- Caleb Byerly
Crossing Paths with Mormons
Some years back, the Lord taught me a very important lesson that I want to share with you.
My ministry partners and I were pastoring many people in some islands in the Pacific Ocean. God was giving us a lot of success and we were seeing many people go deeper in the Lord. People were experiencing God and wanting to grow strong as a disciple. We really felt like we had them in our hands, until the Mormons came.
It seemed to turn into some sort of competition to see which church would grow faster. The Mormon’s have such a different approach and it bothered me. To be very truthful, in my heart I was irritated every time I saw them. At that time, I didn’t know much about the Mormon Church except that it was a twisted, cultic Christian religion and I was taught to shun cults and ignore everything about them.
One day I was walking down the road and crossed paths with a couple of Mormon elders. The Holy Spirit quickened my heart and asserted, “Be nice and think nice”. I started talking to them. It was only small talk but it led to us mutually deciding to have dinner together.
That evening before dinner I had a million religious thoughts in my head. “The Mormon Church…. That cult… Why am I having dinner with Mormon elders?”
I’m sure they were thinking the same thing about me.
We sat down for dinner. It was a bit awkward at first because we didn’t know what to talk about. I couldn’t ask, “How’s ministry going?” and they could see it on my face that I didn’t want to talk about the Church of the Latter Day Saints. We just kind of sat there and looked around.
But the barrier was broken once we started talking about normal life. We talked about what life is like in each of our hometowns. We talked about what we like to do, hobbies and talents. Talked about our families and friends. By the end of the dinner, I thought to myself, “Wait…these are real people.”
From then on, I felt a stirring in my spirit to drop my religion in order to love the Mormons. Every time I saw a Mormon elder, I took time to say that I honor and respect their lives. I gave some of them prophetic words and spoke life into them. I’d pray with them and talk about life issues. They started to like me and I liked them. I didn’t agree with their beliefs but I didn’t let that stop me from loving.
Moreover, I was learning the secret of bringing Jesus without bringing a system.
After 9 months of doing this, I got a wild surprise. One day I was walking to a Pentecostal church that I was ministering at and I crossed paths with two new Mormon elders. I never saw these two before. They just arrived in the country and started their 2-year Mormon missionary assignment. They glanced at me and said,
“Excuse me. Are you Caleb?”
I curiously answered, “Yes”.
“Wow, it’s so good to meet you! We have heard so many good things about you from the other elders! I just want to let you know that as for me and all the other elders; we honor and respect the ministry that you carry here. It’s obvious that God is with you and on your side.”
I stood there a bit surprised that a Mormon elder said that to me. I felt like the Holy Spirit was saying this:
“See! That’s what happens when you love others. I led you through this in order for you to understand that love is more important than religion. You can’t judge a nation as one, nor can you judge a religion as one. Instead, love and don’t stop loving anyone and everyone that crosses your path”.
January 12, 2014