Discussion continued for the rest of the day. Each of the six people present in Neville's living room had a lifetime of experience to un-learn. By the end of the day they were starting to feel the enormity and the urgency of this little experiment. Their religious affiliations, jobs, and families faded in importance, as they grew in their conviction about what God was doing.

 

Irene provided food throughout the day, as well as making cushions and blankets available when the group spontaneously decided to stay on at Neville's until they were clear about what God's next step was to be for them. Some of them talked far into the night, pumped up on the excitement of so much new revelation in such a short period of time. Others slept, scattered around the floor, so that they would be fresh for more discussion the following morning.

 

Over the next few days there was a remarkable change in each of the six overnight recruits. Mike was forced to acknowledge not only the existence of God, but also the role that God had been playing in all that had happened in his life. Although Sheila had not been involved in a lesbian relationship for many years, she had defended homosexuality all her life. Now she had to admit that her stubborn prejudices on the subject had been no better than the prejudices that she had fought against. Her pride had blinded her to God's right to set standards with regard to sexual behaviour; but when she and Mike each broke down and acknowledged their stubbornness, it opened up new horizons for both of them spiritually, and it dramatically deepened their relationship with God and with the others in the newly formed community.

 

These transitions for Mike and Sheila were both traumatic and dramatic. But John, Luis, and Matthew faced even greater struggles with their conservative religious hang-ups. Rayford's mention of a similar meeting with Hindus and Muslims was almost more than they could take.

 

The battle for them was one of fear. They feared that they were being lured into a heretical deception. Each one struggled in their own way. Matthew had been poisoned against The Family, as well as Jehovah's Witnesses, and John had been poisoned against all of "Christendom" as the Watchtower people called everyone apart from Jehovah's Witnesses. All three had problems with accepting the other, less fundamental, members of the newly formed union. Occasionally, one or more of them would take time out to escape in prayer, asking God for protection, strength, and finally for grace enough to lay down their prejudices and to fully embrace the evident sincerity, if not the truth, that existed in each of the others.

 

Sister Mary Teresa was caught in the middle. She had learned to tolerate, love, and appreciate people from many religious backgrounds. But she did so from what she confidently believed was a position of religious superiority. She had always thought that God would one day unite the world under the banner of the Roman Catholic Church. The Church had been her life and her hope. But now she was being forced to see it as just one more counterfeit in a world full of religious mirages.

 

When the six tribal judges-in-training were not sharing with and learning from each other, they were hungrily reading Rayford's writings. So much that he said contradicted a lifetime of religious tradition. But when they weighed it up against the teachings of Jesus and what they had been learning from each other, there was no denying both the validity and the relevance of it.

 

Ironically, it was Mike who had the least difficulty in accepting what Rayford said. He accepted it not because Jesus said it, but because he could see how it worked… to discipline people to be more spiritual and less religious. Motivations of greed and religious pride were replaced with a genuine hunger for more love and more truth.

 

They each came to see that this was what they needed to look for in others, and not religious or political tags. Sincerity could be found almost anywhere, and they needed to learn how to recognise it if they were going to be the leaders that God needed to unite all true believers in these last days. Rayford's writings had much to say that would help them along those lines.

 

By the end of the week, this new team was beginning to experience a miraculous love for each other, and they were discussing their next step.

 

Email and snail mail had increased significantly. The strange thing was that less than a third of it was coming from the United Kingdom. Dozens of people from Africa, South America, Europe, and the Middle East wrote in, asking for personal contact with the Jesans, as well as declaring their commitment to the teachings of Jesus as their standard for behaviour.

 

The original Jesans returned from an outreach on the weekend, and Neville and Mary returned about the same time. They too shared in the excitement of what was happening.

 

Because of their practical experience in living by faith, Rayford assigned each of the Jesan distributors to assist one of the judges in learning how to survive, both spiritually and physically in an alien world. Over the next three weeks, each of the new converts sold their possessions, giving the community more wealth than it had ever had before. From those funds, air tickets and laptop computers were purchased for the newly ordained missionaries.

 

Sincere seekers were waiting to meet them in six different locations. Luis and Fran flew to Sao Paulo, Brazil. Mike and Martin flew to Ankara, Turkey. Chloe and Sister Mary Teresa took one of the vans on a ferry to France, and then on to Rome. Sheila had lived in Moscow for a few years when she was younger, so she and Reinhard (who also knew Russian) took responsibility for the work in Russia. And even young Raymie, who was now fifteen years old, was assigned to assist John Doorman in Johannesburg. Matthew Baker stayed in London to work with Rayford and Irene.

 

The tiny community was suddenly coming of age. "It's happening, isn't it?" Fran said when he first heard about the six new members. "It's coming together. Thank you, Jeezus!" And Fran gave high fives to the men who had been travelling with him. Chloe, Raymie, and the others just looked on and laughed.

 

Rayford addressed the expanded community before they all headed off to their respective destinations, one month after they had first met:

 

"You each will be responsible for almost half a billion people," he said. "You have just six months to locate 12,000 genuine believers from each of your tribal territories. You'll need to teach them as I have been trying to teach you. The notebooks will help, but they must be translated into local languages and reproduced as quickly as possible. You will face the same prejudices and closed minds that you yourselves had a few weeks ago. Pray for wisdom and patience, because you'll need a lot of it. "But take heart... God is with you!"

 

Though awed by the task before them, they each felt Rayford's confidence as their own: God really was with them, and that was all that mattered.