Blessings …

On September 23, 2016, I had walked back to the Acadie Metro Station coming home from a doctors appointment. On that day, two Mormon Elders were standing on the platform along side me, down the way.

One of them approached me and said “Bonjour..” I replied in English, “Hello.” The Elder wiped his brow and exclaimed, “Oh, Thank God you speak English.” That began a wonderful relationship with the other Elder standing with him, his companion, my best friend Elder Christensen.

Many conversations were had over hot chocolate, over the next few months before Elder Christensen returned home, for he was on the tail end of his two year mission, here in Montreal. It has been two years since the day we first met, yesterday, on the calendar.

This is Elder Christensen’s blessing, that came last night. A little late, but perfectly in God’s time to come now…

Jeremy, Your letter was a catalyst for a God moment. I read, then God spoke. I left Montreal without leaving you the blessing he had for you. I give it to you now, and I hope you can forgive me for being so consumed in myself as I was leaving that I didn’t have the frame of mind to listen to what God had for me to give you then.Today God reminded me of that duty.

You know God better than the vast majority of people, inside or outside of codified religion. You know him because he has worked in you the miracle that he has offered to all his children, but precious few have accepted. The same God that walks the halls of temples lives in the hearts of addicts, sinners, and wayward souls.

He takes those places and makes them holy. He blesses them, enables their growth, and gives meaning and life to the stories that flow from those states. He lets his children suffer so that his work can be made manifest in us.The lower we go, the higher we can one day climb. I believe no one has suffered more than God, and that is what makes him God.

I believe in a God who weeps. I believe in a God who could care less about handbooks and checklists. I believe in a God who knows from experience what it feels like to be Spencer Christensen, Jeremy Andrews, and every other person who has lived and died and will yet live and die on earth. I believe in a God who is a perfect father, who has no desire to see his children burn.

The only punishment that we face in relation to God is that one day, we will be brought back to that infinite expanse of love, truth and mercy that we existed in before this life and will continue to exist in afterwards, and for those that have denied their nature by living lives of hate and lies, and covetousness will have to exist submersed in a sea of something so fundamentally opposed to their nature that it will be pure agony.

The same light that makes heaven shine makes hell burn. We all go back to the same light, and you, Jeremy, know that light. But it does not burn you. You rejoice in it, and it will only increase in you, for many years to come until he calls you home to experience a fullness of the joy you find in him.This light changes us. It purifies and redeems and gives us strength and direction.

To people who live in the dark, that light is hell. They will run the other direction. They have become the dark, and the light is opposed to their nature. You have seen them come into the rooms. I have seen them in their houses, on their streets. They enter, God begins to shine, and they begin to burn. Then they have to choose. Will they keep walking into the light? Will they trust God enough to let him burn them, refine them, and change their desires? 

I am a human being. I fell the same as every other man has fallen. I am a sinner, and without God, I am nothing. I am subject to temptation to let the dark in, I have resisted it, and I have given into it. I have had dark in me, and I have had light. I have been on he beam, I have been off the beam. One of my favorite missionaries in the Book of Mormon wrote

” I am a man; and man in the beginning was created after the image of God, and I am called by his Holy Spirit to teach these things unto this people, that they may be brought to a knowledge of that which is just and true;And a portion of that Spirit dwelleth in me, which giveth me knowledge, and also power according to my faith and desires which are in God.” Alma 18:34

The only man who ever walked this earth in perfection was Jesus Christ, the God who suffers,the God who weeps, the God who does not care about handbooks and checklists, the God who knows what it feels like to be me and you. His invitation to be perfect came with this help: We are to be perfect in him, not on our own. He will deal with the demands of justice. We simply have to be changed by his mercy.

Another verse from the Book of Mormon:

“Come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot”. Moroni 10.


If I have attained anything spiritually, it is because for all my faults, I do love this God of mine with all my might, mind, and strength, or at least I try to. I have heard his voice. I have seen him fill my life with purpose and clarity. I have felt so loved that I could not hardly believe how beautiful it really was. His grace has been sufficient for me.

Four years ago, because of that grace, I chose to live the life of a healer and a priest. I got as close as I could to him, in his house, and I promised him all my time, talents, and everything that he has blessed me with, and which he would yet bless me, to building up the kingdom of God on the earth.

I promised to live the laws of sacrifice and obedience to the natural laws that come from the light of God. Every day since I have worn the tangible reminders of those covenants.  I have fallen short of those oaths more times than I could count, and more time than I can count, he has forgiven me and made me better with each failure. I hope you can do the same.

My mission is to give God’s children God’s messages and deliver his blessings. He has both for you, Jeremy.

His message is this: He loves you with a love that is so intense and glorious that it defies all human comprehension. He is so intimately aware of your struggles and pain, knowing you because he never at any time has let anything befall you that he hasn’t felt himself. He loves that you know him, and he wants you to know him even more. He brought you out of hell to prepare you for heavenly purposes. One day your story will change the lives of millions.

Read his words, do his work, and you will live to see your life become a window through which hope will shine to those who suffer in darkness because of the weakness and foolishness of men.

He would like me to bless you. I do so as if i had my hands upon your head, as your brother and fellow son of God. 

Jeremy Andrews, by the authority of the holy priesthood which I hold, and in the name of Jesus Christ, I bless you with power, and with patience, and with strength equal to the demands that have been placed upon you, and will yet be placed upon you preparatory to your callings and responsibilities in the work of God upon the earth.

I bless you that you might advance in a fullness of the light of Christ,that he may bless you, purify you, and give you peace as you minister to his children on earth, and that if you will prove faithful in walking according to that light that you have felt, and you will continue to feel, that a merciful God will prepare the way for you, and make available to you all the blessings, privileges, and peace that come from eternal covenants with God.

These blessings will be yours according to your diligence in obeying the truth in the light that you have already received, and that you will continue to receive line upon line until your work is done. All these things I bless you with, In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

God have mercy on me for such a late blessing. I’ll never shut my ears like that again.You are loved, Jeremy. By God, by me, and by those who owe you their lives and sobriety.


Elder Christensen

Thursday: God Is About His Business

0001124_mini-appetizerjam-jar

 

This visual of the “Jam Jar” came up in our Elder discussion tonight.

My Elder friend works at the Missionary Training Center in Provo Utah. As a leader, it is his job to bring new missionaries into service. And hopefully before they depart Provo, they will have a basic understanding about what they need to have within, a foundation in service, to be able to give, and a working knowledge about The Book, they need to share.

Ministry and Sobriety are very similar.

In my life, and in my experience, service is the foundation for survival. When I was very ill, and Todd was taking care of me, the “doing” of service was the tool or lesson, so to speak, was where we began.

In Sobriety, this time around, way back when, people in the rooms, basically said, “You will do this, and learn to love it.” It wasn’t a suggestion, it was Gospel. Service was the beginning of getting sober. And service is something I live by, to this day.

Today’s generation cannot be bothered when you tell them what to do, because they look at you and say to your face … “You’ve got to be kidding, You can’t be serious, Why do I have to get my hands dirty, to stay clean and sober ???”

People don’t want to be told what to do, but in reality, this is what you NEED to do. It will keep you humble and focused on doing for others, just because, because this is what I did, and it worked for me.

People today, don’t have respect for long term experience. They cannot wrap their heads around it, service. Like us, Young Missionaries who come to the center, need to know how to serve and get their hands dirty in the classroom, because when they get into the field, they might need to get dirty, or wash dishes, or rake leaves, or something like that.

And if they are not prepared to give FIRST, they surely won’t be able to share the book, well, or at all, because they won’t have foundational abilities to give.

Having Elder Christensen in my life today is SO important to my spiritual growth. I have spiritual teachers in my life, spread all over the word, that I speak to regularly, who keep me on the spiritual beam, so to speak.

So here is my jam jar, filled with every little lesson I can teach you. Take that lesson filled jam jar home with you, open it and begin to use the tools within.

In the beginning, all we want you to do is serve others.

**** **** ****

Tonight we heard a woman from our community speak. What she shared, struck me familiar, because I had heard some of her story in others, in the past. Familiar themes exist in a community, and you hear of them every once in a while, they are not constant.

After several stops and starts, our woman makes her first pass at the rooms. She reaches her year and her husband says to her, after all that work that …

“You did a good job this year, getting and staying sober. Now you are CURED, you don’t need THOSE PEOPLE any more.”

What does she do? She walks away, and never returns. But she does stay sober for SIXTEEN YEARS.

She gets a real estate job, and she wants a particular listing. She takes this client out for dinner and a local ritzy restaurant in Westmount, very close to home. The waiter walks up to the table and the client orders a glass of wine.

Our long sober woman, takes a five second pause, while she considers ordering a glass of wine for herself. Those Five Seconds, change her life. She does indeed say to herself that, wow, I’ve been sober all this while and I haven’t had a drink, a glass of wine, how much harm can that cause ?

She orders a glass of wine and then has a second.

In six weeks time, from that point, she looses her marriage, her children, her job, and those clients she covets.

Four years of in and out begin.

Women suffer too …

By this time, almost twenty years have passed and she has not logged another long sober period, until she has a blackout and comes to, in her living room, surrounded by 20 wine bottles, laying on her living room floor.

She makes the call, and tries to find herself in a ritzy, spa, rehab. She does not.

There is a rehab here called Toxico Stop. It is rough and tumble. Not the kind of place a ritzy Westmount wife would find herself in. But that’s where she ends up.

A few of us in the room tonight were familiar with it, so it made us all giggle …

She meets some serious drug addicts and learns about heroine, and crack and all kinds of sordid addictions. All this is unfamiliar territory for her.

Three weeks later she comes out and finds herself at a meeting, and at the door, are two women, who knew her from almost twenty years ago. They recognize her and they take her in.

They give her the ground rules.

  • You’re gonna go to these meetings,
  • you are gonna do service,
  • and your gonna READ the BOOK.
  • These are non-negotiable.

It was like that for me too, fifteen years and six months ago as well.

NON NEGOTIABLE.

Drunks and Addicts today, don’t want non-negotiables. They don’t want rules. And they sure as shit, don’t want to be told what to do. Because let’s face it …

It’s us who are crazy, not them. I would never listen to your suggestions, firstly, because this is the way ( I ) am going to get sober. They say …

The above notes experiences, I have heard them all before, never all together, but as bits and pieces of several story tellers.

Our woman is sober today. By the Grace of God.

She’s not so focused on old timers, but finds joy and humility is working with New Comers. Because they have the most to teach us about ourselves and our sobriety.

I know what I have to do now. I know who I want to be. I want to be like my Elder friend Spencer. And in order to be like him, I have to act, every day, LIKE HIM, and in that be LIKE Heavenly Father.

True to God and True to myself and my Fellows.

This is where it begins, and will follow.

Sunday Sundries: The Bone Collection

cklwqy1uuaixwfj

The Holiday’s have begun here at home. After a slow start to the weekend, today comes to an end, with the Christmas Tree up, lit and decorated. A yearly tradition begins with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on tv and decorating the tree.

Sadly, when we started, and we tested the lights we have been using for the last decade or so, some of them did not make it through the last storage period. So we tossed them.

Now we are planning Christmas Shopping strategies. There is a neat retro shop that has all kinds of retro 80’s stuff… There are two of these shops in separate shopping malls downtown that I know of, and I think we are going to go for a Retro Christmas this year for the family. That should be very interesting because all the sisters and brothers in law are in the same age bracket as I am … (read: Pushing fifty)

I have made a dent in my recently purchased books read. There are about six books “in process” on my bedside table. I am slowly still reading Andrew Sullivan’s Far and Away, and a new book by Ben Ehrenreich, and a few others.

My Kathy Reich’s books came a few days ago from Amazon, so they were pushed to the top of the pile. Last night I finished reading “The Bone Collection,” a book of short stories and novella’s that have been compiled into a single volume.

When I began reading the Kathy Reich’s series, the Temperance Brennan series, you just don’t get investigation stories, you also get Tempe’s social, family and love life with them. And I’ve been reading her books for a long time, trying to follow ALL the story lines from book to book.

On her last write Tempe had been condo shopping with her beau, Andrew Ryan. And he had asked her to marry him.

She has not answered yet.

I have been waiting for the next installment to see what she had decided. And was pleasantly surprised when she touched the subject in the short story “Bones on Ice” about an investigation of a climber from Mount Everest who dies and is eventually brought off the mountain for death investigation.

Really, it was one sentence … But it was a healthy sentence.

The Bone Collection does not disappoint. Reading this book, put the other early books in perspective, knowing how she was invited into her first case, and the why, and what happened, that led her from archeology to her present job as criminal forensic anthropologist.

Temperance had a hard journey into the force in the first several books. It took a long time for Tempe to find her way, and to also find respect as a female lead in a male driven work environment. She eventually grew into her own.

The second book I bought was Cross Bones. I bought it because it had a very recent publish date and I thought it was new. But as I sat with it last night, reading the first chapter, i was having a case of Deja Vu… Me thinks I read this before …

I got out of bed and searched my library and sure enough, the book was in my already read library against the bedroom wall.

UGH, what a let down. I was hoping for some fresh current news about Temperance Brennan. Now I will just have to wait for the next installment.

**** **** ****

After the Elder/Sister shake up last week, we learned that several of our LDS Elders and Sisters had been moved to other locations and cities, and I had been told who was coming in to fill those positions. Tonight, I actually got a phone call from my new Elder team, with formal introductions, so we will meet for the first time tomorrow night.

This was the best piece of news to come this weekend.

I was feeling a bit abandoned.

THERE ARE ONLY 28 SHOPPING DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS …

 

Saturday – Faith – The L.D.S and Myself

1372165866_3865776220001_video-still-for-video-3865684819001

When one decides to turn towards God, and pray with intent, and seek Him with an honest and willing heart, God spoke to me and said … “I am enough for you.”

I have been in a mode of change for the last little while, and God has been working on me slowly, but persistently. I worked my steps, was told by my spiritual director what I must do to move forwards (i.e. turning my entire life over to the care of God as I understand Him) and then, in a very serendipitous manner, a few weeks ago, I met two Mormon Missionaries here in Montreal, and we’ve been talking about God and the Scriptures together for the last month.

These discussions led me to our last discussion and I met a man who lives here in the city, and is a participant in the LDS Voices of Hope Project.

The path towards inclusion in community means a great deal to me. And over the last little while, I have been seeking truths and answers to my hearts questions. I’ve been reading The Book of Mormon for a few weeks now. Little by slowly, I am working my way through the scriptures.

God has always been a part of my life. From very early on in my life, last night I wrote to an L.D.S Elder and I wanted to share this with you. Gay Mormon Guy Blog

I have been going through a change in my life. And this change began some time ago.

You see, I am Gay. I’ve been living with AIDS since 1994. I am still alive. I am also married to a man God led me to by the prompting of an angel. That’s a good story.

I am approaching 50 next summer. And in December, I will hit my 15th year clean and sober. So you could say that I have a trifecta of issues going on.

I’ve always had God in my life, from my early childhood. And God has always been with me, even when I turned my eyes from Him. Which landed me in some serious hot water, (see previous lines above)

A few years ago, a long sober man, I met at a convention, told me that If I wanted my life to change, I needed to step up my prayer life. I did as he asked of me. Not that I wasn’t praying before, but I had to turn up the heat, so to speak.

This prayer life led me into a season of service that had not be open to me before, because my eyes were firmly on God in the program of recovery that I am in.

And as this summer came to an end, just recently, my season of service also came to an end. And I met the elders on a metro platform, who led me to Cedric, who is also a speaker on Voices, who lives here in Montreal.

I am reading the Book of Mormon nightly. And I’ve listened to several men on the site speak. And in turn, that has led me to the decision to turn it all over to God. Because for many years, I was always holding a little back, selfishly.

This morning I was in prayer, and I was mourning the loss of the community and the people I was serving, diligently for a number of years. I was doing all the heavy lifting, and it seemed no one wanted to share the burden, so I felt God telling me that I needed to let it go and move on. All the while this past month or so, I have been sitting with the elders weekly.

In prayer this morning, I heard God’s voice speak to me, clear as a bell. And He said … ” I am enough for you.”

When I got sick in 1994, and the doctors told me I was going to die, I told my family, my friends, my then boyfriend, all of them fled in fear and revulsion. I was gay, now I had AIDS, nobody wanted to help me or to stay.

I was working in a bar, and the manager was my friend. I called him home from vacation and he returned and I told him I was going to die. His response was, “Not on my watch you aren’t.”

In hindsight, now twenty two years later, God came to me, incarnated and saved me from utter destruction. What I realize now, in my pursuit of God, is this … All the while I was learning to live/survive, I was serving others. It was through the service of others, that I was saved myself. It wasn’t about me, it was about the others, who were dying all around me. They all died, all but two of us survive from the original grouping of over 100 men.

I was getting clean and sober at the same time.  I was successful for a few years, but I turned back to my will and the hole in my soul, and turned away from God, and that almost killed me.

In 2001, December 9th to be exact, I uttered the name of God again. For the first time in a long time. And I prayed. And God appeared and answered me point by point, and he met my needs.

I moved to Montreal to become a man, because at 34 back then, I was woefully unprepared and full of fear. I am the man I am because of them men I know, most of them are straight. Funny that. I don’t have many gay friends.

I have ONE friend, he calls me daily, he is my best friend.  One friend.

My husband is another story. He is Bi Polar. Has been for the whole of our relationship. He was diagnosed a few months after we met.

What I know today, right now, now that I look back at the last twenty or so years, the sex life I thought I wanted and desired, has turned out to be for naught. Because it never came to pass. Not since the day I was diagnosed.

The man I fell in love with, is not the man I married. The drugs the doctors fed him in trial treatments, emasculated him and cleaved half his brain away, along with what was, I had hoped a physical relationship.

For the last twelve years, I have lived with my husband. I have served him faithfully. I would never leave him, because I need him and he needs me. It isn’t about SSA and hasn’t been for a long time, in retrospect.

Since meeting the elders, I have turned once again towards God, to find who I am and who I want to be. I transcribed a page of notes from your talk.

“God can meet the needs that I have, that other people can’t.”

I want to be part of community. Because the community I am part of (recovery) is all about getting better, staying sober, and most importantly, serving others to the best of my ability.

Most take for granted that I am present, and like I said, I have a husband now, and out of all the people I know in the rooms, ONLY 1 takes the time to call every day. I know a lot of people in the rooms, its just that not many of them don’t want to know me further than sitting next to them in a meeting. I am an odd bird.

I am coming up on my anniversary, and the myth is this … usually 60 days out, the pre cake roller coaster begins rolling, and we have to buckle up and ride it good or bad.

I heard God speak to me clearly this morning, I haven’t heard Him speak to me like that in a while.

You know what I want to know from God ? At the end of the day, Does my life matter? Do you see me ? Do you love me ? I know God loves me on the surface, because I am still alive.

The elders have brought me faith in Christ, and the Gospel, and my heart wants to follow. Even with my trifecta of issues.

You never know who you will meet on any given day, or how God is going to manifest Himself to you. Open your eyes and your heart and turn towards Him.

“I AM ENOUGH FOR YOU”