It seems my article transcript of an interview with a former persecutor and hater of TFI has gotten a lot of views, and Michael Basham has also re-published the article on his net base. I must say I found the interview very compelling and I learnt a lot about spiritual warfare and TFI after doing the interview. I do not judge this former persecutor and hater of TFI as I know demons were involved in this young man’s actions. I guess we are all a work in progress and we are all growing as God seeks to make us the people he desires us to be.
I think the young man I interviewed did have a lot in common with Ricky Rodriguez (Karen Zerby’s son), as this young man admitted to illicit drug use, and from my investigations the Jesuit’s and some TFI splinter groups were also involved in turning him against TFI. He admitted to voluntary illicit drug use, and I also believe he was drugged unknowingly by Jesuit factions linked to splinter TFI groups. When you put all the pieces of this puzzle together, then you can observe how the enemy can create a brainwashed enemy within the body of Christ. Illicit drug use opens many doors to the demonic, and my advice to any young people reading this article is to avoid any type of illicit drugs sold on the street. I think it’s very likely Ricky Rodriguez got involved in drugs after he left TFI, and when you add drugs to the equation of associating with a crowd who is spreading hate about TFI; then it’s going to lead to a lot of bad things happening. This is unfortunately the world we live in as we live in a place of spiritual warfare, and the devil is producing dangerous illicit drugs to destroy the lives of youth and families.
It really is unfair to accuse Karen Zerby of being a bad mother or bad person after the tragedy that this woman has had to face. In my country recently a famous football coach and his wife were murdered by their own son, after the drugs he was taking influenced him to murder both his parents. This young man came home one day under the influence of drugs and took a knife and stabbed his mother and father to death. The only surviving relative of this tragedy was the sister of the young man who killed his parents, and the football community and general community of this young woman really got behind her and expressed their vocal support after this tragedy occurred. I think Christians should really do the same thing with Karen Zerby, they should really get behind this woman and express their vocal support toward her. I think people attacking Karen Zerby and accusing her of being a bad mother are not acting as Christians, these are people under the influence of demons seeking to destroy her. Murder/Suicide events are a real part of everyday life for many families, and the devil is involved in these incidents. Spiritual warfare is very real and it can often manifest itself in both suicide and murder.
There are very few churches that reach out to and accept disturbed people, and the former hater of TFI who I interviewed did have an extensive history of being both mentally disturbed and drug addicted. However these are the people God really wants us to reach out to with the message of Jesus. I used to be involved with a street outreach and homeless ministry and the leader of this ministry asked me one day, how long do you think one of these people would last in the mainstream churches? And I remember one person said, “He would probably last 5 minutes in that church before they kick him out.” Unfortunately this is very true, because if you’re not dressed in expensive fashionable clothes and if you look like you may have a drug problem, then it’s very difficult to get accepted by many churches today. In recent times I have also been a volunteer at a Christian outreach centre that is probably one of the only one of its kind in my city, and if you’re involved in this ministry you can expect: drug overdoses, violent confrontations and massive amounts of verbal abuse. The drugs on the streets today are sending youth into a violent and demon possessed frenzy never before seen by society. The youth today are far different from the hippies of the 1970’s who David Berg reached out to, as today’s youth are under the influence of some of the most dangerous drugs the world has ever seen. The drug known as ‘ice’ is one of the most popular street drugs out there today and it’s literally creating youth that are completely demonized and psychotic. In my city there’s regular news stories of youth under the influence of this drug, who murder their own families or commit other serious crimes. Being a Christian who wants to actually make a difference in my community, I have been involved in ministries that reach out to this type of youth and it’s not easy. All you can do is try to be a friend to these troubled youth by playing games with them and being there for them, however do not expect any gratitude from these troubled youth. These are kids who have had a tough life and who trust nobody, and they literally look like walking corpses, as they are under the influence of extremely dangerous drugs that slowly kill you. They are demonized and tormented by Satan beyond anything you could believe, and all you can do is try to love them and reach out to them while they swear at you and often violently attack you. But just like that former persecutor and hater of TFI, maybe a few years down the road of their life, they might one day remember that somebody tried to love them and they will appreciate what you did for them.
I remember being involved in a street outreach ministry and one of the volunteers gave a speech during one of our meetings. During the speech he explained how he helped: people on the streets, troubled youth and those involved with drugs. He said to us, “don’t expect people to be thankful for what you do for them.” He gave a testimony of how he was helping one disadvantaged person who probably had a drug issue, and after making a real effort to help this person over a period of time, this person verbally abused him and treated him very badly. Reflecting on this volunteer’s speech helps me understand that this volunteer really lived God’s word by loving those who nobody else would love. It’s easy to love the popular wealthy people at the popular country club church, but it’s very difficult to volunteer at some under-funded Christian ministry that seeks to help the marginalized of society. Often the people you help are unthankful and often you will get stabbed in the back (sometimes literally or sometimes symbolically).
In many ways TFI is like many of these unknown ministries who help people often rejected by mainstream churches. That former TFI hater was really a person most people would not accept, and I was really touched at how TFI accepted this person despite his faults. TFI extended much love to this person and even though this person persecuted and hated TFI, he eventually remembered that TFI members were the first people to love him and accept him. Although he was motivated and possessed to hate TFI and he spread his hate against them all over the internet, he one day awoke from his demonic trance and realized that TFI were genuine Christians who actually loved and cared about him. It was an inspiring story and a real testimony of how God can work in the midst of hate and darkness. As a person who has worked with troubled youth in the past I could really relate to this testimony in a variety of ways.
Its clear TFI has had a positive impact on troubled youth since the 1970’s, and the former persecutor and hater of TFI I interviewed is a clear example of a victory in the ministry of TFI. Although Bob hated TFI and verbally abused them in ways that were extremely horrible, Bob eventually realized that TFI had shown him the love of God and he had some positive memories to think about within his dark life. All Bob knew his whole life was: misery, drugs and affliction; he did not have any positive memories of life, but when the smoke cleared he remembered how he was invited to a TFI Christmas lunch and he remembered how TFI loved him and accepted him. I think the greatest gift TFI gave Bob were memories of a time when people loved him and accepted him, and I think that’s the greatest gift you can ever give someone. I would like to personally congratulate TFI in the way you treated Bob, and I can honestly say that Bob’s testimony further endorses the ministry of TFI in my eyes. It’s easy to love popular people who have it all together, but it’s very difficult to love someone like Bob. I sincerely believe Bob will become a better person and contributor to society based on the help TFI gave him.
In many ways I have been involved in similar ministries to TFI and I have also experienced in those ministries incidents of: murder, threats of extreme violence and so forth. Recently I was working in a ministry helping homeless people and drug addicted youth, and a young man probably with a drug problem threatened to “punch my fucking head in.” I also recently found out that a person who was attending a ministry I was volunteering at murdered someone. These are the sort of people I have been outreaching to in the community. This is where the city youth are at the moment. The homeless and troubled youth are much further into the darkness of Satan than they were during the 1970’s in Huntington Beach, and there has never been a time when a group like TFI was needed to make a difference in the community. I can honestly say that TFI has made a major difference in the world and after interviewing Bob, it’s clear that no other organization could have given the love and acceptance that Bob received from TFI. Although Bob was not thankful just like the young man who threatened me with violence was when I tried to help him; as time went by Bob realized that TFI made a difference in his life and he was a better person for it.
Observing all these disgruntled ex-TFI members it’s clear to me that many of these people took what they had for granted, and they are simply focusing on the negative and choosing to remain bitter about things that were blown out of proportion. I think as disgruntled TFI members grow older they will realize just like Bob, that they had grown up with something special and that TFI had a major positive impact on their life. I also believe these ex-members will realize that many of the things TFI has preached are coming to pass, and that they were privileged to grow up in such a blessed organization. I believe Bob’s change of heart will occur in many more ex-TFI members.
Researching TFI and conversing with Bob I realized that TFI was a very unique ministry which is much needed in today’s society. The murder and suicide involving Ricky Rodriguez and Angela Smith would have definitely hurt Karen Zerby, and the ongoing persecution and threats from ex-members and haters (like Bob) would certainly hurt Karen Zerby more. Despite being a long term missionary and Christian worker, Karen Zerby is only human and I’m sure these tragedies would have affected her both emotionally and mentally. Unfortunately these are manifestations of the spiritual warfare occurring in our world today. Being involved in active Christian missionary work is not safe, and you are making a decision to step into spiritual warfare that mirrors many of the physical wars in the Middle East and abroad. I myself have recently been involved in active Christian missionary and threats of violence, drug overdoses, physical violence and persecution are regular aspects of this life. It really is not easy and to be honest I am taking a break from Christian missionary work at the moment because I need time out from it all. I recently had someone try to kill me while working at an inner city Christian outreach ministry. It’s not easy stepping out to serve the Lord to be quiet honest, and being involved in these small inner city ministries that are a far distance from the wealthy country club churches is not an easy task. But I don’t want to be a pew warmer; I actually want to put my Christian faith in action. What I like about TFI is that they have a history of actually putting their Christian faith in action.
I’m not a prophet, I’m not anyone special, I’m just some guy who used to wash dishes at a soup kitchen and tries to reach the youth of the streets. I feel I have failed God most of my life, but I can honestly say I have tried my best despite my failures. I don’t really know much and I think I’ve only been a Christian for around eight years, but what I do know is that the world does not need TFI to retreat quietly into the night. I remember hearing a story many years ago about a little girl who was on the sea shore, and she was trying to save the lives of thousands of star fish that had washed up on the shore. A man saw this little girl desperately picking up star fish and throwing them back into the water, and he approached the little girl and said, “What are you doing? You’re not going to be able to save all those star fish, stop wasting your time, you’re never going to be able to make a difference”, and the little girl picked up one star fish and threw it into the water and she said, “to that star fish it made a difference.” All I can say to Karen Zerby is that people will hate you, the very people you share Jesus with and invite into your home will persecute you, you will probably be threatened with violence again, someone may get murdered again, and you will probably cry again, but you know what? There is another starfish like Bob out there, and you will make a difference to that one starfish. Ricky Rodriguez was a good kid and looking at Ricky in past TFI photos it shows a happy kid with a great smile, unfortunately what happened to Ricky happens to kids every day in today’s society, as a kid involved with drugs recently murdered both his parents here in my city, and a person who I was volunteering to help at a Christian outreach ministry recently murdered someone also. Today’s troubled youth have evolved into a darkness that is far worse than what the youth were lost in back at Huntington Beach in the 1960’s and 70’s, and unfortunately Ricky Rodriguez wandered into that darkness. As we remember Ricky, we should also remember Bob and the many youth of today on the streets that are lost in darkness, many of these youth will get caught up in drugs and get involved in the same sins Ricky participated in. Many of them may murder, many of them may harm others, many of them will end up in jail, and many of them will die on the street and be buried in unmarked graves and nobody will attend their funeral except a government official. They will fade into the darkness and be forgotten. Many of them have no family and many of them will not know what it’s like to be loved or embraced. Many of them like Bob may have never attended a family Christmas lunch. Those lost starfish wandering the city streets need someone from TFI to tell them that they are loved, and they need to know what it’s like to be part of a family; even if it’s just for a moment. I sincerely believe after evaluating TFI that they are the right group for this job.
I guess as I look at TFI’s history and hear the testimonies of the many people who were involved in TFI I feel compelled to write this article. As a person who has worked with troubled youth over the years I also feel compelled to write this article, because I want to see more groups like TFI making a difference in the community. Life isn’t about how hard you can hit the enemy; it’s about how many times you can get knocked down and then stand back up again. Karen Zerby and TFI have definitely been hit hard through the tribulations life has brought them, but I hope and pray God gives them a fresh vision and the strength to stand back up again and make a difference in the world. Someone recently wrote an article on the Warriors without Borders blog recently called, ‘God is a Family’, and after hearing the testimony of Bob, I can honestly say that TFI is really like God’s family. TFI has provided a family atmosphere for the unloved over the years and I think we need to see more of that. These types of fellowships are a rare occurrence today as many churches are more concerned with: selling products, making money and getting attention. We really need to see more of TFI in the world today.
I am not really sure if persecutors like Bob caused Karen Zerby to initiate the reboot of TFI. The reboot did turn TFI into a completely different organization than what they were in the beginning. But I can honestly say to Karen Zerby and TFI that people like Bob are sorry for what they did, and many of them would like to see TFI go back to what they were before the reboot. Before the reboot, TFI members had the time and energy to be a family to people like Bob. After the reboot, according to TFI member Michael Basham, he works so much he rarely has time to focus on what God wants him to do. But I don’t know, maybe God wants TFI members out in the workforce now. Whatever TFI do in the future I’m sure they will be Holy Spirit led, as Karen Zerby definitely hears from the Holy Spirit and has a fruitful history of doing things for God.
Some of the greatest words I ever heard are, “it’s not how hard you can hit your opponent (the devil), it’s about how hard you can get hit and then get back up again.” My message to Karen Zerby is that it’s not your fault about what happened with your son Ricky Rodriguez. Ricky Rodriguez is an example of where youth are today. I recently saw a young man today who is completely out of his mind, and it seems like it’s only a matter of time before he goes to jail or is dead. The Lord led me to pray for this person moments ago. As I walk the city streets and offer help to youth and homeless programs, I regularly see young men under the influence of drugs and they are angry and violent. These people need help and prayer. As I take the time to help people like this I will also remember Ricky Rodriguez who is a reflection of today’s youth. Ricky Rodriguez was a good kid who got off track and made some serious mistakes, and as we remember Ricky it should inspire us to remember that the drug induced violent youth we meet on the streets today could be our children also. As we meet these drug induced violent youth today, let’s treat them as if they were our own family, because this could happen to anyone’s children (It happened to Karen Zerby and it happens to good parents all around the world everyday). I think a positive vision for TFI could be to reach the troubled inner city youth of the West just like they did back in the 1960’s. There is a definitely a need there and I really think TFI has the love and passion to succeed in this kind of ministry.
God bless you and thanks for reading.