In 1968 and '69, there was a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the whole world, and especially in America was the Spirit falling and JESUS houses were springing up everywhere. Right around us in a small town in Florida there were several houses, Noah's Ark, The House of Abraham, and our house was called The Master's Outpost. In America teenagers were running from state to state, thumbing their ways across America, hiking from coast to coast, and our mission quickly filled up with young people from all over the USA, as far away as California and New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and many others.
Many houses lasted but a short year or so, and many simply could not pay the cost of such houses, and many more dissolved because they sprang up so rapidly without strength to endure the persecutions. I literally had mothers come and drag their sons from the meetings. I had parents come to take their daughters out of the mission. Many of the great ministries that we see and hear today were formed in that outpouring. Some of the JESUS houses failed because they were cohabitational, as we were also in the beginning. They became corrupted and it was like reliving history, and the founding of the church when all manners of disciplines and rules and laws of behavior began springing up, along with functional problems, just like any large family underneath of one roof. Our mission housed forty four. The young people from the mission were rejected at the local churches, and it was fine for us to go and sing and witness, but when a young man from our mission asked to date one of the church's young ladies, a wall went up and our house was no longer welcome to minister and sing in that church. We were like 'circus freaks' entertaining the parishioners.
I was quickly removed from my Sunday School class as its teacher, my husband likewise also, and we were accused of unequally yoking ourselves with sinners and unbelievers. It was unbelievable! I couldn't believe it! The same church where we were led to Christ and baptized, suddenly became our persecutors. So, we just like JESUS, went without the gates into the highways and byways to minister JESUS, looking for those underneath the bushes, and those broken souls caught in the thickets.
I was born in 1934 and in 1968 the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was the strongest I had ever seen and to this day in 2003 still remains the greatest outpouring of the Spirit I have experienced in my lifetime. It was just like the outpouring on the day of Pentecost with all the confusion, and all the disorientation, and even the state of the whole ministry being drunk in the Spirit with everyone speaking in tongues, and with an uproar all over town, because those from the ministry when going to the bank were preaching to the tellers, and speaking in tongues, and pastors from all over the city came to the Master's Outpost to pick fights, and to accuse, and to persecute, and so we sort of quickly became as turtles in shells for protection from persecution. A local pastor came one evening to a Bible meeting and brought the police with him because in peeking through the dining room hall window he was witnessing a deliverance. A young man was being delivered from drugs and the spirit threw him on the floor and he was in terrible pain with this deliverance, and the pastor jerked him to his feet, and struck him repeatedly in the face, and the police arrested the young man and took him to jail. We quickly learned that the same works that Jesus worked got us into the same mess that He was in! No wonder Jesus told those that witnessed deliverances to tell no one what they saw! On one occasion the whole town took up stones to stone Jesus.
All the young people were on fire for Jesus. We would go to the beaches and sing and witness and the police would run us off of the public beaches. We would baptize the teens right there in the Gulf waters. In fact, thirty years later the staff here is from that very same outpouring, still enduring and still faithfully occupying where the LORD planted them. We went into the stockades to preach and witness, and way back then, even thirty years ago the stockade was filled with young men over half of them in there for possession of drugs.
Twenty years ago we bought an old brick schoolhouse, and a two by four at a time have remodeled it into a fine Christian family restaurant where scripture plaques hang on the walls, and here we take our stand for Jesus. Over the many years we have reached those for Christ who will not nor would not go to a church, but come here they will, to hear the music and eat the 'home' cooked food. Over these thirty years we have stood beside the graves of many, and with a prayer sent them up to JESUS. And we have been blessed over and over again by the burying of both husband and wife putting them down in JESUS. And hanging on our walls are the 'silent' witnesses, the scripture plaques.
The plaque ministry was born eighteen years ago when I was diagnosed with a 'terminal' lung disease. The contractor that was helping us remodel our school house made me a get well plaque he had made of a man with tears falling down his cheeks, just a small plaque, but that was the birth of the scripture plaques.
I was bedridden for three months, only rising every day a few hours to letter the plaques. I could not walk three steps. I could no longer sing. My bathroom was a litter box. I simply prepared myself to go home to be with the LORD and leave a living testimony in this world of all the scripture plaques. The LORD healed my lungs. The pneumonia left scars on my lungs so painful, it took me a year of singing again and exercising my lungs to expand and stretch them that I could sing. All the songs on our tapes are written by me or co-written with someone else in the ministry. Where the air to perform concert work was not sufficient for the long haul, the air to record was and is more than sufficient.
Over the years the young girls in the ministry have learned to cook, to sew, to clean, to do laundry, to make bread, to wait on tables, to serve, and every single one of them when ready to leave the ministry, went back out into the world, back to California, and back to their family roots, back to New York, back to Tennessee, back to Florida, and what was their first job while going to school and college? At fashionable restaurants, without exception, every single young girl had the training necessary to stand not only in Christ, but in those burdens of providing their own substance while continuing their education. They even learned to sand sheet rock, and stain woodwork, and paint walls, and all had to take their turns at pushing a lawn mower. But most of all, they were taught to be mothers and wives.
I would like to speak a word to all those out there who love Christ, who are crying out for marriages and families and relationships to stand, and crying and mourning and demanding GOD to do something about restoring a family, or a marriage, or some other earthly and carnal union, I can only encourage everyone of you caught in such despair to let loose, and let GOD, and allow the pruning to come. The wounds will heal over and though they scar, they are only medals of honour of a work well done, and though often the wounds are broken open by circumstances or remembrances or some other wounding, the binding up comes faithfully and quickly by the loving hands of JESUS, for your earthly and eternal life is in His hands. For you to bear fruit, you must be pruned, and so be joyful if possible as the sap runs from your very limbs with the prunings so painful, for as you watch the healing scars form, for every pruning, there are now two branches blossoming, and for every two prunings there are now four branches blossoming, and then another year and look and you have a tree all out of shape but full of blossoms, and a tree literally deformed, but full of fruits so heavy the branches dip way down to the ground. Rejoice, for prunings are GOD's favor on you that you might bear Him more fruit bringing souls into eternal life as you lay yours down to Christ and to His gospel.
The Sparrows Nest Restaurant is the sole support of this world wide outreach for JESUS. While able to sing, The Sounds Of Martha was heard in the outermost parts of the world through a radio program. There is even a church in Africa called The Sparrows Nest. JESUS spoke about the Kingdom of GOD being hidden, and what a day that will be in eternity when that hidden Kingdom to our eyes now is visible then to our joy! Oh, to someday meet all those who heard a song, or read a book, or heard the name of JESUS by the labors of our hands and the sacrificing of our lives to Jesus for His name's sake. And my friends, it is a sacrifice. For family, friends, brethren, husband, wife, son, daughter, mother and father, and even the closest of companions and friends, ALL go by the wayside as your trek into the wilderness of preparation makes your whole strength, purpose, life and breath, be only JESUS till He alone dwells in your heart, your mind, your soul, and even in your very body itself. Be as a sacrifice to Christ which is our only gift to give JESUS for such an unspeakable gift of eternal life and sins forgiven through His shed blood. Those that desire to go with you with the same like faith, embrace and take with you, but those that are hindrances, and those that are enemies, and those that are lovers of the flesh or of the world, allow the LORD to prune away from you, and wish them well, but you, you keep your eyes on the heavenly vision that the LORD has set before your face, and be sure and certain that no man take away your crown of life.
Our prayer is that every single one of you that visits our pages will be blessed and may the LORD provide every need, and may He never allow the bird of poverty to build a nest in the eaves of your house, and may He keep your heart and mind in peace, and above all things, may our LORD JESUS Christ keep you and yours safe in an unsafe world.
Till we meet in Him, love from Martha and the Sparrows in the Nest.