Mom, Dad, and Family,
Thanks for all you do on behalf of the Lord and His servants. As one of His missionaries, I know He appreciates everything you do. Thanks so much for all you do for me. I feel the prayers and help you send my way, both knowingly and unknowingly. It means a lot and helps hasten the work.
This week was pretty crazy. I went to my first non-denominational service in the living room of someone's home. It was on a Thursday in the evening and he first referred to it as a "Bible study," so I didn't feel too bad about going. Plus, there were people there and we wanted to see if there would be any finding opportunities. The Church's name (well, it's not really a church. Church is daunting and scares people, it also requires authority--which not a lot of people claim to have--and inspiration, so instead they call themselves a fellowship) is Fishhook Fellowship. It's catchy--get it?--huh? Anyway, we went over the Epistle of Jude, which I thought was completely ironic since it's totally and completely about the apostasy. But it was cool to see another take on it. He opened it up for discussion for the first 15minutes or so and then preached his own ideas into the scripture. It was also interesting to see how everyone had a different translation of Bible. Even those who had the same translation had different words in each Bible. So I had a good time listening to different interpretations.
But truly and honestly, it was probably one of the most testimony building experiences for me. The Spirit was there to help me discern from truth and error. It was actually a lot of fun. My favorite line of Pastor Brad's was when we were talking about sinning (born again Christians think you can sin as much as you want, so long as you confess Jesus as Christ and don't cause others to sin), he said "You do have liberty to do that [sin] through Christ's grace. But don't cause a brother to stumble." He made reference to Elijah, I believe, when Elijah was asked if someone were lawfully allowed to eat the sacrificial lamb. Anyway, I raised my hand and asked "So where do you draw the line? At what point is sinning a stumbling block for others." He simply said "I don't judge." He then said "If you ask me if you can get drunk, I can show you in the Bible where it says not to get drunk. If you want to kill, I can show you where it says not to kill. But in the gray areas, I don't judge." So anyway, without going to much into doctrine, we don't believe it works like that. We believe that no unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God. So we're not supposed to sin.
It was a really interesting experience. I had a good time. There were a few other things similar that happened, where others said it was okay to sin. I'm so thankful for the Spirit, so I don't have to make the decision to stay clean on my own. Also for its sanctifying and cleansing power that it brings when I repent of sins I have committed.
It rained a lot on Wednesday. We were rather drenched. But we had a good time. We biked the first half of the day. That was dumb, we got really wet and cold. And then we helped a less-active member mount his TV on the wall. Good times.
All the missionaries in Ontario and Upland sang at the Community Nativity Festival that our stake puts on every year. It was really cool, we sang some cool arrangements. And we had a great time.
Coolest thing happened while we were helping out with the missionary room there, we met this guy who was introduced to the church just a few months ago and wants to take the lessons. The person who introduced him to the church met him at a doctor appointment, shared some stuff and then asked him if he wanted to go to lunch with him the next week. He did and they talked more. We got this guy's information and we're sending missionaries to his house today. It was sweet.
Anyway, I'm about out of time. Thanks so much for all you do! I love you all. Don't forget why we have Christmas. Don't forget to think about what you can give back this year. And don't forget to look Up!
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