18 January 2019

Skating & Ice Cream

     Last week, children staying on Open Door Mission's campus were able to go ice skating in the Capitol District AND eat ice cream from Ted and Wally's. They had such a blast, thank you for all involved! 




Taylor Clinch 
Permanent Supportive Housing Director
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17 January 2019

Cold Weather Gear

Thank you NEBRASKA TITLE COMPANY for hosting a drive for cold weather gear. We appreciate all the blankets, coats, gloves and socks! 







Candace Gregory
President/CEO
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16 January 2019

Little Caesers

We love ❤️ Little Caesars. Locally, they bring their Love Kitchen at least once a year to feed the hungry and homeless on Campus. It starts at the top with their commitment to Love Kitchen, trickles down to their franchises and management. Plus, they donate pizza 🍕 on a monthly basis! Thanks Dean and team.







Candace Gregory
President/CEO
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15 January 2019

The Gospel of Jesus Christ

     Today, during my last meeting for case management/discipleship, I met with Steve who is in our Journey to Work program. He had made a ton of progress on his Bible packets and was asking a lot of questions about the Bible and redemption. 

     So with it being my last meeting, I could either end the meeting at the normal time and use my last hour to wrap up all of my paperwork and head home, or, I could use that last hour and make extra time to dive into the Bible with this man. As you could probably guess I chose to  share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

    Praise God that Jesus has been calling this man to himself and he has finally answered the call! He made a decision to repent of his sins, put his faith in Jesus and start living a new life. Praise God that he is at work even at the end of the day when you're ready to go home.







Jacob Carr
Recovery Case Manager
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14 January 2019

Salvation

     A man named Chuck came to me to ask me about something. Much like the lame man that laid at the temple, who asked Peter and John for something. Peter and John told the man, "Silver and gold have I none but in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." That man's life was changed that very moment. 
     This man Chuck heard the gospel. He had told me that he was going to hell. He believed the gospel message and afterwords knew that he has eternal life in Jesus Christ. Praise God. Pray for Chuck's spiritual growth. 







Greg Johnston
Health Care Case Manager
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11 January 2019

Cease Striving


The following is a song written and played at graduation by New Life Recovery Student Joel McGrath: 

VERSE 1: 
Let me tell you a story, ‘bout a man, who been lost so long been lookin’ for a song 
To bring meaning, maybe a new start – to breathe life into an empty cold and broken heart

I’ve given him dreams, and visions, some fulfilled some lost but with choices bad or good, 
woulda coulda should, either way – there’s a cost

CHORUS 1:
So I say to him cease striving, and know, that I – I am God
You will seek, and find – but it’s only when you seek, with all your heart

VERSE 2: 
Let me tell you a story, ‘bout a man, whom I call my child my friend
Only one thing he needs to know – He is my son, whom I love with him, I am well pleased

But he been tryin’ to earn my love with religion and performance  
But with time he’s realizin’ that all his strivin’, is of little importance

CHORUS 2:
So I say to him be a man, set free, surrender your life to me
For I am all, you need, in your heart I’ve planted a seed

BRIDGE:
Might as well let go and give me the pain – the loss, fear and regret, the guilt and shame
I see your heart, I know your cause – it’s not for fame it’s not for applause
I will prune, mold and refine - in my perfect timing like the noonday sun, I’ll let it shine

CHORUS (2X):
So I say to him cease striving, and know, that I – I am God
You will seek, and find – but it’s only when you seek, with all your heart

So I say to him be a man, set free, surrender your life to me
For I am all, you need, in your heart I’ve planted a seed







Joel David McGrath
New Life Recovery Program Graduate
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10 January 2019

Joyful & Fruitful Chapel

     I was asked to do the chapel service yesterday. Joyful singing of hymns, testimonies of God's goodness and the Gospel was presented from Revelation 21 and 1 John 5. A few men and a lady made professions of faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior and a Bible was given out, all for the glory God. Thanks for your partnership and prayers in the glorious Gospel of Christ. Philippians 1:3-6







Ed Schoenberger
GTMC Floor Support Worker
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09 January 2019

Christmas Blessings

The Open Door Mission team was able to help even on Christmas EVE:

 A single dad and 15-year-old son who got to Omaha at 1:00 am. we were able to house and provide Christmas gifts.

A single mom had all her paperwork and was coming to get gifts for her children. This obviously was new to her. She hadn’t signed up. We were able to get toys from the extra at Lydia House. 

A mom, dad, and sibling were flown in to Children's Hospital from western Nebraska because the daughter was unconscious and feared she was going to die. She is doing remarkably better and we were able to help out with clothes for family and a distraction for the sibling. Dad is a real cowboy. He had boots with spurs on them. They did not have time to bring anything.

We had a donor call earlier in the week and was afraid she would not be able to bring her adopt a gifts as her children were sick and her husband was in the hospital with two broken arms. She said she would try her best. She called and was able to bring the presents. I suggested she wrap her husband in bubble wrap from now on and she laughed. He broke his arms falling at indoor baseball practice. He is a coach.

The Project Santa program served more than 6,007 children in need.

Adopt a Guest program provided more than 816 men, women and children with wrapped gifts on Christmas Morning.







Candace Gregory
President/CEO
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08 January 2019

God is All Around

     Every point of our Mission serves hurting people. I was the line attendant in  the Toy and Joy shop and met a woman we will call Elisa. 

     Elisa had 3 kids and was looking forward to a 4th. Well, that was until last week when she had a miscarriage at 30 weeks. Obviously, grief was still touching her and her family. She talked about how they lost their apartment in this time due to the hospital stay and they were now living with family. I pointed her to Open Door Mission's Permanent Supportive Housing as an option for her family in the future, but more importantly, I was able to pray with her. I was able to pray for her husband and 12-year-old daughter who was really taking it hard. She was terrified her mother was going to die too. 

     Our God is active all around in peoples lives and it is essential we reach out to them and remind (for the first time) them of God's love and care, in spite of the horrible times. Continue to pray for those we serve and your brothers and sisters serving.







Taylor Clinch
Permanent Supportive Housing Director
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07 January 2019

Overwhelmed

     Working in full time ministry, especially during the holidays, can be exhausting. Our work-load is never ending and we can feel overwhelmed. I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel like I am failing God when I start feeling overwhelmed. But I am reminded that the Bible tells us that it's OK that we get tired; it says "His power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12.9). God is not disappointed by our exhaustion, but he also doesn't want to leave us in that place. 

     Praying that God encourages your heart today. 
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).







Amy Buss
Human Resources
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04 January 2019

Immanuel - God with Us!

Today I'm at work on Christmas Day.  It's a reminder we have hope in Jesus Christ.  We celebrate the birth of the perfect Savior who is Immanuel--God with us!  It's also a reminder that God brings people here to Open Door Mission everyday that do not have this hope, that are searching, wondering what they believe.


20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[f] because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[g] (which means “God with us”).--Matthew 1:20-23

Just the last 2 days, these are some ways the Lord has brought divine appointments here at Lydia House.
  
--A mom of 4 kids, her parents and her husband's mom passed away, has a broken marriage with her husband and is desiring to repair it.  When I asked what she believed in she said, "Honestly, I don't know anymore. I know there is a higher power and people say I need to turn to God, but I just don't understand why things like this are happening."  I shared the Good News of the Gospel and shared the hope of Jesus--God with Us and invited her to come to church and learn even more about Jesus.  

--A single mom that won’t be able to see her kids until tomorrow was feeling sad because she can’t see her kids Christmas Day.  I reminded her of the Good News of the Gospel.  That it’s not about a day, we can celebrate Jesus everyday and think how blessed your kids will get to have 2 Christmas’s.  She then shared about how she has felt spiritually dead and is wanting to grow more and struggles with boundaries.  I shared about being in community and not just attending church but actually getting poured into.  I encouraged her to find people way more spiritually along and older than she is so she can learn from them.  She said she realizes she worries more about others than herself and needs to focus on herself and letting the Lord work in her life.

--A single dad with 2 kids who has made bad choices and struggles to follow rules.  I shared with him the Good News of Christ.  He said I keep making bad choices and I attract the wrong kind of people.  I shared the hope that Jesus brings us.  He said I know but I am Mexican and worry I won't be accepted in Church since the only churches I have been to are all white.  I shared with him some more diverse churches that pick up at Lydia House and said it's about a relationship with Jesus that brings us hope and changes our life forever.  He said he would check them out.


These are some situations you can lift up in prayer, that these people would meet Jesus in real and tangible ways.  I am reminded especially today, but every day that it is about Immanuel-God with us.  It is about bringing hope to those here on Christmas Day and every day they are here.  Hope is not found in social services, having money, having a place to call their own.  It’s so much more than that, it’s about Jesus because Jesus changes our lives, marriages, homes, hearts, character, behavior and our attitude.  And we have the privilege of sharing that hope with those around us everyday!


Jeff Wilson says: "The Christmas hope (Immanuel) is also a present hope – those who seek God, who come to God through His Son, will be sustained through present sufferings and will know peace and purpose in this life.

So, for grieving widows to abuse survivors to those suffering illness, disease, depression, doubt and fear.

For those who have made bad choices and despair of ever being able to repair what has been broken as a result of those choices.

For those who have experienced or are experiencing heartbreaking and confusing loss.

For those who were not loved growing up and have developed a hard layer to try to deaden the pain and insulate from any more pain.

For the widows alone, unable to sleep at night, remembering nights past and the laughter of family filling the house.

For the parents who feel overwhelmed and wonder how to build a family.

For those who feel insignificant …. lost …. alone.

For those who are weary and ready to give up.

For those who worry that the hour is too late for them to return.

This night, and the birth of this Child so long ago is meant to bring the hope of salvation.

He came to bring light to the world.

He is the gift.

May this gift bring you the hope of the realization that you are loved. The hope that a way to God has been made for you. That abundant life and abundant living can be found even here and even now."







Trudy Cummings
Lydia House Director
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18 December 2018

Toy & Joy Warehouse

     This is the project that the team has been hard at work at for the last few weeks. They transformed the warehouse into the Toy and Joy Shop. It looks amazing. A special thank you to Amy and Jason and their team’s and hundreds of volunteers. 2018 Project Santa has already served over 1,000+ needy children! 







Candace Gregory
President/CEO

17 December 2018

Project Santa Toy Drive with KFAB & KGOR

     Thank you to everyone who dropped off new toys for Project Santa during our remote broadcast with NewsRadio 1110 KFAB at Dingman’s Collision Center (144th and Industrial) today. You can still donate toys through the end of next week at Dingman’s and other KFAB Project Santa drop off locations or bring them to our Timberlake Outreach Center or Elkhorn Donation Center.







Kristen Dineen
Public Relations Coordinator
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14 December 2018

A New Life

     My name is Erick Gomez. I was born and raised Omaha, Nebraska. I lived with my mom Lorraine, stepfather Ines and four sisters. When I was a child, I was abused physically by my stepfather. I felt he did that because I was not his biological child. So, I moved in with my great grandparents Eva and Frank. I then started to attend church almost every Sunday with my grandfather. He also happened to have a terrible drinking problem. 

     One Sunday when I was 12 years old, my grandfather and I attended church and afterward he took me to my mom’s house so he could go to the bar and have a few beers. I argued because I did not want him to go, but he did anyways. Later that day, my grandmother sent my cousin to look for my grandfather because he had not come home yet. He looked everywhere. When he finally found him, my grandfather was unconscious and bleeding from his head. We found out my grandfather fell down the stairs and cracked his head open. He lost his memory, could not walk and he barely talked. 

     That really hurt. I began to smoke marijuana, drink alcohol, hang around gang members, and involved myself in criminal activity. By this point, I was moving from friend’s house to friend’s house. 

     When I was about 16, I got very sick and my mom, who I was staying with at the time, thought I had a flu so she gave me some flu medicine. A couple of days later, I couldn't walk or hold my head up. My mother saw how bad I looked and took me to hospital. They had to do emergency surgery and the doctor said if I was a young kid or an older person, I probably would have died. I then had to learn how to walk and talk all over again. 

     One day when I was at my mom’s house, she received a call from my grandmother saying my grandfather has passed. That really hurt me bad. I once again started drinking, smoking marijuana and doing methamphetamine. I then joined a gang in south Omaha and dropped out of school. This caused me to move in with one of my friends. I met a girl that lived across the street from him named Clair. Together, we had my first child, Alivia. That made me slow down a little and I began to work and try to start a family. 

     One day, I received a phone call from my mom saying my grandma Eva had passed away due to her age. I did not take that very well and started on my drug addiction again. I began to shoot methamphetamine up and not being at home like a father should. 

     I went to jail a lot. But this last time they were going to send me to prison for 2 to 5 years for stealing a car and fleeing from the police. I was in jail and my girlfriend and my daughter came to visit me. She told me enough was enough. They were not going be in my life if I did not change. 

     After that, I switched into the cell called God mod. I began to read the Bible, attend Bible classes and learn about our savior Jesus Christ. 

     It was December last year I spoke with my lawyer and asked if I could go to a drug program instead of going to prison. On December 21st, they called me for court and the judge gave me a signature bond to Open Door Mission. I could not believe it! My prayers began to get answered. 

     I arrived at Open Door Mission ready to change my life and continue to find Christ. The blessing began for me. I found my grandfather, John, on my dad's side of the family which I have not seen since I was a little kid. We have a great relationship and he’s in my life, my daughter's and my wife's. The last Saturday of October I got my GED and also got married to Clair. I am also planning to attend college to learn a trade in HVAC. 

     My life is finally coming together. I am a great husband, father, stepfather, and a leader in Christ for my family like I was raised to be.  I want to thank Open Door Mission for everything they have done for me and my family. I would also like to thank my wife, mom, step-dad, and my brothers and sisters of Christ. I would like to close by reading one of my favorite bible verses Psalm 19:14. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight Lord my rock and my redeemer.







Erick
New Life Recover Program Graduate
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13 December 2018

Channel 94.1 Visits the Lydia House

     A photo shoot with babies and toddlers - what was I thinking?? Thank you to Channel 94.1’s team for ALL their smiles. YOU can pick up your special Christmas Card when you drop off your Diapers on Friday, Saturday or Sunday at the Linden Market Hy Vee at 132nd and Dodge. 







Candace Gregory
President/CEO
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12 December 2018

Olive Garden for Dinner

     Christmas Season, the season of giving which started with gift of Jesus over 2000 years ago. We now find new ways of celebrating that gift with gifts from our heart to those God has placed in our lives. The wonderful folks from the metro area Olive Garden Restaurants came to us to serve their wonderful cuisine to our guest. The staff made the desserts they served tonight. 







Steve Frazee
Senior Program Director
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11 December 2018

Toy & Joy Shop

     Piper is busy filling the stocking stuffer bins! The Open Door Mission’s Project Santa’s Toy and Shop served more than 1,000 children in its first 2 days! Could you donate just 2 hours of your time - they need us and we need you! Visit www.opendoormission.org and click on the Holiday Volunteer button.







Candace Gregory
President/CEO
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10 December 2018

Shop with a Cop

     Thank you to the Omaha Police Officers and Walmart for a successful Santa's Shop with a Cop event. Helping make this Christmas one to remember for the children staying at Lydia House. The children got to pick out clothing and toys they would enjoy.







Steve Frazee
Senior Program Director
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07 December 2018

A New Life

     HEY NOW! My name is Mark and I came to the Open Door Mission one year ago. I lost my self-respect, my family, my child, and my car. I was tired of getting high, shoplifting, and asking for money. I hurt my mother and father to the point that they would not talk to me. With all of my options used up, I came to the Open Door mission and joined the New Life Recovery Program. 

     For the first time in my life, it was up to me and I wanted to change my life. I had never opened up the Bible or even had Jesus in my life. As time went on, I learned more and more about His grace and mercy. All I had to do was accept the free gift that was always there. At the Mission, I learned to pray and read the Bible and build a fellowship with my brothers that are true, meaningful, and real. Also, through the testimony of others, I learned of their struggles as they learned of mine. The Mission kept me busy working and learning about Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. 

     As time went on, God began to renew my heart and mind. I was baptized on April 8, 2019 at City Light in Midtown. I became a new creation. The old has gone and the new has come. I pray everyday for his guidance and truly believe I cannot do this alone. Blessings come every day in Christ Jesus and I believe that He has a plan for me.

     I plan on staying here at Open Door Mission and joining the Urban Ministry Program and also get a job. I believe I need the structure and continued sober living environment. I will succeed in this life and will be prepared for life everlasting. Thank you to Jesus and Open Door Mission for saving my life. 

     I will sign off with my favorite bible verse which is Matthew 5:9. "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." 

     I would like to dedicate this day to my daughter Jenna, who was sadly killed in a car crash 4 years ago. 







Mark
New Life Recovery Program Graduate
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05 December 2018

Toy & Joy Shop

     Yesterday marked a big milestone for Open Door Mission: The first day of the Toy and Joy Shop. I was asked to help from 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. and what an experience that was! In total, the Toy and Joy Shop served 550 children, and getting to be a part of that process was truly an honor. 

     As I was standing with the men and women awaiting their turn to shop for their children, they would share with me a little bit of their story.... 

"The father of my child left and it is just me looking after our son. I  am really struggling being able to afford all of it." 

"I was just diagnosed with breast cancer. As a single mom, I can't keep a job and I do not have any money to put Christmas presents under the tree." 

"I graduated from the New Life Recovery Program and Open Door Mission is the reason I am still standing here, but I am having trouble finding housing. I am so thankful for everything that you have done and continue to do for me." 

     These are just a few snippets from different testimonies I was able to hear yesterday. What a blessing! 

     My heart was overflowing with gratitude, because the employees of Open Door Mission could NOT do this without the help of our community. Thank you to the donors who stock the shelves with toys, thank you to the volunteers who help make things run smoothly, thank you to the prayer warriors who bless this place, thank you to everyone involved who make this event happen for boys and girls in need. 







Lauren Catlett
Digital Communications Coordinator
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03 December 2018

Christmas Is Coming

     It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Lydia House! Thanks to this little guy for helping us decorate the tree. What a blast! 







Lydia House Staff
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30 November 2018

The Armor of God

     My name is William Knudsen. I was born in April of 1969. The first 10 years of my life I
Witnessed and was subjected to mental, physical, and sexual abuse and violence no child should ever see; as well as the death of my mother, due to drugs and alcohol. As a result of this, I was put in group homes, foster homes, and reform schools at the age of 8. As an adult starting at age 18, I began the first of my 7 prison numbers, accumulating approximately 17 years of my adult life locked up. I was roaming through life, broken as broken can be, and lost in the world of chaos that I created. Last year in February, life started taking a different turn for me. While in jail, my eyes began to open to the word of God. I was led to Romans 7 where Paul talks about the struggle with sin. And as I began to look more closely into the contents of the Bible, the words came alive for me. I saw all my struggles in life were there.

     Wanting to understand more, the more I studied, the more answers I received. In my immaturity, I found out how easy it is to take back my will after giving it to God. Three months back into my addictive sinful behavior, I was once again involved in an incident that would almost cost me my life.

     On October 6, 2017, I was life flighted from Norfolk, Nebraska to Omaha with a collapsed lung from three stab wounds to the back and a would-be fatal stab wound to the head where the knife was broken off and lodged through the skull. In order to remove the blade, a piece of my skull had to be removed with it.

     By the grace of God and his amazing healing power, I found myself here at Open Door mission exactly 30 days later. As we learn that nothing is coincidence, I must share how fast this happened. 6 days in the hospital, 11 days in jail, and I picked up an application for the New Life Recovery Program. When I called to bring the application in, Pat told me, " Bring your things and be ready to start." I was amazed at how quickly this was happening. I also remember my Parole Officer telling me, "Don't think you are going to wait 2-3 months to get in to a program." So, reluctantly, I showed up November 6, 2017 to start my new life.

     After a few days here, I sat down with my case manager and explained to him that this was not what I was expecting. So, Jake told me to give it a week. If I still feel the same, we will try finding something else. After a few more days, I forgot all about leaving. I immersed myself into classes and studying the word. Another 2 weeks and I unexpectedly received the Running the Race award. So, to better understand what this meant, I read how Paul describes running the race. And being a long distance runner, I immediately understood perseverance. And for me, it was always a push to the next mile. Life is the same way.

     Before I knew it, I began to see the blessings Pat talks about, such as the restored relationships with my son, my daughter, and as well as the relationship with their mother, as well as my family, who I hurt with my behavior.

     God has blessed me. I program that paid $85,000 to cure my Hepatitis C. He has blessed me with the ability to be able to hike up a 14,000 ft. mountain, and the feelings and emotions of that are beyond words.

     But most of all, he has placed in my path a support team of Godly men and women to help me continue my walk with him. 

     It didn't matter that this took eleven days shy of a year to achieve this goal to graduate, because now I have committed myself to the next two years with Steve Frazee, Open Door Mission's Senior Program Director, in the TUMI Urban Ministry program so I can learn how to minister and be a productive disciple for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And I thank him for each and every member of staff at the Open Door mission. 

     It is difficult to pick a favorite scripture when so many have meaning for me. But every day is a battle. There are things from my past that still need worked on, there are people who still remember the old me and are still going to condemn me for these old ways. So every day I must armor up with the whole armor of God. 

     So I will leave you with Ephesians, 6:10-18, Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

    And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.







William
New Life Recovery Program Graduate 
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