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Dear Brother,

I felt like I had to write to you after hearing about how it went when you visited your folks and your friends. I might be wrong but it seemed like you lost the vision in regard to group unity and in regard to what was really happening spiritually. I don't want you to give up, brother, and I know you didn't want me to give up when my mother came to visit the community, to pull emotional strings on me. I know it seems very difficult but, if it was so easy, then we wouldn't need to exercise our faith in what Jesus said, would we?

The truth is that all of our families hate what we are doing, and they want us to stop following Jesus and show loyalty to them instead. I know this because I nearly left the community six weeks ago during a visit with my family. I didn't tell anyone outside of the local team, because I was too ashamed of how I was nearly sucked in by the comforts of just going brain dead in front of the TV, watching movies and eating stacks of food. Also, because a lot of my family turned out, it was hard to see past the triviality of the whole occasion. I kept thinking 'They really do love me - they don't tell me what to do, and they don't criticise me for not doing it.' But I was out of the spirit and let the devil get a foothold.

When I called a meeting and told the others that I wanted to leave the community, the only reason I could give was because I liked to relax and enjoy the company of my family. But I knew the truth: The night before God had given me a dream in which I was killing all the Jedi from 'Star Wars'. I was shocked by the dream because I knew that what I was doing was wrong even while I was dreaming it. I should not be fighting against those who are building God's kingdom, as I would surely do if I were to leave the community.

The only solution was to get out of the comfort zone quickly. So, we all left, and as expected, my family kicked up a big fuss.

The entire time I was there, they were causing division, with little comments and promptings. Instead of challenging those comments I just let them pass - which by default was agreeing to them. It was only after we came back to visit my family four days later that I started questioning why they were making certain remarks, and when I did that, it shut them up. I exposed their twisted motives.

As long as they continue to deny Christ (i.e. to deny his teachings), they will make themselves available to become the devil's puppets. We've got to see that.

Basically what I've been trying to share with you is that we can't afford to be double minded about what we're doing. If we're defending our parents above what Jesus has said, then we're being loyal to them and not to Jesus. I nearly fell for it - and I probably tried God's patience in the process. Remember what Jesus said when his mother and brothers came to talk to him in Mark 3:32-35? He said his family would be those who kept the word of God. Also in Luke 11:27-28 he explains pretty much the same thing.

Don't be discouraged by all that I've said, but learn from my mistakes. None of us are so spiritual that we're not tempted by what our families do to entice us back to the system; but with God's help and a lot of prayer we can stand firm and not give in when those fiery arrows are coming our way.

So stand strong and stay focused on Jesus.

Love, from your brother in Christ.

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