Write In

We all have a story.  My greatest privilege is to sit across from someone and hear their story. Whether they are sitting across from me in my office or across a table of pizza sitting at a cute Italian pizza place, that I often sit at (ahem….Bambinos) I love to hear where a person came from, highs and lows, joys and pains and what lessons were learned along the way.

I have had the great honor of hearing the story of someone who just recently threw their hat into the ring as a write-in for Lincoln County Sheriff. As a daughter of veterans I tend to gravitate toward anyone who served our country knowing they certainly live with a sense of honor and loyalty to our country and to the citizens who call our land home.

So often a person’s story is so full of drama that I imagine it could truly be made into a movie. Only once have I actually met someone who was literally offered a script and a contract for their story. I read the script and it was full of drama for sure as only Hollywood can do. This veteran and gentleman put family first and declined the fame and fortune. That movie would have ended when this veteran and sheriff was 33 years old with 15 years of service already in. I met his beautiful wife who is more than willing to support her husband as he desires to walk back into the world of law enforcement to support and protect the people of Lincoln county.

Thankfully Marlyn Woodward has lived a few more chapters in his life story and has continued to be a voice for veterans and for the citizens of any community he has chosen to live in.

We all have a story. Some parts (or scenes) we wish could be edited out but every moment every experience good or bad, joy or pain, right or wrong has shaped us to be the person we are today.

These are some difficult times that we are living in. A lot of anger and negativity. We need brave people who are willing to speak up and face the darkness head-on.  I found one! Yep, I met him, sat across from him and his wife sharing a tasty pizza and I heard his story, the whole story, edited scenes and all and he gets my vote.

This November I will be writing in Woodward for Sheriff casting my vote for a veteran, husband, father, and grampa who is willing to use all the wisdom he has gained along the way fully confident he will speak the truth and push for positive change.  

 

 

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Springtime Memory

The smell and sounds of melting snow.

It opens my mind and heart to thoughts of new life and new beginnings.
The beauty and view of deep white piles of snow will soon melt replaced by images of grass and flowers and budding leaves.

If I close my eyes today I can smell the aroma that only melting winter snow brings. Though it’s not every day there will always be one day when the temperature  is just perfect, when the sun is shining just bright enough when I can smell the memory of springtime as a little girl… That perfect moment must be when Springtime and Winter are sharing a day as they gently transition our bodies, clothes, and energy to the new season we are walking into.

  On that perfect day in an always surprising moment I catch the perfect scent of melting snow and I can see myself at the  age of 6 or 7 and I am walking on a sidewalk. I can see my shoes and I can hear the sound of each step I take on the now mostly dry pavement. No longer winter boots on snow but shiny spring shoes as I am careful to  step away from the melting puddles.  It was like a fun game of hopscotch stepping only on dry ground keeping my spring shoes clean and pretty.

It’s always a brief memory yet it always warms my heart taking me back to carefree days of childhood.

Springtime is emerging and starting to bring it’s warmth as we walk out of the chill of winter.  Today the snow is melting from the rooftop and the drying March wind is doing it’s part as well.


That perfect day for a springtime memory may soon arrive and I wait in anticipation! What hope there is in knowing that God created the seasons and that every warm spring has burst forth from every cold winter bringing thoughts of new life and new beginnings once again.

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The Virus and Natural Immunity

After one year and 11 months of waiting we finally developed the long awaited symptoms that seemed like the flu or a cold until the loss of sense of smell recognizing the tell-tale sign of the Corona Virus. I may be the only person but I felt compelled to test this loss by smelling everything in the house that should have a strong aroma; nope, nothing, nada. As of day 12 it started to return which I am grateful for many lose it for many weeks or months.

I am beyond thrilled to have developed natural immunity from ever getting this virus again as well as any ‘variants’ as that is how the Creator made our immune system to respond. Telling only a few close friends that I tested positive as I knew I would hear what we actually did hear, “Oh, you didn’t get the vaccine? Well, then I don’t feel sorry for you at all”. I don’t need anyone to feel sorry for me-at all. I only need people to allow me the freedom to live and treat my body in the way I want to. I worked hard to strengthen my immune system for the past year and 11 months, not wearing a mask unless mandated through my employer or to shop in a store that required it. I pumped gas and then ate a snack with the same fingers that just touched the gas pump that had any number of germs and bacteria. I took weekly dose of hydroxychloroquine and daily doses of D3, Vitamin C, and Quercetin with Zinc. I also know that eating all that my husband makes has increased my risk as obesity is the number one risk factor for getting this virus. Still choosing to live fearlessly I travelled by car and plane, went to church, went out to eat and to the movies and got together with other fearless friends and family members.

I am bummed to have missed two weeks of work as I love what I do and so enjoy working with everyone I am blessed to meet. I was ‘released’ from isolation 10 days from start of symptoms but because I continued to have a fever and some other symptoms I could not yet return to work. A virus is real, fevers are real, coughs and low oxygen levels are also real symptoms. I read today the good news that the CDC has no information of an unvaccinated person who contracted Covid and recovered to get Covid again and transmit Covid to another person. I also read today and listened to Bill Gates share that the vaccine does not prevent transmission or stop Covid which thousands have already discovered. I have many more thoughts but I know at this point in time people have taken clear sides on their beliefs in regard to this topic.

I was certain I would have contracted this virus long before now but grateful for finally having the immunity now as research has shown that my natural immunity should be good for decades, never needing a pharmaceutical booster with ingredients that could have great risk for long term harm to my body.

Tonight I still cough a little, tire easily, starting to smell some aromas, and remain a follower of Jesus -the God who created me. I may never again travel to Haiti or see distant countries getting to focus on the beauty of this great country; one day travelling to many states I have yet to visit. There is a war and I am actively engaged in this spiritual battle. I pray for protection over my family, friends and all those whom I am have been blessed to meet.

I have been released.

Well, once my car is repaired from the buck damage and once Randy gets the key I just got stuck in his ignition I will be going places…

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Her Tea Cup

This November 5th morning I chose her tea cup.  I still clearly see her sipping on this cup – a part of her pretty ‘antique’ set that she grew old with.  

As I start this day I honor the day she entered the world in the very early 1920’s and a world so very different from the one I woke up to. Mom rarely mentioned the hard parts of growing up but enjoyed sharing the better parts with me; getting her first job and buying her father his first pair of new ‘overalls’, learning how to sew, budget and manage a home at the boarding school she attended, being a maid to the wealthier families in Milwaukee during the summers and having fun on their weekly “maids day off”,  waitressing at a fine restaurant overlooking the making of Mt. Rushmore and having her picture taken with the patrons to be captured in all her beauty as a Native young woman.

This year I am additionally grateful she entered her final destination before 2020 with all it’s drama, fear, death and hate.  I would believe she would have walked through it gracefully yet prefer she safely be right where she is forever young, safe, full of joy in the presence of Jesus and the God who created her.

 She recalls the day she glanced down into a crib and watched me sleeping and wondered how she could ever give me up.  That was a rare and tender moment of confession from a Marine -mom and I am grateful to have been loved, chosen and adopted and though I will never be the woman she was I can strive to reflect her and the God who created us both. 

The tea cup. For decades the tea cup set served her, guests, neighbors, family and even held the dye to color eggs. Today, I sip my morning coffee, in this tea cup, fondly remembering, forever grateful and wishing her a very “Happy Birthday”.

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Reflections

In so many movies I become the main character or at the very least I bond with the emotion or struggles of the heroin. Tonight I travelled on the screen to China to live alongside Mulan. I loved witnessing the transformation of the power of living in truth. Mulan’s strength was diminished and weakened because she wasn’t living fully in the truth of who she truly was and hiding the gifts she was given. She was fully female and fully a warrior. She came to a crossroads and knew it was time to reveal the complete and total truth to her own heart and to those who had the power to destroy her.

I know I have struggled with my identity and maybe that is why I have so much fun and freedom in the true and make believe stories of women who find themselves and conquer fear or pain or loss. Stories like Rose floating on a Titanic door as Jack sank to the bottom of the ocean and found the strength to blow the whistle in her frozen mouth and live a long life beyond the trauma and loss.  Then there is Cinderella who doesn’t give up no matter how horrible she is treated and in the end gets to live forever in a castle with a king who recognizes her true beauty and worth beneath her ragged exterior. There is the true story of Queen Esther which has been my longtime heroin who revealed her Jewish ancestry at the risk of death to save her people. Just for fun and completely not true is my most recent heroin and strong fighter for justice; Wonder Woman!  She is the perfect blend of strength, beauty, innocence and fully living in the truth of who she was ‘created’ to be, at least by Hollywood.

Christina Aquilera sang the movie’s theme song, Reflection first 22 years ago and I only remember it 21 years ago on the radio and crying because my world was turned upside down and I was struggling to discover who I was.  I cried nearly every time it came on the radio back then and tonight as I hear it again over two decades later the tears fall again.  Though my hair is greying and I am a gramma I am still in the process of becoming who I am supposed to be and most days I do look in the mirror and wonder ‘who is that girl I see staring straight back at me’. Tonight as I looked up as the words were being so beautifully sung on my t.v. screen I saw our huge family mirror and to the right is a framed photo of a barely one year old ‘staring straight back at me’ and that little girl was me.  The photo was taken soon after arriving to my new foster family along with my older brother.

Today in 2020 I do not believe I am fully living in the truth of what I was created for. I so often hold back from what I truly want to say when I fully believe that what I should be saying is the truth that brings freedom. Words that I want to speak or write that I believe may bring hope yet fear of something…rejection or offending someone? 

 What is in a name? Mulan. Cinderella. Wonder woman. Queen Esther. I have always struggled with my name. I thought it plain and did not reflect my personality. Sue. Ann. I have wanted to be referred by the last name I was given in adoption because it seemed more fun and more reflective of the family I grew up in; Murphy.  I love in the Bible how people were given a new name when God revealed their destiny or calling. I have looked up my name in different languages finding one that I actually liked with Sue coming from Susan which came from the Hebrew word Shoshana. Ahh, now that is a pretty name, right? Shoshana.

 At least God knows exactly who I am and He knew the names I would be give whether through birth or adoption or marriage. The time is drawing nearer to where I will no longer be silent or hold back the truth to which I am called to speak.  Tonight I saw Mulan as a warrior kicking away arrows that were meant to kill others. Every day I see the ‘arrows’ of addiction as they pierce so many hearts, lives and families. I see arrows of lies. Arrows of deceit. Arrows named ‘abuse’. Arrows of violence.  I want to stop every one. I see fears of an unseen virus with so many willing to wear a mask yet seeing so many opening their lives and homes to drugs, alcohol, abuse, and hate and I have remained silent and people are hurting as the arrows continue to bring wounds, heartache and even death.

So, today with the help of the God who made me and gently spoke to me through a make believe movie and through a beautiful voice singing the song from 22 years ago. He is reminding me when I look in the mirror I will see that I reflect my Creator, my Savior and my Redeemer and I am to live and speak lovingly and courageously in that truth.  I was once lost and now I’m found.

 I may never be Wonder Woman, Queen Esther, Mulan, Cinderella or even Rose floating on a door in the ocean.   I am the little girl in the photo on my wall still in the process of becoming who I was created to be. And I am … Shoshanna.  Ok, fine. Just call me…

SuAnne

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I am… Alcohol

Let me introduce myself though I have a vague memory that we have met before…

I go by many names and have a variety of wonderful purposes in the lives of the broken, hurting as well as the supposedly happy. I am not ashamed to say that my ultimate goal in those who know me intimately is to destroy you. I desire your life and if that is not possibly I will destroy your dreams, your relationships, take your joy, your hope, your health and those you love.
There are few who see me as a casual acquaintance and find that I may just “taste great on a hot day” or that I am “tasty with a good meal”. I am ok with that because I know that our casual friendship will one day open the door to my greater entrance into their lives to allow me to start the destruction I desire.
I love that I can arrive into people’s lives in any shape, size, flavor or cost packaged in bright or dark colors in boxes, bottles or cans. I have no preference as whatever package gets me into your home and into your body and mind is all I care about.
Actually I have been very proud that I have the power that I do; I can change emotions from sad to happy. Of course, there are more times that my preference is to change laughter to great rage or hopeless despair; it just fits my agenda so much better. I am clever, yes, and to share my tricks and plans now does not worry me as my power is indestructible.
I am your reward at the end of a “hard day”, don’t you deserve a sip of me? I am the numb-er of your feelings. You shouldn’t have to feel that pain, that heartache, remember that horrible event? “Let me shut your mind down, you will feel so much better”. Are you worried about sleeping tonight? Those dreams? That darkness? Yes, “Here. I. Am. Let me help.”
I have the great ability to weave my way into generations and I recall when I first met your great- great- great- Grandpa and then your great-great-Grandma. Oh, and a few of your Aunts and Uncles…Sorry I am taking too much time cherishing these fond memories.
It makes my job so much easier if my generational curse – oh, let’s call it my “persuasion” that’s a nicer word, yes, my… persuasion continues without anyone breaking away from me. It has happened. Someone has broken free from me and those individuals have my greatest respect and well, hatred, as that break starts to free those who follow behind them. Sadly, I have lost generations of families when just. one. Breaks. Free.
My last trick I will share with you now is how I love to meet your children as young as I can. I laugh when I coax someone to offer a taste of me to their children and especially those cute little babies! I just hang out in their body ever so quietly until the moment when they are a little older and I gently lure them to that almost empty can or that bottle in the cupboard and whisper how wonderful I taste. How fun I am!
I am not limited to what lengths I will go to destroy you, your children, your life, your hopes, your dreams and goals. My desire is for your destruction. Let it be my Christmas gift to you this year that you meet me in a more intimate way and let us together journey down this path that I might meet your children and your children’s children….
Sincerely yours,
Alcohol

Dear friend,
It is my hope you have never known the destruction that alcohol can bring to your family, hopes and dreams. IF you have, then know that alcohol’s power is not indestructible. The generational curse or persuasion can be broken.
It only takes you.
For the majority of people I know alcohol in any form or package should be seen as poison. As the destroyer of dreams. As the end of your goals. As the break-er of relationships. As… death.
It is packaged beautifully for the holidays in colors of red and green, snow scenes and smiling faces. Do not let it fool you as for most it is only repackaged ‘spirits’ as it was once rightly called. A spirit of destruction. Yes, these are strong words from a person who has known the pain, heartache, and loss that alcohol brings to a family.
You are loved. There is hope. You can. Break. Free. You can live. You can see your dreams fulfilled, relationship restored, goals met and experience joy and peace once again. Your children and your children’s children will never have to walk the journey of pain, heartache and destruction.
You were created to live… really live.

Have a Blessed Christmas and a hope filled New Year!

SuAnne

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Onward and Upward Even Though… It’s Been 20 Years

How long has it been since your greatest trauma or tragedy occurred? Mine was 20 years ago.

Exactly 20 years ago today I was 2 days from getting that middle of the night phone call waking me out of a dead sleep, “SuAnne, are you awake I have to tell you something?”  I answered that I was awake as obviously I stumbled to the house phone in the living room to answer it so I must be mostly awake.  The caller was a coworker of my husbands and asked me a second time if I was awake. I answered again that I was. It was then that I heard there may have been a bad accident though the caller wouldn’t say for certain as he was called by another coworker that sounded hysterical and drunk.  He thought it true enough to call me in the middle of the night to fully wake me and share what he believed to be very bad news.

As I walked away to my bedroom wondering what exactly I should be doing now as our three sons were sleeping upstairs and I needed to be there and couldn’t know for sure that anything happened at all.  It was then the phone rang again, and I was feeling grateful that this coworker was calling me back to say he was wrong and to not worry and apologize for fully waking me.   On the other end of the line I heard, “This is the Shawano County Sherriff’s department….”.

So began the turning of our world as we knew it for three boys ages 14, 10 and 7 and for me who would be tasked to press on and attempt to make sense of what happened to their father, to them and to me. 

There are so many details of pain, heartache, sadness, brokenness that I just do not want to relive again.  I want to treasure and focus on life, survival, hope and healing aware that call started a journey I never wanted to be on for me or our boys or for my best friend and husband of 18 years.  It was not supposed to end that way and yet the call did arrive, and our lives were never the same and we were all placed on a new road to journey on.

 I did press on stumbling, tripping and making many mistakes along the way, yet God has a way of healing, restoring and rebuilding.  He never once failed me…. though in the moments of greatest pain for my boys and for me…. I did wonder. It is only in the looking back that I can see His hand of mercy and grace upon us.

Having returned to school to gain a profession that could support our family I found healing and can now sit and hear the brokenness, heartache, loss and pain of others. I realize I have a measure of empathy that I gained through our tragedy; I know the emotional pain that is so real you imagine your very life should end as it hurts so deeply.  I also know the pain of hurting for others; hurting for your children and being unable to change their reality. The loss of hope for a life that will never be again.  I also know the healing and amazement of waking to realize you just lived through one more day.

I have now had nearly 20 years of waking to a new day. So much has happened; our love for Haiti following their tragic earthquake, losing my brother Mike, a brother-in-law who was another favorite uncle of my boys and so much like their dad and then my brother Rick. We’ve lost three of my parents and thankfully I gained a personal cook and husband who accepted all my baggage and brokenness for the past 16 years. I’ve watched my boys walk through their own road of pain and healing seeing their greatest healing in becoming fathers themselves.

In 20 years, those three little boys are grown and still alive and that is no small feat! They are now fathers who paint, climb trees and cook for a living and we have 10 beautiful grandchildren from 10 years old down to one. I am so grateful for each one feeling blessed to have rocked, sung and prayed over each one asking God to guide and protect them.

I have learned and now teach others the value of tears that has apparently found me once again… even though I was determined to not feel the pain today.

 So is the reality of loss, of trauma, of broken hearts and lives.  The pain lessens with time. The number of tears lessen with time.  Yet, tragedy and loss, if it has found you, will forever be a part of your story.  

I can’t go back 20 years and prepare my younger self for what was going to happen in just 2 more days, but I can focus on today and tomorrow. I am thanking God that though I didn’t ask for life to take me down this road it is my road to walk having learned He has gone before me and that He walks beside me. Know that I also look back and see how God did prepare me for what was to come before that call.  Once again it was only in the looking back that I could see His hand of love and grace upon me.

Following this 20-year anniversary I am starting a new journey in my career and I am so grateful that I can use all that I am to serve others hoping to continue to offer hope and healing for broken hearts and lives.

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The Tale of Two Mothers

It was nearly Christmas 1963 when one mother received a call confirming their foster home was able and willing to take in an almost 12 month old girl and her 4 year old brother while another mother was attempting to take care of her so that she could be reunited with her children… one day.


Through a variety of circumstance, with God weaving details and lives in a way only God can do, I and my brother Mike were both adopted being gifted with the last name Murphy. What a gift adoption is; being offered a family and a name saying… you are wanted. You belong.
We arrived into a home ran by a full-time homemaker and ex-Marine. The orderly home was exactly what these children needed; every meal at mostly the same time every day. Routine and consistency. I was expected to follow the rules without question and without complaint. (I actually think I did that pretty well until my teenager years when I decided to become a little more vocal with my opinions- not really well received. )

Fast forward to my 10th year of life to the day a car pulled up along the street in front of our house as a stranger called my name. I approached this car meeting the mother who was now ready to be reunited with her children.

She asked if I was happy and I assured her that I was. It would be nearly 20 more years before I would lay eyes on this mother again. More years later I heard that my mother -the one who worked to be reunited with her children – was offered the opportunity to have her two children that were adopted years earlier returned. That would have included that then 10 year old daughter she met on the sidewalk that summer day. It was then that she made a decision that only a mother could make. She said “no”. She said she knew the family I was adopted by was the only family I knew. This mother sacrificed what her Mother’s heart longed for to offer what she believed was best… for me.

My life continued as it had- full of safety, love, and the usual normal fun childhood experiences. I fished with Dad, cooked with Mom, pretend ironed Dad’s hankies, ran in the summer rain, snow forts in the winter with bread bags over my socks, you know, regular kids stuff prior to computers.

Being 3: A Snapshot in Time

Being raised by World War II veterans offered to me the example of responsible living while introducing me to the God who created me allowing me plenty of opportunity to grow in my faith in God (translated means we went to church…a lot.) I really tried my best to hold back my desire to be a voice for justice-though mostly justice for me at that time. I once sighed or made some groaning sound at what my mother made for supper when I was in high school and I was promptly told that I would “not be invited to join them for dinner” and that I was invited to make my own meal. I initially thought it a fairly fine idea until a few nights later she made something I really liked. Now, looking back, I actually think she just may have done that on purpose….. I was invited to re-join her and Dad for supper if I felt like I could now “accept what was prepared without complaint”, my slightly rebellious nature wanted to say, “maybe I’m not ready yet” but the pull of whatever she made won and I agreed to return to the respectful mannerly ‘no complaint’ expectation.

At the age of 40 I completed by degree as a nurse choosing to work on the reservation I was born into. It so happened that the mother who chose life for me decided to retire to her same reservation having reached 70 thinking it a good age to stop working full-time as an alcohol and drug abuse counselor.

Living on the same reservation brought many more opportunities to get to know my mother, Betty. It didn’t take long to discover where my drive to fight for justice came from as well as my story-telling gene and sense of humor. Sadly my two families collided just one year earlier at Mike’s funeral as we all mourned the loss of someone we all believed was too fun, too full of life to have ever believed he wouldn’t just always be here. Or, maybe, I always believed he would always be here…

My two mothers both loved the same children and both lost their son, Mike. Both went to Flandreau Indian Boarding school though nearly 10 years apart. Both mothers found more opportunities to connect through Tribal meetings for old-er native people and developed a friendship as widows and mothers who both loved their children,

Today is a very special day as the mother who God chose to give me life through celebrates her 86th birthday! Today also marks Day 2 in heaven for my mother – who God also chose – who gracefully stopped aging at the beautiful age of 97… now eternally young living in the presence of Jesus.

I have been doubly blessed to have two mothers. I hear from so many who had one mother who they lost so many years ago; for some when they were but a small child. I have no answer as to why I would be offered this gift of two mothers and for so many years. Though each were not perfect they each loved and love in their own way as living examples to press on and face each day with purpose. They lived in all their imperfect humanity so that I can be an imperfect Mom to my own children hopefully having taught and modeled living life with respect, love and laughter teaching my children and now grandchildren to trust in the God who created us all and loved us first.

The Tale of Two Moms is my true story. Today my emotions waiver from sadness to joyful anticipation of future reunions, gratefulness to still have a mother this side of heaven getting to experience another birthday then I’m back to sadness for me and others without their mothers.

I must press on facing each day with purpose, taking all the best I’ve been offered by the warrior-mothers God chose for me, take time to pray, to laugh, to fight for justice, maybe iron a little, cook sometime and love….really love.

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Tears From a Movie

In 4 days  it will be 2 years exactly since we traveled to witness a beautiful  wedding in India. We stood on a train station platform not aware we were almost missing our train yet the most profound and painful memory is the little boys.  Begging. Staring with those empty and sad eyes. I  prayed so often for them, that they would be found or if not lost at least have a family that loves them, protects them and cares for them and offers a home for them to return to every night. As time went on there were more and more days between my prayers. Life, my family, my needs.

wp-1488773002177.jpgTonight I was back on the platform as I watched the movie “Lion”.  A little lost boy, separated from his family with only memories to haunt him and call him back to India.  This little guy’s true story is so sad yet turned out so much better than others; getting a family who loved him and years later finding and reconnecting with his birth family.

I feel burdened to help, a burden  that hurts  so deeply… to do something….  I am  praying again, for “our” little train station boys and for the thousands and thousands who are lost. Tears. For all children who are lost, hungry, lonely and alone.  It is beyond me to know what I can do but pray to the God who can.   My God who can find, save, deliver, love, and adopt for all eternity.

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Good Wednesday Morning 

Praying for the day ahead; for a precious teacher who has cared for  her mother for years praying for healing to watch her slip into eternity questioning God as so many do when the preferred response was earthly healing,  praying for my time later this morning with the school administration and additional groups of teachers. Thankful for time spent yesterday with 2 separate groups of teachers as well as getting time with the school cooking team to encourage them in their important ministry of providing nourishment; for many the only food they get in a day.

No TV, radio or endless WiFi to stay informed about the world. Time just to talk, build  relationships and communicate with the God Who gratefully brought us here.

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