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November 1, 1998

Dearest Maria,

Thank you for your letter in August. It did bring us great comfort to hear from you and to know that you are alive and well ... healthy and happy. This is a very long epistle in response to the comments in your letter. This is the only way I have of reaching you, so I hope you will do me the kindness of reading it all the way through.

Although your letter brought us some peace of mind and heart, we were troubled to realize that your brothers and sisters have not let you know that Grandma Aquila died in June. We tried desperately to reach you to let you know how sick she was and then again to let you know that she had died. In your letter you asked us to give Grandma your love .... we can only do that in prayer at this time.

We simply do not see the need for you to hide from us. We do not understand the entire group's need to be so secretive. You tell us in your letters that your group is loving and kind and living the message of Jesus, better than any other so called Christian group on the entire earth and yet you cannot communicate with your family. We cannot find any Biblical reference that supports this concept. St. Paul wrote his friends frequently as he traveled preaching the word of God. Even during his persecutions and his time in jail he wrote to them and received letters and support from them. Yes, there were no computers or phones, but he used all means of communication open to him to keep in touch with his family and friends. It is unfortunate that your elder cannot see that your family would be most willing to support you and your brothers and sisters in a multitude of ways, if only they were allowed to do so.

We freely let you go with these people you call your brothers and sisters with the understanding (and what we thought was a promise from you and Anavah) that you would stay in touch with us. Some how we even believed that we would be allowed to visit you and you would be allowed to visit us from time to time. It is unfortunate that your leaders are so against such things. Dad and I do not believe in kidnapping and violence, especially against our own daughter and her friends, but, we do understand the anger and frustration of other parents who do use these means. We do not condone their methods, but we understand them. It is unfortunate that your leaders do not see that they could probably avoid all, or most of this by just encouraging written or phone communication with parents, rather than discouraging it.

Enough of that, I'm sure the words of a loving parent will not be sufficient to reach the minds and hearts of your leaders who seem so sure that there ways are the only right ways.

We also want you to know that we do read and study the Word daily. Your brothers and Lori and Jill are fine. Grandma's house was sold a few weeks ago, so you won't be able to reach anyone there anymore. The farm is also being sold. That deal will probably close by Christmas.

Also, regarding the 14 page letter from Jonathan defending your group from the Prime Time Live lies about them. I distributed it as best I could. We don't actually know any of the other parents of the members of your group, but we do have contact with a few who have contacted us in the past few months, so we passed the letter on as best we could.

Yes, my Darling Daughter, in response to your question, I can imagine the joy of God's perfect love. It is only His love and guidance that has protected my soul and my sanity over the last three years of trials and tribulation. If you do not understand the pain and anguish your current life choice has caused us, it is only because you have never loved a daughter as we love you. It is not your missionary status, nor your attempt to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and His followers that causes the pain. It is only the rejection of us and the rest of your family and friends that causes pain. It is only in our feeble attempt to love unconditionally as Jesus taught us to do, that we have managed to spiritually survive all the trials we have been subjected to. I remember the words you said on our last day together, "Mom you are too joyful. You need to learn to be sober in the Lord." I was so shocked by such a comment from you that I think my only response was tears. I think of that comment every time I read David's Psalms, where he tells us over and over again to make a joyful noise unto the Lord. "Praise the Lord., Oh my soul." nothing on this earth can take away the joy God has blessed us with. Though we may walk in dark shadows from time to time, God is always there to lead us to calm waters and green pastures. It is not that I do not realize the ugliness of the world around me, Maria. It is not that I have not been exposed enough to pain and anguish, both my own and that of others. It is not that I do not see the overwhelming sinfulness of our world. It is that I know that all things work to good in His time. I learned a long time ago, that I have no control, God is always in control. All I can do is attempt to make the right choices and pray unceasingly to be led by His will. I count on His infinite mercy and nothing anyone says or does can take away the love and forgiveness Jesus offers each one of us.

"People", your family and friends, do ask almost daily about you. I answer simply that you are traveling the country evangelizing in the name of Jesus. I do not lie or make up excuses about what you are doing or why. My only sadness is that I do not know where you are, nor can I send you their love and prayers when they ask me to do so. There are people literally all over the world praying for you. There are more prayers being offered for you daily than you will ever know. People are fasting and praying. So, you see my dearest, you have touched the lives of many you don't even know about and your choice has brought many back to a stronger prayer life and a stinger desire to study the Word. As I said all things work to good in His time. We are not ashamed of you or embarrassed by your choice, we only miss you as any parent would miss a child they love. We pray you are using your gifts and talents for His glory and not hiding them under a bushel basket. You have been blessed with many gifts and talents including compassion, a sense of humor and healing hands, please use them for His glory.

We definitely are not looking for those who will "stand by us in our self-righteousness". We are definitely attempting to "endure with those who love at all times". We hope you are attempting to do the same. That is part of why we find it so difficult to understand the things some of your members say against parents they do not even know. Please note that all of the early Christians were not itinerant preachers. Nor were they all poor. Jesus did not ask Martha, Mary and Lazarus to give up their beautiful home and rich life style to follow HIm. He often spent time in their home resting and teaching. There are many who make up His kingdom. And, those who do not choose to do what you are doing are not necessarily the evil people your group seems to portray them as.

We wake daily with thoughts and prayers of you and we go to bed each night with thoughts and prayers for you. May you continue to grow in strength and understanding of His Word. May His face shine upon you. May He guide your steps toward eternal happiness. May you use the sword of His Word only in the way He intended for you to use it.

We miss you. God Bless.

Shalom, Hugs and Kisses, Love,
Dad and Mom


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