By Mark Ellis –
She lived in Costa Mesa, California, experienced a most unusual salvation, and had 100 hippies meeting at her home on Monday nights before the wave of the Spirit hit Calvary Chapel.
After Lorna Luedtke met the Lord and was filled with the Holy Spirit in her mid-twenties, she began a friendship with Jesus so intimate they conversed regularly throughout the day. She struggled to find a church or any other believer who could relate to her personal experience with Jesus – especially her dramatic, other-worldly conversion (detailed below).
That changed when she met Lonnie Frisbee.
“So one day I’m vacuuming my floor and talking to the Lord,” Lorna, now 81 years old, told God Reports. “I said, ‘I’m so lonely, I really want to find somebody that I can talk to about you, what you’re saying and what you’re doing, and just share some of that fellowship.’
Then the Lord impressed on her heart: Turn on the TV.
She switched on the local news at noon. “There on the screen was a bearded man being interviewed, talking about how the police bring kids that are high on drugs to their house in Santa Ana, the House of Miracles, and how the Lord touches them. He also talked about the baptism in the Holy Spirit.”
Instantly she knew she had to meet the young man being interviewed, Lonnie Frisbee. “This was 1968, before the events in the Jesus Revolution movie. Lonnie and his wife Connie had just come down from up north.”
Lorna called the House of Miracles and learned that Lonnie had recently moved to the Blue Top Motel in Newport Beach, near where she and her husband Bill lived.
When they met, there were spiritual sparks. “Lonnie and I instantly clicked. It was like, Oh my word…oh my soul. Part of me was so hungry for fellowship with somebody in the Lord, somebody that really knew him. Oh, boy, it was just sparks…Lonnie was just a kid, 18 going on 19.”
Lorna was a few years older, 25, in 1968. Her husband Bill, an engineer, had not yet met the Lord.
“I told Lonnie my testimony and he got so excited. And then he asked if I got tongues. And I said, ‘No,’” (Lorna didn’t know anything about speaking in tongues.)
“My husband was taken aback because the motel was a hippie crash pad, and they just had pillows on the floor. Lonnie and Connie hadn’t had been there very long; they still had boxes and stuff and they had this lovely dove in a cage.”
Surveying the meager living situation, Bill tried to give Lonnie $100. “Brother, I don’t want your money,” Lonnie told him. “What you can do is go to Bible study with me.”
When Lorna and her husband got home, Bill was marveling at what he had seen and heard from Lonnie, his testimonies and description of miracles that seemed to be happening daily. “He thought there was something to this and he could see how Lonnie and I bonded without even knowing one another.”
Lonnie suggested that Bill meet a man named Ken, and the Luedtkes invited Ken to stay at their house for a few nights. “I fixed dinner and we’re sitting at the dinner table. I watched Ken lead my husband to the Lord, and it just came about by questions and answers.”
After dinner, Ken suggested they pray together. “My husband got the baptism in the Holy Spirit big time and started speaking in tongues. He’s the first person I heard do that. Then I knew it was real. If I had gone into a church and heard that, I would have probably questioned it, but when my husband did it, I didn’t question it.
“The Holy Spirit was like a blanket on us. Just amazing. That’s kind of how I felt all the time; I walked in this cloud in those days,”
Lorna’s unusual encounter
Lorna’s younger brother Greg was a hippie. “He was doing the scene, the drugs, and had a couple of friends die. “I knew it was breaking my mom’s heart. And it brought me to my knees. I just started praying to the living God, but I was like a Jew in my heart.”
Even though Lorna accepted Christ as a 12-year-old, and believed in a loving God, she felt like Jesus was a remote historical figure.
In trying to help her brother find a new path, Lorna veered into eastern mysticism. “One night we came home from a really bad experience with some people that were in the occult. On the way home, an evil spirit wrestled with me. I just said, ‘You have to leave me alone. You can’t have me.’ And so it stopped, We pulled up in front of our house and I got out of the car, looked up in the sky, and there was an empty cross up there.”
“Oh Bill, Jesus really did die for our sins!” she exclaimed, as they went into the house. Her profession of faith in that moment was significant.
Several nights later, Lorna was awakened in bed by the sound of heavenly music. “I heard this beautiful angelic music in a language I didn’t understand that stirred my inner being.” She describes it as a multitude of angels, singing with power and purity, without any instruments, hitting the perfect notes.
She slowly opened one eye and touched her husband’s leg with one foot to make sure she wasn’t dead. With both eyes opened, God sent a vision into her bedroom – a light show involving black and white objects spinning, moving, and crossing over one another.
Then God impressed on her heart: I am Spirit.
“I just laid in this euphoric state. Then I felt Him put his hands on my head and I received the in-filling of the Holy Spirit so full I thought it was going to explode.”
Then something even more unusual happened — she lifted several inches off her bed! “I levitated in my bed. I mean, in the bed, still inside the covers, but the covers were straining. I was levitating, like you hear about these Eastern people. Then the music went down real gradual just like it came up. I settled back in my bed and I just laid there and could not believe it.”
Loran’a mind was filled with wonder: I just heard heavenly music! I just heard music direct from heaven, she thought.
“From then on, God started speaking to me, I went around to churches trying to find somebody that would understand, I couldn’t believe that He was talking to me every day, like a constant companion.”
Lorna began to read the Bible for the first time. “I was just very childlike. I would open up my Bible and the Scripture would just raise off the page what he wanted me to read. Then sometime during that day or the next day, I would be in a situation where I would have the bread I was supposed to give to a certain person or persons.”
Book of Acts gatherings
“I would tell my hippie brother all these things. Then his friends would get high and they’d say,
“Let’s go see your Jesus freak sister.’”
One day Lorna called her brother to come over. She and Bill decided it was time to be more direct about his eternal destiny. “Bill and I shared with him and we prayed with him. He got the baptism; he got tongues. So then my brother starts bringing these kids. We had over 100 of them meet the Lord at our house.”
Lorna does not consider herself or her husband to be evangelists. “What I did and what the kids did was tell their testimonies to people just like Paul did and of course they saw the hope and life in us, so like the Scripture says, always be ready to give an account of that hope in you – and we lived that.”
She reports many salvations, miracles and healings in those exciting days, as God poured out his Spirit in revival. At their Monday night meetings, young people filled the living room, the hallways, and spilled out into the front and back patios.
“What we had was like the early church, where every joint supplies. Kids would come with testimonies of what the Lord told them that day, sharing a scripture and what He taught them, and there were healings. There was no designated preacher or teacher. There were many teachers in the room.
“Monday nights became the night at our house. We’d have kids at all hours any day, but the best was the mass meeting. They would bring hitchhikers or Lord knows where they pick up some of these people brought in. We had kids come straight from jail. The Lord just arranged it. We had a biker in there one time as a greeter. He was a big guy who would scare you to death, but the Holy Ghost touched him, and he became a blubbering baby.”
One Monday night the pastor from a large, conservative denominational church in Santa Ana showed up to observe what they were doing. “The first time he came, he came in with a stack of books. He must have had four or five books, Bible reference books. He sat down, watched the meeting and we’re laying hands on people to get the baptism or to be healed. He didn’t have a lot to say.
“Each week he come back with fewer books; he finally ended up with just his Bible. Then he came and raised his hand and asked us to pray for him to receive the Holy Spirit. This was big time against his church’s teaching. The kids laid hands on him, and he got the 20 volts.”
The pastor and his wife happened to be friends with Pat Boone, the prominent pop singer, actor, and composer. At that time, Pat and his wife Shirley hosted Bible studies for celebrities at their Beverly Hills home. “Pat had the same thing going on with adults and entertainment people that we had going on with the hippies. The pastor saw the same thing going on at the Boone’s house that was going on in our house, so he knew it had to be God. I loved it that he wanted the hippies to pray for him. How precious.”
In Lorna’s eyes, the Jesus Movement was rolling along before it arrived at Calvary Chapel. “There were other houses, not just ours, before Calvary became big. What I don’t like about the Jesus Revolution movie is it makes it look like it’s all about Calvary Chapel. It wasn’t. There was a lot of errors in that film, but it was the Greg Laurie story. It’s a lot of stuff that’s not true.”
Lonnie Frisbee was not attending Lorna’s meetings regularly; he had his own Bible study and was out doing the work of an evangelist. “Lonnie was out on the highways and byways. He was down at the beach preaching and going to Newport High School, where he led Greg Laurie to the Lord,” she says.
“I remember when Lonnie met Greg. He said, ‘I led this kid to Christ on campus today. He was a druggie.’ Then Greg just followed Lonnie around. He wanted to be like Lonnie. I saw him when he was a kid. They were all kids.”
Lonnie introduced Lorna to Pastor Chuck Smith, but Lorna and Bill never attended Calvary Chapel. “We turned our Monday night group over to them when we left (for Oregon), and Greg Laurie ended up taking over our group.”
When the hippies moved over to Calvary Chapel, many missed the participatory format they knew in Lorna’s house. “The kids didn’t like it. They liked the body church that we had, where every joint supplies. They went to a situation where they’re listening to one person and there’s a big rip off in that. A lot gets missed because there’s treasure in every person.”
“I long for that. That is to me the way to worship and be with the Lord, with other believers on a horizontal level. Everybody’s got a gift, but these other gifts can’t be seen when you go and sit in front of one person. We’re trying to do New Testament in an Old Testament structure.”
Lorna was part of the first baptism held at Pirate’s Cove in Newport Bay by Calvary Chapel. “Lonnie came over and he said, ‘Hey, is there anybody who wants water baptism? We’re gonna do a water baptism down at the bay.’
“So I said, ‘we’ll find out.’ Forty of our kids wanted to do it. So my mother, my brother, and 40 of the first hippie kids that came to the Lord at our house were baptized. That was the first baptism they had down there, probably in the summer of 1969.”
Lorna still longs for the kind of gatherings that met at her house during the Jesus Movement. “I’m still looking for that kind of situation,” she says. “I just got ruined from the beginning. That’s my problem with gatherings. I got ruined, ruined in a good way.”
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