We recently experienced some major triumphs, walking with a family of five through a difficult time. We found beautiful heart connections with these new friends, who left home and family in another state to make a clean start. To begin with, the husband and wife are just a year younger than our oldest child. And as I celebrate my ten-year survivorship of breast cancer, I also have the privilege of marking my journey by “adopting” this grieving wife whose mother,  my age, passed away of breast cancer earlier this year. What a joy it is to be able to love the entire family on their amazing journey out of darkness into light!

Now the husband and wife have asked to be baptized. We are grateful for the relationships taking deep root as we spend time together, affirming their new identities in Jesus, listening to their stories and marveling at the goodness of God. Read below and know that this is barely scratching the surface of two glorious stories of redemption!

Her story:

As one of 12 children, I had a very traumatic childhood – seeing things a child should not see. No one ever taught me about God, but still I knew God was real. I felt like I didn’t “belong” and I wanted a different life… But I didn’t know how to find it. I left home at an early age, seeking but never finding that better life.  Fast forward to early this year. My husband and I had enough of the broken life we were living. We knew we were headed for total destruction. But God, in His love, brought us here [to Olive Branch]! “Take every chain that kept us slaves and throw them off,” the group Skillet sings. That is what is happening to us! Today I am forgiven, and I am also able to forgive.  My past will not haunt me anymore! Ezekiel 36:26 says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you… ” God is almighty and all powerful! Now I have love to give and a testimony to share. Chains are breaking and I am coming alive again! In Jesus, the best is yet to come….

His story:

I was raised in the street in California. Even though I believed there was a God, I lived what I saw and knew. So when I was only 12, I started throwing my life away. I was serving the wrong master. Before long I was in a very dark place, dominated by anger at home and at work, numbing my reality with the wrong things. All the people surrounding me were in trouble just like me.  But prayer changes everything! My sister, who once was lost like me, began praying for me. At age 32, I woke up. I knew if I stayed where I was I would not live. I knew I needed to lead my family out, to leave the darkness and start over. In the spring of this year we moved. That was a miracle!  God plucked us up and put us here! We are sober. God blessed me with good work, and He is making me a true husband and the leader of my family. I have Christian friends. I see God, I feel God, I know He is working in my life! When I am frustrated I don’t get angry anymore. I pray. They were still battles to fight, but I am ready. Nothing will  be impossible for God! I am reborn.

Everything is new! What a witness of the Lord’s great love.

2 Cor. 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ , he is a new creation; the old  things passed away, behold new things have come.”

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