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26 January 2003

Greetings, dear Shannon,

I love you so much, and I still pray every day that the Lord will re-unite us. My prayers are especially passionate today. I just returned from the funeral of Monique Brown, born 3 November 1979, married 20 December 2002, died 20 January 2003.

"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints,"(Psalm 116:15). We rejoiced and worshipped with song, prayer, and Scripture, aware that our worship is only a fraction of the joyful worship Monique is experiencing now with Jesus.

"Jesus wept" (John 11:35). We wept at the death of a loved one. Monique was young in years, but her passion for her Savior made her so wise in the intense way she lived her life, touching not only the lives of her brothers and sisters in the spiritual family of CHBC but also the lives of those with whom she worked, the children she taught in Sunday School, and the many others whom she loved and helped.

Monique's mother, a pastor's wife, knows that her daughter belongs to God, yet she wept in grief at the loss of her beloved child, just as Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus. I am sobbing this very moment at the loss of my precious daughter, whose companionship I thought I would enjoy until the Lord called one of us home.

It's clear that the Lord called Monique home to Him, so we can "let go" of her in faith. It's not clear why members of your church think that God has called them to abandon their families, so we parents can't "let go" of our children in faith. Please, dear Shannon, take some time to look up every passage in the Bible that includes the words "mother", "father", "son", "daughter", "parent", "child", or "family". Study and pray about these passages, and then please explain to me why what your church says about the family differs so drastically from what the Bible says. How can anyone who believes that the Bible is inspired, inerrant, and literal (rather than allegorical) abandon his or her family? How will you feel standing before God and explaining why you ignored your mother and grandmother in their old age, leaving others to love and care for them? Whether Gran and I are destined for Heaven or Hell is beyond your control, but I'm so sad that you seem so unconcerned about our salvation, our sanctification. I don't understand how a biblical church whose members profess love for one another can justify not disciplining members who abandon their families. Please, explain.

I love you, Shannon --- unconditionally --- God's plan...Not mine.


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