Correspondence with Paul Bohnert and Sherri Umeris
Sent to Paul Bohnert and others involved with the Environmental Summit of 2006 in Lethbridge:
The Answer for Our Environment, Economy and Spirituality
Hi Paul, Victor Hafichuk here.
As you may know, we at Harvest Haven are Christians. God has graciously given us to know that we are bought with a fearful price, that price being nothing less than the blood of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. We have been forgiven all our offences against Him, and He has chosen us to be a testimony unto Him. We know this to be a great and wonderful privilege.
As those redeemed by His blood, we see a grievous thing in the world. His Name has been misrepresented, abused, neglected and ignored; and all these are one and the same to Him. His creatures, mankind, which He has made in His image and has purposed to enjoy a vibrant, meaningful, spiritual fellowship both with Him and with each another, go about their lives as though He doesn’t exist or is unimportant.
We recognize the importance of being respectful of God’s creation. He has taught us that we are not here to abuse that which He has created and bestowed on us for our benefit. We are here to take care of it. That is the true Christian position, responsibility and attitude. We love His creation because we love Him. Those who do not love His creation do not love Him.
On the opposite end of the equation, those who do not love Him do not love His creation, though they may think or declare otherwise. Last year, when we attended your summit, we found God utterly excluded, though He is what all things are all about. He was nowhere to be publicly or formally recognized. Where we were willing and able to testify of Him, we had to make opportunity to do so. However, what we did find was occultish Christianity at best, that being obliquely represented by a Mormon speaker. We found pagan philosophy, formally recognized and publicized. There were native speakers honoring their spirits, independent of the Spirit of Christ.
And there was Glenda Bonifacio from the University of Lethbridge, presenting Ashtoreth as the answer to man’s ills. It was not recognized that the worship of Ashtoreth was a very cause of our ills in every way. Thirty-five hundred years ago, God commanded the Israelites to scrupulously and ruthlessly destroy her images and worship, so that they might not be defiled as the inhabitants of Canaan were defiled. He instructed them by Moses and Joshua to abhor other gods by which the land had been defiled. He did not want spiritual, social, or environmental pollution to recur. He wanted the land cleaned up. Therefore He introduced His Law whereby we could live in true health, peace and safety.
On the other hand, ironically, you were promoting the very cause of the many-faceted pollution by enlisting Bonifacio, for example, to present eco-feminism and spirituality in Ashtoreth’s (Ashtarte’s, Astarte’s, Easter’s) name. (Ashtoreth, whose images Glenda presented with her projector, was the pagan sex-goddess of fertility, flying in the face of all that is good and right and moral.) This is the classical case of shooting oneself in the foot, is it not?
God is no longer winking at these things. He is fed up. The sword, pestilence, wild beast, and fear now come; the fires are here to make a quick and effective end of these very kinds of things that are being done against Him, His creation, and against ourselves. Only those truly repentant will be spared, and that barely.
We must decline participation of these works that are independent of God and which disregard Him as the very Purpose for our existence and only Solution and Hope of rectifying man’s ills, whatever they may be. You are skirting the Issue, presuming and proposing that we lift ourselves up by our own bootstraps.
All people must turn from their destructive and erroneous religious, philosophical, and spiritual notions, opinions and ideas. All must turn from their sins (the breaking of God’s laws, not the least of them being to honor other gods). These things are destroying all who offend and participate. You people are being destroyed, suffering many ills because of a disconnection with, disregard for, and independence of, the True God and Savior, Jesus Christ. As the Scriptures declare:
“Speak and present your case. Yes, let them consult one another. Who revealed this in the distant past and predicted it long ago? Wasn’t it I, the LORD? There is no other God except Me. There is no other righteous God and Savior besides Me” (Isaiah 45:21 GW).
“I am the LORD; that is My Name. I will not give My glory to anyone else or the praise I deserve to idols” (Isaiah 42:8 GW).
I would be thankful to personally discuss these all-important matters with you and all at any time.
Read, if you will, Victor Hafichuk.
Paul Bohnert replied:
I am very disappointed in the approach that you took in addressing your
opinion/belief. To forward your message to the entire recipient group was
intrusive, inconsiderate and wrong.
I considered myself a friend of Harvest Haven farm, someone who volunteered to help construct freezers, chicken barns and move irrigation pipes. A person who spoke highly of your business and the products you sell.
Due to the method of communication that you chose to air your opinion and the
hateful attitude that you continue to profess I have chosen to withdraw all
communication with you and Harvest Haven Farms.
Mark, I regret that our friendship and working relationship cannot continue due to the way that this manner was dealt with by Victor and Harvest Haven.
Victor followed up by email after he talked to Paul at the Summit:
I have some things to say subsequent to our talk on Wednesday.
First, what I have to say is with the supposition that you and Sherri determine the nature and function of the Environmental Summit. I have never seen or heard otherwise, but if I am wrong, obviously I stand corrected. Nevertheless, even if you are not in full control, you are highly participatory in what goes on. You have so much as said so.
I think you will know by our personal visit, which I initiated, that there was, and is, no hatred coming forth from me, particularly toward you or toward anyone else involved in this discussion. I asked you no less than four times about the hatred and you were unable to tell me that I hated you. If you had said that I had hatred toward you, I would have asked you to substantiate that claim with words directly from my letter, and you would not have been able to do so, simply because there was not one word of hatred. How do I know? Because I do not hate you.
However, I can understand that my letters might be interpreted as you have. Why? It is not because there is hatred but because of your ego, Paul, yours and Sherri’s.
Now let’s discuss the issues here. You told me that we share common values in terms of faith. You mentioned specifically the Sabbath and that we both reject organized religion. Perhaps you think of organics or having environmental concerns as well; I don’t know. However, the truth is that we do not at all share the common life in Jesus Christ, Paul. You may agree or disagree, but I will tell you why we spiritually have very little in common. I will enumerate:
One, you folks never but never mention the Lord Jesus Christ. Never once have you openly referred to Him as your Lord and Savior. If we had as much as you suggest in common in terms of faith, I can guarantee you that we would be getting together, visiting, fellowshipping, rejoicing, sharing revelations and gifts from God. You would be referencing the Scriptures with us, exhorting, admonishing, and correcting us in various ways, and you would receive all those things from us, willingly, joyfully, profitably. You would clearly confess Jesus Christ before men, even as Jesus said His followers would do, especially to brothers and sisters in Christ. This one point already says it all, Paul, but I will continue.
Two, whenever we have tried to say anything along spiritual lines to you, you have not indulged us. Whenever we have tried to do so with Sherri, she has been as closed as a steel door on a sophisticated bomb shelter in a nuclear attack. While she was willing to state her convictions, she was in no way interested in anything we had to say if it was not in keeping with her beliefs.
Three, your reaction to the letter I sent you speaks volumes. A humble one in Christ would have been humbled even more. You would have come to me saying, “Victor, whether you are right or wrong, I am grieved that you perceive that I do not love the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s talk.” (Frankly, in my confronting you on heathen idolatry, you would have taken correction, acknowledging that I had a serious point before God.) But what was your reaction? You were offended. Jesus, referring to the rebukes He issued to those around Him, said, “Blessed are those who are not offended in Me.”
Furthermore, because of my stance in the Lord Jesus Christ, you not only rejected what I had to say, but you condemned me outright, writing me off decisively and completely, allowing no room whatsoever for reasoning or dialogue, or expressing any concern for my spiritual welfare in Christ, and not only me but all those at Harvest Haven. Now, there’s hatred! And you say we have much or anything in common? No, Paul, there is an obvious gap between our relationship to God and yours. You are the one who is hateful, you and Sherri both.
Are you really interested in the environment? If you are not interested in a presumed brother, one animate, one made in God’s image no less, how can you then be interested in the rest of God’s creation? James says that if you break one law, you are guilty of breaking all. Paul, I do not believe you and Sherri care one whit for anything good. You are in your own righteousnesses, which to God are “as filthy menstrual cloths,” Isaiah says in the MKJ Version. Your reaction was entirely one of ego, self, selfishness – hatred.
Now, one can understand immediate, emotional reactions coming even from a saint. It happens all the time, but those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ get over it, repent, and give sober, earnest consideration to correction, and submit to it, especially in matters of idolatry in one’s jurisdiction.
You say you did not know what Bonifacio was teaching. Are you supervising the summit or are you not? Is your wife involved? If so, then you are responsible. Let me ask you, Paul: Will you stand before God and say, “I didn’t know what was happening in my summit”?
Or will you say, “I had no choice or I would have been perceived as showing bias”? Are you there to please God or men? Obviously, by your argument that you must flow with the public, with the world, you are there to please men. Jesus plainly said that you cannot please both. It is one or the other.
You give what appears to be your main objection, that I made the letter public. I told you that all need to hear the Truth – the Lord wants all to know it, repent and be saved. Your reaction was not for their sakes but for your own. Isn’t that right, Paul? You would be willing to accept some humiliation, even if wronged, for their sakes if you cared anything for them. But you don’t really mind their hearing about Ashtoreth or native paganism or anything else that comes along. Why? Because you and Sherri have nothing in common spiritually with us concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, nothing at all.
There is no doubt in our minds that Sherri is a driving force in your life. You are not the head of your house, as the Bible teaches the husband ought to be, and you know it. Correct me if I am wrong, but Sherri’s spiritual philosophy is well at work in all your comings and goings, including the summit.
See, Paul, I told you I did not come to speak to you to regain your support as a customer. For me to do so would be to be a traitor to Christ. Off with any man’s mammon! With Joshua I say, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Paul and Sherri, what if I had a meeting at the farm (and we have had them) and I entertained speakers who came preaching false gods and false religions? What kind of excuse or justifiable defence could I give you, or more importantly, to God? And what if He were to send a messenger, a prophet to speak to me, and not only to me but to all those present in one of those meetings when my offence was occurring? Would He be justified in warning me and rebuking me, for my sake and theirs? Surely! The Bible is teeming with such examples.
And those who received His rebuke lived; those who rejected it, perished in their sins.
I told you that you were perishing in your sins, you, your wife and so many others. God is finished winking at people playing games. Your lives are not peaceful or meaningful ones. They are filled with self-will, with false concepts of God (lies), independence from God, and delusion. Consequently, you often have confusion, sorrow and grief. Satan is alive and well, reigning in your home. (Those are not words of hatred, but of truth.)
We have been placed here to bear witness of Him. I have been sent to speak to you, to warn you of much worse to come. You have rejected the message, the warning and me because you reject the Lord Jesus Christ. You are pretentious people, proud and stubborn. You can condemn me for saying so. Accuse me of hatred if you will, but I know (and you know) I speak the truth, which testifies against you because you find yourself on the wrong side of it, and that is why you accuse me of hatred. It is not I who hate you, but you hate me and all of us here, Paul and Sherri. And you hate me because you hate Him.
I have come to tell you so, at the cost of your business. Why has it cost me your business? Because you have no use for the Truth, the Lord Jesus Christ. So, cut us off, accuse us of hating you while you yourselves are guilty of what you accuse; go your way and see if what I have not said to you will be. But consider this: If I speak hard words to you that I believe you need to hear, and I know it will cost me our relationship and your business, then perhaps you might consider that you are witnessing true love at work?
You will also see it continue to operate, contrary to yours in that we will not cut you off as you do us. Our doors and hearts are open to your entire family, not to compromise with destructive darkness but to bring to you the redeeming Truth and Love of God…and you don’t need to buy a thing from us.
I take no credit for that love. Only God can love that way.
Victor wrote again a few months later:
Well, Paul and Sherri, how about your spirituality? You say, Paul, that it was similar to ours. Ours says we are to forgive our enemies, even love them:
“But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you…” (Matthew 5:44 MKJV).
We love you; I can guarantee it, because the Lord gives it to us to love you.
Paul, my last letter explained to you more clearly my motive and attitude, although I must also confess that I was not happy with the fact that you were supporting local, rather than organic, especially when we are also local. While greenhouses may not use pesticides, they do use artificial fertilizers, which are often worse than the pesticides. So there it is – more honesty for you, but ever goodwill, from every one of us. Yet you do not believe us.
So what about you? Do you forgive? Or do you remain in your pride and sulk forever? Do you really think you are able to “win any points” with God while being resentful toward us for your ego’s sake? Shame on such a thought! You know better. So repent; that is to say, change your mind and attitude, be reconciled with God and with us, and we will gladly receive and bless you.
I bless you anyway, in that wonderful Name of Jesus Christ, because we are His and He has commanded us to bless them that hate us.
Don’t tell me you don’t hate us. If you didn’t, you would remain with us, forgiving and seeking understanding, instead of tripping over your bottom lips. Taking your path, you only do yourselves great damage, bringing reproach to Him, Whom you profess to believe. While He laid down His life for you, you continue to spit in His Face and drive the spikes into His hands. How can you do well that way?
Sherri, Paul’s wife, wrote back this time:
When I read your email, I feel sick to my stomach, as has been the effect of reading other emails of yours. Your tone sounds so angry, bitter. I am having difficulty feeling safe learning with you. I know you are my brother, and there is One God for us all, and that we all have our own challenges, and experience in knowing God, and are all responsible for doing our best with what we know.
I do not spend much time on email; I am so full with prayer and work at doing my best with my family and neighbors that I am choosing, as best I am able, between Good and Good. If there is sinning you are aware of from your vantage point, that you are are able to forgive, then I am thankful to know that God will be forgiving you at least that much, and I am working at being better in God’s eye, loving and accepting who I am at this time.
I would have appreciated a respectful note from you saying that you look forward to when we are able see us again, God willing, and that you are still interested in sharing your food, (good works) with us. We still believe what you are doing, with respect with food, is great, and have kept our personal time-out quiet and to ourselves. We continue to hope you will be able to serve our community well, full of God’s Love.
Thank you for responding.
No need, no need at all to feel sick to your stomach, except to acknowledge and repent of wrongs, as you realize them. Even there, when doing those things, God forgives, restores, heals, cleanses and brings reconciliation, peace, and joy.
What is so hard about taking accountability for promoting the pagan sex goddess of love, fertility, and prosperity? If you tell me that you didn’t intend to promote her, or realize she was being promoted by Glenda Bonifacio under your auspices, admitting it was wrong to allow her promotion in a venue in which you presumably are trying to counter the very ills her worshippers have foisted on mankind, we would gladly give you all benefit of doubt. Even if you intended to promote Ashtoreth and repented of it, I would forgive you. As we speak, I harbor no enmity toward you or Paul. Why don’t you believe me, except that I am very forthright about these evils?
Did Paul not tell you of our talk at the U after my letter to you? He should know and you should know therefore, that there was and is no hate whatsoever in me toward anyone. What I do hate are the evils, the ignorant works, and the hypocrisy I find in all those who profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, in spite of His clear commands and counsel against those things. Those things are killing you and everyone else. I can’t apologize for that kind of hatred. He Himself commanded us to hate those things.
Why does He condemn evils? So that we can have full and healthy lives in every respect, as He intended for us. That is why we need to do more than just pray and feel good. Your love, Sherri, is an emotional, human-manufactured one, common to many religious people. The Bible (God) does not define love as you do. Jesus said:
“The person who knows My commandments and keeps them, that’s who loves Me. And the person who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and make Myself plain to him” (John 14:21 MSG).
One of His commandments is:
“You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3 MKJV).
Ashtoreth is one of many He condemns. He condemns them all.
Of course, I have never heard you or Paul mention Jesus’ Name once. You refer, as in this letter, to “God,” as do Muslims, Catholics, Mormons, JWs and devils:
“Do I hear you professing to believe in the one and only God, but then observe you complacently sitting back as if you had done something wonderful? That’s just great. Demons do that, but what good does it do them?” (James 2:19 MSG)
Do you want to “feel safe learning from me”? Ask yourself, “What is the threat?” What have you seen with us that is wrong or evil? If you question anything, come to us, be open and ask, and we will gladly discuss it. We won’t “bite you.” If you find something we need to correct or improve upon, according to the will of God and testimony of His Word, by His grace we will do so, and we will thank both God and you for the enlightenment. Hopefully, you will permit us to point out your wrongs too. Is that not a good thing? We are here, by His grace, to do good and not evil. But why are you afraid? Fear is not of God, Sherri:
“The wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off even when no one’s after them; honest people are relaxed and confident, bold as lions” (Proverbs 28:1 MSG).
Come and be reconciled with us; work with us; listen to what we have to say. We can help you with your fears and you can live a fear-free life. Seek our counsel on every day matters, like your summits or your spiritual walk, your relationship to God. You never ask. You always act like you know it all and we all find you that way. Humble yourself, start asking instead of philosophizing and preaching. We have been called of God, taken through waters and fires. We have been judged and finally prepared and equipped to teach others. We can help you and your family in ways you never dreamed. We know because God has done it for us. We want to embrace you, and our arms are open to you, your family and everyone else. Try us and see! We are certainly not only willing, but also greatly desirous to share all that we have with you.
Come and be reconciled with God and with us. We wait for you. Where would you like to start?
In Jesus’ Name,
Victor wrote again three months later:
Hi Sherri and Paul,
I have no other addresses than these, hoping these are still in order.
I would like to apologize to both of you for what I have felt, in retrospect, was being hard with you. No doubt, I need to be much more patient and understanding with people. I certainly have appreciated it when people were patient and forgiving with me whenever I did not seem to measure up to their expectations or where I offended them, intentionally or otherwise.
Forgiveness is a blessed and wonderful thing. Without it, we are all dead in the water, every last one of us. Am I right? If we look to the Perfect One as our example and Leader, our Lord, we find that He not only forgave us but laid His life down in payment for our shortcomings, impatience, intolerance, selfishness and more, even before we could even apologize, even while we were still His enemies. Now that is love! We can surely be thankful for it. I am, and so it only behooves us to be as He is, by His grace. Only by living as He lived can I know that I mean what I say when I say I am grateful to Him.
If there is anything I can or should do to “mend fences” with you, our neighbors, please tell me. I would like to have that privilege. Paul, you mentioned those other people to whom I sent that letter. If you wish, I would be glad to apologize to you in their audience, however way you choose that is right and good, whether personally, by email or whatever. If you wish, you may send them this letter.
Again, I am sorry I hurt you. Will you forgive me? Thank you for receiving this letter.
There was no reply from Sherri or Paul.
June 30, 2017: They have not forgiven me and have done no business with us since. Sherri did drop by once out of curiosity to see what was happening when she heard the Bensons were gone. She purchased nothing; too busy salivating.