Joe had been a lector in the Catholic Church, leading the singing from up front of the church. He had long-since given up his singing in the Catholic Church; and now went full-time to Highland Baptist Church. Now, we decided to go to the Last Days meetings, held in Bill Gibbs' attic; this meant giving up the Baptist Church (because the Baptists were not comfortable having us around).
One Saturday night we were invited by Condon's niece, Lucille Dixon, to her apartment - we were going to talk about the Bible. Bill and Martha Gibbs were also there. They answered a lot of questions we had. Finally they came right out and asked us if we had received the Holy Ghost since we believed? We told them of the experiences we had - being baptized in the Holy Ghost.
That was the night they all began talking about "spiritual warfare", it was scary. They told stories about going into houses and "casting out" spirits that shouldn't be there. Our imaginations were really running away with us that night, and we imagined all kinds of noises in Lucille's apartment - even to the point of them running through the living room and out her opened window. Someone made the statement, "I hope they didn't go into your car." Now, there was a thought! We didn't know, at the time, that "He that is in us is greater than he that is in the world."
Another time, we were visiting at Lucille Dixon's apartment, Gibbs were there, it was getting very late, we had left Rose babysitting (she had the phone number where we were - across town), I was concerned about getting home...but I also didn't want to leave, our conversation was so "rich".
I had a very different thing happen to me... I could still hear them talking, but I felt like my body was being lifted above, out of the house, across the town, and to our house. Just above our house was a HUGE ANGEL. The angel had his wings spread over our house, protecting it. I felt secure. Then I was back in Lulu's living room, and their voices began coming back to my understanding. I didn't know what had happened to me, and had a very strange look on my face. They began talking about "angels".
I couldn't contain myself any longer. I said that I had a strange thing happen to me, and related the story to them. Martha Gibbs got all excited and began shouting, "Lorraine saw a vision. Lorraine saw a vision." I asked her what a VISION was, I had never heard the word. Joe came running into the room, from the kitchen. Bill and Martha explained to us what a vision was. They said they are always given for a reason. I asked what the reason was for this one - they said it was to make me feel secure about leaving the children so long. We stayed until 4:00 a.m., and eventually went home very excited in the Lord.
Once we decided to have everybody over to our house to cast out any spirits that we might have in the house. Bob and Joe went upstairs, told us women to pray in the living room, and they would drive them out - starting with the attic. Well, Joe jumped up and knocked the covering off the whole to the attic. The "crash" scared all of us and Lucille let out a loud scream. The men had to reassure us that it was them making the noise and not some spirit. All went well and the entire house and barn were exorcised.
Bill and Martha Gibbs told us how this "move of the Spirit" (Endtime) got started: it all began October 2, 1962 (I remember the date, because this is the day our son Peter was born.) Sam Fife, his wife Lee, Buddy Benton, Amelia Huntley, Joyce James and a few others (most from the Baptist Church) got together for a prayer meeting in one of their homes. I guess they received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and eventually left the Baptist Church.
They began regular meetings in their home to learn more about the Lord; printed booklets, and pretty soon they were circling the globe with Endtime truths. Sam Fife had his own plane, named "...on Eagles wings".
We were going to the Endtime meetings all the time, now. One day all of us (there were quite a few new families by this time), were standing on the steps outside the apartment building where the meetings were held - the front door was locked; it was raining outside and we were trying to get in out of the rain. We could hear Bill playing his guitar and singing away, up on the third floor; someone began to throw little pebbles against the third floor window. Nobody came to let us in, not for a long time.
Later, Bill told us that he figured everybody had left the group and he was again down to singing by himself. He had heard the sound on the window, but figured it was just the "enemy", trying to distract him from his singing - so, he had rebuked the sound and it eventually stopped.
His next-door apartment building sold, so we began having our meetings in Bill's apartment. It was extremely hot in Bill's apartment and his wife Martha wouldn't let us open any windows. They had trouble before, when people outside heard the singing - so she didn't want anymore trouble.
One day the men decided to move a piano from one apartment building to the other. They got two, very thick planks and put them from window to window - across the short space between the buildings. This was by far the easiest way to move the piano, although not really the wisest. Two men had to lift the piano onto the plank and then slide it across the plank. This wasn't too hard - but once the piano was out there on the plank, the plank began to bow and we al held our breaths; it looked like it would slide off the two window sills. Two men were on the receiving end of the plank, to grab the piano and ease it into Bill's apartment. It went remarkably well - once we all began to breathe again.
It was extremely hot in Bill's apartment and his wife Martha wouldn't let us open any windows. They had trouble before, when people outside heard us singing - so, she didn't want anymore trouble. We called our meetings, "Body Meetings" - meaning, a meeting of the Body of Christ. Andrew had said something about the meetings we were going to, at a "Show and Tell" session at his school. His teacher got concerned about the "phrase", and asked what we did there, and did people show their BODY? He cleared it up, I guess, the best a first grader could.
It was during this time that we heard about a group of people who had come out from California, to live some place down near Boston (Joe and Tom had gone to one of their meetings). They had just bought a farm in Ware, Massachusetts - which was pretty close to where we lived. We drove down there to see what was going on. This is when we first met Betty Banazac - she was one of the woman elders.
We began to feel to live more "corporately" - with Lucille Dixon; we asked the elder to get "words" for us, to confirm, if it was the Lord speaking to us. The words came back very positive, so we went ahead. She was to have the den, it was being used as a bedroom, so we had to double-up, and triple-up some of the kids upstairs.
We wanted her to be happy with us and so I took her out to pick out wallpaper for her room. We had quite the time taking all the layers of old wallpaper off the walls. We put steam on it, then water, then we used a scraper. We took a pledge that whenever we saw each other, in coming years we would always say, "Remember the WALL"!
We began to get really interested in edible wild things, and spent time in the woods more productively, now. One day Andrew came home with a brown, shopping bag - it had a huge tree mushroom in it. He was sure it was edible. We called Rotondis, as they used to pick mushrooms. Al Rotondi told us that if you boiled it in water with a dime in the water and the dime didn't tarnish, it was okay to eat. We took him at his word. The mushroom was so huge that it would have been too tough to eat, except that it was boiled first. Lucille used about half of it in a meal she was making for us and it was excellent. Years later we learned that is not a "sure fire" test for mushrooms, but God was gracious to us...
Lucille continued to work. She had one of the days to do all the cooking, when she was home - she wanted to help around the house. This was a welcomed thing for awhile, and she really enjoyed doing special things for the kids - things that I didn't have time to do. But, after awhile I began to resent the things she did and the attention the kids gave to her. After about 9 months we decided she would get her own place again. Bill made sure that we settled anything that might be between us, before she moved on - it was a good thing because that's really the only way to have it.
During this time the Miami Revival Center got in touch with us, they are the ones who put out the booklets that Sam Fife wrote. A young woman named Beverly Lord had been in touch with them and wanted to know of someone she could visit in our area (she lived pretty close by). She showed up on our doorstep one weekend and came back every weekend for a few months. She always brought her specialty, kiwi lime pie (it was really good), but after awhile Lucille got jealous that our children enjoyed having Beverly around. We had a couch that opened up into a bed and Beverly slept there. We managed pretty good with 14 people and just one bathroom.
Bill Gibbs had prayed for years that the Lord would send him some people he could fellowship with - and, the Lord sent him 50 X-Catholics who didn't know the Word at all. As Catholics we heard very little Scripture, just the same verses that were read every year, over and over again - the same Scripture for the same week. All of us were newly Born Again, and the Catholic Church just didn't have what we were hungry for - all of us had come out of it.
Bill decided it was time to have a baptismal service. He did some teaching on water baptism and a few weeks later we all went to Paul Gougen's waterfront home. I think we had a B-B-Q first. We all prayed and then some of the brethren were baptized in the lake. It was an excellent time and we all grew closer together because of the experience. Joe and I had been baptized at the Baptist Church, after we believed and didn't feel to do it again.
Catherine Chapman (Sam Fife's sister) ministered at our local assembly, a few months later. We had a time of it; Joe getting home from work, feeding the family, cleaning up and then driving to Fitchburg, MA for the meeting - so, we got there before the meeting started, but not in time to haves our pick of 10 seats...I never wanted to sit in the front row of anything, but had no choice this time.
Years later, Catherine told us that during the praise service at the beginning of the meeting, she had felt a strong witness within her of what the Lord was calling Joe to (ministry). She had prayed about it and then she saw Joe's hands go up in praise and Hands come down from above, to touch Joe's hands. She felt this confirmed what she had felt about Joe ministering. Later, I recalled that I too, had seen the hands meet...there on the ceiling; but it was a result of the lighting.
During this time, Bill Gibbs was the only elder in the Fitchburg assembly. There was to be a convention in Maine and a lot of travelling ministries were coming through our assembly to minister. There was to be two nights of meetings; we got to the first night and really enjoyed what Buddy Benson and Lacey Taylor had to say - it was all so new to us.
The second night, Joe had just got home from work (had to drive 38 miles each way, to Bedford, MA and we had to get ready to drive up to Maine the next day for the convention, so we decided not to go to the meeting. During this meeting they "laid hands" on Tom Condon and set him in as an elder in the assembly. We found out later that they were going to do the same with Joe, but we weren't at that meeting.
The travelling ministry all agreed that Joe should have hands laid on him for eldership, and after the convention (of which we left early, again), Bill Gibbs did just that, at the local assembly. Now, Bob and Tom and Joe began to minister the Word as elders.
We drove up to Maine for the convention - it was a long ride with all the children, a hot day and we were all very tired. We dropped our things off at a waterfront camp that belonged to Elsine Robertson, and then we drove to the convention that was being held in a large barn belonging to Dan and Barbara Robertson.
The convention was upstairs in the barn - it was crowded and hot. There weren't enough seats for all 10 of us together, so we ended up very close to the front row, again. We weren't use to that kind of thing - the children began to fidget, to complain - and I had enough; I marched out of there with all 8 children following close on my heels (like a mother hen with her chicks). We cooled off outside, they ran through the cool grass and let off some steam, I fumed. When the meeting was over, Joe drove us to the camp. It was a lifesaver for me - the cool water and the quiet helped me to get my act together...We stayed for the convention and left a little early, I think, because Joe had to be back for work and we had a long drive ahead of us.
Joe had been to the Robertson’s farm a few months earlier, for a weekend teaching by Sam Fife. He had gone with Earl Kenney(from the Baptist Church); Earl was hoping Joe would get it out of his system, but it didn't work - Joe wanted more. Tom had gone with them; and Paul Goguen, Jerry Doucette, Paul Girouard (no relation), Lucille Dixon (Tom's niece), and maybe Bill Gibbs. They had a really good time, learned a lot.
Martha was getting nervous about the meetings in her apartment, so we began to meet in the basement of the Rotondi's house in Leominster, where we also lived. Janet Rotondi was a Christian, but her husband Al wasn't, yet. They are the family who used to live near us, who had lost their son Danny with a heart operation. They had an older son Rick and a younger daughter Monica (years after Danny passed away.
I remember the day Monica was born - it was on our wedding anniversary Sept. 1. I had heard Janet was to go in to have her baby on that day, so I spent the whole day praying for a safe delivery. They still lived down the hill from us, at the time. It was no easy matter being on your knees all day long, with a house full of small children.
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Pen Name: Aimee Love