- AND WOOD
Despite suffering a terrible tragedy when she lost her husband, the wonderful singer-songwriter Keith Green, and two young children in a plane crash, Melody Green continues to keep Keith's music and ministry alive and available while pursuing her own messages, similarly. her shared vision of her with Keith, but in a new season, with her own unique brand of wit and wisdom.
Now, back in Hollywood, California, his birthplace, he has the opportunity, as he puts it, to "do what I do" and minister to everyone God brings his way, whether they are rich and successful or homeless and addicted.
“He wasn't bitter, but he was very angry at Keith for taking the children and I think it was probably distracted anger at the Lord. I don't remember being consciously angry with the Lord. It's just one step at a time. I was glad to have the Lord because I had wanted to die for a while and I could have done something about it if I hadn't known Jesus and had friends to support me."
- Melody Green talks about the loss of her husband Keith and their two children in a plane crash in 1982
Melody has continued with Last Days Ministries (LDM) that started with Keith. She spends much of her time talking and writing, but she always looks for opportunities wherever she is to bring comfort to the homeless and needy of Tinsel Town, many of whom have moved there in search of fame and fortune.
She certainly understands grief, having suffered a terrible blow in her own life when Keith Green tragically died along with eleven others on July 28, 1982 at the age of 28 while flying the Last Days Ministries leased Cessna 414 for takeoff that crashed from the private airstrip on LDM property in Lindale, East Texas.
The small twin-engine aircraft was carrying twelve passengers and pilot Don Burmeister for a scenic flight over the BOM in and around the Lindale, Texas property.
Green and two of her children, three-year-old Josiah and two-year-old Bethany, were on board the plane with visiting church planters John and Dede Smalley and their six children. Green's wife, Melody, was at home with one-year-old Rebekah and six weeks pregnant with her fourth child, Rachel, born in March 1983.
In late June, I met Melody the night before her show at The Upper Room, a Christian coffee shop in Mission Viejo, California, to tell her about her life and plans for the future, and began my interview for my radio show Front Page. , asking him to share her horrible experience of losing her husband and two of her children.
She said they had two friends from a Vineyard church in California, John and Dede Smalley and their six children, who were visiting their huge 500-acre LDM ranch, and Keith called their pilot, Don Alan Burmeister, who was a member of the era United States Marine Corps and was the pilot who prepared the small twin-engine plane for takeoff.
"Our old ranch house was across the street from the ranch property, and Keith came looking for me and wanted me to come up with them," he recalled. "I was six weeks pregnant at the time and didn't want to come, and I also felt uncomfortable taking the kids, Bethany, two, and Josiah, three, on the plane unless we really wanted to go somewhere."
Their other daughter, Rebekah, who just turned one, stayed home with Melody. "Then Josiah and Bethany ran after Keith before he could stop them," she said.
Did you see the plane take off? "No, we lived down the hill from the airstrip, so I didn't live," she told me.
Not long after, he received a call from the LDM office telling him that the plane had crashed.
"I didn't know what that meant, so I ran outside and found out for myself that they were all dead," she said.
In a matter of minutes, Melody had gone from being the wife of one of the most celebrated musicians in the Christian world and the mother of their three young children to a widow, with one child remaining and another on the way.
I asked her how she coped with such a tragedy and if she was angry at God for allowing it to happen.
"I wasn't bitter," she said, "but I was very angry at Keith for taking the kids, and I think it was probably distracted anger at the Lord. I don't remember being consciously angry at the Lord. It's just one step at a time. I was glad to have the Lord because I wanted to die for quite some time and I could have done something about it if I hadn't known Jesus and had friends to support me.
"It would also have been selfish if Rebekah grieved for a year and two other family members left, me and her unborn sister, both girls, a leftover gift from Keith and God.
"It took years to get over this. It's not easy; it's no small thing."
Bravely, Melody was able to attend the memorial service at the nearby Agape Force compound for all those who died in the accident, so I asked her how she was able to do that.
"It was by the sheer grace of God," Melody said. "I felt I had to speak up and I did. The Lord really helped me and has done all these years since.
“A day later there was a private funeral in the graveyard of a small church near the Last Days Ministries property.
Could she get over what had happened?
"You never get over it," she replied. “I don't cry every day and I don't think about it every day like I did for the first two or three years, but little by little the Lord helped me keep going. Sometimes I can't help but wonder what it would have been like if Keith had still been here, especially when I look at four grandchildren and see so much of Keith in them. I know he would have been just a thorn in their side and his beautiful daughters, who never met him, look so much like him."
Both Melody and Keith Green are Jewish followers of Jesus and she told me that they first met in a video recording studio where she worked and he appeared with a huge beard and a long ponytail.
“I gave him the tour and that was it. She really pushed me down," she laughed.
She said that at that time none of them believed in Jesus the Messiah.
"We've been looking," he revealed. “Keith had a little cross around his neck; he decided that since most religions thought Jesus was okay, he thought he was just going to read the Red Letters to see what Jesus had to say and followed him. We got married and about a year and a half later we gave our lives to Jesus.
Melody Green with her husband Keith.
"We've both changed drastically. It was crazy. It was so exciting and we had searched and searched for so long and we both, even before we met, had been through all kinds of spiritual things, mostly New Age. Meeting Jesus was like being shot by a canyon".
- Melody Green talks about the change that Jesus brought to Keith and his life.
It was at an early Vineyard Bible study conducted by Kenn Gulliksen in a house in the Beverly Hills area that they became concerned about the house.
It later became Bob Dylan's church, but Melody said, "It was before Dylan came in and Keith raised his hand the first night and I raised my hand the next week. We've both changed dramatically. It was crazy. It was so exciting. and we had searched and searched for so long and both of us, even before we met, had been through all kinds of spiritual things, mostly New Age. Meeting Jesus was like being shot out of a cannon."
It wasn't long before they were both writing incredible new worship music, and Melody's best-known songs werethere is a savior, Ymake my life a prayer. Keith recorded both. In total they co-wrote about 40 songs.
Blow after blow came from Keith, includingYou put that love in my heart, you soften your heart, oh Lord, you are beautiful, your love broke through, I sleep in the light, my eyes are dry, so you want to go back to Egypt, mercy, I am by your side, Easter. song(written by Annie Herring) andhe takes care of the rest, to name a few.
Keith was soon performing to huge crowds across the country, and Melody joined him in operating the soundboard until he moved from churches and theaters to stadiums when a professional sound engineer was hired.
I told Melody that many described Keith as a prophet and wondered what he thought of that.
“He didn't like the word prophet and he didn't use it, and he didn't like people using it; he didn't like that label," he said. He just wanted to be known as a regular follower of Jesus. "But looking back, he was obviously very prophetic. Way ahead of his time. There are things I remember him saying that have since come true." Like the fledgling Christian music industry of those days. He once said, "Mark my words. In 25 years, Christian music companies will be just like any other big music company. Basically running for the bottom line," he said." .
First, the couple began their Latter Day Ministry with seven homes in Woodland Hills, California, which they filled with about 75 street people, who were bikers and pregnant girls and boys who were giving up drugs. After leading them to Jesus, they began to make disciples of them.
"But we felt it was too tempting for them to do well in the Valley, so we looked for land outside the temptation zone and found a ranch and barn on 120 acres near Lindale, Texas. We moved and started discipleship schools and we also produce a lot of free literature,” he said.
Melody remembered that this was an area where many Christian ministries, leaders, and musicians were located.
“We had David Wilkerson and his ranch, Leonard Ravenhill, two very large YWAM properties, one of which became Mercy Ships, Dallas Holm and Praise, Barry McGuire and Agape Force, where Winkie Pratney lived half the year. Acts 2 even bought adjoining land. It was a lot of fun and made lifelong friendships."
But then came the plane crash that changed Melody's life forever and she temporarily moved to Kansas City, but has now returned to Hollywood, where she was born.
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why did you come back
“I feel like the Lord sent me back and I just wanted to go home. I'm a California girl, not a nice Midwestern girl,” he told me. “I've been asking the Lord for years to help me get back to the inner city where the poor and needy surround me.
"I was looking for about six years, but then on a trip last year I found an apartment. I looked around the valley along the coast, but I wasn't expecting to move to Hollywood at all. But when I walked into a one-bedroom loft, 550 sq ft room. I knew immediately it was the right place and I felt, 'This is it! I'm home!'
"It's a high crime area around me, close to Hollywood and Vine. The building I'm in is safe and I feel very safe there. I've never felt uncomfortable around people who didn't know Jesus. It's a mixed bag here The rich and the limousines, the homeless and the addicts, I love you all
“The building I'm in is about 85 percent offices, recording studios and fashion, TV, and modeling agencies with very few residents. So I search and meet people and integrate. Last winter I had blankets and canned food in my car that opened with a pull tab and plastic knives and forks to give to the hungry and sick the Lord had asked me to help. I would just stop and give a blanket or money or whatever, you know, be sensitive to the Lord.
“The Holy Spirit trained me to see people and things. So even in my building, in the elevator from the fourth floor to the first floor, I know the people, their names, where they work, what they do, and sometimes we exchange phone numbers when we get to the first floor. I also spent time with new friends.”
Melody also integrates into the Hollywood Christian community, participating in various Bible studies led by the likes of two-time Academy Award winner Al Kasha, who is also of Jewish origin and has had a who's who of the local Christian community. in his life over many years of home Bible study. She also has friends in the entertainment industry and enjoys movies, plays, and musicals.
Now Melody Green has come full circle with her return to Southern California, but as always, she upholds the motto "No Compromises" in everything she does, the title of her book about her life with Keith. She is also in the early stages of working with a producer on a feature film based on her book about her story.Without obligation. The life of Keith Green.
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