PART THREE– Israel to Bernalillo (cont.)
The day we moved in, I was coming down the stairs to the main floor while Marvin stood at the bottom waiting. He had just come home from work. As he stood there, I saw a wolf, standing as a man and formed as a man, with thick, short jaw, and paws hanging down by the sides, fingers pointing backward.
I didn’t know what to make of it, but as time progressed, Marvin began to manifest a nature I hadn’t experienced with him before. He was brutish, dogmatic, growly, and brash. He was verbally abusive, arrogant, and contentious. This wasn’t the Marvin I had known in college or in Amway.
Marv shared his testimony of how he had been to Ann Arbor, Michigan, at a meeting held by a group of Catholic Charismatic nuns, where he was converted. He said they prayed for him, laying hands on him, and he ended up lying on the floor, in the middle of a circle of them, praying in tongues. He said he had been “slain by the Spirit.” He claimed that the experience changed him forever.
The Lord revealed to me that he had been changed all right. He’d been born from beneath, not from above, begotten of a she-wolf that day in Ann Arbor.
Marietta wasn’t at all happy being part of “The Move.” She wasn’t for communal living, and wanted her TV and Christmas back, among other things. While we were there, I was slightly empathetic with Marietta and wanted to talk to her, but there was no guidance or opening to do so.
The food budget in the house was restrictive. They ate a lot of pork because it was considerably less expensive than other meats. I developed an itch in the anus that wouldn’t go away – likely parasites. I didn’t relate it to the high pork diet, but it was tenacious and bothersome. I asked the Lord for a solution.
Bob Mansfield, a member of “The Move,” had a painting business, employing Marv, Klaus, Hiram, Brian Ross, and others. They offered me a job, and I learned the painting trade while we lived with the Mielkes. I enjoyed it, and I enjoyed working with them. Painting would prove to be a handy means of income in the future.
Bob had been an artist, but when becoming a believer, discontinued painting pictures. He surmised that it was wrong to paint images, or to make imitations of the real. If one is to paint, better to paint walls and ceilings, he thought. I didn’t agree, but didn’t feel it was necessary to discuss it.
As I thought on the matter and asked the Lord to give me understanding, I came to the conclusion that God’s injunction against images (which was Bob’s concern) was intended in the context of worship, and not in everyday use of pictures or works of art.
Around 1980 or so, we heard of Bert Huebner. He was walking across Henderson Highway in Winnipeg from his office to his home one night, when a drunken driver hit and killed him. I thought, “There was Bert, the lead Amway distributor of Winnipeg, with many of the ‘trappings’ (a significant word, come to think of it) of this world, professing faith in Christ, serving mammon, upset with me for messing with his organization, and now where is he?”
Dick Marks lost his wife, Bunny, to Hodgkin’s disease, I believe it was, or some other fatal disease. I recalled how they had professed faith in Christ, “believed” for her healing, declaring they would overcome, yet primarily emphasized the riches of this world as the blessings of God.
These were the elite of Amway in Winnipeg. I record these tragedies for posterity and for all to see how it doesn’t pay to serve mammon – it costs. I have no doubt whatsoever that if the Marks and the Huebners had sought what was right and true, Bert and Bunny would not have perished tragically. Both couples had taken upon themselves the Name of the Lord in vain, and were not held guiltless (Exodus 20:7).
One evening, Brian Ross, one of “The Move” community, called us at Mielkes’, wanting to talk to us. Anticipating a battle, we went to prayer. The Lord said, “Satan comes and finds nothing in you.”
Brian came. I wish I could remember what he said to us. Generally, he seemed to be looking for an occasion to criticize, condemn, or accuse. Surprisingly, I didn’t react or strive with him, which wasn’t usual for me.
I seemed not to mind at all what he was saying, and it completely took the wind out of his sails. I think he had assumed we would disagree with him on certain points, and he found that we didn’t. It was peculiar that the Lord gave us such a Word in advance. The occasion didn’t seem to be significant. It puzzles me to this day.
On another occasion with Brian, Satan came and did find something. While Brian and I were talking, I said something to which he instantly responded in a harsh rebuff, accusing me, saying that I didn’t believe in reaching lost souls for Christ.
(As I write, I realize his reaction was identical in spirit to when the Anglican priest, Don Varcoe, spoke to me in Dauphin. It was an occasion of which the Lord had warned my brother Bob and me, in a prophetic Word by Bob, that Satan would be attacking us within three days. Don Varcoe, in his reaction, represented Satan, as did Brian Ross.)
What was my reaction to Brian this time?
Defensively, I said, “I don’t believe that!”
The words had barely come out of my mouth when Brian replied, suddenly calm and smug, “That’s good!”
I knew right then that, instead of addressing him and his spirit, I was put on the defensive and lost that battle against the enemy, because even though what I said was true in letter, I said it with the spirit of defending my righteousness. The fact is I didn’t believe in reaching lost souls without the direction of the Spirit of the Lord. I didn’t believe in preaching for the sake of preaching, but I wasn’t yet totally settled on that matter. Satan saw my weakness and took advantage of it.
It didn’t matter that I was exposed or defeated. What mattered was that I was learning to walk in the Spirit.
I learned a good lesson that day: I must not deal with things or with subject matter so much as with the person. Furthermore, as I write of this event 32 years later, I realize the more important lesson was that we can’t stand up to the enemy without being sure of our knowledge, position, and purpose.
A peculiar aspect of “The Move,” in Winnipeg at least, was that though other gifts of the Spirit were exercised, there seemed to be an inordinate emphasis on having visions. Several of the people were having them constantly. The other peculiar thing was that the Lord wasn’t bearing witness to us that any of them were from Him.
One evening, there was a gathering in the Mielke house for prayer and worship. Some visitors attended, flying in by private plane from the U.S., who claimed to have a specialized ministry, something to do with praise, worship, or worship music.
As they sang and worshipped, I received these words concerning them: “Children playing in the gates of the city, neither coming in nor going out.”
As for the man who flew in on a tour of ministry, we had a talk, and I don’t recall why, but I told him the Lord revealed things to me about people. I didn’t give any specific examples. His face turned ashen, as though he was about to be found out.
I kind of wished the Lord would show me what was going on with him, but perhaps it was enough for him to be notified or reminded that God can indeed reveal things when He chooses, and that those things practiced in secret don’t remain secret indefinitely.
We attended two or three of their meetings wherein Biff and Jeannie, man and wife, both elders, were speaking. Jeannie preached at the first meeting. At the next meeting or the one after, I received permission from Biff to speak. I spoke about how they were wrong on certain matters, one of those being women teaching and exercising authority over men. I quoted the following:
“Women should learn in silence and all humility. I do not allow them to teach or to have authority over men; they must keep quiet. For Adam was created first, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and broke God’s Law. But a woman will be saved through having children, if she perseveres in faith and love and holiness, with modesty” (1 Timothy 2:11-15 GNB).
I also told them that the great emphasis on visions didn’t indicate good things, that their “ministry” wasn’t of God, and that Sam Fife was a false prophet, for several reasons. Though I didn’t say it, I knew that Sam had set Marv up as an elder in Winnipeg – that was one of the reasons. If Sam were a true man of God, a prophet or an apostle, which Sam claimed to be, he would not have set up a wolf, or even a benign novice, to shepherd the sheep.
But I did say that a man of God doesn’t die a tragic death, or a premature one, unless by martyrdom. Nowhere in Scripture is there any such indication, whether by doctrine or example. (In April of 1979, Sam Fife died, crashing his plane into the side of a mountain.)
I also said that “end-time farms” were an escapist, defensive action, coming from a bunker mentality, which the Lord didn’t initiate or sanction. I asked them to consider the prophets, apostles, and disciples, who were willing to lay down their lives to bear witness to the nations, not separating themselves from the world.
The group wouldn’t hear me, though they endeavored to bear with me patiently and respectfully. A young girl had a vision soon after I spoke, saying she saw a man digging holes in the ground all around, and that another came and filled them in. Someone else interpreted the vision to mean that I was the one digging the holes, making the mess, but someone else would come and smooth things over. In a sense, this is what happened, but not as they thought, as far as I could tell.
As we sat in one meeting, Hiram stood up to prophesy. The Lord said to me, “He prophesies by Beelzebub.” I found it interesting that others also didn’t believe Hiram’s prophecy was from the Lord.
Hiram was reeking of self-righteousness. One day, as he unintentionally (I think) drove through an amber light that turned red, he pulled over and prayed (I was sure it was for my sake), confessing his sin and fervently begging God’s forgiveness. I was disgusted at his display of piety and humility and told him that an error is an error and not necessarily sin.
He insisted that God’s holiness demanded perfect righteousness (he didn’t use those words, but that was the essence), as though we could attain favor with God by our own righteousness. One may as well try to sprout wings and fly to Mars as be good in his own strength before God. Hiram’s ways repulsed me.
One thing I must say – he was a terrific piano player – he had the feel.
In the late seventies or early eighties, Marilyn dreamt and saw me entering through the East Gate of Jerusalem (which was no longer sealed), along with several businessmen, politicians, or government leaders who were dressed in suits but no ties, as is often seen in Israel. The news media was there with TV cameras about, filming the event for the whole world to witness. Marilyn was seeing this at a distance from the east.
Years later, on the internet, I saw an ancient picture of the East Gate with a valley before it, running parallel to the wall, and a bridge went over the valley, leading to the gate. I said, “Look at this! There was a bridge there at one time” (there isn’t one there now that I know).
Marilyn replied, “I saw that bridge in my dream!”
I replied, “I don’t remember you telling me that! I never knew until today that there used to be a bridge there.”
Moishe, a Jewish fellow in his early sixties, visited the Mielkes one day. He claimed to have a ministry in the Messiah, Yeshua HaMashiach, somewhat in partnership with his new wife, a native believer and presumed Pentecostal evangelist, Elizabeth Cox, who was a fair bit older than he. They operated a mission and a tract printing/distribution operation in an abandoned old commercial building in the north end of Winnipeg. Moishe wrote a book about his life – I Escaped the Holocaust. We would be hearing from him.
I tried to talk to Marvin Mielke about spiritual matters on various occasions, but he would quickly, belligerently shut me down. Even when I tried talking to others, it was as though he was on the watch for me and would immediately interrupt with a loud, “Bull!”
Others apparently tried to talk to him as well, to no avail. I look back and realize that while I was trying to deal in doctrine, it was Marv himself that needed addressing. I didn’t have it to do then.
We found a home within a month and a half of the time of arriving at Marvin’s, a rental suite at 152 La Verendrye in St. Boniface, owned by Don Puhach, a tinsmith, whose shop was next door. We moved in mid-December of 1979. After eight months on the road, it was good having our own home and privacy again.
I spoke to “The Move” to let them know where we stood and differed with them concerning doctrine and practice; I tried to speak to Marv and got nowhere. Not able to continue with them, I believed I could no longer work with Bob Mansfield’s painting crew, made up primarily of members of the group. I quit, though I had nowhere else to go.
Money became scarce, rent was coming due, I had no job prospects and no transportation – the pressure was on. In weakness of faith, I tried dealing with a job placement agency to find work. An agent interviewed me, did an aptitude test, and tried lining me up with Dun and Bradstreet as a bill collector, given my business background. He also tried other possibilities. I balked at every one of them, and he concluded that I needed psychological (if not psychiatric) help.
I understood his perspective. I knew, however, that I had to wait on the Lord and trust Him to provide. He told us He had something better for us. I apologized to the placement rep, quit trying to make it happen, and waited. I didn’t have to go looking; the provision would come to us, in a peculiar way.
One day, when we returned home, we found a bag of groceries at the door. Later, Moishe paid us a visit and told us he had dropped them off. Why would he do this, and why would he tell us he did? We hadn’t said we needed anything, we didn’t need anything, and there didn’t seem to be any conspicuous evidence that we did. His gift seemed somewhat peculiar. We would soon come to suspect Moishe’s motives.
The non-organic groceries weren’t our kind of fare – processed meats, refined bread, canned goods, the unhealthy kind of food that many eat. Rather than return them to him, fearing we might offend, we ate some and gave some to others.
In the latter half of December 1979, having no personal, conscious direction from the Lord, I decided to go to Calgary, Alberta to the Saturday morning Christian men’s breakfast meetings. Having been edified in the spirit there in the past, I hoped to receive some direction. We had no vehicle, so we took the Greyhound bus. We stayed at a motel at Motel Village in NW Calgary. The next morning, I took a cab to the meeting.
Arriving at the restaurant, I saw some of the usual frequenters there, including Carroll Vance. I was surprised to meet up with Archie. He immediately told me he had just had a vision of me that morning, told me what it was, and pressed me to renew acquaintance with him. He confessed that he and his wife, Cathie, had been selfish, proud, and stubborn.
In the meeting, I believe Carroll had a prophecy for me, but I don’t recall what it was. When the meeting was over, Archie gave me a ride back to the motel. Marilyn and I talked over renewing acquaintance with him and decided to go for it. We left for their rented acreage at Standard, east of Calgary.
They were planning to move to Toronto and were selling their meager belongings. They had no idea of the value, so we helped price and sell them for twice as much as they were planning, still allowing fair prices for buyers.
They now had three children – Elizabeth, their firstborn, about three, showing remarkable signs of manipulative powers; Chris, about two; and Nathan, newly born. Three children are a lot for someone who wasn’t supposed to be able to have children. The Word of the Lord, by tongues and interpretation to Marilyn, had come to pass.
Who says there is no God?
About the vision Archie had the morning we met at the men’s breakfast prayer meeting (we hadn’t been in touch with each other for a couple of years): He saw me in the front seat of a canoe, my face shining with the joy and glory of the Lord, paddling east across the Atlantic Ocean towards an area covered with cloud. He couldn’t tell where it was. Then the cloud dispersed and he saw Africa.
Archie saw an unidentified person behind me in the canoe, also paddling. If that dream was of God, I believe that person would be Paul, whom we had just met in Israel, someone of whom Archie hadn’t known, but who years later was to become our closest friend and co-laborer in Christ.
We talked about Archie and his family coming to live in Winnipeg, rather than Toronto. Archie was a painter and handyman, and we could work together. We agreed and made plans – Archie was going to come ahead in January, and Cathie would follow a month later. They drove us to the Strathmore bus depot, and we parted on good terms, or so we thought.
Back in Winnipeg, we discovered a home that was only three or four houses away from us and under a government rent subsidy for poor families. We spoke up for it for Archie and his family and they promised to hold it for them. What a remarkable and convenient provision! We also arranged our home to receive them temporarily until they moved into theirs. January came and went, and we didn’t hear from them.
One day, Moishe called and invited me to come to Selkirk, north of Winnipeg, to minister in a home. We arrived and were received by two stout native men, who appeared to be on drugs. Moishe walked in, saying, “Praise Jesus! Hallelujah!”
Moishe promptly got down to “official ministry work.” He opened the Bible in their living room, red a psalm, and giggled all the while, as though he was receiving marvelous understanding and revelation, yet commenting nothing to the men. When he was done, it seemed the custom that his hearers would grace him with a gift.
They gave him some money and offered him something to eat. Without saying a word, he quickly devoured some cookies and buns and washed them down with tea in about two minutes. It seemed they might have appreciated visiting with him, but he was of no inclination whatsoever to talk to them.
They had a frozen deer carcass thawing on the floor behind the wood stove, having found it in the bush. They offered some to take with him, but he declined and was out the door, with me awkwardly scrambling to follow.
On the way back to Winnipeg, I wondered what the event was about. It appeared Moishe had gone for the money. I think he received $20, which was about the cost of operating the car to drive there and back home. It was becoming apparent he was a beggar and scoundrel, using the Bible as an attractive and persuasive collection pot.
Around this time, I had a vision. I was walking into a small rectangular tent-like structure, carrying a Bible in one hand. I walked the step or two up to the entrance, and inside sat a group of elderly men on a bench along the walls. They were in what appeared to be humble Mideastern clothing and had long gray beards and gray hair.
Marilyn was about a dozen paces behind me, standing and crying bitterly, elbows at her sides, palms up, with hands outstretched after me. She was very distraught with what I was doing or where I was going. It appeared I was departing permanently.
Some days or weeks after the vision, in March or so of 1980, Moishe and a disciple, Philip, a Jewish lawyer, were heading to northern Manitoba in Moishe’s gas-guzzling Cadillac to minister in native communities. Moishe invited me to come, and Marilyn was against my going, but I set out with them.
I thought that perhaps this vision depicted my going to join Moishe (a physical elder), and generally joining the universal elders of the ages in their spiritual ministries.
On Winnipeg’s outskirts, I became increasingly troubled about Marilyn’s disagreement. I concluded it wasn’t God’s will that I go with Moishe (remember Chadwick’s advice to us). Besides, knowing Moishe’s questionable ways in the Name of the Lord, I didn’t want to be identified with him and bring disrepute to the Lord. So as to not inconvenience the men with my indecisiveness, I asked Moishe to drop me off where we were, and I would find my way home (which surprisingly took more than five unpleasant hours, mostly by foot).
Marilyn and I firmly concluded Moishe’s ways weren’t God’s ways and the vision had nothing to do with him. I had attempted going with him while Marilyn was against it, a scenario generally expressed in the vision; however, we would have to wait for the true fulfillment – and it would come.
Unknown to us at the time, the vision spoke of a day years later when the Lord would call me to Himself for special service, and in the process of the call, deliver me of a spiritually unhealthy relationship with Marilyn, wherein I was listening to her as His voice for me, looking for agreement and calling it confirmation, instead of hearing from Him, in faith, for myself.
It wasn’t at all good that she should be my “priestess.” Effectively, though unwittingly, I was in idolatry. Moishe told me my wife was unduly influencing me, and he was right, though in this matter, I can’t say she was wrong – we found Moishe’s works and ways weren’t right before God.
We have seen on several occasions where, after receiving a vision, dream, or prophecy from God, circumstances would take the shape of a fulfillment, but they would leave one guessing or doubting. Some of this is due to speculation, but I also believe this is to try us and see if we will believe. It also causes us to grow and be strengthened in faith, patience, spiritual discernment, and understanding of the Lord’s ways.
I’ve learned that when something is truly fulfilled, there’s no doubt about it whatsoever, unless it’s the wrong kind of doubt; that is, doubting when one ought to believe.