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JC History 1981 - 1996.


Printed below is a brief history of some of our community activities from 1981 to 1996.

1981

Through the year, Dave, Cherry, Kev, Sheri, Gary, & Christine distributed tracts in Melbourne. Neville Williams joined them early in the year, and Ross joined them in a little farmhouse in Tallangatta in late 1981.

1982

Early in 1982 Robin, Roland, and Malcolm joined the group, along with a handful of other people who stayed only for a few weeks. Because of overcrowding and the cold weather we moved north to Rappville (near Casino). Boyd joined in September, shortly before we took our first faith walk, in October.

1983

We started a free work offer in Casino early in1983. When we ran out of jobs, we started a 2nd base in Lewisham (Sydney). This team super-glued $1 notes to Martin Place, spelling out "TRUST GOD, NOT MONEY". They were arrested for defacing a footpath. We refused to pay the fines. Instead, we threw the money away to the general public and went to jail for not paying the fine. Late in the year, we all moved to Paddington. We had over 100 calls for free work after an article in the Sydney Telegraph. At Christmas we painted a mural over graffiti in the Devonshire St. railway tunnel. We were arrested, but the charges were all dismissed as being too trivial.

1984

In March we sent Dave, Cherry, Gary, and Christine to Bangalore, where they met Liz & Rachel. Later in the year Kev painted a mural on the village toilet block and others taught English and cleaned drains. When Dave & Cherry returned to Australia, they took a job as houseparents at a St. Vincent de Paul boys' home in Petersham (Sydney). In July, Boyd & Sheri were arrested for burning money (less than $10) as a demonstration against greed (idolatry) in Wollongong. Amnesty International and the Council for Civil Liberties came to their aid, and Boyd was freed from Long Bay Jail after spending a month in maximum security.

1985

In January/February we super-glued $2 notes (with messages on them about greed) in front of post offices around Victoria and NSW. About the same time, we closed down the Bangalore base and the team there returned with Liz & Rachel on tourist visas.

Free work was offered to people in Wollongong in March, and we started the newsletter in the same month. Boyd & Sheri had their convictions overturned for burning money. The judge said police action against them was criminal, and ordered the police to pay all our court costs.

Boyd, Sheri, & Robin appeared on the Ray Martin Show on April 9, promoting free work in Wollongong, and Boyd & Sheri were married four days later.

The Nullarbor walk, a 1,000-mile march through one of the most remote areas of the world, without taking any food, water, extra clothing, radio, or support vehicle, was in May/June. It was a great success, and attracted media attention from all over the world. After the walk Malcolom left the group. In June, Kev won the IYY Art Prize of $5,000 plus two return air tickets to London; Paul joined; and the Nullarbor Book was published.

In July, Boyd, Sheri, Robin, and Rachel returned to India, and the other walkers did free work in Adelaide. Kev met Rolf Harris and Bob Hawke at the Opera House in August when he was presented with his art prize. In October the walkers moved to Perth to do free work.

When Christian messages appeared on $100,000 worth of $2 notes in Sydney, where some of us were still working at the boys' home, federal police confiscated our mail until the Council for Civil Liberties intervened.

1986

In March, Sue joined, and Kev missed a garden party with the Queen because he was in Bangalore. Boyd & Sheri took over as houseparents at the boys' home in April, while others super-glued $2 notes to Qld. footpaths.

In May, several of us, including Cherry, competed in a marathon in Sydney; and several of us joined the Catholic Church.

When Ruth joined in July, the India team had to flee for their lives, as villagers planned to stone them at the urging of her Hindu father. Hundreds of dollars worth of gear was left behind. Rob & Chris were married shortly after the team moved into Bethel Girls Town (BGT), a huge orphanage in Cochin.

The following month Sinni joined at BGT; and Hamish joined in Australia, after meeting Rols and Gary at an All One Family gathering.

In September, Roshini joined from a second, smaller orphanage in Thalavady. We helped out at both orphanages with teaching, painting, etc. for the next year. Boyd & Sheri were forced to leave the boys' home when a new committee was appointed which did not support the philosophy of the previous committee; but Christopher came with them.

The Oz team (including Boyd, Sheri, and Christopher) moved to Melbourne in November, and Dave & Cherry started a U.S. outreach, mostly in Texas & Georgia.

In December, the Melbourne team dressed as Santas to advertise the free work offer (where up to six of us work for one day for any employer or individual, as a free sample of the kingdom of heaven: where people work for love and not for money). Attila saw them and was inspired to do free work on his own.

1987

Chalk messages on Melbourne footpaths (saying "Greed Breeds Mean Deeds) led to arrests and one police assault during January and February. In March, street thugs attacked Rols, Sue, Hamish, & Ross, saying it was for reporting a policeman on the earlier assault.

Rob & Chris replaced Dave & Cherry in the U.S. in March. Youth for Christ arrested Sue & Rols for distributing tracts at their convention.

We moved from Melbourne to Medowie, NSW in June, and Kev & Liz and Gary & Roshini were married. A chalking blitz hit country towns throughout NSW. In Medowie we started yard sales, fun runs, scripture teaching in all denominations, free work, and free house numbering. Rob & Chris returned from the U.S. in August, and Roland & Sue were married the same month.

Rachel, Ruth, & Sinni came to Australia in September, and we closed down in India. With a team of 19 in Medowie, we were able to start publishing the Medowie News in October, giving 1,000 free copies to every home in Medowie. The fortnightly paper reported all local news as well as many of our activities.

Hamish & Ruth were married in December. Shortly afterward, Ruth coaxed Hamish into leaving the community. We started a full-time op shop in Medowie, with proceeds going to the local churches.

1988

Chris & Sinni were married in February, and in March Kevin had his first exhibition of 3-D paintings. Dave & Cherry applied to adopt Rachel in March.

By April, panic was spreading through all the Medowie churches except the Uniting and Anglican, that we were trying to "take over". We stopped publishing The Medowie News and closed down the op shop.

Attila joined in May, and Gary & Roshini left on an outreach to India, hoping to adopt an Indian baby. They were not successful.

In July Rols & Sue started a base in England.

We were featured in a national TV program (Blah-blah-blah!) on Money in August. Gaz & Roshini left India to join Rols & Sue in England.

In October we lost our last supporter in the Medowie churches (the Uniting Church minister) after his elders said they would get him sacked if he did not stop letting Dave preach in his churches. Also in October, Attila's girlfriend, Jessica, joined, and Rob & Chris returned to the U.S. to resume work there.

Ivor joined in the UK in November. Attila & Jessica were married in Medowie in December, and Ross & Dave starred in a Medowie Drama Society comedy thriller the same month. Attila, Jess, & Cherry also performed.

1989

Ron joined in January. Richard, a friend of the Uniting Church minister's son, also joined. Robin & Christine left the U.S. to join the U.K. team. Boyd & Sheri, who had taken over from Rob & Chris, met Steve and five other "Navigators" in San Diego, California.

John, a 17-y-o mentally handicapped state ward, joined the UK team in March and Hamish rejoined in Australia without Ruth, who said she would have nothing more to do with us. Michelle joined in the same month.

In May, Roshini had her first baby, Andrew David. Dave, Cherry & Rachel replaced the U.S. team (Boyd, Sheri, Attila, Jessica & Ross) who left for the U.K.

A junior edition of the "Easy English" dictionary was published by Time-Life in Australia in June. About the same time Roland & Sue returned to Australia, bringing John with them.

Seven "silent prophets" were imprisoned for a month after standing holding scrolls of scripture in a Rockhampton, Queensland shopping center. After their release in July, the prophets toured Queensland and NSW, getting heaps of media coverage as they stood in various shopping centers without saying anything... just holding their scrolls for people to read.

Martin joined in July too, and in the U.S. Dave, Cherry & Rachel moved into a house at the Sacramento Revival Centre, where they had attended church before coming to Australia 20 years earlier.

In August, Rachel flew with Prima (from the Revival Centre) to Australia, while the rest of us began flocking to the U.S.

Ross, Robin and Christine returned to the U.S. from England in August. In September, Paul and Ron joined the U.S. team from Australia; and Attila, Jessica, Boyd & Sheri returned to the U.S. from England that same month, closing down the UK base. We also met "The Saints" in Sacramento in August.

Hamish & Ivor went to New Zealand with 8,000 tracts in October, and Ross & Paul left us in the U.S. to work with the Revival Centre and the Saints respectively. (See Jan. '90)

In November, Dave & Cherry returned to Australia, where Michelle had a vision about the U.S. being destroyed. This prompted the team in Sacramento to print 290,000 copies of Fall of America, in preparation for a national campaign. 5,000 Living By Faith posters were put up in Sacramento this month as well.

Ivor & Hamish returned from N. Z. in December. Lit totals for the year were: N.Z. 8,000; U.S. 70,000; U.K. 135,000; Oz 147,000. Total: 360,000 tracts.

1990

Paul re-joined the U.S. team in January, and Ross returned to Australia, where he worked independently with Tony for a while. Dave & Cherry returned to the U.S. with Prima, Michelle, Rols & Sue. Prima left the group on landing. John & Ivor came to the U.S. from England. Boyd & Sheri returned to Australia from the U.S.

Gary illustrated Christian, but not religious! in February. Ivor & Michelle were married in Sacramento, and teams started out from there across the U.S. on a 200 city blitz. In March, Ron, John, Ivor & Michelle all left the community while working in the U.S.

Joshua was born to Boyd & Sheri in Newcastle in April, and Rachel's adoption was finalised in May.

In June, Ross and Tony met up with Craig while helping flood victims in Nyngan, NSW.

In August, Rob, Chris, Attila, Jess, Christopher, Sinni, and Cherry all returned from the US to Australia. Gary, Roshini, Andrew, and Dave returned the following month.

Ross, Tony, Vicki and Craig moved in with the community in Australia, and a big graffiti blitz along railway lines in Sydney during September led to several arrests. The graffiti was all inspiring quotations from many different sources, and all in six-foot letters on fences.

In October the U.S. campaign came to an end with Kev & Liz returning to Oz, while Paul, Martin, Hamish, Richard, Rols & Sue went to the U.K. More than 200 news reports (radio, TV, and papers) were made of the blitz. Sarah Lisa was born to Chris & Sinni in October too.

A huge graffiti message at Bondi Beach (Sydney) finished successfully in November.

Steve & Todd, who had been writing to us for some time (see Jan. '89), decided to affiliate themselves with us while working independently in Japan.

In December, Rob, Dave, & Craig opened a base in Madras, India, with leadings from God to concentrate on "clean water". A new record of over half a million tracts was distributed for the year, in Oz, the U.S., U.K., and N.Z.

 

1991

In January Yumi joined Todd & Steve in Japan.

Kev had an exhibition at the Naive Gallery in Sydney in February. Liz was granted Australian citizenship. Exnora linked up with the Madras team, giving much publicity to our work. We moved from Medowie to Geelong, and Attila, Jessica, Gary, Boyd, Christine, Dave and Tony started a three-year nursing course at Deakin University.

The Madras team started work on building a playground at Royapettah Hospital in April. Richard returned to Oz from England, and Rachel returned from India. Rachel left the group, to live on her own upon arrival in Sydney. Steve & Yumi were married a day before they came with Todd to work with us in Australia.

The UK team sent Paul, Martin & Hamish on an outreach to France. The Madras team took Mary in when she had almost starved to death.

In June, the Geelong team demonstrated against an army depot at Deakin, and gave out leaflets opposing feminist bias in the sociology department.

Another prophet demo was held at Rockhampton in July, and Steve & Yumi went to India the following month. Darren joined in September, after being attracted by the railway graffiti in Sydney. His mother got Derryn Hinch to do a national TV hate report on us. Darren flew to India a few days after joining, to escape the pressures. The Royapettah playground was officially opened by the State Minister for Law, and we started caring for hospital patients.

The UK base was closed down once again in October, with personnel shifting to India and Australia. Anti-army base demos were staged at Deakin campuses in Geelong and Warrnambool, and we purchased a "hippy bus" which Kev and Hamish decorated in painted flowers.

Churchianity vs Christianity (Galatians in comic book form) was printed in November, to be used with the hippy flower campaign. Steve, Yumi, Todd, and Richard went from India to the UK to re-open the base there in December.

1992

In January we distributed thousands of free roses in churches in South Australia & Victoria as part of our hippy campaign. A few churches accepted them graciously; but most felt threatened by a break from tradition. Some even assaulted us and dragged us out phycially.

Dave was appointed editor of the Deakin uni newspaper, Planet, and Deakin witches violently opposed a report on them in the February edition. Tony, Paul, Attila, Jessica, and Hamish distributed 15,000 tracts in New Zealand in February too, but Hamish left the community while they were there. Rols, Robin, Craig, and Daz distributed tracts at a Robert Tilton crusade in Madras and were interviewed by the ABC, New York, who were doing a report on Tilton's dishonesty.

Sue's mother visited in Madras in March, just before Sue, Rols, & Daz left for the UK. When Rols, Sue, and Darren arrived in the U.K., Steve, Yumi, Todd, and Richard said they wanted to operate independently of the rest of us. The four independent members all split up a short while later, after an inheritance came through for Steve. Rob started the nursing course at Deakin. Attila and Tony switched to a science major. And Tony won a scholarship as the second highest ranked student at Deakin in the 1991 school year.

Euan Joseph was born to Boyd & Sheri in April, and Anita Frances was born to Gary & Roshini in May. A Tent Embassy at Deakin during May & June was opposed by the university administration, but received good public support as it raised thousands of dollars for World Vision. The India team started regular cleaning of public toilets in May too.

Dave & Cherry made a quick visit to India, the UK, and the US during the Deakin semester break. While away, the witches were able to get him sacked as Planet editor. In June, Martin was stranded (temporarily) in Yugoslavia en route to England on Yugoslav Airlines.

Darren had an appendectomy in July. Chris and Sinni left India to live on their own outside the community in the same month.

Rols & Sue made a quick trip to Australia in August, to attend Sue's widowed mother's wedding. Craig & Paul met a reporter in Madras who did a two-page story on Mary in the West Australian. Warwick joined in Oz after writing to us for a couple of years.

Dave was awarded a $4,000 payout in September, for unfair dismissal as editor of Planet.

In October, Geelong had a big get-together for relatives, and the UK team hit Ireland with a vanload of 24,000 tracts.

In November, the Madras team started making the Pondy Bazaar toilet a model toilet. Liz experimented with a band-aid clinic next to the toilet. It was so popular that it was soon too much to handle. Macquarie Uni paid $4,000 in costs and printed an apology for running a slanderous article by witches against Dave.

The Madras team stood in raw sewage at the Pondy toilet for a week in December, to highlight the health risk of open sewers. Craig caught typhoid, but the protest attracted nationwide media interest. On Christmas Day, in response to widespread rioting in India, the Madras team started a 230-mile pahdeeyahtra (spiritual walk or pilgrimage) to promote peace between Hindus, Muslims, & Christians.

1993

After the walk, the Madras team started clearing rubbish from the Pondy sewer, and digging it out to build a 180' by 7' by 30' concrete culvert for it to flow through.

Visits to the Operation Mobilisation ship Doulos in January, resulted in organisers calling Madras police and telling their people that we are members of the Children of God.

Attila was accepted into Medicine at Newcastle Uni, and Jessica was accepted into Nursing there.

Liz had a tonsillectomy in February, in an effort to control the many infections she had been having. Kev, Liz, and Mary were pictured on the cover of Kumudahm, a Tamil magazine with a circulation of 600,000. The UK team made trips to Ireland, Scotland, and Holland.

In March, the UK team distributed our first French tract (a translation of A New Economic Policy) in France before visiting Ireland and Holland.

The Asian edition of the junior dic-tionary was launched at a press conference in Madurai that same month.

Ross & Daz distributed 9,000 tracts at the Glastonbury New Age Festival in just 4 days in June.

Mary left the community in July, to live with her family on the streets.

The government announced plans in August to spend $3 million to cover open drains in Madras, in response to publicity about our efforts to cover the Pondy sewer. The press was taken to the same sewer, a block upstream from our project to be shown where the money would be spent.

Attila & Jess were given flowers and a write-up in Women's Day (circulation one million) for using CPR to keep a neighbour alive long enough for his family to see him before he died. Martin's mum visited him in England.

Yesamma joined in September, after helping out for a week at Pondy. At the same time, Craig felt God was telling him he should marry her. Engagements (largely arranged by parents) come first in India; so Craig asked her to marry him, and she accepted.

The Easy English Word Book for Adults was released at a function in Salem in October. Laurie stayed with us for a while in Geelong, returning again in December.

Tony, Boyd, and Gary graduated from Deakin; the park and clinic at Pondy (over the old sewer) were more or less completed; and Craig & Yesamma were married in November.

The clinic opened in December, despite threats from the local government to tear it down. Attila, Jessica, Boyd Sheri, Josh, Euan, Gary, Roshini, Andrew, and Anita arrived in Nov/Dec. Martin, Ross, Darren, and Wally arrived from England at the end of the month, making a total force of 22 people in Madras, including 4 children.

Boopalan, a 17 year old student from Salem, Tamil Nadu, joined at the end of 1993.

1994

 

Robin & Christine were on their own in Australia, and Roland, Sue, and Paul were on their own in the U.K. at the start of the year, while the rest of us were kept busy in India. 1994 was a year of great popularity for us in India, with media reports almost every week throughout the year, and a constant stream of visitors, from politicians and celebrities to whole school classes and service clubs. Several television documentaries on our work were made in India, and some were shown all over Asia. We had succeeded in turning a 60 metre stretch of sewer into an oasis, complete with a full-size volleyball court, clinic, and small huts for our workers. We treated up to 150 patients a day, as well as teaching English classes and organising sporting competitions. However, we also slogged on dredging a further 100 metres of the silted up sewage canal, using only buckets and shovels and our bare hands.

In February, Dave, Cherry, Attila and Jessica returned to Newcastle, where Attila and Jessica resumed their studies at Newcastle University, while Robin and Christine resumed studies in Geelong, at Deakin University. Campaigns at both campuses aimed at inspiring students to spend their summer holidays working as volunteers with us in India.

Michael Timothy was born to Roshini and Gary in March, in India; and in November, Daniel Joseph was born to Sue and Roland in England.

Nigel, a long-time friend from England, worked with us in India from January to May. When Nigel returned to the United Kingdom in May, Tony, Boyd, Sheri, and their two children, Joshua and Euan went with him. Tony only stayed long enough to get new visas and to courier back cash to the team in India, which was down to their last few dollars by the time he arrived.

In March, the team in England printed up a further quarter million tracts, making more than a million tracts distributed by our faithful team in the U.K. Later that month they left on a short outreach to Ireland. Then, in June they distributed tracts in Scotland. Martin took Tony's place in England in June, and the team there distributed 4,700 tracts at the Glastonbury Festival that same month.

Jessica's mother visited the community in Newcastle (Australia) for a few weeks in May, and Paul's parents visited him in London in August.

Throughout the second half of the year, work progressed (both in India and in Australia) on an English teaching video, which was primarily Ross's responsibility.

We published our first "Easy English" novel in India in May, as part of a planned "library" of books which use a carefully monitored vocabulary list that increases by about 100 words with each title. The first book we published was Robinson Crusoe. Our second Easy English novel, "The Invisible Man", came out in September.

In June, the Mayor ("Commissioner") of Madras was the chief guest at a function in our honour, which included world media coverage.

With the funds Tony had brought back from England, we were able to extend construction on the concrete tunnel for the sewer canal. Businessmen who had seen our first efforts secretly offered to provide materials for further extensions, provided we did not let the state government know they were supporting us. (By this time, it was becoming clear that our popularity was causing embarrassment to the local member, who also happened to be Minister for Law, the second most powerful person in the State. The Minister, K.A. Krishnaswami, is a "slum lord". Slum lords get elected by terrorising thousands of slum dwellers with threats of demolition unless they all vote for him. He felt that we were spoiling his constituents.)

Ian Kiernan (Australian of the Year), and several West Australian politicians visited us in India during August and September. In September we were the official organisers of the World Clean-Up Day for Madras.

We received word that a special report on our work in Madras appeared in the press as far away as Zambia (Africa) in September.

That same month, Paul couriered over some donated Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccines from England, to be given to all of our workers in the sewer, who were constantly at risk of catching these diseases and many more because of the dangerous work they were doing.

Tony took over management of the clinic from Gary in September, as Gary was showing signs of stress and burnout, and needed a rest.

In October, Dave and Cherry returned to India, and Craig was given a social service award by the former President of India for the work we had accomplished over the sewer.

We poured the foundation and walls for the next section of the sewer in October, and this angered K.A. Krishnaswami (Minister for Law) even more. On Oct. 9 he strolled into our compound with an entourage of several dozen people and delivered a few insults to us before leaving. On October 26, he sent the new Deputy Commissioner of Madras around to tell us that local louts would be paid to kill us if we did not cease construction immediately. The next day he sent police around to get all of our names and passport numbers. However, we managed to tape record the death threats, and we made copies of the tape and transcripts, which we gave to the media and to several consulates. We stopped work for one week, giving the impression that we were going to cave in to the threats. Then, on Sunday, Nov. 6, when the government offices were closed, we worked from very early to very late pouring the entire concrete slab on the top of the second section of the canal. Orders were later sent out telling us to demolish the slab, but we ignored them and started building a huge playground on top of the slab, including a big pirate ship, tree house, bridge, tunnels, tower, climbing dome, flying fox, and two slippery dips. We also constructed a library/reading room, and a small orphanage.

In December we were asked to help teach hygiene in a slum village at another location in Madras, and after we had built a small hut as accommodation for our workers, K.A. Krishnaswami appeared on the scene with Corporation workers, and ordered them to demolish our hut. Local villagers were told that if they allowed us to return, the entire village would be destroyed.

Robin and Christine graduated from Nursing at Deakin University in December, and they came to India along with Attila, Jessica, Ross, and a fellow nursing student, Donna. Donna started as a volunteer, but later became a fulltime member of our community.

Gary and Roshini left the community in December, and returned to Australia, where Gary did a bit of nursing before taking up medical studies at Newcastle University.

 

Robin, Christine, Jessica, and Donna all completed their Bachelor of Nursing in October, 1994. Jessica and Christine each received awards as the top student in their class, at Newcastle University and Deakin University respectively.

1995

 

At the start of the year, we were all in India, with the exception of Roland, Sue, Martin, Paul, Boyd, Sheri, and their kids, Joshua and Euan, who were all in the U.K. Roland's mother, Carmen, stayed with us all year, although she never became a member. Craig's mother stayed with us in India for a few weeks just after Nathan Rajah was born to Yesamma, in January. We were assisted by volunteer nursing and medical students, exchange students, and tourists, who all not only helped in the clinic, but also helped with dredging, and with supervision of the 500 children a day who used the playground.

Throughout the year we prepared ourselves and the public for the fact that we would be handing over control of the grounds to local charities by the end of the year. We felt that there were definite limits to how far we could proceed, because of political repercussions of our activities. We eventually settled on giving the clinic half of our compound to a Hindu volunteer group working with AIDS patients, and the playground side to a Catholic orphanage that specialised in helping street children.

Articles about our work in India appeared in several newspapers in Australia in January and February.

Our team began a migration back to Australia in February, with Warwick, Darren, Attila, Jessica, and Donna returning first. Attila resumed his studies at Newcastle Uni, Jessica took a job at a hospital in Newcastle, so that she could improve her nursing skills before returning to India later in the year. Warwick, Darren, and Donna went on numerous outreaches around the East Coast, and then over to Adelaide, where Warwick left them. Ross flew to Australia in May to take Warwick's place, and he, Darren, and Donna toured Queensland on an outreach in June.

Boyd, Sheri, Josh, Euan, and Martin came to India from England in March, and Roland, Sue, Daniel, Paul, and Carmen came the following month, closing down the work in England. Dave and Cherry visited the team in England in March and April, and then visited relatives in the U.S. before returning to Australia in May.

In April, a riot broke out when thugs attacked the State Opposition leader with acid, at a street rally next to our compound. The Opposition leader had charged the Chief Minister with corruption, and the acid attack was her way of getting back at him. Liz snapped under the strain of the riot and left the community the next morning, to stay with some nearby nuns. Although she later returned, she never fully recovered.

The U.S. Consul visited our compound in May.

In June, 35 British sailors from HMS Sheffield volunteered to help us for a day, and helped dig 30 tons of silt out of the sewer in one day.

In July, Craig was challenged at a function in our honour, by a senior judge of the Tamil Nadu Supreme Court, who said that we were not accomplishing anything by our efforts.

That same month, Boyd and Sheri returned to Australia with their kids, and the team in Australia moved into a 9-bedroom house in Baulkham Hills (Sydney). Gary and Roshini and their children moved in as guests. Sheri gave birth to Kiera Jasmine in August.

The Australian team was busy chalking the word "Eternity" on footpaths all over Australia during the month of September, as well as letterboxing thousands of tracts with the same title, and putting up thousands of posters about the Mark of the Beast.

Craig, Yesamma, and Nathan returned to Australia in September, and Attila and Jessica took their place in India in October, along with another medical student volunteer. An even bigger wave of university volunteers joined us through the school year break, from November to January. Darren, Dave, and Cherry also re-joined the crew in India in November. The compound on the sewer (named Vision 2000) was once again a beehive of activity.

Meanwhile, those still in Australia started distributing the first 16 pages of "The Liberator", which Kevin had illustrated as a Christmas tract.

1996

 

Gary was accepted as a medical student at Newcastle Uni, and moved into a flat in Newcastle in January.

Attila, meanwhile, had received permission to take a one-year break in his studies, so that he could put a full year into work with the clinic in India. Although we moved out of the compound and into a flat on the outskirts of Madras, Attila, Jessica, Rob, and Christine, all continued to commute to the clinic throughout much of the year, where they helped the AIDS group train nurses to run the clinic.

In Australia, Craig, Yesamma and Donna went on an outreach to Adelaide in January, eventually joining up with Ross, who was on outreach in Melbourne.

In February, Boopalan started work on a Tamil translation of The Liberator, which he finished by the end of the year.

Roland, Sue, Carmen, Darren, Paul, and Martin all returned to Australia from India in March.

1996 was a year of greater freedom within our community and a more liberal approach to others outside our community, as we endeavoured to overlook many doctrinal differences. Unfortunately, the fruit of it seemed to be disintegration within our own ranks, and very little response from outsiders.

In February, Liz walked out on Kevin again, and Kevin moved out to live with her while still doing his best to function as a fulltime member of the community.

In June, Dave & Cherry moved to a bed-sitter on their own, in an effort to give others more chance to develop leadership skills. Boyd tried his hand at leading, but found it too much, and he and Sheri left to work on their own in September.

Darren and Donna, who were married in May, left to work on their own in October.

Attila and Jessica, who returned from India in October, decided to leave the community altogether later that same month.

Kevin and Liz moved back in with the community in November, but Liz remained firmly against the move.

Meanwhile, we spent a lot of effort trying to relate to The Family (formerly known as The Children of God), mainly because they had shown some willingness to relate to us. In March, we started printing a series of five "Baby Books", which each featured a collection of articles on a different subject, many of them based on early writings of the Children of God. All five books (each 40 pages long) were written and published in the space of six months.

The Australian media had a field day in April, when several of us were arrested at the Royal Easter Show while dressed in over-sized nappies to draw attention to the "Baby Books". Dave and Cherry returned early from India in April, to help sort out repercussions related to those arrests.

In India, we printed some 300,000 Liberator comic books, 100,000 of which were shipped to Australia for distribution there. Representatives from the U.N. asked us to supervise a biogas toilet project for them, but we refused. We were keen to reduce our involvement in that form of "social work" and to increase our involvement in getting out the printed word, especially as it related to the "Easy English" reading program. Throughout the year, tracts went out in India at a rate up to 15,000 per week.

The Minister for Law in Tamil Nadu, K.A. Krishnaswami, resigned in April, shortly before his cohort, Jayalalitha, was voted out of office as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. In December, she was arrested for corruption and fraud.

Back in Australia, we were forced to leave the huge house in Baulkham Hills in May, because it was being demolished to make way for a road project. We moved into a much smaller place in West Ryde instead. That same month, 30,000 Mark of the Beast tracts were distributed outside of banks in Sydney. Paul, Ross, and Boyd were all arrested when they went into the bank with oversized barcodes painted on their foreheads. Paul was actually arrested while returning $100 that a teller had accidentally overpaid him the previous day. The bank took the $100 and then had him arrested and fined $450 for "trespassing"!! To this day, the Commonwealth Bank will not allow the trio to open an account with them, as punishment for the three men warning people about the Mark of the Beast!

In July, Sonya Leane was born to Gary and Roshini.

In August, we started referring to ourselves as "Jesus Christians", to avoid the confusion that the more generic "Christians" often caused.

Robin and Christine, who had been carrying the administrative load in India for quite some time, felt they needed a break, and in August, Craig and Yesamma went over to replace them. Rob and Chris returned to Australia in September.

That same month, we made a decision as a group to all go off the dole. We felt that it would strengthen our faith as well as our testimony, since so many people think that our faith is in the dole rather than in Christ. The decision made almost no difference at all to our ability to maintain the various projects to which we were committed.

In September, the team in India had written a letter to a newspaper in Madras, warning that low hanging pipes under the bridge (between the two halves of the Vision 2000 complex) would eventually cause flooding, because when the waters rise, the pipes block the flow, trapping all solid rubbish and causing a huge backlog of rubbish on the top of the flood waters. The next month, when the monsoons struck, two men were swept under the bridge and drowned in that same backlog. Angry local officials used the tragedy as an excuse to smash the concrete slab, supposedly to reach the bodies, even though there were access manholes every fifteen meters which their divers could use.

The damage to the slab was later repaired, but various local factions proceeded to fight over legal rights to the park and clinic, making us all relieved to be out of the whole depressing mess.

In October, Tony returned to Australia after three years working in India. He and Maria announced their engagement in November, although Maria was still in India at that stage.

Robin and Paul took part in a short outreach to New Zealand in October and November, before Paul joined up with Roland, Sue, Dave, and Ross in the U.S., where they had gone in November to start a West Coast outreach. This left only Craig, Yesamma, Boopalan, and Maria in India, and Cherry, Kevin, Robin, Christine, Martin and Tony in Australia.


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