Abuse of Younger Workers

Excerpt from Dot Berry’s story, Convention Ground Owner, 1991

Having lived on the Jackson, Mississippi convention grounds for 32 years, we were privy to many troublesome things, simply by observation. Other problems we learned by word of mouth…

One of the things that bothered me most, and caused me a lot of serious thinking, was the way the younger workers were treated by their older companions. I watched young workers being conformed by their companions even to the point they lost their own personalities. I remember one young sister worker was so distressed that I actually encouraged her to leave the work. Her words were: “Where would I go?” “I don’t have anywhere to go.” I shed many tears for and with these little ones. I had no way to help them.

Many have not “made it” in the work, while others remain bound to a vow they seemed to have made with the Lord. If only they knew that our Lord does not hold us to a choice we made that is destroying us. It appears that the suffering they endured was something they felt came with the life they offered. Suffering for Jesus’ sake does not mean at the hands of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Think about it!

This seems a good place to say that our son, Galen, went into the work in California in July of 1982. One thing the senior worker said to me was they’d have to break him IN. Whatever was that suppose to mean? I had seen young workers broken DOWN, and I didn’t like the sound of this. Since he has written his own story I will not comment on his life as a worker…

During some of our last years on the grounds I personally knew four workers (of both genders) who were suicidal; one used the term “self-destruct” when talking with me. Another had planned suicide twice, and each time something happened that interrupted those plans from materializing. One actually wished she’d be diagnosed with a terminal disease, and then added, “But I would be told what to do with my own body,” meaning she would have no choice in the manner of treatment that could prolong her life. I was saddened by another story told to me by a very unhappy worker who, once when traveling by plane, actually prayed that the plane would crash, thus taking her life. How do we explain that some of those who claim they alone carry the true gospel message would rather die than deliver it to others?

I wish I had known how to encourage my friends, but I couldn’t change one thing for them. But I have made some drastic changes since then. Now, I could tell them about the Good News of Jesus Christ being a message of hope, joy, peace and eternal life.

Read Dot Berry’s complete story “On Holy Ground”