My Life Adventure – FACE
--By Ben Gilmore
Query from an ACH alumni January, 2013.
I’d been thinking about asking if you would – or had ever and I missed it – share some background about the history of restoring America’s Christian His-story!! I am always trying to share some of this history with people so any information from someone who was earlier in the chain than myself is much appreciated that I can share/forward to interested people!
Have you ever written down your entire story and all your memories of how God put the interest in your heart and crossed your path with Verna Hall and others and all your related reminisces?
Indeed you have recognized your place in the chain – “of Christianity moving westward”. I am working on a book based upon the PAG classes.
My personal history with “restoration” – a part of my life adventure. Miss Hall often remarked that history draws you deeper into origins – ultimately to God as “First Cause”.
“Conscience of A Conservative” (Goldwater) was the first touch of “civics” that caught my attention. At the time (1962), I thought I was a Christian (I went to church on most Sundays and was American!). I purchased a case of books and gave them out to the neighbors on our street in Connecticut. That lead to a Goldwater club in every town in Connecticut and me as grass roots organizer for Connecticut, when there weren’t mass mailings and grass roots.
Along the way, I learned practices from Strom Thurman, the JBS, and other trail-blazers. It wasn’t until moving to California in mud ’64 that we attended a “Conservative Baptist Church” and I realized I was a shining example of God’s grace and patience! I got saved and suddenly the Bible was “alive”. “Events” (actually the hand of God) moved us to Upland, CA (just east of LA) as new Christians.
It was there I met the “World’s most internationally unknown evangelist” – Winkie Pratney. He taught me to use my intellect outside the box. About that time the “Jesus Movement” hit southern CA and we were on the front row to watch it blossom. In the process I discovered YWAM & Teen Challenge.
When our Lord had taught me what I needed there, it was back to Morgan Hill where I was invited to write a weekly column (for pay!!!). By then I was excited about Christian things and politics. They were combined into my newspaper columns. YWAM leadership heard there were two ladies, Miss Hall and Miss Slater, founders of “Foundation for American Christian Education” (FACE), in SF, whom they needed to meet. I was asked by leadership to meet their flight and drive them to FACE HQ. Since I was the driver, I was included at the table.
As I observed and listened to the ladies, it became obvious to me they had something valuable. I had become active in a “theological-political” way. The ladies were approaching the same targets in a “socio-political” way. Each approach was based upon sound fundamentals. I believe it was around 1973 that we invited Miss Hall & Slater to a parlor meeting in our home. It was “providential” – they rarely did such meetings!
You have heard my story about their speaking to the YWAM group in San Diego, preparing the cross-country mule-drawn wagon train in 1976. I was impressed. We visited their HQ again.
Miss Slater encouraged us to homeschool. In those days few were doing that. Fran joined FACE volunteer staff. We sat under many hours of “class time” with the ladies. We met others with similar stories of their influence, Jim & Barbara Rose, Kathy Dang, Beth Ballenger, Ruth Smith, Marshall Foster, Charles Wolf, Russ Walton, Paul Jehle, Steven McDowell, Bobbie Ames, David Barton, Dennis Petersen, Desta Garrett, Jerry Nordskog and on and on.
Fran and I founded ACH Study Groups – teaching a combination of what we had learned from our 5 years around-the-world travels with YWAM and from our association with FACE. The rest is, as they say – “is history”.