If someone asks him, ‘What are these wounds on your body?’ he will answer, ‘The wounds I was given at the house of my friends.’ Zech 13 v 6

Monday, April 6, 2009

Pretending Status Quo

I remember wondering how the majority of our church congregation just went right on with life as normal. I get that every church event could not stop because we were in crisis, but I guess I expected some sort of acknowledgment from others in the church that they were concerned for us. Our church congregation was small and normally everyone was involved in each others lives. So for this to be going on in our life and for the "normal church activities" to continue with only a very few people reaching out to support us was very confusing.

From my view, our church was in crisis. The pastor's adult son had victimized our child and the police were involved, should not people be asking questions? Instead questions were considered "gossip" and the congregation bought that hook, line, and sinker.

One of the events that really bothered me was when the leadership decided to have a "Valentines dinner" for the married couples.(about 1 month into everything) Of course, we were invited.....WHAT??....What planet were these people from? I just could not act as if nothing happened. My child was being interviewed by a sexual assault specialist, we were being interviewed by the sheriff investigating the case, we were being contacted by Patrick's lawyer, we were finding out more and more information about pedophiles and how they operate, we were being told that Patrick was refusing to cooperate with the state, and we were realizing that our leaders were in fact minimizing the sexual abuse of a child--our child.

Somehow during this I had the presence of mind to realize the best thing we could do for our child was acknowledge that a crime did in fact occur. That was the start of my conviction to really live this out. We were not going to pretend that everything was as if it was before the victimization of our child. We were going to deal with this now...in hopes of saving our child from a life time of "stuffing their emotions" and hopefully minimize the long term damage and hold that sexual molestation can have on an individual.

When it became clear that the elders were in on the cover up (by their own admission at a church meeting) and that the Rojas's had gone on the run with their children. Eric and I felt, that anyone that didn't know what the right thing to do was (by this point), then it was too late!

The families that stayed really communicated by their actions (or non-action) which side they were on. YES, at this point we believed there was a clear right side to be on and a clear wrong side both morally and biblically. We felt it was necessary to cut ourselves from any family that was still standing along side the elders and the church during that time. None of this was done lightly or without much personal grief. All of our children suffered on different levels, especially by losing friendships that had been nurtured for six years. All of our regular activities were affected by this, we had built a community with these families. We had literally moved our family so we could be closer to the church and more involved with this church community.

We were homeschooling so when I say we were isolated now, I really mean it. Something died inside of me when all those families continued on. I don't even know how to adequately express what happened inside of me.

How could we communicate to our children that you only stand up for what is right if it is easy or convenient?

Many of the families that continued on with the church eventually left the church. I am not really sure why they finally left. There is still a core group that have stayed on.

We have had one family come to us personally and ask for forgiveness for the way they treated us during that time. They were sincere and I believe honestly understood what grief their actions caused us. They were also realistic and knew although we forgave them, everything was different now and did not expect us to be friends. The husband ended up writing a very long letter outlining (from a biblical point of view,) how the church should have handled this situation and how to respond to an un-repentant Patrick as a Christian. His letter was sent to all the church members and some other leaders that support what the Rojas family has done. What was strange to us was everything in his letter, we had been saying all through the court process (remember this went from January to August), but we didn't have scriptures attached to every statement. Thankfully his letter did seem to open the eyes of some.

We have a friend that always refers to the "ripple effect" that Patrick's crime caused. Like when you drop a rock in the water and you see the ripples expand further and further from that one little stone.

I pray that the "ripple effect" from this little blog will grow and grow and grow and shine light into the darkness, be helpful to some, healing to others, and mean freedom for the Rojas girls!

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