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FSM 184: FSM SPECIAL ISSUE         (FN 293)        DO
Copyright: April 1991 by Family Services, Zurich, Switzerland

Finding God's Loving Solution for Our Single Mothers through Prayer!

       1. As was brought out in FSMs 170 & 171, one of the main subjects of the Summit '90 meetings was prayerfulness. We who attended the meetings were learning day-by-day just how important prayer is when seeking the Lord's Will & His solutions to the problems that we face in our service for Him & others.
       2. Have you ever been so overwhelmed by the many aspects of a very difficult situation or problem that it seemed like there was no solution? Well, our God is a God of miracles, & He has a solution for every situation, an answer for every question, & a remedy for every problem. He will show us what to do & which direction to turn & how to view every situation, if we will just ask for His help!
       3. We experienced a moving & significant example of receiving the Lord's supernatural answer when praying & discussing about how to better care for our single mothers & their children. Since this subject was quite complex, the first part of our meeting was devoted to discussing all the various sides of the problem & the difficulties involved, without necessarily trying to find the solutions. We discussed the many sides of this important issue, & all the different angles, & considerations were brought up. We realised that the specifics of our single mothers' situations vary considerably.--Some single mothers are Nationals who have never been mated & who have two or three children, while other single mothers have been in the Family for quite a few years, have six, seven or more children, & are presently separated from their mates, & so forth.
       4. In many Homes, the responsibility of training & raising the children of single mothers is equally shared by all the Home Members. In these cases, the single mothers receive a great deal of encouragement & help. Unfortunately, however, this is not always the case. In some Homes some of our single mothers have had a difficult time living as a single parent & trying to properly raise their children. They feel as if they & their children are an "unwanted burden" to the Home. They realise that they can't raise three or four or five children on their own without help & that the help they need will have to come from the Home, thus making them a "burden" to the Home. As most of the single mom's time is needed to care for her children, she isn't able to spend much, if any, time on outreach, which makes her feel she's a financial burden as well.
       5. Unfortunately, some of our Home Shepherds & Home Members have considered the single moms as burdens, which has contributed to the single moms feeling unwanted. This attitude has sometimes contributed to the spiritual problems in some of the single moms. Some of these mothers are now reluctant to share with the brothers, because if they do, they may get pregnant again, which will mean they are an even greater "burden" on a Home. Other single mothers have become so independent because of having to raise their children virtually single-handed, that they have not wanted to get mated to any of the single brothers who are available, even when the single brothers wanted to get together with them. Or sometimes a single mother finds a brother whose help she desires in caring for her & her children, only to find that he doesn't want to be "tied down," although he does want to share with her sexually.
       6. We also discussed the housing & support needed for a single mother with several children. We raised the question: How can Home Shepherds ensure the proper care of our single mothers & give them the help they need to raise their children, while at the same time keeping the Home's fruitfulness high in other areas such as outreach & stats etc. The legal angle was also discussed. The officials in some countries inquire about the identity of the father of single mothers' children & where they get their support etc.
       7. After the discussion, Peter suggested that we take a break & then regroup & present the situation to the Lord in desperate prayer. He pointed out that improving the care of our single mothers & their children is a major issue that has no easy answer, so we especially needed to ask the Lord for His understanding & leading. After our break, each person drew a verse from the Promise Box & claimed that verse in desperate prayer as we sought the Lord's help & guidance. Then we asked the Lord to speak to us & give us His view on the matter, so that we would see the situation as He sees it & not lean to our own understanding.
       8. After prayer, the Lord gave the following beautiful & very convicting prophecies & verses, which showed His love & concern for our precious single mothers & their children, as well as His solution for their care! PTL! Receiving this direct & specific guidance from the Lord was a living example of all that we had been learning together about prayer! As Dad said so long ago in "Follow God": "Don't try to reason around with your own understanding, but get down in prayer & cry out to God with strong crying & tears & desperation & look to Him alone for the answers. Remember that as well as His provision, His program, His protection, & His pre-vision, that they are also His problems! So look to God for the solutions!" (ML#4:45,48) So we did, & the Lord answered beautifully!--He never fails!

       9. The following are the prophecies & verses that the Lord gave, which were a real encouragement for us all to love, nurture & care for our single mothers & their (our) children! TYL!

       "I Will Care for My Own!"

       10. Isaac: Stand back & see Me fight, saith the Lord, for the battle is not yours, but Mine. Said I not unto thee, "Will I not care for My Own?" Why talkest thou of them as "her" children or "his" children or "their" children? They are My children! Do not I care for My Own? Are not these the Kingdom that I have given? And I said unto you to seek first My Kingdom & all these things will be added unto you.
       11. Indeed I have given you the future, & these little ones, they are thy future & they are the solution to thy problem if thou wilt handle them with the utmost love & respect, knowing that they are Mine; that beyond thee & thy desires & wishes & concern for them, I am even more concerned, for I have given them. Therefore look unto Me, for I would care for them, & I would give you the solution, for they are Mine & I would see them cared for as I would care for them. Therefore look unto Me & let your faces be lightened & I will give you the solution.
       12. Peter: By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one for another. If ye, seeing your brother or sister in need, turneth your hand away, how saith you the Love of God dwelleth in you? But these are more than physical needs, they are spiritual needs. For they have need of My fellowship, they have need of fellowship one with another, that they may be one, even as we are one. But these loving women need the strength of a man's hand. They need the assistance, the love & the care, for I have ordained it this way, that two are better than one.
       13. For have I not spoken these things through the mouth of David, have I not said these things? For My solution is simple, as always: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. And love thy neighbour as thyself. For if I will care for My Own, will ye not care for your own? Yea, I shall care for My Own, & yea, ye must care for these precious ones, this fruit of My Love. Ye must lay aside your self-interest & selfishness & look unto Me for the love that thou needest to supply the care & love for these precious ones.
       14. Silas: Suffer the little children to come unto Me, for of such is the Kingdom of God. I got a picture of Jesus actually sitting at the Sermon on the Mount with the children on His lap, & I could see how precious each child was in His sight & how literally they are the Kingdom of God.

       There Is Nothing Wrong with Our Message!

       15. Bill: Take heed that ye despise not these little ones, for they are of Me. They are My children who I have great concern & love for. For there is nothing wrong with the Family nor with the Message nor with the Word, but because of a lack of love & lack of faith this problem occurs. For not every man seeketh the best interests of others, but every man seeketh his own interests above My interests & is not yielded to My Spirit. And thus results this lack of love & lack of help for your fellow members.
       16. Dust: The story came to me of when the Pharisees were questioning Jesus about the man who had a wife & the man died & then the brother married her. Then they asked the question, "In the Resurrection, who shall be the husband?" And Jesus said, "Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the Resurrection, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the Angels." (Mat.22:29,30) I got that in reference to the whole "One Wife" vision.
       17. Chris: The first thing I got was the same verse: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Like that was the simple solution. But I was kind of arguing a little bit with the Lord, asking the Lord, "How do we apply that? What do we do in practical terms?"
       18. He then gave me three pictures. One was in the Early Church when the widows were being neglected in the daily ministration & He set deacons over them. I felt like the solution was to set deacons over the Church to minister to their needs & make sure that their needs were met. The second picture I got was of the judges of Old in Israel who had the same problem. There were so many weighty matters to attend to & it was too much for Moses to handle alone. He couldn't attend to all the business, all the personal matters, so he set up judges over the people, & they were the ones that got involved with each situation. The third picture I got was of the Shunammite woman with Elisha. I don't know what their relationship was, but he took personal care of her. (See 2 Kings 4.)
       19. With each picture, it seemed like the Lord was saying, "You leaders are going to have to get personally involved. It's true, each situation is different, but if we're supposed to do unto them as we would want done unto us, then we're going to have to get in there & take care of these needs & do something about it."

       Love Versus Selfishness!

       20. Isaac: It came to me that the spirit of the World today is the spirit of selfishness, to the point that the "in thing" is to kill babies (abortion)! I thought, "Well, there's a precedent for that with the children of Israel in Egypt, where it was actually made a law to kill the babies." Not only was it discouraged to have children, but for God's people it was illegal! It was a law that their baby boys had to be killed. That was the spirit of the System, but in spite of that the Lord gave them a lot of children. In spite of what looked like a difficult situation, the Lord kept them to the point where it wasn't the law of the land that crushed the children, the children of God's people crushed the law of the land!
       21. When I first got my prophecy, it was a rebuke in a way. It made me cry, because the picture it painted was like this: That mother doesn't want to be with this man, this man doesn't like that type of woman, this Home Shepherd doesn't want to take in these five kids etc. It was like everyone was thinking, "What's in it for me?" The Lord was saying, "Now look, this is what it's really all about--the children!"
       22. If we go back to the Letter, "For God's Sake Follow God," Dad says in there, "What happens if you have a new disciple a day?" Back then when we won a new disciple, we didn't have Tapes or Posters or Videos, & we didn't have a Fellowship Structure, & we didn't have beans compared to what we have now. We didn't say, "Oh my God, this guy is joining & he has no money & he has no clothes!" We just said, "Wow, another disciple!" In those days, if we didn't win a new disciple we were disappointed.
       23. But now we have so much compared to what we had back then--financial ability, plus strength of spirit & the Word--so what we're having to take care of now isn't at all insurmountable. But the spirit of selfishness is very strong in the World, & it's probably attacking us & our families & our children.
       24. Dust: It seems like in the Family we sometimes have a bit of a hypocritical attitude towards a single mother with a bunch of kids. If the same woman didn't have children, our attitude would be, "Let her come to my Home." But when she has four or five children the attitude is, "Let her go somewhere else."
       25. I recall a situation where a brother in the Family had to be rushed to the hospital for an appendicitis attack, & he ran up a big bill. When he was well, he then had to go out to raise the money himself to pay that hospital bill. The bill became that brother's bill. It seemed like when there was a problem or a burden then it became the individual's problem or burden. But up until that point, this same brother had been giving his all to the Family & going out daily on outreach & turning all his funds in to the Home. But as soon as he became a burden to the Family, it was like, "That's your problem!"
       26. Sometimes I think we have that same attitude towards the single mothers. Sometimes I think we're a little bit hypocritical & we think, "Once you have four kids, those are your kids & your problem, but a single girl without children, that can be my problem."
       27. Chris: It seems in a way that this selfishness is like the problem king Solomon faced with the two women who both wanted the baby. One of the women had a very selfish attitude when she said, "Go ahead & split the baby." In a way, the baby is like our Work, & if we have that selfish attitude, it rips our Work apart, because a selfish attitude is very contagious! It spreads like wildfire! Sometimes Homes & Areas can have a lot of problems come up & when you get to the root of it, it is often caused by people being selfish. "Well, you owe me for that & I owe you for this, & this Home owes you for that, & I took in five kids & you took in three..." This nit-picky, selfish-based attitude can destroy a Work in an Area & make it totally unfruitful.
       28. Whereas the opposite, a giving spirit, also really spreads. Like the mother who said, "No, you can have the baby"--she was willing to sacrifice to preserve the baby (or the Work). If you encourage giving, that spreads like wildfire too, & more people will start giving.
       29. If you're giving you can be sure that God will supply--especially with finances, He can pour it in out of nowhere! We Shepherds & our Homes need to have the same kind of faith towards our single mothers as is taught in "For God's Sake Follow God!" We need to be willing to take in single mothers with however many kids they have, knowing that God can provide what we need to care for them!
       30. Oshea: I got the same thing that Chris got about king Solomon, & that unselfishness is the answer. Maybe a good thing to do would be to re-envision the Family with the "One Wife" vision. Selfishness is the spirit of the day in the System. Our message is to be unselfish & to change that attitude. We need to try to get the Family to see that these children are the Lord's kids, & the Lord is going to take care of whatever we can't take care of, if we do what we can.
       31. Peter: I think one of the main points is in the prophecy that Bill gave--there is nothing wrong with our Message. The things that the Lord has taught us about love & sharing & caring are right! We are teaching people & training them how to apply the Word. When we were discussing the situation with our single mothers it became pretty obvious that it is really a point of love versus selfishness. "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one for another." Love is what sets us apart. It really draws people close, & it is not just a physical thing, but a spiritual thing as well.
       32. On the other side of the question of selfishness, some of these poor single mothers seem to be selfish because they don't want to share with the single brothers. But maybe it's the selfishness of the boys & the Shepherds that has fostered that attitude in the girls. These mothers know the suffering, that ostracism, they know that feeling of, "I am a liability, & I don't want to be a bigger one, therefore I don't want to share & get pregnant again." They didn't have much of a problem when they had one child, but when they have a few more & they begin to see themselves as second-rate citizens, then they feel they're a problem. Of course, if they were receiving a $2,000-a-month inheritance, Shepherds & Homes would be happy to have them! The problem is selfishness!--And as Love begets Love, so selfishness begets selfishness! We need to live the "One Wife" vision in our Homes! Some of the ideas & thought-patterns of the Homes are off, they're based on selfishness & it's not bearing good fruit.
       33. The Lord said a lot about these children in those prophecies, how precious they are, how precious the mothers are. "But whoso hath this World's good, & seeth his brother have need, & shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the Love of God in him?"--1Jn.3:17. We have applied that verse to the brothers needing sex, but also if you see that the single mothers or their children are in need of support & understanding, how dwelleth the Love of God in you if you don't take care of them? The Word is a two-edged sword.
       34. Instead of drawing a circle that shuts our single mothers out, we need to draw a bigger circle that brings them in. This subject needs to be addressed!--What would be the unselfish thing to do? What would you want someone to do for you if you were in that situation? It seems the best solution is to encourage people to get together. The most unselfish thing on the mother's part would probably be to be willing to team up with or be mated to someone for the sake of the children--even if the brother doesn't seem to be her idea of the "perfect husband or father". (See FSM 85, pg.10, "Finding a Mate through the Word & Prayer" for an example of this.) The most unselfish thing on the brother's part would probably be to be willing to take care of a single mother & her children, even if she isn't his idea of the "perfect woman". Maybe it's not the greatest marriage in the World, but for the sake of unity, the Work & the Family it would be better to yield & become a team, whether you are deeply "in love" or not. If you're a single mother & there is nobody available to help you except for a brother who is younger in the Lord, then train him to be the kind of husband he should be & the help he should be.
       35. We don't want to be matchmakers, but we can encourage unselfish care & concern for one another! And until such time as our single mothers have gotten mated, everyone in the Home should help provide this unselfish care & concern.
       36. Love begets love! If the girls see that our Family "One Wife" vision will work, they won't be afraid. Why are the girls becoming selfish & not wanting to share? Because they are afraid. They probably think, "Why should I be with a guy who just wants to make love to me & then leaves?" If our single mothers realise that we're changing & the Shepherds are making sure that they are in good situations & well cared for, then most likely their fears will be removed & they will be more willing to share.
       37. Dawn: I was reading some passages from "The Law of Love" where Dad was saying that we, God's last Church, are the last step in God's progress toward total freedom for His Church & the last chance to prove that the ultimate Church can be trusted with total freedom in this last generation. It's like giving a growing child a little more liberty at each new stage of development, a little more complicated & possibly even more dangerous toy, ushering in a new stage for growth & responsibility to see if he can be trusted with it. If he uses it wisely, he'll be given more. If he plays with it foolishly & dangerously, it may be taken away from him, as Paul had to do with the Early Church.
       38. It depends on your spiritual strength & maturity, trustworthiness & especially the ultimate in total unselfishness & sacrificial Love--the true Love of God!

       The Folks' Sample of Unselfishness!

       39. Peter: I'd like to show you a little glimpse of how the Folks are. They have David & Techi, & Alf & Sara's kids also lived in the same Home. Davida was about the same age level, so when Dad would get together with David & Techi in the evening, Davida was always there too, because Dad knew that she would feel left out if she couldn't be there. Later on, my eldest daughter joined the Home & she would come to see Grandpa too. Dad knew it would make her feel left out if she couldn't come see him when the other children did, even though her father was in the same Home. So Dad brought all the children in to fellowship with him. (After a while, it got to be too much of a strain for Dad, so we switched it so that all the children came only three nights a week.)
       40. He didn't have the very young kids come because they really wouldn't have known the difference anyway. But he knew that the older ones would have thought, "I am missing time with Grandpa," & they would have felt left out. Dad considers all the children as his own, he treats them the same. All the kids were happy & no one felt left out.
       41. Isaac: Here are some appropriate quotes from "One Wife": "What the World thinks are our weaknesses, actually are our strengths. We are not forsaking the marital unit, we are adopting a greater & more important & far larger concept of marriage: The totality of the Bride & her marriage to the Bridegroom is The Family! We are adopting the larger Family as The Family unit: The Family of God & His Bride & children. God is in the business of breaking up little selfish private worldly families to make of their yielded broken pieces a larger Unit--one Family! He's in the business of destroying the relationship of many wives in order to make them One Wife--God's Wife--The Bride of Christ! God is not adverse to breaking up selfish little families for His Glory, to make of the pieces a much larger unselfish unit--the Whole Family--the entire Bride--the One Wife instead of many wives!" (ML#249:3,9) He is taking the broken pieces & making a better unit.

       42. (Oshea:) I am very thankful that in this meeting I was able to see a real sample of how to get the Lord's leading on a big & confusing topic. When we really sought the Lord for His leading, He brought out the principles of One Wife & unselfishness, & showed us how we didn't need to get into the System mentality of it & how the System looks at it. When we got the Lord's leading, it became clear that actually it was the way that He's shown us all along in the Word & the Letters. It's simply a matter of re-envisioning ourselves as to what the standard of the Word has been--that that's what's right & that's the direction we need to go. The specifics can get worked out along the way, as long as we're going in the right direction.
43. It was a real learning experience to see how to get the Lord's leading on these topics that are so difficult to figure out. Such complex problems are beyond our ability to discuss & solve in our logical rational minds. I guess the Lord allows these types of problems or difficult situations so that we know we have to hear from Him, because we don't have any other choice. So TYJ, I'm very happy to have been in on these "how-to" type meetings to see how the Lord can do it if we really expect Him to & ask Him to & seek His counsel.

       44. (Bill:) When we were discussing this single mom situation, just to state the problem took close to two hours! It looked like a huge mountain. I thought, "How in the world are we ever going to figure this one out?" It seemed to be so complicated & to have so many different angles to it! Then when we had desperate prayer, followed by prophecy, it seemed that the mountain just melted away, like Dad says in "Temple Time". The Lord answered so clearly & simply so that we didn't have to continue to discuss it for hours & hours. We didn't have to work out solutions in our own strength, the Lord just did it!
       45. Through the Word & prophecies, the Lord really hit the heart of the matter--the problem is not due to any wrong policies in the Family, it's not that the Family is wrong or that Dad is wrong or that the Word is wrong. But the problem is due very simply to selfishness & lack of love & unyieldedness on our part. We haven't lived the Letters to the full, & like Dad has said in many Letters, we are to think of others first & not ourselves--we are to think of these children more than our personal desires & ambitions!
       46. It was such a relief to see this mountain of problems melt away when we received the Lord's clear, simple answer, which I think is going to be quite a revelation to the Family & cause quite a change. But actually, it's nothing new, Dad has covered this subject from A to Z in the Letters! It's just that we haven't really lived it & followed it, we strayed somewhat from His original pattern.

       47. (Dust:) This meeting was a lesson in prayerfulness that I hope to carry with me for the rest of my life, to refer to as a living sample of how to really seek the Lord for solutions to complex problems. While we were praying it was like I could almost hear Dad's voice on the tape of "Follow God" saying, "What is the first thing that the Holy Ghost reminds you of when you go to Him in prayer & ask Him for the answer?--It's the Word!" And it was through the different prophecies & Scriptures that we were getting that the Lord indicated that our basic attitude & approach to this problem is wrong & that we need to shift back to the foundation of faith, love & trusting the Lord for His miraculous supply to help us take care of our single moms.--That it is our responsibility as leaders & Shepherds & as a Family especially to take care of the children that the Lord's given us.
       48. In going to the Word about it, Dawn & Isaac & some others began to pull out some of the old Volumes & read from Letters such as "One Wife" & the "Law of Love". When we went to the Word like that, it became so clear that the preponderance of what Dad has said about children & mothers, & also what the Scriptures have said, indicates that we should care for these little ones & our "widows". The overwhelming thrust of what Dad has said about it is that they're all our children & our women. Dad has always been a proponent of our taking care of our children & our single moms on a One Wife basis.
49. This is not to say that we are to simply turn a blind eye to the problems that do come up with support & housing & taking care of our single moms & children on a practical basis. But in praying like this & seeking the Lord for solutions, it gave us the right foundation to build upon. It gave us the right approach & the right attitude to have, so that when we do approach the problems involved, we're doing so from the right angle, as opposed to trying to lean to our own understanding.
       50. The Lord helped us to see these children & the moms as an asset rather than a liability. Even if they do require some extra care, they're still a blessing, & it's our responsibility & our duty of love to care for them & to respect them as first-class citizens of the Kingdom of God & of the Family. (See also, "What Is That in Thy Hand?", ML #315.)
       51. So it was a tremendous lesson for me to see this whole principle of prayerfulness & seeking the Lord for the solutions, as opposed to grappling with the issues in our own understanding. It was very inspiring to participate in this prayer meeting & discussion, because it was putting into practice the sample we had read about in "Don't Fear the System!" (ML #2572, GN 429) about how to seek the Lord & hear from Him when making very big & complicated decisions! PTL!

"God setteth the solitary in families."--Psa.68:6a.
"Pure religion & undefiled before God & the Father is this, to visit the fatherless & widows in their affliction, & to keep himself unspotted from the World."--Jam.1:27.

Honest Reporting & Communicating!

       1. Almost everyone in our Family has to write some sort of regular reports to others. In our Homes & Schools there are OHRs (Open Heart Reports), Teen Shepherd Reports, Department Head Reports etc. Home Shepherd Teamworks fill in a monthly TRF, Field officers report their activities to their superiors, & the CROs & NOs report to the Folks on their whole Areas & personal activities.
       2. Much of our communicating with our Shepherds is done in personal reports. We are expected to not only report our activities, but to also pour out our hearts on paper in order to keep our Shepherds abreast of how we're doing, our feelings, our spiritual growth etc. The amount of details reported & how honest the reports are depends on the author of the report. Some people are quite open about their feelings, their activities, their mistakes, their opinions etc., while others are more closed & perhaps even a bit fearful.
       3. Although these points were compiled from a discussion by the leaders at the Summit '90 meetings who report directly to the Folks, we feel the lessons contained herein can apply to all our Family Members, who are also learning to be more open in sharing their hearts & what they're learning when they communicate with their Shepherds.--This is especially true now that the new Home Requirements (GN 465) make it mandatory for all adults to write two OHRs a week & all Teens to write at least three OHRs each week. We hope the following points will help you to become more open in your reporting & will help dispel any fears you may have in regards to open, honest reporting & communicating!

       The Benefits of Honest Reporting!

       4.  When you are open & honest in your reporting, your Shepherds have a good clear picture of how you feel you are doing & how you feel your Home or Area is doing. When praying about you or your situation, they will be able to be specific in prayer, & you can get the specific help & answers you need.

       5.  Honest reporting will bring up any problems, whether personal or in the Area, which will in turn bring help or counsel from your Shepherds. The Shepherds may not know you need help if you don't tell them.

       6.  Honestly confessing your mistakes, trials & weaknesses in your reports will cause others to pray for you, so you will benefit from their prayers. It will also bring the Lord's blessing.

       Reporting Your Mistakes!

       7.  Reporting your trials, weaknesses & mistakes can be difficult & rather humbling, but it's worth it, as that's how your Shepherds know you need help, counsel & prayer. Often the Enemy tempts us to cover up our mistakes for fear that we will get in trouble or be demoted. Besides fear, pride keeps us from confessing our mistakes, especially when no one else knows about them.

       8.  The following illustration should show you how much importance the Folks put on honesty & open reporting & how they react when someone confesses a mistake in their report:
       9. Upon arriving at the Summit '90 meetings, Chris immediately dictated a report in which he confessed that right before leaving Japan he looked through another leader's personal notebook. This leader had recently received a tape of personal counsel from the Folks & had notes of this counsel in the notebook. The notebook was left out on this leader's bed when this person left the house. Chris, upon seeing the notebook, was tempted to look in it, & did. No one but the Lord knew that he had done this, & unless he had confessed it to this leader & to the Folks, no one would ever have known! Chris knew, however, that "He that covereth his sin shall not prosper, but whoso confesseth & forsaketh them shall have mercy."--Pro.28:13.
       10. Upon hearing Chris' report, Mama said, "We just received Chris' confession & it actually made us love & trust him even more.--Not trust him not to look at people's papers, but trust him that he'll be honest & that he will confess, which is even more important. It shows me how trustworthy he is & what wonderful leaders we have who, when they do make mistakes, are willing to humble themselves & confess them. We can trust them because if they know something's wrong, or if they've made a slip somewhere, they're going to tell us. It's wonderful! It showed me how tremendously loyal & mature & a real man of God he is, to be willing to humble himself & let us know what he'd done, which really does take a lot of humility & exposure on his part.
       11. "Of course, another lesson our people should learn from this is to be very careful to lock up their personal papers & not leave them out, because if they don't, people are going to be tempted to go through them. If you don't lock up your personal papers & someone reads them who shouldn't, it's really your fault, because you're putting temptation in people's way. The main responsibility is really on the person who left the important papers out in the first place, for they're the ones that put temptation in the way."

       12.  It's better to be honest in your reports & to confess your mistakes. If you're not, your Shepherds will probably eventually have to ferret them out themselves, which in the long run is harder on you. If you report your mistakes & problems, then they're usually taken care of right away; if you hide them, they take root in your heart & grow & are therefore more difficult to confess & overcome in the future. Eventually your mistake will probably be exposed anyway, so why not just report on it yourself?
       "When we consistently hear nothing but good reports, we know that something even more serious is wrong..." (ML#47:10)

       13.  Honest sharing of your heart & reporting on yourself also develops a closeness between you & your overseers, & makes you more trustworthy when they know you're going to be honest with them to expose your own mistakes.

       14.  When you don't report your mistakes, then the Lord can't bless & prosper you as much, & therefore you'll probably start making bigger mistakes. It's much better just to say, "I did it!" & report the situation soon after it happens. The longer you wait, usually the harder it then gets.

       15.  Some of the more difficult trials or mistakes to report about are the recurring ones. It's hard to confess that you're still having the same battles or making the same mistakes that you made before. But once you blurt it out & report it, you'll feel better. At the time it may seem like it's such a horrible thing, the unforgivable sin, but if you step out by faith & confess it, you'll see that it's usually not as bad as you had imagined, but it was probably the Devil who was magnifying it. Once you blurt it out, the Lord will often give you the victory, TYJ!

       16.  Mama said, "It makes me real proud of our people when they confess their mistakes. They usually are very repentant & very humbled by it & learn from it, & are able to use those lessons to help others in the future, to `comfort others with the comfort wherewith they have been comforted.'"--2Cor.1:4. (See also Mama's reference to Dust's mistake in GN 437, ML#2621:15-24.)

       Report Your Feelings & Views!

       17.  Many people find it quite easy to be open & honest when reporting or communicating about their work or others, but they have difficulty talking about their more personal or emotional feelings.

       18.  If you're having a battle about something, you should say so. Although it may be difficult because it's "personal", you still need to do it. So-called "personal" matters in the Family shouldn't be kept to yourself, while you suffer in silence! We're all one body, & what affects one person affects us all. (1Cor.12:26) If you don't tell your Shepherds about your battles, how do you expect them to be of any assistance to you? (Although the Lord can reveal things to your Shepherds by other means, oftentimes He's waiting on you to just tell them!)

       19.  Your reports are your personal time with your Shepherds, & if you only share the news & events on a business level & don't share how you're personally reacting to things & what you're feeling inside, then it's harder for them to have a close connection with you.

       20.  Although you do need to report your activities, business, summary of your Area etc., your Shepherds are not only interested in these matters, but in you personally. If you aren't sharing about yourself & telling your Shepherds the things you're going through & experiencing, you'll lose the blessing of being drawn closer together to them through communication, & you won't receive the benefit of their help & counsel.

       21.  You need to have a short cord between you & your Shepherds, & the only way to do that is if you are open & honest & willing to share your heart with them.

       22.  One thing that's especially difficult for many people to report about is personal relationships, especially new ones. You don't want to admit that you are attracted to someone, so you try to get around it. Sometimes you don't want to report such intimate matters because of your pride, or you're afraid you'll be categorised as "unspiritual" or it might hurt someone's feelings. Other times, you don't want to report or talk about it because you don't have the total faith for it. This can cause you to report it from a certain angle that is perhaps not quite so honest so that you'll get the response that you would like, or because you think your leadership might not approve of it. For example, instead of saying, "I have strong feelings for her & enjoy her fellowship & want to counsel with you about spending more time with her," you'll report, "She has strong feelings toward me & said she greatly appreciates my fellowship. Since she's so lonely & needy, I feel it might be helpful for her if I were to spend more time with her." That all may be true, but if you conveniently leave out your feelings, then you're not being honest & freely sharing your heart. If you'll start honestly sharing your heart in such intimate matters, you'll wind up being more honest in other areas as well.

       23.  Be candid & thorough in reporting about your feelings. So often what happens when you report about personal matters is that instead of really shooting straight & explaining what's going on & how you feel about a situation, you minimise it by just saying a few words about it. Perhaps you'll slip in a sentence or two buried in a big report, & then tell yourself that you've done your job by letting your Shepherds know what you're going through. But that's not good enough. Try to share clearly what's on your heart or what you're going through.

       24.  If you don't say it clearly, the Shepherds won't necessarily get it! Some of us will give a hint that we're having a problem or a battle, but we don't come right out & say it clearly. We may assume that even if we only say one little thing, our Shepherds will know exactly what we really mean. We feel like they will be able to read between the lines. The Lord can help your Shepherds to read between the lines sometimes, but it's a lot easier if you mention it clearly. If you leave it up to the Shepherd to figure out what you really mean, he may misinterpret it. Remember, they can't read your mind. Good communication is being clear & honest & saying what you feel.

       25. (Endureth:) I know I've battled with the personal section of my report many many times. Though the Lord has often punched through & helped me to go ahead & confess or share with you different battles or trials I'd had or things that I had done. I basically tell the truth in my reports, but sometimes it's shaded or coloured a bit so as to not sound so bad. There are times when I know I need to tell you certain personal things, but then I don't tell you exactly like it is or paint the picture quite as clearly as it should be painted. I really would like to pray that the Lord helps me to be more honest & to really trust the Lord that you're going to understand.

       26. (Bill:) I think I've learned to be honest in reporting as far as my work goes. If I have a problem with the work or if things are not really right work-wise, I don't have too much problem reporting it to my overseers. But if it's more a matter of the heart, how I feel or what I'm going through, trials & areas like that, I still have some impotence, if you can call it that, of really giving without holding it back. After discussing the need to be more open about such matters, I'm going to pray for the Lord to help me be more open & honest.

       27. (Mary:) I have a real problem with being bottled up when I report. Even here it's been hard for me to react. In my first reaction tape that I made, the very first thing I said, I just burst into tears & had to stop recording. It took me a couple of days to get the tape made. It was a real help to hear some of the leaders share how it's not so hard for them to confess their mistakes & blow-its in their work, but that it's difficult to share their personal & emotional feelings & trials. After this class we had prayer for Silas, Lisa & Dawn. We laid hands on the three of them & they each prayed for themselves. Lisa's prayer hit home so hard to me. Her prayer was exactly how I feel every month when I try to do my report. It's so hard for me to get out how I'm feeling. I spend so much time trying to word it exactly right instead of just blurting it out & getting it all on paper. I see now that I don't need to be so fearful about it, but instead I should just pour out my heart.
       28. I was having such a hard time making my first reaction tape, & that night I had a big battle with the Enemy. I asked for prayer the next morning & it was a real victory to be able to get prayer against whatever was hindering me from reacting & really sharing my heart. My subsequent reaction tapes were much easier to do. The class on how to report was a real help. I see that I just need to talk to you as if you were here, which makes it easier for me because when I'm with someone it's easy for me to pour out my heart.

       The Time to Report!

       29.  Some people don't inform their overseers about problems until they are either all taken care of or until the problem gets so bad they are desperate & feel compelled to ask for help. Others report on problems as they occur, even if they don't know the solution, & then they continue to report about the progress of the problem, whether it's worsening or getting better. The one who reports about the problems as they occur is much wiser.

       30.  When it comes to reporting problems, many people think, "The answer is just around the corner & my performance won't look so bad if I wait to report it until after the problem's solved." Unfortunately, what so often happens is that because of our lack of openness it doesn't get solved & there's an ugly festering problem that's growing by the day that the overseers don't know about as it hasn't been reported on. The longer this goes on, the bigger the problem grows, until leadership has to step in & do something drastic. If the problem had been reported earlier, leadership could have given some advice & counsel which may have nipped it in the bud.

       31.  You must realise that Dad & Mama or your overseers don't think that you're a bad Shepherd if your Area has problems. All Areas--& people--have problems & it's your Shepherds' job to try to help you overcome them. We're all in this together, & if there are things you can't solve, please ask.

       32.  Don't be afraid to report problems. You have nothing to fear if you regularly keep your Shepherds abreast of the problems in your personal life or on your field. Every person & every field has problems, not just you & yours. Fear is pride, so humble yourself & report the problems. If you do, you'll find your Shepherds will be more than willing to help bear your burdens through prayer & counsel.

       33.  Don't be overly-cautious in your reports, thinking, "Should I say this?" for fear of being wrong. Just be honest & say, "This is how I see it." You might be wrong, & if you are, your Shepherd will probably tell you. But what would you rather have: Your Shepherd pointing out your error to you, or your continuing on in your errors? If you're wrong & your Shepherd corrects you, then you'll learn; if you're right, then you've informed your Shepherd of the situation, so either way it's good. If you're wrong, you'll probably get some good leadership lessons out of it & you'll grow. Remember, "All things work together for good to them that love the Lord." (Rom.8:28) If you don't fear correction, then you probably won't be afraid to share your opinion in your reports, because you won't be worried about being wrong. Don't let pride & fear keep you from being honest.

       34.  It's also important to understand that just because you are honest about your mistakes or shortcomings doesn't necessarily mean that you will be exempt from any correction for your errors. You should be handled with love & mercy, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you will be spared any penalty or restriction, because you might need some restrictions to help you overcome whatever problems you are having. Any discipline or chastisement or correction that you would possibly receive as a result of your honest reporting is to help you, & you should desire to receive that help.
       35. Let's take Dust, for example: Dust was honest & confessed the fact that he has problems with alcohol. Mama was very kind & loving in her response to Dust's confession of some mistakes he had made while under the influence of alcohol, but she also laid down some restrictions.--He isn't to touch another drop of alcohol, & those restrictions in the long term have greatly helped him.
       36. There is another example of someone who was very competitive in sports. After being overly competitive & getting hurt a couple of times, he still continued to fall prey to his weakness of competitiveness. We finally had to put restrictions on him & say, "No more sports! You're not allowed to play any more!" He was honest about his weaknesses in his reports & that was good, & through being honest he got the help that he needed, but the help came in the form of a restriction.
       37. We all want to learn to be more open & honest. When we confess, we need to realise that we may have to "pay the price" if we want to get the victory, because we broke the rules or disobeyed the Lord. But we will probably all agree that getting the correction or the chastisement is a lot better than holding in your sins & being plagued with them, or feeling like you're hiding something. "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper, but whoso confesseth & forsaketh them shall have mercy."--Pro.28:13.

       38.  One leader explained how he hesitated to report about some problems they were having in their Teamwork. Since the Teamwork had been set up by the Folks, they felt if they sent a negative report they would be questioning the wisdom of the Folks. That is, of course, false reasoning. The Folks know that no one is perfect & that everyone has problems of some sort. Just because someone they appointed to a position isn't working out so well doesn't mean it was wrong or a mistake that the person was appointed. "All things work together for good." And if the person was completely bombing out, don't you think the Folks would want to know about it? If something they initiated yesterday doesn't work today, they're happy to change it. It's not up to you to "censor" your reports or to not report certain things because you don't want it to reflect badly on your overseers' decisions. Your responsibility as a leader is to report things the way you see them.

       39.  Your Shepherds understand that there are many sides to every story, like the five blind men trying to describe the elephant, & that your report is your side, the way you see things. You should pray about what you present in your reports & try your best to report as honestly & openly as you can. Your overseers should bear in mind that your report presents the picture through your eyes & that your personal feelings & interpretations enter into the way you report, so they need to pray about what they read & try to get the Lord's mind on it as well. If it's a serious situation, they should get reports from others as well, as "in the multitude of counsellors there is safety".--Pro.11:14b.
       40.  You should pray that when you report about people & their problems, you do not misrepresent them in any way, & that you're describing their situation and/or problem as clearly as possible to your Shepherds. It's a great responsibility to report on others' lives & hearts, so please pray & ask the Lord to help you in your reporting of them to be as accurate as possible.

       41.  Likewise, we pray that you leaders who are on the receiving end of reports or OHRs from those you are shepherding will see that it's very important how you handle the people who bare their hearts to you. Remember there are always two (or more!) sides to every situation, so do all you can to consider all sides & proceed prayerfully.
       42. Please also realise that people are often afraid of being honest for fear of being handled harshly or of being misunderstood etc. So you Shepherds will need to be very prayerful about how you handle people & their reports, lessons, confessions etc. If you're going to expect people to be honest, then you will have to be responsible to handle them in love & very prayerfully, calmly, wisely & with counsel.

       43. (Oshea:) The point that you, Mama, brought up in one of your messages about the WS Shepherdess who said she continually prayed desperately that she would not misrepresent people when she reported to you, really convicted me & made me want to be more prayerful in my reporting, to see that how we represent people in our reports is a big responsibility.

       44. (Lisa:) Lord help me, it's a real humbler to confess that this talk on honest reporting was a real eye-opener. It's not that I haven't heard these points before, but it's so clear how I haven't been as open as I should have been.
       45. The reasons I haven't been so honest in my reporting seem to be a combination of things--fear of failure, man-pleasing, fear of not being right & therefore getting in trouble.--Well, in short, fear, pride & self-righteousness. An excuse I used was that I didn't want to burden others or waste their time with the details of my problems. But I see now that the best thing for me to do is just to try to be open & to communicate everything. It was a real blessing to attack it in united prayer together at the end of the meeting & I believe now I can overcome this weakness. PTL!

       46. (Bill:) I have quite a difficulty in sharing my heart & being open when reporting because I don't feel like I have much to say. Another thing is that I have the bad habit of letting everything be censored, so to speak, through my mind instead of just speaking straight out of the heart. I pray I can really grow in this area & be more honest & open & straightforward. It's not that I lie or distort the facts, but I even consciously word it in a way that's different than if I was just freely opening my heart. n

       "We need to learn something about communicating more & being more honest with one another & being more open about ourselves. There would be far fewer misunderstandings if people would just honestly & openly communicate with one another. It may be a little difficult at the beginning, but if you work at it, it becomes much easier. The Lord always seems to bless honesty & good communication." (ML#1796:15)

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