Former Heritage USA/PTL Barn
(Jim & Tammy Faye Bakker)
in Fort Mill, SC
Love For His People Editor's Note: On Feb. 17, 2014, Peter Wyns and Jesse Enns, pastors of Antioch International Church, took their board members of the church and Peter's international ministry, Christians For Messiah Ministries, through some of the main building still standing of the former facilities of Heritage USA & PTL (Jim & Tammy Bakker) in Fort Mill, SC. My wife Laurie and I have been members of Peter's ministry since its beginning in 2004.
Last week (Feb. 21) it was then publicly announced that they are purchasing the property including The Barn conference center, The Studio TV center, class rooms (formerly Heritage School and later Crown Christian Academy where my kids graduated from - Josh and Ben), and the surrounding 16 acres.
As PTL Lifetime Partners from 1985 through the down fall in 1987, with our three membership, we had seen the "former glory" of these grounds, and are extremely excited to witness and share in the Lord's ongoing restoration of the property. For His purposes and will in the nations, we are thus committed to be involved further.
Steve & Laurie Martin
Love For His People, Inc.
The following photos are ones I took on Feb. 17, 2014, as we walked through the buildings. It had already undergone a $4 million renovation in the past few years.
Before then, the main roof had fallen in, water pipes had burst and destroyed much of the lower level, and the conference center walls, carpet and stage had major damage, which needed to be replaced or repaired.
With fond memories I recall administrating several Mahesh Chavda Ministries/All Nations Church conferences we held there, from 1994 - 1997. MCM held the last conference there, in Nov. 1997, for almost 10 years later.
Along with participating in the worship, prophetic and warfare conferences hosted by Rick Joyner and his team of MorningStar Ministries in the late '90s, we also appreciated the 1985-1987 Jim Bakker Friday night Camp Meeting Praise times there.
THE BARN at Heritage (formerly PTL/Heritage USA)
Jesse Enns and Peter Wyns
Former Studio where PTL Show was broadcast.
The Studio - seats over 1000 people
Flags of the nations!
Israel and America
From the stage looking to main entrance doors.
Looking to the stage from the main entrance doors.
The main foyer entrance
Hanging lights in the foyer
Foyer floor carpet
Two floors of classroms
Moses' Tabernacle painting in one of the callsrooms
Steve Martin - CMM board member
The Studio entrance and side
Road past the Studio entrance to The Barn entrance
As a board member of Christians For Messiah Ministries, I wholeheartedly gave my approval to purchase this facility.
Personally, my family's ties to the land goes backseveral decades, to 1985. In that year we bought our first Lifetime membership, when we lived in East Lansing, MI. Being former PTL Partners, our family is excited to see the Lord honor the widow's mite and bring restoration to this land and buildings. We anticipate many conferences, from many churches and ministries, will come and once again use the place for His glory and declarations.
In 2004 the Lord had me bring a "piece of the rock" home, as a promise to His fulfillment. He also had me drive the property in
In my 1st book, THE PROMISE (2013, Martin Lighthouse Publishing) I included a chapter called "Heritage, USA", which I actually wrote in 2003. Below is that chapter.
Also read further on of the "midnight drive" the Lord had me gone on, also in 2003.
“Someday I am going to work here Dad,” I said to my father in what I hoped was a prophetic word as we stood in front of the World Outreach Center main office of PTL, Heritage USA. Jim Bakker’s, the minister who I had been watching every morning at 5:30 am on my taped video, was said to have his office on the top floor of this three level, strange looking “pyramid” as it was commonly called. “Take my picture in front of the flag pole with the building in the background. I want to make sure I have this in my photo album.”
“Well, if you do get the job, then I will come and take care of these grounds with you”, he replied, with a gleam in his eye that I rarely saw. Retirement was about nine years away as I heard from Mom that he was planning on doing that when he reached 63. By then he would have put in thirty seven years on the job at Viking Pump, which was an unheard of commitment at one place in my mind, even then back in the mid ‘80’s. But my dad was raised to be committed to his work and his good Catholic family, and having never missed a day in his work life at the Cedar Falls iron foundry, he was going to do it. It was just the way it was.
My resume, which I would send within two months, would probably come here. Later, when the response came graciously saying, “We have filed your resume for future reference,” it was most likely just another in the vast amount of those they must be getting.
Sandy Schepper, a friend from our church in East Lansing, had moved down here two years ago. She had gotten a hair cutting job on Main Street in the Grand Hotel and had some contacts. Sandy told me to address my resume to the attention of Vern McClellan, the World Missions director at PTL.
At least I had some kind of contact. The fact that it would probably be filed away didn’t bring much hope, (being an administrator myself, I knew what was done with the “extra resumes”) but I knew that something had been stirring in my spirit, that a move was coming, and I was getting myself ready. Laurie and I had already discussed preparing for the time when we would be leaving East Lansing after six years ending next August, in 1986. Moving would become a continuing journey in our family life to someday get to Africa. Perhaps that journey would take us via Charlotte, NC.
Dad, Mom, my youngest sister Lynn, my youngest brother Rob, Laurie, our sons Joshua and Benjamin, and our one year old daughter Hannah had met at the resort this hot August week. It was blistering hot, and so humid! My camera film wouldn’t quite melt in the heat, but when I received several of the many pictures back that I took, they had “sun spots” on them. The photo processing company gave me a helpful note with the photos, upon their return a few weeks later: “Spots due to heat.” Too late now.
After having grown up in the Midwest, speaking the “perfect English” as we liked to call it (though others told us in these parts that we were the ones with the accent) the states of Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, and now Michigan, had some hot summers. But no doubt about it, this was hot. I guess I’d better get used to it. Kenya and Zaire are located right near the equator.
We had set up our tents in Heritage’s campground, the best grounds that I had ever experienced. Having grown up with camping as our vacation two weeks each year – Dad’s vacation time – we had been to Colorado, Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas. Camping was the only affordable “hotel” for a family with eight kids. We loved it, especially when it came time to make s’mores over the late night blazing campfire. But this place surpassed them all. The campground bathrooms even had bathtubs! That was unheard of in campgrounds!
Using our first Lifetime memberships that both my parents and we had contributed for, we were entitled to four days and three nights of stay on this beautiful Christian resort in the campground areas. For the common Joe, this was the place where we could bring our families on our annual vacation, and enjoy the work of the Lord. This was great! Later, I added another membership to my long term package, which would give us either six nights or eight nights each year, depending upon if we stayed in the enclosed lodgings or camp the full time. By this time the Heritage Inn, the Grand Hotel, and the Bunkhouses were available, with the Tower to be completed in 1987. We had our summer times set for life, and I could pass it onto my kids when they got older. Dad and Mom were planning on passing theirs on to ones in my immediate family also. With seven others though, I would no doubt just use my own.
Each day at the resort we spent going to the Studio, watching the live PTL Club show being broadcast across the world on satellite each weekday at 10:00 am. Hosted by Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, it was an hour of actual broadcast time, but with the time before and after the show adding extra moments of special times with the cast, it usually was an extra half hour in our seats. Due to the tremendous demand for the seats, we had to get reserved seat tickets 2 hours in advance each day, and then wait in line for an hour, hoping to get a seat close to the front.
Laurie and I especially liked the music with Paul Floyd and the PTL Singers. Brenda Davis, the lead lady vocalist, could really belt out “His Eye is on the Sparrow.” We’d tear up, knowing that the Lord indeed had His eye on us and our growing family. Unknown to me at the time, I would later end up having the TV producer of the show, Bernie Lemke, play keyboard on our worship team at Cornerstone Church in Pineville, NC, 16 years later. He also was the first keyboardist for our band, Steve Martin & The Raiders, which we formed in August of 2001. (More on that story later). His boss at the time, David Kelson, is the father of Brian, another worship leader at Cornerstone. Brian also is our studio radio technician, on staff with me at Derek Prince Ministries. Brian would have been only about 9 at this time. Small world, isn’t it?
The rest of the days were filled with swimming in one of the three or four pools, one Olympic size, riding the miniature train around the large lake in the center of the park, shopping on Main Street for all kinds of stuff (someday I will have a store here!), eating at McMoose’s Restaurant, the Grand Hotel cafeteria, or several other eateries, and seeing the awesome Passion Play in the amphitheatre at night. Riding the shuttles from place to place or visiting the petting zoo at The Farm near Caroline Lake was great fun for the kids and the adults. At night we attended the Camp Meeting songfest in The Barn, also broadcast live to the nations.
In the serene woods, just off to the left of the amphitheatre, was the prayer and communion room known as the Upper Room. Built to represent a replica of a Jerusalem building, it was set quietly at the end of the stone path, inlaid with Scripture. This peaceful get away offered the hungry soul some further contact with the living God of Israel. Life size bronze statues of Jesus before Pilate and his men occupied the parking lot servicing the Upper Room.
At the main entrance of the family park, flags of the nations lined the black topped road as one also passed by the front of the re-located boyhood home of Billy Graham. He had grown up in central Charlotte, about fifteen miles north. Jim Bakker had it moved here to preserve it before it was about to be torn down to make room for the SouthPark Mall. Tourists could come in the house now and see how Billy and his family lived, dating back to the 1920’s.
We had no fear of anyone at any time harming our children throughout the entire resort, and the cleanliness of this 2000 plus acreage was outstanding. This place was third only to the Disney parks in annual attendance in recent years. That said a lot to us when it came to concerns for our children, their safety and fun times.
We spent our full five days and four nights here, taking in all that we could. Next summer we would stay in the Grand and enjoy this beautiful place even more, paid for by the contributions of the faithful, including ourselves.
After saying our good byes to Dad and Mom, we headed north back up I-77, through the Appalachian mountains of Virginia and West Virginia, and then across northern Ohio on home to East Lansing. My heart was having a hard time doing this as the grace was really beginning to run out at my job. Not that I didn’t like my job – Ellis and Noelle Clark were the best employers I had worked with thus far, and seeing the company grow from thirteen employees in 1980, to fifty in the six years I had served was a blessing to me and those on staff.
As I was able to hire, and recommend to other departments that I was not directly responsible for, eleven members of New Covenant Christian Church came on board during my tenure. As the Lord had opened the door to me years ago, He had also kept the door open for others to follow through. For this I was most grateful.
Even so, my heart cried out to go to the nations. I wanted to be a missionary. I wanted to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who had not heard of Him, His healing power, His salvation, and His Father’s love. I just wanted to go, but I had to wait at least two more years. It was a struggle as many days I sat in my chair wondering when. But the Lord supplied the grace, and the encouragement of those He had joined us with in fellowship.
At least I would still be able to watch the PTL Club every weekday and plan on next summer’s vacation time.
Also in Sept, 2013, I included a chapter in my 2nd book, Ahava Love Letters (Xulon Press, 2013) on a midnight drive the Lord had me go on in Oct., 2003. Read on.
“Heritage USA & The Prophetic Drive”
“Then I arose in the night...and went out by night…” (Nehemiah 2:12-13)
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23)
On Oct. 21, 2003, I felt the Lord had me leave my home (a weekday night) in southern Pineville, NC, and head into town. He has had me go on these trips before, where I have the sense to get in my vehicle and “go”, and then trust the Holy Spirit to guide me. Sometimes it is early morning. Sometimes late at night. Normally I go to bed at 9 pm, so for me to be up at 11:00 p.m. was not the norm.
After I had headed up Lancaster Hwy. (old Hwy. 521), I made the turn onto Hwy. 51, and headed west. By this time I had the sense that I was being directed to go to the former Heritage USA (PTL) property, which I had done so many times before. It is literally three miles from our house, as the crow flies. (Or the eagle, if you like real good prophetic symbols!)
As I approached the entrance onto the former land, now known as Regent Park, I wasn’t paying as close attention as I should have, and actually passed the main entrance. When I became aware of missing it, I continued onto the All Nations Church property, which was about two miles or so further east. I drove to its entrance. As I sat in my truck, praying in tongues, I felt the Lord say the building they were wanting to construct over the past three years (since 2001) hadn’t progressed because they were trying to put it in the wrong location on that former Heritage USA Fort Hope land.
I made a call to the ANC office and left a message on the current administrator’s phone, sharing my belief. (He later confirmed that a month earlier the decision had been made by them that the building was to go in the area I had specified in my call.)
I then returned to the other Heritage USA entrance, on Hwy. 160, arriving at 11:58 p.m. After I crossed the railroad tracks onto the main part of the former Christian retreat center, I sensed that I was to drive around the perimeter road. I knew that was permissible. Again interceding in my prayer language, I knew I was imploring the Lord for the land to be put back in the hands of His believers. I had expected to make only one trip around, even as Nehemiah had done when he approached ancient Jerusalem, and saw the walls in ruin.
At 12:00 a.m. I had driven to the back side of the property, near what was then called The Studio. I believe it still is. I knew this property well, even in the dark. Because I had invested $3000 in lifetime memberships in 1985 (two for my family and one for a family in Fort Lauderdale, who now actually live in the Charlotte area) I had often “scouted out my land.” (I even still have a big, 20 pound granite rock that I had “picked up” in 2004, that now sits on the floor in our new “worship room” in our house. (Formerly this room was called my “NASCAR man cave”. You can read further on that in the two chapters entitled “Move In To Move Out” (Parts I and II.)
Also while on staff at All Nations Church/Mahesh Chavda Ministries, as the administrator, we held several conferences on this property. In fact, little did we know at the time, we held the very last conference on the former PTL grounds before it completely shut down – that being in November, 1997, in “The Barn”. The entire place finally closed down at the end of that month. The property had been in disuse since, apart from the Kingsway (Narroway) Christian outdoor plays in the amphitheatre and their dinner theatre in The Studio.
While I sat in my ’99 Chevy S-10 “pick-em-up” truck, praying and interceding, I was instructed by the Lord to proclaim “Return seven times what was stolen!” Maybe even as Nehemiah himself may have spoken as he sat on his horse, looking at the walls under the moonlit sky, seeking the Lord’s command and purpose for Jerusalem. The enemies of the Lord had destroyed that city prior to his days. Now these grounds had also been vacant and falling further into destruction, for over six years now (when I originally wrote this in 2003.). Fallen apart, as if left for dead. Even as Rick Joyner had prophesized in that small blue book he wrote,
At 12:05 a.m. I completed the first circular lap of the road that I could drive on. I had weaved past The Barn, with its roof caved in and the interior having been flooded many time by indoor and outdoor waters; past the Upper Room, also left as it was on its last day, back in 1997. Then it was used for crying out to the Lord for His revival and intervention, but left alone in utter quietness over these many desolate years. I drove past the stark and empty amphitheatre and through the former campground. (Sidebar: My dad, Louis Martin, in 1998-1999, helped re-wire this outdoor, half-moon facility of the former home of the Passion Play. My son Ben has now set up a great memorabilia display off Main Street in the Grand Hotel of Heritage International Ministries. Go check it out! Jim Bakker did, and loves it!)
I then made a left turn at the stop sign posted at the edge of the campgrounds, and drove past the only burnt evergreen tree stump, located just under the walkway overpass, on the right side of the road.
Back in 1997, I had conducted a Martin family reunion here on these grounds near Charlotte, over the 4th of July weekend. An errant bottle rocket, lit and fired by this writer, didn’t quite perform the projection that I had anticipated and hoped for, landing the fire piece instead in the top of the evergreen tree. It quickly made a Roman candle out of that once living creation! (I have my entire Martin family as witnesses too!) With ineffective efforts on our part to put it out, with very little time to do otherwise, it didn’t keep the tree from burning rapidly to within one foot of the ground. Now only the charred stump remains, as a testimony to my unskilled method of shooting off bottle fire rockets. (Sidebar: And as of the last time I checked, it still stands as another memorial, to this very day!)
At that time, knowing that control of this land was heading into a direction that many desired it wouldn’t go, including myself, I spoke under my breath, after all of this extra 4th of July added excitement had leveled off. “Well, if we (believers) can’t have this land, no one will!”
I then turned my six cylinder around and drove back to the original intersection of the starting point (now known as Regent Blvd. and Starlight), where I stopped momentarily.
Again I proclaimed, “Restore the land to Your people!” seven times. I then called the Derek Prince Ministries office at 12:08 a.m. on my cell phone and left a message on my desk phone, just to have confirmation that I was actually doing this. (My personal assistant would check my messages the next day.)
Then the Lord gave me further instructions. “Drive around the perimeter six more times, for a total of seven times.” And so I heard and obeyed.
At 12:12 a.m. I completed the 2nd encircling of the land, and spoke out to “Restore the widow’s mite!”
As I drove the 3rd time, I continually prayed in tongues, as I had throughout the first two laps. I completed this round at 12:17 a.m., noting that each trip was 2.2 miles in length on my odometer. I also noted, as I wrote on the purple 3” x 6” paper sheets I had available to scribble on, that the Lord spoke again to “Speed up” when I took the next lap. He said He was “Speeding up His timetable.”
The narrow roadway reminded me of a NASCAR road course, and it was no easy task to drive the dark, broken blacktop at 35 - 40 mph. (No speed limit signs were posted! I felt like I could have taken on #24 Jeff Gordon at that time!) J
At 12:23 a.m. I finished the 4th round.
At 12:24 a.m. I started the 5th lap, and completed it at 12:28 a.m.
At 12:29 a.m. I started the 6th lap, and finished it at 12:33 a.m. Each time I grew bolder in my driving. (Yes, I would have beaten Jeff Gordon in this race! But kids, don’t always do what your father does!)
At 12:34 a.m. I started the 7th and final lap, completing the course at 12:38 a.m. I had driven my 4 x 4 at a speed of up to 50 mph on the “straightaway”, which was rather short on the back stretch, which crossed the parking lot, just before passing The Studio on the right.
The total mileage traveled for the seven laps was 15.4 miles on my odometer.
At 12:40 a.m. I again called my office and left a message for my personal assistant, recording what I had just done. (Remember that, M.M.?)
Upon completion of this divinely assigned task, on my way out of this 2000 acre property, I headed towards the other entrance. That would take me by the former World Outreach Center, or commonly known as “The Pyramid”, back in the day. All Nations Church/Mahesh Chavda Ministries had seriously considered leasing this building in 1998, for a church, conference and office facility. I had spoken of this possible commitment to the five Malaysian owners’ administrator of Regent. But to no avail.
(Sidebar: And for the record, I saw Jim Bakker’s famous, so-called “golden bathroom faucets”, on the very top floor of the building. From my observation, they were simply better hardware, which could have been found in Lowes, or anywhere else. Why the big issue made at that time in 1987? Just more lies printed and spoken in the media, as usual.)
At 12:42 a.m. I pulled up in front of the pyramid. I then felt led to run my Chevy truck around the flag pole that was located in front of what was then a Laura Ashley administration office, doing this encirclement seven times. (Remember, I originally wrote this act back in 2003. Being it is now Dec. 2010 that I am sharing this publicly, that makes it just over seven years ago.) I finished at 12:43 a.m., quite dizzy, having driven my good ‘ole girl as fast as I could for those very tight laps.
I arrived back home at1:04 a.m., knowing that 5:00 a.m. came early. The alarm clocks of Laurie and I had, as usual, been set for that scheduled normal “wake-up” time.
And now back to the future, here in 2010, as history has again shown, the Lord had preserved this land for His purposes. What the enemy had indeed stolen was returned to His people! And I give special heartfelt thanks to Rick Joyner, the past and current Morningstar Fellowship staff, and to so many others who have given of themselves, with long persevering efforts in the natural and spiritual realms, to bring restoration “to these walls.” (Sidebar: Even just last week the Upper Room was sold, and plans move forward for its restoration too, for prayer and worship times for many.)
May the same restoration be brought forth in Jerusalem, and in the rightful owners of that entire Promised Land of Israel - the Jewish people.
Added note: On January 7, 2011 Laurie and I began to lead the new Beit Tikvah (“House of Hope” in Hebrew) Friday night meetings at Antioch International Church (Pastors Peter Wyns and Jesse Enns), located within a stone’s throw of the King’s Castle. That facility is another former Heritage USA building that will be restored. Still standing after 25 years, restoration will come. This special anointed land, with the new Heritage International Ministries and several others on it, is further fulfillment of many prophetic words spoken over these past 24 years. Having been undergirded by the prayers of countless aged saints (and some not as fine wined yet), His promises continue to be fulfilled. The Lord is faithful!
Love For His People blogspot - post #2373 on March 3, 2014
Love For His People blogspot - post #2373 on March 3, 2014