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I have had the privilege of growing up in Remnant Fellowship. When I was three years old, my parents decided that they wanted all of us as a family to be set apart from the rest of the world and to follow Jesus Christ and what we know to be a true Church that puts God first in everything, made up of a group of unified believers. I am so grateful to God for showing them this Message of love for and obedience to God…from the teachings of Weigh Down and Remnant Fellowship, founded by Mrs. Gwen Lara. They left everything behind and moved their family to Tennessee to be with like-minded Saints and to raise my brothers and me around Godly examples. I know I would not be able to do anything without them. They are firmly planted believers in what God is teaching through Gwen, they have given me trustworthy guidance throughout every hardship I have had, and they have done everything for me. Their loyalty to God’s Kingdom is admirable and something I wish to mimic.
While I have had some points in my life where, sadly, I have not been at a 100 percent commitment in living for God, I have always known that I would not find anything else in the world that comes close to what we have here at the Remnant Fellowship and there would be no point in leaving. Although I have grown up in this Truth, I had a time where I became lazy and grew in complacency. One thing that has always convicted me in times of complacency has been when new members join this Church, as was the case with Monica Van Donsel. The year we met was her first year as a member of Remnant Fellowship. Her eagerness to learn about Truth and her fear of God is exemplary. She never wants to test the boundaries and always wants to do whatever the right thing is. I have come to realize that no matter how much you know about God, there is always more to learn and more to give to Him…and that eagerness should never die down. Monica has been my biggest and most undeserved blessing. She is the most beautiful person on the inside and out and her spirit is one of joy and she brings me so much happiness. Having her in my life has helped me mature greatly in my walk with God. Her eagerness to learn about God’s ways brought me to a place of sharing my faith and all I have learned throughout my life even more, answering questions regarding God’s laws and commands and sharing how to live within the guidelines of the fruits of the Spirit. This freshness of life has spurred me on in a way that has filled my heart with a new joy and excitement.
“She never wants to test the boundaries and always wants to do whatever the right thing is. I have come to realize that no matter how much you know about God, there is always more to learn and more to give to Him…and that eagerness should never die down. Monica has been my biggest and most undeserved blessing.” – Rylie
I know we are both seeking to be a family that seeks God…for here at the Remnant Fellowship, we are taught how to be that type of family. “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2-3 I could not ask for a better partner to spend the rest of my life with…serving His Kingdom, doing His will on Earth as it is being done in Heaven. I thank God for Gwen and the leaders of this Church, for they have laid down their lives for us
Monica Van Donsel:
My story begins with my dearest mother, Alane Van Donsel, who found Remnant Fellowship and Weigh Down Ministries in 2013 through Michelle Wright, after years of searching for God and a permanent weight loss solution. Before Remnant, my family spent several years church-hopping, always looking for an answer. Once my mom found this Church, she spent a few months attending services with the Benesch and Wright families (two Remnant families who lived in New York at the time) before she decided to bring my sister and me to visit the Church. At the time, I was 16 years old and was pretty set in my ways. I spent several years attending Church and visiting saints in Brentwood, but I never lived my life fully…all in…for God until 2017.
In 2015, I decided that after I graduated from high school, I was going to go four hours away from home to college. Going away from home was one of the hardest things I have done. Being surrounded by ungodly people was starting to make me feel lost and confused. I was full of pride, self-focus and anger. One night, I realized that I didn’t want to live the life I was living any longer and I decided to start webcasting with Remnant Fellowship Assemblies again. I would watch the gatherings on my laptop in my dorm room every Saturday and Wednesday. I prayed that God would help me be the person He wanted me to be. I finally realized I needed a COMPLETE change.
“In April of 2018, I decided it was finally time to join Remnant Fellowship. I had been freed from living a life full of emptiness and pain. After joining the Church, the immense number of blessings I received were unbelievable! One of those blessings has been having the honor of dating Rylie Jost.” – Monica
I decided to apply to the local state school in my hometown. I had previously applied to this school in 2015 but wasn’t accepted. I prayed for months and months that I would be accepted. One day I received a text from my mom. It included a picture of a big envelope with the college’s decision. She opened it and it said I was accepted! I couldn’t believe it, and all I could do was cry. Once I received the acceptance letter, I knew it was all from God. There was no possible way I could have been accepted into that school otherwise. Full of excitement, I moved back home. That has been the sweetest blessing…because it has allowed me to become closer with my parents, get better grades, and spend more time with family.
In April of 2018, I decided it was finally time to join Remnant Fellowship. I had been freed from living a life full of emptiness and pain. After joining the Church, the immense number of blessings I received were unbelievable! One of those blessings has been having the honor of dating Rylie Jost. We first met at a Sabbath Wedding in July, and John Sena, a dear friend of both of ours, encouraged me to get to know him more. Rylie and I hung out several times with friends, and soon after that, he invited me to his father’s birthday dinner. I was hesitant at first because we barely knew each other, and I didn’t want to intrude. But I, of course, said yes and we had a really good time getting to know each other! After that night I knew that he was the one for me and that God had orchestrated my perfect match. We officially started dating in August 2018, and these past months of dating have been like a dream! When people tell you that God works fast, they aren’t lying to you. I never expected this life for myself, and I never thought I would find someone who loves me as much as Rylie.
To say I do not deserve Rylie would be an understatement. He has changed my life in so many ways and will always be my biggest and most precious blessing. Rylie has always pointed me up to God in every situation. He has been so patient with me and has made me fall in love with God even more. He is humble, honest, and a righteous, God-fearing young man. I cherish him more and more every day, and I can’t wait for this union under God.
Our engagement was perfect and arranged by our lovely parents and many other Godly Saints. We first went to dinner, planning to later meet up with our parents who were at the lovely home of Mark and Deah Hayden…who were having a “dinner party.” When we showed up, everyone was acting very casual and suggested we go outside to see the fire. We went outside and sat on a bench talking for a bit. Then, Rylie stood up, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I cannot thank everyone enough for putting this together and for everyone who came. It was a dream come true!