Michael R. Rowland's Testimony




I lived at the Overcomer community for six years. (From Nov. '95 - Aug. '01) During that time I, along with others were able to accomplish many things on the grounds. Since I could use a cutting torch and weld, I found myself often at the shop. Working on heavy equipment, working on tractors or automobiles was also another work I know so I did that too. I have installed large generators for electrical power and other commercial devices for Mr. Stair. Sometimes I would work the garden water supply. Taking large 250 gal. tanks as many as 8 and elevate them and join them together, running underground pipe to plants for increased food output. Fixing the wheelbarrow and helping around our very own organic garden was good.

Now before I go much farther about work, and yes there is a lot more to tell about. Before I moved to the community I had been married and had three grown children. Hearing the message from this man who we all used to call prophet Stair or Brother Stair and now only mister was great.

He told God's people that they should live together, not separate. However when they did come and live there for a period of time with us, off and on some would leave. Now when they left or if they were driven out, Stair told the group that they were damned, etc. He claims that it is painful to see his family in Christ come and then go. Almost everyday, when speaking to us he would deal with the subject of leaving and murmuring. In other words, we should not be free to make decisions or even talk about anything that we might disagree with Stair on and if one of our brothers had to leave, as he would say, that was not up to us or none of our business.

Actions speak loud and what I hope to show you through these events is that this man, who claims to operate spiritual gifts, such as the office of a pastor, has shown by his deeds that he has no problem emptying out the whole community which he says has happened three times. He used phrases like God is going to clean his house. Then he says that this is his house.

Many people have come with thousands of dollars at the word of Stair, an have given all. He tells the people of God to come out of the world just like the Bible says. He tells them that there is no way they could even dare join themselves to the church or even suggest it. However if he (Stair) hears from heaven that you are to be included in the church and will sell all that you have and come and lay it at his feet like God's people did in the Book of Acts, then God will receive you as His own. In exchange Stair says to all the people, that if they do this they would never have to worry about a roof over their head and he often jokes about how that at least the goat pen would be open in the event that we ran out of rooms. Sine the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has rules and regulations about what goes out over the air I hope those who read this will realize at some point in these accounts why I brought this to the attention of the FBI (Federal Bureau Investigations). Let's go on.

Stair tells his people they would always have a home and food to eat and clothes on their backs. Brothers and Sisters to work with who have the pure undefiled love of God. If they would only just get out of the cities, come and give all, God would not forsake them. If they would give all Stair says that his people would get God's all. Going on he says, unlike our natural family (heathens) that we would always be forgiving toward one another and that through this means they could overcome every obstacle that might divide them so that they would never have to leave each other. Here is one account of a man and his family who did just that.

A man named Michael Duval, his wife, daughter and two sons moved to the Overcomer Community just a few months after I did in Nov. '95. The Overcomer community is in Canadys South Carolina, the address is 12680 Augusta Hwy, Walterboro, SC 29488 on mile from 1-95 at exit 68. There you will see the sign Maranatha (which means the Lord Cometh). Here you may come down the driveway to the tabernacle for service Friday at 7 P.M. and Saturday at 10 A.M.

Well anyway, the Duval family moved here from the State of Connecticut and since brother David worked for the nuclear industry in Special materials, a factory representative, he brought no trifle sum. After selling all he had $160,000 to lay at the feet of this leader Stair. Today September 2001 after 5 years of faithful service at the community has found himself thrust out of the group, thrust out of heaven and put into hell of waking up every morning wondering what he did wrong and looking at a house trailer on blocks, on swamp land with only 300 dollars to feed his wife and children. Hold it you say, tell us how that happened.

At the start, when the Duvals came, Michelle their daughter, lived with them. But within months Stair separated them. Moved her away to another one of the communities. This happened by process. He kept threatening to cast her out if she didn't stop exercising her womanly powers. He kept saying to the group things like, "see the way she walks, switching her hips back and forth, giving all the brothers the come on?" He repeated this over and over again. The mother Kathleen was also accused of this many times. Soon there was confusion among the families living there about these newly added followers. These ideas like evil seeds, were thrown around the room until the saints fell under the load of lies. Questions like, are they a good example to our sons and daughters, with this (so called) sexual behavior? And would these heathen women every change? This is a pattern of what Stair does with all his people in his efforts to control them. Stair draws attention to control them. Stair draws attention to things like this until people start judging one another. Stair knows that once he gets the group questioning each other and bickering over trifles, that they will wear themselves out in the process he starts. After awhile problems arise and Stair steps in as spokesman for God in a further measure of control. Just like his mother said, "Ralphy always told tall tails on his natural brothers until he could get his own way and it appears that he is still doing it." The reason I'm going into these details is because this was how many families were dealt with as they were settling into their new homes. The reader should know that all the members were expected to sit and listen to Stair speak to them after breakfast and supper which on average totaled 2-3 hours. So right from the start the Duvals like many were made to feel unease.

With all this going on, Stair commanded Brother Duval to buy the 40 acres adjacent to the Overcomer farm. This made the farm bigger, giving the brothers more to do and since we had given all that also included our time and energy. Stair often reminded the group that the church is run by commands so after spending thousands of dollars, increasing the size of the land, Duval was commanded again to spend more, by getting electrical services in. Power companies only go so many feet with wire, then after that it's up to the owner to add on. Additional wire as big around as a quarter was purchased and installed with the help of Brother Duval as he was overseer of the whole operation. He also past inspection of the well he put in. with land, electrical and water he again was commanded, by Stair, to develop land farther by having a big metal barn built on it. By this time, Duval was all out of money. He had done exactly as commanded. Not long after, Duval was required to turn the deed over to the church because Stair says that no man should have anything that he calls his own, but rather, should be all of our together. Throughout the entire time of the Duvals stay, before they were thrust out, there were many heated battles conducted by Stair pertaining to marrying off his young daughter. Stair insisted that he was to be in control of these matters and everytime that the father, Michael Duval, spoke up concerning his little girl, Stair would command him to keep silent. Deliberately, Stair continued pressing until either Mike or Kathy would rise up against him. In this way he would show the group that they were going against God and the man of God. Any answering back we found was not permitted. Again the Duvals disagreed to being separated from their daughter and Stair would at times run upon them, screaming at the top of his lungs in an effort to overpower. He continued to threaten with casting them out along with going to hell. Remember that this was a requirement for the group of 90-100 people to hear and that the things I am telling about are not just hearsay. Generally, this fighting caused fear in the camp and the Duvals were not the only ones targeted in this manner. But, one by one we were all addressed this way to see if we would resist Stair.

Mr. Stair has always been known for his physically violent nature and he would remind us of it. Right before the group, Stair would slap the face of someone who would disagree and would say, "if you don't like it, then you can leave." Tired out by this man, Stair's, abuse the group was forced into yet still more of this torment. Helplessness began to set in and yet we all knew things were not right.

To finish, Mike's daughter Michelle was cast out one day during one of these meetings in the dining hall after supper. Stair mentioned these details on the world wide radio stations, that he was speaking on that weekend. A man called him from one of the other communities. Then eventually one day Mike and his family was forced into more confrontation and were also cast out. Stair gave the command and on the right day 15-20 of our brothers were directed to move the Duvals and did so in a matter of hours.

Then when I stopped to consider many other families and how they left, it started adding up.
 
The Brunner's, another family that lived with us for 4 years experienced similar abuse. Everybody knows Pastor Mike Brunner here and how he and his family truly were a great blessing to all here. I came the farm one week before them. When they showed up you knew it. With two young intelligent sons in their 20's and 4 beautiful daughters from 9-26 years of age. They came with thousands of dollars yes money could never buy what the people of God brought, the love of God.
 
As always Stair began exerting himself in the usual way, putting pressure on Mike to let him marry off his girls. Again Stair insisted that these matters where none of the father's business. When ever Mike B. would revolt he was shamed before the whole group, saying he was only trying to save his own flesh. They left right after Brother Simon's (Wayne Douglas) strange death.
 
Wayne died after several years of Stair telling the whole group he would. Stair told us he would die in Nigeria. One day two men showed up concerning Wayne and Ebenezer leaving for Nigeria to preach. Stair gave Ebenezer $50,000.
Stair also told Ebenezer before the whole group not to give Wayne (40yrs) any money, (reason being-his lack of control).
 
After being gone for only 30 days they came back and Wayne contracted an illness. Stair said, "We don't go to doctors," and Wayne agreed. I noticed he was ill, battling with a fever, I found him one day running around in the driveway in a circle about ten feet across, I sent him home and he went. Something seemed wrong with his brain. After days of starvation in his sickness, Wayne passed.
 
Stair gave the order to bury him and did so in a wooded box made of lumber on the farm. Mike Brunner made Wayne a tombstone (carved it himself).
 
Wow, Stair spent thousands for just 30 days in Nigeria, but spent nothing on his burial. Wayne was my friend and fellow preacher brother.
 
Stair also told the whole group not to contact Wayne's family because that would stir up questions and our community needed to just live in peace and the world would only cause us trouble by telling them.

Not long after that the Brunner's left.  Not many of us knew whether or not that his daughter's were being pressured for hugs and at times grabbed like so many other sisters were, by Stair. If they could see one sister who had to sit on her porch for weeks healing from hard boil like soars in her mouth and private area. I then remembered the other girls who had these infections and soars. David Jackson told a group of 60 men that all of these events were uncovered, that Cricket (Lolita Burgess) and Stacey were infected and that Stair had confessed to sexually abusing these two teenage girls.

Let me start from the beginning and tell you all how Stair's sins were forced to light.

Many people on the farm have often noticed strange conduct on the part of
Stair with very young sisters. Like the ordinary closeness that married
people share, you know like putting their faces together and the normal
"lovey dovey" for a healthy relationship.

 
One of the first families to move to the farm in its beginning was the Jones family.
In that family was a young beautiful tall an slender black girl that Stair abused . 
After years of using this girl and right under her fathers nose he let her marry.
Stair has invited people to his farm for years where he preaches against marriage.
The father Timothy Jones was not given a wife for ten years under Stairs rule
while Stair proceeded to help himself to his daughter, a child. You might
wonder how Stair was able to keep Timothy from defying him. The way that
Stair did that was by convincing everyone that he was God's top man and
always did right no matter what it looked like to anyone else. Also he
shamed Timothy long enough before the whole group about how he was lusting after
his own daughter until he became a helpless father.
 
Stair engages in a daily routine of verbal harassment during his sessions.
Then that great day that Laquilla got married came and she left the farm.
A man named pastor David Roberts from Jefferson S.C., who heads up victory
community, had given Timothy a wife out of his flock and was now also allowing
Laquilla to be given as wife to one of his young men where they remain today.
After living at victory community awhile in Jefferson pastor Roberts suggested that
Laquilla and her husband Jermane go back together to visit everyone at the place (the
Overcome community) where she used to live thinking that a trip like that
for the newlyweds might be refreshing. However that was not her reaction
instead much to everyone's surprise she later went to sister Roberts pleading
that she be excused from this trip, and I mean plead. "Please, please I don't want
to go there ok". Wow, pastor Roberts heard this and began a silent search within
himself, "what was wrong  why didn't she want to go see her loved ones"?
Roberts later called Laquilla and Jermane her husband into his office in an
effort to find out more, after mentioning again that they should go visit and
watching her give a negative response. Hours pasted and she, with the help of
her husband told him everything. Roberts sickened by the report strengthened
himself and proceeded to find an opportunity to address this issue with
Stair.

 

Meanwhile another man named David Jackson was also wondering how he was
going to deal with his wife who wanted to leave. She had been telling him
Stair was hugging her and pressuring her for sex. Jackson a leader on the
farm knew Stair well or at least thought he did, at that time. Jackson could not find
it within himself to just ask Stair openly about these matters so he kept
them inside and began watching for signs of more proof. None of us wanted to
believe that this man Stair who we all knew was a prophet was using his gift
as a prophet for the wrong reasons because that would make him a false one.
Months pasted and it became more evident that Stair was using the Bible and
its passages to magnify his sexual desires. Expressions like God wants to be
in you like burning fire, or if God has to break both of your legs so he can
come into you that you might be saved he will. Along about this time is when
pastor Roberts became aware of Stairs involvement with sister Laquilla.
These two men Jackson and Roberts were living in two different communities
and though friends were not in close communication with each other, neither
one knowing the others dilemma. What really opened this whole issue up was
the scare of pregnancy in the camp. There were two other teenage sisters on
stairs farm one black (Lolita Burgess) the other white (Stacey Belford) who
secretly behind the back of their fathers were being sexually used by Stair.
They both thought they might be pregnant with Stair's child. Many of the
teenagers at the farm knew many other things about Stairs misconducts for
several years, before any of us adults did, yet were unable to convince any
of their parents of Stairs continuing evil deeds. Now when they went to
their parents and pastors they were not ignored this time. Jackson and
Roberts were now in contact with one another concerning at least three
separate situations were Stair had been implicated in a pattern of abuse of
his office as a leader and brother.

 

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