What would you recommend?
Being a pastor in a culture that is not yours, sometimes can be difficult especially when the majority of the people who come to church have a Mexican catholic church background. We are confronted by the high price of leaving the catholic church by the extended family members. I don’t know what this means to have family who criticize you for leaving family traditions behind. This weekend we attended a first communion/birthday party for a 10 year old girl who has been coming with her family to our church over the past year. The mom asked us what she should do when her “unbelieving” husband wants to have their daughter take part in the tradition of taking first communion. This is an area where we can’t demand or expect every family to leave behind after leaving the catholic church. She decided to go ahead and do the communion per the dad’s request. In the days leading up to the celebration, the mom shared with us that this was a good thing for the family because they were studying the scriptures together and finding out what it actually says about taking communion. What would you say to that? A believing mom taking a religious tradition of the family and using it to teach her three kids about what Jesus said and why we take communion. This was clearly an opportunity for this family to really find out what they believe and what they don’t believe. As I sat at a table of people who attend La Roca church (who also came to the party), I thought to myself, all of these people here at this party are beginning to see a difference in this family and are watching to see what will happen next. There was no alcohol served which they would normally do. A birthday party with no free beer, that is unheard of. Both the mom and dad have families that are watching the transformations of their lives. The family of the husband continues to invite us to family events. They have all said they see Alejandro (even though he says he is not a Christian) is changing from a workaholic to focusing on what is best for his family. His mom continues to say that one day she is going to come to our weekly bible study. When that day comes, which Lord willing, will be very soon, I am going to be very excited about this. Not that our bible study is coming to salvation in Jesus, but this is a huge step for someone to get out of their comfort zone and attend a “Christian” bible study. Remember in their mindset they view Christians as a cult and all we want them to do is leave the catholic church. That is not our goal. Our goal is to bring people to a personal relationship with Jesus and study the word for themselves. With this family, maybe I would not have participated in a catholic tradition that believes they are actually eating the body and blood of Jesus but through this event God is being glorified in bringing families to himself. Ana has stated that she can’t go back now. She knows Jesus. She has the truth, even when it is hard to face the difficulties of having unsaved family members.
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