11Aug

Dana Repetti, grew up in a dysfunctional home filled with hate, fear, alcohol, abuse, and witchcraft. Her childhood caused her to have overwhelming fear, and she became a people-pleaser with a very low self-esteem. At the age of seventeen, Dana had her first abortion. Through it all though, Dana, has learned about the beauty of God's love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace. She is now helping others to do the same and has written a wonderful personalized devotional called "Being Immersed in the Father's Love".

Dana RepettiDana Repetti

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”  (Psalms 27:13)

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  (Romans 8:1)

I grew up in a very dysfunctional home. I was a very depressed child and full of fear. My perspective on life and how I processed life was through a very negative lens and filter. Even though I was saved at the tender age of twelve, there were a whole host of strongholds that I would have to take captive to the obedience of Christ throughout my lifetime.

When I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior, my mom prayed that the memory of what I had endured as a child would be wiped clean. That all I would remember was from Salvation onward. I must confess I only have glimpses of my childhood.

What I do remember is that my dad was a very angry man. He was very scary to me when he got upset. Growing up in my house there was a saying, “Children were to be seen and not heard!” and I never felt as if my opinion mattered, or that I had a voice. My self-esteem was very low. I really did not know how to think for myself. I was very much a people pleaser. As long as I did everything right, I was a good girl, but if I did something wrong or that appeared wrong, I would pay the consequence. As a little girl, it felt as if it was the end of the world. I always wanted to do everything right. This perception would carry on well into my thirties. It would take a very long time to find my voice and for God to bring me into what His thoughts were towards me and what His word says about me.

My mom was a very depressed mother and wife. I always had the feeling that she hated me. When I would look into her eyes, they appeared very dark and I saw such hatred. It felt as if she wanted to kill me. I’m sure that was not the case, but it was how I felt during those years of my life. I hated going to sleep for fear that in the middle of the night; something or someone would come in my room and hurt me. I would sleep with the covers up to my neck; face the door so I would be able to protect myself, still totally frightened. It felt as if I never slept. This went on from the age of five, until I was twelve.

My mother dabbled in the occult. She would have séances, levitate, have premonitions, consult palm readers, psychics, read tarot cards and play the Ouija board. There was a lot of demonic activity in our home to say the least. She also was an alcoholic and was suicidal. I would come home from school and find her at the bottom of the basement stairs blacked out, not knowing if she was dead or alive. I remember being afraid all the time not knowing what the next day would bring.

My parents would argue and fight, which seemed like all the time to me. It was very intense and very loud. There were so many sayings in my family growing up like; we’re loud, we’re Italian, that’s how we talk, if the truth hurts, each followed by very negative, outspoken comments. No! All of which consisted of arguing and verbal abuse, yet while not understanding that as a child and living through it. I thought that was normal. There was one time my father came home from work and found my mother sitting on the floor in the corner of their bedroom, in the dark with a scotch glass in her hand. She was drunk and they began to argue. This argument must have been so intense because it is etched into my memory. My mom threw the full scotch glass at my father. I ran to my room like so many other times and would pray that God would make it stop, that they would not get divorced. I was always so frightened and living on the edge. I did not realize at the time that I was a depressed little girl as well.

I was raised as a Catholic while growing up and went to a Catholic school. Very often before heading to school, my mom would play a song from Helen Reddy, “I am woman”, and she proceeded to tell my sister and I, never to forget that we were women. There was one day my mom was so angry, I can’t remember why, but she told me she hated me and to go, get out of the house and go off to school. I remember feeling devastated. My fears of her hating me were becoming true. I was so broken that I hated the day I was born. I remember saying to God, “why, why was I born into this family. I wish I had never been born.” Sad I know. Around this time in my life, I was in a store and I saw a keychain with a witch on it. So I purchased it and I gave it to my mother and said, “This is who you are to me” and sang her a song called Witchy Woman. After I told her again saying, “This is who you are to me!” She said,”I know.” and proceeded to hang it on the knob of the kitchen cabinet. So there it stayed.

As I stated earlier, I don’t have a lot of memory of my childhood, but I remember feeling very dirty whenever my dad would hug me. As a little girl, I remember finding Playboy magazine’s under his bed on his side. For some reason, I always was able to relate to someone who was sexually abused. I only have glimpses of certain things and questions as to why I would feel so hated during those years. Before my dad passed away in 2010, I felt impressed by God to speak to my dad and released him from any torment he might be going through, from guilt of the past. I was so nervous, but I knew it was something I had to do. My dad had leukemia and meningitis to the point that it affected his brain. In the past, if I would have brought this up, he would have been on the defense and reacted angrily. Instead, he allowed me to share all my questions and concerns. I told him that God wanted me to come to him so he could be released of anything that may have taken place in the past that if anything did occur, I had forgiven him. It was the most loving and freeing time I had ever had with my dad. He had no such memories. I am sharing this to show the goodness God has to tend to the issues of our hearts. He took care of my father’s heart as well as mine. I watched God be faithful to His word in Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” My dad went to be with the Lord two weeks after my visit. Gods timing and ways are perfect. I have learned to trust and obey Him even when it’s scary.

At the age of ten, I was about to make my first communion. I always loved God. He placed within me a heart that loved Him and always wanted to help people despite what I was living through. The night before I was to make my first communion, I prayed that God would allow me to die in a car accident. I thought if I died on my communion day, then I would go straight to heaven and would not have to go to purgatory. My understanding was that people had to pray you out of purgatory; after all...my mother was a drunk and she hated me, while my dad only went to church on Christmas and Easter. In my mind, I would be stuck in purgatory forever and never make it to heaven. I prayed and prayed and was so disappointed when it did not happen.

Two years later, I am now twelve years old. My mom made the decision that she is going to take her life. She said that she had such a sense of peace in making this decision, and we were all better off without her. That day, God interrupted with His divine appointment. She was in a store that morning and she ran into a cousin of hers that just moved into the area we were living. Being polite, my mom invited her over for a cup of coffee. Her cousin had given her heart to the Lord and was a born-again Christian. She began to share with my mother about how much Jesus loved and cared for her and how He died to take away her sins and redeem her life. The whole time her cousin was talking, she thought she was crazy, while she knew the plan she had in her head to take her life. As her cousin was leaving, she said to my mom, “Marge, Jesus loves you. He truly does. Just give Him a try, ask Him into your heart and to forgive you your sins.”

That evening, my mother could not get out of her mind what her cousin shared with her earlier that day. She cried out to the Lord and said, “Ok Jesus, if you’re real like Alice says you’re real, I ask that you forgive me of all my sins and come live in my heart.” She began to feel a hand go over her mouth trying to suffocate her. During this struggle, she kept hearing her cousin’s voice in her mind saying, “say Jesus is Lord!” She began to scream in her head, “Jesus is Lord, Jesus is Lord!” At the end of the struggle, she saw in her mind’s eye a vision of Jesus with His arms wide open saying, “Marge, come to me. You’re my child.” The next day, my mom poured out all the alcohol we had in our house (we had a fully stocked bar) and threw away her cigarettes as well. My father thought my mother had a nervous breakdown and he was very angry. After all, that was a lot of money to throw down the drain. My mom’s old man (spirit) died that night and she became a new creation. The power of sin and death over my mother was destroyed that evening, through the blood of Jesus Christ. My mom went to her cousin’s house the next morning, banging on the door saying, “What did you do to me?” Her cousin began having bible studies with her, praying and taking her to church. One night after my mom got home from church, my father put my mother up against the wall and said, “It’s Jesus or me!” my mom said, “It’s Jesus” and he let go of her. So now we are going to check out this church my mother is going to, making sure she is not involved in a cult. My dad would say,”I was born a Catholic, I will die a Catholic.”

In July of 1974, a Friday evening, we visited the church my mother was attending on Tuesday’s and Friday’s. I was amazed by the love, joy and peace these people had. I wanted what these people had. I asked my mother if I could go to the altar and receive Jesus in my heart. At first, she said “no”, nervous of what my father might do. My father would not think twice about hitting someone if he felt like they were bothering him or his family. He grew up fighting people his whole life. I asked again and this time my mom said “yes.” As I went up, a young man asked me if I wanted to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I responded yes!

Well, my dad was furious. He went up to the altar to grab me away from these crazy people and when he went to grab me, I immediately got filled with the Holy Spirit and he fell. My father tried again twice to get me and each time he kept falling down. He would look around, but there was nobody there. God was trying to get his attention, and that He did. My father gave his heart to the Lord that evening as well. God is amazing.

The Lord answered my prayer that evening. When I was ten, I wanted to die and go to heaven, fearful of being in purgatory. Two years later, my old man (spirit) died when I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I was forgiven, redeemed and had the promise of eternal life. I no longer worried about not making it to heaven.

I continued to live in joy and happiness like I never experienced before. Things were so much more hopeful and peaceful. I would attend church every time the doors were opened. I was involved in Sunday school and went on to eventually teach the two-to-four year olds who attended. I was also, involved in a youth group and helped with VBS. Life was good.

Then at the magical age of fifteen, this young man liked me. I was so flattered. He was four years older than me and on the worship team. He asked me out to the church’s Valentine’s dinner. The only problem was, I wasn’t allowed to date until the age of sixteen and I was only fifteen and a half. So I did what any teenager would do; I pleaded my cause. What magically happens in six months? After all, I will be sixteen! He’s on the worship team! I wore them down and they gave in. This would be the beginning of compromise entering my life. Slowly he became my everything. I lived to please him. In April of 1980, in my senior year of high school and at the age of seventeen, I became pregnant. I was full of fear and wanted to marry him and have the baby. We were both terrified of what my parents might do. He said my parents would kill us. So the spirit of fear drove us to make the horrible decision to have an abortion. I truly wanted to be married and have this baby. While we drove up to the abortion clinic, there were people with signs outside and one especially, stood out to me, “Mommy, don’t kill your baby”. I was sick. I wanted to die. I wanted to run from this place and I really wanted to be married and have the baby, but fear had the loudest say. This so far, was the most horrifying experience of my life. I came out of that room so sick and hatred immediately filled my heart. I would not be the same person for many years. I still wanted to die. I struggled with thoughts of suicide. The only thing that kept me was the fear of going to hell. I went into a severe depression, where guilt and condemnation were always present within me. My father told my boyfriend that he was to stay away from me, that he did not know why his daughter was so depressed. This caused more hatred to fill my heart towards my parents. I told them I hated them for breaking us up. In my mind, the only way to make what we did right was to eventually be married. This is how my seventeen-year-old mind was processing everything at the time. The enemy had me believing so many lies. I felt as if I could never be forgiven. I murdered my baby.

I continued to spiral downward. I told no one of what I did. The only people who knew were my ex-boyfriend and me. I lived with shame, guilt, condemnation, self-hatred and offense towards my ex-boyfriend for a very long time. This secret seemed to be with me every moment of every day. It was my constant companion, a continual reminder of what a failure I was and that I didn’t deserve to be forgiven. The enemy had gained access of my thought life and I believed every lie he spoke. My heart became so calloused and hardened. I began to run from my thoughts by living for whatever gave me pleasure at the time. I wanted to fit in to this new world I was about to experience. The world of sinfulness. I began to drink, party, do drugs, go clubbing and do whatever I wanted to do. I hated myself. I wanted to hide from anything that had to do with the Lord. This continued for about seven years. The only problem was that God never stopped pursuing me. I couldn’t hide. I had a praying mom and I was continually convicted by the choices I was making. Psalms 139:7-8 & 11-12 “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8.) If I make my bed in Sheol, behold You are there 11.) If I say, “surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me” 12.) even the darkness will not be dark to You, the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You.”

I had no rest or peace. My parents were always praying for me. The Lord truly leaves the ninety-nine and goes after the one. At this time in my life, even this disturbed me. My parents would make me go to church and of course, God was always pursuing me, but I would choose to resist. There was a visiting evangelist this one Sunday and after he spoke, he had an altar call. Of course this altar call was for me, but I would not go forward, so he came to me. He said, “Jesus forgives you, now forgive yourself.” I thought if you only knew the extent of my sin, my secret, you would not be saying this to me. I murdered my baby; this is the most unforgivable sin in my mind. I could not receive what this man was speaking to me at this time in my life. My secret had me bound and truth could not enter in.

I grew tired of dating and the life I was living and I decided to pray to God, not believing He would want to even listen to me, but I prayed. I said, “Lord I am tired of dating. If you can hear me, let the next person I meet be the one I marry. I don’t care how long it takes or what he looks like, it can even be ten years from now, just let him be the one. Please, I’m tired.” The very next week, a client who went to the hair salon I worked at, asked if I wanted to go to a Fourth of July party. He was nice to talk to, but definitely not my type. I thought well, God totally did not hear my prayer but I had nothing else to do, so I went. In my rebellion I thought, my parents never like who I bring home...let me bring someone home they truly would not like. After all, I didn’t even like himHe was nice as a friend, but in no way was he boyfriend material. He was extremely wild. The stories I heard scared me. We began seeing each other more and more and before I knew it, we were dating. Then when I brought him home, my parent’s loved him! I said you have to be kidding me; I don’t even ‘like him - like him’. They said, “There is something in his eyes, he seems genuine.” About a month into our relationship, we slept together and I got pregnant. I told him I was pregnant and that I was having an abortion. I had already made plans and my girlfriend would be taking me. He said, “Are you sure that’s what you want to do?” I said, “yes” and I have already made the arrangements!” I did not even care what he thought. I told him, “I already had an abortion from my first boyfriend, and I am not ready to be a mom!” My heart was so cold, calloused, hard and selfish. My secret was out. He was the only one I had ever told about my first abortion. I went on to have that abortion and we never spoke of it again until...well, I will get to that a little later in my story.

Things began to get serious between my boyfriend and me. He wanted to get married. We were living a partying lifestyle, drinking, smoking pot, snorting cocaine. It was crazy to say the least. All of this while knowing what God wanted. Even though I was living like this in my mind, I could not marry anyone who did not receive Jesus as their Savior. Crazy I know, so I took him to church to see what he would do. I knew in my mind if he did not believe the same way I did, I could never marry him. He was the type of person that would never do something he didn’t want to do. So I knew if he were to receive Jesus as his savior, it would be because he truly wanted to. Well, you will never believe this, that traveling evangelist was at my church again and had an altar call for Salvation. I turned to my boyfriend and said, “Would you like to leave”. He said, “No, I want to check this out. I want to go up front.” I went with him and he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. The evangelist said to him, “Is this your wife?” and he said, “No”. The evangelist nodded his head and said, “someday!”. John drove home that evening and said this was better than any high that he ever had. God had answered my prayer that one night when I said I was tired of dating. John and I have been married for 32 years. We have three children and four grandchildren at this current time.

I would love to say that we immediately served the Lord after John received Christ, but that was not the case. We continued living a compromised lifestyle. Got engaged, got married and four months into the marriage, I was pregnant with our first daughter. We discussed living right before the Lord, now that we would be parents. We had a friend that would come by every Saturday and bring over cocaine. This was my husband’s drug of choice. This one Saturday evening he was over, I went into the bathroom and began to pray. I said, “Lord, we promised to stop this and live for you. Please show up. Let us never do this again. Deliver us.” I started praying in tongues in the bathroom. The gifts of God are truly irrevocable. I went out into the living room where they were waiting for me and I was filled with words of knowledge. Our friend could not open his hand to put the cocaine out on the table. He was flipping out as God was speaking through me. He kept saying, “Man, I can’t open my hand.” John was getting very angry saying, “Put it out!” and his friend kept saying, “I can’t”. Then John told me to “SHUT UP”. Filled with the Spirit, I remember saying, “Satan would love for me to shut up, but I am going to speak what the Spirit tells me to speak”. I continued to speak whatever the Spirit had me speak. At the end of this encounter, John’s friend opened his hand to put the cocaine out and it was all melted. John got delivered that night and we have never touched any drug again after that evening, nor returned to a compromised lifestyle. His friend came to church with us the next day, as he was blown away at the events that took place that evening.

Our journey with God began after that evening. I had asked God to forgive me of my sins, but forgiving me was a lot more difficult. Now would begin a process of many strongholds breaking off my life and my mind being transformed, renewed through the word of God and confession of my sins. I no longer kept what I was struggling with a secret. When we moved to Pennsylvania and got involved in a church, around the age of twenty-eight, we were asked to become youth leaders. My conscious would not let me be free to do ministry with the guilt I carried around of having two abortions. I confessed to my pastor what I had done. He led me in prayer and gave me the scripture in 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I read it and thought it was good. It wasn’t until I meditated on what it truly said, that I was set free from the guilt of my sin. It said, “ALL”, unrighteousness, not some. The word ALL jumped off the page. All means all, not some. I began to reason in my mind. If God can forgive and cleanse me from ALL unrighteousness, how can I not forgive myself? Am I greater than God? No, of course not. So I prayed and said to the Lord, “Jesus thank you for forgiving me of ALL unrighteousness. No matter how big the sin, I choose to forgive me! Enable me to love and serve you all the days of my life. I did not deserve this grace and mercy, but I receive it in full measure. I Love you with all my being and I am eternally grateful to you.” It is the truth of God’s Word that sets us free from our own reasoning and the lies of the enemy. God is truth and there is no lie found in Him.

At around the age of thirty-six, John and I went through a program called Cleansing Stream and that was the first time we ever spoke of the abortion we had when we only dated for a month. God brought much healing into our lives at this time.

James 1:2-4  “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3.) knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4.) And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

I have lived through many trials throughout my lifetime. There would be too many to write about in this testimony. From 2008-2015 John and I walked through a very difficult season in our lives. During this time, I chose to rise up in my Spirit man and declare the goodness of God in the land of the living, regardless of the circumstances or outcome. John and I lost our home of twenty-five years due to the economy affecting his business. I was in a car accident in 2012, with no health insurance and during that time, lost four family members to cancer and illness. Out of this, God would have me write a personalized devotional, “Being Immersed in the Father’s Love” in obedience to the Lord’s directive. This is His heartbeat to all His Children. It is a personalized devotional that Immerses you into His kind intentions towards you through His word, no matter what the circumstances. Whether you know the Lord for one day, one hundred years, or not at all, this devotional will touch your life in an intimate way. He is a good, good Father! He orders our steps. The good steps and the hard steps. Receive His love, His truth, and His promises. May every lie be broken and cast down in Jesus name! Amen!   

 


Join Dana's Devotional:    Being Immersed in the Father's Love Devotional        

Dana's Ministry Videos     

Dana's Testimony on Victorious Life TV with Lisa Buldo

Being Immersed in the Father's Love (Purchase on Amazon---Great Reviews!)   

Kindle Version is Available


Description of Dana's Ministry in Her Own Words:

"Come and be immersed in the overwhelming love of God the Father. Encounter His desire and the kind intentions that He has for you through the personalizing of scripture presented in this devotional. Picture a waterfall of God's promises washing over you and fully immersing you through the faithfulness of what He has promised to you in His word. Where negative mind-sets and perspectives will be washed away and replaced with great worth and value. Experience how you will be enabled to have victory in your life even while encountering difficult trials and circumstances. Your trust and faith will increase as you engage with Him. He is desiring you and is willing to give you all that He has promised. Come and encounter the goodness of God the Father and allow Him to lavish His love upon you. All you need to do is be willing to receive what He is providing. He is trustworthy and will not disappoint! Come and be immersed!"      

~Dana Repetti






 




 


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05Aug

Ralph Brown, 50, of Spring Hill, and Robert Brown, 51, of Merritt Island, managed to cross the Atlantic in a Suzuki powered 21' Flats Boat that Ralph's company, Dream Boats, Inc made. This boat, does not have a cabin, a keel to stabilize the boat if it were to flip, a sail, an escort, and---it had to carry its own fuel. They were exposed to the elements for the entire voyage and survived being run over by an iceberg in Greenland, almost running out of fuel hundreds of miles from shore, refusing to be rescued three separate times, surviving massive waves from the remnants of two hurricanes, being slammed into rocks by gale force winds, running out of money, and---many other amazing events during the 8,312 mile voyage.

Robert Brown

Ralph Brown

Robert and Ralph Brown's purpose for this outrageous 8,312 mile voyage was to honor Robert's former Marine comrades who died in 1980 in a botched mission called Operation Eagle Claw, in which several branches of the military attempted to liberate the American Embassy in Iran after terrorists took the ambassador and his staff hostage. The brother's raised money for military charities and began to publicize their boat’s seaworthiness so that the brothers could get their boat company, Dream Boats Global recognized to help business. 


Tuesday, July 28, 2009 – Cartwright, Labrador, Canada

When we woke up this morning [They were anchored just offshore.—Ed] we were surrounded by whales, which is kind of neat. We saw a few seals and several whales blowing and eating fish not too far from us. Then we also got surrounded by mosquitoes...So we were glad to fire the engine up and get moving. This is our last night in North America. We will be ending up in a Nuuk Greenland, about 600 miles away.

Wednesday, July 29 – In the Atlantic

Once we were about 30 minutes off shore we started putting on our ‘cold-weather’ gear, which is long underwear and boots. Also we are rearranging our sleeping area. It may not be much but it is an improvement. We are sitting much deeper in the water because we are carrying a lot more fuel.

Video of what it's like in the Atlantic in a flats boat....

Thursday, July 30 – In the Atlantic

11:36 AM: Last night was the most miserable night we have had yet. It was wet all night and very, very cold. But we are moving along, moving steadily. Always when we load the boat with gasoline, the first 100 miles we get terrible fuel (economy) and terrible performance. It has been about 6 foot seas out of the east most of the way. Not good. It is cold and windy. Hopefully the sun will come out today. We counted 21 icebergs yesterday and named 5 of them.

We are about 150 to 200 miles off the coast of Canada. Not making very good time thanks to glaciers and fog, and occasionally 8 to 10 foot waves.

3:20 PM: The waves are steadily been getting bigger and bigger, coming closer and closer, and that means they are building, and are not going in our direction...we are going very, very slow, we are not going to make Nuuk Greenland at our predicted time.

Saturday, August 1 – 152 miles from Nuuk, Greenland

At 3 AM this morning we picked up our sea anchor and started moving forward about 90 miles before the wind/seas picked back up again. It is still against us, but not really bad, we could easily go on but we are very concerned about our fuel consumption and because of that we are dropping the sea anchor and are going to wait for calmer seas, or the wind at our back, otherwise we can sit for a couple of days if we have to.

When we left Cartwright Labrador we had 310 gallons of fuel on board which is more than enough to go 900 miles under normal conditions. However we are only going 600 miles and the wind and waves were supposed to be out of SE at 3-4 feet. Unfortunately, instead we had waves about 5-9 feet, a little bigger than that in some cases and strong winds out of due E, right in our faces the whole time which ate our fuel, so now we are very conscious of the fuel left and are waiting for the right weather to burn it. We have our sea anchor out to minimize our drift and we are going from there.

Sunday, August 2 – Moving Again

We are now using our 9.9 horsepower kicker which is running well and giving us good gas mileage. It burns about three quarters of a gallon per hour and we are moving at 4 knots. When we started this process we had 60 gallons on board. That was enough to go for 100 hours at 4 knots or 400 miles. We don’t want to go that far at 4 knots per hour, we have around 100 miles to go.

Tuesday, August 4 – Arrived at the Greenland Coast!

5:00 AM in Greenland which is part of Europe! Every which way you can look are icebergs and rock islands. Unfortunately gas is almost 20 miles inland, reachable by water.

Thursday, August 6 – With the Greenlanders

Icebergs sink boats. They won't sink this Intruder 21, but they might damage the prop. That is why we are dodging these icebergs, and growlers, small chucks of Ice.

You have to realize how few Greenlanders there actually are. But they all seem so friendly. We met them today on our way from Qaqortoq to Nanortalik. (Population 300.)

Everyone seems to have a hard time believing that we came from Florida in this flats boat, it is only 4,400 miles. What is the problem?

Saturday, August 8 – It Is Getting Cold!

Last night Bob and I were on our way to Aappilattoq, an Island on the Way to our last stop in Greenland, Tasiilaq. It was dark and the wind was blowing hard. Driving at night is very dangerous because of the small icebergs. If you don't see them they could break your motor or sink some boats, not an Intruder.

After a while we took shelter behind an Island. We put out two anchors. We went to sleep. Bob on top of the bean bag wedged behind the helm. Me, on the back of the boat in the surf board bag. It is semi waterproof and semi warm. I was sleeping with two pairs of socks, a survival suit, the Interstate Battery Jacket, a separate jacket liner, three pairs of pants, gloves, my Interstate Battery Hat, a hood, and a shirt on. I completely zip it up around me except for a tiny air hole. I am sawing logs, sound asleep.

Wednesday, August 12 – Last Day in Greenland

Tasiilaq, Greenland is a town of about 1000 people located on the east side of Greenland. The whole east side of Greenland is uninhabited with a few exceptions. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Giant mountains come to the sea, with glaciers becoming Icebergs.

Seals, birds and whales roam while the thousands of icebergs float by. It is a 400 mile run between the town of Prince Christianson (Population 5) to Tasiilaq. On the 400 mile run from Prince Christianson we got rained on several times. It is a fine mist of rain that covers everything, our hands and feet were frozen. At that point it is very hard to sleep on the boat.

Thursday, August 13 – Only 147 Miles to Iceland!

12:49 PM: As we left Tasiilaq Greenland yesterday afternoon a whole bunch of kids gave us a standing ovation and some of them jumped into the 35 degree water with icebergs floating everywhere and the kids were swimming in the icy waters to say good bye to us.

We had some hot Quaker oatmeal for breakfast/lunch and we are approx. 147 miles northwest of Reykjavik Iceland.

Thursday August 20 -- Off to the Faroe Islands, 250 Miles Away

2:30 PM: We just left Westmen Island full of gas, going very smoothly, weather is beautiful, rolling breeze, four footers, calm seas, absolutely gorgeous. We also know we are just ahead of the big storm. It’ll take us a couple of hours burning off enough gas before we can go faster, we will be putting along at 8-9 mph heading toward Faroe Islands. We’ll get there tomorrow around noon give or take; it depends on how we beat the storm. We should be seeing some big seas.

10:36 PM: We are 250 miles from the Faroe Islands, black as all get out, trying to outrun the storm. We cannot see where we are going.

Many people think answered prayer is about how holy we are.  I think that is wrong. I think answered prayer is about who God is.  That is why we see people like David, Samson, and Elijah getting prayers answered. David and Samson did terrible things, yet, they prayed.  God heard their prayers.   All three took massive risks.  The scriptures teach us that Elijah was a man of like passions as us…. Yet he prayed.   

Bob and I are regular people, nothing special about us.  We will tell you, we prayed, not because of how good we are, but because we needed God’s help. 

There are dozens and dozens of episodes that cannot be explained other than God chose to smile on the I Am Second Wounded Hero Voyage.  I Am Second means God is first.  Here are four quick stories. 

Friday, August 21 – 104 Miles from the Faroe Islands

We are 104 miles northwest of the Faroe Islands. We are still trying to beat the storm. The waves have kicked up to about 10 to 12 feet! They are still coming out of the southwest while we are going southeast. They are not helping us any at all. As a matter of fact they are hurting a little bit. We have to go slow. Bob and I are both soaking wet from head to toes from both rain and waves. It is raining off and on. Waves are splashing over the front of the boat.

Saturday, August 22 – “It Can’t Sink, It Can’t Sink, It Can’t Sink.”

[Written at a computer after the fact.—Ed.] It can't sink, it can't sink, it can't sink were the words going through my mind along with help us Lord Jesus, and trust your equipment. Bob is saying don't panic. He did not remember saying those words to me, but it actually helped me to remember not to panic.

Huge waves are breaking into the boat, we are being pushed up on a shoal among the Faroe Islands. The boat is full of water and if it is not tied down it is gone. The antenna has fallen, the T top dry box just bounced open and all my important papers are falling, the waves are pushing us up to the rocks that we can't see, it is pitch black out with a cloud cover, our spotlight is only good for a few feet because of the fog. We are scared, I am scared both for my life and for the mission, especially the mission.

The waves are over 10 foot and it is black out. We see a couple of light houses in the distance, and Bob wants to tuck in behind an Island.

I want to get out to the open sea. I will take my chances with the bigger waves, but not the rocks. Bob, let me take the helm, gladly. It won't sink, it won't sink, it won't sink. Don't panic. Don't panic, Help me Lord, help us Lord, please, Trust your equipment. Trust your equipment. I set a course back out. The boat is full of water, more waves are breaking.

Aluminum pipes holding the T-top broken in numerous places

We are talking to search and rescue, we only want directions, they want information, and I don't want to change screens to give them the coordinates.

Can't get the boat straight, Bob climbs out to fix the antenna, waves are still breaking into the boat. It is pitch black out and it is hard to drive by GPS only. It is slow to respond, hard to starboard, why won't this heading change, too far, hard to port hard to port. Waves are still breaking into the boat. Suddenly there is a bright star or a planet. We lock in on our bearing. We get the boat straight, trust your equipment. Bob wants me to do something, can't take my eyes off the screen, suddenly we are spinning around again, don't know where the rocks are. There is the star, keep it on the right, starboard.

We are back out to open sea. The waves stop breaking. We get in the shelter of some islands. Wow, we are still going. The mission is still on!!!!

Tuesday, August 25 – Making Repairs

After 6000 miles and over 50,000 times slamming a 350 pound fuel tank on the deck we had some damage. We spent most of the day scrounging up some resin and glass. The repairs are basically completed.

Shetland Islands

Wednesday, August 26 – Casting off for the Shetland Islands

5:46 PM: We will be heading out momentarily and driving all night. We want to be in the Shetlands early in the morning and off to Orkney Islands later. There is a low pressure over Ireland now that will be moving over across Scotland then out to sea. We want to get to the coast of Scotland before the storm.

Bob and I decided not to wait for perfect weather and jump from Island to Island down to London and get there hopefully on or before September 2.

Friday, August 28 – Caught By the Storm, 15’ Seas!

After we left Scalloway, Shetland Islands, the weather started getting rough right away. Soon after we left the Islands it became apparent that the weather report we saw was not going to give us the eight hours we expected to make the crossing to the Orkney Islands. The winds picked up to about 40 mph and the waves picked up to about 10 -12 ft with an occasional 15 ft wave. They were coming out of the North West and we were heading South West. They were on our beam, coming at our side. (The most dangerous direction they could come from to our tiny little boat.) But the Intruder did well. A flats boat in breaking 15 foot seas! I have always said 12 foot was my max, before I threw out the sea anchor.

Out there the boat seemed to handle it well. Yes, there were about three close calls, Bob says about six. I only remember three where we could have flipped extremely easily if I did not turn the boat just right. One time we launched way up in the air and the wind caught the boat it came down on its tail and twisted sideways, well that was an eye opener. I wasn't going that fast; we just hit that wave just right. God was smiling on us. Let’s face it he has been smiling on us this whole trip.

Our T-top has just about had it and all the pipes are cracking. I don't understand it, the T-top is a super expensive one made with extra and larger aluminum pipes. The guy that built it and installed it says it is the best one made by anyone and he charges a lot for it. I am not sure what the problem is. It may have something to do with the 50,000 times we have slammed the boat down. By the way that number 50,000 times is not an exaggeration, it is probably low.

Trying to get the boat air shipped back on U.S. military transport

[In the next couple of weeks Bob and Ralph Brown made it down the east coast of Scotland, England, stopping in at London, the across the English Channel to Holland and Germany, arriving at their final destination on September 10th.

Dream Boats Global Website (Let Them Build Your Dream Boat)  

Ralph & Robert Brown's Book: "I Am Second Voyage; Smallest Powerboat Crossing the Atlantic"

Story is also available in an eleven episode series that you can purchase on (prime video)

   



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26Jul

Dawn Klinge, tells her story of how life's twists and turns taught her to trust God. Today, Dawn inspires others with her ministry called Above the Waves. Come along, as you read Dawn's journey of letting go of worry and trusting Jesus.


"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."  (Proverbs 3:5-6)



Dawn Klinge


If you were to ask me where this journey of trusting God in my life started, I would begin with a story about a move my new husband and I made. It was when we decided to go to school in Moscow, Idaho.


I’ll begin here, because it was when I started to wake up and become more aware how completely dependent on God I really am. I was desperate at times, which I can see now, was exactly where I needed to be. Unfortunately, I’m a person who learns best through the hard times. That desperation led me to God---He never let me down, and I know now that he never will.


God has been at work, and He will continue to work as I trust in Him. Resting in God’s perfect love, and in His will is the best possible place to be.


I arrived in Moscow, Idaho, sunburned on half of my face, with half of an idea in my head of how we were going to "make a go of it" in that little college town. My husband, Derek, drove the U-Haul and I drove the car from Wenatchee across the scrubby desert of eastern Washington to the gently rolling wheat land of the Palouse. That August day--- the fields were gold and bright as was the sun, which only reached half my face and one arm through the open window of the white Jetta. Four hours later, I pulled up to our new home looking pretty funny---some comic relief to what was, really, a scary situation.


We had received provisional admittance and a financial aid package in the form of loans to the University of Idaho. Using all of our savings---we put down a deposit, and paid the first month’s rent on a studio apartment close to campus. We had just enough left to live on for the next week when school started, and when we would receive our first check for living expenses. Nothing was finalized, but we had quit our jobs and given notice on our old apartment in Wenatchee, and we had paid for the new one in Moscow. We were going, no matter what. This all happened in the days when paperwork went through "snail mail", not e-mail. We were still waiting on some of it.


When I told my boss at the grocery store, that I worked at that I was moving---he was concerned. He took me out to lunch to try and talk me out of it, telling me that I could be a manager if I wanted. He asked me how we were going to pay for college and pointed out the potential pitfalls of our proposed venture. I didn’t know how we were going to pay for it.


My boss was right. We were taking a risk. We would be poorer than we already were---at least for the next few years. But something kept nudging us, an idea we couldn’t get out of our minds, and we knew that this is what we were supposed to do. Neither of us, would have explained it as something that we thought God wanted us to do at the time, as we were both pretty cold in our relationships towards God. In fact, we were looking forward to being away from the expectations of our church going families and we didn’t have any plans to continue with anything like church attendance once we were in Moscow. But God had a plan for us.


Our new home was a studio apartment in a 1930’s era building, just across the street from the University of Idaho campus. Tucked into a hillside and surrounded by trees, with big windows along the west side of the room, it reminded me of a tree house. In spite of its shabbiness, it was really kind of cute, after we unpacked and put away our things. I was looking forward to this new life.


Our first mail delivery arrived the next day, with a letter from the college. When I opened it, my heart started racing. According to the registrar, I would not be able to start classes that fall because they had never received my high school transcripts. Never mind that I already had an associate degree from a community college and had already been accepted. Without the transcript, I wasn’t going to go to school that semester. I would need a job immediately.   I had requested that my high school transcripts be sent to the college months ago. I frantically called my old high school, to see what had happened, but it was early August, and nobody was in the office---making it a few weeks too late for me to get an answer. Tears threatening to spill, I marched down the hill onto campus, and into the registrar’s office to see what could be done. The lady behind the counter stiffly told me that nothing could be done.


Helping me was just her job, nothing personal. I felt as though that she didn’t care. I realized that nobody else cared about my problems as much as I did because they were "my" problems. That thought was followed quickly by another, that there was someone else who cared. I prayed a silent, God, help! Immediately, I knew what to do.


"Can you check under H-E-N-D-R-I-X for the transcript?" I asked. My maiden name was actually spelled Hendricks. Nobody had ever misspelled my name with an x before, but somehow, I knew, this is what the problem was. The lady rolled her eyes, but checked anyway. And that’s where the transcript had been all along, filed under a misspelled name. I was back in school, just like that.


Walking out of that office, I couldn’t deny to myself what had just happened. I knew that God was in control of what I was doing in Moscow, and that He was watching out for me. I had heard His voice, not audibly---but I knew that what had happened was beyond me for sure. That thought didn’t come from me. I could have chalked it up to good luck, but I knew it wasn't. It doesn’t really seem like a big thing, on the surface, but that incident had a bigger impact on my life than just deciding whether or not I got into college that semester---It started a change in me, and the way I thought about God.  In fact, it was just the beginning!


With that desperate quick prayer and instant answer---I knew that God cared about my needs, even more than I did. None of these things were to my credit, or based on some ability I had to trust in God---They were pure grace. I didn’t come to trust in God on my own strength. It was the working of the Holy Spirit.


Dawn is a freelance writer and Christian blogger who loves encouraging women to keep their focus on Jesus. She’s the author of Look to Jesus: How to Let Go of Worry and Trust God. She’s a wife and mom to two teens. A Seattle girl, she loves books and coffee. You can find her at Dawn Klinge (Above the Waves) ministry site.


Click here to purchase Dawn's book from her ministry site.


Dawn's book is also available on Amazon.   (Great Reviews!)




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20Jul

David L. Winters, is a Christian author of non-fiction and fiction books who nearly lost his decorated federal career due to fear and anxiety. Though a believer---paralyzing anxiety, led to panic attacks and confusion. God eventually called him to a five-month sabbatical that changed his life, and has helped thousands who read about his journey in an award-winning book Sabbatical of the Mind: The Journey from Anxiety to Peace.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."                        (2 Timothy 1:7)


David L. Winters


Although, I accepted Christ in adolescence, the wounds of my childhood left indelible marks on my heart. My motto as a government procurement manager: "Never let them see you sweat". Rising quickly through the civilian ranks of the Navy, I reached the highest general schedule grade at age 34. On the outside, I’m told that I looked confident, intelligent and funny.


On the inside, I felt driven to accomplish as much as possible. Though ambitious and eager, fear became my constant companion. Frankly, I didn’t know the basis for most of my fears. High places, including flying in airplanes could be overcome with a pill, and carrying my Bible with me on the trip. Fear of public speaking could be managed with intense preparation and to-die-for graphics in my presentation slide deck.


Although, a strong man on the outside, the pain inside became almost unbearable. In my forties, panic attacks appeared out of nowhere. Now working in Washington, D.C. for the Department of Homeland Security, my daily routine included going in and out of controlled facilities. Keycards, elevator control cards, physical keys and microchips all had a part in my daily life. One day, I had to fight with myself to get on an elevator to go to an important meeting.


At the large conference room table, the meeting had just begun when I thought I was having a heart attack. To make a long story short, I scared everyone to death and found out it wasn’t a heart attack. God had a plan to change my life.


Over several months, He showed me that I must quit my job and spend time with Him in prayer. Everyone thought, that I was even crazier when I quit my secure government job just six years short of retirement to take a sabbatical. I didn’t know how long it would last or what would happen. I just quit working and started spending all day, every day with God and occasionally a few close friends.


The result was an amazing transformation! By reading the Bible, praying and studying more than twenty books, God relieved me of my underlying fears and gave me confidence to return to work. I learned that the purpose of my life was not to get ahead, but to serve my employees, customers, supervisors and co-workers. When I started spreading love, fear fled the scene.


After completing the last five-plus years of my career, I retired and made another dream come true by becoming a Christian author. Sabbatical of the Mind: The Journey from Anxiety to Peace became my first book and tells the whole story of recovery from paralyzing fear. Although my author journey has only begun, I can now trust God that whatever lies ahead, He is in charge.



Catch up with David on his website Sabbatical of the Mind or his Facebook Author Page David L. Winters ----He also has a Blog---


Purchase Sabbatical of the Mind on Amazon and on the STORE section of his website Sabbatical of the Mind   


                                                                               Purchase Sabbatical of the Mind

Please visit David's website Sabbatical of the Mind for other fiction & non-fiction books he has written.








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15Apr

A story of hope and inspiration---Marcus Stanley, was touring with a major recording artist when they decided to stay at a hotel on the west side of Baltimore, Maryland for the evening. Marcus, left the hotel to get some food and a drink at the nearest gas station however---it was on this walk into the night that Marcus's life changed forever. Marcus's amazing videos of his testimony on YouTube and CBN's The 700 Club can be found after his written story--- as well as links where you can purchase his worship music.

Marcus Stanley (Minister, Pianist, and Speaker)

Marcus Stanley's Site


Your life is a gift. Everyone that is still alive has a testimony. The purpose of this message is simply to share hope. Hope that no matter what you are facing in life--you will survive.

I was in Baltimore, MD touring with a major recording artist when all of this happened. We were supposed to stay at the Hyatt Hotel downtown by the harbor, but all the rooms were taken because of a sporting event that was happening the same night. So, we had to stay in west Baltimore in a rough area of town. It really didn't make a difference to me because, I've been in hotels all across the country good and bad. When I check into a hotel, I kind of have a pattern of doing things no matter where I am. I drop off my luggage---I joke around with the band for a little bit and---I go to the nearest gas station to get some junk food (Gatorade, Waffle House, IHOP)---Whatever is open and then, I come back and relax. This day was no different. 

I walked outside and headed towards the gas station which was about three blocks away. As I walked through the second block, I could see six guys standing on the corner talking to each other looking in my direction. I really didn't even pay them any mind, I just kept walking towards the store. Just then, I realized that I left my wallet in my room and turned around to head back to the hotel to get it. My best friend Lydell, who was a drummer in my band at the time, told me to stop going places by myself. I told him that I was good---like I normally do and went back to the store. I went past the same group of guys and they were watching me again. I continued to the store and got my usual Gatorade, candy, junk food, and headed back to the hotel. I came past the same block, and the same guys, immediately came towards me. Strangely, the whole street was clear and no one was on it like I saw just a few minutes before. By the time, I figured out that they were a gang, the leader came towards me and said, "What you doing out here homie"? I just turned to him and said, "I'm chillin' bro" and kept on walking. They circled around me and asked, "What's up with that phone"? At this point, I knew it had nothing to do with the phone or nothing that I said or did, had anything to do with what he was asking me. I figured they were going to rob me, so I didn't even respond---I just told them it was off and put it back into my pocket. Really, it was off though---Sprint had cut me off for being over my account spending limit. 

He walked closer to me and...right to my face said, "Well, you got to roll out homie". At that point, he pulled out a .45 caliber gun from his jacket, and pointed it directly at me point-blank range. I didn't even have time to react. I heard the first shot---ONE---and saw a bright light from the gun that blinded me, and I fell immediately to the ground. Then, he stood over top of me and said, "Peace out homie"! He fired seven more shots into my body---TWO---THREE---FOUR---FIVE---SIX---SEVEN. Instantly, I saw an angel appeared in front of me. The angel looked transparent, and it was kneeling down with his arms crossed in front of me as if, every bullet was going through the angel. I knew it couldn't have been a figment of my imagination because, I had no time to even think about this. I had no time to think about anything other than the pain that I was feeling from every single bullet that was going in my body. When he finished shooting me, his other boys picked up the shell casings that had fallen to the ground around me and they laughed and joked with each other about how they just "smoked" me. Right then, I heard God speak to me..."Do not move"! It was really strange because, I wanted to yell---I wanted to scream---I wanted to breathe---I wanted to know if I was alive, but I couldn't do it. They were still looking at me, so I just laid there & didn't breathe. My eyes were still opened, but they were fixed---even though, I felt pain all across my body. For the first time in my life, I felt no pain from even not breathing which, was the strangest feeling I've ever felt. That's how I knew, God was right there with me. As I continued to hold my breathe waiting for them to leave, I felt the blood all around me. When they finally ran to the car, they drove off at full speed---it was then, that I was able to take my first breath. I remember softly yelling--"OH, GOD...GOD". I looked around me and saw the pool of blood and holes in my shirt. I tried to stand up, but couldn't. I couldn't feel my legs, so I dragged myself off of the street and onto the sidewalk---literally crawling. I tried to flag down cars to stop and help me, but nobody would stop. People slowed down and kept going. It was literally only me and GOD!

I had a moment where I had my life flash before my eyes. I thought about everyone that loved me---I thought about my own funeral---I thought about the things that I should've said to my family and the friends that I didn't tell---Just then, I remembered that I had my cell phone still with me. My hand was completely covered in blood, but I still managed to dial 911. When the operator came online, I told her that I had been shot and she asked me where I was. Thankfully, I was lying right next to a street sign, so I could give her an idea of where I was. She tried to keep me talking, but I really couldn't because I was losing my breath every minute that went past. Eventually, about five officers showed up. One walked toward me and asked me my name and how old I was. After that, they drew lines around me and put up police and crime scene tape setting up a perimeter. This is where my faith really had to step in though. Even though, all around me it looked like death--I had to SPEAK LIFE. I began praying for there was nothing I could do, but that. The ambulance got there about seven minutes later, and loaded me in. Immediately, they began cutting off my clothes and hooking me up to all kinds of machines. This was actually the first time that I saw the gun shot wounds. At that moment, tears started to flow from my eyes---my body just looked dead---like I shouldn't be alive, but I was. I heard the EMT say to her partner, "I don't think he's going to make it". It hurt me to hear those words, but I tried to hold onto life. By the time I got to the hospital, they rushed me down the hall into surgery. When I arrived in the room, it was the strangest scene that I've ever seen. The room was lined with nurses, doctors, police officers, and other hospital employees looking at me in disbelief---almost as if, all that they heard on the radio about my condition---they were stunned that I was still alive. The lead doctor whispered in my ear..."I'm about to give you some anesthesia to put you asleep for the surgery. Can you sign this paper for me"? Oddly enough, I was able to sign it---and did pretty good---I did so good, that the doctor joked and said, "For someone who's got shot all these times you sure do have a good signature". Right at that moment, I looked in front of me and saw people standing at the door, people surrounding all around me, and then I saw the same angel that I saw on the street---He was standing in front of me with his arms folded looking at me nodding his head as if to say---"Everything is going to be alright". Right then, I felt a peace upon me---I relaxed my breathing and fell asleep. When I opened my eyes, I saw tubes all around me, I heard beeping, and sound from all the machines. I saw bandages across my chest. I thought to myself---I'M ALIVE! The first thing that I thought was---HOW IN THE WORLD WAS I ALIVE? There was a nurse standing to my left and she looked at me right in the eye & said, "YOU MADE IT---YOU MADE IT MARCUS"! 

A doctor came in the room, and told me that I was lucky to be alive. I knew "luck" had nothing to do with it. He proceeded to tell me that he performed an eight hour surgery on me and removed half of my stomach, my whole spleen, half of my small intestine, reattached my colon, removed half of my pancreas---I just looked at him in disbelief, but I believed him. I found out later that my doctor FOUND GOD THROUGH MY SURGERY---HE ACKNOWLEDGED THAT IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE THAT HE DID THE SURGERY BY HIMSELF. 

TODAY, I CAN WALK---I HAD TO LEARN THAT OVER AGAIN.

TODAY, I CAN PLAY THE PIANO---EVEN THOUGH, I LOST THE FEELING IN MY RIGHT HAND.

TODAY, I CAN WALK IN PEACE BECAUSE GOD GAVE ME PEACE DURING THE MOST CHAOTIC TIME IN MY LIFE. 

TODAY, I KNOW THAT GOD IS A HEALER! 


Psalms 30:2 "O Lord my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me".                                                                               

And, Mark 9:25 says, "Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”  

 "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony,"  (Revelation 12:11)


Do you believe? I know that I do! I encourage everyone that reads my testimony to DO GOD NOW--NOT LATER! A common misconception is that you need to clean yourself up before you come to God, but the truth is, you just have to come to God and He will change you.

God bless you all. God keep you and remember that GOD IS SOVEREIGN. GOD IS BIGGER THAN EVERY PROBLEM AND EVERY SITUATION! 

Purchase Marcus's CD's & Download Songs on:  Google Play    Amazon     itunes          

Marcus Stanley is on:  Facebook    Twitter     YouTube                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

This is Marcus's testimony that he did on YouTube.  Please share his testimonial videos on any social media site that you can--to bless others with this incredible "God-story"! 

Marcus's Testimony was shared on CBN's The 700 Club. 

This is one of many of Marcus's songs. He is a very gifted pianist!  












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22Mar

Laura Thompson, learned from a young age that words can shatter one's self-image. For 40 years, she held onto a secret that tried to destroy her, but with God's help the lies were uncovered so she could heal. Today, Laura, is the author of two popular children's books called "In the Butterfly Kingdom There Is Love" & "In the Butterfly Kingdom There is Kindness". It is Laura's passion that children learn from a young age that not only does God love them, but they can make a great difference in the world with God's fruit of the spirit called love & kindness.

Laura Thompson
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us." (Ephesians 3:20)  

This is my story of how God took a shattered little girl and transformed her into a Mighty Woman of God. It is my desire to bring encouragement and healing to a hurting world one person at a time through the transforming power of His Love. 

When we think of the 11th hour—we often conjure up images in our minds of what the 11th hour represents. The 11th hour depicts a variety of feelings such as desperation that you are being backed into the corner or that you are running out of time and hope. This is my story of how God took my 11th hour and transformed it into what I now call my brightest hour. 

When I was 11 years old, there were words spoken about me by a trusted family member while I was there. This moment, shattered my world! These words had such a negative impact that they greatly affected my self-image and thought-life. This in turn, determined my actions for most of my life.  I learned at a very early age, the power of the tongue and how it can either build someone up or tear them way down. From the outside, it appeared that I was fine and everything in my life was great, but on the inside I suffered greatly. For 40 years, I kept this a secret even though it should have never remained so hidden and covered. It was all a lie from Satan who thought he could destroy me. At 50 years old, God helped me uncover the lie that was spoken over me. It was then, that God began a “new work” in me to heal my mind—heal my soul—and begin a transformational journey of healing.

I have learned, that secrets are crippling and can lead to a slow and painful death of oneself. I also learned that God loves us too much to leave us where we are—He wants His best for each of us. God will transform our thoughts and actions for His purpose and will for our lives.  I have come to realize, that our past does not determine our future. What the enemy means for harm—God always, turns around for good.  Our value is not in whom man says we are, but in whom God says we are according to scripture verse Proverbs 139:13-18.

I am thankful for God’s grace and mercy in transforming my life! It is because of this, that I can now help others through the gift of encouragement. God has taken the deeply hidden gifts and talents in me—the ones that were so deeply covered—and revealed them so I can help others. I have always had a passion for helping people and a tender heart toward children. I have recently become an author of an inspirational children’s book titled, “In the Butterfly Kingdom There Is Love. “ This is a story about a royal family of butterflies who live in a garden. God has given them special fruit to eat from the Blessing Tree so that, they may be wise in God’s ways, to help others, and to be an example to others who live in the garden. The theme is about the fruit of the spirit love, and I have paired it with the story line of adoption. I want children to know that God loves them, that each and every child is special, and that each child may know that they are never too young to realize that they can make a difference in the world.  

I believe if we plant seeds of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control we will always produce good fruit. The other wonderful part of my book is that God has provided a platform in which, I use as a ministry tool—to help children not only as they read my book, but in return—give a portion of the sales to a variety of Christian children’s ministries to help children in need. 

My prayer for everyone who reads my testimony is that they may know God loves them and He has a plan and a purpose for their life. Don’t give in, don’t give up, keep pursuing Him and in due season—He will turn your sorrow into joy—your tragedy into triumph to glorify Him and bless others. God wants to bless you so you can bless others. Do not let the pain of yesterday hold you back from the promises God has for your future. The best is yet to come! 

View “In the Butterfly Kingdom There Is Love" and Laura's new book "In the Butterfly Kingdom There is Kindness" on YouTube. Both books can be purchased at traditional bookstores or online at Amazon.com, Apple iTunes Store, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo




Purchase "In the Butterfly Kingdom There is Love" on Amazon

Purchase "In the Butterfly Kingdom There is Kindness" on Amazon


"In the Butterfly Kingdom There is Love"

"In the Butterfly Kingdom There is Kindness"


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15Mar

Felicia Dopico's daughter, Abigail, shared her testimony last week called..."God's Chosen Warrior Princess". This is Felicia's "God-story" told from a mom's perspective of that terrifying night Abby was airlifted to the local trauma center.


      "Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:45)



The night of the tragedy was an ordinary night for my husband and me—we just finished dinner; made a fire in the family room, and sat on the couch to watch TV. In the distance we heard a helicopter, but didn’t think anything of it at the time. All of a sudden, I got a very strange message on Facebook asking me to call the local police department. The rest is a bit blurry, for as soon as emergency personnel said, “Is this Abigail Dopico’s mother?”—the room began to spin. They proceeded to tell me, that she was being airlifted to a local trauma center with a severe head injury and we needed to get there as soon as possible.


The ride to the hospital was eerily quiet for my husband and I were stunned and speechless. I remember praying the entire time for God to restore Abby’s health completely. I also reached out to my prayer warrior friends who stood in agreement with my prayers. I had a sense of calm in the car as I prayed and somehow knew this would all be for the greater good. Upon arrival, the ER doctor had tears in his eyes when he told us, that he wasn’t sure if Abigail would make it, and if she did—he didn’t know she would be the same child that we knew. Although, this news was devastating, I trusted in the peace the Lord filled me with in the car as He consistently told me, “Trust me Felicia, I will restore her—just put one foot in front of the other”. Abigail survived the surgery and went into an induced coma for three days. The doctors continued to convey to us that they still didn’t know if Abigail would come out of this. At this time though, I was just grateful that she was alive and knew God would continue to provide for us and her. As the three days progressed, and we got closer to the time that the doctors were going to wake her up, they warned us again of all the terrible things that can happen—Abigail may never walk, never talk, she might not be able to swallow, breathe on her own, etc.—Fear gripped me again, but then, I was overcome by the words placed in my heart, “It won’t happen, trust me.” None of those terrible things happened—praise God! Abby, woke up asking us what happened? She told me soon after waking, “I was fine the whole time. I went to the penthouse with the man, the very large man.” I asked her, “What did you do there?” and she responded, “He made me all better.” With tears in my eyes, I knew it was all going to be OK and that she spent time with her heavenly Father. As the days went on, we realized her left side was very weak, to the point of having no movement. Again, I just knew this would be resolved in God’s time and slowly movement returned. By the time she got to the rehab facility, most movement had returned except in her left ankle and toes. The therapists told me that she had a dropped ankle. It may return or it may not. They made a brace for Abby that she might need to wear for the rest of her life. Again, I thanked God she was alive and knew this was all in His hands. Lying in her bed one day, Abby said to me, “Mom—look at my toes” as she moved them. As of today, all movement in her ankle and toes has been restored and the brace is in a closet.


Throughout this journey and the subsequent surgery, I had many moments where fear tried to steal my faith. It wasn’t easy. I will tell you that every single time fear said, “This might happen…” it never did. God remained steadfast in His promises to me and continues to do so to this day. Abigail is a miracle, God’s miracle! There is simply no other explanation for her survival and recovery. 


What has this done for me? My faith has been exponentially increased, and I was a believer in Jesus already. I always prayed and thanked Jesus daily for favor in my life, but this was a whole new level of my walk with Christ! I believe God chose us for this reason. Abby’s healing has amazed all the doctors and seeds of what Jesus can do have been planted. 


Click on link or book cover to purchase Felicia's book.


 


 


 


 


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10Mar

A couple of months ago, Abby Dopio, had a severe car accident---It was on this day, that her perspective on life changed forever.


"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the LORD your God."  (Numbers 15:41)




On December 28th, of 2017, my life changed forever. Before then, I was so happy—so excited to go back to college. I have met some of the best friends I have ever had at college. So let’s just say my life was pretty awesome. Today, I know that I shouldn’t be alive. On that horrible day, I had angels surrounding and protecting me. The odds were not in my favor. The impact of the car accident caused a massive blood clot on the right side of my brain which, caused it to shift from the center a great deal. The days following the accident, I was in a coma and my parents had no clue how I would wake up. I could have lost the ability to form sentences—I could have lost my eyesight—I could have had no recollection of my family—I could have not been able to sit here and compose my testimony right now. The list goes on and on. I cannot even imagine how terrifying this was for my family. When I awoke, I was confused for a few days and had no memory of what had happened. Eventually, I was told that I had a car accident and was airlifted to the local trauma center. When I heard this, I knew that my life just got a little more difficult.


These have been the worst two months of my life. I was depressed and cried everyday because I couldn’t fathom all that had happened. Most of all, I didn’t understand why God would pick me to survive this. I thought there are so many people out in the world much more special than me. But somehow, despite my sadness—I had the strength to move forward and go to physical therapy everyday even when, I would have rather just sat on my butt and cried. I continued to move forward and found strength and motivation even though, I felt as though I had none. 


Fast forward to today. I still get sad sometimes. But I am so thankful to be here and get a second chance at life. People always say “live life to the fullest” and that statement never truly hit home until now. Now, I understand how important it is to live life to the fullest and be happy in the present. Life can truly change in an instant! One day you’re alive and thriving and the next day you could be clinging to life. Life is so precious to me now. And, my new found relationship with God is something that I hold true inside my heart. I have never felt stronger in my life—I have never truly felt more beautiful inside and out, even with a bald head! I found strength in myself, my family, and all of those that prayed for me since the very beginning. I know that I wouldn’t be here without all the prayers and love! I have been given the gift of a second chance of life. I want to encourage you not to waste your first chance—live everyday like it might be your last. Be spontaneous and happy in the present. Yes, life is short and the world is tough sometimes, but with God and prayer we always become tougher! 


***Abby's story behind her favorite scripture of Numbers 15:41*** 

"When I was airlifted to the hospital, the trauma doctors gave me the nickname, "Egypt" until they knew my name because, I did not have an ID with me at the scene of the accident. It is now my favorite scripture!"


"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the LORD your God."  (Numbers 15:41)


Abby's story was written in a book by her mother, Felicia.--Please click the link or the book cover to purchase.







 








 




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22Feb

An inspirational story of a father remembering his son's suffering as he battles brain cancer.


“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

              **This testimony has been prayerfully written by Joseph Bono—(Jordan’s dad)** 

In the early-morning, my heart was broken. I was in a room alone with my son Jordan, watching him suffer the aftereffects of brain surgery. Just days earlier, he had been diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. During those terrible hours at the hospital, I sensed that God was teaching me an incredible lesson.


I’m Jordan’s dad, Joe, and I want to share with you how God changed my perspective about a suffering son. A few hours after Jordan’s surgery, I wrote down my thoughts, expressed my emotions and poured out my heartache about what my son was going through. Here is a summary of what God taught me.


The Suffering of My Son                                                                                                                          

As a father, I felt helpless. Jordan was in so much pain. Hearing him cry out and seeing him in such agony was heartbreaking. Jordan’s eyesight was temporarily darkened, and he was experiencing short-term paralysis on his right side. I thought he didn’t know I was there, until he called out “Daddy.” When Jordan felt my touch and heard my voice, he said—“I just want you here.” Later, I wrote: “The anguish that I have seen my son in tonight has broken my heart. I have no strength. It is not in me. I must rely upon God.” Psalm 46:1 says—“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” 


The Suffering of God’s Son

In the anguish of those hours spent at the hospital, God reminded me about how much suffering His Son, Jesus Christ, endured as He hung on the cross. That evening, I began to understand the pain that Jesus suffered, yet Jordan’s pain in no way compared to what Jesus went through. Even so, this one thing I knew:  the pain my son was suffering was necessary for his healing, and it was essential for his body to be restored to health. God’s Word, the Bible, explains that the pain of God’s Son was necessary for the healing and restoration of our souls. Isaiah 53:5 says—“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” 


Who was this Jesus and why did He have to suffer? The Bible clearly states that Jesus is God himself (see John 1:1-14). God willingly humbled himself to enter the world in human form and be born of a virgin. He came to earth to be the perfect and only sacrifice for the sins of the world. That means He came for you and for me personally. Jesus lived a perfect and sinless life, something no other human being has ever achieved. He was nailed to a cross to suffer a horrible death, but then he rose again on the third day. Why? He did this to provide forgiveness for the sins of the whole world. The Bible explains in Romans 3:23—“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,…”. Just a few chapters later, in Romans 6:23, the Bible tells us that—“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Salvation through Jesus Christ is the greatest gift ever to be offered and the best gift you could ever receive.


A Place of Rest  

Watching my son suffer was the deepest heartache of my life. But God used the events of that evening while Jordan was in recovery to prepare me for the most profound victory of my life. What has been your deepest heartache? Can you say that it has brought victory into your life? God desires for you to have victory! Your trial may be different from mine, but it still brings you anguish and pain. God offers you rest from your trouble and peace for your pain. These are provided through the pages of the Scriptures, the Bible. Matthew 11:28 says—“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”


Victory, peace and rest begin with a call—your call to God for salvation, for the healing and cleansing of your soul. Just as Jordan called out to me “Daddy—I just want you here,” God wants you to call out to Him with the faith of a child who longs to have his father by his side. That call can be heard only through God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Romans 10:13 assures us, for “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” If that is your heart’s desire, you can apply this truth of the Bible to your life right now. You can call on God. The first step is to pray a simple yet sincere prayer. By trusting the Lord, you can know that when you die, you will have a home in Heaven. 


Jordan received the gifts of salvation that God offers you today. At age 5, he knew he was a sinner, and he humbled himself. He realized he needed the forgiveness that only Jesus Christ has the power to give. Jordan’s mom and I had the privilege of leading Jordan to his Lord. Just one year and eight days after his initial diagnosis of brain cancer, Jordan was instantly healed as he went home to Heaven to be with his Lord. People ask us how we deal with the loss of our son. Although, we dearly miss him, my response is, “You can’t lose something if you know where it is. We know where Jordan is, and one day we will see him again in Heaven.”


My wife, Michelle, and I sincerely desire to minister to those who are hurting. If our testimony has made an impact on your life in any way, please contact us at bonojoe@gmail.com


We have a ministry of tears, but each time God chooses to use our tears of sorrow—He turns them into tears of joy. God does not waste trails that He brings into our lives. We want to encourage you by sharing what God has done for us. He promises to comfort and sustain all who love Him (see Romans 8:28). God bless you. Remember a great burden offers an opportunity for great victory!


Pray This Prayer for Salvation

Dear God, I know that I am a sinner, I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins and rose again on the third day. Right now, this very hour, I place my faith in Jesus Christ and what He did for me on the cross. Dear Jesus, please forgive me of my sins. Come into my heart and life as my personal Savior. Help me from this day forward to live a life that honors you. Thank you for saving me and giving me a home in Heaven. Amen.


If you have sincerely prayed this prayer, you have just made the best decision of your life. Congratulations! Now it’s important for you to go on from here. The Christian life is not just saying a quick prayer and then continuing to live the same way as before. Here are four important steps to follow as you grow in your Christian life and in your new walk with God.


Step #1:  Get a Bible. Begin in the New Testament with the book of John, and read a least one chapter each day.

Step #2:  Find a church that teaches and loves the Bible, and begin attending faithfully. 

Step #3:  Pray (talk) to God daily. Ask Him to help you find a church that He wants you to become involved in—one that will guide you in your spiritual growth (see Hebrews 4:16).

Step #4:  Tell others about your decision. Share how God has shown you the way to get to Heaven (see Matthew 10:32-33).


God bless you! 


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