| November 30, 2009
Dear Family and Friends,
Charis Sophia Sivulka arrived on November 11th. She weighed in at 7 lbs. 7 oz., and was 19 inches long. Of course I’m biased, but she’s the most beautiful baby in the world! The delivery went pretty well. When it came time for Tara to push, it only took about a ½ hour. Our good friend Claudia Killebrew was our nurse midwife. She let me pull Charis out and cut the cord. It was truly an amazing experience! We praise the Lord for our beautiful and healthy baby. Thank you so much for all the prayers, well-wishes, and gifts! Continue to pray for us as we raise her to be a godly woman who will lead many people to Jesus, and truly be an example fitting of her name.
|Charis' first family picture|
Some (Christians as well as Mormons) may think that all I enjoy in terms of street ministry is advertising and preaching. However, I’m a versatile evangelist and actually enjoy having good dialogues with people about the Lord. Last month I had a couple good dialogues with people in front of Temple Square. The first was with a guy named Stephen, who claimed to be a deist/agnostic. He tended to believe in a Creator, but didn’t see any good reason to think that He interacted with His creation. After answering some objections, I presented some evidences to believe that God actually interacted with His creation in the person of Jesus. Stephen left with a lot to think about that night, and at least realized that Christians can actually have some reasons for their faith.
The next dialogue I had was one of the best I’ve ever had with a Mormon. Laurielle was waiting to cross the street so I went up to her and asked if she’d like a Temple Square Visitor’s Guide. She declined, and I began to question her about her LDS faith. She was an RM (returned missionary from England), who was very thoughtful and non-defensive. After reading the monotheistic Isaiah passages along with John 1:1-3, she admitted that she didn’t really have an answer for me. She also admitted to me that she could in fact be deceived about Mormonism. This was quite unusual among Mormons. We talked about a number of other problems I had with Mormonism, and she ended up taking a Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith DVD.
3 John 8 says, “Therefore we ought to support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth,” so why not consider supporting this ministry? We really need your help now that Tara no longer has an income, and we have a newborn.
As the year is closing, keep our ministry in mind as you’re looking for a year-end tax deduction. Please send in an investment today. The standard way is by writing a check to Courageous Christians United. But we also have secure electronic funds transfers programs available if you are interested in the simplicity of monthly withdrawals without the stamp. Finally, if you are interested in taking advantage of tax-free stock donations (e.g., an IRA rollover to CCU), we can also help you with that. This will help lessen your capital gains taxes. Please see our “Invest” page for more specific information.
President, Courageous Christians United
P.O. Box 1374
West Jordan, UT 84084
(801) 708-4865 (Note the new address and phone number!)
****ADDITIONAL PRAYER REQUESTS****
1. For Tara and Maddy’s family to follow Christ
2. Health—especially for Tara to heal quickly from the delivery
[From a YWAM (Youth With A Mission) worker, who helped Aaron and I out one night:] It was a really good night for us! I really enjoyed it. It was something different for me, and most of the students who joined us. I wasn't sure how much they liked it, but when we got home they were telling about all the stories from the night and how awesome they thought it was! So, God is good. I was hoping He would open their eyes to other forms of evangelism/outreach! Sorry, we had to get out of there pretty quick. One of the security guards had a camera, and they were really pushing to find out what organization we were with. So I grabbed the other two leaders of the Mormon-focus DTS [Discipleship Training Seminar] and we left. I didn't want to jeopardize our future school. And, I am trying to keep off the radar until I am officially removed from their church records. The process is slightly frustrating, but it is going well, and I can clearly see how God has opened doors for it to go smoothly. :)
We will be back Dec. 28th and I plan to be involved starting then. I am praying to be officially off the LDS records by Jan., so I don't have to worry about being excommunicated. It all sounds so ridiculous. But, I know that I need to officiate it. I will definitely keep you guys in prayer, especially your wife... that's so exciting!
I looooove hearing of your opportunities to witness. Wow God brought you Eliz Smart....so cool. GOd bless you and keep it up!
I wanted to ask if you had any suggestions regarding witnessing to a Freemason. I was looking online for some resources and _____ suggested that I ask you. I'm reading a book on the topic now since a friend is a 32nd degree Mason. Crazy stuff, very confusing. Are you familiar with the topic?
[I replied:] I'm not that familiar with Masonry, but they are quick to claim it's not a religion. From what I know, it is a religious cult, and sadly too many Christians are involved with it. The God of Masonry is J.B.O. (Jehovah, Baal, and Osiris)--the unholy Trinity. This isn't revealed until one reaches I believe the 32nd level. Further, we don't need oaths and secret handshakes and passwords with unbelievers to make us more acceptable to God. Our worthiness is found completely in Christ. He was exclusive, whereas Masons are inclusive. I'm sure the book you're reading will be a lot more helpful than I am. Please see the videos on Free Masonry on my www.CourageousChristiansUnited.org.
I found your website from a bumper stick. I am a Mormon, I'm not criticizing, but if you want a person to take you serious you should make sure you are portraying their beliefs correctly. Other than that, I actually enjoy understanding others ideas because it gives me questions I otherwise wouldn't have thought of, and find the new question refreshing and actually helps me further my love and faith in Jesus Christ.
I have been talking with a freindly (seemingly intelligent, educated as an engineer) Mormon Bishop. The Bishop swore he had never heard that Joseph Smith married women already married to living men, thereby involing them in polyandry. He stated [this would go against anything even taught or allowed at that time in LDS history]. Do you have a link or references that I can cite to prove this? Is it on record?
[I replied:] wivesofjosephsmith.org (run by an LDS guy) also the LDS run familysearch.org
SO COOL! The courage you have is an example to me! Thanks for being so bold and so obedient! Love you guys!
...I have been blessed to have something extra to share with ministries we support. Your's is one of them. We thank you for your labor and hope this gift will be a blessing in some way just as you have blessed the kingdom for His glory, Rob.
I am a [Christian] who married a Mormon widow. I since found out she was sealed in the Mormon Temple after her late husband died. I read how this sealing is an "eternal marriage". This makes me angry and jealous that my wife may secretly believe she is only married to me while we are alive and then when she or I die, she becomes her last husbands eternal wife. I don't believe in any part of Mormonism.
In your opininion: Should this sealing threaten me or make me angry?. I want to demand she write a letter asking the sealing be cancelled. Is this fair or reasonable?
[I replied:] Good questions! I think you ought to cut her some slack, since you did marry outside the "faith once for all given to the saints." She's an unbeliever who has all sorts of crazy beliefs, so thinking she'll be married in the afterlife to her former husband is just another one. Your job now is to love and cherish and nourish her as best you can. Love isn't demanding and self-centered. Die to yourself, live for Christ, and let Him love her through you. I pray that she'll come to her senses before it's too late.
I have been continuing to pray for you, your family, and your ministry, and I am pleased to hear all the good news! God is so good! I know that He is doing great things right now, and I pray that He continues.
I am hoping that you may have some good advice for me. I am in quite a situation, with amazing opportunity, and I may or may not have the tools to take advantage of it. I have the feeling that you are the one to ask. In my first email to you, I mentioned the young man who helped me to develop my passion for serving the LDS community..., and he has been one of my best friends...
Everything changed this week. He had now come to the conclusion that he would like to be more than friends, and I agreed with him. We are now officially dating. The only problem is that he is devoutly LDS, and his father, who is not a fan of mine, is the bishop of their ward. I know that if this is going to work out, we cannot continue to be involved in two very different churches. And while I respect him and his family greatly, as I do all Mormon people, I know that God is using me to bring this family into the light. There is nothing else I want to do more. So here I am, in a situation I do not know how to handle. I'm hoping you may have some ideas. You have been very encouraging in the past, and I know that you have some great evangelism techniques. I also know the power of prayer, and even if you have no advice, prayer for him and his family, and for my strength, would be greatly appreciated. I hope I have explained the situation well enough, and I'm always open to any suggestions or questions as well.
Thank you for what you do. I know that God is pleased with you. I'll continue to be in prayer about your family and ministry. I hope to hear from you soon.
Your sister in Christ,
[I replied:] As your brother in the Lord, I urge you to break this relationship off now. Follow the Lord, and don't even put yourself in a position that will allow for marriage with this guy. That's what dating is all about. God has much better for you now. Be an example to [your boyfriend], and follow God 1st by dying to yourself. God tells us clearly not to be unequally yoked and to come out from among them and be separate in 2 Corinthians 6:14-8. You aren't the Holy Spirit, so let Him do His work with [your boyfriend] and his family while you obey God and trust Him in breaking off this relationship. You can be friends. You can continue to love [him]. You can continue to pray for him, but you definitely need proper boundaries now. This is your cross you must bear if you want to follow your Master.
Sorry this is going to be hard for you. I pray for you, and I pray that God will open [your boyfriend's] eyes before it's too late. But as is, you're being a bad example in following your heart rather than your Master.
[She replied:] As you can tell, it took me a few days to get back to you. My apologies. I want to thank you for your advice, and I know that it came from your heart. I appreciate it. I will have you know that I took it, and that's why I haven't replied yet. I haven't been in a very good mood. That said, I really need your expertise. [My boyfriend] and I are still very very good friends. And I still love him. So here is my new question to you: How do I do my part in getting him out of the LDS church? I am asking for any techniques you can share. I know it will happen in God's time, but I need to know that I am doing everything in my power, with God's help, to get him out. I hope this doesn't sound strange to you. I know that you know what you're talking about on this subject, and I respect you very much. That is why I am asking for your help.
I also have one specific LDS doctrinal question for you. I would really like to know what it means to give or receive a blessing. I know that [my boyfriend] was called to give a blessing just today, and I have no idea what that means, or what goes on. If you have information regarding this topic, please share it with me.
I hope that my previous email did not cause a rift between you and I. Though we only correspond through email, I feel like you are an integral part of my life, and I hope that our relationship is not strained by this.
I'm still praying for you all.
[I replied:] You need to first set the example I told you about last time. You also need to pray and let the Spirit lead you for techniques since everyone is different: you as well as [your boyfriend]. The Spirit may want you to come on strong with continually showing [your boyfriend] problems with his faith and evidences for the Christian faith. The Spirit may want you to back off, and simply let Him work instead of you. The Spirit may simply want you to give him an example of others outside the LDS faith who love Jesus above anything else.
If you're convinced about coming on strong, then you need to be continually reading and watching LDS material and Christian evidences, and as you find problems, then you continue to pass them off to [your boyfriend] and ask him what he makes of it. If he's not interested, then you can't force him, and you must pray and wait. There's no magic bullet that gets every LDS. Again the Spirit knows what's best, and He may be working to bring [your boyfriend] to Himself, or He may simply give [your boyfriend] a strong delusion to believe his lie (2 Thes. 2:11). If [your boyfriend's] got a hard heart, then you're "casting pearls before swine" as Jesus spoke of, and you're wasting time when many others are being worked on by the Spirit and you have the opportunity to give them the gospel. So work where the Spirit is working. Keep in step with the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-6).
As far as blessings, see HERE.
I don't think there's any rift between you and I. You wanted my advice as your brother, and I gave it to you. I still have you as a sister, and I'll still encourage you in any way I can to be more like Christ.