From a brother in Hesperia, CA
To give you some background, I was raised Catholic for 20 years before receiving the LORD. When I was 20 years old, I met a friend at work who led me to the LORD. Since my friend was raised Assembly of God, I began attending that denomination. For three years, while in college, I was part of that particular denomination. At this same time, I was becoming interested in the Calvary Chapel movement. When I graduated college in 1994 and moved to southern California, I began attending various Calvary Chapel churches.
Around 2001, my friend who led me to the LORD in 1994, started sharing with me about home-based churches (also called ‘simple’ or ‘organic’ churches). I was disillusioned to a certain extent with traditional churches, and had an immediate interest in what he was sharing with me. Around that time, my friend was part of a small, home church up in the Sacramento area. They used many of Watchman Nee’s books, and he shared a few of them with me, such as ‘Sit, Walk, Stand’ and ‘The Normal Christian Life’.
For many years after that, I studied about this type of church life, but continued attending a local Calvary Chapel. I kept praying for a house church near where I lived, but could never find anything near me. In the Spring of 2010, a couple at the Calvary Chapel that I was attending invited me to a bible study. It happened to be at the home of the Muniz family in Victorville, CA. They had been in the LORD’s Recovery for many years. When they started speaking about the ministry and Watchman Nee, I was intrigued. Though skeptical at first, I continued to meet with and question them regarding Living Stream Ministries. I admit, at first I thought it was perhaps a cult, as I had never heard of LSM before. In fact, my friends that invited me to the Bible study at the Muniz stopped meeting with them. They warned me not to read the Life Study footnotes, but I liked what I was learning, as it was so different from what I had known Christianity to be. I continued to meet with the Muniz every Friday night while attending Calvary Chapel.
In 2012, I decided to meet with the Church in Victorville on a full-time basis. I had been meeting Friday nights with the Muniz for two years. They continued to encourage me the whole time, but never forced anything on me. There were many questions that needed to be answered, but eventually I just needed to experience the church life for myself. Once I saw how all the members functioned, I knew this was where I needed to be. All those years of searching finally paid off. I appreciate everything that I learned in the institutional church; they gave me a strong foundation. However, there’s no comparison to the organic church life…so much depth that I never imagined. Thank you, LORD Jesus, for bringing me into an authentic expression of your body… may all of our denominational brothers SEE this vision of your ONE body! – Amen –