Reaching Latin America

By Watchman, with contributions from Faithy, Katrina, Solomon CR, David, and Jerry Crusader.

PERU (1972–1978)

This was the very first Latin American country that received a somewhat “permanent” team of Children of God missionaries in May of 1972 when Mattaniah, Katrina (Ruhama), Olympus and Shalmai arrived in Lima to reach South American through God’s love. It was quite a step of faith for them to fly thousands of miles to the middle of a strange continent and commence pioneering, almost totally cut off from the rest of the Children of God.

But, they hit the ground running, and their little on-fire team of pioneers soon began to make some phenomenal progress as they witnessed and sang their way into the hearts of thousands of Peruvians. Operating from their little two-bedroom apartment in the San Isidro area of the Peruvian capital, they appeared in a number of favorable feature articles in major Lima papers, two of them on the front page of the city’s largest periodicals! They also appeared on a couple of TV shows, and their street witnessing soon won them a large and faithful following of very potential catacombs disciples1 who regularly frequented their apartment for Bible studies and fellowship. Many of these later joined the Children of God full-time when they were old enough and thus became our first Peruvian disciples, such as Jordan, Ezekias, Zacharias, Nehemias and others.

The hippie movement being big in Peru at that point, they carried on quite a ministry to dropped-out youth from all over South America. Peru was certainly a country of firsts. The first pioneers of Argentina, Chile and Colombia were won during this period (Argentine Manases, Chilean Rama and Colombian Ezequiel Revolution respectively), who then returned to their own countries to help start the Jesus Revolution there. Certainly, Peru proved extremely fruitful from the very beginning, as the Peruvians began to make “disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) assisting in our witness throughout South America.

By mid-1973, about a year after the first team had arrived, Singing Sam and his team passed through Lima on their way further south and were able to re-inspire and strengthen the church there. They took Mattaniah and Katrina on with them to help begin the pioneering of Argentina, while Jonathan Archer and his wife, Trust, remained in Lima to carry on the Peruvian work. During this period many of the catacombs disciples began to join, and they also gained an important sponsor, a local meat-industry tycoon who began to help support the work there.

Later this year, Peru became our base for the northern half of the continent. The litnessing and music outreaches were stepped up, teams were sent out to start colonies in Trujillo, Arequipa, Cuzco and Bolivia, and we acquired new and better housing in some of the nicer areas of Lima.

By the first quarter of 1974, Jonathan and team continued to make steady progress. Towards the end of the year, however, there began to be trouble, as some of the colonies were raided by the federal police and several brethren were deported. This caused us to decide to send Katrina back from Argentina on Christmas day to help Jonathan and team In Lima, since she was an old Peru veteran, having lived there as a child as well. They soon mounted a concerted campaign to foster good will. During this time they visited scores of prisons, schools and hospitals, and through these visits, favorably impressed many government officials.

They sang at a religious festival for the archbishop of Lima, an encounter that came out on the front page of a Lima paper, photograph and all. It was also during this period that they met and witnessed to Augusto Zimmerman, General Velasco’s press secretary and a famous Latin American personality, who became a friend and protector of the team for several months. He visited the colony on more than one occasion and had Katrina and Jonathan over to the presidential palace as well. All these efforts paid off and the work was able to continue to function without any further serious incidents, thank the Lord!

In the last quarter of 1975, Emanuele, Rachel, Katrina, and Cephas arrived in Lima and had quite a time witnessing to several upper-class families, many of whom were Emanuele’s relatives. It was at this point that they were able to win two of his cousins, Luis Manuel and Javier, who were brothers from one of Lima’s most influential families. They soon “forsook all” and returned to Europe with Emanuele, while Cephas, along with Shaul and Abiah, began to reorganize the Peruvian work and get ready for a brand-new witnessing adventure in the Land of the Incas.

The next period of Peru’s history saw increasingly dramatic action as Faithy and team soon set up shop, as did Jethro, Deb and crew, and Lima became the Children of God headquarters for Latin America. Faithy and others were able to launch a witnessing campaign that reached to the highest circles of the country and beyond.

One of the major accomplishments of this era was Faithy’s winning of Peruvian Juan Carlos, along with his wife Rosa and their children, who in turn, was able to witness to many of his friends and who would eventually co-shepherd the Latin American work. It was during this time also that Faithy was able to gather some of South America’s best musicians and singers, among them Manases, Sam, Joash, Rebecca Rumba, and others, to record a popular record and eventual LP, “Todos Pueden Ser Felices” [Everyone Can Be Happy]. A show group was put together which began doing a series of live performances to thousands throughout the country, and the “Niños de Dios” became known practically everywhere.

One of the biggest impacts of all was a children’s show comprising Jethro’s, Sam’s and Juan Carlos’ children. They began recording their own songs and were the prime attraction at every live performance, starring on a number of TV shows and receiving oodles of favorable publicity in the local press. They were also instrumental in winning the hearts of many top people in the country, including the then First Lady, for whom they performed live at a large orphanage. The group even went international, touring Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and finally Venezuela, where they did a series of TV shows and even sang for that country’s congress.

MEXICO (1971–1977)

This great country received an ample witness from the Children of God, starting as early as 1971 when Eve and Aaron made some short witnessing trips to the northern areas of Mexico. Later, in May of 1972, our first major team of pioneers traveled there from Florida and on through Dallas (Watchman, Julia, Titus, Proverbs, Jeremiah, Rebecca, Hukkok and Joanna, among others) to establish a beachhead near Mexico City and begin receiving the hundreds of brethren traveling south from the US in accordance with the just-released Letter “The Great Escape” (ML #160). We landed first in Cuernavaca, where Mexican-American Abishag along with his wife Abishai and his team, had a small colony. The Lord had already given us two very good Mexican leaders at that time, Emmor and Agustin, who were a real help in getting things established there.

Almost immediately the Lord provided us with a large walled hacienda up in the mountains of Toluca about 50 miles from Mexico City, and it soon filled up with well over 100 brethren traveling through en route southward. We established a base there, along with a print shop and orientation centre for newcomers and also began sending out road teams from there to witness in population centers such as Mazatlan, Veracruz, Tampico, etc. Also during this period we produced Latin America’s first “recruiting” film on the old Sony reel-to-reel black and white videos, which was circulated throughout colonies in the US and served to give many more brethren the vision to come help us in the lands of the south.

In the meantime we acquired a nice large house in Mexico City itself, which acted as a base and PR center, while we also operated a coffeehouse storefront affair near the famous “Zona Rosa” of downtown Mexico City, which was lent to us by a favorable lady who also operated a restaurant there. Another well-to-do contact gave us the use of a nice apartment in the stylish “Lomas” area of the city, and we began to have quite an operation there as the Children of God population of Mexico City and the surrounding area steadily grew, as more and more brethren travelled from the States and the number of our local disciples also grew. In addition, this period saw the sending of more teams to various other parts of Mexico, such as Guadalajara, Oaxaca, Merida, etc. Mexico became the base for our pioneering of Central America, and it wasn’t long before our first team left by land to open a beachhead in Costa Rica. As time went on, our witnessing activities in Mexico City began to pay off in other areas and we started to receive our first favorable newspaper and magazine articles.

Certainly one of our most memorable moments of our early pioneering days was in Merida, a Mexican city on the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. I was returning to Merida from a meeting in Puerto Rico, to help the brethren in that city strengthen their witnessing efforts and also to have a meeting with two other road teams who were converging there temporarily, on their way to Guatemala and Belize. To make a long story short, a problem had arisen over a young lady of 22 years who had been visiting the colony regularly for Bible studies and had recently voiced her desire to her parents of joining the COG. This didn’t go over too well with her family, who were fairly powerful and influential in that area (her uncle was the chief of police of Merida).

Upon arriving, I attempted to defuse the situation with her family as well as bolster our image among the local community. Alas—it was too little too late. In the two days that followed, we were first raided by the local police, jailed by over forty members of the Merida police force, had our borrowed beach-house ransacked and burned to the ground, were robbed of one of our vehicles and all our money, ID and valuables, and were spread all over the front page of the local papers as hippies and deranged drug addicts (with captions bearing our names under file photos of stoned hippies at a rock concert in California), and finally deported under armed guard by a busload of government troops. Naturally, the whole affair underscored a couple of basic lessons which we found extremely important in our continued pioneering of Latin America.

After this, open litnessing in Mexico City and some other major areas was curtailed, while more emphasis was put on personal witnessing and winning. This period proved fairly fruitful in some respects and some good disciples were won and grounded in the Word. Huram and Bileam shepherded Mexico during much of this period (1973–1975) and were assisted by other good couples such as Boaz and Kidron, Makkedah and Teth, Zerah and Beth, Job and Tekoa, and single brother Servant, along with quite a few others.

Then in December of 1975, Katrina and I returned to Mexico with a burning desire to re-pioneer and reach this country through the music ministry. After working with Nathan and Phoenice to help reorganize the country and begin a new printing campaign of full-length Letters for street distribution, we promptly began to organize a small singing group which made its debut by winning a televised Talent Show at Mexico’s major TV studios, TELEVISA. Soon afterward we met one of Mexico’s most famous comedians with his newly formed production company, and shortly afterwards we recorded our first record in Mexico’s most prestigious recording studios.

Shortly before this, Solomon Costa Rican had joined us and proved to be a key in witnessing to the upper-class Mexican youth, who proved supportive of our message and activities. He eventually witnessed to and married Lili, an up-and-coming young movie and TV actress from a wealthy family, who also became a singer and dancer in our show group. Hebreos, a former Mexican rock star, and his American wife Maggie, who had been helping Sam in Brazil, also joined us during this period and proved to be a tremendous help in our musical and vocal arrangements. Melody, a former opera student from California, arrived to help at this time, and her beautiful vocals were a great asset. Of course, dear Mexican Pedro had been a real help and strength since our first days back in the country and was one of the original show group pioneers.

During this period, Melody Records, Mexico’s most progressive recording company, “bought” our contract from Eduardo Manzano. We had started singing in the parks, squares and streets, and then continued on to radio shows, TV shows, theaters and live performances throughout the country. We continued recording, and Faithy and Juan were able to visit us for several weeks, which proved a big boost and blessing to our witnessing outreach! In addition to helping us polish up our act and assist in some of our recordings, Faithy’s witnessing had a terrific impact in the lives of many key and influential people to whom we were ministering. We continued an active ministry of reaching the Mexicans via the miracle of music for over a year.

Then in December 1977, a presidential order brought a close to our ministry as our colonies were ransacked and our brethren rounded up and imprisoned in a single day, and we were smeared throughout the country in the major papers. Through the help of an anointed and influential lawyer, the brethren were released and deported about two months later, ending the Children of God’s work in Mexico.

PUERTO RICO (1972–1978)

Through more than a decade of literally hundreds of brethren coming and going, scores of colonies, millions of pieces of literature distributed, several central offices, World Services units and oodles of mission activity, our work prospered on that lovely tropical isle. God bless the Puerto Ricans!

Early Children of God history began when Nahum Nailer and Jael, along with Jonathan and Trust, arrived in San Juan in the spring of ’72. They began witnessing on the beaches and in the parks, and soon won a dedicated Puerto Rican disciple, Jocabed, who went on to help pioneer the South American continent. Then by the summer of the same year, Amminadab and his Gypsy Band of Marsena, Micah Bear, Tertius (now Miguel Volunteer) and Pethuel made their debut in San Juan.

They began quite a musical explosion in the area and regularly filled the warm air of San Juan with the happy sounds of their Gypsy music. They soon acquired a large flat in Old San Juan and began performing in a local night club there, as well as in the streets, buses, parks, beaches, Lion’s Clubs, and eventually on the radio. They soon met Puerto Rican Danny at one of the main beaches there, a chronic heroin addict who got saved and delivered from drugs and added a lively tropical rhythm to the Gypsy Band beat with the addition of his conga drum. At the same time, their faithful witnessing won the hearts of local media, who responded with favorable front-page coverage in a couple of the Island’s largest papers.

During this period Singing Sam was also beginning to attract more helpers from the US to assist in the pioneering of South America, while he helped to establish Puerto Rico as a base. More workers continued arriving during this period, amongst them Jerry Crusader, who came in November, as Sam was in the final stages of preparing for the first team to go to Caracas, Venezuela. Late December, Sam left with the first team to Caracas.

After Sam’s departure, Puerto Rico continued as a base for brethren heading further south, and an orientation course was set up and operated for a time. Gibeah and Tamar helped with this, as did Rain and Rejoice, who came a couple of years later. By the following year our regional office set up shop in San Juan under the leadership of Corny and Shalom, and Puerto Rico became the major administrative and publications center for this side of the world. It was also during this trip that dear Carlos Translator was witnessed to by Faithy and he soon became a fulltime member. After Corny’s departure, Puerto Rico continued its function as a base for the Children of God.

VENEZUELA (1972–1978)

The pioneering of Venezuela began with a bang in 1972 when Sam and Marsena, along with their team of Micah Bear, Tertius, Jerry Crusader, and Puerto Rican Daniel arrived at the Caracas International Airport and promptly whipped out their instruments for an impromptu concert for scores of surprised but delighted onlookers. They wasted no time getting started, and the very day after their arrival they headed down to one of Caracas’ major parks and proceeded to steal the show onstage at a live concert that was taking place for several thousand people.

In Caracas they met up with Venezuelan Solomon and Zichri, two national disciples who’d joined the Children of God elsewhere and had arrived to assist in the pioneering of their country. They stayed intermittently at Solomon’s and Zichri’s homes while they hit the streets with their music and thus witnessed all over Caracas, going to beaches, parks, clubs, and churches. The Lord soon came through for them in a big way as they were featured on an extremely popular national TV show, “El Show de Lenny,” on which they were able to reach millions with their music and message.

During this period more help arrived by way of a second team, including Ruth Selah, Tirzah Joy and Magdalena (now Gypsy). The witnessing and singing continued unabated, even though there was still no permanent dwelling place for the team, which was con-tinuing to stay with friends. Finally, over three months after they arrived, the MO Letter “Maryknoll Fathers” came out, and by faith, Sam looked up the local chapter there. He was warmly received by an American Maryknoll priest who welcomed them into his church. They remained with him for a number of months and even started a “coffee shop” witnessing outreach in one of his large upstairs rooms in “Los Teques,” a small community outside Caracas. Meanwhile, Jerry and Micah ventured out to Merida, a large oil-producing city on Venezuela’s northwest coast, where they witnessed and sang in the town square for a number of days. However, Sam began to get itchy feet for the southernmost countries of the continent, and exactly six months after his initial arrival in Caracas, departed overland for Argentina and later Brazil.

Soon after Sam’s departure, much of his remaining team followed him down, while the Venezuelan work was left in the hands of the nationals under Zichri Sweet. They soon acquired permanent housing for the work there. Several teams were sent out, and soon we had bases in Maracaibo, Merida, Valencia, and other smaller cities. The Lord continued adding to the church with home-grown fruit and literature distribution flourished there under national leadership. The Venezuelan work continued to make good progress for the next couple of years.

ARGENTINA (1972–1978)

This expansive and strikingly beautiful country at the southernmost end of the South American continent has always held a special attraction and challenge for those with a desire to win the Latin Americans. Its uniquely European culture and heritage has set Argentina apart from the rest of the continent, and its nature as a frequent bellwether of Latin American nations has also produced some of our most fiery and dynamic disciples. These special qualities and characteristics have thus distinguished Argentina as a key field for winning Latin disciples whose drive and charisma equipped them for leadership in a unique and special way.

Argentina’s first pioneer was undoubtedly Manases, an Argentine musician who was won to the Children of God in Peru by our first team there. He soon had to return to Buenos Aires (November 1972) due to visa and family problems, and when he began witnessing to his parents regarding his newfound faith, they promptly had him committed to a mental institution. Several weeks of heavy medication and an intense program of shock treatments almost destroyed his memory and rendered him a veritable zombie. However, as the days passed the Lord began to restore his memory and soundness of mind, and he then launched his own all-out witnessing campaign among his friends and acquaintances. Applying his characteristic fire and fervor, his efforts were so effective that Sam and team were astounded to find upon their arrival in Argentina several months later (July 1973) that a full-fledged indigenous church was already in active operation, with ten young on-fire Argentine disciples actively witnessing, studying the Bible, and singing Children of God songs. Among these disciples were the brethren who proved to be the backbone of our initial Argentine work, including Jethro Slate, Sara, Haran and Pethuel, to name a few. The Revolution for Jesus in Argentina was already in full swing!

The first team of Sam, Marsena, Mattaniah and Shobai and, a few days later, Katrina and Kalita, began living at Sara’s mother’s house. The main emphasis at this point, besides daily witnessing, was the shepherding and teaching of the disciples who had joined. Also, about this time an emphasis was made on printing and distributing our literature in Spanish. Sam and team also appeared on a couple of local TV shows, which proved very fruitful not only in getting out the message but also in obtaining assistance for the work, as the local populace responded to the requests for help with scores of phone calls and many needed items. After several weeks, Sam made a trip to Brazil and brought back Tiago and Tabita (who had gone to Brazil to pioneer after joining in Europe) for a time of fellowship.

By this time, more than a couple of months had passed and everyone was still staying at Sara’s mother’s place, and there was no permanent location where the growing work could base out of. In desperation, Sam sent out a newsletter to local Catholic parishes explaining their work and plight and asking for a place to operate from. There was only one response—but it proved sufficient—and soon the entire team moved into a rundown parish on the outskirts of Buenos Aires at the invitation of a kind Argentine priest who became affectionately known by the team as “Padre Feliche.”

Here the work grew as the Argentine disciples were able to move in and began living-in fulltime. Various witnessing teams were sent out periodically to neighboring cities, and the Lord continued adding to the church as more young Argentines continued to join, such as Lucas (a former Hare Krishna) and Mario (later founder of the “Jardin del Cielo” music group). Other brethren from the US and Puerto Rico began arriving during this period also, among them Gibeah and Tamar, Reny and Boaz, and the population of the work there continued to grow. After several weeks Sam left again for Brazil with his first pioneer team and the work was left under the supervision of Gibeah, Tamar, Mattaniah and Katrina and eventually under Manases and Boaz. While more personnel began to filter into Brazil to support Sam’s efforts, pioneer teams were sent to the neighboring countries of Chile and Uruguay.

By the middle of 1974, shortly after the recording of the first Brazilian album, we began working with Manases and Boaz on reorganizing the work and looking for a better base in Buenos Aires. The Lord soon provided us with a spacious flat in a stylish residential area not far from downtown. From there we intensified our witnessing efforts and soon organized a theatrical-musical group, “El Viento Salvaje” [the Wild Wind], and we began doing shows in local clubs including a version of “The Phoenix” with a new musical score written entirely by Manases.

During this period we also got on a number of TV shows, and started witnessing to some important personalities who became very close to the team there, including the Argentine singer “Jeffrey” and a famous Argentine author, Juan Carlos. We continued Holy Ghost samples hundreds strong in the main square of Buenos Aires in the evenings, and through the winning of new Argentine disciples and the arrival of ever-more brethren from up north, the population of the Children of God in Argentina continued to increase. The government of Juan Peron, who was in power most of this time, was exceptionally tolerant of our activities. Litnessing and café singing also continued unabated in the Argentine capital, as it did with the other teams distributed throughout almost every major population center in the country.

By early 1975 the Argentine work was being overseen by Jubal and Cherith and Boaz and Remy. They continued making progress for several months, until the beginning of 1976, when the new military dictatorship (after Peron had died and his wife was deposed in a coup) raided our colonies and deported several brethren, even torturing one of our pregnant women. This of course forced the work underground, and our activities there continued on a more-or-less low-key basis. Nonetheless, various brave pioneers from the U.S. and Europe continued to filter into the country, some with amazing success. Jubal, Pethuel and Obed Buggs formed a musical group, “Harp,” which met with tremendous acceptance as they rode a wave of popularity, headlining in a popular night club, recording an album, and even advertising blue jeans! The Argentine group, “Jardin del Cielo,” was also busy performing and witnessing throughout this time.

BRAZIL (1973–1978)

This vast country, with a population of over 100 million and stretching over more land area than the continental United States, is like no other country on earth. Its combination of some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and extremes of poverty, a different language (Portuguese), and you can see this country presented seemingly insurmountable obstacles to our first little team of pioneers. But our little missionary band amazingly was able to break through with the power of the Lord’s music, while riding a dynamic wave of popularity!

This astounding episode in our history began to unfold in February of 1974 when Sam, after an initial visit to Brazil from Argentina a couple of months earlier to scout out the land and bring Tiago and Tabita back to Buenos Aires temporarily, finally arrived in Rio de Janeiro with his first small team.

As was their style in those days, they wasted no time in beginning their singing and witnessing anywhere and everywhere they could, from the famous beaches of Copacabana to the ancient trolley cars that cruised the rolling cobblestone streets of the romantic “Santa Teresa” district, a breeding ground for many of Brazil’s outstanding writers, poets and artists. It was there that they soon acquired an old house in the heart of this vintage neighborhood, a few short blocks from one of Rio’s most notorious red-light districts. While Danny and Jerry went on a witnessing trip to the northern capital city of Bahia, Sam and the rest of his crew continued their witnessing throughout the city.

When performing in a Rio park one day, they noticed an older gentleman watching and listening intently as they sang and played. He enthusiastically introduced himself as a music promoter, and said that he thought the material was great, and asked if they were interested in recording a record. They proceeded to go with him to a number of record companies, where they auditioned live and at one point even had a contract and pen shoved at them on the spot! They waited, however, and soon had Polydor, Brazil’s giant among record companies, interested in hearing a demo tape from them. When in the studio for their pilot record-ing, one of Brazil’s most prominent young producers, Fernando, wandered in and began listening with great interest as they went through a couple of numbers. He became so excited that he took over the controls from the individual who had been working the board and helped Sam and crew produce an inspired and lively demo tape with real spirit that had Polydor’s president banging his fist on his desk, demanding, “Why haven’t you signed them up yet?!?”—And sign them up they promptly did, and a recording date for the first LP was soon set.

The emphasis at this point was in picking and rehearsing songs for the recording, while calling in help from Argentina and elsewhere. By April, Manases arrived from Buenos Aires to play the lead (many of the most outstanding songs recorded were his compositions). We flew from Lima to assist in the organizational aspect of things, and the Santa Teresa house was buzzing with activity and excitement—and overflowing with personnel. Being aware of the anti-hippie stance of the Brazilian military government at this time, we began to realize that the combination of a houseful of not-so-clean-cut young people, and an abundance of noise and activity at all hours might attract the wrong kind of official attention. In an effort to avoid such a possibility, we had a meeting, suggesting that personal appearances be improved and that immediate efforts be made to improve relations with the local community and officials. However, it was too little too late.

The following morning at 7 A.M. we were abruptly awakened when the sheets were suddenly yanked off of us and we opened our eyes to look down the barrel of a gun, as a couple of burly men shouted orders in Portu-guese. Although we did not completely understand every detail of their instructions, the intent was clear enough, and we scrambled to put some clothes on as we could hear them pushing their way through the rest of the house, kicking open doors while shoving and occasionally striking some of the brethren. They soon had us lined up against the wall in the main corridor of the house, and as we looked closely at our tough-looking, heavily armed captors, we realized we had been raided by the D.O.P.S.--Brazil’s version of the FBI, well-known in those days of the military government for the “disappearing” of persons held in their custody. We were then hustled into paddy wagons, and with sirens screaming, we were whisked away to D.O.P.S. headquarters, an aging edifice that looked like a cross between a medieval dungeon and Dracula’s castle.

There we were separated and interrogated throughout the day by some of the most muscle-bound hulks we’d ever laid eyes on, who occasionally used gimmicks such as clicking the magazines of loaded revolvers close to our head to encourage us to overcome our inhibitions and talk more freely. By the late afternoon we were overjoyed to see the smiling face of our producer, Fernando, who finally succeeded in obtaining our temporary release, although we were tersely informed that we were under virtual house arrest while an investigation into our group continued. A couple of days later, while making a visit to the head of D.O.P.S. and trying to win his heart by telling him of the record we were producing to help the youth of his country, he curtly cut us off by remarking in a cold voice, “You won’t be here to record the record!” and then had us ushered out of his office.

Tension continued to mount as Tiago and Tertius were summed to D.O.P.S. headquarters the following day to be interrogated, as they were not able to finish questioning them the day that we were taken in. Since they had left early that morning, we were naturally concerned when by about 6 P.M. they still hadn’t returned. Upon going to D.O.P.S. to question their whereabouts, the response was less than assuring. “Who? They were never here!” Two days passed, then three and four, and still no word of their fate. The pressure continued to build, and every member of the team was forced to count the costs, fully aware that their continued presence could well cost them their lives. Some decided it wasn’t worth it—one young woman abruptly took a plane back to the US, and another team member left Rio for safer ground.

But among those who remained, a growing sense of unity and determination began to build as we stood together in a stand of faith that the Lord was going to do what He had promised and help us win the hearts of the Brazilian youth despite all the obstacles. A do-or-die camaraderie took hold as we refused to cancel the recording date and went ahead by faith to do our part so the Lord could do His.

The night of the first recording had arrived. It had been two weeks, and still no word from our brethren in bonds. Everyone piled into taxis and Fernando’s car and proceeded on to the studio as I remained at the house to do some reports. The scene at the studio was one of tense drama. Everyone was aware of the situation, from the technicians and musicians to pregnant Tabita and all our singers. Despite the pressure and the intense atmosphere, the songs were coming out beautifully as everyone sang with every bit of conviction they had. It truly sounded as though heavenly hosts were in the studio helping us through the choruses of Saint Francis’ prayer, “Senhor, Fazei de Mim” (Lord, Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace).

Back in the house, there was a knock on the door. As I went to see who it was, a rush of joy surged through me as I peered through the screen door onto the dimly-lit porch and recognized the shining faces of Tiago and Tertius, smiling broadly behind two-week-old beards! We embraced warmly and immediately summoned a taxi, as they quickly changed and cleaned up. On the way to the studio they explained how the Lord kept them through the ordeal, sparing them from the torture being inflicted on the prisoners around them, and even miraculously sparing the many souls that they were able to lead to the Lord. When we arrived at the studio, I walked in first to find the brethren almost tearfully listening to the heavenly-sounding playback of the song they had just recorded. As they looked up, rather surprised to see me there, I calmly announced, “I brought a couple of special guests to see you!” Tiago and Tertius then bounded through the door and the astonishment soon gave way to tearful embraces and joyful praises and dancing as the studio exploded into one fantastic victory celebration! We knew in the spirit it signified a gigantic triumph for the Lord and His plan.

In the days that followed, the recording was completed and soon released. No sooner had it hit the radios and the stores than it became a smashing hit, which had Polydor scrambling to reprint the album to keep up with the surging demand. The sounds of “Hallelujah!” and “Senhor, Fazei de Mim” could be heard across the AM and FM bands throughout the country day and night, as the popularity of “Os Meninos de Deus” [the Children of God] skyrocketed virtually overnight. The group was besieged with offers of TV shows and began to be featured on some of Brazil’s most popular national programs. Personal appearances began with acoustic performances and autograph-signing at record stores, and then eventually sound equipment was acquired and a band was put together for touring and concerts. The sequence of performances climaxed in December of that year at Brazil’s mammoth “Macarana” sports stadium, when the bend performed before a live audience of over 300,000 persons. Thus, 1974 ended with them riding high on a wave of popularity and receiving an award for being the “revelacion del ano” (revelation of the year) on one of the country’s most-viewed TV shows. What a year of miracles!

By 1975 the group was touring and doing lots of live performances while Polydor planned a second album, and Jeremy Spencer was brought over from Europe to help. The second album was recorded during the spring and released shortly after. The TV and radio shows continued, and the group moved from Rio to the huge bustling metropolis of Sao Paulo in order to further open up that city. Cephas had arrived in 1974 and was a real help in successfully pioneering Porto Alegre and other areas

The band did a special concert in Brasilia, the nation’s ultra-modern capital city. Then in November of 1975 they moved back to Rio, since this was the city that had originally received us and our message most enthusiastically. The band meanwhile signed a new record contract (CBS) and produced a new album, along with more TV shows. The band continued to perform regularly, but by this time the great wave of popularity had run its course, and there was never a resurgence of the group’s original prominence.

Meanwhile, the work in Brazil continued to grow as more brethren arrived from the States and other parts of Latin America, and the ranks of the local disciples kept increasing. Mathias Mountain had arrived in ‘74 to help Tiago and Tabita, and our population and activities in Brazil steadily grew. By the second half of 1978, a wave of bad publicity culminated in a national crackdown by the military government, resulting in several brethren being deported.

COLOMBIA (1973–1977)

The story begins in spring of 1973 when our first little team of Libertad, Titus, Little Foot and Canadian Justus flew from San José, Costa Rica, to Bogota as our little music group (two guitars, flute and bongo) sang and played in the back of a dilapidated turbo-prop plane of SAM airlines, a not-so-fancy Colombian airline which had given us 50% discounts. We landed in Bogota and rented a couple of rooms at an older, moderately-priced hotel where we rested for the first evening. The next day was pure magic as we awoke early and looked out upon the vast skyline of that enchanting capital as our hearts leaped within us in expectancy of the great miracles that we knew the Lord was going to accomplish. After prayer, we received prophecies that the Lord was going to open doors that no man could shut through our witness. We all felt the presence of the Lord in a very strong and exciting way!

The day continued to be eventful and fruitful as we visited a Catholic priest who ran a large social government agency. He received us with open arms, pledging his help in the way of a base of operations, and even monthly financial help! We then did a series of presentations for various groups of nuns and clergy, all of whom received us warmly and offered their support. We spent the rest of the day singing and witnessing throughout Bogota, finally in a central park where hundreds of fascinated onlookers pressed in to get a closer view as we played, sang and witnessed with all we had within us. As the day drew to a close, we enjoyed a donated dinner by candlelight in a nice restaurant, all aglow with that wonderful feeling the Lord gives you when you know you’re in the center of His will and doing your best for Him.

We won our first catacomb disciple during our very first week, Edgar, who we found out later was a son of one of Colombia’s most influential senators. It was in the course of our first week also that we obtained what was to become our base of operations for months to come, a large, ancient parish on the south side of the city under the care of a very staunchly Catholic, precious priest, Padre Escobar, who became a steadfast friend and supporter. Within days, he turned over the huge top floor of his main building with its score of rooms for our exclusive use, and we eventually even began singing at the masses.

During our first week we also met a very influential Jesuit priest, Father Javier, a short, bearded, jovial man in his late 40s, who was quite well known in Catholic circles throughout Latin America for his characteristically unconventional behavior. We were right up his alley, living the way he always felt true Catholics should, and he soon became a very close friend and supporter. He helped open many important doors for us through his connections, as the Jesuits are quite a powerful force in Colombia, being somewhat of a “Vanguard of the Vatican.” He frequented the parish regularly and we soon became accustomed to hearing his familiar exclamation, “Ah, Los Niños de Dios! [The Children of God!] Wonderful! Wonderful!”

Our witnessing in the parks and streets continued at high pitch, and we were soon on a couple of TV shows that had Padre Escobar excited, as the phone in his parish was ringing off the wall for the first time in history! Favorable articles followed in the major newspapers, along with a feature article in Colombia’s most popular weekly magazine, featuring among other things, a large photo of us singing on the front steps of Colombia’s most famous edifice, the Avianca building, surrounded by hundreds of onlookers. More help also arrived during this time, including Boaz Bolivar, Colombian Jonathan Nubes—who had joined in New York City and Ezequiel Revolucion, a former communist anarchist who had been won to the Lord by our first team in Peru. We also began witnessing to a popular local Colombian TV star and cosmopolitan playboy who got saved at the parish and started getting very close to the team there, along with his French wife. We also began to win our first Colombian disciples, including Paloma, who later married our Brazilian producer Fernando.

All was well until one day when Edgar came running up to me, excitedly exclaiming that his mother was coming to see me and was very upset since he had just told her that he wanted to join the Children of God full-time. I didn’t become overly concerned at this point, since we had no idea who Edgar’s mother was, and since he was a mild-mannered, acne-faced young man with a burr haircut, I had no indication that his mother was anybody special. However, a few minutes later when a chauffeur-driven Mercedes with government plates came screeching up to the parish and this elegantly dressed and bejeweled woman briskly stepped out and walked towards me with a mean look in her eye, I asked Edgar the natural question, “Who is your mother?” He calmly replied, “A senator.” Not just any senator, but one of Colombia’s most powerful and well-known political figures! She went on to threaten us, vowing to have us thrown out of the country by the end of the week. It was the beginning of what was to be a battle royal.

In the days that followed, the D.A.S. (Colombia’s Federal Police) were at our door constantly, sitting in on our classes, and they finally hauled us all into headquarters to cancel our visas and deport us. Our Catholic friends, led by Father Javier, the Jesuit priest, went to bat for us, using every means at their disposal, and finally obtained a 30-day “grace” extension at the very last minute. A long battle then ensued that found us and our Catholic friends going from government ministry to government ministry and from the cardinal’s office to Immigrations, constantly bumping into Edgar’s mother and her forces in what was always a neck-and-neck battle and a real cliff-hanger. Again we were taken down to D.A.S. headquarters for deportation, and again at the last minute we obtained another 30-day extension as we desperately fought to remain in the country.

Throughout this raging controversy we had been attempting to obtain an audience with Colombia’s cardinal, as we knew he held the balance of power and was able to resolve the situation if we won his heart. Edgar’s mother was also working feverishly for a personal interview with him, but he steadfastly refused both of us, not wanting to become embroiled in this stormy affair. Our last 30-day extension was rapidly coming to a close, and we prayed desperately for a miracle—and then the break came! A Catholic friend of ours suddenly phoned us to ask if we could perform at a religious festival that afternoon, honoring one of Colombia’s patron saints, since the military band that was going to perform had suddenly cancelled. He impressed upon us the tremendous opportunity this presented, since the festival was to be presided over by the cardinal himself! Imagine our excitement as we hur-riedly accepted, and, with a prayer on our lips, boarded the transportation that our grateful friend had provided to take us to the top of a mountain overlooking the city where the large church was located that was to be the site of the festival.

We took our places on the platform in front of the hundreds of onlookers, officials and journalists present, and in a few minutes the cardinal’s motorcade drover up, and he stepped out of the limousine, and, accompanied by several aides, made his way through throngs of well-wishers to the podium at the center of the platform. Our friend who had invited us, who was also acting as master of ceremonies, took the mike and began by thanking the cardinal for his presence at the festivities, introduced several prominent personalities who were present, and then turned to us, thanking the “Niños de Dios” for making such a sacrifice to come and provide our beautiful music. As soon as he uttered that name, the cardinal suddenly wheeled around to look at us, and for an awkward moment stood staring at us, speechless, as we smiled back. It was then time for him to commence his speech, and he merely stuttered for a moment, looked at us again, and then spun on his heel and briskly walked into a side room behind the podium with a couple of aides closely following, while murmurs began to rumble throughout the stunned crowds! Our startled friend finally regained his composure and announced that the Niños de Dios were going to fill in with a song. We broke into a rendition of “Tienes que ser un Niño” (You Gotta Be a Baby), all the while desperately praying for the Lord to take over the situation and bring a victory out of it all.

As soon as the song was finished, the cardinal returned to the podium and began his speech. It turned out to be a very inspired talk on total dedication to the Lord, taking up your cross to follow, and he went on to emphasize that one must become a child in order to enter the kingdom of heaven! We really felt the Lord’s Spirit fall, and soon a golden ray of sun burst through the clouds behind the mountains on the opposite side of the valley, bathing the entire scene in a beautiful amber light. Upon finishing his talk, he turned towards us and, smiling warmly, thanked us for coming and sharing our Christian music. He then began blessing the crowd after communion and made a special effort to push through the throngs to where we were and give us his blessing.

As we excitedly began to regroup with Javier and our other friends after the festival broke up, we were suddenly interrupted by an official-looking gentleman who said that the cardinal was in a private ballroom in the church and wanted to see us personally! Then, in a scene somewhat reminiscent of the papal audience in the movie “Brother Sun,” we were received into his presence amid the surprised stares of other church officials present as he warmly chatted with us about our goals, message and methods. We eventually bid a fond farewell and went away rejoicing that the Lord had so marvelously fulfilled His promise to “turn the hearts of the rulers of that land towards His children.” Praise the Lord!

Things began to change in our favor shortly after that, and a few weeks later we were all granted residence visas to continue our work! We also learned that the cardinal did finally receive Edgar’s mother for an audience, and rather than heed her accusations against us, talked to her about her deficiencies in being a good mother which caused her son to turn to drugs in the first place! This still didn’t convince her to allow Edgar to join the Children of God, though, and soon he ran away from her in desperation. In a state of depression one night after her son’s departure she happened onto the movie “Brother Sun,” with which she completely identified, and had a miraculous change of heart! She soon showed up at our colony door with a basketful of food, asking forgiveness for her past actions, explaining her new change of heart, and saying that if we could find her son he was welcome to join. Edgar eventually did show up and join and his mother became a faithful monthly supporter of our work!

While all this was going on, the work had continued progressing in other areas with an emphasis on literature distribution, and new teams were sent out to various other Colombian cities such as Medellin, Barranquilla and Cali, to name a few. Ecuador’s first pioneer team was sent off during this time, and Colombia soon became the main base for northern South America. In Bogota we moved out of the parish into a nice house in the northern area of the city, and through a combination of incoming brethren and a steady influx of new local disciples, our numbers in Colombia continued to increase. There was a strong Marxist sentiment among the Colombian youth at this point, which would sometimes prompt some fiery public debates in our witnessing, but the Lord even gave us a couple of revolutionary ballads to witness to these individuals, and we began to win an increasing number of converts from this class.

Boaz Bolivar and Libertad became shepherds in 1974, assisted by our national leaders, Ezequiel and Jonathan, and the work there continued to prosper as our witnessing efforts grew throughout the country. Eventually Ebed and Leah arrived to help out in 1975, and the work continued to grow with the addition of ever-more Colombian disciples.

In 1977, however, there was persecution and a wave of bad publicity. By the end of the year, the “powers that be” began to officially crack down on our activities there, resulting in an exodus of foreign brethren and diminishing of our work.

COSTA RICA (1972–1978)

The story of our work here begins in the fall of 1972 as our small pioneer team of myself, Jeremiah Bolivar and Dabiseth, journeyed from Mexico City to San José, Costa Rica’s capital, in our tiny Karmann Ghia sports coupe. The ride through Central America’s lush jungle was exciting! Our first major adventure was upon travelling out of San Salvador as we stopped to ask directions to the road that would take us to the border of Honduras, the next country we were to cross on our journey south. We followed the instructions given, but began to have a few misgivings as the road gradually deteriorated until it became nearly nonnegotiable. Upon arriving at the little border town on the San Salvador side, we approached a small immigrations stand and asked the two soldiers on duty there to stamp our passports so that we could leave the country. They first stared at us in disbelief, and then began to laugh as they explained that we had arrived at a closed border that had been the scene of bloody fighting in the infamous El Salvador–Honduras Soccer War three years earlier. They went on to explain that no one had attempted to cross that border since then, save one carload of United Nations officials who were fired upon, and one British motorcyclist who was shot dead!

The thought of returning over that terrible road we had just struggled over for the past two hours seemed hard to swallow, so with a wave of the hand and a classic statement, “The Children of God don’t go back, they go forward!” we proceeded to have the border guards stamp our passports. The guards obliged, and the word soon spread in this little village that these crazy foreigners were going to attempt to cross the forbidden border, bringing quite a crowd of spectators, who began to line both sides of the highway. A group of local youth showed their enthusiasm by proceeding to remove boulders that blocked the road, and we drove slowly past an abandoned customs building on into “no-man’s land.”

Immediately on the other side, the highway condition improved dramatically. A few moments later, however, the bushes on both sides of the highway began to shake violently and a dozen heavily armed green-bereted troops complete with gun belts, grenades and automatic weapons came running toward the car as we screeched to a halt. The apparent leader of the group placed the barrel of his machine gun squarely against my temple, and without altering my head position I nervously suggested to Jeremiah that he say something to help the situation. He began to stutter excitedly, blurting out some half-intelligible statement about us being tourists, etc. He was abruptly silenced by the commander, who began shouting something to the effect that if we immediately turned around and headed back, they might spare our lives. At this point we felt it best to oblige––bad road and all––and cautiously backed up and proceeded ever so slowly toward the Salvadorian border, praying earnestly that a hail of hot lead would not come ripping through the back of the car.

As we pulled back into the El Salvadorian side, it didn’t take us long to realize that our venture had suddenly catapulted us to the status of national heroes, as the townspeople began to wildly cheer and run alongside our car. Taking advantage of our newly-acquired prestige in the local community, we promptly whipped out our guitar and proceeded to sing and witness to the sizeable crowd that had gathered, who very appreciatively and attentively listened to and received our songs and message. Many received the Lord, and as night was beginning to fall, one of the ladies of this humble village invited us for a home-cooked dinner in her house. We happily obliged, and with a score of local children gathered at our feet, ate and shared our faith with these precious people. We then bade them farewell and headed back towards the capital city of San Salvador, rejoicing that our little excursion had actually borne some fruit for His kingdom.

Later that evening, upon finally locating a crossable border, we proceeded on through the dense jungles of Honduras, following a dark winding road that led through the thick vegetation of that Central American rain forest. We soon came upon the Honduras capital of Tegucigalpa and immediately noticed that there appeared to be a state of siege in progress, since soldiers and military vehicles seemed to be everywhere.

We were soon halted by a group of soldiers manning a road block, who sternly commanded us to present the documents of the car along with my driver’s license. I smiled and confidently reached towards my back right pocket to retrieve my wallet, which contained the desired documents. The smile suddenly faded as my hand reached my empty pocket only to discover that my wallet was gone! I vainly tried to manage another smile with the words, “un momento” (one moment), as we began to desperately rummage through the car seeking my lost wallet. A couple of minutes had elapsed and the situation was quickly growing tense as more soldiers circled the car, nervously fingering the triggers of their weapons and shifting impatiently. By this time we were outside the car, desperately going through the trunk, pulling up the floormats, and even looking through the engine compartment. The ranking guard suddenly stepped forward and tersely informed us that they were taking us to headquarters since we had failed to produce the required documents. We immediately began begging for mercy, knowing that being interned under martial law in Honduras would, in all probability, be a lengthy and intensely unpleasant affair. As we pleaded with the soldiers, I suddenly recalled our little stop on the side of the road earlier, realizing that my wallet must have fallen out when I was sliding in and out of the car! We finally convinced them to let us go back to look for my wallet, to which they grudgingly agreed, warning us all the while that they’d be waiting for us.

As we headed back down that dark, narrow jungle road, the virtual impossibility of finding a 4 x 6-inch piece of leather in the middle of the night on an unknown and virtually unmarked highway was daunting. We had no idea where we’d stopped, no landmarks to go by, and every curve in the road looked the same. Still, we had no other alternative but to try, so we continued on and prayed for a miracle. Suddenly as we passed a vaguely familiar curve, we got a distinct impression that we should turn around. We did so, and there on the road, clearly visible in the reflection of our headlights, lay my wallet! We let out a shout of joy as I quickly retrieved it and checked its contents, and then we proceeded back down the road towards the roadblock. True to their word, the same soldiers were waiting there for us as we drove up and happily presented our papers. We even pulled out the guitar again and shared a few songs with them, much to their delight, and they warmly bade us farewell as we continued our journey towards Costa Rica!

Arriving in San José a day later, we fell in love with the country, as the delightful climate and beautiful green mountains surrounding that quaint capital city of 700,000 (1972) gave it a uniquely enchanting air. We soon met Don Guillermo, Jeremiah’s father, a wonderful man who was destined to become a central figure in our progress, not only in Costa Rica, but throughout Latin America. One of the country’s most famous and well-loved lawyers, he is known as the father of Costa Rica’s Penal Code, one of the most advanced and progressive in Latin America. The author of numerous books, he is revered throughout the region as one of the most outstanding reformists of the criminal and social law of his time. He provided us with a nice, furnished three-bedroom house for our permanent use as well as office space in his new six-story building in downtown San José. He also introduced us to a number of important contacts, which proved to be extremely helpful.

One of the main highlights of our first weeks there was when Don Guillermo took us to Costa Rica’s beautiful presidential residence on a hill overlooking the city for a personal meeting with the country’s first lady, Doña Karen, an attractive, intelligent, and outgoing American-born woman in her late 40s. She warmly received us and showed an immediate interest in our plan to help Costa Rican youth with the Jesus Revo-lution, and after listening intently to one of our songs, she enthusiastically exclaimed, “This may be the answer!” She then said to herself out loud, “What we need now is money!” She went on to pledge her help and asked us to come by her office at the presidential palace the following day to pick up two letters on her official letterhead; one to the president of Costa Rica’s national airline, soliciting free passage for the next team from Mexico City, and another directed to one of Costa Rica’s most prominent millionaires, requesting financial assistance and his help in obtaining a locale to use as a youth club in the center of the city. She also introduced us to Costa Rica’s then president, a popular hero of Costa Rica’s war with Nicaragua, dubbed “Don Pepe” by his countrymen.

The rest of our first week there we met with some top personalities of the country and also began hitting the streets, singing and witnessing to get a taste of the local youth. Our efforts in this respect were rewarded immediately, as we met a young man who eventually became one of our first Costa Rican disciples, Solomon. We were also able to do a number of TV and radio shows, which proved fruitful in getting out the message as well as meeting people who assisted us in furthering the work.

Cephas and Corny soon arrived, and Costa Rica became the base for our push further south. We soon obtained a nice club-coffee house in an upper flat of a choice section of San José, which soon began to be packed with local youth every night as the sound of our music flooded the streets below. Our Holy Ghost samples and skits in San José’s main square became a frequent affair, attracting hundreds of onlookers, and the local press began to give us favorable coverage––one political cartoon showing a gallant youth titled, “Niños de Dios” slaying a bear titled “Drogas” (Drugs), while rescuing another youth from its claws with the caption, “Juventud de Costa Rica” (Youth of Costa Rica!).

During this period the work rapidly expanded as we acquired more locations in the San José area and more brethren continued arriving from the States and Mexico. Joash, Jabesh and Rainbow of the “Heartcry” band were among the first, along with Boaz and Libertad, Jonathan and Trust, and others. More local disciples began to join our ranks as well. Around this time we also launched our campaign of visiting Costa Rica’s prisons, a program vigorously supported by Doña Karen. With the Heartcry band and their sound equipment, we toured some of Costa Rica’s most notorious detention centers, and many souls were saved in the process.

Not long afterwards, our first team left for Colombia. The Costa Rican work continued to flourish, and under the leadership of Eli and Eva along with Libertad, there was a dramatic influx of national disciples at a large colony in the San Pedro area, where the population of the house would sometimes soar past the 80 mark. This was a period of expansion and action, and during 1975, under Israel and Genny’s shepherding, teams were formed, composed largely of Costa Rican disciples, and sent out to surrounding Central American countries such as Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador.

This was also a time of major media throughout Central America headed up by Solomon Costa Rica, who led a campaign of TV shows, school visitations and COG discos throughout Costa Rica and several Central American countries.

CHILE (1972–1978)

The first Chilean pioneer was indisputably Rama, a national who had been won by our first team in Peru and soon was obliged to return to straighten out his papers. While in Chile he began his own little witnessing outreach, winning his wife, Rut, along with David Amor, another of our first national disciples there.

While there, the bloody coup that toppled Allende took place, and the team departed to Argentina. Soon afterwards a team was sent back to Chile from Argentina, composed of Mattaniah, Katrina, David Amor and Francisco, who returned to Santiago a scant two months after the coup. Those were dangerous times, as the repressive military government continued its mopping-up exercises, and one day Matt and David were hauled around blindfolded at gunpoint until they were finally released unharmed. Nonetheless, they continued a fruitful witnessing effort in the Viña del Mar area, a coastal resort near Santiago, where they were able to win some additional Chilean disciples. A few months later they left due to the dangerous situation which existed in the country at that time, and they packed up and returned to Argentina, bringing their new disciples with them.

The next witnessing effort into Chile was in the spring of 1975 when I travelled with Jonathan Archer from Buenos Aires, armed with a number of official and private contacts in an effort to help open up the country to more concentrated witnessing activities. Don Guillermo (see Costa Rican story) was there with Jeremiah at that time, attending an international penal conference which the military government was hosting to bolster its image. This was still less than a year after the coup and an atmosphere of fear and repression was still prevalent, making most officials unwilling to do anything that varied the least bit from the norm. Consequently, as Don Guillermo introduced us to various officials present at the conference, we were less-than-enthusiastically received.

The local president of Polydor records was very willing to assist us at this point, as the band in Brazil was approaching their height of popularity (on the Polydor label) and he was interested in our idea of bringing in a group to record and perform there. He did his best to help us, and even gave us his recommendation to a high-ranking colonel that took us to the very center of Pinochet’s military headquarters. But we eventually ran into another stone wall.

I ended up staying with David Amor and witnessing to many of his family and friends, where I learned more of the sad tale of suffering of the Chilean people. I was also able to attend a concert of the Chilean folk group “Los Jaivas,” who had been exiled during the coup but were let back in for this one performance at a seedy, rat-infested auditorium in the worst part of Santiago, while the police bullied the young people in attendance, occasionally dragging individuals out of the crowd and beating them. It was a heart-breaking scene. At the end of the concert, the group launched into a beautiful song extolling brotherly love that used to be the youth’s theme song in the days of Allende, “Seamos Amigos, Seamos Hermanos” (Let’s be Friends, Let’s be Brothers), and the entire auditorium rose to their feet and began singing in unison as the police stood back and seemed temporarily stunned by the authority and unity with which they sang, many actually raising outstretched hands over their heads. The air was electric and the experience was overwhelming.

Later that evening we received two songs for the youth of Chile. One, a weeping prophecy called the “Balada de Chile” (Ballad of Chile), where the Lord said He loved His children there enough to die again to save them if need be, and a happier song, “Oye, Mi Hermano” (Listen, My Brother), which came with the thought that the Lord was indeed going to come to the rescue of the youth of Chile and help us give them the answer, Jesus, despite seemingly insurmountable odds.

After our visit, Chile was host to a few small teams, but it was considered unsafe for missionaries all the way up to 1978. Later that year a few teams began to venture forth into Chile, including a team composed of Peruvians Manuel and Rosa, along with her children Mikol and Anim. They set up in Reñaca, a resort-suburb of Viña del Mar where they remained several months, witnessing with the children. Zichri and team also came to Chile about this time, where they remained and witnessed, as did others.

  1. Catacombs disciples are those who would have liked to join the Children of God full-time, but for reasons of age or other obligations, were unable to do so.
  2. When the Children of God first started, the only means of income were donations from sponsors, and new disciples giving what they had to the colony they joined. The COG also gave Mo Letters to those they witnessed to, but in the early 1970s a few COG members started asking for donations for the Letters as they distributed them. This would become one of the COG’s methods of raising support, which became known as “litnessing”: witnessing with literature.
  3. Luke 14:33.
  4. Informal live musical performances as a witness of the free Holy Spirit and to reach a wide audience, mostly done outdoors (in parks, on walking streets, etc.).
  5. Luke 14:28.