I was five or maybe six when we first started evangelizing in a small trailer. I remember how tense things would get when it was time to get ready for church. We would have to climb up on the bed and be very quiet and still while dad would get ready for church. We often gotten trouble for not being quiet enough or still enough. Once dad was out of the trailer, mom would get me ready and send me to him, then get my sister and herself ready. I later discovered the reason for this was because the trailer was too small for more than one person to move around at once. This is the same reason we were allowed only two or three toys each.
Evangelizing meant lots and lots of church, everywhere, all the time. I heard my parents stressing over offerings that were not big enough to take care of our family. I heard conversations where dad got reprimanded for something he preached at a church. Once my bike was stolen when we were parked outside of the church. I never got it back.
Homeschooling while living that lifestyle was the worst ever! I can recall mom being so frustrated trying to teach me that she would send me inside the church, where my dad would be studying, in some area that the pastor had allowed him to use. He would try to teach me, but without fail, it would end up with him yelling at me, and then I would be too anxious to think straight. Although I later found out that I was fairly intelligent, I sure didn’t feel it during those times!
Eventually we ended up parked for several months outside a family member’s church in a different state. This family member pastored what, at the time, seem like a fairly large UPC church. I remember being babysat by a couple of teenage girls in the church. It was funny because the girls would spell things to each other, thinking that they were talking above our heads, not realizing that I very well knew how to spell those words. They were often talking about the pastor’s sons and their romantic involvement with them. It was not a very positive conversation.
At one point, this church ran a huge campaign on a college campus in that city. The campaign was to advertise a series of services they were planning to have, to expose the rock music agenda. I remember being terrified during those services as rock songs were played backwards to reveal secret messages, and fearful language was used to “bring conviction”. The place was packed out, but I don’t remember what the results of the services were. I do remember being terrified, and standing with my mom in the back, and then my mother taking us out, because the content was too scary for us. I appreciate her doing that.
There were a lot of private adult conversations that went on during that time, and I was vaguely aware of unrest. I never figured out the gist of those conversations. Abruptly, we left, and my dad took the pastorate of another small church.
At this new church they had a tradition of singing happy birthday every Sunday morning to all the people who had birthdays, and singing to all the people who were having anniversaries. Oddly enough, the anniversary song was “When the Battle’s Over, We Shall Wear a Crown”. I remember thinking that marriage must be really difficult.
We did not stay at this location very long. Again, I was too small to know all the details, but apparently my dad “butted heads ” with some of the older people in the church and was either asked to leave, or realized it was best to leave. We were again evangelizing, homeschooling, and experiencing family stress. We were in church services constantly.