An Open Letter to Pauma Valley Community Church.

Dear Pauma Valley Church Family,

It is 10 past midnight. My family is at peace and sleeping. I am content, listening to some music I have wanted to catch up on, having just finished reading for a little over an hour a book that has been calling me for far too long. In the midst of our turmoils and strife, we are able to see God’s grace in ways we may not have otherwise seen in the glorious bright lights of a perfect and steady life. Our lives are full of these tensions–I am writing this letter while sitting in the home of Shannon’s generous parents, which is a blessing and a stretch for all of us. And in this we see the lovingkindness and mercy of God. It has been a furious 2 weeks, and we are doing well by His glorious grace.

I wanted to write to you to tell you how much I love you. Having spent the past 2 years in your home, our hearts have been tied to yours in ways both expected and surprising. Random moments of joy and tears have filled our hearts since we left you, with the overwhelming sense of how much you have meant to us, and how much we will miss you. As I have poured into the students and families at PVCC, God has blessed us richly with a huge extended family who we would not have been connected with had this whole experience not taken place. If any of you believe that our 2 years in Pauma were “a wasteland experience” or anything similar, let me take the privileged opportunity to say: you are dead wrong.

God has grown me in ways that I cannot begin to describe in a two page letter. Yes, at times our life here was lonely and yes, at times we were extremely discouraged. But it is in these times that we drew near to Christ, taking comfort in His Spirit, and taking courage not in our works but in the perfect work and righteousness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Over the past 2 years, through all of the teaching, the events, relationships, successes and failures, God has graciously granted me a deeper understanding and appreciation for His perfect work in the Gospel. No price of time or money could ever be enough to make me desire anything else. My only hope is that my ministry to you was used by God to bring about a deeper understanding of the Gospel and therein a deeper hate for sin and not only a deeper but also a richer love for Christ and for each other. If that is left in our wake then our God has succeeded.

We also want to thank you for your unnecessarily and overwhelmingly generous outpouring of love on me and Shannon and my family. As we opened up cards and letters, and as we watched many of you pass through our doors to feed us, help us pack boxes and trucks, and to drive us to Corona, our hearts were stricken to the core. Your love shown through generosity of both time and money not only positively overwhelmed us, but also gave us a greater understanding of what generous giving looks like. I know for a fact that some of you gave cheerfully of what you did not have, and I pray that God richly blesses your generosity. My hope is that this generosity is not given only to us, but it is shared with those in your midst who are in need, and also with those who are far away. Remember what Paul teaches us in Philippians 1:18-30, that our suffering through humble generosity in all arenas of life shines the light of Christ on all who look in. Radical generosity is not natural; Jesus Christ sacrificing Himself by taking Himself out of glory and into our shared misery is the radical generosity that we must model and in turn will bring glory to our Lord in confirmation of the words we speak. It is my hope that your giving continues so that Jesus is given the attention and glory that He deserves.

My brothers and sisters, we are praying for you. We are happy to see that God has seemingly brought along the shepherd you so desperately seek. My prayer for you is that you all unite under the banner of the Gospel, following the lead of the Spirit, bringing many in your community into the hope of Christ. We pray that any differences between any of you are resolved in the love of Christ, forgiving what needs to be forgiven, letting go of grudges that have long worn out their welcome (and were never welcomed in the first place). Let love cover all things; do not let the pride, envy, grudge-holding spirit of the enemy dwell in your midst. If this is not so among you, no pastor in the world can bring a hint of “success” to Pauma.

We covet your prayers over the weekends of March 25-27 and April 1-3. We will be in Harrisburg, PA candidating for a youth pastor position at Living Water Community Church (http://livingwatercc.com). Please pray for wisdom and discernment on all sides as we seek what is best for His Kingdom, and whether or not this fits His desires. If all goes well we may have a job as early as April 10; Shannon is due May 25. As is staggeringly obvious, the timing of this could not be better. And please continue to pray for our little boys (Owen, 3, and Dominic, 2). Pray that the Lord uses this time to shape their hearts for Him in ways we cannot imagine or understand at this time. Transition is tough for their tender hearts and minds; pray the Lord protects them, and that we are wise in how we raise them in these certainly uncertain times.

May God draw you closer to Himself as you seek to love Him with all of your heart, soul and strength. And may you seek to live your life with “to live is Christ, to die is gain” as your mantra. You are here to bring His Gospel to this dark and hopeless world. Be the light that brings others to Christ, no matter the cost of shining.

We love you and hope to see you again soon. But if we never see you again, I look forward to catching up with you in the presence of the Lamb!

Yours sincerely by the precious blood of Christ,

Brandon and Shannon Capuano.

ps…if you would like to keep up with us as we update the blog with pictures, letters, stories, thoughts, etc., please subscribe to the blog via the “email subscription” box on the upper right corner of this blog. thanks!

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8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Celia on March 23, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Brandon, you were a blessing to our whole congregation- not just the “youth”. I feel certain God has a wonderful situation waiting for you and your family. I’m looking forward to finding out what that will be! Celia

    Reply

  2. Posted by Lori McCarley on March 23, 2011 at 8:05 am

    Dear Brandon and Shannon,

    What a blessing you were at Pauma! Mike and I will keep you and your beautiful family in our prayers. Brandon it is so evident the calling on your life in ministry!! Mike and I have always said that you would be an amazing pastor. You have such a love for the Gospel, and for all to know our Savior!!
    You have been blessed with the ability to be a great teacher of the Word. Thank You for your letter,what an encouragement!!

    Love , The McCarley’s

    Reply

  3. Posted by Terri Odegaard on March 23, 2011 at 9:17 am

    The two of you were a beautiful blessing to our church and to me personally. Your faith and devotion to God are a beacon of light to all who come in contact with you. I am going to miss you tremendously.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Pam Thompson on March 23, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    My regret is that our family, and especially our teenage daughter, didn’t really get a chance to know you and your family. For the past two years we haven’t been regularly attending Pauma. The last several months, we have been blessed with the opportunity of hearing yours and Tom’s Sunday messages. It is truly evident your love and faithfulness to our Savior. Thank you for your words of encouragement. You and your family will be in our prayers. Love The Thompson’s

    Reply

  5. Posted by Jerry and Marlene Fisher on March 24, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Brandon and Shannon,
    You are already missed, and surely will continue to be. Thank you so much for your heartfelt letter – you continue to provide us with comfort and encouragement. Our prayers go with all 5 of you as you head for Harrisburg to further seek His will.
    Vaya con Dios, Jerry and Marlene

    Reply

  6. Posted by Rick on March 25, 2011 at 11:26 am

    I miss you guys already too. It is unfortunate that we’ve gone through such a weird stretch of time here at PVCC, but I am confident that He has done nothing less than marvelous and wonderful things through you and to you. You have indeed proven yourself faithful to His calling here despite the odds and I’ve every confidence that you will continue to prove yourself worthy of His call no matter where He leads you. I so appreciate your wise words to the body for our near future. That must be our prayer if we’re to have any hope of being a shining beacon for Him or just another group of bodies that congregate on Sundays. Thanks for letting your light so shine before us! We look forward to hearing of what ‘men’ He will place you and Shannon in the midst of to let His glory shine! We’ll keep in touch.
    My Love and Prayers for each of you,
    Your Brother…Rick

    Reply

  7. Posted by Debbie Johnson on March 27, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    Hi Brandon & Shannon,

    I just checked your blog for any updates to the interview process, and it sounds like you are deep into the “interrogation” process. In all seriousness, what a blessing to know that because of your love and trust in Him, God is in the midst of every bit of it, so you have nothing to worry about. The church in Pennsylvania has obviously already seen something special in you both to bring your whole family out to the East coast, so I will be praying for a quick resolution for all of you. Brandon, you are an awesome man of faith, and I look forward to hearing more of your new adventure. Thank you for your letter to PVCC, and may God bless you all.

    Debbie J.

    Reply

  8. Posted by Warren Lyall on June 24, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Dear Brandon & Shannon,
    I Just now ran across this letter and it really blessed me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and blessings for us at Pauma Church. I have thought of you guys several times lately and am praying for you where God has led you for ministry.
    God bless you and your family. We miss you.
    Warren

    Reply

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