Everyone has dreams when they’re younger. I had so many that were just fleeting thoughts that now I don’t remember many of them. One dream I’ve had since I was staff at a Summer Vacation Bible School, when I was thirteen, was to be a missionary. It has been a long time since then and because I stopped regularly going to church at sixteen I thought that would never happen. Well, sometimes God has other plans for your life, even ones you dare not to dream about anymore.
I recently got accepted to join this organization called Care Fresno. Care Fresno’s mission is “Training people through Urban Ministry to invest in under-resourced communities and mentor at risk youth to become future community leaders… and REPEAT.” They do all of this by teaching the Gospel (according to the Bible) and by running after school programs in certain areas in Fresno with young children.
This program that I am participating in is called Mission Care and it requires that I move to one of these “under-resourced communities” and live in an apartment with three other girls. It’s a yearlong “mission” in my own backyard to help tutor, be the best example to these kids that I can be, and to help share Jesus life and teachings with them. I know this year will not only be eventful but it will also make me stretch myself and I’m hoping I will grow spiritually as well.
This past week was Jesus’ Birthday Celebration with the United Urantia Family Festival in Yosemite National Park as well as the weekend of a training retreat for Mission Care. I live in Fresno and grew up in Oakhurst, California which is about 45 minutes south of Yosemite so I helped some with the preparation of this conference. I didn’t get selected to participate in Mission Care until about a week and a half before the conference and I didn’t know until a few days before the conference that the training retreat would cause a time conflict.
The only thought that crossed my mind when I got a group text message of the dates of the retreat was “Oh no.” I had put so much work into this conference and it was in my backyard, practically, so I had no clue what to do. I didn’t want to leave the conference where I would be around old friends and new like-minded friends to go hang around strangers in the mountains for a weekend. If I’m being honest I didn’t even really commit to go to the retreat until the first day of the Yosemite conference because I was nervous. I was nervous of letting people down by not being at the conference and I was just as nervous, if not more so, of being around new people who I thought might judge me for not being a “saved” by the death of Christ. Despite all of this I made a choice after talking to my dad, I was going to leave early and go on this retreat because I made a commitment and I need to keep my word.
On Thursday, August 22nd I left the conference, after saying my goodbyes to my Urantia Family and heading down the mountains to Fresno. Once I got to Fresno I had a proper freak out moment because I was meant to be moving that day and I had yet to pack most of my things. I eventually got everything taken care of and calmed my anxiety down only to have it go back up the next day.
The next day I got dropped off at California Christian College where the Care Fresno offices are located to catch a ride up to The Blue Moose. The Blue Moose is a cute little mountain home that a woman owns and loans to this group, up in the Sequoia National Park area. The beginning of the retreat reminded me a bit of the YaYA Conferences with introductions but then we were asked to share testimony of being saved from our sins.
This brought my anxiety back up once again. I was afraid of being judged, being that girl who isn’t the normal blood atonement Christian. What was I to do? Was I to say that I believe I was always forgiven? That I don’t think Jesus had to die and that was not part of his mission here on Urantia? Or I could test the waters and share about how my faith in Jesus Christ and how my relationship with God has saved me, from myself.
There was a point in my life where I struggled greatly. My struggle was internal and stopped my own happiness and contentment from being at an even remotely normal level. I struggled with depression and extremely low self-esteem. I also didn’t have a relationship with Jesus at this point and I didn’t know that that was what was going to “save” me. When I started fostering my relationship with Christ I started to feel God’s love and I started to love myself.
This is the story I decided to share. Maybe this wasn’t the most outgoing and brave way to be an evangel but in the moment I had to weigh my options. I decided before I put myself out there completely I would let the people get to know me and who I am as a person and not just my beliefs that may differ from theirs.
After my testimony I had a private conversation with the leader of Care Fresno about my internal struggle that I was having about sharing The Urantia Book. He knew my beliefs in the book and my past with being a member of different Christian churches. After talking to him I felt like this year was going to be a struggle. I realized it would challenge my beliefs and faith and in the end it would be more than worth it.
This year I plan on growing my inner life, building new relationships with the other Mission Care missionaries, as well as doing my best to show children that God is all around us and Jesus is the example to live by.
I will also be updating once a month so you, the reader, can come along with me in this very personal journey.
5 thoughts on “My New Adventure Begins”
I can’t wait to hear your next installment. I know you will do many great things on your Mission. You can hardly fail if you have Jesus as your sidekick, yes?
You go Girl!
Thank you for sharing. That took courage, but then Jesus was an example of rising to any challenge so the ability to show courage grows like a muscle that must be worked or it will weaken through lack of use. A muscle will not grow without resistance. Courage will not grow without encountering fear. This is only my opinion, but I believe there are different levels of Soul development and a Soul must start somewhere. I was placed by my parents in the Catholic school system because they said the Catholic Church was the most direct path back to Jesus. After age 14 I left the Catholic School system because it no longer felt relevant to my particular Soul growth.
I found the Catholic view to be the most direct route back to the views of a few apostles, saints, and popes, and not necessarily Jesus. I saw how the Holy Roman Empire and various popes and their constituencies interpreted the teachings of Jesus and the bible any way that suited their political and very earthly ambitious to maintain power over their flock, primarily through guilt, fear, and threat of corporal punishment backed by eternal damnation. I found the Catholic Church to have not changed much at all since those days. There was Original Sin, then the need for salvation from damnation, and make sure you do it their way, One Way, or you’ll hit the Low Way.
I saw life more in terms of Original Joy, the Art of Creation and the Higher Way, with each Soul given the responsibility to be creative and find their own path up the mountain. This is the approach without reproach that the Transcendentalists like Emerson, Thoreau, John Muir, Margaret Fuller, Galen Clark, and others took. They could be as spiritual or not as any Christian, Buddhist, Rosicrucian, or Urantian, but in their own way. There is no “One Way” in the sense that who can explain this one way in such a way that it is the only way everyone will agree on without question and thus end the evolutionary process once and for all? Then what do we do with the rest of Eternity? Creation ends? As an artist, I would file a grievance.
I have a subtly different take on the Lord’s Prayer, as an artist. Instead of “Our Father Who art in Heaven . . .” — It’s: Our Father Whose Art is Heaven . . > There’s more than one way to play.
I got the impression from the so-called Bible-thumpin’ fundamentalists, including some of the priests and nuns that interpreted Jesus to me growing up in the church claiming to be the most direct path back to Jesus, that they were too much into the Dark Side of Creation, of The Force, or whatever you call the less fun way to relate to The Creator. Too much guilt for no good reason, too much fear, too many ways to sin and not enough ways to win.
Sure it is noble to help people less fortunate than thou and to minister to the poor and abused, socially or chemically, and go on “missions” with evangelical fervor, but is it the ulterior motive to convert these unfortunate people to a certain narrow way of relating to God? Or do the missionaries say, “We are going to help you out of physical, emotional, mental, or ecological illness, chemical abuse, abuse from other humans, so that you can be free to find your own way back to The Garden or up the mountain, or wherever your Art and Soul take you.
I had a problem with a Mormon friend of mine who went on missions to create more Mormons more than teach people how to think on their own and be creative like The Creator. I have the same problem with so-called “Born Again” Christians who must accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior or be Left Behind in hellfire and damnation.
Sure, there are many Christians, as well as Catholics who are not that extreme either-or, but I’m just uncomfortable with some seemingly hard-sell tactics by these folks. They do not appear very secure in their own beliefs and find safety in numbers, quantity over quality in their faith.
I do not like to sound condescending, but it feels to me that these hard-core “evangelical” Christians are like baby Souls, or perhaps pre-teen, in the sense that they can’t be left alone with temptation or they’ll get in trouble. They cannot yet handle responsibility spiritually. They need adult supervision and guidance or they might take the wrong road, perhaps to perdition instead of fruition. I think Jesus might lovingly advise them to “grow up” a little more. Follow My example, but then go set your own and get your own star on the Galactic Walk of Fame.
Not that there is anything wrong with being a young Soul, even a teenaged Soul. We have to go through all phases of growth. But if you are having to choose between two different approaches to Jesus because there is only so much time in this dimension, no problem, just go with the one you feel more comfortable with, more at home, more in common with the other humans and angelic beings hovering about in that space. If you love others and want to be of service to everyone, you can’t go wrong, as long as you’re not trying to convert them to your way as the only way.
Personally, because I am relatively old, I have had time to visit just about every church and religion on this particular planet, some call Urantia, like auditing a class to see which one I might need to graduate. I like to read and google so I’ve checked out most of the main books on the subject of religion, philosophy, and spirituality, because I enjoy studying the various approaches to the understanding of how and why we exist somewhere. Many people would rather not think too deeply about the nature of reality, as it can be confusing, stressful, or make smoke come out your ears. Some people came to this planet because thinking deeply and figuring out why we are here is not a requirement of enjoying life here. They can simply motivate away from pain, towards pleasure, then be killed or die of something eventually, then review for karma credits to trade in for another incarnation.
The key is to not cause pain to anyone else. Easier said than done if you get pleasure from seeing others in pain. That’s your karma, and theirs.
I was attracted to the Urantia Book when, back in the late 60’s and early 70’s I was obsessed with reading everything I could find in the area of metaphysics or so-called New Age philosophy, which was not entirely new, but newly interpreted. I was fascinated from an early age, in this incarnation, with science fantasy, Greek mythology, ancient astronauts, megalithic architecture, Atlantis, Edgar Cayce, reincarnation, channeled information, and the like, so when I encountered the Urantia Book in a metaphysical bookstore I couldn’t put it down, for a few years, and thought that even if some creative person made it all up, it still had to come from somewhere, like the Akashic Record, and it was the most amazing work of literature ever so far.
I was diagnosed with OCSTD at an early age (Obsessive – Compulsive Story-Telling Disorder. I wrote stories at an early age and was allowed by the nuns to read my stories to the class in Catholic school where my friends and classmates were characters in the stories, like a daily serial sci-fi soap opera, and also first experienced censorship.
After high school I was writing a science fantasy novel that had Jesus as a kind of ancient astronaut who landed on earth with a host of other beings from other dimensions and star systems who violated the Star Trek Prime Directive and got very involved with early indigenous humans, sexually and genetically messed with many of them, became the gods of human mythology, got in conflicts with each other, helped build all the megalithic structures on Earth, then reached the limits of their long lifespans, but will be allowed by the rules of metaphysics in this dimensional interface to reincarnate back here soon.
Naturally I was envious of the Urantia Book’s scope and creativity, and possible valid interpretation of reality, but figured my book was different enough so as not to be accused of plagiarism. My story had much more reincarnational process than the Urantia book, and x-rated action.
I have always had the feeling that all insights, scientific and artistic, as well as works of imagination, come from our unique individual interpretations of the Akashic Record, or mind of God. It’s just a feeling, perhaps a gut-level delusion, but nonetheless it makes life more fun here and there.
My current favorite go-to read by my bedside, is still the Urantia Book after all these years, when I’m not writing my own stories and then reading them back as if someone else wrote it whose style I like. Then of course there is just wind-surfing the internet and marveling how there is now a website for everything humans ever did, do, thought, or imagined, almost. Since I’ve read the Urantia Book a few times, now I like just opening it randomly wherever, like a deck of cards or I-Ching, as if that particular page is what the angels or Thought Adjuster might guide me to for some reason I must figure out intuitively and meditatively.
To each his or her own, as they say.
And along the way, be nice to everyone.
That’s my comment to add to your comment.
Thanks again for sharing and I look forward to reading your further adventures in Soul development.
If I had had more time to write this, it would have been shorter.
This was an exciting article for me to read. I’m happy for you and glad you are embarking on this adventure. I think you made the wise choice by sharing your experience of being saved from your self by the power of Christ. I would encourage you to avoid making an issue out of the Urantia Book and the difference of your beliefs. Instead depend solely on Jesus and the Truth. The Spirit of Truth is alive and flexible. And you have an amazing resource in the Jesus papers. Its replete collection of Jesus’ teachings can be shared from your own mind. You can use knowledge gleaned from the papers to illuminate the Bible for your Christian fellows. And from the papers you can seek guidance in how to approach the problems you will face in this journey.
(1455.4) 132:0.4 Jesus learned much about men while in Rome, but the most valuable of all the manifold experiences of his six months’ sojourn in that city was his contact with, and influence upon, the religious leaders of the empire’s capital. Before the end of the first week in Rome Jesus had sought out, and had made the acquaintance of, the worth-while leaders of the Cynics, the Stoics, and the mystery cults, in particular the Mithraic group. Whether or not it was apparent to Jesus that the Jews were going to reject his mission, he most certainly foresaw that his messengers were presently coming to Rome to proclaim the kingdom of heaven; and he therefore set about, in the most amazing manner, to prepare the way for the better and more certain reception of their message. He selected five of the leading Stoics, eleven of the Cynics, and sixteen of the mystery-cult leaders and spent much of his spare time for almost six months in intimate association with these religious teachers. And this was his method of instruction: Never once did he attack their errors or even mention the flaws in their teachings. In each case he would select the truth in what they taught and then proceed so to embellish and illuminate this truth in their minds that in a very short time this enhancement of the truth effectively crowded out the associated error; and thus were these Jesus-taught men and women prepared for the subsequent recognition of additional and similar truths in the teachings of the early Christian missionaries. It was this early acceptance of the teachings of the gospel preachers which gave that powerful impetus to the rapid spread of Christianity in Rome and from there throughout the empire.
In SIX MONTHS of teaching Jesus never ONCE attacked or even MENTIONED the errors in their teachings. A study of his entire life will show that this was not always his method. He sometimes made error clear and denounced it, but this passage reveals an incredibly effective teaching method and shows how important patience is when teaching others. You are in a remarkable position for both learning and teaching, and I believe the more you study the sagacious wisdom of the Master the more successful you will be.
I hope and pray the best for your mission. Thank you for doing this.
*I would also offer these passages for consideration*
(1917.3) 176:3.7 Truth is living; the Spirit of Truth is ever leading the children of light into new realms of spiritual reality and divine service. You are not given truth to crystallize into settled, safe, and honored forms. Your revelation of truth must be so enhanced by passing through your personal experience that new beauty and actual spiritual gains will be disclosed to all who behold your spiritual fruits and in consequence thereof are led to glorify the Father who is in heaven. Only those faithful servants who thus grow in the knowledge of the truth, and who thereby develop the capacity for divine appreciation of spiritual realities, can ever hope to “enter fully into the joy of their Lord.” What a sorry sight for successive generations of the professed followers of Jesus to say, regarding their stewardship of divine truth: “Here, Master, is the truth you committed to us a hundred or a thousand years ago. We have lost nothing; we have faithfully preserved all you gave us; we have allowed no changes to be made in that which you taught us; here is the truth you gave us.” But such a plea concerning spiritual indolence will not justify the barren steward of truth in the presence of the Master. In accordance with the truth committed to your hands will the Master of truth require a reckoning.
133:4.2 The miller he taught about grinding up the grains of truth in the mill of living experience so as to render the difficult things of divine life readily receivable by even the weak and feeble among one’s fellow mortals. Said Jesus: “Give the milk of truth to those who are babes in spiritual perception. In your living and loving ministry serve spiritual food in attractive form and suited to the capacity of receptivity of each of your inquirers.”
Good for you Liz. What an adventure you are embarking on! Good luck and looking forward to hearing about your year.
Liz: What a GREAT post! You’re honest, up-front, and destined to have a FANtabulous year! Thank you. BTW thank you for all your work on the TUUFF retreat in Yosemite. The tremendous dedication of all you “planners/presenters” resulted in a superb 5-day life event. I can’t remember having such a spiritual experience and as much fun meeting people and playing together since I was age twelve and going to Camp!