Enemies of the Village – Relatives, frienemies and strangers with agendas

IN CONTEXT

Hopefully, you would have already read both ‘part 1’ and ‘part 2’ of the ‘It takes a village’ posts.
Reading other posts, such as ‘It’s important to remember’ and ‘Love and colour’, are also relevant, as they give additional understanding for this real-life scenario, to be understood in the correct context.
It’s obviously an individuals prerogative to believe otherwise, however, it’s futile to believe that the situations we encounter in life, should remain hidden, suppressed or ignored.
Mental and emotional health can be greatly improved if we talk about those situations, enabling us to gain a deeper understanding and differing perspectives.

THE FAMILY UNIT

Some simply don’t understand the nature and importance of the family unit and the priority it should take, especially if they have a lack of spiritual understanding, are single, neglectful parents, child parents or childless.
(Read Genesis Chapter 9 verse 1  &   7   :  Mark Chapter 10 verses 6 to 9)
All loving parents are protective of their children and if they parent in love with boundaries and principles, they have an understanding of what it takes to foster the ‘village environment’ and achieving the all important, society improving ‘benefits list’.

DaddyKingandCubs
Image courtesy of churchistrue.com

A REAL CASE STUDY

We spoke to a number of people about our past situation with our eldest son Nathan.
Admittedly, a couple (who heard that he stayed at his grandparents house) were ‘initially’ relieved that he was staying with relatives.
However, when they heard the full story, along with those who listened with a greater understanding and those who understand the priority of the family unit, with it’s principles and values.
Whether they are believers or not, parents or not, understood and voiced their amazement, in regards to the disrespect we faced, concerning the way in which his, ‘moving out’ was orchestrated.

Background and recent history
I’ve shared our background in other posts on this Blog and the ‘About page’.
Back in 2005 Lois and I began to move away from religion and delved deeper into achieving and improving our relationship with God.
We wanted our then, very young family, to grow with a core sense of spiritual and natural values which followed the Word of God, without the burdens of the unnecessary man-made religious routines and rituals.
As we grew deeper in our understanding, we obviously taught and trained our children accordingly, as we wanted to them to avoid a number of issues, which both the non-church and religious youth are facing.

Looking back, we have to shoulder some of the blame for some negative outcomes, as we decided to send him and his siblings into the education system, as opposed to home-schooling.
This undoubtedly didn’t help, neither did most of our siblings, who slowly revealed to us that they don’t share our beliefs or values.

In his early teens, Nathan’s “friend” ‘J’, introduced him to the perversity of porn, via J’s mobile phone.
Nathan had a basic phone, which he could only use when he went away on school trips.
That introduction to filth was a catalyst to some disturbing behaviour which included his semi-regular viewing of porn.
When Nathan was 16 and working part-time (after purchasing his own phone) Lois and I had to tackle this behaviour.
I contacted the school, informing them of some of things the children were involved with, both on their phones and on some of the computers in school.
I also wrote to a journalist of a national newspaper, as well as writing an article on the dangers of the so-called smart phones and tips to minimise their negative use, on a previous Blog.

Lois and I were not really feeling the village support we needed from most of our siblings, which resulted in me sending a text message asking for their support, or for them to shut-up and move out of the way, to let us parent.
It was a message, which we would later find out was taken more personally than it needed to be, especially by Lois’ siblings.
Sadly, their focus was not on giving us the needed support but on the other part of my message.
We were still grateful (at that time) that my mum and a couple of our siblings had an understanding of the severity of the situation and gave us some ‘village’ support with him.

Sixth Form in preference to College (where possible)
In 2012, whilst at college (at 17 years young) Nathan had to be reminded of what we taught them all about safe and responsible dating.
He started to date someone 3 years his senior but in all honesty, she was emotionally closer to his age.
As explained in Part 2 of It takes a village, we wanted Nathan and ‘A’ to slow things down and give us an opportunity to meet her parents with them, to establish some boundaries and ground rules.
She didn’t have the same upbringing as Nathan, her parents were separated and she obviously didn’t understand, wasn’t taught, or simply didn’t agree with our beliefs and following the ‘village’ template.

No matter how difficult your teen or young adult is behaving, it’s important to exercise patients and to find a way to communicate your requirements to them, while obviously giving them room to air their ‘respectful’ thoughts concerning on how they feel and what they think.
We spoke to Nathan one evening, which led him to storm upstairs, telling us that he “didn’t want any of this”, referring to the way in which we were bringing him up.
It’s a matter of perspective, as is most things which require human understanding of life issues.
We didn’t want him to lie but due to what he wanted to do and how he opposed our beliefs, he felt he had to and that became a regular pattern with him.
As always, we prefer the truth and real opinion from our children, even if we don’t agree with them or they seemingly appear to have temporary lost their minds.
After the initial rants and disagreements with us, his relationship with ‘A’ didn’t last that long.
She was also a Black African, like him, having grandparents from the Caribbean.
However, they both found out (as most of us do in early relationships) that they were not right for each other.
We were adamant that we were going to remain strong in the situation and any subsequent similar situations which followed.
Soon after that situation he ‘prematurely’ asked to be baptised but we refused, as we discerned that he was trying to exercise his young mind, in an attempt to get us to back-off and relax on the necessary boundaries we implemented.

Important life changing events – Baptism
A couple of years later, he had the opportunity to object or refuse and he didn’t, so he was baptised along with two of his siblings.
Admittedly, his behaviour improved for a while but then we noticed some negative behaviour.
Some would say the behaviour was the usual, ‘young adult’ emotional growing pains and they would be partially right.
We’ve all been there, some of us more than others, having a desire to do the right thing, while many around us, are not.
We understood that and gave the necessary room for him to ‘figure it out’, whilst reminding him that we were on hand, if he needed our assistance.

Close observations & a confession
At that time we realised that he should have stayed on in the 6th form, as opposed to going to college.
Parents need to pay close attention to their children in order to correctly assess whether they have the maturity to attend a college, or stay on in 6th form.
We have a confession to make, we are honest enough to hold our hands up and admit that we made a mistake trusting him too much and giving him too much room to attend an adult environment before he was ready to.
Admittedly, academically and practically he did great at college and we were both proud and pleased with his ‘work’ accomplishments there.
We expected growing and learning pains, it’s all part of life as a believer, especially after what we went through.
However, we noticed a decline in his SQ,which coincided with him being at college, his excessive alcohol consumption and attending the religious organisation, which one of my sisters attends.
My mother also voiced her concerns about that particular religious organisation and we took them on board, but we decided to ‘trust the process’ in the hope he would make the right decisions and get through that phase.

Death and sickness
Lois’ mum, had a stroke and was bed-ridden, at the start of May 2016.
Later that month, one of my best friends (my best man) died, due to prolonged work and relationship stress and an unhealthy diet, at only 47.
The following month that year, my paternal grandmother also died; it obviously wasn’t a good year for us.
My mother-in-law spent a good number of months in hospital and after being released later in 2016 she spent a number of times going back and forth between the hospital and home up until the mid part of 2017.

The timing of death is never convenient for anyone, none of us have a monopoly on pain and grief, we all feel the affects of loss differently.
We were also well aware that the elder children out of our 6, were also grieving.
We visited the hospital and house as much as we could, however, with all that was going on with us, some of her siblings mistakenly thought Lois would be able to put as much time in as them, to assist them with the NHS carers when she returned home…more on that later.

Dealing with negative behaviour
In the early part of 2017 I noticed Nathan was doing the phone-app swipe thing and I discussed it with Lois.
It was one of the many things we had discussed with him previously concerning dating, however, he was exercising his rights as a 21 year young adult, to do what he wanted to do.
As previously mentioned, the social side of being at college, attending a religious organisation, spending time with non-believing relatives and friends, the deaths, his grandmothers stroke, joining a MLM (multi level marketing) company, the use of dating dating apps and his apparent yet subtle change of heart (or move to honesty) concerning his beliefs, all contributed to his negative behaviour, he didn’t improve and develop spiritually, he got worse.
He began to become more distant, skip his monthly payments to the housekeeping, pay late, exhibit attitudes of arrogance and disrespectful behaviour, all while receiving deliveries from a well known company and even going abroad on a few weekend trips with his dodgy MLM groups.
This behaviour resulted in me trying an alternative approach to speaking to him, by writing him a letter in May 2017, just before his 22nd birthday, which reminded him of what we expected of him, while he still lived with us.

A new relationship – his way
In the early summer of 2017 Nathan informed us that since around March of that year, he had met someone on one of the phone dating apps.
I spoke to him about the positives and negatives of doing so and he was reminded ‘yet again’ of how we expected him to conduct himself but he was adamant that he had chosen what was best for him and was happy with his decision.
He told us his new girlfriend ‘Mei’ was a Chinese girl, who was one of the many adopted children of China, by European couples.
An only child (a few years his junior) with no record of her exact origins and biological parents, being brought up by loving parents of White UK/European descendants.

Parents of more than a couple of children, know it can be a task to keep up and be present with all of them, especially when some of them deliberately undertake ‘covert ops’ with their secretive behaviour.
If you’ve read my other posts, you would already know that values, beliefs and morality, matter more to us than ethnicity and skin colour.
Our son may have believed he was some sort of pioneer, being a young African/British Black man dating a Cream girl from China.
However, the irony is, my 1st puppy love girlfriend in school was Chinese, born in Hong Kong and was also named Mei, so he wasn’t breaking any “new” ground.

One of my sisters, tried to create comparisons with my past actions and his behaviour.
However, contrary to what she stupidly thought, the Mei, I liked and all the subsequent girlfriends I had (including his mother) were all ‘before’ I became a born-again believer, all true believers are able to see a difference and will be able to see the problem he began to create for himself.

We didn’t have any problems with Mei but we were concerned that she wasn’t brought up in a similar way to him, she didn’t share (what at the time we thought were) his core beliefs, the beliefs we had.
She wasn’t going to be a promoter of the ‘village’ and assist Nathan in helping him to do their part to create or maintain the ‘benefits list’.

When we reminded him of what we had said concerning dating and us all having a meeting, his response was that the parents didn’t need to be involved as they were dating each other, not the parents.
We shouldn’t have really been surprised with his response, he is growing up in a ‘me, myself and I’ society, which is an enemy of the village.
However, we were still a little surprised at that response, as he was “supposed” to be a born-again believer.
It was obviously his choice but he wanted to dictate how and where we should meet her and yet he had already met her parents on a number of occasions, leaving us firmly out of the loop.
We had no objections in meeting her but wanted to meet her with her parents first, so we could get to know them as well as her and they could get to know us.
He initially wasn’t comfortable with us having her parents number but we eventually obtained it.

Yes it is our culture, it’s true believers, ‘village’ Bible culture
Lois spoke to her mum ‘P’, who was happy to speak to Lois ‘on the phone’ and she spoke glowingly of Nathan, giving us the ‘you should be proud of him, he’s a credit to you’ comments which we’ve heard a number of times, concerning all of our children.
She obviously wanted to see who her daughter was dating and was happy to meet him, especially as he is a few years older.
So they were at an initial advantage and were happy to exclude us from the initial meet and greets.
When Lois tried to set up a meeting, contrary to what Nathan told us, concerning how serious they were about each other, ‘P’ implied that she didn’t think it necessary, as it wasn’t that serious and that her and her husband ‘R’ didn’t meet parents until around 9 years into their relationship.
Nathan had told us that Mei’s parents were supposedly Christians but those who know, know that term is used freely and means different things to different people.
Her mum actually asked Lois if us wanting to meet them was a “cultural thing”.
That question was enough to confirm that we were right about the situation our son found himself in.
As believers, we should all be looking out for our young adults, yes they need room to make the odd mistake but there’s a difference between mistakes and poor choices and we ‘as the village’ have a responsibility to help them avoid making those poor choices which (unlike mistakes) have detrimental repercussions.

The truth will come out and an ultimatum
Our concerns about Nathan’s spiritual well-being were compounded and verified as a short while after he told us about his relationship, Lois found packaging from a well known company, known for it’s sex related products, in the bathroom bin.
This led Lois to talk to Nathan (on his own) concerning what was found in the bin and we also later spoke to him in front of the older, younger siblings about him making some life changes to behave as he should, if he regarded himself as a believer.
Previous to the family meeting, Nathan was showing a great deal of disrespect to Lois, among other things, ironically telling her that he didn’t trust us and that he had “friends” who he trusted and could talk to.
At the family meeting we saw the extent of his ‘true self’ with him using his phone to ‘selectively’ record parts of what I was saying, switching his recordings on and off when he obviously didn’t want whoever he was going to share it with, to hear the full extent of my explanations, as to why our boundaries were in place.
That was the time I began to see our real son and what he was all about; extremely disappointing.
So much so, we had to give him an ultimatum, he was told that given the life and beliefs that he said he had and living in a house with younger siblings, he had to make a choice.
Either make some changes to how he was dating and correct his attitude around the family and home, or look for somewhere to live.
I used his own words, which he previously spoke to his mother, I advised him to go and move in with one of his ‘trusted friends’ if he wasn’t happy with living in our family home, with the boundaries which we have set.
I gave him a month, so come the third week in September we would know whether he was willing to be real with his faith and himself, or choose to show that he meant his words (spoken 5 years previously) that he didn’t want the way of life we had.
While we are not willing to compromise on the foundations of our beliefs, the last thing we want to be accused of is being a cult-like family, all of our children know that once they pass the age of 21, if they don’t want to live true to the beliefs they claim, they are free to move out and move onto a life of their own ‘truths’.
Nathan became the example of our acceptance of their freedom of choice, no matter how disappointed we were or how much we disagreed with those choices.

Mountains to move and more emerging enemies of the village
Running a small business in Britain without much financial assistance or a mortgaged house for the Banks to secure a loan against, is one of the hardest tasks to undertake.
We are ‘faith walkers’ and as such, many of our relatives don’t understand how we can get out of the boat and walk on water.
We have always been a couple who decides to stand on the conviction of our choices, we were humble enough to ask for assistance in the past and that was thrown back in our face by some.
Others looked at your request for assistance, as a prompt for them to ‘tell you what you should be doing’ as opposed to assisting you in your vision.
This caused us to cease from asking, while still humbly receiving assistance from the ‘visionary’ friends and family who were moved to give us assistance.
When we go through hardships, we take that to God in prayer, suck it up, do all that we can do and trust Him to do the things we can’t.

2016-2017 was a lot for us to deal with, we were dealing with our grief and double funerals, a parent who was now bed-ridden and unable to speak, while trying our best to push our Cake/catering business forward, dealing with all the financial obstacles, involved.
More importantly, we had to be ‘present’ with our parenting, dealing with our issues with Nathan while parenting his other siblings.
He used the many events and situations as a cover for his actions, he didn’t do the mature thing and talk to us about any of his pending decisions because he obviously had his plans, choosing to tell us things, after the event.

Doing what was best for our relationship and family
Are you in a relationship?
Do you have dependant children?
Do you understand the God-given priority of your spouse and family over relatives?
If the answer is yes to one or all of those questions you obviously understand that sometimes, you have to make hard decisions, which may not be fully understood by others, in order to preserve your family unit and part of ‘the village’.
Lois and I were not in a position, to be available (like the rest of her siblings) to assist the carers, and her dad with her mum as often as they wanted her/us to do.
Lois also did some research on the liquid product they were feeding mum, which contained ingredients her mum didn’t have when she could eat and drink, its a product which has many negative reviews from the loved ones of those using it.
To make matters worse, when Lois found & suggested better alternatives, they were rejected by her siblings and dad.
Not everyone can or wants to handle seeing a loved one or relative in a debilitated state and Lois felt the same way concerning her mum, she was deeply upset at seeing her mum in a condition which could ‘arguably’ have been avoided.
All that with the fact that since 2012, Lois and I have not been abroad on holiday for some much needed r&r and us time, while all of her siblings have been away at least twice, over the same time period.
All of these facts were contributing factors as to how limited her/our visits have been, even when she tried to pencil in specific weekly visits, they would be interrupted at times, due to something important which needed to be dealt with.

Enemies revealed, standing by beliefs and making a hard decision
In giving Nathan an ultimatum, we were hoping that he would make the adjustments to meet us half-way and modify his behaviour.
His energy around the house, for most of that year was pretty negative, for example, before the revelation concerning his relationship, he was asked by his brother, if he wanted to put some money together to help to decorate the room, and he refused.
In the fortnight leading up to ‘ultimatum day’ he had passed by his grandparents house and thereafter he began to act very smug and pleased with himself.
I discerned that something was up and made mention to Lois that he probably asked to stay at her parents house and they probably stupidly agreed.
I was half hoping that my discernment was off, that he had booked a spot with one of his “trusted friends”.
I would have been happy for him to hire a van for me to help him to drive his stuff round to his friends but it turned out that my discernment was correct…yet again.
When we saw that he had no intentions of making any changes, I took some boxes down from the attic to help him to pack his stuff into.
On the weekend before he was due to move, his aunt (Lois’ eldest sibling) gave Lois a call and explained that Nathan had visited 6 days ago and said that she was letting her know that Nathan was moving to my in-laws home and we didn’t need to worry.
She gave us the version of events that Nathan had told her and said she had told Nathan that he needed to talk to us first but at the same time, she said she knew that we wouldn’t change our minds about what we said….Contradictory info?
We were furious for a number of reasons, so we decided to pass by Lois’ parents house to speak to her sister to find out what exactly was going on, face-to-face.

On the journey up to the in-laws, we saw Nathan and Mei, we gathered that they had both already been up there.
When we got there, we were met with Lois’ brother, who asked me how things were going.
I’m glad that I’m a straight talker and honest, I replied that life was good but tricky in having to deal with difficult young adult children.
At this point I became aware that he was pretending not to know anything while he was obviously privy to what was going on.
We continued talking, then he finally ‘manned up’ and admitted that he did know what was going on and that they had met Mei, who up until that point (September 2017) we still had not met yet.

Lois and I ended up speaking to her bother, sister and dad which turned into a very heated debate.
We were wondering a number of things but our key argument points were.

  • How are you guys condoning disrespectful and incorrect behaviour?
  • When did it become the sisters house for her to say he could stay there?
  • Why were we not told that he came up and asked about staying there?
  • How could the dad (being a parent himself) attempt to override our beliefs and principles in our house by condoning his behaviour and permitting him to stay?
  • Why did they not stand with us, and give us ‘village support’ ?
  • Why did they not respect us enough and what we believe, to ask us if it were OK for him to stay there?

We were surprised, that they couldn’t see our side and didn’t agree with us.
We wanted them to see that he needed to learn what it was like to be a real adult and go out and stay with one of his trusted friends, if he did not want to abide by our boundaries.
We also said, if Mei’s parents thought he was that great, they could tell Nathan to go and stay down by Mei’s.
The response from his aunt was a ridiculous, telling us she cares about him and doesn’t want to see him out on the streets…as if we don’t care and we did want him on the streets.

I know they are all older and set in their ways but they demonstrated a, ‘we do things our way’ attitude that day.
It was almost cult-like in the way that they didn’t want to admit they were wrong to say yes to him without consulting us.
On that day, they also showed that they had no regard or respect for us and our beliefs and didn’t really care how we felt or if their decision was disrespectful or not.
Lois and I both argued our points for a number of hours, I even called out my father-in-laws hypocrisy.
I highlighted his differences concerning how he behaved when Lois and I were dating, when she stayed out once, in comparison to how his views were concerning his grandson and his relationship with Mei and our house rules.
It was evident that their actions was a show of their anti-views on our beliefs and faith.
We began to wonder, maybe they were upset with the lack of visits by us but especially Lois.
It was as if they thought their actions would force her to ‘comply’, if our son was staying up there.
Or they were teaching her some sort of lesson and it was pay-back for her putting her family first.
They didn’t think about the impact or repercussions in doing what they did and how it would affect the rest of his siblings relationships with him and them.
The audacity they displayed and the things which were said, especially by her siblings are too long and too ridiculous to document.
I showed them that we would be happier if he stayed at a friend, as we were looking for them to stand in solidarity with us, but they just couldn’t see it.
All of this was going on and Nathan was nowhere to be seen to take the heat for his actions, showing his immaturity in the situation.

His aunt told him that he would be given two months to get himself together and move into his own place.
Lois gave her sister (who has never paid rent or mortgage payments in her own right) a reality check, telling her that he would probably be staying there longer than two months.
His aunt was stupidly treating him as if he were a stock-broker and not a chef, we would have laughed, if we weren’t so angry.

Before we left the parents house, we gave them enough opportunities to apologise or at least tell us that they would tell him he couldn’t stay there, that he would have to stay at one of his friends or by Mei’s but they refused.
In the end I told them the obvious truth, I can’t make them change their minds but we were not happy at all, about what they did.
When we got home we obviously talked at length about what just happened and showed Nathan our disappointment with what he did but he didn’t care, he was finally making moves to be his true self.

We decided that as long as Nathan was staying at his grandparents, to show them how displeased and disrespected we felt, we would not go up there until he left.
As much as we love him, as much as we still wanted to see mum and hoped she would get better, it would just be wrong to continue as if, what we believe or said didn’t matter.
That’s exactly how it would have appeared if we continued visiting while he was there.
If he had gone to a friends, we would have had no problems in visiting him at his friends, despite not approving with his actions, it was just too calculated and insulting with him being at relatives.

Two months leading to a year and a month
Just as we thought, that ridiculous two-month period was breached and when Lois spoke to her sister about our son moving out, she was ready to wash her hands of the situation, telling Lois to ‘speak to her son’.
Perhaps a lot could have been avoided if she was firm with Nathan about speaking to us when he came up to see them 2 months prior to that conversation.
In our first conversation/argument, we asked them to at least ensure that they helped to teach him responsibility by making sure he contributed to the bills and we were told they would.
However…well, you can guess what actually happened with that request, it went the way of our others, being totally ignored.

Just over a year and a month went by (October 2018) before Nathan finally left his grandparents house and to this day, he still has stuff there.
In that time period, Lois did visit her parents house a few times, her mum had to go back into hospital a couple of times and she had no problem in visiting her mum in hospital.
It was sad that we had to make such a stand but they needed to be shown what it’s like to stand on principle and beliefs showing them that everything doesn’t always go the way they want it to.

Forgiveness was inevitable
Over that time we had already forgiven and moved on, we just didn’t want her relatives to feel they could disrespect us without any action from us, not with our eldest or any of his siblings.
If we were carrying any residual anger or unforgiveness we would have never bothered with them again but the anger we had passed when we made a stand in our ‘peaceful demonstration’ of abstaining from visits.
I would also not be able to share the experience due to being too angry, but happily, that is not the case.
It was a hard decision and in fairness, mum has not been able to hold a proper conversation since May 2016 and she spends the majority of the daytime sleeping, so us being up there sadly doesn’t make that much of a difference.
I have the experience of seeing my paternal great grandmother being in that state and she was like that for over 10 years before she died.
As I said, it was sad that our visits to mum were limited, even after Nathan moved out to the West, due to all we have to contend with, we still didn’t see her regularly but we obviously saw her more than the period when her grandson was up there.
Ironically, funny enough, if she could speak she probably would have never let their nonsense go ahead without calling us the same day he went up there when he asked if he could stay.

Time passes, things settle and more revelations
I’m a great believer in remembering the past, making peace with it and learning from it.
After all I have written on the complex subject of dealing with opposition and the enemies of the village, there are still those who will not ‘see it’ and I’m fine with that.
The whole situation taught us who is who, who really believes in what we believe, who is/was vehemently anti our beliefs and who had the understanding of respecting our parenting.

MummyQueenandCubs
Image courtesy of thetoptensite.com

Our siblings, on both sides, witnessed how we are able to make a stand for what we believe in and soon everyone will have to do so, or buckle under the systems pressure and give in.
We are fiercely protective of our family and will continue to defend our relationship and our children from the ‘enemies of the village’, no matter who they are.

Meeting Mei
In June 2019 we finally met Mei, we did it ‘Nathan’s way’ but she came up to ours.
She was nice enough, we asked her questions about herself, her family and background and she was more than happy to answer them.
At times, Nathan would try to answer for her but I interjected, telling him to allow her to answer for herself.
I don’t know if it was due to her not caring, being nervous, being an only child, being adopted or being happy to only accept Nathan’s narrative about us but she was not interested in asking anything about us, or his siblings.
He was more than happy to sing the praises of all the things he has found out about her family and their material possessions, which was very telling.
He obviously forgot or doesn’t agree with our views on what impresses us or what constitutes as ‘true riches’.

The situation helped him to come out and be who he really is, we have questioned if he ever truly believed what we did and why he chose to get baptised.
When we saw them both, he was brave enough to declare that he wouldn’t call himself a believer, that he was more of an acknowledger.
We were sad that he demoted himself but I was happy that he could finally be honest with who he is.
We still believe where there is life, there is hope and maybe he will be strong enough to be in ‘Category 2’ when the time comes.
Keep The Faith
Our encouragement to our fellow true believing parents is to keep your rebellious children in prayer and keep loving them as you do your obedient children, hopefully they will be a Thomas (with an ability to still be saved) rather than a Judas.

His own place, their life & death choices
In October 2019 we travelled out to see Nathan’s place, he followed Mei out to the town where she studies at university and was able to secure a good chef job at a decent restaurant, also very telling.
He currently has a nice little basement flat in a quaint part of town.
We envisaged him moving out after getting married and setting up home with his wife but (for now) that is not the case.
We live in hope that he will make it right, get married, choose ‘life’ and that she will eventually get saved also.
However, the choice will obviously be down to them, whether they do or not and whether they choose to be in ‘Category 1’ or not.

Letter to my now departed father-in-law
In December 2018, I wrote a letter to my (now departed) father-in-law, showing him that all was forgiven with (just in case he wasn’t listening or didn’t understand) a re-emphasis on the reasons why we took the stance and course of action we did, concerning Nathan.
I read that letter again recently, as a conversation between Lois and her brother provoked a need to.
That letter was available for all of Lois’ relatives to read and (due to their levels of understanding & intelligence) hopefully comprehend, what we thought, was ‘the obvious’.
At the time of writing the letter, we didn’t receive a response from my father-in-law, despite seeing him on a number subsequent occasions.
It took a phone call from Lois, in the following March 2019, in which she had to directly ask him, what his response was.
He claimed that he couldn’t read the letter, in spite of the fact that I purposely enlarged the print, enabling him to read it with his glasses or the magnifying glass, he used, in order to read the smaller print in the newspapers he bought.
Lois also advised him to ask one of her siblings to read the letter to him, if he couldn’t read it.
After she had that conversation with him, nothing more was said and in the following month I sent a copy to Nathan and asked him to read it to his Granddad; I’m more than certain that didn’t happen.

My father-in-laws lack of response was read by us as him finally understanding our position (whether he agreed or not) and that he was content to leave the matter there, having nothing more to say to us about it.
As far as we were concerned, it was amicable between us, he spoke to us on the occasions we visited his house, without any problems and as I said, our last conversation we had was when I saw him earlier this year, at a funeral, before the lock-downs.
That being said, he and I differed in the fact that he would moan and complain behind closed doors and you would only really hear what he thought if you really pushed him or he had too much to drink.
I believe in letting people know where they stand with me, without the pretence or hypocrisy.
Judging by what Lois’ brother said to her recently, it would appear that he may not have been honest and up front with us about his acceptance of our decision.

Actions and repercussions and the true face of people
Relative intervention, an attempt to override our family setup and reluctance of other in-laws/relatives to step up and honestly discuss the situation face-to-face, confirmed a few things.
An individual who appeared to be happy to be childless, demonstrated their secret desire to be a parent causing them to want to parent by proxy over the child of a sibling, especially as they hold differing views and belief to the parents.
A person (with only one child) using the situation to side with the child and parent by proxy, especially as they wanted more than one child and compounded by that child being the opposite gender to the child they already have.
Another who does not hide the fact that they want to be married and have children and now time is slipping away from them (despite attending a religious organisation) allows the “issues” they have with their sibling to spill over.
Those issues cause them to take the opportunity to ‘turn up’ and “parent”, which includes (after years of absence and involvement with their nephews and their only nieces) them involving themselves in meeting Mei’s parents, before we’ve had a chance to meet them.
An individual who has unresolved issues with their own sons and yet takes an opportunity to tell you to love yours.
Along with that person, who doesn’t have any children themselves but is happy to talk about your situation (behind your back) taking the opportunity to make comments about the need for some sort of mediation, when they’re in need of counselling themselves.

Some teens/young adults are very good at detecting the differences of beliefs and opinions amongst relatives and their parents and will play the situations to their advantage, as our son did on both sides of the relative divide.
Jealousy is a powerful emotion and can cause people to have the most negative thought processes and actions.
Nathan’s actions highlighted and provoked all of the above relative actions, however, I was grateful for the proceeding revelations which occurred from his actions.
Obviously, we didn’t like what his actions revealed, but at least we now know, with a certainty, who’s who.
Two sides to a story
In 2019 we also found out that the initial idea to ask the aunt if he could stay in the granddads house, came from the eldest grandchild, who was instrumental in the proceedings.
His cousins parents were not married and had separated when he was young, he had to stay at granddads house for a while a few times.
He now has 3 children and has not yet committed (in marriage) to the mother of his children.
He obviously disagrees with our way of life and beliefs and because he stayed there, he didn’t see a problem in encouraging our son to ask the aunt to do the same.

Living his best life while forgetting/not believing a God-given universal truth
I believe it’s mentally healthy, to be able to look at a situation and see both sides of an argument.
Judging by the actions of Nathan, between 10 years young (maybe even slightly earlier) leading up to the year he decided to leave home, he was living a life that he obviously wasn’t happy with.
He was obviously grudgingly complying with the rules and boundaries we set and us being out of sight, obviously equated to being out of mind, with him participating in anti-benefits list, activities.

Pushing boundaries appears to be part of life, especially in the society in which we live in.
However, from my own personal experience, being the eldest of 7 children and having 6 children, not all children have the mental and emotional ability to endure uniformed same-level discipline. Being individuals, every child responds differently; a lot of those differences are down to an individuals unique response to their environment being largely determined by genetic personality and character traits coming from parents, grandparents and maybe even great grandparents.
All of our children, including Nathan are loved but in searching to develop the ‘village environment’ and achieve the benefits list, we know it’s important to follow the Word of God making sure that both sides of love are shown.

The elder cousin, aunt and granddad on his mums side, all helped to free him from a life of discipleship in the Word of Yeshua.
It’s obvious that he would now be feeling he was starting to live his best life.
We already taught him the benefits of hard work, application, showing good manners and achieving a spirit of excellence, so his school and work life were always going to be easier for him to manage.
September 22nd 2017 enabled him to now experience a life of exercising his liberties, why wouldn’t he be feeling he was living his best life?

  • After toying with the idea of becoming a photographer, then going into music, working half a week by believing he could earn mega money in MLM schemes, he finally settled back into Chef work.
  • He no longer needed to pretend to be a believer in Yeshua Adonai.
  • He could enjoy his sex-life without having any issues about waiting until he was married.
  • He could freely enjoy porn.
  • He could get drunk as often as he liked.
  • He could be hypocritical and lie (like others around him) without being challenged to live in truth.
  • He could participate in the pagan festivals/celebrations (his family abstained from) and post social media posts about having his best pagan holidays ever.
  • He could go on a couple of holidays with his girl.
  • He could live rent and bill payment free, while saving enough to ‘be the man’ in his own pad.
  • He could be good (according to the opinions of man) without stretching himself and living to the better standard of love and faith of Yeshua.
  • He could re-invent himself on social media, giving a false image of himself, without being checked by his family members.
  • He could modify his accent and change his behaviour to fit in with a certain ‘type’ of people he admires.
  • He found a girlfriend who doesn’t believe in God and has no siblings, which helps him to disconnect from his siblings and will not challenge him to do the right thing by God and his family.
  • He has 3 aunts who are happy to step into the role of ‘placating proxy mum’, yet none of them could ever fill his real mums shoes.

Which non-believing/acknowledging individual wouldn’t be happy with all that?

My mum and my supporting sister, has said that he can’t be happy how he is, they believe he must miss his family (parents and siblings) but I don’t necessarily agree.
If you didn’t really believe the Word, secretly wanted to be an only child as he does (apparently as strongly as one of my sisters wishes she was the eldest) you would be ecstatic to be away from situations which remind you that you are not.

I sincerely pray, that while he is living his ‘best life’ and being the ‘best version of himself’ he remembers what God said to all of us. (Read Mark Chapter 8 Verses 36 – 37).
As his parents, we still love him and have recently shown him that he is free to come back home, which he declined, obviously his choice.
To repeat, we hope he wakes up in time and is strong enough to avoid being part of the Category 1 people and remembers (Mark Chapter 8 Verse 35) being part of the Category 2 people.
EnemiesOfTheVillage

THE ENEMIES OF THE ‘VILLAGE’ ARE REAL BUT THERE ARE ALWAYS SUPPORTERS

It’s not easy bringing up balanced, grounded, morally adjusted young adults who adhere to the benefits list.
There are many enemies to the village, they can even come from within your own family walls.
When everything occurred only one of my brother-in-laws came to us to ask us what actually happened, especially after hearing Nathan’s version of events.
My brother-in-laws actions spoke volumes, he may not have agreed with everything we told him but I respect him for sitting down with me, man to man and speaking face to face with me, no matter what he may have said behind my back.
His wife (my sister) would probably not have bothered to come and see me herself, but considering they have two sons themselves, it’s always wise to humbly sit with those who have older children and learn from them.
Only my sister, who shares my views, was still able to be objective whilst both her along with my mum were a support to us in that time.
My mother would never have done what Lois’ relatives did, she would have sent her grandson home to talk it out with us.
Or she would have called us (while he was with her) to ask us what had happened and to check with us as to whether or not we would be happy for him to stay with her.

  • Certain governments and political parties are enemies of the village.
  • Parts of the education system and some teachers are enemies of the village.
  • Some relatives and even our own family members are enemies of the village.
  • Frienemies are definitely enemies of the village.
  • Most of the media are enemies of the village.
  • Many religious organisations are enemies of the village.

With all of the above against us, every family needs to have relatives and friends who are able to stand with them, especially when they are trying to do what’s right for ‘the village’, in support of the all important, positive ‘benefits list’.

Remain vigilant

REMAIN VIGILANT

Everyone should be aware of some God-given, universal truths.
Now, more than ever before, those who want to see ‘the benefits list’ established in their communities (the true believers) need to understand and remember what God said.
(Read Matthew Chapter 10 verse 22)
Another important truth, relevant to my ‘Village series’ posts, can also be found in (Matthew Chapter 10 verse 34 to 39).
All families/relatives have situations and divides (relative politics) which are, more often than not, due to that spiritual line (sword) which is drawn, with members taking opposing sides of that line/situation.
Now more than ever believers should be aware of the obstacles they face and the real attacks on the family unit as God intended it.
We have to be strong in our beliefs whilst maintaining a position of love and forgiveness and that’s not easy to do, especially where the safety and salvation of our children are concerned.
There is no longer time to be extremely subtle, as caring as we can possibly be, we have to be direct and share truths.

I’ve extensively shared a real life scenario based on exercising love, faith and truth, whilst standing on the solid foundation of Yeshua’s word.
We have proven to our self and hopefully shown others, that no matter what others may say about you, you have to be prepared to stand strong.
If you can’t do it when there is no gun pointing at your head, knife to your throat or sword on the back of your neck, how are you going to be a Steven, a martyr for the Truth and avoid being a Category 1 individual?

Those with eyes to see, ears to hear, hearts which feel and faith to believe and do, will receive these truths.
Always remember, unity is strength and division is weakness, let’s unify on the Word of God, to keep the village strong and supported for as long as we possibly can.

The truth remains the truth, whether it’s believed or not
Phil Gayle.

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