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PERSONAL LETTERS!--Number 3! --By Maria       Maria #237 DO 2951 8/94
Letters to Mama & Her Replies!

Dear Family,10/94
       1. I'm happy to again be able to share with you more of the personal letters I've written over the past months. I hope that they will be an encouragement to you & that you can apply the counsel to your own life. Just as we benefit from reading about the personal encounters that Jesus had, & know by those examples that He loves us & cares for us, I hope you can benefit in the same way from these few letters that I've been able to answer personally, & know that even though I can't write each of you a letter addressed to you by name, I love & care for each one of you & would give you the same individual care & attention if I could.--In fact, I do, in the Spirit, & I pray that you will feel it!
       2. So God bless you all, dear ones, & may you benefit from the help & counsel which the Lord has already extended to some of you through these letters. In allowing us to share their letters, these Family Members are being able to "comfort you with the comfort wherewith they were comforted," & with the help wherewith they were helped.--2Cor.1:4. God bless them!


--Between YA Nationals & Family-Born YAs!

       (From T. YA, 6/94:)
Dearest Mama Maria,
       1. I love you dearly & am so thankful for your love & care for each of your children around the World. Thank you for your precious Letters, which help encourage & strengthen each one of us.
       2. I have wanted to write to you, Mama, concerning a few questions that have been quite soul-searching for me personally & some that I have been burdened about lately. Lord help me, in Jesus' name. I pray that what I bring up will be of some help, as I am sure others have thought & wondered about these things as well.
       3. First, I wanted to ask you about something that has been on my heart for quite a while. It is concerning Family-born young people & nationals. (In this case I am referring to those who have joined in recent years & are around the same age, or a little older than our young people.) Mama, why is it that some of our Family-born young people have such a difficulty getting close to our nationals? Why is it that in almost each situation that I have seen, our Family-born youth show no signs of bringing them into their circle of fellowship?
       4. I spent my JETT & teen years in Eastern Europe; my brother & sisters & I were the only children in the Work there most of the time (in Hungary). We were with the newly joined nationals all the time & we were very close. They looked up to us as the fruit of the Family & they wanted to learn all they could from us. (Mama: Real missionaries!) I love each of them a whole lot, & although they may be different from me in many ways because of my years & years in the Family, many have suffered a lot in the System & have forsaken all & really have the Spirit of David! When I was around 14, I would just beg to be able to go & sit in on the babes classes that were being given to the Catacombers & new disciples; it was thrilling for me & I loved it!--Even when they could hardly speak any English, I tried as hard as I could to learn their language. (Mama: Good girl!)
       5. So I couldn't understand it when teens & YAs began to come to the EE & they just didn't mingle with the nationals. I have even heard some teens belittling nationals because they come from poorer countries & are not Western. (Mama: Very sad!--All are precious in His sight!) I was out once for a Sunday outing with teens, YAs, & YA nationals, & after the united sports, everyone was in their little groups again! One national sister came to me really broken up about the situation, as she told me that she couldn't understand why our Family-born young people didn't want to "hang around" her! I felt like crying myself, as it was just so immature of our teens & YAs to be so into themselves & their little "cliques." (Mama: Heartbreaking!)
       6. I wanted to ask if this same situation exists in other areas of the World. I thought perhaps it is like this in the EE because of the many young nationals we have there, whereas perhaps in other areas there are only one or two per Home. I do hear that there are kids joining in the States, so I wonder how things are there. Anyway, I have wondered what it is about our Family teens & YAs that makes such a gap between them & the YA nationals.
       7. Something that came to mind when I was thinking & praying about it is that some of the teens think that the nationals are kind of "fuddy-duddy" or "too spiritual," because they are always happy & praising the Lord & talking about witnessing & winning souls & the Word! (Mama: God bless them!) Whereas many of the subjects that our teens have been more interested in talking about have been things like movies, music, girl/boy friends, games, etc. I wonder if it would be worth explaining to our young people why the YA nationals are so "flipped out" about Jesus & the Word & talk about nothing else--because that is what they are in the Family for! They left all those other things behind when they joined, & they are very happy about it.
       8. I feel it's sad that there isn't more partnership amongst our young people who have the training, the Word & know the standard, & the nationals who have the fire to win souls & are so thankful for the Family. I think both sides could learn many lessons from each other. (Mama: Amen!--A winning combination!)
       9. Another thing I wanted to ask you about is concerning ministries versus witnessing. In talking to teens, YAs & others, I have noticed that there are lots of young people in the Family who feel that they are not an "outreacher," but that they are a musician, secretary or handyman, etc. I thought a little about this, & something that came to me is that witnessing is not just a ministry! Shouldn't it be everyone's goal & everyone's burden as disciples? (Mama: Amen!) Perhaps it would be helpful to touch on this somehow, because it seems that many of the young people (at least in Europe) want to be anything but witnessers. (Mama: Sad!)
       10. I have always felt that witnessing was our job no matter what talents we may or may not have. In every Letter I have read on the subject, Dad is very clear about witnessing being everyone's job. I feel that ministries have their place & we all need to feel fulfilled in what we do at home, when we aren't out witnessing, yet I don't feel that witnessing is a ministry that you can decide to do or not to do. (Mama: Right!) It's sort of like taking Word time, we can't just think, "Well, I am better at cooking, so I'll just cook & someone else can take Word time." Perhaps this isn't a good comparison, but if we are all disciples & missionaries, I feel we should all feel constrained by Jesus' Love to witness.--Otherwise, it's sort of like most churches, where the pastors witness & preach while the rest of the congregation sit & listen once a day or once a week to a sermon & go back to their job 5-6 days a week & feel they have done their "service to God." (Mama: Good analogies.)
       Your daughter T. (YA)

       Mama's Reply to T., 8/94:
       11. Thank you, dear girl, for a beautifully expressed letter! And because you have brought up some problems that are worth highlighting & that I believe we've all been concerned about, I decided to share your letter with the Family in its entirety. (The last question you asked about single moms I've presented separately with my answer later in this GN. See page 10.) You wrote, "Maybe something needs to be said...." Well, you've said it so well that I don't have much to add except to say that we are totally in agreement with you.
       12. T., I took the liberty of sending a copy of your letter to another of our Family-raised young people, who was also in Eastern Europe for some time. I asked him to send me his observations on the subject of our YA nationals & our Family-born YAs. You will see that he points out that there may be some very logical reasons why our Family-born-&-raised YAs don't integrate easily with our YA nationals. I wanted to include his observations in order to give our Family-born teens & YAs the benefit of the doubt & not come down too hard on them for their behaviour. However, in spite of some pretty logical reasons, the most important thing is love, & we pray that when our young people realise that this is a problem, they will want to ask the Lord to help them to overcome these barriers & divisions so that they can break down any such walls that divide them, enabling them to work in greater unity & love.
       13. We hope that upon reading your letter & this, my response, our dear Family-born-&-raised young people will reflect upon this problem & pray about it & try to do their best to rectify it. It's much easier to build up walls than to break them down, but love demands that we reach out & that we put ourselves in another's place, & that we walk a mile in their shoes. To receive God's abundant blessing, we have to abundantly give; to receive His abundant Love, we have to abundantly love others. Love is the most important thing, & no matter what else we have, or no matter what else we accomplish, without Love it's nothing. No matter what good reasons we might have, none of them can be good enough.
       14. Likewise, no matter what other jobs we have, as you point out so well, they are nothing without our main job of witnessing. Again, witnessing is giving Love--God's Love--to others. And if we fail at sharing His Love--if we feel it is beneath us & not "part of our ministry"--we stray far from God's Will & His Word.
       15. P.S. Following is the letter I mentioned from one of our Family-raised young people:

From F., 8/94:
Dear Mama,
       16. I love you so much, & I'm so thankful to have a place of service in this Family. Thank you for all the effort that you & Dad put into making it what the Lord wants it to be. Lord help me now, as I comment on T.'s letter.
       17. First, I would like to confirm the point T. brings out about our Family-born YAs not mingling much with the YA nationals. I have witnessed this myself while in Russia, even where the YAs & teens were mature & dedicated folks. But I can see that if we have YAs & teens who are not doing so well, the problem could be compounded.
       18. The problem seemed to be more when we had groups of YAs in a Home with YA nationals, rather than when it was just one or maybe two YAs on their own in a Home. For example, in Siberia we had Homes with only one Family-born YA, a couple of adults & some YA nationals, & in those cases, the Family-born-&-raised YAs would definitely get much closer to the YA nationals their own age. Whereas in the Homes where we had groups of YAs, the Family-born YAs would tend to spend time fellowshipping with each other rather than the YA nationals. The YA nationals would also tend to bunch up together.
       19. I would say that the tendency to fellowship with those from your own nationality or background--that is, the YA nationals with other YA nationals, Family-born YAs with other Family-born YAs--was just as strong on the part of the YA nationals as on the part of the Family-born YAs. From my observations, it seemed that one of the main reasons the YA nationals fellowshipped together was not because they felt totally excluded by the Family-born-&-raised YAs, but because it was their natural tendency to do so.
       20. I am not trying to excuse the Family-born-&-raised YAs for their behaviour, nor am I faulting the YA nationals & saying they brought it upon themselves. I just wanted to point out that it seemed to me that the tendency towards "segregation" was on both sides.
       21. In general, the tendency of the Family-born-&-raised YAs who I was around (who were mature & dedicated folks) to associate more with each other was not out of dislike or contempt for the YA nationals, but rather a natural bent to spend time with those they could communicate with easily & deeply, who share the same background & experiences, etc. However, if our young people aren't doing so well, there could be a tendency to look down on the YA nationals for being "overly spiritual."
       22. In all of this, even if the Family-born YAs in Russia did not intentionally exclude the YA nationals or look down on them, the fault does lie with us in that, as older brethren & bellwethers to the young nationals, it was our responsibility to take the first step & bring the YA nationals closer. In other words, in my opinion the problem was selfishness, because it does take more effort & outgoing care & concern to try to get close to the YA nationals compared to other Family-born YAs with whom you may "click" quite easily.
       23. The YA nationals are the same age as the Family-raised YAs, but they often come from a different background & upbringing & speak a different language. And some of the YA nationals may relate more to the Family adults than they do to the Family young people, because they shared similar experiences before joining the Family.
       24. At the same time, an attitude of our Family-born-&-raised YAs that does need to change, & something I was guilty of myself, is that closely fellowshipping with the YA nationals means giving up their "teen-talk" conversations, which, as T. pointed out, can tend to revolve around past experiences in the Family, boy-girl talk, music, movies, etc. When with YA nationals you can't really discuss these things, which is good, & you need to pull up your socks in lifting up the Word & witnessing more. This is what our Family-born-&-raised YAs should be doing, but unfortunately many are not willing to make the sacrifice that it takes to do so.
       25. Even though I enjoyed & looked forward to being around the YA nationals & teaching classes, etc., I sometimes found it more difficult to communicate with them on a deeper level than I did with other Family-born YAs with whom I shared a common background. And this gap could be why we have very few Family-born YAs marrying YA nationals.
       26. The bottom line seems to be this: Although some of the factors contributing to a segregation of sorts may be due to so-called "natural tendencies," our Family-born YAs should be encouraged to reach out more, forsake their selfishness, & launch out into greater dedication by pouring into the YA nationals more, befriending them more, & even marrying them, so they can teach the YA nationals what they know, as well as learn from the YA nationals.--And as T. brought out, there is a lot that the YAs can learn from the nationals, such as greater dedication to the Lord, greater thankfulness for the Word, & greater enthusiasm to witness.
       27. The point that T. brought out about the ministry of witnessing is something that I've thought a lot about. I believe that at least part of the problem is that with the concept of "ministry training" for our teens, maybe we forgot that witnessing was a ministry too, which our teens can specialise in & get training in as much as any other ministry. In the Teen Homes I was in or heard of, there was little emphasis on witnessing when compared to other ministries, & there were no special "courses" in it like there were for kitchen, handyman or childcare.
       28. Maybe this misconception is something that could be addressed in a pub, & our adults could be encouraged to promote witnessing as a real ministry in their Home, & that the teens be actually trained in it just like any other ministry. (Mama: Right!--See the Christian Vocational College Course on Witnessing ("Leadership, Outreach & Counselling").--Or you don't have to wait for that, just look in the CAT book under "Witnessing."--Make witnessing a priority.) That would elevate the status of "witnesser" to the same level as that of "kitchen deacon," whereas in many Homes that I have seen, it is not. In fact, the Bible says that "first are apostles," so the "witnessers" should be the top level, & that is what Dad has brought out in the Letters. (Mama: Right!) But in some large Homes it seems to have gotten to be the other way around, so the teens aspire to be kitchen deacons, childcare overseers or handymen rather than follow-up experts or top-notch witnessers.
       29. I really love you, dear Mama. I hope that these observations are a help. I am fully persuaded that the Family is the best place in the World, & that's why I'm here. I know we're not perfect, though, & my greatest desire is to help, in any way that I can, to make it an even better place; & especially that our young people, including myself, will adhere to & closely uphold the standard, counsel & sample given by Dad & you in the Letters, so that this revolution will keep on rolling for Jesus & reach the World more than ever before. I love you & am privileged to be a part of the Family. Hallelujah! God bless you! Love, F. (Thanks for your good Spirit-led observations. The Lord has made you into a son to be proud of. Keep up the good work & keep giving Him the credit. There are even greater things ahead! Love, Mama.)

Note from a WS Staff member on developing a love for nationals, 10/94:
       Soon after I joined the Family at 21, I went to help pioneer Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Chinese can speak English, of course, but they're still very different from us in many ways, & at first you feel pretty foreign in a place like that. But I can sure testify that as soon as the Lord gave me new disciples & catacombers to care for (and it didn't take long), I had such a love for those nationals! We just got really close & I loved to spend time with them. I was thrilled to have those sweet nationals to pour into! So I really wanted to say an "Amen" to Mama's point about love breaking down the barriers. Witnessing is a key!

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family