KEYWORDS: adults, teens, family, lord, home, things

PER, The

Karen Zerby

DO 2865 3/93

"Personal Encouragement Revolution" (Or "Purr")!

—By MariaMaria #200

(Although much of this Letter is directed to the EAs & older teens [with some parts to the adults]‚ you junior teens & JETTs are also included‚ as much of it will apply to you as well. You also need to know what's happening with your older brothers & sisters, & as a result‚ with the whole Family.

(We would like to ask all of you young people to keep in mind that in most instances where the term "teens" is used in the text‚ it includes JETTs‚ junior teens, senior teens & EAs. It's not that we consider you all the same, but to list all the age classifications repeatedly would take a lot more time & space to spell out than simply saying "teens.")

Dear EAs, Teens & JETTs‚

1. GRANDPA & I LOVE YOU & ARE PROUD OF YOU! We think you're the greatest teens on Earth!—In fact, we know you are!—The Lord has said it, & we believe it! We can see it! Maybe you're looking at yourself right now & thinking, "Mama Maria certainly isn't talking about me! I'm so discouraged with myself & so fed up, & I'm not being a blessing to anybody!" If that's what you're thinking, you're wrong!—I am talking about you!

2. No matter how weak you may feel, no matter how discouraged you may be, no matter what you've failed at lately‚ the Lord sees beyond all that, & when He looks at you, He sees a very precious member of His royal Family; a prince or princess standing with Him in the royal courts, shining & glowing & radiant with love & wisdom & Word & all His great wealth at your disposal.

3. How applicable to you, the Lord's Endtime children, are His Words, "Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him Who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light!"—1Pet. 2:9. Never before in history has the World been so utterly engulfed in spiritual darkness, & so desperately in need of you—God's anointed children—to shew forth His light! "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the Earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee!"—Isa.60:1-2. PTL!

4. You may say, "That all sounds well & good, & I'm glad the Lord sees me that way, but when am I going to get a chance to put all this wonderful Word & wisdom & power that the Lord has given me to use? When am I going to be able to be a light in the darkness? Things don't look very promising now—just doing my studying‚ taking care of kids, working in the kitchen, being bossed around by my parents & other adults. And everybody says‚ `Be patient, don't worry. The time is coming.' Well‚ if this really is the Endtime & we don't get to do something soon, we're going to miss it!"

5. Take my word for it, you can't possibly miss it because the Lord is going to make sure you don't! He needs you & you're going to be some of His key witnesses, & He's constantly watching over you with great care & love, & has His eye on you every moment to see how you're growing & how you're responding to His Love. When you get impatient, think about the many examples in the Bible of those whom the Lord required to wait‚ & when you read about their trials & their very lengthy waiting periods, you'll see that yours is nothing by comparison.

6. Remember Grandpa's lesson from the Daily Might on patience (GPDM #188):

Waiting & learning patience

is part of your training.

Look at these samples in the Bible of patience: Job, Moses‚ & David!

Job lost everything!: His family, fortune, & finally his health—everything! But he just kept on believing & obeying, saying, "Though He slay me‚ yet will I trust Him!" (Job 13:15) He hung on & would not give up! "The patience of Job!" (Jam.5:11)—An inspiring example for generations to come!

When Moses was in a hurry to deliver the children of Israel, he killed an Egyptian & had to flee alone for his own life. But after 40 years of patiently‚ humbly tending sheep in the wilderness, with time to listen to the Voice of God instead of his own impulses, he was finally ready for the slow, laborious, patient work of the Exodus—slow, but sure!

David spent 17 years working under King Saul‚ & the Lord really taught him from looking at Saul! Saul got all upset & tried to do things in his own strength, & he found he wasn't strong enough! David learned you have to let God do everything!—And wait for Him!

Learning patience is one of God's most frequent lessons to us all. So "let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect & entire, lacking nothing!" (Jam.1:4)

7. Of course, we know that the Lord has got to prepare you quickly because He doesn't have years & years to work on you, & when the Lord has to do things quickly, sometimes they hurt a little more & you have to learn many lessons at once & it can be a lot rougher. But the Lord knows you're made of the right stuff & He can do what is needed with you & you'll survive it because you love Him so much, & because you know His Word, which makes you strong. "I have written unto you, young men (& women), because ye are strong, and the Word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the Wicked One."—1Jn.2:14.

8. All the rough things you've endured in your life, even all the trials you may be going through right now, are part of His plan to teach you patience & faith & yieldedness & obedience for your very big job ahead. Now don't misunderstand me, you have a very big job right now & you are already a very important part of this Family & of God's Kingdom. Even by your birth into this Family & by your growing up & being tenderly raised by those who love you, you have very much contributed to making the Family what it is. You have helped to make those who raised you unselfish & sacrificial & loving & mature as they have learned to care for the many children that God has given us. As you have grown up, you have also helped to make the Family what it is by playing such an important part in loving & teaching your younger brothers & sisters, & in witnessing to thousands & winning them to Jesus.

9. In addition‚ many times you have been the catalyst for change in the Family. Many changes we have had in the Family have been because of you, to try to make it better for you, the most recent major ones having been the School Vision & the DTR. Thank the Lord, the DTR was what we needed at that time & it bore good fruit. And now you're ready for the next step that the Lord has for you, in which you're going to be given greater responsibilities & start playing a prominent role in the direction the Family is going.

10. As you grow into adulthood, you continue to change & your needs become different than when you were younger. And you need the Family to change with you‚ to support you in the changes you're going through, & to understand these changes. This‚ by God's grace, is what we want to do. We want to do all we can to make it easy for you to be good so that you can do the job that God is preparing you for.

11. At the beginning of the Fast this year, we sent you the following message:

Message to All Family Teens & EAs from Mama Maria—10/02/93

Dear Teens & EAs,

Grandpa & I love you very much & treasure each one of you! Each of you is important to us. We want you to be happy & fulfilled in your service to the Lord, & if you are not, we want to do all we can to help you. It's not that we can eliminate all of your trials & tests & difficulties!—The Lord allows some of these to make you strong & help you to be touched with the feelings of others' infirmities (Heb.4:15). However‚ we realise that there are some changes that could be made in your situations that would make it easier for you & help you to be happier & more challenged & more fruitful in your work for Jesus. Therefore we are going to do all we can to help you. To this end, we are counselling with some of you & asking you for your opinions & ideas on any changes that you feel need to be made in Family structure, policies‚ rules, teen & EA shepherding & the fulfilling of your needs, etc.

We are asking your Home Teamwork to set aside a time period on the third day of the Fast for you teens & EAs to have prayer together. We would like to request that you pray especially for yourself & your fellow teens & EAs worldwide‚ as well as the adults‚ & also Grandpa & me & your leadership.—That we can all work together to solve the problems that may be burdening & worrying you, & that we can bring about any necessary changes. So will you please have desperate prayer for this? Please also pray that the Lord will give you the conviction & strength to hold on to Him through any tough times you may be experiencing, to not let go of your crown & to pass the test of patience, endurance & faith.

You may think you're very weak & can't make it, but the Lord has told us that you're actually very strong in the Spirit & He's proud of you!—But you have need of patience to just keep on believing & trusting Him, & doing His Will, & then He says you will "receive the promise" (Heb.10:36). And Grandpa & I are promising you here, by God's grace, that we're going to make some changes, God willing, that will make you happier & more challenged, & help you to do an even better job for Jesus! So keep hanging in there, & don't give up! Help is on the way! We love you!

Love, Mama Maria

P.S.: Here's a sneak preview of one thing we're trying to do: We're going to get more music to you just as soon as possible! We're not going to even wait until the tapes are finalised, but because of your desire to have more variety in your music diet‚ we're going to right away start sending you tapes, God willing! These are the ones we're working on that we hope to send you soon: The Endtime Song Tape, the TIV Audio Tape, new Fantastic Friends Songs, "The Hour of Your Destiny," Songs for Testing Times, Devotional Songs & several tapes of Gospel songs. We're working very hard on these, & we'll send them just as quick as possible. (end of message)

Teens Share Their Hearts!

12. Since we sent you this message, we have been very busy hearing from many of you. We asked our top leaders in every part of the World to meet with as many of you teens & EAs as possible, & to ask you some or all of the following questions, & to send us back your answers. (See teens' thankful words for these pow-wows on the next page.) The questions we asked were:

What changes do you feel need to be made either in your Home situation or the Family as a whole?

What do you think adults don't understand so well about teens that you would like them to be able to understand?

What would you like the adults to know about your needs, interests, concerns, fears & goals?

What trials do you or other teens have, & what do you think might be the solutions to them?

13. We also invited some of you to write us personal letters sharing your hearts. We would also like to hear from others of you who would like to write us, & we promise to read your letters, God willing. However, we cannot promise to answer each of you individually, but we do promise, by God's grace, to prayerfully consider what you have to say & try to work through the Family structure & leadership to do as much as is possible to help you to be happy & fulfilled in your service to the Lord. Don't be surprised if, in some cases, Grandpa's little story may apply—about the visitor who went to stay with missionaries on a poor mission field, & they told him, "We'll try our best to give you what you need‚ but what we can't give you, we'll show you how to do without." Ha! If we can give it to you, we're going to try to do it. But if we can't, & if the Lord knows it's not good for you, or that He wants you to do without it for a while for some reason, then please try to understand & try to trust Him that He knows what is best.

14. We believe the several hundred teens & EAs who pow–wowed the above questions were good representatives of all of you teens, & that they pretty much expressed the same things that you would have if you had been there. And to you who participated in these pow-wows‚ I have personally heard the notes from each of you that were passed on from the various pow-wows & open forum discussions‚ & we have been prayerfully considering all of the things that you have mentioned. We thank you very much for opening up your hearts & honestly expressing your deepest feelings & desires & needs. We have also received many personal letters, & are so thankful that you took the time to write us. They're beautiful & show so much understanding & maturity. Your love for the Family, even with all its imperfections or weaknesses, encourages us greatly, & we want to continue to do all we can to make the Family a better place for you & for all our Family Members.

Mama's Call to Teens for Their Help!

15. This is a very exciting time for the Family!—You teens have been instrumental in helping us to bring to birth a new revolution that will be good for the entire Family. In this Letter we are going to explain to the adults‚ & also further to you, some of your concerns & what we can do to make things better for you, as well as for every one of our precious Family Members. We will probably be telling the adults some things about you that some of them have not fully realised & understood before, but because they love you very much, we know that they will make an effort to see things through your eyes & try to help make the needed changes.

16. While the adults may need to make more changes in their habits & attitudes than you teens, there is also something very important that you can do. We'd like to be able to count on you to support the adults all you can. You may not have to be making as many changes as the adults, but we do have one very important thing that we'd like to ask you to do: We would like to be able to count on you to support the adults all you can & to make it as easy as possible for them to change. We would like to be able to count on you not to say to each other behind closed doors, "We knew it!" or to the adults, "We told you so!" but instead, "What can we do to help you?" So can we count on you teens to respond to this new challenge by encouraging your elders as they try to work together with you to make the Family a better place for everyone, & as they help you to do a better job for Jesus?

17. Can we count on you for this? Can the Lord count on you? Can He count on you not to get disrespectful or disobedient or unyielded or rebellious or take advantage of the new, more responsible position that you are being offered in the Family, & not use your position as license to go wild & to the extreme in your behaviour & actions?—Which would not be befitting or becoming to God's royal young people. The Lord is going to be testing you to see if you can be trusted with responsibility & authority & freedom. And how you handle what you are given will determine if you can be given more. So can the Lord count on you to forgive & not to condemn, to heal & not to hurt, to be thankful for what is ahead & not to murmur about what has gone before?

18. Your parents & teachers haven't been perfect, but they've been better than any other parents & teachers in the whole World, so you certainly can forgive them for their small mistakes, as they have many many times forgiven you for yours. (Eph.4:32.) Remember, without your wonderful parents & teachers & Shepherds & overseers who have sacrificed & literally given up their lives for you‚ you wouldn't be the Heavens' Girls & Boys that the Lord knows you are today—strong in the Lord & in the power of His might, filled with His Word & wisdom.

19. It's just that now that you're growing up & becoming adults yourselves‚ our wonderful Family adults & teachers are going to have to make some changes in the way they look at you & the way they treat you & the way they work with you. But our adults are wonderful & they have made many changes in their lives for the Lord & have been through many revolutions, & we know that they will be happy to make further changes if doing so will help you, our precious young people. So thank them & love them & appreciate them & encourage them, because that's what this whole thing is about, it's an encouragement revolution! And at the same time that they will be encouraging you, you are going to have to be encouraging them, & we're all going to encourage each other!

The "PER"!

20. I've been talking a lot about changes, & you're probably sitting on the edge of your seat wondering what in the World these changes are going to be. I'm sure you're familiar with our little song that says, "Change the World with love," & that's what this revolution is all about, to change our Family with love & with encouragement. Yes, we've already got love & we've already got encouragement, but we can stand an awful lot more, & this is what we're going to try to emphasise, & this is going to be the basis & reason for the changes we are going to make. Everyone can have a part through giving encouragement. If you can't do anything else‚ you can make it your job to love & hug & appreciate & encourage & praise & pray for every dear Family Member that you live & work with.

21. Do you like the idea of calling this revolution the "PER" (Personal Encouragement Revolution)?—Which should result in a big "P-U-R-R" from all of us who will be so much happier & more content with so much encouragement from everyone! In English, the sound that a kitty makes when it's all curled up in your lap & being petted is called a "purr," & it shows that the kitty is happy & satisfied because he's receiving love & encouragement. Even an engine is sometimes said to be "purring" when it sounds like it's running in perfect condition, & it is running very smoothly without any knocking, misfiring or grinding.

22. So much of what we want to accomplish in this new push falls under the category of encouragement: We want to appreciate more, listen more, love more, have more affection, pay more attention, give more respect, put more trust in people.—Everything we can do to make people feel happier, more contented & more challenged, & all of this is part of encouragement. So that's the aim of this whole new PER Revolution, to encourage each other, & thus help people to be happy.

23. Of course, one of the best ways to encourage others is with the Word. And if you adults start encouraging the teens more the way I've described above, then you will not only be giving them the "sermon" of the Word, but the sample as well, "the Word made flesh." Putting the PER into effect will be showing them a sample of the Word, of how the Word should be applied & how the Word should be carried out.

24. So that was the funny thought that came to me: When we call this "personal encouragement revolution" the "PER," for short‚ we can also think about it as a "purr," which is our whole goal, in a way‚ to get all of our people to "purr." Our whole purpose should be to help people be as happy & content & fulfilled & challenged as possible, & thus more able to do a better job for the Lord. Doesn't it give you a nice, happy‚ comfortable feeling when you say the "PER" & think of it as the "Purr"?

25. The Lord wants us to be happy, He wants us to be content. He's not trying to make it hard for us or make us suffer unnecessarily. And that should be our attitude with everyone we work with: To do all we can to make them happy, so they will love living for the Lord & so they will be able to do a better job for Him.

26. Our whole goal in this Revolution is going to be to encourage folks by helping to lift any heavy burdens of condemnation & discouragement or too many rules, & the lack of respect, lack of appreciation‚ lack of understanding‚ lack of being Spirit-led or lack of affection.

Words of Appreciation from Our Teens:

27. Although we realise that you as teens have perhaps faced many of these difficulties, we have been touched & impressed by the maturity of many of your reactions. The following are just some of the many words of appreciation for our Family which we have received from some of you teens:

I love you so very much & feel so close to you and Grandpa through the precious Letters we've been receiving from you. I just want to wholeheartedly thank you for your love & concern, & especially your prayers for us. I know, Mama, how weak I am, & full of many sins & mistakes, but I don't want to be anywhere else in the World than where I am now‚ fulfilling my calling for Jesus & Grandpa. I feel very incapable for the future, & perhaps a little concerned & worried, "Will I make it? I'm so weak & emotional!" Lord help me, I still have a long way to go‚ but every day I continue to claim "His strength is made perfect in my weakness."

I realise the Family is not perfect, but after experiencing the World for seven years, the System is definitely a lot worse, & so full of lots of faults & disappointments, that to be honest, it would be a disgrace to compare the two! I love you both and want to stick with it and be a blessing to my Family!

Life is never totally perfect in whatever situation you are in, but life in the Family is really wonderful, & even if there weren't any changes, it's still so much more wonderful than anything else we could have. So the things that may be a little rough really don't count all that much.

You'll never find another organisation that doesn't have its faults, since every organisation is made up of people with lots of NWOs. But of all organisations, the Family seems to stick the closest to the Word & obedience to the Lord.—Especially because of Grandpa & Mama Maria. Like with Jesus & the disciples, sometimes there's some heavy stuff, but like Simon Peter said, "Who else can we go to?" There are other people who are preaching the Truth, but Grandpa & Mama Maria are the only ones who are telling the whole Truth in today's World & fighting to give it to others.

What Grandpa & Mama Maria have poured into us is more than anybody could possibly imagine, & without them none of us would be here. We're just here for the Family & for the Lord, so all these little things we're bringing up don't really matter so much‚ although they would help us in some ways.

All of us are happy we're in the Family, & the things we would like to see changed are just suggestions. If nothing changed, we'd still go on being happy in the Family, knowing that the Lord's going to work everything out.

Everything that has happened in my life has been part of God's plan, even though some things may have been unexplained or I didn't understand them. I can look back on those times now & see that I really needed them.

I just want to say thank you to Grandpa & Mama Maria, because almost everything that we've suggested has already been covered in the Word, & it's just us who haven't really always followed the Word. So if there are lacks, it's not their fault; they've always been faithful Shepherds. Also, I'd like to thank the adults for training us the way they did. Without them we wouldn't be here, & they're the ones who really helped to mold & make us into what we are.

Having lived a few years in the System, I totally agree with that quote that says, "The Family at its worst is much better than the System at its best."

We can look at everything as a Romans 8:28. Sometimes it's just not possible to make changes or improvements in all the different areas, but it's still wonderful to have the Family. Sometimes the rough spots are the times that we've learned the most lessons.

Even if we tried to put all of our suggestions into effect, it would be impossible; we'd be perfect.—And then that would get boring after a while too, because there would be nothing left to remedy. So I just want to thank Grandpa & Mama Maria & everybody for this special time, for asking us what we'd like to suggest or change‚ & tell you how thankful I am for being in the Family. Our Shepherds are doing a great job!

For every one of these rough spots or things that we don't necessarily like so much, there are so many more things that we are thankful for that are so much better.

What really spoke to me & touched me is that Mama is really concerned & she's right there with us & wants to know what we're living & feeling day to day. It's makes her really relatable & really precious.

Any adult in the Family, I'm sure, would be willing to change any way that they could, they just need to know how. They've always been caring & loving with us, maybe some just didn't always know how to best go about it‚ & they just did things the way they thought was best. We really appreciate & love our Shepherds, because they're the ones who pulled us through every time we were going through things. We really love them a whole lot & they're very special to us.

28. Since you teens were the main inspiration for this Personal Encouragement Revolution & since you have helped to bring it about‚ we will mainly be addressing you in the following points. However, whatever we do to benefit you teens will benefit the entire Family. In making the Family a better place for you‚ we will be making it a better place for us all. In learning how to better understand & relate to you teens, we will become more understanding, more considerate, more loving with everyone, & we hope you teens will do the same with your elders as well as those younger than you. One of the main reasons we decided to emphasise encouragement in this revolution is because we found when talking with you teens that some of you have become quite discouraged for various reasons.

Insights to Help Teens Understand

Why Adults Are Often Reluctant

to Let Teens Grow Up!

29. Dear adults, our teens are wonderful & most of them have been loving & understanding & very patient with us adults & parents‚ who with all good intentions have in many cases been treating them like children when they are rapidly changing & growing into adults themselves. But from all we've been able to gather, it seems like some of our teens just haven't known what to do about this & have therefore been becoming very discouraged. Our hearing of a few such cases & why they were discouraged led us to dig more deeply into the situation & poll our teens worldwide with the above-mentioned questions. (See paragraph 12.)

30. Now teens‚ at the same time that we are trying to help your parents & guardians understand you & your needs & wishes‚ we want you to try to understand them, & just why it seems that they sometimes are slow to relinquish their strict control over you, to let you grow up. Here are some common reasons why this happens:

  1. Parents (& guardians) in the Family or otherwise have the same problem: It's naturally difficult for them to see their children who have been so dependent upon them start becoming independent & growing away from them. It's hard for parents to let go. It's an emotional wrench.
  2. Your elders, who have been in the System & know what it is like, with every good intention want to protect you from it‚ but often go overboard in doing this, becoming overly protective.
  3. Your parents & other Family adults are often so concerned about security & wanting to protect the Family that they're sometimes afraid that because of your inexperience in dealing with & relating to the System, problems could arise which would highlight you & our Homes & endanger or hurt you & them.
  4. Your parents & the other adults often do not realise that you are growing up. It's sometimes hard for them to see the lines of distinction between you & your younger brothers & sisters. It's not always easy for them to see how much you have changed & how you are becoming adults, & that they need to start treating you as such.
  5. In trying so hard to be obedient to the Word, adults often make the mistake of being too strict on you teens & going too much by the letter of the law. Sometimes they're afraid to make mistakes, so they lean too much to the side of strictness or a letter of the law application, with not enough leniency.
  6. Some adults, unfortunately, worry about losing their place & their responsibilities, & so are reluctant to move over to teach you, as they feel they will have to relinquish their responsibilities to you. This is a very normal concern. It happens at some time to all of us. No one is exempt from feeling threatened at some point that someone else might take their place.
  7. Many of our adults have not learned how to adjust to teens moving into adulthood, because in their personal experience as teens growing up in the System, their parents were a very poor example of how to communicate with them & let them grow up.
  8. Working with teens is a new experience for many adults, they've never done it before. So some feel intimidated by teens, not really knowing how to relate to them or guide or discipline them when necessary. Many adults find it particularly difficult to handle disrespectful or problematic teens‚ especially when they (the adults) don't feel competent‚ & thus the only way they feel secure is to exercise strict control over teens like they do with children.
  9. The adults may not have had enough time to talk to you to understand the needs you have, since they are involved in so many things, such as many other children‚ ministries, outreach responsibilities, etc. You have helped them so much in these areas that they may not have realised your need to move forward & grow in other areas.
  10. It's hard for your elders to see you, who they love dearly‚ make mistakes‚ so it's difficult for them not to step in & take control to help you.
  11. In many cases your Homes have become so dependent on your help in your particular ministries that it's difficult to make time to either train you in new ministries or let you move on to other responsibilities.

31. Adults, one of the first things that we have to do is to start seeing our teens in a new light, start looking at them as the princes & princesses that they have become, that the Lord through Dad promised that they would be. Now is the time, we've got to loose them & let them go free. We've got to start seeing them as responsible‚ & capable of doing great things for the Lord! We've got to start seeing them as God sees them! We've got to start talking to them & treating them as co-labourers in the Lord, potentially as capable as we are of doing great things for Him.

32. As Dad said in his recent Letter‚ "If you've trained them well, then you should be able to step back & let them do it—just keeping an eye on them, of course, & being there if they need your help. Let's stop treating our older teens & EAs like children, when they're in many cases just as capable & responsible as our older people. They want to grow up!—Let's let them! We need to think of what we were doing when we were their age, & loosen up a little & let them burn free. God bless'm!" ("Teaching the Children Dream," ML# 2845:26)

How the Lord Looks on You Teens!

33. A few weeks ago I was praying about you teens & I was thinking, "But Lord, sometimes they seem so weak, how are they going to get from this point to being the great, flaming witnesses for You that You have predicted they are going to be?" And the Lord spoke very clearly to my heart & said,

34. "You call them weak‚ but I call them strong. You see their weaknesses, but I see their strengths. You don't see them as I see them because you look on the outward appearance, but I look on the heart. The forces that fight them are so very strong. So when they can stand at all, they are giants!"

35. It's like we've seen you much more in the flesh & we've looked at all your NWOs & all your weaknesses & all your questions, & we've compared you with ourselves & our years of experience & our greater stability & the wisdom the Lord has given us, & you've looked very weak & hardly able to make it sometimes. But we haven't realised that the spiritual forces fighting you are fighting more powerfully than they have ever fought before. You are now in the boxing ring with the heavyweight champion of the World, so to speak, & his terrible strength & might is greater than ever before in history. But despite his power & despite his might & despite his blows, you are managing to hold your own against him!

36. When we look at you teens in that light, we are astounded, amazed, absolutely astonished that you can be so strong! How can you be standing there at all, how can you still even be on your feet & still in one piece & still in there fighting, you look like such a tiny weak child against this huge hulk of mammoth strength! But it depends on how we look at things, doesn't it? We've also compared you with ourselves, as adults, & even perhaps with us when we were teens in the Family & how strong we seemed & how much we accomplished.

37. But apparently God doesn't compare like that. He looks on how well you teens stand up to the mighty forces of evil that are fighting to try to destroy you & tear you down today, & He sees with what strength & ferocity you are fighting the Enemy, attempting to hold your own, & thank God, most of you are doing it! You may be pretty battered & beaten, but you're still there & you're still standing & you're still fighting.

38. It's like David & Goliath: You teens, like little David, turn out to be bigger giants spiritually than the giant, stronger in spirit & more powerful than the forces that are fighting you. God bless you! We believe that the Enemy is fighting you more strongly than he has ever fought anyone because of the great things the Lord has in store for you & the way He wants to use you, & because the Enemy is full of rage, knowing his time is short.

39. However‚ this picture the Lord showed me of you teens does not mean that you are sufficient in yourselves to where you don't need any more training & you don't need our help. You know that better than anyone. You've expressed repeatedly that you want supervision, you want training‚ you want the adults' help, but you just wish they wouldn't smother you, wouldn't be so protective‚ so possessive, so authoritative.

Teens Share Their Hearts!

40. In separate articles & FSMs, we are going to go over specifically how our teens would appreciate being treated, some points on how you adults can understand them better & how you can improve your relationships with them. We'll give you specific examples of what to do & actual reports from Shepherds & letters from teens which will help you to cultivate good habits & attitudes, & as a result be the encouragement to our teens that they desperately need. Many of you do understand them & already know & do these things‚ but for those of you who need some help, we will be presenting these articles.

41. If we are convinced there is a desperate need, we will be more willing to do everything we can to work on the solutions. So here, from the mouth of our own young people‚ are some of their heartcries:

(From a 20-year-old working behind the scenes): Even though I don't know you personally, when I read everything the Lord has helped you to write for the Family‚ I can't help but feel very close to you. All the lessons you've shared have helped to strengthen my walk with the Lord, and have given me the faith and the conviction to keep on keeping on for Jesus.

In general, I get along with the adults in the Family very well. However, there are a few things that get in the way of my feeling completely comfortable with some of them. Maybe I'm wrong‚ but I feel like a lot of adults consider us teens and EAs a little inferior to them. Not to say that they outwardly portray this attitude, but that it's more of an unspoken mental block.

I try not to pay any attention to it, but it puts me through trials sometimes. I'm sure I'm partly to blame for it too. I guess people's attitudes toward someone are largely measured by that person's maturity. Maybe that's my case—I don't know. But, I thought I'd mention it, because I've heard the same thing from other teens and EAs who've felt the same way.

I hope it doesn't sound like I have a lot of oughts against the adults; to the contrary, I love and get along with most of them very well. It is just that‚ once in a while, I get hit with the feeling: "Why try so hard to `attain'? The adults are all 20 years older than I am, and always will be, so why should I even begin trying to reach the `impossible' goal of trying to become one of them?" I sometimes feel like they are so far ahead of me that I'll never catch up.

Another thing I feel sometimes is pressure. At times I getvibes of, "When I was your age, I had to make a lot more sacrifices than you have to make now."—Almost as if some adults feel like us teens and EAs need to work harder and make more sacrifices, merely because they had to when they first joined the Family. They seem to expect more from us than they do from themselves, and I have a feeling that it's because they're comparing us with the way they were when they first joined.

You are such a wonderful mother, and are always concerned about the welfare of your children. I'm so thankful to be in the Family! I enjoy my place of service very much. In the past, I actually thought about giving up my place of service, but realised that the System is husks in comparison to everything we have. I can't even begin to count all my blessings!

It's hard for adults to see us as being true disciples who also forsook all. I went through a time in my life when I really had to forsake all. Most teens & EAs have been through some heavy breakings in their lives, probably just as heavy as our parents did when they forsook all & joined the Family. It means a lot to be treated as a true disciple.

I'd like the adults to understand that we're not just in this Family because we were born into it. If we were going to backslide we probably would have by now, & the only reason we're here now is because we really want to be. We have the same qualifications as someone who joined because they wanted to give their whole life.

Theoretically they understand that, but I know there are adults who don't trust our loyalty & who don't really believe that that's the most important thing to us. Sometimes it seems they feel like they still have to keep coaxing us & pushing us along, & they don't trust our complete dedication, that any one of us would give our life for the Family.

I feel very close to some adults & very comfortable with them. I'll take Word time with an adult on free day, or if I'm having a trial, ask them to pray for me. You feel like friends with some, but with other adults you feel they're looking down on you. It was my biggest trial for years that we're not as rah-rah as they were in the early years. We want to burn free & rock out & go out & win souls & disciples, but we can't because we're in our ministries.

Of course, we're goofballs sometimes & we fool around, but no adult walks around constantly praying & memorising. If you go on a road trip you are constantly witnessing & constantly on fire. If there's a Teen Camp or meeting, it's a high level of inspiration, but in a normal Home it's just not like that. It's not that there's something wrong with us, but the circumstances just don't permit it.

It's not something you talk about, you just get the impression that they feel "I was at TSC‚" when we teens only went to Teen Camp.

When I first started witnessing it was very difficult to stay on fire because of the way the Family's been in their witnessing—very conservative & aiming to reach the top. When I started witnessing to guys in the Navy who are pretty free, it was very different. If we could be as on fire & do the things the adults did in the past‚ like singing in the street, we would.

About every two weeks I have an adult partner or we go witnessing in a group, & we go to the usual places & it's always the same. I feel frustrated that we're just witnessing a little bit here & there when there's so much more we could do. I know I'm not in a witnessing Home, but we're talking about getting out the meat of the Word & the teens being really on fire & being able to tell people the truth about what's going on.

Part of it may be because in some places we witness, I can't really get out the meat of the Word. I'm more likely going to give them "Somebody Loves You." I don't feel burdened & challenged in witnessing because I feel like all I do is get them saved, & if they're going to come along further, then an adult will take over. We are trusted to get people saved, but nothing further after that. If you get somebody filled with the Holy Spirit‚ then that's really, "Wow!"

We don't learn about shepherding & training & raising up babes. I'm very happy where I am & I don't want to be in any other Home, but if there was a programme where you could go for two weeks & just witness‚ it would be great, or go on a road trip for two weeks. Even if you stay in your same Home, maybe two EAs could be scheduled to go out witnessing fulltime for two weeks.

You could try new places. The only way to find open doors is to knock on them. It would help to be able to go out every day for a period of time so you can get the feel of it & find out where the teens hang out & how to minister to them. You can only do that by making a concerted effort.

Along the lines of respecting EAs & teens: In our Home‚ EA couples are often treated differently from other families in the Home. Sometimes when I'm disciplining my kids the adults come along & just take over & start doing it for me. It also shows respect to knock on the door before you come in. During the Fast when the EAs & teens had our meeting, right when we were having silent prayer‚ an adult came in & started talking to someone across the room about childcare.... (She cries.)

I felt really hurt because they wouldn't do that with other adults. It was the first time that we had something just with the teens & EAs. Usually when there's a meeting going on, someone will come in & whisper something to pass on, rather than calling across the room.

(Editor's Note: Mama Maria was particularly touched by this heartcry. She said, "That was really a sad lack of respect. I can understand why she would cry. I probably would have, too! I think it was the Lord weeping in her. The Holy Spirit was very offended by the lack of respect for the teens' prayer.")

I've heard different adults talking about teens & all the things they did that were strange or funny. If a teen makes a comment about a mistake an adult made‚ they get offended. Everyone makes mistakes. If adults laugh at teens for making mistakes, then teens should be able to do the same with adults & not be judged as being critical.

Some adults don't really respect our sheep. If I have a sheep & they get saved & I have a burden for them & want to follow up on them, it's like, "You have a little sheep." Whereas if the adults have a sheep, they're really important & they have to make time for follow-up.

I'm full time in my ministry so I don't have much time for follow-up, & that's understandable, but when we teens go witnessing we're not just going out to play around! We really are 100% on fire for the Lord & we really want to win disciples! It's a matter of respect for our motives & our conviction & dedication, & really wanting to be able to follow up on people & bring them in, rather than just getting them saved.

Something that has bothered me a bit is the way some adults try to give you correction using the Word. I feel like I've been in the Family as many years or longer than some adults, but sometimes they use the Word at you & it kind of gives you a negative connotation of the Word. It's not that I don't like to hear the Word, but when adults try to lecture you with it, it makes you not want to receive it.

You know they wouldn't talk to another adult like that. They're more prayerful about what they say to each other & how they present something. It's not all the adults, but a lot of them will just bluntly say things to you. It's my responsibility to receive it, but sometimes I think some things need to be prayed through before they're said.

Some adults can have fun with teens. Sometimes in our room we can laugh, roll on the floor & it's fine. Some adults will come in & laugh with us & it's fine, but when other adults come in, you get up real quick because they make you feel like, "Oh my God‚ what are you doing!" It puts you through a trial when adults really look down on you when you're just trying to have fun, & they make you feel like you're really out of it if you're not in the Word all the time.

(From an EA:) Some adults when they correct teens will announce it to the whole Home across the room. "You didn't do this, & you should have done that." Or they'll call out, "Did you say, `Yes sir?' when they're passing you on the stairs. It doesn't make you want to yield & you wonder why they're talking to you the way they talk to an OC.

Our Shepherds will let us have it when we need it, & that's fine, but some adults will look me in the eyes or take my face & say, "Look at me & say `Yes sir!' I don't like that attitude!"

(Editor's Note: We are very saddened to hear that anyone would speak in these or any other disrespectful ways with our teens or our OCs, or with our children of any age, for that matter! It seems that this could show a very unloving attitude. The Lord has called us to be loving servants, helpers and friends, guiding & shepherding in love, understanding, mutual respect & warmth. It would be very sad indeed if any of our little ones of any age are being spoken to or treated in a harsh manner, or an unloving, unthoughtful, military spirit.)

I think it would make us teens more of a team with the adults if they would pull us into their circle & counsel with us, & ask us what we think about things.

I'd like to see more responsibility given to our senior teens. They have had a lot of good training‚ but they're not growing because they need to take on responsibility instead of just being the helper. If they had the opportunity to be in charge of a group or ministry, it would help.

I'd like to see the baton passed on a little faster so that we can run with it. In our Home I'm helping as a childcare overseer, but it's a little difficult to do much. They leave the physical things to me‚ but the adults feel I can't do this or that. It's really hard to run with it when someone is still holding on to it. You have to leave a little room for mistakes, because we're going to make them‚ but if they're holding on to their position or ministry so tightly, then we can't really learn.

For a long time I thought that Heaven's Girls & Heaven's Boys were for the future, but through the Fast I could see that the Endtime is here‚ & now is the hour. I don't feel I've become a Heaven's Girl & that we're all of a sudden going to be great people‚ but I feel the Lord's going to use us. If we're looked at for what we are, of course we feel intimidated, but if we're looked at more for what the Lord's going to do‚ then it's possible to see it. We haven't had the experience to take over Homes or ministries. I feel like the adults are waiting for us to become ready or get the anointing, but I feel like we have to get pushed out first before we can do it. It's not like we want to take over & do things our way, it's more like we want to be able to do what the Lord wants us to, but it's frustrating because it seems so distant. If we're pushed out, though, then the Lord gives the anointing. (—AMEN!—Dad.)

42. All right‚ adults, these few heartcries are just a small representation of the legitimate needs our teens throughout the Family have expressed. Are you convinced? Do you want to help? We need your help & cooperation to make the PER work. The teens' part is to express & pray for their needs & make it as easy for you adults to help them as possible, & the part of you adults is to see what you can do to help supply those needs.

Voice Your Needs but Avoid Murmuring!

43. When you teens are asked for your suggestions & your comments, as many of you were asked in pow-wows with your Shepherds recently, of course we expect you to be honest, & we don't consider that murmuring or complaining. However, if you then go back to your peers & privately sit down & decide to talk further about these things, what is your motivation? What is the purpose? Maybe you didn't say everything that was on your heart at the pow-wow, but you decide to continue getting out all your gripes & complaints & maybe a lot worse things that you didn't say previously to the adults in the pow-wow.

44. But then let's say one of the other teens does the same, & he tells you all of his doubts & complaints & gripes & how he feels, that he didn't get the ministry that he really wanted or he didn't get to go witnessing enough, or he feels his teacher was unfair in a correction given to him etc. Then perhaps another of the teens hearing all of this speaks up & starts voicing all of his complaints as well.

45. Pretty soon, you not only have your set of complaints, but John's set of complaints & Mary's set of complaints, Sally's set of complaints, & everyone's complaints heaped up in one big pile that certainly looks like a mountain! Then you've got all of this negative garbage all stacked up in one big pile with no antidote, nothing to help clear it away & clean it up. You don't have your Shepherds to counsel with & to help you attack those things that are bothering you & to explain things that you haven't understood, & to try to help you through your trials. Instead you only have opened yourself up to the Devil & his voice‚ & you've shut yourself off to any input from the Lord, so no wonder you get confused & rebellious & critical & very very unhappy. You have gone against His Scriptural command that says, "Neither murmur ye...."—1Cor.10:10.

46. You see, in the pow-wows, when you were asked by your leadership, upon my request, to help us to see what we could do to help you, there was nothing wrong with your speaking up & opening your heart & bringing up these issues. In fact, it was the right thing to do. But to then go & murmur amongst yourselves with no good reason or purpose will certainly not bear good fruit. In fact, some of our poor kids who did this very thing got themselves into quite a mess! If they could have just been patient & held on, we were trying to help them & trying to do something to remedy their situation. But instead they went & tried to take all their problems into their own hands & react to them in the flesh, which just didn't work or help matters at all!

Changes Often Take Time, So Be Patient!

47. The Family is the best place in the World to be; we're just trying to make the best even better. Grandpa says if you stop changing, you die, so change is good for us, it keeps us on our toes & keeps us looking to see what we can do to improve things. Just remember, teens, that sometimes changes, especially for a very large worldwide Family, take time.

48. If it takes time for God to make a flower, think of the time it takes Him to make a tree. Think of how long it takes Him to make a family, especially a large worldwide Endtime Family like ours. And for that Family to grow & to change takes time too. Important changes in a worldwide Work which affect every member of our Homes & our ministries & our schedules & our witnessing & everything, are going to take some time. Besides all that's involved in prayerfully putting these new changes into effect, remember it also takes time for people's old habits to change into new ones, & for their past attitudes to reflect new ways of thinking.

49. So what you should look for is any sign of change, & be so thankful for what is happening, & not look at all that hasn't happened yet. Try to promise Grandpa & me before God that you will thank Him for the little changes that you can see, & not be murmuring & unthankful because of all the things that haven't happened yet that we said should happen. If I'm willing to wait & be patient, will you be willing too? Will you join me in praying this thing through & helping it to happen by your cheerfulness, your thankfulness, your willingness to be sweet & kind & loving & forgiving & merciful? The adults have put up with a lot from you for many years now, & they've seen you through many difficult times. They've been patient with you, can you now be patient with them?

Teens, Show You Can be Trusted!

50. You see, if Grandpa & I ask the adults to please treat you more like adults & give you more responsibility & more authority & more freedom, & then you rebel & you murmur & you complain & you go further than you should, then you are going to make it look as if Grandpa & I were wrong. Then the adults are going to be tempted to say, "See, our teens can't be trusted after all, so we'll have to really crack down on them, because they're just creating chaos!" So can you help to prove us right? Can you help to prove that we can give you more responsibility & we can give you more authority & we can treat you like co-workers & we can give you more freedoms & we can give you less rules, & you will respond maturely & responsibly & wisely & lovingly & patiently?

51. When Grandpa declared the RNR 15 years ago, when many of the rules the Family had been following were lifted & they were liberated from their former "Chain" leadership‚ a lot of Family Members got so carried away with their new freedoms that they made a lot of serious mistakes & neglected & hurt the Lord's Work.—Not because Grandpa was wrong in declaring the RNR, but because they weren't mature or responsible enough to keep their eyes on the Lord & their hearts fixed on the goal of reaching the World with the Lord's Message & the lost with Salvation!

52. Of course, I realise you're going to make mistakes as you are given new responsibilities & freedoms‚ that's to be expected. I'm sure the adults are going to be patient with you & understanding when you fall, & they will do their best to help you back up again. But I'm asking you to take the PER responsibly & respond maturely‚ proving that you indeed can be treated like adults. Can you fulfil the Scripture, "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word‚ in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity"? (1Tim. 4:12)—I believe that you can‚ & that you will.

53. We're going out on a limb for you & we're trying to get the whole Family to come to your aid & help you to be happier & contented & do a better job for Jesus. We're saying you can be trusted‚ we're saying that you're not children any more‚ we're saying that you can carry more responsibility. Will you prove us right? We're counting on you!

54. And if you don't want the adults to talk down to you, but you want them to trust you, to give you more responsibility & authority, you are going to have to do your part. Just remember‚ it's not all the adults' fault that your communication & unity is less than perfect. We're just emphasising the adults' part in this Letter because we believe there are many things they don't understand. However, we're pretty sure you teens know how you should be acting towards the adults, but it's just difficult for you when they respond to you in certain ways. But now, when the adults try to change & respond to you as co-workers & teamworkers, you are going to have to, in good faith, live up to their expectations & do all you can to act like the adults that you are wanting them to treat you as.

55. And if the adults don't immediately start treating you the way you think you should be treated, according to these pubs, please do not be disrespectful, do not be mean, but pray for them & try to be patient. You know how long it takes you to overcome old habits & attitudes. So give the adults a break & give them some time. Don't expect them ever to be perfect. They may be somewhat legalistic in their treatment of you, but you teens are plenty legalistic yourselves & expect a very high standard from people, which maybe you don't even come up to yourselves.

56. If you want to be treated respectfully & responsibly by the adults, then it is your responsibility & job to treat those under you the same way. We've heard quite a few reports of teens who have complained about adults not treating them properly, but at the same time they've turned around & treated the younger teens & JETTs in their care very badly, often being a very poor sample to them‚ while demanding their respect & yieldedness & obedience etc. You don't want to be like the unmerciful servant who received so much mercy & understanding & forgiveness from his master, but then turned around & was extremely unmerciful to his fellow servant. (See Mat.18:21-35.) All of us—adults, teens‚ JETTs & all—need to learn to be more loving & understanding with others, amen? If you're given more responsibility & are shepherding others‚ will you be the loving & kind sample that you wish others were with you? "Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock."—1Pet.5:3.

57. We all need each other's encouragement, help & support. That's how the Lord intends for us to be, "a body fitly joined together."—Eph.4:16. Although we're now going to classify you oldest teens (EAs) as adults & give you the same rights & the same status as our older adults‚ please bear in mind the old saying‚ "A wise man learns from experience‚ but a wiser man learns from the experience of others!" While in some cases you teens may have as much or more training in certain ministries as the older adults, it is highly likely that the older adults will have more experience than you do in many areas, simply because they have lived many years longer than you have. So if you're really smart‚ a wiser man or woman, you will stay open & receptive to the Godly counsel & advice that the older adults have to share with you, lessons they've learned from the "hard school" of experience.

Areas Where Teens Feel Change Is Needed:

58. Following are the major areas where the teens we polled felt there were some problems that needed changing:

  1. Probably the very biggest request of the older teens & EAs is, "Please don't treat us like children any more, please let us grow up. Please respect us more, please trust us more, please listen to us more, please appreciate us more. Please take our suggestions & give us more choice in matters that have to do with us. Please don't talk down to us & constantly nag us for all of our mistakes." The teens were quick to add that they work with many adults that they can communicate well with & who understand them & treat them as friends & co-workers, but there are others in almost every Home who don't understand that they are growing up & need to be treated as responsible young adults.
  2. The teens would like to eliminate meaningless rules, & to apply the legitimate ones less legalistically.
  3. They would like more prayerful, Spirit-led application of the Word without such legalistic interpretations that don't allow for much freedom of the Spirit. For example, when a teen has a problem, we should not immediately assume that their situation is exactly like Tony's was or exactly like Techi's was or exactly like Mene's was, etc.
  4. The teens would like more witnessing & more freedom to be Spirit-led in how they witness to others.
  5. They would like more choice & authority in their ministries.
  6. They would like more choice in Home matters.
  7. They would like more freedom in their relationships & more affection.
  8. They would like more music.
  9. They would like more fun & inspiration, including more inspired devotions or teen fellowships or faith trips.
  10. They would like to see fewer double standards in the Homes.

Letting Our Teens Grow Up!

59. So what are the solutions to all of these problems?—The biggest of which seems to be our teens' desire for us to just let them grow up & to not treat them like children any more. In the following paragraphs we are going to suggest some solutions which will hopefully specifically encourage our teens & help us all to be happier & do a better job for Jesus.

60. Lest you adults get the idea that we're just letting the young people take over the Family now & "letting our children rule over us," we would like to say that we don't believe that we are compromising the Family standard in any way by listening to our youth & by receiving their suggestions, & by doing something about their legitimate concerns. We feel that all of the things that they have mentioned that we have listed here are issues that need to be addressed, & that doing so will not only help our teens to do a better job for the Lord, but will help us all learn & grow & be more Spirit–led & more understanding in our communication & relationships with others. (The Club was run by teens!—D.)

61. In fact, we've already begun to make changes to make things easier for our young people. In the "Loving Shepherding" FSM series, we've suggested that you get a regular Word & rest day, we've cut down your OHR requirements to just one per week, as well as cutting back on the other reports that were required of you. There have also been cutbacks in your formal scholastic requirements, with increased witnessing & specific time allotted for vocational/ministry study. The Affection Revolution is also hopefully causing your Homes to be more loving, with everyone showing more affection & appreciation.

More Specific PER Changes:

62. Besides the changes which have already been introduced, following is a list of other changes we would like to see implemented as solutions to concerns you teens have expressed, as well as for the benefit of the whole Family. Some of these solutions can be put into effect immediately, while others will take a bit of time to implement.

No More "Experimental Adults"!

You're Now "Young Adults" (YAs)!

63. As Dad has said, a name is very important. What people call you helps to define how they treat you. When the name Experimental Adults was originally given to our 18- to 21-year-olds, it seemed a fitting name, as we hadn't had much experience with that age group, & all of us, both adults & EAs, were experimenting with how to treat that age group. However, the experiment is now over & we realise that you are young adults & need to be treated as such. So from now on you should be referred to & treated as "Young Adults."—And the only difference between you & our other adults is that you are under 21 years old, which means that there are some restrictions concerning who you can share with sexually. (More on teen & Young Adult sex coming soon!) Other than that, you are entitled to all the same rights & privileges as our adults who are over 21 years of age.

64. A related point for all of you Young Adults is that once you're 18 years old you may drop the title of "Auntie" & "Uncle" that you have used with the adults.

Free Access to MO Letters for Junior Teens on up!

65. Because the Word is our foundation & the key to our spiritual strength & happiness, it needs to be made easily accessible to all. For this to happen, we need to take the Family pubs out from behind locked doors & put them where Home members can have easy access to them, without having to hunt down the key to the lit trunk. Let's "Roll the Gold!" & make it available for all!—We have nothing to hide! From this point on‚ senior teens on up will be allowed to read all Family lit, even that which is designated "for adults only." They can have complete freedom to read any Family lit they want to read‚ unsupervised & without permission, just as you adults are allowed to. Junior teens will be allowed to read all Family lit except that which is designated "for adults only." They are to be allowed to visit the lit cabinet & will be free to choose their reading material on their own. We must not restrict the Word; our teens need it & want it, so let's let it roll!

YAs on Home Teamworks!

66. Most of our Young Adults have been in the Family for at least 18 years, which is longer than many of our older adults. They have had the Word & the Family principles poured into them since birth, & we feel it's now time to allow them to use all that they have learned, to put them in the position to apply their training. Although we older adults have certain experiences that our Young Adults haven't had‚ they have had a major experience which we have not undergone; they have grown up in the Family!—And because of this they have a great understanding of how our Family children & teens see things. They understand their needs‚ desires, frustrations, etc., even better than we do, because they've experienced them.

67. If the PER is anything‚ it's a concerted effort to encourage our teens by trying to understand the needs & desires of our youth & do something about them. Who better can help us accomplish that than those who have the experience, our Young Adults? Therefore, in order to help us to better care for our youth, we would like to suggest that when your Home holds its Teamwork elections, any mature & responsible Young Adults could be considered for a place on the Home's Teamwork, just as any older adult could be considered. (Although the election of a Young Adult to your Home Teamwork is not mandatory, if you have competent Young Adults in your Home who could be trained in such responsibilities, we strongly suggest you consider this.) Any Young Adult elected by the Home would have equal authority with the other Home Teamworkers. Having a Young Adult on the Teamwork would benefit the teens by helping them to have more choice in Home matters. There are a number of Young Adults on Teamworks around the World who have been doing a very good job & are very capable & Spirit-led. (Adults & teens, for your encouragement‚ please read the testimonies of Young Adults who have been in positions of responsibility in Hope Mag #38, as well as in other upcoming Hopes.)

Mandatory Teamwork Elections Every Three Months!

68. From now on, each Home should hold mandatory Teamwork elections every 3 months on the following dates: February 1, May 1‚ August 1 & November 1. The voting in these elections should be by secret ballot, & you will have the opportunity to either vote in new Teamwork members or to confirm your present Teamwork. If you feel one or more members of your Home Teamworks have not been good Shepherds, you will have the opportunity to vote them out & vote in someone who you feel would do a better job. This is nothing new, each Home is supposed to have regular Teamwork elections, but to help you make sure that these elections take place, we are requiring them to be held on the dates mentioned above. (Family Voters‚ 16 & up!—D.)

69. We want you to be able to choose your own Home Teamwork, people you love & trust & respect as good Shepherds, those who have courage to make the difficult decisions which Shepherds need to make, who can encourage you to do your best for the Lord & His Work, & who can correct you when you're not doing your best. These elections are not popularity contests, & you have a serious responsibility to desperately pray for the Lord to lead & guide you to choose those whom He wants to shepherd the Home. The elections should be accompanied by united prayer for the Lord's help & guidance.

70. If you feel your present Home Teamwork or individual members of it aren't sufficiently living up to the shepherding standards that Dad has laid out in the Letters, then you should vote in those whom you feel will, including Young Adults! Please take into consideration that shepherding is a difficult responsibility, it's a very big sacrifice, as Shepherds do what often seems like such a thankless job. If you find you're voting out one Teamwork after another & you can't find anyone who can do the job the way you think they should, then maybe you're part of the problem, maybe you're extremely difficult to shepherd & need to pray & ask the Lord to help you.—Or maybe you can request to try the shepherding job yourself for a while.

71. In some Areas your Home Teamworks have been appointed by your CROs or NASs, & elections or reconfirmation votes should have been held regularly. In order to ensure that you & your NASs & CROs don't forget the need for regular elections, even in cases where your Home Teamwork has been appointed, the Home is to hold their elections on the proper dates, & if the Home votes out the Shepherds that the CROs or NASs appointed, the Home's vote will stand!

72. We want you to have more say in the running of your Home & we want you to decide who shepherds your Home, but in doing so it puts the responsibility of the Home on your shoulders. If your Home doesn't run well, then you're partly to blame, since you elected those who run it.

73. Some practical points regarding Home elections:

  1. Majority rules!—Unanimous votes are not necessary. Teamwork members can be elected by a simple majority.
  2. Everyone 16 years old & up is eligible to vote!
  3. Teamworkers should be voted in to fill specific ministries & to carry specific responsibilities. In other words, don't elect three or four people to be the Home's Teamwork, & then expect them to sort out who fills each role; but rather vote specifically for who should fill each particular Teamwork post—the Shepherding & Personnel Teamworker, the Childcare Teamworker, the Business Teamworker, Outreach Teamworker, etc. (The one exception to this is if you elect a Young Adult to the Teamwork. The first time he or she is elected, they do not have to be voted into a specific position [see point d]. For example, your Home can vote in Teamworkers to fill the specific Teamwork positions, & you can vote in one or two Young Adults to be on the Teamwork, but without specific portfolios, for the first 3 months.)
  4. Because of the immensity of the Teamwork job, Young Adults who are elected to Home Teamworks will be considered as "trainees" for the first 3 months on the job. If after 3 months they are re-elected to the Teamwork, they should be elected to fill a specific Teamwork position. Giving the newly elected Young Adult 3 months of "on-the-job training" will allow them the opportunity to help out in all of the Teamwork responsibilities & will show them, & the Home‚ which type of shepherding role they are best suited for. Although "trainees," Young Adult Teamwork members will have a full vote on the Teamwork.
  5. One week before the election date, the Home should hold a meeting in which Home members can submit nominations for each of the Teamwork positions (these can be either written or verbal nominations). The names of those nominated should be posted somewhere in the Home so that throughout the week everyone can be reminded who has been nominated. This will give the Home members a full week to think & pray about who they personally feel would be the best choices to fill the Teamwork posts. It's better to refrain from talking with others about whom you or they are going to vote for, as this could cause a rash of gossip‚ peer pressure or "lobbying" for votes. Use this week to pray & seek the Lord about the available choices‚ so that when you do vote you will be voting according to how the Lord has led you & not because someone else has convinced you to vote for a certain person.
  6. Voting should be conducted by secret ballot. The votes should be counted by a committee of three people‚ consisting of one Teamwork member & two other non-Teamwork members selected by the Home. This committee would announce the winners‚ but the winning margins should remain confidential & not be disclosed to protect the feelings of those who lost.
  7. In the event of a tie vote, hold run-off elections until the tie is broken.

How to Transfer to Another Home!

74. If you Young Adults or senior teens feel you need to change Homes, either because you are not satisfied with your Home situation‚ or you feel the Lord is calling you to move to another Home‚ you can send a letter to your CRO requesting a transfer. Your letter should cover in detail your reasons for wanting to transfer. A notice from your CROs should have already reached your Home, giving you an address for writing your CRO, which you should have ready access to. If not, then ask your Teamwork to supply you with this address. However, please remember that personnel moves usually take much planning & time, so while you're waiting, please try to cooperate with your Home leadership & members, & trust the Lord that He will bring about your desired move in His time, if it is His Will. (See Psa.37:4–5 & "Trust & Obey" Part II, par.17-18 [DB8, pg.300].)

Open Home Forums for All Adults, Young Adults & Senior Teens!—At least One Per Month!

75. In order to foster open communication in the Home among the adults & teens, & to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to express their feelings & to raise questions they feel need to be addressed, each Home should now hold at least one open forum discussion each month. All adults, Young Adults & Senior teens (16 & 17) should participate, & each should feel the freedom to bring up any matters of concern on any subject they feel needs to be discussed, whether teen-related or not, such as finances, scheduling, personnel, witnessing, persecution preparation, etc. Hopefully, junior teens & JETTs would be able to supervise children (probably already in bed for the night) at this time. Or, if necessary, older teens or adults could alternate in the children's care.

Immediate Topics of Discussion for Forums!

76. Some subjects that will need to be addressed immediately in these forums are:

  1. Ways to give the teens more choices in their ministries.
  2. Giving teens more responsibility in their ministries & the authority to carry out that responsibility.
  3. How the teens can be more involved in more witnessing activities. (Where applicable, special outreach teams & trips could be arranged with other nearby Homes or in conjunction with your Area Shepherds.)
  4. Ways to have more inspired & feeding devotions. (Perhaps let the teens lead half of them.)
  5. How to have more teen fellowships, within the Home or with other Homes.
  6. How to make life in the Home more fun, challenging & inspiring.
  7. How to do away with any double standard between adults & teens.—Ways that your Home members can all keep the same basic standard.

(Because most of these points are urgent & need to be addressed as soon as possible‚ it will probably take several open forum meetings, which could be held over a period of days, to get the PER rolling, so please don't feel that you have to limit yourselves to only one such meeting per month.)

More Changes that Are in the Works!

77. The above changes should be made immediately as they don't require a lot of explanation via GNs, FSMs etc. Following are a number of other changes that will be made. However‚ in order to do things "decently & in order" (1Cor.14:40), the changes below should not be implemented until some further explanation comes to you via soon–coming WS pubs. But I want to at least tell you what is ahead‚ trusting that you'll hold on until the pubs which give the full explanation are completed & mailed to you.

78. We will be publishing numerous articles & other material that will help you adults to understand teens better & communicate with them on a deeper level. These articles will have as their aim to help you adults treat the teens more as peers‚ as co-workers & teamworkers‚ helping them to grow into the men & women of God that they want to be & that we all want to see them become.

79. Each Home will need to review‚ discuss & evaluate your Home rules in order to decide together which ones are necessary & good for the Home, & which ones are "on the books" merely because they are a carry-over from some bygone era or some different situation where you might have once needed them, whereas now things have changed & they're no longer really necessary or helpful. We will be publishing an article soon with guidelines to help you do this.

80. You've recently received our Letters & articles on Affection, which we're sure have already helped to promote a greater unity & communication & a feeling of more love & caring. We are presently working on some further material addressing teen relationships, dating & affection which we hope to send you soon, as well as some new Letters on the Law of Love to help you better understand our sexual beliefs.

81. As we explained during the Fast in our message to you teens, we are preparing a number of music tapes for your inspiration. Two such tapes are already on their way to you now, with more in the pipeline. Please be patient, as we are doing all we can to fill this need. In the meantime, I'd like to ask you to refrain from listening to System rock music, which as Grandpa has explained many times‚ is often spiritually poisonous & very dangerous to your spiritual well-being. (Don't miss the latest Christian Digest on rock music, "Hell's Bells!"—Coming soon!)

82. We are also working on ways to record & produce songs that you, our teens, write. The Lord has given many of you a real gift for songwriting, & we want to help you fine-tune your gift so that the songs you write will be the best they can be. I'm asking our studio musicians to write up some tips for songwriting, & WS is compiling some counsel that I've given the songwriters over the years, which we will be sharing with you. Once you have received this, we plan to ask for your songs, hoping to record those that are written in accordance with the songwriting counsel. The writing & recording of songs is a difficult & time-consuming process, but we hope to eventually begin recording music by you, our younger generation.

83. We are asking the CROs to open at least one special witnessing Home in their area, where feasible, which will be manned & shepherded by Young Adults (& possibly Senior teens). We hope that all the Young Adults in the CRO area will be able to take turns in this Home on a rotational basis.

84. We will be publishing ML reading lists & recommending that your Home hold pow-wows in order to help you apply the Word less legalistically.

85. We are also going to make a special effort to publish more HOPE Magazines than ever before on a variety of subjects, which we pray will be an inspiration & encouragement to all of you young people, JETTs on up.

86. In order to help with your ministry training, we are going to be trying to provide instructional videos on various subjects, D.V.

87. So, teens & adults, what do you think?—Do you like this plan? Do you think we can all work together with the Lord's help to bring the PER to pass? Let's try it, shall we? I think we'll all like it! God bless you & keep you & make you an even greater blessing than ever before as you work together "side by side"!

Text Boxes in GN:


>> I can't tell you enough how much you've given me by hearing me out like a fellow teen, & yet answering me with the anointing & power of a Shepherd to know what I need. Your talking to me so personally & devoting so much of your time almost makes me cry. I don't know if you'll ever know how much this means to me, but it means the world!

>> I never thought our ideas & opinions mattered much. I thought that teens & EAs were always going to do childcare or meal prep until Jesus came, & then we'd do something different. It's nice to know that we won't always be considered "younger."

>> I was so touched that you would take the time to be with us. It also made Grandpa & Mama Maria seem so much more real, knowing that they think about us with all they have to do & that they're concerned that we're happy & not burdened. I feel so loved that it makes me want to do more for them.

During our talks, we covered topics that I've always wanted to talk about, especially in a situation like this with adults who can answer the questions, & with teens, because I wanted to know if they felt the same as me. They asked questions that I've always wondered about, but have been too scared to ask. I feel like I've been set free & I don't have to be rebellious or feel so frustrated. It made me really love the Family & Grandpa & Mama Maria & my Shepherds more.

>> If one day of my life would make me want to stay in the Family no matter what, it would be today! It meant a lot to me to know that the Folks, the Lord, & you‚ our Shepherds, love us enough to even be willing to admit that the Family may need to change in some ways in order for us teens to be happy & fulfilled in our service for the Lord. It was just so liberating to talk openly about things that normally our group of teens & EAs just don't discuss.

In the past, I know it wasn't true, but I sort of felt that "the Family can't ever be wrong." (I don't remember ever being told that‚ but that's how I felt.) So therefore, I took all the blame for problems that I came across, thinking I just had too much pride‚ such as, for example, when I was corrected in a condemning way. Being able to openly ask questions about the Word was very precious, that you'd take your time to explain anything at all that we didn't understand. Thank you for being so concerned. Please tell the Folks how much their love & concern means to us.

>> It was almost like one of those "Searcher" missions, in that Grandpa & Mama Maria loved us enough to want to make sure that we were happy & fulfilled in serving the Lord & convinced in our minds. The fact that the Lord & my Shepherds have faith in me that I can become what He wants me to be is what touched my heart the most. I know I can't let the Lord down now!

I've always thought that to be used of the Lord‚ I had to pretty much be perfect, but what's changed my mind is the message that Mama sent to us, & also how the Shepherds here made sure that we were well cared for & strengthened in the faith. That to me has been the most precious thing in my whole life in the Family‚ as it helped me to feel that personal shepherding touch from Grandpa & Mama Maria. Thank you for trusting me & for helping me to have the faith that the Lord can use me.

>> I don't think I've ever had an open forum & talked like this so easily before. By clarifying points of misunderstanding, you knocked down every point that, if not clarified, could have led to a doubt in my life. I feel so liberated to have this cleared up & my questions answered.

>> It was a real blessing to ask all the questions I wanted to & to know that you would answer them honestly & sincerely. I could feel your love & desire to help me understand & be fully persuaded in my own mind. You didn't have to answer my questions nor try to heal any doubt‚ you could have just expected me to go on by faith‚ whether I understood or not, but you took the time & sacrificed these days to do it. That in itself is wonderful to me & I love you for it!



(A note to Mama from a staff member:)

I had such a fun dream about a little calico kitty cat. I was lifting her up so that I could look at her face as I scratched her ears and neck with one hand. You know how cats or dogs look at you as you pet them?—And you feel like they're trying to say something to show that they really appreciate the attention? Well, all of a sudden this kitty spoke to me! She opened her mouth real big and said, "I love you!" I was so shocked and flabbergasted that this cat could talk, and I said, "Oh! Oh! I love you too!" Then the kitty said, "I'm so glad you love me!" Ha!

I thought maybe this dream could somehow symbolise the PER Revolution!—The PURR! The Lord made pets in such a way that you can always count on them to respond with love if you pet them, and you know they won't reject you. Kitties rub up against you and sit in your lap. Puppy dogs wag their tails and wiggle and act like you just made their day! They really do appreciate affection, and give out lots of it, too. I was thinking that we should be more like that with each other—affectionate and simple in showing love and thanks and affection and encouragement to one another.