Mike and Cheryl Zach's Letter to George

[October-November, 1999]

Dear Brother George,

"But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works." Psalm 73:28

This letter is to give you an overview of our time there in San Luis Obispo.  We are very encouraged about how the Lord moved during our time there.  Our involvement with the Assembly was very positive and encouraging.  We met with quite a few of the saints and also had an excellent couples' workshop weekend.  The Lord stirred the couples to renewed vision in their marriages, homes, and in their involvement in the Assembly.  We participated in the Gospel Campaign they held downtown for a week, which yielded not only salvation, but also visitors to the weekly meetings. 

As we watched the saints function together in fellowship we could not help but notice the evident influence that David and Judy have had on the Assembly, the vision that they have brought, and their positive contribution.  Most of our time was spent, however, with David and Judy.  After the wedding we helped them move and get settled into their new home.  We met with them daily at length as a couple as well as each of us spending time with them individually.  We were able to address many key issues in their lives together as a couple, with each of them as individuals, and their relationship to the Work.  We believe the Lord got real breakthroughs in their personal lives, in their marriage, and a door has been opened in light of the Work.  The issues are complicated and intertwined.  We would like to give you our perspective as clearly and concisely as we can in a letter format...Because of the sensitive nature of several of the issues, we are going to present our thoughts in summary fashion without a lot of detail.

After receiving a call from Mark Miller to come, we thought it would be valuable to be able to talk to David and Judy from firsthand observation without the influence of any outside viewpoints.  For this reason we did not communicate with yourself, your wife, or any of the brethren about their perspectives of the problems or the situation.  This proved to be very beneficial as we were able to make candid observations about their relationship, their home, and their involvement in the Assembly without them thinking that we had been previously biased.  They know we were acting only upon our own assessment of what we had actually witnessed rather than the viewpoint of another or hearsay.

The first issue we addressed was their relationship to each other, which was at that point merely lives of coexistence, sometimes peaceful, sometimes not.  It seemed pretty clear that their problems in their marriage, as well as the other problems we will be mentioning, were catalyzed by Rachel's sin and the subsequent responses in their own lives and the reactions they faced from others in the midst of dealing with the question of failure and their responsibility as parents. In this painful situation, they also faced what they perceived as rejection and judgment from some of the brothers, the saints, and yourself.  This sense of alienation continued right up until the present with both David and Judy, and it seems to have affected their thinking on many levels, including their personal relationship, their relationship with the brethren, and their relationship in this ministry. 

We were able to deal with these thoughts in many areas, especially in their personal responses, their commitment to each other, and in some of their viewpoints towards the Work.  We saw the Lord get breakthroughs in their marriage in their personal affection and attention towards one another.  Lines of communication were opened which we hope will enable them to stay in the light with each other.  We saw Judy repent of bitterness and resentment towards others and renew her commitment to obedience to her husband.  We saw David admitting to the tendency to justify himself and to become combative when he feels threatened.  We saw him take responsibility in his home that he seemed to have abandoned in the turmoil of the last four years.  At this point in time, David's continuing response seems to be the key and pivotal hinge for complete restoration in this family.

One of the problems that seems to be fundamental in complicating the process of reconciliation is David's diabetes, which leads to genuine intermittent memory lapses and sporadic involvement in home and Assembly functions.  It is very difficult for him to recognize these lapses, although they are evident to those around him who are affected by them.  It is hard for him to trust that others are remembering accurately, suspecting that they may instead be trying to undermine his authority...

This produces many irresolvable dilemmas because the facts become elusive, obscure, and often irretrievable to him.  In the last four years, with the combination of the preceding and other factors, David has begun to give place to negative thoughts about his worth in the ministry and your evaluation of him.  It is obvious in speaking with him that he feels like the "bad seed" so to speak.  His real or perceived childhood and youthful memories of your relationship with him become intertwined with your relationship with him as the head steward of this work.  This only serves to complicate his ability to have an accurate perception of the ministry itself.  With the added pressure of having Rachel's situation and its attendant upheaval, David began to give place to this negativity in his home in his comments and attitudes, becoming suspicious about the motives of his brethren and yourself.  Judy also, feeling unsupported and condemned in certain ways, very naturally followed her husband's lead and became negative about the work as well.

Repentance began with Judy as she began to see how she had harbored bitterness and resentment towards others in some of the working out of Rachel's discipline and recovery.  She very clearly took responsibility for her attitude towards you, Betty, and the brethren.  She has been responsive to the brethren and has met extensively with Betty to pursue reconciliation.  Betty's attitude of humility and spiritual reconciliation, and her willingness to admit her own mistakes with Judy as a mother-in-law, have been invaluable in the whole process of recovery.  It has given Judy hope in a situation that was to her hopeless in the aspect that she has wanted to see change, but it never has been attainable in her mind.  She was always viewed as "the problem". David's changes were evidenced after the brothers took some time for prayer and fasting and then discussing unity in the brothers' meeting.  David apologized for being combative and seeking to justify himself.  The brethren and David were all rejoicing at this new beginning the Lord had effected in them.  David also became increasingly relaxed and joyful around the house and had more positive interaction with his family as time went on.

Our conversations with David and Judy also surfaced what seems to be a crucial aspect, especially in Judy's thinking, and that is the issue of David's accountability as a full time Worker in this ministry.  David struggles at times with his sense of worth which assuredly has much to do with his health, but is exacerbated by his maverick tendencies.  Our assessment of this is that without direct and regular accountability, it is easy for him to become unrealistic about his exercise as a Worker and impractical in the proper use of his time...

Even without the complication of family ties to the head steward of the ministry, there are many difficult evaluations to make just in light of his health.  Accountability would serve as a safety net against error in either direction, whether it be for too much or too little push, and it would also guard against a guilty conscience.  But as we added the father-son relationship, with David's perceptions of past stress and the added pressure of upholding the family name, it becomes difficult to separate father from head steward.  This makes accountability a personal rejection issue in David's mind, rather than an impartial judgment of faithful/unfaithful steward.  As Judy sees David struggling for peace and fulfillment in his life's work, the complication of the intermingling of father and boss is to them difficult at best, and the question hovers over their service:  Is the same standard being applied to David as to others in the same situation, or is David 'special' because he is a Geftakys?

Although we saw a definite improvement in their personal lives, their marriage, their relationship with the brothers, and their attitude towards the Work, time will be the true test.  We are trusting that the doors of communication between themselves as a couple remain open.  We are continuing our interaction with them by regular phone conversations.  Your counsel to David in light of standing in unity with his brethren as well as the meetings with the brethren there opened the possibilities for increase in unity and cooperation.  This can be monitored by visits in the itinerant ministry.  In light of David's involvement as a full time worker, we recommend that David be consistently and regularly accountable to Mark Miller, a brother for whom David has expressed much respect and trust.

In this letter we have omitted many details and tried to present an overview of the situation as we see it.

...We are hoping that this information could remain confidential to facilitate our continuing relationship of trust and openness with David and Judy.  We also hope it will enable you to be better equipped to respond objectively as head steward in this ministry and with compassion as a father to a delicate situation.  We see that the Work needs to stand and steps need to be taken in light of clarifying their capacity as full time Workers.  We feel that David and Judy are particularly vulnerable at this point in their lives, and that words of encouragement from the head steward of the ministry and the father would have a profound effect to promote healing and restoration in their lives.  Although there is much that cannot be untangled at this point, we believe that God wants to get complete restitution in the relationships involved.

We would also like to say that we count it a great privilege to be able to labor with you in this ministry.  We look at you not only as the head steward, but as our spiritual father as well.  Both you and Betty have profoundly affected our lives and shaped our spiritual growth.  We continue to remain available for the Lord's direction in this ministry.  We love you both.

"And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the Working of his might power which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places." Ephesians 1:19-20

Your companions on the heavenly journey,

Mike and Cheryl Zach

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