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Sep 30, 2010

Letter from Leona


I am just on page 21 and wanted to mention my findings at this point. You are the subject of how God is working in the minds and hearts of people all over the world, one at a time that affects 10 or a million and on and on. I am a member of what once was the Worldwide Church of God. Before that I was hard shell Missionary Baptist, a very southern bigoted organization that protected the white supremacy under the guise of obedience to God's command to keep the "tribes" separated (based on racism). You were told they are also God's people, but not a part of our tribe.

I have been a heart person for most if not all my life. I cried often from the sheer emotion of it. Now I know it is a gift of God and not of my own doing. But it comes at a high price at times because you suffer with others and most often you can't change anything...just hold on and cry with them in their suffering. 

You have a gift as well that includes love, but also includes vision. You are able to see through the inconsistencies. Our church had one of the 20 dollar words for thoughts that are dissonant but are two different dissonant or opposite thoughts that occupy your mind.

Like the sabbath keeping....I wondered how observing the rising and setting of the sun and the Holy day within it could have any big significance within the believer. It isn't righteousness. But the instruction to ancient Israel said it was a "sign" and Mr Herbert Armstrong saw it as a response to the real Almighty God of the bible. And it was the sign that we are His and it was also one of the 10 commandments, that was being ignored. When Mr Armstrong died, all the Law Keeping and many of the things we had been taught as doctrine came under scrutiny because the scripture said, "if the prophets words come to pass, then he is a prophet in deed. If it does not come to pass, he is a false prophet!" (Leona's paraphrased Version from memory) Wow, and that happened. He taught us that the Lord was returning in 1975 and that the church would be taken to safety in about 1972(probably the walled valley most people had in mind). And as you are ahead of me I am sure...its obvious He didn't show up then. We didn't see any Jesus on a white stallion coming in the clouds with an army of saints and Angles. 

God had begun to work with us in a mighty way. But the cost in power and might and wealth was great. Mr Joe Tkach and Michael Feazell were looking into all these "to do" rules. And it was swelling into the hearts of those who stayed, that God is love! You weren't used for that revelation. But like you, the Holy spirit began to work in the lives of His people. There is a time called the great awakening. It was the time of Moody and other evangelists that brought so many people to Christ. But I am not so sure it was the great awakening. And I am not sure the great falling away is really understood. But I am more interested in God is love! (not how to scare people with Him). WCG has a book out called Transformed by Truth. It tells of our change and the cost. But like I answer the splinter groups who left to hold on to the "Law" "I'd rather have Jesus, than all the power and gold."

And that is what brings me to your book, in that from the beginning it tells me how and why the transformation began and what was going on. It tells me why I love this small church so much with its 40 members and why I can hardly wait for Sunday to be with them, to kiss them and hug them and ask how their week was. Because I have learned to love them. And its because of this gift of love it strengthens us all. I see the same love in them by gods Holy Spirit. It is God in me, shaping my mind. I don't love Him because Moses commanded it. I cant be forced to love just anyone. I don't like the pain it brings others to have injury in themselves from life's hurts. they need love and lots of it to heal. It comes from god, and sometimes directly through me. When I left my church in California to move to Arkansas to care for my aged parents, it was a pain like little else that I can describe. It was like leaving me children and grandchildren in Calif to move out here and care for these people who are too old to do anything for me. My mother is living in memories of sexual molestation that is in her life at 86 as if it happened to her yesterday. But I believe God orders our steps and he sent me here for this time to live outside the big church adn to touch the lives of this tiny church that also shares my church history as part of the same Worldwide Church of God. (Now Grace Communion International). 

The experiences I have had in my life are no accident. God has rescued me out of it all. And I have 8 children, 24 grandchildren and soon 18 great grandchildren to influence in my life. One is deceased out of all these decedents. What a blessing. I get to tell this different generation about another God I never knew as a child. And your book is going to be a big part of helping me to know where Religion has taken us. Not one of my kids will go to church where they are because they don’t see "love". When I visit now and then we have church in the park, and pray together. I will no longer beg them to find a good church. Thats for the Holy Spirit to do in their lives. I know your book is going to be very valuable in understanding who god is and who he isn't. And like Souter and Weavers "The Gospel Solution" your book is another step in learning to read the Bible afresh.....with God is Love. Thank you for being His willing servant. In Christ's love,  

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    I wonder how many of these mega guys like Armstrong walked the surface of 20th century planet. Bringing fear, condemnation, terror. I thought those I have known were the only major ones. But more and more I see there were many more claiming to be big prophets, focusing peoples anttention on themselves, not on Jesus. I wish all these great Love fighters like this precious lady who wrote the letter would stand up and speak. We could learn much from the manipulation of the older times. Darin, you were probably the first American teacher and author I came across that completely took the attention from yourself and put in Him, in Love. Thank you and thank you for publishing this letter.

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