As I am working towards preparing for my big move to San Antonio, I have been visited multiple families and singles from the church that I have been attending for the past four years (in northern Illinois). A sister jokingly said that she and her family are part of the final tour. Since I came home from the Missouri Conference, I was constantly meeting with people to catch up and to say good bye. I feel booked for the rest of this week and next week before I move. My mother was even upset that I did not eat the fruit that she bought for me, and part of it has to do with my business and my lack of knowledge of them. She is now in Florida, which is why I was not reminded of them.
I am truly thankful for the people that God put in my life. I do not like to think that I am a popular person (as some people pointed out). I remember a brother shared with me the verse Isaiah 43:4, “Since you were precious in My sight, You have been honored, And I have loved you; Therefore I will give men for you, And people for your life.” It stuck with me for over 6 years. Throughout these years, I even prayed that the Lord would put people in my life who to point me to Christ, who will disciple me, who will teach me, who will rebuke me, and who will love me. Now, I look forward to develop new relationships and friendships in San Antonio.
When I was at the Grace House in San Antonio a couple of weeks ago, I shared with a brother about how I felt it was impossible for me to keep Hebrews 3:13. It says to exhort one another daily as long as it is called “today”… I couldn’t do that in the environment that I was in. I tried to be active in seeking fellowship, but it just did not happen. I was saddened and upset. I remember hearing about how Paul Washer wanted to rip Acts (or parts of it) out of the bible because of the deadness he was seeing in reformed churches, the lack of evangelism & discipleship. After hearing that, I felt the same way for passages like this.
A couple of years ago, I tried to start a fellowship meal after the service. I didn’t discriminate towards the gender and age group. I just wanted a lot of fellowship to occur, especially for those who are not in Christian families, those who do not have anyone to meet with after the service. However, the brother that I co-lead with wanted to start a Men’s discipleship group, so we had different motives. Eventually, the sisters stopped going, and it slowly became a meeting where we discussed issues pertaining to male Christians. All of this lasted for a couple of months. I can even remember the people at the last meeting and what food was cooked. It was a discouraging time for me and this brother. I did not see the fellowship I envisioned, and this brother did not have the men’s bible study he wanted to lead.
I did brought up the need for more fellowship to some of the elders/pastors. It seems like they too are making an effort to bring people closer to each other, to have Christians spend more time with Christians and not just to spend time with nonbelievers. What I found interesting through my observations and conversations is that there is a certain population in my church (in Illinois) that actually do have a lot of fellowship. It appears that young families, those who are married, and people who are in a Christian family do not struggle with what I dealt with as a single, 1st generation Christian, living in a dark environment. The older ladies have their bible study. Young couples can meet together and have their kids play with each other. There is a men’s prayer/breakfast meeting that occurs twice a month. Now, there are more meetings specifically for youth group members and young adults.
I had lunch with the younger people (around my age) for my last Sunday Service at Living Hope Bible Church. One of the guy said that he was upset that he spent time with his non-Christian friend instead with the brethren. Him and his brother are known for choosing to spent their time with their lost friends than with the body of Christ, and the Lord is working in him. I was thankful to see an answered prayer that day. If I didn’t have fellowship with him, I would not witness God’s work and continue to assume something that is not true anymore. I am learning to be thankful with whatever fellowship God gives me, and if I go through a tough time where I am lacking it, I must do my part and trust that God will do His part. May God help me to not complain but trust in Him.