PART TWO – Pentecost to Israel (cont.)
Our time was coming to an end at Branion Drive. Fred and Joyce Meiers were returning to claim their house, so we had to find another place. The only problem was we had no money, or work to earn money, to afford a home. When they returned, they thought it irresponsible of me not to be working.
As members of the Alliance Church, they were also in disagreement with our walk in the Spirit, thinking it foolishness. I couldn’t blame them for their judgment according to appearance. The problem is the appearance seldom reveals the reality of things.
Meanwhile, Dave Loewen had made mention of two men who were pastoring a thriving, though controversial, independent Charismatic church in Saskatoon, called Mount Zion Christian Center, and suggested we get in touch with them, so we did. They in turn told us of a couple living in Prince Albert, Mickey and Lynn Patrick, suggesting we get in touch with them, so we did.
We invited Mickey and Lynn over one evening, and we had a time of sharing and singing. I recall Mickey, with his eyes closed, raising his fists into the air while we were praising the Lord, as though locked in a trap of pride and rebellion. I thought it not a good sign. Nevertheless, we decided to get together again.
Because they had a toddler, Rena, it was more convenient for them to meet in their home, which we did from then on. It soon became a daily evening routine. Thus began a rather intense relationship, discussing spiritual matters, praying, and singing songs. Mickey worked for SaskPower, while Lynn remained at home.
We wondered if something was not going to happen with the Patricks and us. Perhaps the Lord would begin a work in Prince Albert and a fellowship would form? We were all hoping for that – we had nobody to get together with, but as we enquired of the Lord, He spoke to me saying that Mickey and Lynn would not be with us for very long.
Marilyn’s brother, Les, and his girlfriend, Noreen Workman, came to visit us. As with many others, we talked to them about receiving the Spirit. We had at times previously spoken to them about it and about healing (they had ailments). They remained with the Southern Baptists when we left, though the Baptists opposed us and our spiritual revelation.
Some time after that visit, Marilyn’s mother informed us that Les and Noreen were quite offended with us for “trying to push something on them,” though it hadn’t seemed that way to us. I was surprised they should be resentful of our trying to share something so very good.
And why didn’t they say something to us? We never saw them again, but we would hear of them from Marilyn’s mother, and what we heard was that things didn’t go well for them.
The reader may notice that I occasionally mention the troubles that come on people who rejected or opposed us. Perhaps I do this from “sour grapes syndrome” (I hope not), but the fact remains that those who don’t obey the Lord, or receive Him in those who are His, inevitably suffer consequences. The Lord was clear on this principle:
“And whoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when you depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Truly I say to you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city” (Matthew 10:14-15 MKJV).
I report to you some of the consequences of which we were made aware and which we understood to be related to their general stance against us in the Lord. There will be many such instances, several quite tragic.
With time running out at Branion and nowhere available for us to move, we were praying, asking what we should do or where we should go. The Lord gave me a vision of a country home. While meeting with Mickey and Lynn one evening, Mickey invited one of his co-workers over. Though he wasn’t a believer, Dave Grier was quite fascinated with what was happening with us in the Lord. It was new to him and he continued to come to our meetings.
Just days before the end of February 1976, when we would soon be out on the street, it was mentioned that we needed a home. Dave immediately offered us his in the country, seeing he was transferring out of Prince Albert shortly and would need someone to take over his lease. He invited us to stay with him for the month or two he would still be there, at no charge. We considered the possibility, wondering if it was the Lord’s will.
Arriving at Dave’s place, I realized it was the house of my vision; we had already suspected it would be. The colonial furniture and the scenery out the picture window, with trees and shrubbery near the home and in the distance, were what I saw in the vision.
Who says there is no God?
The Lord had met our needs, keeping His promise at the last minute, which is often how He does things. Dave was impressed. He decided not to transfer with SaskPower but to remain where he was, with us.
Shortly after arriving at our new home, we prayed with Dave for repentance and receiving the Spirit, but we didn’t receive a witness that he had received. Nevertheless, based on his commitment and repentance, we immersed him in the Name of Jesus Christ at the nearby river.
In the physical, we got along. We appreciated company, it having grown sparse, Dave loved Marilyn’s cooking, and we were thankful to be living in a new home in the country. However, there was continual conflict between us in the spiritual.
Dave was found to be a man-pleaser, and he gravitated to Mickey and Lynn’s influence, as they spoke without correction or requirement. Holiness wasn’t on their agenda. Having been of the counterculture generation, they embraced more of a laid-back lifestyle, while we spoke of law and discipline, requiring that Dave change his ways (which is partially why there was conflict between us).
I was somewhat jealous or chagrined that Dave was disposed to favor Mickey and Lynn, but I thought it was understandable. We also saw that Dave was being tried to see if he loved the Lord.
We all have our idiosyncrasies and bad habits, I suppose. One of Dave’s was to sit in his easy chair in the living room and clip his toenails. I had no problem with that. What irritated me was that he would drop the clippings on the floor. They would hook into the kind of carpet we had and weren’t always easy to vacuum up. I asked him more than once to collect his clippings, and I believe that he finally did as asked.
I once prayed a presumptuous prayer. Oftentimes evangelicals would pray for cities or countries, “claiming them for God.” Praying with Marilyn, on our knees, I decided to ask God for Prince Albert. He said, “I have not only given you Prince Albert, but the whole world.”
I was aware that the same promise was given by God in a general sense to all believers. In speaking to the saints at Corinth, the apostle Paul said:
“Therefore let no one glory in men. For all things are yours, whether it is Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s” (1 Corinthians 3:21-23 MKJV).
Still, I seemed to have reason to believe those words applied to me especially and personally among Christians.
We were getting together with Mickey and Lynn every evening at their duplex in Prince Albert, driving 11 miles from Dave’s to town for months, not missing a night. We sang, prayed, and talked all those times until late each evening.
Mickey often prophesied, and some of the things I recall are: “I (the Lord) am doing a new thing.” (Many times he prophesied this.) He also prophesied many times that the Lord’s purposes were manifold. Several times, he said the Lord was going to break me, by making me sit. More than once, he said that we would be as a well-watered garden. He once cautioned me to beware of cynicism, that it was a trap of the enemy.
He often spoke of love, and how, while he and Lynn had the love, we had the truth. We were to learn from each other, this being one of the reasons why the Lord brought us together. Though I didn’t say much, having some respect for what Mickey had to say, I never could understand or agree that one could have love without truth or truth without love. If God is Love, Jesus is Truth, and Jesus is God, how could Love and Truth be separate? Of course, truth must be truth in spirit, as well as in doctrine, knowledge, or information.
Perhaps what Mickey meant was that while we were knowledgeable of the Scriptures and pondered doctrine, we didn’t manifest the emotional attribute called love.
One day, Mickey remarked (and Lynn agreed with him), on how much the Lord loved me. He could see that it was a special love. Mickey wasn’t trying to flatter me that we could tell. It seemed he was seeing something.
I don’t recall that they received anything from us, willingly or otherwise, but I realize that Mickey taught us to hear the Lord’s voice, and how to observe Him at work. Mickey was always very slow to speak, reserved and hesitant; he was more one to observe, while I was quick to speak and act, while observing little.
There was a quiet power struggle between us, quiet mostly because Mickey was not one to strive or differ. I found it rather to my strategic disadvantage to be meeting on their grounds, that is, in their home, but they were the ones with a toddler, so we accepted it.
I fancied myself as the head among us, while Mickey and Lynn saw him as the spiritual elder. After all, they had presumably received the Spirit at least two years before we had. Besides, they had sat at the feet of Bill Kellers and Dave Roberts, of whom they spoke with praise and reverence, citing alleged miracles and other works wrought by them. The Patricks often talked about Bill and Dave.
Frankly, neither Mickey nor I was in any position to lead anyone. Looking back, I know I certainly was no spiritual elder, though I was receiving revelations, visions, and dreams, and knew the Bible much better than did they. Making me feel even more superior, Mickey had long hair, smoked, and drank, while we didn’t. He also seemed to be quite worldly in many other ways.
For his part, Mickey saw me as a pastor and himself as a prophet. He said he would “bring them in” and I’d be “taking care of them.” I didn’t agree with the pastoral designation (not that I rejected the idea), but I didn’t know at the time what my calling was, though there were indications, as from Glen Bradford, who said God had called me as a critic.
Then I had a dream. In it, I saw a cartoon rabbit, running as would a human, like Bugs Bunny. He was frantic, panicky, and crazed, dashing down a beaten country road. God popped out of a cloud, revealing Himself to His waist, trying to hand the rabbit a sheet of paper with instructions or something as the rabbit sped by. There was a musical ditty with the scene, which went like this: “Rabbit, rabbit, running to do the will of God, not even knowing what the will of God is!”
Beside the road sat a turtle, quite still, and quite normal looking, watching what was happening.
I knew I was that rabbit. I related the dream to Mickey and Lynn soon after, and Mickey said, “I’m the turtle.”
Surely, the cartoon characters of the dream matched us very well. I was ever hasty, jumping to conclusions, working away, while Mickey would take forever to make a decision to say anything or take action. Drawing any kind of commitment out of him was like pulling teeth. I also saw that Mickey was perceptive, missing little. I often wished I could see things as he did, not from his perspective so much as simply being able to observe.
(For what it’s worth, in reviewing this dream in 2011, while preparing this section for publishing, I realized that while the rabbit and God were depicted as cartoon characters, the turtle looked realistic. What do I make of it? I don’t know.)
After posting this section, Eric Courtemanche, having red it, wrote:
When I finished reading the following particle, Page 11, The Rabbit and the Turtle, the following came to me whole. Whether from the Lord or not I don’t know.
The Lord was the turtle ever doing things at His pace, His way. You were the rabbit as you already know. The god in the clouds was Mickey who, even in his unbelief, the Lord was using to correct you.”
I believe Eric received a revelation from the Lord. Logically, of course, it doesn’t make sense, but in another way, it does, especially with the fact that the turtle was real, while God and the rabbit were depicted as cartoon characters. What Eric received had never occurred to me, and most likely it would only occur to him by revelation.
Why the two cartoon characters? They represented unreality. I was ignorant and unreal in my zeal for God, and Mickey was unreal in his perception and presumption of being a man of God. Yet, while we were both trying to be God in overt manner, God was there in reality (as Eric relates), hidden, discreetly governing all. He was using Mickey to deal with me.
And come to think of it, the one I thought was God looked a bit like Mickey, with the long bushy hair and beard and countenance. And indeed, it was God, only by Mickey, notwithstanding his unreality. God is in all, governing all. “And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:17 MKJV). Praise God for this revelation, which makes sense of it all, a revelation destined for Eric for this time nearly 36 years later.
In March of 1976, having been only days at Dave Grier’s, my wife and I were praying, while Dave was at work. I needed to go and relieve my bowels. The indoor plumbing was frozen, so I had to go outside in the cold. Stepping out the door, I had a few choices – a vacated barn, the bush, or an abandoned, dilapidated log cabin nearest at hand. I chose the shelter of the cabin and took some toilet paper, newspaper, and a box with me.
I had my bowel movement and looked around, not having been in the cabin previously. Apparently, children had used it for a playhouse, and others had deposited some trash in it. There were broken dishes, cups, Christmas wreaths, beer bottles, old magazines, and more.
When I was done, I was about to leave when the presence of the Lord suddenly came upon me. He began to speak to me and said, “I am hurting! I am hurting! My people are suffering!” I was surprised and shaken, and felt to my inner being the chill, shock, and pain the Lord was imparting of Himself to me.
Using objects in the cabin as symbols, the Lord then informed me of how His people were believing lies and false doctrines, practicing false religion, and keeping heathen customs, as though those things were good or legitimate or, at least, harmless.
He said, “I will show you My people through My eyes.”
“They are eating out of broken dishes and drinking out of broken glasses,” He continued, as He pointed to those objects.
He said, pointing to a Christmas wreath, “They keep traditions and customs, and celebrate in My Name that which I have not appointed or approved.”
Pointing to beer bottles and cartons, He said, “They are drunk on knowledge and false doctrines.”
He said, “Their power is broken and useless,” as He pointed to a broken power box hanging on the wall by a wire.
Pointing to a burned-out heater stove, He said, “Their stoves give no heat.”
He said, pointing to the cabin in general (all the while it was storming), “Cold wind and snow blow through their walls; snow falls through the holes in their roofs; their doors are broken down and askew on their hinges; and their houses have only earthen floors.”
As He spoke, He revealed to me that His people – though claiming His Name, right-standing with Him, and spiritual prosperity and health – were in darkness and ignorance, without knowledge, suffering and dying because of these things. He commanded me to come out of all religious systems, where His people and all others were perishing.
Finally, He said, “As you would leave behind your own dung, so leave behind all these things, which I have shown you” (speaking not of the cabin and trash, but of what they represented).
I returned to the house, and Marilyn immediately perceived that something had happened to me. I was pale, and in relating the incident to her, I was somewhat crying with the pain and emotion I experienced from the Lord when He spoke to me, only minutes before.
Three and a half years later, in September 1979, we would find ourselves in Revivim, Israel, speaking by revelation the Word of the Lord to one of His people – a young man, a Jewish believer, a chosen vessel to serve Him with me in our future calling, one of which neither of us had any clue.
In Prince Albert, in 1976, I wrote a poem, describing my experience and what the Lord showed me:
One day while praying quite dignified, I was forced to be relieved,
And in an old cabin the Lord signified what in me He had conceived.
“I will show you My people by My eyes, their suffering and sorrow you’ll see;
They live in weeping and gnashing and cries, but proclaim that they are free.
“In their stoves burns no fire to give them heat, the wind blows through the walls;
From broken glasses and plates they eat, and off its hinges the front door falls.
Their power is void while idols abound; vain professions are on their tongue;
No floor ‘neath their feet covers the ground, their possessions are no more than dung.”
These are His people the Lord lets me see, people for whom He does hurt;
His desire for them is that they be free, raised up to the sky from the dirt.
“A critic you are,” said one man to me; I didn’t like the thought.
But now a critic I know I must be, though for this I have not sought.
Truth I desire in my innermost being, not only for me, but for others,
But Satan comes and keeps them from seeing, and life in their hearts he smothers.
Yet the day will come when all evil will fail from this world turned to Christ;
The righteous will be the head, not the tail, when they’ve come to their sacred tryst.
At some point during this time, when Marilyn and I came out of all church systems, my father, who had insisted that I return to the Catholic Church, became somewhat more disturbed. I was surprised when he said to me, “Okay, so you don’t have to go to the Catholic Church if you don’t want to, but go somewhere!” He had been condemning the Alliance Church, the Baptists, and all Protestant denominations, particularly evangelicals, who were “Bible students” to him. Now he was willing to settle for any of them, so long as we belonged somewhere.
What did that say to me? It suggested that all churches were intrinsically the same. There is a spirit that rules over and prefers churchdom, but it is not a spirit in agreement with God. We found that, as God directed us in each step of our spiritual journey of growth and knowledge of Him and His ways, we were constantly opposed, criticized, and condemned by those in conventional religious establishments. Meanwhile, they contradicted and opposed each other.
George Croteau came visiting us at the acreage outside of Prince Albert. He spoke of conflict in his marriage. He laughed about how Gerry, his wife, would complain that he treated his dog better than he treated her. We told him he needed to love his wife and not to take lightly their relationship. We told him it wasn’t right to be laughing about the conflict. He thanked us for our time and attention and left.
We didn’t feel that we got through to him. Time would tell.
That summer, a woman, Charlene Sandau, visited us at one of our meetings at the Patricks’. She had known Marilyn from high school. Charlene’s brother and Marilyn were in the same classes going through school.
While praying, I had a vision of her coming out of a flat-roofed building and walking away. In the doorway behind, a man stood, watching her. Her lower back was on fire, and he was the cause of it.
I told her the vision I had of her. She then told us that she had been seeing a chiropractor and that her back was hurting from his treatments. Therefore she knew and declared that God was among us.
Who says there is no God?
One evening, while visiting indoors with Mickey and Lynn, there were some cats howling in the back lane. The sound was demonic, loud and disturbing. We prayed for a few minutes and then, in the Name of the Lord, Mickey quietly but firmly rebuked those spirits. Immediately, the howling stopped and didn’t resume.
Hilda Pirie, our friend and member of the Alliance Church, was given a garden plot and said she couldn’t keep up with it, so she gave it to us. (I think she was trying to help us, seeing we had very little.) The Patricks suggested we do a garden together. I assumed they knew a little about gardening, and I was right, they did – very little.
Marilyn and I did all the planting, watering, and weeding. Then when harvest came, a good crop of peas was the first to come in. The Patricks picked them all, full pods and empty pods, young and old. I recall that we got very few, if any, peas.
When potato season came along, their way of harvesting was to pull the plant up by the roots and take what tiny potatoes were yet clinging, not considering that the main produce needed to be dug from the ground. They complained of a poor potato crop. When we got there, it was difficult to find where the plants had been. Turning up soil in the general area, we were able to locate some potatoes.
One of the problems was that we couldn’t tell them anything. They were quite reluctant about being taught or directed in any way. While we were learning much from them, they were learning very little, if anything, from us. We learned the bitterness of being unequally yoked, and hoped we would be spared any such experiences in the future.
What we did get out of the garden in abundance was zucchini squash. So what’s new? Name one person who doesn’t, and I’ll introduce you to someone from Mars. We planted four plants (one or two plants would have been plenty, but we didn’t know); many of the squashes grew to be several pounds in size.
What to do with them all? We decided to give some to those who were in need. I remember giving to one family that let theirs rot. We gave to another apparently needy family, Dean and Hazel Scanlon of the Alliance Church. When we later asked how they enjoyed it, Hazel laughed, saying their sons used it to play catch. It smashed on the floor and they threw it out.
I would hear more of the Scanlons many years later.
Having enough for the “rich” as well as the “poor,” we gave one to Bill and Linda Prettie (the Homes Canada manager), and he enthusiastically told me how they had prepared it by cutting it in half lengthwise, coring it, adding salt, pepper, and butter, and putting it in the oven to bake for a half hour or so. He said they enjoyed it thoroughly. We have often since eaten large zucchinis that way. Delicious!
Just who are the “poor”? We gave to the “poor” and they wasted what we gave them. Then we gave to the “rich” and they were grateful. Not only did they enjoy what we gave them, they gave us the reward of a little pleasure in future years by a simple recipe that rendered delicious large zucchinis some people might otherwise toss out for their size.
Bill and Linda were also a common-law couple, people the religious “poor” might judge as unworthy of their companionship, of God, and of Heaven. So go figure. No, the Lord was teaching us that His definition of “poor” was not according to the size of the wallet or degree of conformity to churchianity.