Sunday, February 14, 2021

Puppies and Jesus

I've been to a wide variety of fellowships over the 6 years.  In Arizona, I attended one family fellowship whose house was filled with reptiles and lizards.  Their teenage sons had a gift with scaley slimy creatures, always returning from the Sonoran Desert with new and unique creatures. We would spend hours in discussion with our noses deep in scriptures.  At one Arizona fellowship, there was a man who had a Jeep Wrangler.  He taught me about using his Jeep to go into the wilderness to connect with God.   He inspired me to purchase my own lifted, 35-inch tires, Jeep Wrangler.  When the time came for me to leave Arizona I took Jeeping for Jesus to Utah.  In Utah, I met my brother in Christ. and we have had many, many adventures in sand dunes of St. George, to the red rocks of Moab, and deep in the mountains of the Wasatch Front.  Each of those outings has been a form of worship and communion, forging our souls together in brotherly fellowship and knitting our hearts in Christ.  I have participated in much outdoor hiking "church", where Sundays would consist of hiking up a mountain lost in the discussion of Christ.  I've been blessed to caravan with believers in long road trips to conferences and I cherish the deep conversation that would take place in those cars.  

In Orem, I was part of a fellowship where I was the youngest by a couple of generations.  A "Baby Boomer" fellowship- the wisdom they had to share was priceless. I realized how precious of fellowship that was and I wished I had listened more while with them. 

In Provo, I attended a fellowship where I was taught kundalini yoga.  I still incorporate many of those techniques in my prayer life today.  In that same fellowship, I was taught extensively for the first time in my life about Egypt and how they sought to imitate the ancient religion of the fathers. It was mind-boggling deep and has greatly enhanced my understanding of scriptures.  I loved the potlucks they held.  They had such a variety of perspectives as well as good food. I wish I had done more to better serve them instead of always being served.    

I was blessed to attend another fellowship in American fork.  There I was taught about Enoch, as well as the nature of man and God, and deeper ways to engage the heavenly realms in prayer.  I was the only single attendee in that fellowship was made fun of for not being a "dyad".  Perhaps if I have had spent my Friday nights dating and partying instead of wrestling ideas and scriptures with them that would not be so, but the fire in the souls of the men and women in that fellowship was invigorating.  I've never seen so many people gathered in a room who were so passionate about the gospel, yet so different in personalities.    Our discussions would get loud and intense and go on till 2 in the morning, but they inspiring and deeply edifying.  I wished I cared more for the personal relationships formed that fellowship better.  

In Logan I lived with my best friend, my fellowship with him has not diminished during my time of wandering through Utah.  

There was a fellowship I attended in Morgan that came to be known to me as the "backyard church".  Wrestling and Jiujitsu was a major hobby in those "fruitful" families of dozens of boys.  Sunday afternoons after sacrament would often turn into the Sabbath Day smackdown in the grass, which i would be a glad contestant of!   I love those families.  I just wish I could have been a better role model to those younger boys- I made some stupid decisions in life that do not reflect the character and honor a Christian man ought to possess.  I hope that one day I can be a good dad as the fathers in that fellowship I admire so much are.      

COVID in 2020 made fellowship much less frequent.  It was a dark and lonely year, full of trials, and I have missed their community tremendously.  Because I work in the hospital with Corna patients, I allowed fear to prevent me from reaching out to my friends and fellowship families for help when I needed it the most.  I lost my way and allowed shame to keep me in the dark, even from my own family.  I disappeared and avoided my people in that dreary season. I even turned away from my brothers in Christ. My connection with God and my relationship with Jesus was also beginning to dwindle and fray as the flaxen cords of the adversary thickened around me. I was in the darkest loneliest time of my life.

I thank God that He is forgiving, willing to instruct, and willing to guide.  He will guide us through and out of whatever hell we have put ourselves in if we just come to Him.  He eagerly waits for us to come to Him.   However, just because God is forgiving does not mean He takes aways away personal responsibility.  We are still accountable for the damage and stupid choices we make in this life.  We must bear our burdens with honor.  He will guide us in reconciling those mistakes and setting in order our life.  It is a humbling tender mercy to see the Lord's hand in guiding you out of those messy circumstances, however, it is much easier to follow God the first time than the second time.  There is wisdom in growing from the trials He desires to put us through than to have to learn through sad experiences from wallowing in darkness because of our disobedience.      

I am now in a much better place with bright plans.  I currently live in Ogden, Utah and I fellowship with several amazing families.  They have been tremendously kind to me,. The families in this fellowship love their dogs, so each Sunday we bring our puppies and dogs to sacrament! Enjoy some cute puppy photos!