Heiser, Joetta (Swartz), June, 1993

Setting the Record Straight

I hardly know where or how to begin “My Story!” I surely wasn’t looking for “a way out” like many of those still associated with 2×2’s have said; nor was it. that I just wanted to take my own way. It’s very frustrating when I don’t have an opportunity to even tell others the way I feel because most communication has been cut off.

My decision to leave has been misunderstood, misquoted and speculated about a lot; so I feel in this way I can perhaps set the record straight.

I was raised in the fellowship called “The Truth.” My parents remember when they first started going to meeting; however, it was their parents who took them. It’s always assumed when you grow up in this fellowship that you will eventually profess too. For a child growing up in “the Truth” there is somewhat of a fear about the whole thing because you’re aware that it is a way of sacrifice.

You have to be different from your friends at school, not attend school functions, dress differently, wear your hair differently; in short stand out to prove that you’re a ‘separated people’ and to be an example to the world. Not a real attractive proposition for someone who’s growing up and facing many pressures just discovering who they are.

The burdens placed on the shoulders of the young people are not balanced by the positive attention they may get at meeting from the friends and workers. I feel this whole thing about submitting means to the other friends and workers ideas of what’s right; but not necessarily God’s or backed up by scripture. It means because some people may not like certain things; you can’t like them either.

I had wondered for years why bowling was such a sin. I’ve never really gotten a definition why it’s wrong; but knew it was something I couldn’t do or if I did, had to be done rather secretly! Then I would hear over and over again how the Truth had no rules! Why I didn’t think that through logically years ago still amazes me.

When I was fifteen years old I went to my home convention in the Midwest. During the summer prior to the convention I’d been what the workers call “troubled.” I’d kept that entirely to myself because it was such an uncomfortable thing and not something I felt I could share with anyone. I’d thought so much about eternity and being with God forever. I remember relating that to the song “Always!” Some of that song says, “I’ll be loving you always, etc. Not for just a day, not for just a week, not for just a year but always.” I started thinking about eternity not. just lasting a year, not a hundred years, but just going on, on and on. I could not (and still cannot) comprehend that.

The thing that really concerned me was that if I didn’t profess and went to Hell there would be burning not just a year, not just a hundred years but on, on and on. That terrified me so much! I had gone to school for eight years in a small school. In fact, there were only thirteen kids in my eighth-grade class. My freshman year I went to a consolidated school where there were about 125 students in my class alone. That was a big step—attending such a big school my freshman year.

Now here I was so concerned about my soul for the future but what about my second year among my peers. I knew my appearance would have to take on a DRASTIC change, and I felt so inadequate for the task ahead. Yet there was no peace whatsoever for me if I didn’t profess. I guess it was the biggest choice of my life thus far, and I felt. all alone in making it.

On Saturday of the convention, the tension built higher throughout the day. By the evening meeting, I was a nervous wreck. I felt I was being forced into a situation that was impossible. I remember crying through the entire meeting. I was so scared; yet what could I do? It seemed to me that there were so many negative, uncomfortable things; yet the reward was eternal life. How could I speak and pray in meeting? How could I bear the reproach of my newfound friends at school? I found myself in the quandary that most kids raised in the fellowship must find themselves.

I guess my fear of fire, overcame MY fears because I managed to stand up when the last song was sung. I know it was a shock to most people because I had fairly short hair and looked quite different from most professing girls/women. I felt though, if this is what I have to do to be saved, then this it is. I had the most horrible headache and it persisted through the sleepless night. I remember taking more aspirins than was recommended, just so I could tolerate the next day. I felt some relief because of my decision yet SO burdened by what was ahead.

It was as difficult at school as I’d expected. I tried to wear my hair up (after it got long enough). I remember there was one girl in particular who rode my bus who always made snide remarks about my hair when I wore it up. This was also the age of mini-skirts. I remember the frustration of shopping for a skirt or dress that was long enough to be acceptable. I’d come home and rip out the hem and face it so it would be longer.

One year at convention, a sister worker took a few of us girls aside and told us how our testimonies were marred because of our short dresses. I went to convention that year to be encouraged to endure being different from those I went to school with; and I was even “shot down” there! It started feeling pretty hopeless. This worker told us that even a dead fish could go with the current; but it took a live one to swim against it. I repeated that to myself so many times; trying to take comfort from it, but really finding none.

Another year one of the girls wasn’t allowed to be baptized because her dresses weren’t deemed to be long enough. Yet I and some other girls with dresses shorter than hers had been baptized a year or two before this. I could NOT understand the justice of that. It was like they were discouraging us from spiritual growth.

Most of the professing girls who met the workers’ criteria for being acceptable were such outcasts–even amongst the friends. I remember a professing aunt of mine talking about a girl who looked like a sister worker but was a teenager at the time. This aunt said she was ashamed of the way this girl looked when she’d run into her on her lunch hour at work. She sure didn’t want others to know they attended the same church or in fact, even knew each other. If you’re a misfit even amongst the friends; what do you think you are when you’re out in the world with ALL kinds of people?

The Sunday morning meeting I went to had some wonderful, wonderful people. I have fond memories of so many of those people and I feel certain they have a wonderful reward. They were mostly quite elderly people and they were genuinely happy to have a young person in the meeting there. I never felt condemned by them; they were just so glad I was there and that was a real encouragement to me.

I remember though when I was about six years old, wondering why so many of them cried in Sunday morning meeting. You could just about predict how each testimony would start out. “I’ve failed so much this week.” The prayers were the same way, full of remorse for their failures of the past and a desire to do better. But the next week; the very same sentiments were expressed. As a small child, I used to wonder what they had done that was SO bad that they had to cry every week. I spent most of the meeting trying to figure out what it was; after all, most of these people were old and I just couldn’t imagine them having the energy to commit too great a sin. I felt SO sorry for them.

I went through high school professing and they were more difficult years because I was the only one professing at my school. My future husband came with my professing cousin to my high school graduation. We started dating steadily and were married less than a year later. I was grateful to have a professing husband and a professing home. I can’t think of anything real eventful to say about these years. There were lots of adjustments during that time as there are for all newlyweds.

We attended meetings regularly but it seemed like there were some things missing. It was during this time that the pressure on us seemed too great and for a period of a year or so; we quit going to meeting. I think both of us knew that the day would come when we HAD to come back. Our only choice was when; but again eternity was the big fear.

When we were married nine years, our first daughter was born. I started feeling quite guilty during this time. I’d had infertility problems and we’d given up thoughts of having children. During this time, however, I’d prayed many prayers. It was always that if “You’ll give me a child Lord, I’ll raise it in the Truth.” Therefore I felt an obligation to remember that vow. I professed very early in my pregnancy and again “grew my hair out.” We had two more daughters after that, so these were extremely BUSY years. There isn’t much time for anything but cleaning and cooking and more cleaning and cooking when you have little ones around.

A few years ago, some people moved into the house across the road from us. This couple and their young daughter were from California but had been driving cross-country hauling freight for several years. Since it was time for their daughter to start school, they decided to buy a home and the wife stay home. Her husband was gone a lot and her life had changed so drastically. She was a very private lady, very quiet but sometimes she’d call me and say she needed a little “girl talk.” We became friends though we weren’t in and out of each other’s homes a lot. During this time she asked me about schools, about the Dr. we went to, which grocery store I favored, etc.

One day she told me they were looking for a church. I was speechless, what could I say? I didn’t know how to begin to tell her what we believed or to welcome her to attend meeting with us. You see, she was white, but her husband was black. I did not think she would be welcomed by some of the friends because of her bi-racial marriage. Also, they smoked and I had no idea how to broach that subject with her. In short, I felt, they would not be considered “suitable candidates for the Gospel.” (Yet I’d read many times that God is no respecter of persons.)

I dismissed all that but for a while was quite upset about the discrepancy there. They hadn’t lived here too long, when she got sick and just couldn’t seem to get better. One day her car broke down about four miles from home and she called me full of apologies and asked if I could pick them up. The girls and I were so shocked at her appearance. She’d lost some weight before but had since lost more. Her color was bad and she sounded terrible.

I called her often and a few days later she called to say that the Dr. was putting her in the hospital. Her husband came home to take care of things. They diagnosed her with bronchitis but before she left they did a routine chest x-ray and discovered she had an inoperable tumor on her lung. The tests came back that it was malignant and it was growing very rapidly. She began radiation treatments; then chemotherapy. The treatments slowed the growth and from what she told me I thought things were going fairly well.

Over a year after finding the tumor, her health began to fail rapidly. Her husband didn’t realize how bad she was and she was very unselfish and didn’t want to worry him. One day she called and asked me to pick her little girl up from the bus that night and bring her to our house. She said I just can’t take care of her any longer. We talked every day by phone but I hadn’t been to her house for a while, she usually came here. I went over then and was appalled by the way she looked and by the condition of the house. There were dirty dishes around and it was obvious that they’d eaten a lot of cold cereal prior to this. Despite our daily phone calls and my asking how she was and if she needed anything; this was how things REALLY were.

She was quite sick at her stomach and couldn’t keep food down by now. I cleaned the house the best I could in the short time I had and tried to interest her in some food. I did pick her up a few things at the grocery store and then called her Dr. from my house. He told me the cancer was growing again and it was a matter of weeks! I was afraid for her to stay alone and tried to get her to let me stay with her but she assured me over and over that she’d be fine. Her husband was on his way and arrived home a day or so later. I called him and said I don’t think you realize how ill she is. Don’t leave her again, please.

He called her Dr. and they went to his office. He told them that the time was short and they needed to get her affairs in order. This was on a Friday morning and Monday afternoon, he called to say he thought she was dead. We went over and he and the little girl were standing in the kitchen with their arms around each other crying. We went to the bedroom and she was lying there with a horrid expression on her face. Her eyes were set and staring with this look of pain on her face.

I think we knew before I took her arm to feel for a pulse, that she was in fact dead. She looked so bad. She was completely bald by now and so thin she was like a skeleton. Her eyes were the thing that really got to me. I felt like she was looking through me and accusing me. There wasn’t time for me to think of myself though.

They hadn’t discussed any future plans at all, so it was a time of asking and suggesting. I called the mortician, the family she had, went through her purse, helped to pick out her clothes to be buried in, etc. I didn’t sleep for two nights because all I could see was her pained facial expression. I felt better once we saw her at the funeral home; she looked more peaceful. During all this time though I could not dismiss from my mind the fact that I’d let her down spiritually. I’d not had any comfort whatsoever to offer her during her sickness. I had no comfort to give her husband child and family.

I remember having some thoughts about God I wasn’t very proud of during this time. I just couldn’t understand why she wasn’t given a chance and was I the one who should have given her the chance to at least attend meeting?? The workers came for a visit not long after that and they had no answers and no comfort for me. Then we had visiting workers for special meetings so I asked one of them I had a great deal of confidence in; again nothing!! I really felt empty spiritually during this time. How could I go to meeting and try to praise a God that didn’t seem kind and merciful after all? It was so hard to hear about a loving God during this time – love for whom?

Another year passed and some of the friends around here had a potluck at a state park nearby. We attended and there were volleyball nets set up and people playing games and having fun. It was a nice relaxing summer day for people to enjoy. However, some of the girls there forgot themselves and dressed suitably for the occasion. THEY WORE CULOTTES. It was pretty obvious from the atmosphere that there were some unhappy campers there concerning the dress!! You could see whispering behind hands, buzzes here and there!! Disapproval prevailed. I wore my old faithful denim skirt, so I wasn’t targeted and neither were our girls. There were two sister workers there too but they weren’t the only ones suffering self-righteous indignation!

We stayed awhile but were invited to a potluck where my husband worked, so we left soon after dinner. We didn’t have time to change clothes so went in the same ones we’d worn earlier. The difference in the atmosphere of the other place was SO different. Nothing illegal or immoral was going on there; but we just had a good time. There wasn’t any self-righteous judging and was it EVER pleasant. I was SO amazed at the difference!

We had a visit from the two sister workers that week and they talked about how disappointed they were in the girls’ culottes. I was told how nice I looked in my denim skirt. (If they were trying to make me feel good–it back-fired!l It made me sick to my stomach!) I said I felt that the judgmental attitude that others displayed was more out of place than the culottes!!

Well, every home had to be visited and every girl talked to about what they were wearing. Such a production made, when the issue was modesty. The girls were much more modest in my opinion with their culottes than rowing a boat with a skirt on–to say nothing of safety if they fell out of the boat!!

What really got us was that Deuteronomy 22:5 was quoted. I’d been told by a brother worker over 1.5 years ago that the passage about man not wearing that which pertaineth to a woman and a woman not wearing that which pertaineth to a man, was dealing with cross-dressing and homosexuality—not women wearing slacks!! Yet this just kept coming up again and again.

When we asked why it wasn’t necessary to build a battlement around the top of your house like it says in another verse in this same chapter; we were told that what was an abomination to God should not be touched! ! This troubled us all summer and yet we kept plugging along.

As we left for convention that year; I knew I needed help like never before. I just didn’t know what was happening in my life but some of the things I thought were really settled, were suddenly causing a lot of unsettling thoughts. I prayed very earnestly for there to be something at convention to help my troubled soul. However, though I enjoyed the social part of convention; it seemed somehow like the salt had lost its savour. It was bland and blah and lifeless,

I began examining things like I never had before. I’d always felt and been told that to ask questions was like doubting God-ea very dangerous place to be, Yet something drastic was happening in my life and I HAD to get to the bottom of this. I’d often been comforted in the past when I’d seen discrepancies in the government. My generation saw reports on organized crime operating openly. Bribes being taken by police chiefs and those in higher authority.

We saw Nixon involved so deeply in the Watergate break-in that he resigned from office to avoid being kicked out. I recall after President Kennedy was shot, hearing that Lyndon Johnson may have been involved so he could become president; I was quite young at the time; but remember being SO shocked. I put men who became president right up there with Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. Men who were honest. That they were selfish and dishonest was more than I could imagine.

The Vietnam War brought more accusations; more discrepancies among Government officials. To think that our country has left prisoners of war in some of the countries where they fought is so repulsive to me. There have been the Iran Contra Affairs, the Supreme Court nominations and many more I’m sure that I’m leaving out. In short, men of clay were having to defend inappropriate actions. Their offices no longer protected their wrong-doing.

I also discovered that honesty and politics should not be used in the same sentence! They were poles apart. During all these episodes, I would console myself with “But isn’t it wonderful, I’m in the perfect way. Things are crumbling in Government, but I have TRUTH.” That was a very great consolation to me. Honesty also became more important than ever before.

Someone mentioned to me again the book The Secret. Sect. Like most. professing people, I’d felt I wanted no part of such a book. Now I felt I should at least read it. However, I was NOT ready to believe it. I read it with a very jaundiced eye. Finally, I could see it WAS well-documented. Many of the things the book said, I knew to he true from past experiences. The fact that I’d always been told that the Truth was from the beginning of time and that now I could see there HAD been a founder was just one more letdown in life. The thing I thought infallible was built around many tales. I felt devastated and heart-broken and I literally did not know which way to turn.

Someone pointed out that MEN had let us down; not God. I began turning to the scriptures and really examining them to see what they REALLY had to say. I was again surprised to see how many things had been taken out of context, twisted and inappropriately applied. More and more of the foundation was crumbling but I surely felt more shipwrecked than ever.

During this time I prayed more sincerely than I ever had in my life. I asked God to help me through this because I did not know which way to go. I also asked Him to help me not be deceived because I felt very vulnerable. I wanted during this time nothing more than to prove the accusations in this hook WRONG! But it was not to be.

The workers visited someone else we knew who had many of the same questions we did during this time. I prayed again that the workers would show us where we were wrong and I honestly thought they would. But it was not to be. Again there was no comfort there; obvious cover-up was going on.

Questions were not answered and issues were skirted. I was reminded of politics again and it wasn’t a pleasant comparison! The lady at this home was verbally attacked by the Overseer of the state in anger and accusations. This “Man of God” didn’t have the verse that says ‘a soft answer turneth away wrath’ in hand when he talked to this couple. We were devastated again to think that those we thought had answers–didn’t!

A bit later a delegation of four workers came to our home to discuss things. We weren’t verbally attacked this time BUT there were no answers given to some of our questions; evasions to some of the others and in general just disappointment!! We were still attending meetings at this time; but it was almost more than I could do. When I’d hear some phrases I’d heard all my life repeated, it was all I could do to stay in my chair. I usually spoke the most during this time about LOVE. I’d noticed how important that was in Jesus’ time and in his thoughts. How he tried to convey that to the apostles and how he didn’t shut out anyone.

I finally got to the point where I could no longer go. I’d stay home on Sunday morning and READ, READ and RE-READ my Bible, searching for answers. I began seeing the similarities between the Pharisees and many of the people from meeting. I’d always heard it was the inside that was important but I knew from experience that the outside got a lot more attention.

I’d felt too that many times I attended meeting trying to concentrate so completely on keeping a right attitude and trying to be right within, but something on the outside was condemned which nearly quenched my spirit. Where was the love? Where was the confidence in God that He could control situations and people? Where was the part about letting HIM complete the work in our lives? That was given over to the workers to do.

I’m NOT trying to condemn the workers here, don’t get me wrong. I know many that I feel to be very sincere, very diplomatic; but I’ve known others to be just the opposite. I cannot escape the verse which says there is no mediator between us and God save the man Christ Jesus. I’ve heard that quoted many times; yet I knew the workers DO act as mediators. At the same time, this is said they will talk about Catholics and how they have to go through the priest or the pope and how wrong that is–yet we have to have workers’ approval to get baptized?

Also during the time when we weren’t professing we bought a television. We never hid it but kept it in our bedroom. We were told that the workers would really love to put a meeting in our home but as long as we had the television they just couldn’t do it. I felt so guilty about that television and yet I didn’t watch it and actually my husband seldom did either. It became for a period of time, a real thorn between us. I felt we should get rid of it but he refused to. Yet when I thought logically about it; IT really wasn’t a big issue, but others were trying to make it one. We were controlling the time we spent watching it but they were telling us we didn’t have enough judgment to control it. No, I didn’t spend much time watching it; but was I any better reading a book for several hours at a time or talking on the phone than was watching a TV program?? We asked the workers when they visited what really was the difference in reading a book or watching the same movie on TV? We got shrugged shoulders for a reply.

Well I have a tendency to get side-tracked very easily. I did find a church just a few miles from our house. We all attend it together as a family and are very happy there. The children are learning things about the Bible for the first time in a church-like setting. Our oldest daughter said she learned more from the week at Vacation Bible School than she’d ever learned at meeting. She’s rather jealous that her younger sisters are memorizing the books of the Bible, something she doesn’t know.

We appreciate that our children are being taught and they are considered important right now, not just for the future of the kingdom. They are learning at their own age level just like at school. We love the feeling of learning ourselves too. We’ve had to tear ourselves away from reading our Bibles sometimes because there are chores to do. NEVER have we felt this enthusiasm for spiritual things.

We’re like sponges absorbing liquid and our appetites are being satisfied so completely. I come away from church knowing I’m far from perfect; but that I can rest now in Jesus. I have confidence in what He has done for me, not in what I am going to do for Him in the week ahead. Grace is such a new concept for us and not one we learned at. meeting. We never realized we are saved by grace through faith and not works. In fact, we were shocked to hear a worker tell another that yes, we are saved by grace. But when we mentioned our surprise at that to someone who professes; we were asked where we’d been all these years? Where indeed? At meeting!! Not only had we not heard that, another couple our age hadn’t, my parents in their mid-seventies hadn’t and several others whose privacy I respect hadn’t either.

A worker recently told us that we needed to “sit through a mission.” When we reminded him that we’d sat through mission after mission ALL OUR LIVES, he still felt we needed another. I might add, this worker DID verbally attack me, and I have six hours of his last conversation with us on tape, if anyone is interested. This worker made some rude comments about our church and pastor to us, so we asked him to make those comments to our pastor’s face instead of behind his back. He did agree to meet with him and that was done here in our home. During that discussion the worker told our pastor that the women at meeting dressed conservatively but that it was a choice, not enforced.

Now I ask you to search your memory and think about it a bit. Was it choice or force when the sister workers mentioned above visited the individual homes and discussed the wearing of culottes? Was force being applied there or not? Will these girls openly wear culottes again around friends or workers?

I’m sure you all have experiences of similar treatments. Also, the girl who wasn’t allowed to be baptized because her dresses were too short, was that force or choice? With our choice of having a television, we lost the opportunity to have a meeting in our home. It’s an either/or situation, no doubt about it. These are BIG discrepancies we’re talking here. Also if discrepancies here; how about in the way scripture is interpreted?

I’ve also been considering some of the negative thinking that many people who go to meeting teach their kids. We may not agree with something that we must do at meeting. For an example, let’s say you don’t make your professing teenage daughter wear her hair up except to meeting or if there are friends or workers around. Remember, God sees all – He knows. You think it’s a ridiculous rule and unscriptural but not something you have a choice about. Think about the message you’re ‘teaching’ here.

You as a parent are caving into peer pressure; you don’t have the backbone to stand up to others about a. situation you don’t agree with. Yet the next thing you try to teach your child is “you don’t have to be like everyone else. Just because your friends at school are drinking, smoking or having premarital sex – you can be different.’ Is it any wonder so many of the young people go completely wild in their teenage years or that once they’re out from under parental control they exercise ‘no’ control. They’ve been taught by parents’ example to cave into peer pressure and to not exercise their own true emotions.

An outside change does not evoke an inward heart change. Until friends and workers begin to understand that, I expect there will be continued heartache for parents and children alike in these important growing-up years; and sometimes I think it follows them all their lives.

I was recently reading a book in which the author mentioned that when he was a child and others asked him if he was a Christian he would say, “Yes, I don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t curse,” etc. Well, he said one day he looked at his dog Ralph and realized that Ralph didn’t drink, didn’t smoke and he’d never heard him use foul language; yet Ralph wasn’t a Christian. The author was saying it’s not an outward thing but it’s an inward change that has to come about. It’s a relationship with Christ which makes us a Christian-that and nothing else.

In conclusion, the turn of events this past year have been surprising indeed. I feel that the prayers I prayed both privately and at meeting have been answered. I’d so often prayed to have a closer walk with God and I feel that has taken place. I never in a million years thought it would take me out of the way I knew of as Truth, in order to achieve this closer relationship.

I feel my focus has changed so much this past while. While I felt so unworthy, so inadequate before; now I can worship knowing He is worthy; what He did was adequate. I don’t have to concentrate on my lack but I can love and appreciate the fullness of His sacrifice. I can rest in that and let. Him bear the burdens that I was trying to carry.

I don’t want this to sound bitter or angry because I’m not. I feel sorry for those frustrated years I spent trying to reach God on my own. However, if I’d never had those years I wouldn’t feel the spiritual freedom I now have and appreciate so much. My goal is to help others that are burdened and overcome with a system. Many are trapped and like I, cannot imagine a. way of escape. With me it finally got to the place where I had to ask myself, are you willing to risk the disapproval of friends, workers and family to try to find your own personal relationship with God.

Again I find myself thinking of judgment day. It won’t be the workers or friends judging me there (however, I sure have experienced that judging here in this life.) It’ll be God’s approval I’ll desire. I’ve heard so many times recently that if we want to have a personal relation¬ship with God — ‘get rid of the middleman!’ When I think back to times I’ve been discouraged by workers or friends judgmental attitudes, I realize it was almost impossible for me to read and pray during that time. I felt too unworthy to reach God because I’d been told I’d done wrong.

It’s very comforting now to be able to go to God like I would a friend and lay my burdens on Him and know He cares. I read over and over in the Bible that God is a caring, loving compassionate and merciful God; yet I never felt that way about God while I was in the 2×2’s. I felt over-burdened so much of the time that there was very little joy to experience.

I’m just trying to put first things first in my life and in doing that I had to go it totally alone for a while–just me and God. I found I had to stand alone because my husband, my children, friends, workers, family –no one but God really understood where I was. It took that time alone with just God and myself and coming to terms with Him FIRST. When I really got that relationship in the proper order, then I could concentrate on the other relationships.

There are still many in my family who do not understand and do not choose to understand. That has hurt and hurt very deeply that they cannot take into account my past and remember that I have always been honest and sincere. They have allowed their thoughts to become clouded by the ‘smear campaigns’ others have unjustly launched. Instead of coming to me and asking me what has happened, they take other people’s word. We find ourselves questioning if we’d be welcome at hospitals or funerals of people from meeting. We still care and love these people but are unsure how we’d be received. Yet in being treated unkindly and unfairly, we’ve felt pity and sympathy for them. Praying for others who treat you badly, does help overcome bitter feelings.

In closing, my prayer for ALL people is that we’ll have God’s guidance and do His will. In finding Him, you too, may have to leave the spot you’ve known for years, the friends you’ve always had, past relationships may be dissolved. In general things and life may be turned upside down. Are you willing for that? It’s not easy and you will be shocked at some of the things which happen. However, with God’s help, we can do anything. Who is your confidence in? Is it in yourself, is it in what you’ve always known and the way your family has always worshiped? Is it in the workers, or is it in sincere people you have always known? Or is it in God totally? We must all ask ourselves these questions and sometimes we’re really surprised at the answers we get. May God be our guide and our help and maybe learn to trust Him totally.

Joetta (Swartz) Heiser
June 1993

Click Here to read Joetta’s father’s story: Charles Edgar Swartz