depth of experience which I looked up to.

It sounds really exciting to start reaching more teenagers, older teens or young students. Just walking around on the street here in Japan they look so precious & sweet & hungry, & you can see that in a society like Japan‚ they must really be spiritually starved.