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Author Topic: Escapees... Survivors... Overcomers  (Read 20040 times)
al Hartman
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« on: February 01, 2003, 11:57:10 pm »


     Hello...  My name is al Hartman, and i'm a recovering Geftakysite.  i was in fellowship with George and Betty Geftakys from 1969 until 1980.  During most of that time i served among the workers and the leading brothers of the Fullerton assembly.

     Presently, i live in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio.  i have a wife, four children, four grandchildren, two dogs, a house, two cars, and no concubines.

    In 1980, i left the assembly because i was no longer able to maintain the pace required of a leader, and was so ashamed, and certain that i had failed the Lord, that i didn't want to be among the saints, to be reminded of my shortcomings.  Only recently did i find out that if i hadn't left when i did, i would have shortly been asked to leave.

     After leaving the assembly, i returned to my native Ohio with my wife Cathy, and our children, Hannah, Joshua, Esther and Phoebe.  We have had over 20 years to examine and overcome our assembly experiences.  We are still engaged in that process.  It took several years for me to realize that i had not just left the assembly, i had ESCAPED it.  Some years after that, i understood that i had SURVIVED my bondage, and finally i have come to see that
every day i stand before God and walk with him, i am OVERCOMING my past.

     i had wanted with all my heart to serve the Lord, and had thought that i was doing so.  i believe we all thought we were doing his will.  The assembly was not at that time what it became in later years, but the seeds were sown and the garden tended during the years of my tenure, and i ask your forgiveness for what part i had in the establishing of that darkness.

     How grateful i am that, while man looks at the outward appearance, God sees what is in ours hearts; how grateful for the forgiveness of sins, for our Advocate with the Father, for the Spirit of Truth to lead us into all Truth, that we may walk in the Light and have fellowship with one another.


     It has taken distance and time for me to realize that my time in the assembly was not lost.  (It seemed like a loss when i left, but i now regard it as an investment.  It has even gathered interest.)  Now i am convinced that God leads us down whatever paths we must travel to get us to the place he wants us to be.  Something about each one of us must have needed the assembly experience, else why would he have allowed us to travel that road when we sought to follow him?  There may have been something we could only learn the hard way?  i don't pretend to understand his reasons, but i know whom i have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which i have committed unto him against that day.

     i came away from the assembly with much good:  
i learned how to study the bible there, and the lesson has served me in every aspect of my life.  In every situation that requires conscious thought, i ask myself and God, (1.) What is happening here?  (2.) What does it mean to me, in a practical way?  (3.) What would You have me [What am i going to] do about it?
     i also learned how to really listen effectively to ministry, and i learned how to preach and to teach.  And i learned self discipline.  Much i learned was in spite of, rather than because of, the assembly.  Nonetheless, that is where i was when i learned it, or when the seeds were planted that would bear fruit later on.
     It took time after i had left for me to "learn" what i had learned-- to winnow out the good grain from the chaff.

     By the way, i don't despise George or Betty.  Rather, i weep for them.  They were born into this world the same way as you and i.  At some point, they set out to follow Jesus and serve God.  Somehow they were deceived, then blinded, and are perhaps now even mad.  But my pain is abating and my anger has cooled, and i cannot hate them.  
i pray God will humble them, and that they will humble themselves before him, and repent and find his forgiveness, and ask for yours.   But for the grace of God, what became of them could have happened to any of us.  Their salvation, as ours, is only in seeking, finding and clinging to the living God, and leaving the past behind us and the settling of accounts to him.    

     Any "old-timers" out there who remember us, we'd love to hear from you:    OHio al Hartman@aol.com    ("Newbies" are welcome too!)

     Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world... Be of good cheer, for he has overcome the world.

In his love,
brother al

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TGarisek
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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2003, 12:45:35 am »

I love you, brother. I'm happy to say that and put into cyberspace for all the World to see because it is for brothers like you and the words you have spoken that I don't "throw out the baby with the bath water", that I rejoice in my salvation, that there are people with whom I can still have rich fellowship and yes, FRIENDSHIP without fear of reprisal with total liberty and conviction that it is the way the Lord intended it.

Thank God

Tony Garisek - 1972 - 1992
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BenJapheth
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« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2003, 12:49:40 am »

Al, excellent wisdom...super rich stuff.  

Our experience bears-out what was really there in the first place - What God intended from eternity. In your case, indeed, it was Jesus Christ.

His Goodness to you...Chuck
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Mark C.
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2003, 12:09:08 am »

Re. Al Hartman Smiley
  I agree; Al has a wonderful wisdom to share and he has a skill at sharing it as well!
  Al left at a time when it was not easy to leave.  There was not a website, Enroth books, or former members to help.  As he shared he thought he left because he was a failure!  Some have left and still think they are.
   Al's story is a testimony to the God who finds the lost and hurting sheep and is able to bring Him back.
  Some who come to this website are struggling with their faith, and there are those who are very critical of them.  Al, through time, discovered that God is not the perfectionist God of the Assembly, but a loving, kind, and gentle Shepherd who puts his arm around us and lifts us on his shoulder.
   Knowing this has made Al wise, loving, and given Him a genuine care for others' (I have communicated with Him for the last couple of years and have come to know him).
   Al's story should give hope to those of you who are experiencing a crisis of faith re. recent Assembly events.  It's okay to step back and let God step into your confusion and help you sort out your relationship with Him. God will never leave or forsake you and you don't have to understand everything for this to be true!
                             God will Bless!   Mark C.
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Joe Sperling
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« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2003, 09:04:14 pm »

Al----

Thanks for your wonderful words of encouragement. You have a beautiful way of looking at things. Whether God led us to the Assembly or simply "allowed" us to enter it--he did use the experience to teach all of us his Lovingkindness.
I've seen that in so many that have been through the Assembly system and now state their feelings---so many mention God's Lovingkindness towards them. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Jer. 9:23 "Let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understands and knows me that I am the Lord which exercise Lovingkindness, righteousness and judgement in the earth, for in these things I DELIGHT, saith the Lord". I mentioned one other time that I am so grateful God puts Lovingkindness first in his list of things he delights in or I'd be in big trouble! Al--it's so good to here you share--and tell Cathy that I remember very well the times she tried to comfort and console me when I was so "bummed out"(not that you didn't try also)--she would just take so much extra time and really use Scriptures of comfort--I remember it well though it's been over 23 years ago(I left in 1980 also). may God bless you Al.         --Joe
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al Hartman
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« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2003, 09:43:25 pm »


     Thanks for responding to this topic.  Wish there were more saints interested...
     
     Joe, special thanks for sharing Jeremiah 9:23-- what an encouragement!  If more of the assemblies' "walking wounded" could grasp the reality of the Lord's lovingkindness and patience on our behalf, there would be a lot more rejoicing on this website, and a lot less bitterness.

For the love of God,
al Hartman
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Kimberley Tobin
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« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2003, 03:47:35 am »

I think that time is what heals all wounds.  If you haven't been able to be ministered to by the body of Christ, this "time" takes even longer.  I feel grateful that I have had numerous, godly men and women who have ministered to me the healing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.  And due to this, I have been able to move through the various emotions (anger being one them-btw-anger is not a sin, it is only what you do with it and noone can judge your motives.)

We need to give people the time and grace to get there.  Be a helper in this respect and reach out to those who are hurting!
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Peacefulg
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« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2003, 04:11:43 am »

Amen Al
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Luke Robinson
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« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2003, 01:48:50 pm »

Yes, I agree with you totally, Mr. Hartman.  Thank you for your wisdom and loving encouragement.  

I see that well, one person, learned many good things in the assembly.  I think we all have.  We just tend to overlook them and seem to center on all the bad things that happened to us.  NOT TO DISRESPECT WHAT HAPPENED TO ANYONE AT ANYTIME IN THIS WORK!

Sorry, just have to put the disclaimer.  

Well, I was also very angry at George for a while.  How could he do this?  HOW COULD HE?  But God has given me grace and peace and I am really praying for him.  That God would bring him to the end of himself.

God Bless you, Mr. Hartman.

A Brother in Christ,

Luke Robinson
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wolverine
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« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2003, 11:23:50 pm »

Free t-shirt to the 15th poster!!!

BrentTr0ckmanFan
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Mark C.
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« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2003, 04:42:41 am »

Am I # 15?
  Hi Everyone!
 I don't think the question here is so much, "what was good about our Assembly experience", but how can we help those still holding on to the old system see what needs to be let go?
   We don't want to see the patient die on the operating table as a "easy come, easy go" attitude at this crucial period could be fatal for some Assembly adherents.
   There is a desperate need for some to see that they are still embracing a very posionous system!
   What is good about the Assembly is God's people and not trying to help them at this time with the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, would not be good for them.
    Once those still clinging to a twisted version of Christianity are freed then we can console them with the wonders of God's restoring love and grace.  
    We can not serve 2 masters:  Either our love of position and power in a group, or the Lordship of Christ will win the day.  Only when those who "meant it for evil" see their culpability in the system repent of same, will they hear the message, "but, God meant it for good."
                               God Bless,  Mark
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al Hartman
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« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2003, 02:17:36 am »

     It is important to differentiate between the young saints and those of long standing.  Trying to get leaders and former leaders to see the errors of the assemblies-- to see and admit the errors of their personal participation-- and to help them find deliverance from whatever bondage holds them is part of our responsibility as faithful shepherds.

     But be careful!  Those who are young in the faith, some of whom have known no other home than an assembly, don't need to be led AWAY from anything, but to be pointed TOWARD Christ.  They aren't learned enough to evaluate the subtleties of who has a better handle on how we should gather or who we should listen to.  
     To these little ones, preach Christ.  They need to know that He in whom they have believed can be trusted to continue His good work in them, to lead them into all truth, and to deliver them from deception and evil.  (Look up the postings of "Hopeful" for an example!)

     Be faithful.  Preach the Word.  Be instant in season and out of season.  (Don't get stuck in a mind-set that prevents your correctly reading the situation).  Be angry and sin not.

                      Rejoice-- it is your birthright!

For the love of God,
brother al

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amycahill
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« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2003, 09:26:29 am »

I forgot.  I forgot all about this.  It was long ago.

When I wandered out of the Assembly system, I wandered into the desert.  I tried different churches -- I tried, I tried...

And God said, "I UNDERSTAND."

He sent me my wonderful husband to teach me that God still loved me.  Sometimes my husband would say something, and I would look at him, and I would hear God's voice in the thing he had said to me.

I felt rotten.  I kept failing to walk with God because I was so lost.

And God still said, "I UNDERSTAND."

God was so patient with me.  He gave me time.  He never gave up on me, even when I gave up on myself.

I am now safely married, in a church I personally believe the truth of because I checked it out for myself (Roman Catholicism) and have a relationship with God today.

God understood.
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vernecarty
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« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2003, 07:31:43 pm »


I personally believe the truth of because I checked it out for myself (Roman Catholicism) and have a relationship with God today.

God understood.
Hi Amy:
Thanks for sharing your story. I trust you will continue to allow God to reveal His truth to you thorugh His Word in the Holy Scriptures. Most poople posting on this BB wil not agree with you that Roman Catholicism teaches the truth...
Verne
« Last Edit: August 08, 2003, 09:01:02 pm by vernecarty » Logged
Sebastian Andrew
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« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2003, 07:35:50 am »

Greetings Amy:
 Most maybe, but not everyone  Smiley....
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