Sunday, September 30, 2007

Rosa came to church

We had originally planned for Rosa and her family to join us at church today - but that isn't what happened. Rosa's girlfriend broke up with her Thursday afternoon and kicked her out of her home - leaving her homeless and wondering what was going to happen to her. Between this time and today, she's had some close friends who have stepped up and allowed her to stay with them. She told me she had been praying a lot and really felt the Lord embrace her and comfort her. When I called her last night, she explained how she had been discussing God and His Word with the people she is staying with and how she could feel Him with her. It all seems very encouraging to me - that perhaps the Lord does want me to be here to help Rosa, to serve her.

As we neared Grace Point for church, Rosa began talking about her cousin and began asking how long Grace Point had been around for - I reminded her that it was a church plant - and less than two years. Grace Point is a portable church and currently worships inside a middle school, however she turned to me and asks, "Is this a Mormon church?"

I almost spit out my Mt. Dew, "Huh? This is a middle school. Grace Point isn't an LDS church. LDS buildings all look the same and are very recognizable."

She explained that her cousin is LDS and she could have sworn that this was the place her cousin brought her to and this was the area she lived in. What was Rosa talking about? Apparently, Rosa was interested in Mormonism. Really? Of course she was. Her cousin's husband and his family is LDS, her cousin converted and apparently has her life all together now and Rosa deeply envies this. She sees the religion and works and wants it.

We checked in the kids and went to the sanctuary where we were greeted with a special treat of Starbucks coffee and tea. Always awesome. :) The worship set was amazing, the band opened up with "100 years" by Five for Fighting and Rosa was impressed. But what caught her attention was Chris Tomlin's, "Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)" - they sang the beginning of the song which is:

"I once was lost
But now I am found
I once was blind
But now I see"

She leaned over and whispered, "I feel like that's me," I could only whisper back, "Sweetie, that's all of us," because it is. Not matter what Jesus is freeing us from, the freedom we feel is amazing to us. Grace is amazing and there is nothing like it.

Pastor Devin has been teaching us a series called, "High Definition" - it's about getting clear on life. Today was about investing our time and resources. Now Rosa says the sermon really spoke to her, but I am finding it hard to fully believe her since she spent a good deal of time resting against my shoulder -- snoring. I'm trying really hard not to judge her since I know that when I returned to church after an extended absence (she says it's been six years since she's been to church except this time and to an LDS service) it was almost impossible for me to stay awake for the 9 am Sacrament. So I understand the lack of discipline because she seemed really into the worship service, she seemed to retain the overall message from Pastor Devin's sermon and was really excited about how it should apply to her life - but both Steve and I wonder what exactly we are supposed to be doing if anything.

While we drove her home, the discussion took an interesting turn. I debated in my head, whether I should question the LDS link - it's a tempting religion to get into. I kept telling myself, if she fell asleep after (1) such high-energy worship music and (2) during the sermon of a well-speaking Pastor who prepares for his congregation -- then Rosa would sink trying to get through a three hour block setup within an LDS ward (antiquated hymns accompanied with talks given by often inexperienced speakers that often are not prepared with the specific audience in mind). In the end, I didn't want to be lazy about anything and simply asked her if she was interested in pursuing the LDS church further. It seemed like I practiced every statement in my head two seconds before saying them so as not to sound like some fanatical anti-Mormon or fundamental Christian and yet, she still set me up perfectly, "I don't know, I'm not really sure what they believe. But I am interested. I've only been the once."

I didn't want to sound like every other anti-Mormon on the block, "Well Rosa, they believe...." so instead, I took a different approach. "Steve and I are ex-Mormons. We were sealed in the Las Vegas temple a little over a year ago with our kids."

Shocked is the usual expression we get - Rosa was no different. "Oh. Well like I said, I don't know much about it."

Somehow she did ask how we liked it, we wanted to be honest so as to - and yet I hate writing this - spare someone else the strongholds we've experienced. We told her how much we loved it and how it's so tempting to want to earn grace. I reminded her of her comments during the worship set and told her, "Grace isn't earned. It isn't after all you can do. It's a free gift from God. All you have to do is accept it Rosa." Of course, Steve says, that although in my head it was pretty clear what I was saying, it didn't come out that way. :(

We began talking about the Bible next and it's importance. Rosa only lives about 20-30 minutes aways from GP but in this short amount of time, I found myself more closely identifying with all the fundamental Christians I had ever become short with. Rosa used the example of someone saying that their "doorknob" was their "god" and for her, that was okay. She said, there was nothing wrong with this. I kept trying to think to myself, "Okay, how would Jesus answer this? How would any of my Bible yet socially able friends answer this? How would anyone with Bible knowledge answer this without being harsh?" Anyone who has spent any amount of time in at least the Old Testament knows that God is a jealous God and that idols are a big no-no. In the end, while mildly frustrated that - mostly at myself for having no clue how to talk to Rosa about any of this in a politically acceptable manner and just wanting to come right out and say it all - I offered her a Bible.

It was interesting to see her reaction to Grace Point. It was interesting to realize how much God was grown me and I wasn't even aware of it - even more interesting, was to hear Steve's comments. After Rosa left the car, we discussed the "door-knobs" discussion some more and both agreed - that was fine and dandy that someone wants to believe in a "door-knob" and call it "god" but it won't save them from hell. If they persist in believing in it over Jesus, then hell is where they will spend eternity. For us, that was a huge shocker that we were able to accept such a black and white doctrine. And that we'd rather share that than be PC. Another huge growth that neither of us had noticed - perhaps God had done this while we were more concerned with other things.

Rosa keeps surprising me and teaching me. I'll also admit - I'm a little nervous that she'll tell everyone about Grace Point - well not everyone, just Papau. But at this point, it's done. I really do have to trust that God will take care of it. I've got to stop clinching my fists so tightly. Today Rosa came to church for the second time in six years. Yep, the only other church experience is the LDS church. Two radically different experiences. It'll be interesting to see how God plays this one out.

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