KEYWORDS: teens, music, lord, system, family, people

Getting Back On Track for Jesus--Part Two (For JETTs)

Karen Zerby

Maria #206aDO 2891a1/94

Mama's Letter to the Family in Europe, revised & condensed for JETTs

Required Reading for JETTs

1. UP TO THIS POINT we've covered the history of what happened in Europe, & it's probably becoming clearer to you what went wrong. Now we're going to talk about some specifics. Are you JETTs, teens & YAs still with me? I love you & I don't want to hurt you or offend you, but I need to shoot straight with you in order to help clear up any misunderstandings or wrong attitudes you may have‚ so you can get back on track for Jesus! PTL!

Europe's Unique & Misguided "Revolution"!

2. An unchecked desire to indulge in & take advantage of your so–called teen "liberties" & "freedoms" seems to have swept across the whole continent of Europe. It seems like you European teens have had your own private "revolution"; you've toyed & experimented with different liberties in a way that is unique only to Europe. Maybe you didn't know that this "revolution" wasn't happening elsewhere!

3. Your blatant disregard for Family rules & horrible lack of respect for your elders is in no way the reaction Grandpa & I hoped & prayed for when we initiated the PER. It was certainly not our intention that you would walk off your jobs & neglect your ministries, disregard the needs of the Home or your duties on the schedule, bad–mouth or talk back to or insult your Shepherds or parents, swear or use foul language, listen to all types of System music at all hours of the day & night, ignore the dating & sharing guidelines for teens & YAs, be unloving & unkind to the children, stop reading the Word & praying, & stop having a desire to witness! This doesn't sound like much of a "Personal Encouragement Revolution," does it?! It sounds more like a "Do Your Own Thing" disaster!

4. I'm sure not every single one of you teens is guilty‚ & I'm sorry to have to reprimand you all for what may be the sins of only some! But this is a case where public exposure & correction is necessary, to set the record straight & clarify the misunderstandings & confusion that continue to plague your field.

Liberties Are a Privilege!

5. Some have gotten the idea that certain teen "liberties" are a "right," & the adults or Shepherds have no business touching or even questioning such liberties. This idea is wrong. Liberties are a privilege‚ & only those people who are truly dedicated to the Lord & whose motivation is to love others & serve the Lord can wisely handle the freedom that is available to us in the Spirit according to the Law of Love. In fact‚ we've learned from the example of what has happened in Europe that we cannot afford to give our teens more freedom & leeway unless we rid the rebels, those who are not dedicated enough to be trusted with such freedom. We've learned from sad experience that the rotten apples will only misuse such freedoms, because they're already rebelling against the Lord & His Family.

6. As we saw with most of the teens & YAs who left the Family in Europe over the past year or so, they weren't satisfied no matter how much "liberty" they got. And they eventually left, because that's all they wanted‚ the liberties. They weren't willing to yield or commit themselves to the Lord. They weren't serious about serving the Lord. So when the adults started to pull the reins in on them & demand obedience & the Family standard, they realised the jig was up, & they walked out. The troublemakers left!—But before they left, they succeeded in spreading their poison far & wide.

A Breach in the Spirit!

7. Maybe it doesn't seem possible to you that just a few rotten apples could affect a whole continent like Europe & cause the young people in a whole area to get off the track. Let's talk about that a little more. As was explained earlier, some real rebellious problem-case teens shared their complaints, doubts, murmurs & wrong attitudes at the BTC Seminar. Now sometimes such open-forum discussions can bear good fruit, even if some negative subjects are discussed, as long as the problems brought up are taken care of, the questions are answered‚ the wrong attitudes & murmurs are exposed, any hurt feelings are lovingly mended, & everyone involved gets the follow-up shepherding they need, in order to stay on the right track & wisely bring about any changes needed.

8. But in the case of the BTC Seminar, the perpetrators or troublemakers actually had no desire to change or make things right with the Lord. They weren't genuinely interested in having their questions answered or getting the help they needed. They were busy spreading their lies & infecting as many other teens as possible. They were given respect & freedom & a lot of choice, which they didn't deserve, because they weren't right with the Lord. They weren't loyal & they weren't prayerfully trying to do the right thing. They were just taking advantage of things & trying to see how much they could get away with. And, like all rotten apples, they were trying to take as many down with them as possible!

9. So instead of the open-forum discussions at the BTC Seminar bringing healing & unity & progress & greater love & communication, a breach in your spiritual defenses was opened that allowed the Enemy to enter. And once he gained a substantial foothold, he then rode on the momentum of the waves of rebellion that were initiated at the BTC Seminar to the point that his lies, criticisms, defiance, & ungodly attitudes eventually travelled throughout all of Europe. It reminds me of the story in the Good Thots of the thistledown that floats over the whole World as it's blown by the wind. (See GT2, pg.1203.)

How Others Were Weakened & Contaminated!

10. The past months have been very confusing for you, & many teens in Europe have wondered, "Are there any absolutes anymore?" Many of you previously good & faithful teens tried to remain strong, but the negative peer pressure eventually became so strong, & you got so discouraged, that you finally decided, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!" You saw many things happening & attitudes being talked about freely that you knew from the Word & all your years of training were wrong. But you were confused at the Shepherds' dilly-dallying around & not stepping in to set things right. Some of you got caught up in listening to System music & the emphasis on "freedoms," whereas previously that hadn't been a big deal to you at all. Others of you became very discouraged.

11. Gradually you faithful, loyal teens weakened in your resolve to uphold the standard & you succumbed to the extreme negative peer pressure. Eventually you just gave up fighting, due to the confusion & hopelessness you felt, as a result of the very poor shepherding you were getting—or the lack of shepherding altogether. The problems that arose & the adults' inability to get a grasp on them caused you to become completely frustrated & lose faith. Eventually the whole field of Europe became seriously weakened.

12. This is a prime example of how, with time, neglecting to throw out a few rotten apples succeeded in spoiling the whole bunch! It's like the evil magician came into your lovely gardens & started sowing evil seeds & trampling on all the beautiful flowers & young shoots, but no one did anything about it!—Until finally the evil weeds took hold & started to choke the life out of the garden‚ strangling & suffocating & crushing the beautiful flowers! Thank the Lord, it seems we have now finally gotten rid of most of those evil weeds—but we're still having to repair the damage! (See "Alice & the Magic Garden," ML#290.)

13. It is very very sad that in the case of Europe‚ not only the rotten apples have left‚ but quite a few other teens & YAs have followed, some of whom probably did not fall into the "rotter" category. Some of the young people who left were weak & somewhat double-minded or "sitting on the fence" in regards to their commitment to the Lord & the Family. Therefore they were easy prey for the Enemy when the walls of the European Family's spiritual defense were broken down & the lies & doubts of the rotten apples started flying. A few loyal, dedicated teens & YAs also left. They became confused‚ disoriented & disappointed because of so much questionable behaviour happening so quickly‚ which was in such stark contrast to the principles they'd lived for so many years. They wondered what was happening to the Family. Everything seemed to be caving in around them; they saw no hope of finding their way back to the simplicity & truth & standard they once knew, so they became discouraged & disheartened to the point of actually quitting! This is heartbreaking!

14. It's tragic when our dear children, who we love & who we've poured so much into for years & years‚ & who have a special calling & are a part of our Family‚ get so discouraged or confused that they leave! They feel there's no hope for change, there's no reason to keep fighting & hanging on, so they just give up! That's a terrible terrible defeat! It makes me cry just to think about what a horrible loss it is that some of our dear faithful teens & YAs became so weakened & lacking in faith & vision that we have lost them! We need to pray that those who are David's children will return to the fold quickly!

15. Thank the Lord, where there is life there is hope! Some of the teens and YAs who left have started to put out feelers about possibly coming back, which is very encouraging! You'll be happy to know that YA Joe‚ who backslid from Eastern Europe, after going there from Brazil where he'd previously been very happy & fruitful, has now returned to the Family. He is in a Home in another area of the World. His Shepherds report that shortly after his arrival in the U.S. from Europe, Joe made a desperate phone call to Brazil pleading to return to the Family. He very much appreciates being allowed to rejoin, & he seems genuinely repentant for having backslidden & now wants to do his very best in the Family.

16. YA Joe explained to his new Shepherd, "There was a very strong oppressing kind of spirit overshadowing the meetings which were held with YAs & teens in Hungary. Many of the teens & YAs were talking behind the Shepherds' backs & were not receiving what was being shared. I made a big mistake in leaving the Family with the rest of the YAs who left."

Why We've Got to Get Rid of the Rotten Apples!

17. Does this explanation help you see the truth of what Grandpa has always said about how one rotten apple can spoil the whole barrelful? It's obvious that we're better off without the rotten apples.

18. Our Family is a place for dedicated disciples who want to forsake all to be a part of this Army. If any of our members show that they don't want to be disciples, don't want to fight for the Truth, & don't want to sacrifice to do whatever is necessary to bring that Truth to others, then we're better off without them.

19. Our criterion has always been quality rather than quantity, & our teen population is no exception! Some of these teens were no longer part of the Family in heart or spirit & they needed to leave, but unfortunately this wasn't discerned soon enough, & they were given the platform‚ through the BTC Seminar & its aftermath, to spread a lot of lies, poison, rebelliousness, worldliness, division‚ & absolute demonic attitudes & behaviour throughout Europe before leaving. You Shepherds should have gotten rid of them long ago! We cannot compromise what we stand for, no matter what it costs us! As Dad has so often said, it's much better to have an enemy on the outside than on the inside‚ where they can do much more damage!

20. You young people might be wondering, "Just exactly what is a rotten apple?" If you feel pretty sinful & bad‚ if you're disgusted with yourself & you're feeling ashamed of your sins & mistakes & shortcomings, then you may wonder if you are a rotten apple & if the Family would be better off without you! Well‚ it's difficult to give a 1–2-3 description of a rotten apple‚ but let's look at a report from one of the Shepherds of the BTC, who is talking about the long-standing sins & serious ongoing problems of some of the rotten apples who left from that Home around the beginning of 1993. This Shepherdess described those rotten apples as follows:

21. "The main instigators of the problems at the BTC (who later backslid) were way beyond receiving any kind of shepherding. They were rebelling against any kind of authority, against Dad & Mama, against Jesus, & they would have left sooner if there had been any kind of restrictions put on them. They had strong attractions for the System & were very vocal about it. One had a fascination for violence & martial arts & was extremely carnal-minded. Two others had an excessive desire for System music, as well as deep bitternesses against leadership in general.

22. "They were rebellious against any kind of authority or guidelines. They would poison their peers, while playing 'sheepy' with their Shepherds & the adults. They lied regularly & made up horrible stories which they told the OCs. They were abusive with the younger teens, using violence & bullying them. They had no fear of the Lord. I honestly never thought such a state was possible in the Family. It was like living with real terrors, as they were stealing, cursing, fighting, & disobeying every possible Family rule." (End of excerpts from the Shepherdess' report.)

23. Everyone has some problems & weaknesses. In fact, most people even have some serious problems every once in a while. So just because you have problems & weaknesses‚ or just because you may have been rebellious for a while or you may have fallen in with the wrong crowd doesn't mean you're a rotten apple. The fact that you have battles & tests & trials & you feel weak does not mean you're a rotten apple. Even if you've recently gone through or are going through a real rough time, that still doesn't mean you're a rotten apple. We & the Lord are not looking for perfection! The Family is full of imperfect people, which is what causes us to call out to the Lord & depend on Him! But the key is, are you willing to take a stand against your problems, & will you try, by His grace, to do better, with the Lord's & others' help? Are you trying to improve & obey & do what's right, in spite of your weaknesses? Do you have a desire to change & grow & be a blessing?

24. Often rotten apples have very long-standing problems, meaning they've had them for a very long time without making any progress, or sometimes without even trying or desiring to make progress. Their problems are also usually very disruptive, corruptive & damaging to others. If you have problems with ongoing weaknesses such as pride, independence, jealousy, negative thinking, or sensitivity, etc., these things are not nearly as bad as problems that hurt others—such as perpetual, chronic murmuring & complaining that infects others, being violent & hurting others, or sowing doubts, discord & division. Rotten apples are troublemakers who contaminate, hurt‚ hinder & lead others astray. Their problems are so overwhelming & affect others so much that their negative influence on the Home or the Work of the Lord outweighs their positive contribution. (For more on this subject, please read "Different Strokes for Different Folks‚" ML#2717, GN 484.)

25. We should be thankful when rotten apples leave! The pruning of unfruitful‚ dead & decaying branches from our Family tree will only strengthen it! And getting rid of the half–hearted‚ selfish, unyielded, rebellious ones is the only way it will ever be possible for you who want to be 110% with us to have more freedom! As long as you have the law-breakers in your midst, it's the law you must have!—Otherwise you'll have chaos, as has been the case in Europe! You have witnessed firsthand that trying to have "freedom" without being governed by love & the Lord's Spirit opened the door to perversions, contamination & corruption that the Lord had previously kept our Homes clean & free from for years!

Josiah's Report on Another European Combo!

26. The most alarming example of the serious state of affairs in Europe is the case of a Combo in the southern part of Western Europe. A bit of background is that after the seminars were held at the BTC‚ dear G. went to this Combo, where he held various similar open–forum discussions with the teens, to hear them out concerning their questions, ideas, hopes, dreams, etc.

27. Below are excerpts of reports we received from Josiah‚ after his visit to this Combo several months later.

28. Josiah reports: "It seems that shortly after G.'s visit (before the three-day 1993 Birthday Fast) the teens in this Combo went virtually berserk, putting pressure on the adults to let them have all the freedoms they wanted.

29. "It seems that right after they had a pow-wow on the dress code, the standard & situation in the Home really went downhill. Anything & everything went. A real sweet YA girl who is on the Home Teamwork told me, 'I had never seen anything like this in my whole life! There was no standard anymore, everybody did their own thing, & anything went! The strangest & most bizarre outfits & behaviour was what was 'in.' All the teens started to stay up all night listening to hard rock & punk music on the radio with headphones, & System music was playing all over the house at all hours.' (End of comments from YA Teamworker.)

30. "Basically the same thing happened at this Combo as had happened at the BTC, in that some teens were already rotten when those pow-wows with G. took place, & those rotten apples took the lead, & by & by they led everyone astray. The solid‚ loyal‚ good teens were labelled 'self-righteous' & pushed down & corrected by the other teens. From that point on, things just got worse, & for a period of two or three months the teens virtually all did their own thing. Now they call this period 'The Dark Ages' here.

31. "Now the Home reports that this situation has not only affected the teens & JETTs‚ but sad to say, it has already filtered down to the younger childcare groups‚ & they are now experiencing serious problems with the OCs, MCs & even the YCs!

32. "Finally‚ one day after three months of this, one of the NASs put her foot down, & had a meeting with the whole Home & said‚ 'Enough is enough! We are going to live the standard or else we are not going to have a Home! And anybody who doesn't agree with this can leave!’ Six of the troublemakers decided to leave. They were sent to be with their parents in different Homes until it could be worked out where they would go, so the damage from their evil influence spread like wildfire.

33. "Then these six problem-case teens decided they wanted to stay‚ but they were unchanged. They apparently said that they wanted to abide by the standard of the Word & follow the Family rules, but they still had the same attitude.—They didn't respect the adults, they didn't want the adults to tell them anything, they didn't want to be supervised by the adults, they wanted to 'be trusted' & still do their own thing. The nucleus of rotten teens was in the Combo, but the Shepherds tried to break it up by sending those rotten apples to other Homes in the country; & the end result was that their corrupt influence spread to the whole area." (End of excerpts of Josiah's reports.)

Shocking & Heartbreaking News!

34. Hearing reports like the above, about the terrible state of affairs in this city & other places in Europe, learning what horrible conditions things have deteriorated to & the deplorable conduct that many of you teens have fallen into, has both shocked me & very much saddened me.

35. When many of our Family young people & adults are literally fighting for their very survival in Argentine jails & institutions right now, & the whole Family is rallying around them & fighting with them in spirit during this crisis period, to hear that you teens are actually fighting against the Family, & you adults have completely abdicated your responsibilities of shepherding‚ is extremely disappointing & very sad for me‚ to say the least. To hear that instead of helping to build & strengthen the Family & fight for its survival, you have actually been fighting against it & tearing it down & destroying it through your disobedience, backsliding & selfishness has been very difficult for me.

36. As you know, Grandpa is always very affected when our dear Family Members are undergoing persecution. Hearing of their suffering breaks his heart, & he weeps for them & earnestly, desperately prays for them night & day. Although he knows that the Lord has promised to be with our suffering brethren‚ & that persecution is something that He is allowing them to experience, at the same time he really feels their sufferings‚ & it's terribly hard for him to see them have to go through such mistreatment at the hands of vicious, cruel‚ demonic enemies. One of the main things that helps him to bear it is that he knows that they're standing strong‚ he knows they're staying true to Jesus & His Word‚ they're not denying the Lord. He knows they're fighting for the Lord's Cause in the face of great opposition, & that they're staying true to the Family in spite of everything.

37. But how do you suppose he would feel if he were to learn how many of you teens in Europe, as well as you adults, had chosen to virtually turn your backs on the Lord & His Word at this crucial time? Now, when a good number of our Family Members—teens & adults—are unitedly fighting for their lives, enduring real persecution, imprisonment & cruel treatment from their captors & enemies, you all are making a mockery of the Truth & are rejecting the Word & plunging into the same kind of anti-God rebellion & folly as the lost teens in the World who have never even heard the Good News about Jesus & God's Truth & Love!—Walking "according to the course of this World, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience."—Eph.2:2. And for you adults to just wash your hands of the teens, what do you think Dad would think about that?

38. How do you YAs & teens think Grandpa would react if he were told that you, the young people whom he has loved from the very beginning & has prophesied about & prayed for & written to & poured into, were spurning everything he has ever told you & were acting like a bunch of absolute pagans who have gone absolutely wild? How would he feel to learn that you have thrown out the door every bit of training & teaching & Word from the Lord that he has given you?

39. Well I, who know him so well, can tell you exactly how he would feel. I can guarantee you that he would be absolutely heartbroken, grieved beyond measure & discouraged beyond words.

40. I think that if he were to hear these recent horrible details of what has been going on in Europe, it would almost kill him. It would literally break his heart to hear about you teens & YAs virtually spitting in the face of the Family. I think he would be equally grieved to learn that you have abandoned all order & all Godly standards‚ that you've rejected all the Word that you have had since your birth, that you've cast aside the Word of God in order to go your own way & do your own thing.

41. "Oh, foolish children, who hath bewitched you?"—Gal.3:1. I love Grandpa too much to see him hurt so deeply, which is why after earnestly praying about it, I just cannot bring myself to give him the different reports of your waywardness & backslidings & ungodly rebellion. For this reason he has not received all of these latest shocking & disheartening reports detailing your misdeeds.

It's Not Too Late to Turn Around!

42. So if you still have a heart for your father in the Lord, if you have any concern or love for the prophet God has given you, there is still time for you to make amends, & to try to make him proud of you. It's not too late to turn around & repent & change your ways & yield to Jesus, & thus become the strong soldiers that Grandpa & I expect you to be, & know you can be.

43. Many of your peers throughout the Family worldwide have found wonderful joy & fulfilment & peace & purpose in committing themselves to the Lord & giving their hearts & lives to living for Jesus & the Family. They are truly fulfilling the Heavenly vision that God has for them, & are a great joy to our hearts. "We have no greater joy than to hear that our children walk in Truth!"—3Jn.4. "A wise son maketh a glad father, but a foolish (disobedient) son is the heaviness of his mother."—Pro.10:1.

44. Of course, it's going to take a lot of work to get back on where you ought to be. As with climbing any mountain, it's going to be tough. But haven't you had enough of leading a life in rebellion against the Lord & His ways? Hasn't that been tough also? Haven't you found that God's Word is true, that "the way of the transgressor is hard"?—Pro.13:15. Aren't you ready for a change? Many of you have now lived like the System does for long enough; in fact, a lot of you have been living even worse than a lot of the Systemites do. So aren't you ready now to come back to the Father's House?

45. For those who are sincerely seeking the Truth & want a new start, read on. It's not possible for me to address every single problem that has been so rampant in Europe‚ but I do want to talk specifically about some of the most important points.

The Curse of Excessive System Music!

46. Grandpa has explained many times that music is very powerful, & it can have either a positive or negative effect on us. Music is a vehicle for the spirits who inspired the composers to convey their message to generations afterwards. Knowing this, we can all agree that listening to the wrong music is like playing with fire; & I think you‚ our dear European young people, have been singed or even badly burned by the music you've been listening to.

47. Think about it: Yours is the only area in the World where System music has gained such an inroad, where teens have listened to so much System music unchecked on headphones‚ & even aloud throughout your Homes, & developed almost an insatiable hunger & desire for it. Teens in other areas have also wanted more variety in their musical diet‚ & have listened to some System music. But Europe is the only area in the World where System music has become such an issue that in an attempt to find acceptable music for you, councils or subcommittees have been established to listen to tape after tape. But you've gone way past the guidelines that these councils set up & have insisted on listening to practically anything & everything, so that you may have developed some kind of addiction to it or fascination for it!

48. And the result? Europe is the only place that has been having a large number of teens who are backsliding & having such extreme battles & feeling so uninspired & unchallenged. This is not happening in any other continent of the World.

49. It's obvious that something has crept in that's perverting your spirits, destroying your faith, making you feel confused‚ getting you down & causing many to backslide!—And in all honesty‚ you can't ignore that System music may be that factor! The music you've been listening to is undermining the very foundation of your faith. The Enemy's plan has succeeded in many ways, sad to say‚ & he plays for keeps. His goal is to snatch away the Lord's children from lives of fruitful & happy service, to make them slaves of the very thing that they were once trying to rescue others from. What a sad fate! "I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."—2Cor. 11:3.

50. In addition to snatching some from the high calling which the Lord has ordained for you by actually causing some teens to leave the Family, I believe the System music & other outside influences that have been allowed have also resulted in other bad fruit, such as foul language & swearing; being sarcastic‚ unloving, unaffectionate & distant from each other; being argumentative & rough & even violent in some cases.

51. No one needs to tell you teens that these things are not a part of our Family life. They weren't a part of your early years in the Family. It's up to you to carry our sweet, loving, affectionate, caring Family life on to your little brothers & sisters, as well as to your own families that many of you will undoubtedly soon be beginning.

52. Listening to System music, ungodly rock music by ungodly artists is death to your spirit! You can't just say, "I can take it," because you can't! Even though you may not realise it or even believe it, that music will take a toll on you! Like Grandpa has said, when you're open to the good spiritual world, you can be equally as open to the bad‚ if you get on the wrong track. And because you‚ our young people‚ are so spiritual & have been open to the Lord's channels all your lives, it may be that even this little "touch" of System music you have heard has had a far greater effect on you than it would have had on some flatlander Systemite kids.

53. Your minds are like sponges or tape recorders‚ & things really stick. Something you hear doesn't have to make much sense or have much meaning, but it can sure take hold & be repeated over & over & over countless times. And once it gets stuck in your head‚ it's hard to get rid of it. Hasn't it ever happened to you that you've heard a song & then the melody & words just kept running through your mind over & over? And then months or even years later, when you thought you'd long forgotten that song, suddenly it pops back into your mind.

54. You need to be careful about what you're feeding your spirit, because with time, you'll begin to feed off the System music & even try to get your inspiration from it; & eventually you won't be able to understand why you're so confused & feel so lost, why you can't find happiness or freedom or the Truth.

A Boxing Match with the Enemy!

55. Some teens have said that what they do now when they're going through trials is listen to System music—because‚ they say, it expresses what they're feeling or going through. But these teens aren't discerning enough to realise that in the same breath that they confess that they're turning to System music for solace‚ inspiration & feeding, they also admit that they feel discouraged & spiritually dead! As one teen said, "Lately I have been listening to a lot of System music. My Shepherds have said that it is draining, & I am sure it is, but the songs that I listen to seem to say just what I am going through & it helps me somehow.—Right now I am just so confused, I don't know what to do." It doesn't seem like that music is helping her very much, does it!

56. Or as another teen put it, "I feel like every bit of faith in me has been ripped out of me, & as much as I want it back, I just can't seem to find it!" So let me ask you something: Who or what do you think is ripping that faith out of you? Sure you'd probably like to blame it on your parents or your Shepherds or the negative peer pressure or some bad experiences you've had—but actually, it's the Enemy who is stealing away your faith, through those very words you listen to for "comfort" or "inspiration." The Devil, through that System music‚ is destroying your faith! As Grandpa has taught us, "Words are real things! They bless or they curse; they lift up or they knock down; they save or they damn! There's no in-between!" (ML#33:13, DB4)

57. You could compare it to being in a battle—like a boxing match. Your opponent is really beating up on you & hurting you.—He's kicking you in the stomach, & jabbing you in the ribs, & punching you in the face. But somehow, all this danger & the threat is so camouflaged under the cover of "variety" & "a great beat" & "a good message" that you actually begin to think it's inspiring! You don't even realise you're taking a beating, until he's finally weakened you so much that he clobbers you with the KO punch—that knock-out punch—& all of a sudden you're out of the fight!

58. If you have developed some kind of evil fascination for the System music you've been listening to, you can be cleansed of it!—And you need to be cleansed of it, because it makes God sad, Who loves you so much & cares about you, to see that you're caught in this grip of a fascination for this evil music, because you have yielded to it, knowing that it was wrong. Or maybe you didn't have conviction yourself that it was wrong, but in many cases you at least knew that your adult Shepherds disapproved of it. But for whatever reason you may have gained an interest in it & even a fascination for it, this doesn't mean that there's no hope for you & that you don't love the Lord. But it does mean you don't love Him enough & you need to be delivered of this! (Please be sure to read the teens' reactions to System music in coming Hope Mags!)

No System Music for Six Months for Europe!

59. I recently tried to clarify the System music issue in Europe by saying in the PER that I hoped the teens weren't listening to hard rock music. And from what I understand, the interpretation of my comment now depends on what each individual considers to be "hard rock." Also, people have taken this comment from me to mean that anything other than "hard rock" is okay. So what has happened is that now the Shepherds feel their hands are tied because of this "Mama quote" that you teens are using to justify your choice of music. Oh dear!

60. This is quite a dilemma, & I hate to say it, but it looks like we'll have to ban all System music in Europe completely! You have taken this liberty so far to the extreme & misused it & abused it so much that it seems the only way we'll be able to rid the camp of the Devil's pollution through that evil music is to ban all System music, period. After we have closed the door to System music completely for a while, then maybe we can try opening it a little later, after you've had a time of abstinence & cleansing.

61. I hate to have to go that far. I'd prefer to not have to lay down some strict rules & try to legislate righteousness. I'd prefer that you give up your System music tapes voluntarily‚ but often when people are addicted to some vice‚ they need help to kick the habit!

62. Speaking of voluntarily getting rid of System tapes‚ I've recently heard from D. that some of the teens in one of the Combos destroyed their System music tapes of their own free will when they made a decision to really take a stand for the Lord. So some of you have already decided to forsake your System music! God bless you, teens! I'm proud of you‚ & admire your guts & determination to take a stand against this evil influence in your lives!

63. And as for you adults, if what the teens consider to be a "double standard" is causing a lot of trials for them, if they are bothered by the fact that you have the freedom to listen to your choice of System music, whether it be classical‚ country & western, easy listening or whatever, but they don't, then I'd say your System music tapes should go too! If it's causing the teens a lot of trials‚ then why do you insist on continuing to listen to your choice of System music? (1Cor.8:13) Is it that big a deal to you? In your selfishness‚ is demanding to continue listening to your System music more important than the lives of your young people? An inordinate desire for too much System music has a bad effect on anyone, I don't care what kind of music it is, nor who is doing the listening!

64. Getting rid of your System music will be good for all of you—adults & teens! I know it's a forsake all, especially if you've grown accustomed to listening to a lot of System music, having lots of variety, & it's become your little "hobby" or your crutch or your source of inspiration or relaxation. But if you really are serious about turning your life around for the Lord & turning your Home around, then getting rid of your System music would be a good start.

65. After all, teens, true Christian teenagers through the ages have given up much more than a few System music tapes. They've volunteered to go as missionaries to dark, heathen countries where there was no possibility of fellowship with others their own age, or of finding a husband or wife & having sex & children. Oftentimes they were alone on some far-flung mission field & surrounded by people who didn't even speak their language! Priests & nuns have gone into cloistered monasteries or convents knowing that they were forsaking all, not only all their worldly possessions‚ but also all the luxuries or "goodies" of the System, as well as any possibility of ever experiencing the thrill of falling in love & having a family.

66. If you want to talk about sacrifice, most dedicated Christian missionaries through the years have had to sacrifice much more than you Family teens have ever dreamed of. I know you have battles, but please try to put these battles in perspective & realise that all true Christians have to make many sacrifices for the sake of their Father in Heaven & His Kingdom to come, where we will be incredibly repaid for all we have had to give up for this very short moment in time.

67. Can you keep your eyes on the Heavenly goal & try not to let the desire for these little worldly things move you? We want to give you more music & we have been trying to get it to you, but the persecutions of the past couple of years have taken overwhelming priority in our work, & we've had to battle for the lives of our adults & children above working on music to please you teens. We've all had to sacrifice in some areas & put some projects on the back burner, even very needed projects, just because it's been humanly impossible to do everything. Sorry, but that's life!—And when you're fighting a war you just can't take care of all the things you used to be able to take care of during peacetime, sorry to say!

68. I have been burdened lately that you teens seem to be of the mind that constant music is your inalienable right, & if we don't give you what you want, you're going to get it somehow, by hook or by crook. It almost seems like you're trying to put us over a barrel & practically blackmail us, saying, "If you don't give us the music we want we're going to backslide, or we're going to listen to System music whether you like it or not.—And it's going to be your fault!" You may not actually be saying this in so many words, but at least in spirit that seems to be what your attitude is. You seem to have dug your heels in & determined that you're going to make your desire for more music a major issue, to the point that you feel justified in demanding what you want & complaining or being discontent if you don't get what you feel is your due. But the Word doesn't say, "having food & clothing & music therewith be content"!

69. A very large percentage of you teens seem to be very thoroughly indoctrinated by the Enemy with the idea that you must have music or you can't survive. But this is simply not true! And I don't like surrendering to blackmail! But most of all I don't like you having this wrong attitude that you don't even see is wrong.

70. It's true that good music is an asset‚ it is good for you, it does inspire you, it does help you. But it isn't an absolute necessity. And if we don't have it, we don't have it. Thank the Lord, it looks like we're now getting closer to the goal of giving you teens more Family music. However, it may never be as much as you would like or as "groovy" as you would like‚ but maybe this is a small sacrifice that you may have to make for the privilege of being a dedicated Christian & a strong soldier in God's Endtime Army. And in the meantime, while you wait for more music‚ the Lord expects you to continue to serve Him & be content & trust Him to supply your needs.

71. Okay, back to the subject of a six-month ban on System music in Europe. Adults, there is no need to have classical music going on in the background all day while you work. Teens, there is no need to have System music blasting from your Walkman when you're working alongside someone that you could be talking with or fellowshipping with or reviewing verses with. If you want to listen to Family music while you work‚ that's fine. But System music in our European Homes is out for six months, & after that time it should be strictly limited! Sorry!

72. After you've done without System music for six months, then you teens & adults can discuss the subject & decide on some concrete united guidelines as to when—& I mean the rare opportunities—that you feel you could listen to System music, & specifically what kind of music. Those opportunities might include such times as dances & dates.

73. We do still need to come up with more guidelines for System music listening for our whole worldwide Family, which we will try to do as soon as possible. But in the meantime, something drastic has to be done to stop the Enemy from sucking the very life out of our European Family through System music!

74. You do not have to destroy your System music tapes by tossing them into a bonfire or trashing them. Tapes are an expense‚ so the ones you need to get rid of, you can erase. Then you can reuse those blank tapes to record good music. Other tapes which you feel may be acceptable can simply be stored until after the six–month System music fast is over‚ at which time they can be reviewed. You may listen to old Family tapes during the System music fast. While we consider our present-day music to be overall a lot more edifying than much of our old music, we won't forbid your listening to old Family music if you so desire. However‚ please be sure to read the upcoming Hope Mags on the subject of music for more important counsel on older Family music & how to choose an edifying music diet. (The six-month System music fast for Europe will end on April 30th, 1994.)

75. Even though Europe is the only area that will be having an official six-month System music fast, I pray that you adults & teens in other areas of the World will also take this warning about System music to heart. Other areas have reported that they're having problems with System music to varying degrees. For example, we've heard that some young people in other areas are also listening to hard rock music on the radio with headphones or using hard rock music for dance nights. Some adults in other areas have also manifested an inordinate desire to listen to System music, such as classical music. So I hope the lessons that the European Family is learning will serve as a strong warning to all of you in other parts of the World about the dangers of excessive listening to System music & that all you young people & adults will take heed. If you are listening to hard rock music or too much System music, I pray you'll forsake it of your own accord, without our having to require it. Even though we aren't calling for an official System music fast worldwide, we would expect that you would voluntarily erase any unrecommended System music tapes such as hard rock music, or any music, for that matter, that is bearing bad fruit in your lives.

76. We're very sorry, dear teens & YAs, that we have not yet been able to get out all the tapes we promised you. As previously mentioned, the worldwide persecutions we've experienced this last year have caused much of our work to pretty much grind to a halt, so we could concentrate on responding to these emergency situations. We also apologise for not getting the song-writing tips to you yet. But in the meantime, we're sure the Lord will be giving you beautiful new songs, after your hearts are cleansed & right with Him. Please keep these different music projects in your prayers. Thanks!

More Variety in Music!

77. Of course, I understand that you teens desire variety in music. It's how you satisfy that desire that makes all the difference in the world! Please consider the following comments from G.:

78. "When I first joined the Family, we had lots of variety in music, & people were getting new songs all the time! In fact, for years in the beginning you could hardly keep up with the new songs‚ as the musicians were getting songs constantly. Usually they were very inspired too‚ & you always looked forward to inspiration when you'd hear or learn a new song. Also, we used music much more in our personal witnessing, so even lots of not–so-talented people were getting songs too‚ witnessing–type songs, so there was variety galore!

79. "So maybe this is a point to consider. Maybe the teens & YAs can write their own songs, really ask the Lord to give them new songs to help fill their desire for variety in music. When I was younger, music was much more important to me, & that need or desire was filled by the Family music, lots of live singing almost daily. So I think the teens' interest & desire in music is natural, & maybe we need to do more on a Home level to meet that need. The 'Sneak Previews' & other new Tapes are a blessing & just what they need, but maybe we need to encourage more live inspirations & singing in our Homes too." (End of comments from G.)

80. Some of you teens might pooh-pooh this idea of writing your own witnessing songs because you're so into the idea of musical perfection & an enormous amount of back–up music, etc. But I think you'll be surprised to learn that it's not the mathematical perfection or the huge sound of the music or the super guitar riffs that will turn you on, but the Spirit!

Swearing & Foul Language!

81. I'm disappointed to hear about the dreadful language you teens have gotten in the habit of using. It's very sad to think that young people in our Family would be in the habit of swearing & using profanity! I wonder what your little brothers & sisters think? Do you hear our adults speaking like that? I would certainly think not! And if not, then where do you get that kind of language?

82. I believe this drastic change in your language is also partly a result of System music, as judging from all I've heard about modern rock music, it's full of atrocious language, lots of swearing of the worst kind! Believe me, if you listen to that kind of input enough‚ either through System music or movies or whatever, then it's only natural that those words will come to your mind. And pretty soon they'll come out your mouth!

83. Such language is certainly not becoming of young ladies or gentlemen, but then maybe it surprises you to hear that we expect our young people to behave like ladies & gentlemen. Good manners, courtesy, kind words, loving & considerate language are all part of showing love, & part of our sample of the Lord's Love. If I were you, girls, I'd tell those guys‚ your teen friends, that you don't want to hear their foul language & swearing, that it turns you off, it's gross & disgusting, it's disrespectful, it makes you feel cheap. And as for your own language, girls, well, let me say that Grandpa would be very disappointed to hear our beautiful girls "talking dirty" & using swear words. It's against our principles & it greatly takes away from your beauty & femininity, bringing you down to the level of the ungodly worldlings—but at least they don't know any better.

84. Granted, once in a while you might hear someone use a "cuss word" when saying something like, "Lord, damn these wicked enemies who are causing us so much trouble!" But that use of the word "damn" is very different from the type of swearing that is common to the people of the World. Maybe there would be rare occasions where you might use a swear word for shock value or to make a point or to become one to be able to relate to & win others, like Grandpa did with the hippies. But swearing & using the System's foul language in your casual conversations around our Heavenly Homes is a different thing entirely!

85. Teens & YAs in other parts of the World have had some problems with swearing. There have been other cases where it's come up & where the young people have been corrected for their bad language, but it has not been so widespread or so blatant or so extreme. I want to assure you teens & YAs that swearing is not the new "in thing" for our young people. In fact, you should be turned off by such vulgarity, & ashamed of that kind of sample, knowing that such language is not what the Family is all about! So clean it up! From now on, that foul language is out!

86. If you've gotten in the habit of swearing, it might take a little while to break that habit. You may accidentally slip now & then, & when that happens I don't want you to feel under condemnation or like you're such a terrible, crude, awful person. There's a big difference between purposely, deliberately swearing, & unintentionally saying something you didn't really mean to say. If you sincerely pray & ask the Lord to help you, & you put forth a conscious effort to change, He'll come through for you & eventually you'll be able to break those old bad speech habits. But in the meantime, if you blow it every now & then & say something you shouldn't, because you accidentally slipped back into this bad habit, please don't feel condemned. Just keep fighting! You teens & YAs will need to try to help & support each other in your campaign to purge this bad language from your conversations. PTL!

Finding the Balance in Dress & Styles!

87. Are you young people still with me? I'm sorry to burden you with such a long talk on such a heavy subject, but I hope you don't mind if we cover a few more points. There are a couple of other topics to talk about & get straightened out, so please try not to get weary in well doing. Try to keep concentrating & not daydreaming, so we can work out these problems together‚ okay? Praise the Lord!

88. Some of the freedoms you teens have experimented with might seem pretty harmless, like trying more freedom in your dress & hairstyles. I recently explained how I feel about these things in my Letter, "Jewels about Teens." (See ML #2864‚ GN 559.) If the styles you choose to wear don't bear bad fruit & don't carry with them the spirit of the World or coolness or independence, then they're probably okay. And if your motives are right, then the desire to dress a little different or have hair that's a little different is fine.

89. But it takes maturity & a responsible attitude to take such freedoms in the right way & not abuse them‚ nor let the spirit of them use & control you, so that they get out of hand. We're all in this together‚ & what one person decides to do even about something as seemingly simple as their dress or hair affects everyone. Of course I don't think any of you have been walking around with green–striped mohawks or anything like that‚ but we have heard that some styles you've worn & the spirits that have accompanied them have caused some of the adults to have pretty big trials & questions‚ especially since they felt you were not at all open to discuss this subject or counsel about it together. The adults felt they couldn't say anything to you, even though they felt something was not right in the spirit about some of the styles you have chosen to wear.

90. I realise that your intentions may have been to "become one" with those you are witnessing to, as I understand that the European youth on the whole are pretty casual & independent in their appearance. However, perhaps we also need to realise that the European spirit on the whole is going in the wrong direction, along with most other parts of the World. It's going downhill pretty fast, & in some places has pretty much hit bottom. And our conformity to it, even for the purpose of reaching the sheep, has to be with discernment about the bad spirits & rebellious attitudes that are involved in the modern styles, & how the Enemy's using them.

91. If you've been into extreme styles, then you'll probably need to change your tastes & find a more acceptable way to dress that is still relatable to the kids on the streets. Some discernment & prayerfulness & openness to counsel is a prerequisite to being able to have the freedom to dress a little freer or wear your hair a little differently, if you want to be able to relate to others, without making the mistake of going too far to where it becomes an avenue for rebellion, independence & worldliness.

How to Relate to Backsliders!

92. I know it hasn't been easy on you to have your brothers & sisters & friends leave the Family, & it's easy to want to sympathise with them. But you must ask the Lord to strengthen your loyalties to the Family, so you don't feel so much of the pull from those who have left. I know this is asking a lot & it's a hard saying. I'm not expecting you to just quit loving them or caring for them. The Lord says He's married to the backslider (Jer.3:14), so we know He never stops loving them. But it's important for you to realise that some of these backsliders are already actively working against the Family. Some have already gotten in cahoots with our enemies.

93. Of course‚ you can have some contact with some of the backslidden teens & YAs with counsel, because we do want to make it possible for the sincere ones who got swept away by the evil tide to come back. But there should be no unauthorised contact with backslidden teens or YAs. While we want to give the sincere ones the opportunity to return, when someone has made it clear that they've made their choice & they do not want to have positive contact with the Family, then the Word admonishes us, for very good reasons, to have no further contact with them! "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them!"—Eph.5:11.

A Question about Materialism

94. Some people feel that the materialism of Europe is partly to blame for the problems the young people there have had. Another YA, who is now in the U.S. after having gone there from Europe, mentioned that the teens in Europe had told him that he would end up backsliding if he went to the U.S., since it was so materialistic there!

95. It is not necessarily your surroundings that cause the problems. Japan is probably the most materialistic place that people could be, & most of our teens there are doing fine! And as far as we know, most of our teens in the U.S. are also doing well. Of course, on our poorer mission fields the materialism factor is not such a problem, but judging from the performance of some of our teens, it doesn't have to be a problem in rich countries either. As long as you teens are turned on enough to serving the Lord & are dedicated to your cause, these things in the materialistic world don't have to move you.

Your Desire for Ministry Training

96. Many of you teens & YAs in Europe have commented that you desire more in-depth ministry training. You desire to be trained according to your gifts, talents & personal burdens—in such things as music‚ art‚ dancing, computer, etc. I agree in principle that our young people should, if possible, get the kind of training they would like. After all, when teens graduate from high school they often have some choice of what college they'll go to or what career they will pursue. Although we don't have to do everything like the System, & thank God we don't‚ it is true that if our teens & YAs are in a position where they are challenged & where they love their work‚ they are much more apt to be dedicated & happy & fulfilled.

97. We do need you young people to be skilled in various jobs, since of course in our ever-growing Work we don't have enough adults to do all that there is to do, & we need a new crop of trained people. We certainly need secretaries, childcare people, Shepherds, businessmen‚ trained witnessers, drivers, etc. But the question is‚ should we try to help you teens to be inspired about being trained in jobs where you're really needed in the Family? Or should we let you make the choices, even though your preferences may not be that practical, just because you have a burden to learn something like advanced art or darkroom or piano‚ etc., which, although we can use those talents & skills occasionally, they certainly aren't very much in demand. You may be able to spend some time on such specialised ministries, but it may not be possible or practical or fruitful to devote yourselves entirely to them.

98. So the question is, teens, do you think it's right for you to almost demand to be trained in a certain ministry or vocation of your choice, even threatening to leave the Family if you can't be? Or do you think you should try to be happy & content about learning the jobs & ministries that really need to be filled?

The HCS & Video Ministry Is Unique!

99. I understand that sometimes you teens look at those who are at the HCS & in the Video Ministry with envy, as you too want to get trained in video filming, editing, costuming, & "professional" dancing & singing, etc. I can understand these feelings & I think it's somewhat natural. But one thing to consider is that all Homes cannot be like the HCS. In fact, no other Home in the World is like the HCS, where there are so many people together & where so many different & rather specialised ministries are in operation. The HCS is a unique situation‚ set up with unusual ministries that aren't very common in our normal Homes around the World. Those ministries are necessary for the HCS, because of the specific job they have to do for the Lord & the Family of producing GP & DO Videos.

100. But just because those ministries are available in one specialised Home, that doesn't mean that you should feel like you're getting a "raw deal" if you don't have exactly the same opportunities in your Home. It would be nice if you could have all those opportunities for ministry training, but maybe the Lord doesn't allow it, because He knows we don't need that many cameramen or video technicians or "professional" singers & dancers, etc.

101. So while the HCS is filling an important role in the Family, the type of ministry training that is available & needed at the HCS is not the same as what is available & needed in all our Homes worldwide. And it's really not fair for you teens to negatively compare your Home to the HCS. If that's the standard you teens are seeking or expecting, you will likely be disappointed & discontent, because while you're looking off to some distant place where you think you could fulfil all your dreams, the Enemy will do all he can to steal your joy & blind your eyes to the blessings you have & the opportunities that are available to you in the Heavenly Home right where you are.

102. It's not possible, nor is it the Lord's Will for all our other Homes to engage in such expensive, elaborate, time-consuming ministries as those at the HCS. The main ministry of most of our Homes worldwide is to witness, win disciples, & train our children. And you don't need so many people together doing so many different ministries like at the HCS in order to win souls & be fruitful for Jesus! Nor do you need to have a fancy stage & costumes & lights & cameras & a big back-up band of live music in order to sing & dance for Jesus! You all can witness‚ sing & dance & be fruitful & happy if you'll set your hearts & minds on loving & serving the Lord right where you are!

103. Have you ever wondered why the grass always seem to be greener on the other side of the fence? One reason is because you are viewing it from a distance, & like viewing mountains from a distance‚ everything appears to be much closer together & more attainable than it really is. Standing in your own yard looking straight down at your own grass you see all the holes & brown spots‚ weeds & empty places. Comparing & being envious of what others have is a common human weakness that can blind you to all you have. Paul tells us he got the victory over this problem eventually‚ "For I have learned‚ in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."—Phil. 4:11. And he reminds us, "Let your conversation be without covetousness; & be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee‚ nor forsake thee."—Heb. 13:5.

104. So what is the secret to this victory? How can we be happy with what we have, when others seem to have much more and be better off? Jesus told a soldier once to "be content" with his wages. (See Luke 3:14.) Our life for Jesus has lots of hidden wages. So the first step to becoming happy with our "wages" as soldiers for Jesus is to stop & count the many blessings we do have. The next step is to invest what the Lord has given us wisely so it will increase into more blessings & talents. Don't stop to compare & say, "Hey, that guy got 10 talents & I only got five!" Get to work building on what you have.

105. Here's a fitting reaction that was recently sent in from Marcus concerning his Summer road trip in Amsterdam. He says: "One of the main lessons that I learned while on this road team is that a Home is what you make of it. I was always comparing my Home to other situations, & what I thought it would be like if I was in a different Home. But thank the Lord, through this time I have been able to realise that if you put your heart into everything you do, then wherever you are, it can be exciting & a challenge. This time really renewed my dedication to the Lord & the Family‚ & it made me see how much fun I can have in the Family in any situation that I am in, & to be thankful in whatever way the Lord uses me." (End of testimony from Marcus.)

Adults, Where Is the Ministry Training?!

106. Back to the subject of ministry training: I think the problem has been more that the adults in Europe just haven't trained you teens in anything, except kitchen work & other practical work & maybe witnessing, if that. And thus you've gone off into your own little world & decided on your own what you would like, & now you feel like you wouldn't be happy with anything else. But if you haven't even had a chance to be well-trained vocationally in anything, that could account for the problem. If you could first try to get challenged to get trained to do the jobs & ministries where you are really needed, of which there are many, then I think you could be happier.

107. However, adults, this will require some real work & some good in-depth training & not just putting them (the teens) into a slot & saying, "There, do the job‚" as has been the case so often. Dad gave a whole message not too long ago about the need for our teens in childcare. (See ML #2845, "Teaching the Children Dream," GN 545.) But where are our teens trained in-depth with actual courses & classes in all the how-to's of childcare?—Where they feel like they are getting actual vocational training & not just being stuck babysitting a bunch of rowdy kids? And where are they given classes on budgeting, scheduling, finances, provisioning, driving, answering the media, guitar playing & singing, handyman, secretarial work, running base, organising the kitchen & cooking, etc.?

108. But on the other hand, we can't put the entire responsibility for providing ministry training on the adults, teens. Sometimes they just don't have time. So in some cases, if you want ministry training you'll have to take the initiative yourselves & seek it out by studying the Word, doing research in the pubs, observing & asking questions of the talented adults you work with, etc. In some cases, ministry training will have to be a do-it-yourself program‚ & how much of it you get will depend on the initiative you teens take. Of course, even if the teens have lots of initiative & drive to educate themselves, you adults will have to allow them the time to do so.

109. I think every situation has to be judged individually‚ & my heart was broken for those kids who wrote Solomon & who talked to him about their desires for more ministry training. I don't blame them for saying what they did & wanting what they have asked for. I think they deserve it, considering the rough things they have been through & the bad sample they have been shown by you adults who obviously haven't passed on to them the enthusiasm & joy of winning souls‚ teaching & training new disciples & seeing them grow, & in turn winning other souls. It would be good to try to satisfy those teens' desires, if at all possible & practical.

110. There is a balance in all of this & we just have to find it. I think we do need to make use of the teens' individual talents & train them to some extent in the areas & ministries of their choice. But still, our main job is winning the World & saving our children, & these are the things the Lord is going to bless the most & reward us for the most.—Not in seeing how we can develop our talents in the area of choreography or computers or darkroom or dancing or music or video, etc. These specialised ministries are all well & good, teens, & we need some of this‚ but the things that are going to count the most are God's children‚ your little brothers & sisters, serving others, witnessing to others‚ winning others‚ seeing the lost & dying World & wanting to get out there & rescue it.

111. Maybe you teens can discuss & pray together with the adults in your Homes about your desires for ministry training. (Also, if you adults & teens haven't already done so, be sure to read the two FSMs on the subject of "Communication & Respect," FSMs 246 & 247. These FSMs contain some helpful counsel on challenging teens & giving them responsibility & training.)

112. Lord willing, you will soon be receiving the Family's vocational program. I hope it will help you discover that no matter where you are or what you are doing for the Lord, you do have some very "green grass" of learning opportunities growing all around you. In the distant pastures you will see that they have some training opportunities that may not be immediately available to you, but as you look through the whole program & all the courses listed‚ you will discover a lot of wonderful realities about your own training & present opportunities that you probably never realised.

113. This program will help you record & get credit for what you have already learned, plus it will help you see how you can earn the equivalent of a high school diploma & one or more vocational certificates right in your own Home, by recording what you are learning & following through on recommended reading suggestions. But if you haven't realised it yet, you could be missing all kinds of golden opportunities right in your own Home every day. I hope this new program will help you discover treasures old & new that you never realised you had, & help you learn how to increase your happiness & talents manyfold right where you are. PTL!

How Fruitful Has Your Witnessing Been?

114. I understand you teens have been frustrated & discouraged by some unsuccessful teen witnessing endeavours. Apparently there is a difference of opinion between the adults & the teens in some Homes concerning how to go about reaching the youth. In other cases you've been hampered in your efforts by a lack of finances, lack of shepherding, not knowing the local language, etc. Many of you feel the adults are old bottles who won't let you burn free.

115. Josiah shared some interesting observations about the fruitfulness of your witnessing in Western Europe. He commented: "Even though we have visited quite a few Homes in Europe, we haven't gotten nearly the testimonies that we got in Asia & Russia. The Homes we have visited in those other parts of the World all have very good outreach activities, & many friends & contacts that were well fed & well informed about our Work. However, these Homes that we have visited in the past few weeks in Western Europe are all much more preoccupied with inside problems, & we have noticed a definite reflection in their quality of outreach & overall fruitfulness. There is less fire, less Spirit, & therefore less fruit." (End of excerpt from Josiah.)

116. Obviously, your personal problems & the inside attacks of the Enemy have succeeded in getting you off the wall quite a bit in your witnessing & follow-up. That's too bad. But that's the goal of the Enemy, to get you looking at yourselves & your own problems, & fighting amongst yourselves, so you don't have the time or the burden to lift up your eyes & look upon the fields that are white already to harvest. Of course the Devil doesn't want you to be motivated to go out & rescue the poor people who are caught in his clutches. If he can distract you & get you so tripped off & embroiled in your own problems, that makes him happy, because he knows he's not going to lose anyone else because of your faithful witnessing.

Pride & Selfishness Hinder Witnessing!

117. You teens might be interested in the following comments from Solomon. He says: "Another major thing that has stood out to me concerning our teens here in Europe is pride with a capital P. I recently went to the Bosnian refugee camp where the Family has been helping out. These refugees have literally been through Hell. How anyone could be around these people & listen to their heartcries & not feel moved for them is beyond me! The national disciples here pour out so much & you can tell that they have a real love for these people. I can't even speak their language, but have learned to communicate with people just through love; & I have had some beautiful, spirit-filled, wonderful experiences with some of these people.—So the language barrier is really no excuse for not trying to reach someone.

118. "The Family got up to perform here, & two teen girls of ours were on stage, one of whom almost had her back to the audience the entire time. It got me really mad inside to see this girl up there so darn full of herself & pride. I wondered what in the world she was doing up on stage in the first place. Of course she stood out like a sore thumb. The sheep can sense who is genuine & who is not, & had these girls not been there, it would have been no loss to the presentation whatsoever. The one girl in particular was definitely a detriment. Also‚ after the show these girls didn't seem to want to be with the people. It was really sad!

119. "We stayed there all day, & then afterwards spent some time ministering to a group of families who served us dates & coffee in small leftover plastic ice-cream containers. They shared what little they had with us‚ while asking us some very deep, hungry questions about the Lord. Some of these people have been converted to Christianity & were really sold out on our Message & hanging on to us for hope. Their plights are incredible!—These people have seen their children & families & friends killed. One teen boy I met that day was crying because he has no idea where his parents or brothers & sisters are. Others were trying to find some meaning to all that they had been through. These people were really desperately seeking for the Lord's help. It was really pitiful!

120. "And to see our teens so into their own world made me want to get them in a situation where they have to see what people really go through. Some of our teens here have become so selfish that it's disgusting!

121. "A day later we were visiting the Family's ministry with the delinquents & the Gypsies in Hungary. The need in both places was so great, & again the language barrier was not too much of a problem. I had about five delinquents & one of the administrators real close & sort of 'in the palm of the Lord's hand,’ & that just with sign language & a lot of hugs & prayers.

122. "There were two of our teen girls there who were just not 'with it.’ The young YA national who was leading both meetings & pouring out like crazy at one point asked for one of the teen girls to help her hold up some flannelgraph pieces & the girls refused! Lord help me, I got so mad! Thank the Lord‚ one of the more yielded boys jumped in to help." (End of comments from Solomon.)

123. Now hearing these comments from Solomon makes me ask myself if the dissatisfaction some of you teens are feeling concerning your witnessing opportunities is partly due to your own lack of vision & love for the lost! If you show so little enthusiasm & such a lack of interest & willingness to participate wholeheartedly when you're involved with tremendous witnessing opportunities that should be thrilling & challenging & exciting for you, then it's very obvious that a large part of the problem & cause for your dissatisfaction in witnessing is you! The desire to witness & win souls must come from within your own hearts, & it should not be contingent on what you consider to be the perfect circumstances or being at the perfect place with the perfect Shepherds! Think about it.

The Desire for New-bottle Witnessing!

124. On the other hand, I realise that some of you teens may not have had the opportunity to participate in the kind of exciting, new-bottle witnessing adventures that you've desired, such as witnessing to the youth‚ going to the universities, having meaningful meetings‚ doing Holy Ghost Samples, reaching delinquents, ministering to refugees or the homeless, having a show group & performing, doing sackcloth vigils & public prayer vigils, contending for the faith at anti-cult conferences, etc. I understand that it can be frustrating & disappointing for you if you feel you haven't been freed from your Home duties to be able to witness as much as you would like, or if when you have gone out, you've been limited to only accompanying adults as a buddy for their witnessing burdens.

125. Adults, the teens & YAs need to burn free! Teens & YAs have a God-given desire to do new things, experience new adventures, go new places, see new people! They want to do something that's daring, adventurous & exciting.

126. Sara recently shared a very good example of how she motivated a rather discouraged bunch of teens through a new-bottle witnessing adventure. She reports: "In my last visit to one of the Homes, I promised the teens that we could try to go witnessing at a disco, as most of them had never even been to a disco.

127. "First I really challenged those teens, saying, 'Okay‚ if you want to go witnessing, let's go together to where the action is & let's turn the place upside down! But I'm not taking any deadhead out-of-it teens witnessing to the disco. If you're going to go, you need to be convinced you're there to turn all those other kids on to Jesus with your songs & dances & witness! You need to do your show right on the dance floor! We'll get permission beforehand, but it'd better be good, & you'd better be really on fire! No more 'splashes' with you guys if you aren't there to really change things!'

128. "They got all excited & were really definite with the Lord in prayer, committing it to Him & making their requests known. The Lord opened the doors & they were able to provision entry to the most high-class disco in this major city, where there were hundreds of kids. The teens got out on the dance floor & took over the place by doing their 'New Worlds to Discover' dance troupe show. Then they split up & witnessed to the teens there. They actually became the star performers & took the place over temporarily.

129. "I've seen that if our teens go in with the authority & power of the Spirit, having been wound up & challenged beforehand that they have something superior to show off to those System kids, they'll do it! But the key is to get'm hooked up to Jesus first.

130. "When it's time for a challenge or when the teens need a change, it's important for the adults to learn that these things can be done, if someone will just take up the torch & work it out & show them how!" (End of comments from Sara.)

131. It will encourage you teens to know that fruitful witnessing has taken place in some places in Western Europe as well. It's not just happening somewhere else. It's not like the other fields are the only places where the teens & YAs can rock out & have fun witnessing. Following is a wonderful testimony from Rachel (17), who was also part of the Amsterdam Summer witnessing team. She says:

132. "Being part of the Amsterdam team has been a life-changing experience for me. I'll never forget it! Before coming here, I wasn't sure if I wanted to remain in the Family. I had started to get really into myself & it was hard for me to give out to others. Then I came here, & originally it was to meet one of the teen boys to see if we wanted to get together or not. After I arrived, it was very clear that it wasn't the Lord's Will for us to be together. That was very hard for me to accept at first, & it was then that I decided I wanted to leave for sure. I just felt too weak to go on.

133. "I went out witnessing that day. In the state I was in, I wasn't strong enough to stand up against the flood of everything that hits you when out witnessing, especially in Amsterdam. Pretty soon, the more I talked to people, the more convinced I was that I wanted to leave the Family.

134. "But I took the next day off to read the Word. The day after that I wanted to stay home too, but one of the other teens suggested that I go out anyway. So I did, & I decided to just put my heart into it, & I had so much fun! We stopped to read the Word together, & after that I knew that the Family was the only place for me. It touched me so much that the teens here whom I barely knew were so concerned about me. I decided to put my all into whatever I was doing, & this was really the key for me.

135. "I couldn't help but see the contrast of our way of life & how much I have compared to all of the lost, lonely people in the World, especially here. There are guys every day on the street giving their lives for nothing. There's one guy who walks around with a blue head & collects money for making faces. There's a 'busker' who stands on the street playing his ukulele with no strings. On another corner there's a different guy posing motionless as a statue. The streets are also loaded with panhandlers & drug dealers, as soft drugs are legal here. Crude pornography just covers the streets.

136. "After seeing all this & what empty lives people live, it just broke my heart for them & made me realise how much I really have. I met people who'd just been robbed & lost everything, & they were so very thankful for what we were saying & readily received Jesus!

137. "It wasn't always easy & a lot of times it was a battle, because a lot of people are either very hard & have already sold their souls to the Devil, or else they're extremely self-satisfied & don't feel they need anything‚ which is yet another sign that we're living in the time of the End. But we found that if we just kept trying & didn't give up‚ we'd find someone who would make it all seem worthwhile.

138. "Sometimes I'd find myself getting familiar with & not touched or moved by all the testimonies I'd read in the pubs of how the Lord is changing people's lives‚ but being out there witnessing myself, I could see the power that we have in the Lord. This whole trip has helped me to forget my problems‚ which are so small compared to a lot of the things that these System kids have to go through." (End of testimony from Rachel.)

The Key: Fall in Love with Jesus!

139. I believe you JETTs, teens & YAs want to do your best for Jesus. I believe you want to be happy & victorious & fruitful‚ & that you're crying out for the direction & guidance & changes you need to bring you closer to the Lord. But you know what?—Having more liberties & enjoying more variety in music or activities, or moving from one place to another‚ or having more ministry training, or witnessing at discos or on the "strip" of some major city isn't necessarily going to be enough to bring the victories you need. The Word, prayer & falling in love with Jesus is really the only lasting answer.

140. No matter what other fancy programs we or your Shepherds put into effect, no matter how many freedoms you can experience, no matter how much change & variety & challenge you have‚ you are not going to make it unless you get turned on to Jesus & the power of the Word & the exciting life of prayer. It does exist, & you just need to discover it! Getting into the Word is hard work & takes time, but once you see how thrilling & challenging & how much fun it can be & the benefits of it, you will get addicted.

141. You may have a hard time getting fed from the Word for a while. Many of you have been away from the Word for a long time, so you'll have to really work to concentrate & bring your thoughts into captivity. Like one teen commented, "I know that the answer must be the Word, but I just don't know how to apply it. I've been living without it for a long time, so it's difficult to know where to start or how to go about it." It was reported that many have fallen into the habit of critiquing the Word instead of learning & growing from it. Remember, "the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life."—2Cor.3:6. Reading & studying the Word is not simply an exercise for your intellect. It's not just a search for knowledge or some kind of a mind trip where you analyse the message or critique the way it's written or presented.

142. Reading the Word & reflecting on it in prayer should be like having a personal conversation with someone you love. The Word is Jesus. He talks to you & loves you through the Word. If you look at the Word sceptically or critically or only from an intellectual point of view, you'll miss a lot of what the Lord wants to give you.

143. You don't have to constantly be reading the heavy meat of the Word. You might want to try reading on a variety of subjects. Variety is the spice of life! For example, you could read on interesting topics from the MOP & the Good Thots, & then you could read some Bible stories or Hopes or Teen Specials that you haven't read for a while. Reading "Growing in Love" or "Growing in Faith" is also a good way to get back into the Word. Another idea is to go to your Home Library or Bible & look up answers to questions you've been asked when out witnessing.

144. When you receive the Christian vocational program, you'll find that it has lots of good ideas for reading material that is not only very interesting, but which will also complement your vocational training. You might need a break for a little while from the NWO-type of reading lists. So why not take some time to just read on interesting, inspiring, uplifting topics? Dad's Endtime classes are thrilling! As you regain your appetite for the Word‚ it will become easier to read some heavier, more instructional Letters on subjects that you know you need.

145. If you find you're having a real hard time getting fed from the Word, you may have to let the adults help you, even spoon-feed you if need be, until you get over the hump & can start feeding yourselves. But the most important thing is to not give up. Even if you feel like you're not getting anywhere & the Word isn't making any sense & you're not getting fed, just keep reading! The Enemy will try to dissuade you & trip you off & discourage you & get you to give up on the Word by telling you that you can't understand it or it's not doing any good or you're not getting fed, but don't listen to him! Keep reading! Keep fighting! The understanding & inspiration will come with time!

The Word Will Keep Us Through Trying Times!

146. The Lord has emphasised over & over that in these perilous times we are going to have to have a strong working relationship with Him & the Word, & that is the only thing that will be able to pull us through. Think of our dear YAs, teens, JETTs & adults who are in institutions in Argentina right now. They've been held since September 1st! We've heard that they are turned on & shining like lights in the midst of darkness! (They are all free now, thank the Lord!—Since December 13th!)

147. Here are some excerpts from a letter we received from Claire, an adult who has been in jail in Argentina. She says: "Every one of you is closer & more dear to my heart than ever before. I love & appreciate all my dear loved ones more than ever. We are all fine, the Lord has been answering our prayers & keeping & protecting us day after day, & blessing us with peace & joy through all of this! TYJ!

148. "There were a few moments when it seemed like we were in Hell, especially at the beginning. When they took us to the courthouse, all of us, men & women‚ were attacked with fear, as it looked like the end of us! They held us 'incommunicado' without food, water, nothing‚ for one day. For a moment‚ it just seemed like too much, & I prayed desperately & cried out to the Lord. He told me to look up‚ & I looked up & saw a sign on the wall that said: 'Jesus saved me when my boat was sinking.' At that moment, a guard showed up (who had earlier been very hard & tough) & brought me some fruit & water & said‚ 'Don't cry. I'm a Christian, you've got to hold on & fight‚ & everything is going to turn out all right.' GBH! The Lord always has His Angels about us‚ to keep & protect us. TYJ!

149. "We don't cease to pray for all of you, & we imagine it must be quite a fight for those of you on the outside. Please know we're trusting in you & the Lord, & that we're remaining calm through all of this, knowing that Romans 8:28 is true, & that the Lord is able to free us, & if not, we'll continue to trust in Him until the end.

150. "The Lord has given me some very beautiful times with Him lately. We haven't had a Bible until yesterday. Nevertheless, we were encouraged by how much Word we had in our hearts‚ & the Lord spoke to us frequently through different Bible verses. The Word is more real than ever, & every verse is so fitting. Thank the Lord for all the Word that we've stored in our hearts throughout so many years." (End of excerpts of letter from Claire.)

151. Compared to the majority of people in the rest of the World, we are so blessed with a wealth of Word, fellowship, abundant supply of our every need, & bountiful comforts, pleasures & luxuries. The Lord has been so good to us. Not only do we have it a lot better than most people of the World, but we certainly are living a life of peace & plenty as compared to our dear brethren in bonds. God bless them!

Seeing the Romans 8:28!

152. I understand that it's hard to face the Lord when you know you've been unappreciative & ungrateful & murmuring & rebellious. When the conviction of the Holy Spirit is upon your heart & you feel like you've been so bad, you can hardly bear to turn to Jesus, as you're so embarrassed & humiliated. But as bad as things have been in Europe, & even though you teens probably feel pretty down & discouraged and almost without hope, one positive way to look at this is that at least you've tried all these things now and you know they're not going to bring happiness or satisfaction, so you don't have to go out of the Family to try them.

153. On this subject, Solomon commented: "I think the teens in Europe are discovering that all these activities & things that they thought would be so satisfying are really husks, & I believe that they are now hungry for something real. Maybe the fact that they have delved into some pretty bad things here could work in the Lord's favour in that they are pretty sick of their rebellion & do want some real guidance now.

154. "For example, one teen girl said in a letter to me, 'Listen, I just want to be happy, I mean really happy. I don't mean having all these physical freedoms, like being able to go out & have free time, or to be able to drink or have sex or listen to any music I want to, or any stupid things like that. Over the past year I've had enough music, enough free time, enough sex, & have drunk enough to know that these physical things & freedoms that I've had are not enough to make me happy. I need something more, & that's what I saw in you & YA Tim that amazed me. You looked free in both ways, the physical & the spiritual. That's what I call true happiness, & that's what I'm looking for.'

155. "I think these teens are fed up enough that they'll be open to the Truth & the realities of the Spirit. But it will have to be the real thing & not a counterfeit, shallow 'religion'." (End of comments from Solomon.)

Come Back to the Father's House!

156. How about it, teens? Are you ready to get back to the Truth & the realities of the Spirit? It will make you happier than you've ever been, if you'll just give Jesus & the Word a chance! Remember, God's way up is down, & if you're longing to be back in the Father's house‚ to sit again at His table, in loving fellowship with Him & with us, it doesn't matter how far away you've strayed, you can come back right now. You just have to determine that the "far country" & the "riotous living" of the System, which always leads straight to the muck & mire of the swine pit‚ is not what you want any more. And if you're sick of the filthy "husks" of the System, then we welcome you back; your place at the table is still here for you.

157. And please don't get too discouraged about the problems & mistakes of the past. The important thing is that the Lord is working in your lives & He's making of you better vessels, fit for the Master's use, if you'll just yield to Him.

158. One of the boys at one of the Combos told D. recently that one thing that made him really want to change was knowing that I am involved. He said that if I'd ask something‚ he'd do it, because he doesn't want to disappoint me. So I'm asking all you YAs & teens & JETTs to get on board for Jesus!—And I know you won't disappoint Grandpa & me!

159. Please give the Family another chance, by yielding & obeying & trying to do your part‚ while we, your Shepherds & parents, do our part. We can wipe the slate clean of all past sins, mistakes, problems & bad attitudes, & start over afresh! The Lord's Love & forgiveness will carry you through, & you can never be too bad for Him, as long as you repent, turn around & start doing what needs to be done to change. Jesus loves you & He'll never let you down, if you'll just turn to Him & trust Him. Praise the Lord! God bless you! I love you!

To Be Continued!