Blog #miracles


26Jun

Amanda Grace's life changed in an instant in August 2002, when she felt fluish, and then collapsed in her mother’s home starting a 16 year battle with a rare neuropathy and autoimmune disease. The Lord brought her back from the verge of death multiple times, and raised her up from being paralyzed in a wheelchair. This amazing testimony is truly a testament to the power, grace, and love of Almighty God!

Amanda Grace


What the Lord has done for me has been like a baptism by fire, and I believe what I've been through really shows the strength and power of the Lord because His strength is made perfect in our weakness. The more we go through—the more of His strength can be demonstrated in our lives. The Lord is everything to me!

From the time I was a child, I fought illness. At the age of four, my mother found me in my crib blue and rushed me to the pediatrician. It was discovered, that I had severe asthma. I found myself in the hospital a lot because I would get pneumonia and bronchitis often. At times, I would need oxygen tents because I couldn't breathe outside of them. Because I was in the hospital so much, I missed a lot of school work. Unlike today, the choices to treat asthma were limited. Two of the options were adrenaline shots and slo-bid which was like giving a child ten cups of coffee. When I was about six years old, nebulizer treatments became available. 

I praise God for my mom because she's a strong woman in the Lord and she raised me to be the same—a fighter—one that perseveres and doesn't give up. My mom took care of me a lot when I was going through all of this. Unfortunately, my father wanted nothing to do with the Lord and everything to do with the world and worldly things. This caused a bit of a rocky childhood because the Bible talks about a house divided cannot stand, and because of my dad's choices, there were both spiritual and physical implications in our lives. So fighting illness, and dealing with this was not easy.

I was raised on the border of the Bronx, NY (the south end of New Rochelle), and by the time I was fifteen—we moved into Hudson Valley, NY. This move was a whole new ordeal for me because the high school was rough even back then to the point of needing security guards. I then went on to John Jay High School, which was another adjustment, and I began to have gastrointestinal issues—this was the secondary symptoms showing up before the primary symptoms.

I ended up having terrible gastrointestinal issues, and at the age of sixteen, my gallbladder had to be removed because it stopped working due to problems with the ducts going to my pancreas. By the age of seventeen, I ended up getting pancreatitis from all the gastrointestinal issues I had been fighting.

I began to attend Santa College in Lavelle, NY and while there, I was still very sick and thin because I couldn't eat a lot of foods due to my incredibly limited diet. The college was very accommodating with everything, but it was very frustrating.

By the age of twenty, my parents ended up getting a divorce. My mother tried she did, but there are just times that somebody is so set in their ways as my dad was, that it's too destructive and not good all around.  With the divorce, my whole world changed and I found myself taking six classes while working thirty hours a week to try to support myself.

Nine months after getting out of Siena College in New York, I was working at Global Financial Services in Harrison, NY as a hedge fund accountant on a hedge fund worth hundreds of millions of dollars. When I interviewed at Globo, they had me take a financial IQ test. The highest score for this test because of its difficulty was a 40 out of a hundred—I scored an 80 out of a hundred doubling their highest score and they immediately hired me at very generous salary for a 21-year-old. It was a very stressful and intense job because a hedge fund that's worth hundreds of millions of dollars has different currencies. stocks, bonds, commodities, futures, you name it it's in that fund. 

Because of all I had gone through as a kid, I stayed away from a lot of indulgences that other kids experimented with such as, drugs and cigarettes. I barely drank a glass of wine every now and then because of the health problems that I have been through—I was going to the gym, eating right, and doing everything I could to keep my body completely healthy. But nine months into doing all I could to keep healthy—I began to feel flush however, this was no regular flu—this was a killer virus and within seven days, I collapsed on the floor of my mother's bathroom and she rushed me to the hospital. The doctors did not know what was wrong and thought it might be Lyme disease or MS. They ran many tests, but couldn't find anything. In an instant, my life changed! I was unable to walk or talk well and I was very weak. I will tell you that this was an attack from the pit of hell!

Eighteen years ago, doctors did not know about viruses attacking the nervous systems and neuropathy—they knew much less back then than they know now about such issues, and so the doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. I was released from the hospital and we started our journey of looking for specialty doctors. We went to fourteen specialty doctors in a year and a half to try to figure out what had happened to me because, it was clear that something was very; very wrong. I deteriorated more over that time, and by the time I got to Dr. Adam's a year and a half later, at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, he had to admit me to the hospital because my blood pressure was 70 over 40—I was thin and very weak. After testing, he thought that maybe I had pots syndrome (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome), but he said…"There is something else going on here that we can't quite put our finger on…an underlying autoimmune issue that we can't quite diagnose yet." Then, Doctor Adam's told me that I had to go into rehab because I was too weak and my body wasn't functioning correctly. So, I was admitted to Burke Rehabilitation Institute in Westchester, New York. It's a fabulous rehab center and the people there were amazing. I spent over a month there which happened to be during Christmas and New Year's. Even going through this God was faithful! So many people came to see me, and they decorated my room for Christmas. One of my mom's friends made food for Christmas day. The young adult's group from Faith Assembly of God that I used to help came to see me too. God was faithful in sending all these people to support me during this time. Now, as good as the rehab center was, they had never quite dealt with nervous system issues like I was having so I will tell you—rehab was very intense and difficult.

I started rehab in a wheelchair, but when I left—I walked out of there using a cane—praise God for that. The doctors told me, that I couldn't go back to work in the field of finance due to it being too stressful—They felt it would break down my body, so I had to figure out how to rebuild my life. I was very shy at this point and even afraid to pray out loud because as a kid, nobody was allowed to talk about God around my father. He would get very angry, so I was very introverted about my relationship with the Lord until He helped me with this through this trial.

I ended up being very weak and frail for a long time and would go through bouts of sickness. The doctors had trouble keeping me healthy as I would keep getting infections, so it was one step forward and two steps back. Doctor Adam's decided that I needed to have white blood cell transfusions (IVIG immunoglobulin) which are put into your body intravenously, with about a four-hour drip. They started me on a regiment once a month for five days in a row. I will tell you, they give them to cancer patients too and make you incredibly sick and tired you're down for days after you get these treatments. Well, I had an anaphylactic reaction from the brand they put me on and needed to be rushed to the hospital, so they decided to put me on it once a week instead of five days in a row. I was very weak a couple of days after treatments and was in the house a lot—I did not have much of a life—I couldn't drive and had to have somebody watch me when I went out because my legs tended to give out on me.

For seven years, I slowly got better. I still couldn't work, but I was able to drive. I continued to fight intense pain with neuropathy. It felt as if, my limbs were on fire or I was being burned with cigarettes, as well as needles being stuck into my joints. It took a lot of mental toughness to push through. To try to ease the burden and the excruciating pain, my doctors put me on a pain regiment. Pain is stress on the body, and if the body is in too much pain, it will break down the immune system. They didn't want me in a more weakened condition and to be able to go out and live and function as much as I could.

In 2012, I got married and was attending a church called John 3:16 Christian Center in Burbank, NY. The Lord had brought some wonderful people into my life there. At this point, I was able to do some housework, drive a little and some other things, but would have to pace myself—one day on—one day off—so if I had to go out and do grocery shopping, I'd have to rest the entire next day because it took my body three times more energy and fortitude to do the simple tasks that everybody else takes for granted. A lot of times, when people get sick they don't feel useful and their self-worth goes down a lot because their identity becomes that illness. I encourage you to not let an illness you are fighting become your identity because you are so much more than that lie of illness that's going on in your body. God is greater than any illness—Jesus died for people to be healed—He died for our sins.

I had to keep reminding myself during this trial that my relationship with the Lord and faith in Him was growing. Unfortunately, other things were going on in my life that added more stress and for anyone fighting autoimmune neuropathy diseases/illnesses conditions—stress is one of the worst things for your body—it's toxic and can cause relapses and the body to break down. At this point, I was in such a weakened state I was not supposed to be around anybody sick and I ended up being around somebody that was sick and from that, I ended up getting pneumonia and needed to be rushed to the hospital—something was not right the morning I woke up on September 30th, 2012. I woke up that morning, and my limbs were involuntary, I was having a lot of trouble breathing, my chest was in pain, and I felt as if I had an infection. The doctor said that I had to get to the hospital immediately. So my mother rushed me to Putnam Hospital in Carmel, NY. By the time the doctors got there and examined me, my left lung had completely shut down and no air sounds were coming out of my left lung. Within 30 minutes, they had me on a heart monitor, an IV drip of antibiotics, and steroids which are like my nuclear option—I wouldn't touch them unless it's life or death—steroids are great for inflammation, but they have a host of unpleasant side-effects. Once admitted to the hospital, I was put in the cardiac care unit because of the neuropathy and autoimmune complications I was fighting, my entire nervous system crashed—my body crashed—I lost the ability to walk, my blood oxygen level had dropped to 90 which anything below 95, the doctors don't like to see because it tells how well your body is moving oxygen through your bloodstream. I was having a lot of trouble breathing, and even trying to get into my wheelchair to go to the bathroom my heart rate would shoot up to 170 beats per minute setting off all the alarms at the nurse's station (they put my room in front of the nurse's station for this reason). I was in the hospital for three weeks but wasn't completely stable and the doctors made a decision, that I had to go to rehab again to learn how to walk again. Well, let me tell you that during this time, I had a lot of conversations with the Lord about why He let this happen—"Lord why am I going through this again? Why do I keep getting sick? Why? Why? Why? I asked a lot of why's in that hospital bed, but I also knew that I had to cling to the Lord for dear life because He was the only one that was going to save me in this—He was the only one that could heal my body—He was the only one that could bring me through this trial. I have learned that the devil (enemy) will launch an offensive before the plans of God even come to fruition in your life to stop His plans. In the Bible, the enemy did this a lot even causing the fallen angels to go down and have relations with earthly women to create the Nephilim those Giants to try to interrupt the seed—the line that Jesus would be born through. So the enemy is known for launching offensives to try to stop the plans of God from coming to fruition in your life before they even come to fruition.

When they told me that I had to go to rehab again, I was crying—I was tired—I wanted to go home—I didn't want to be in the hospital anymore—and trust me, they were lovely people the Lord sent— amazing nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists—a pulmonologist, a gastroenterologist, a primary doctor—there were quite a few specialists involved in this decision. Before going to rehab, you're supposed to be stabilized however, the primary doctor made the mistake of sending me too early, and I was transferred by ambulance to Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital in Poughkeepsie, New York. When I arrived, I was in terrible distress and had a very difficult time breathing and then a horrible asthma attack—so much so, the doctor said that they didn't know if I was stable enough—they were angry at Putnam Hospital for sending me prematurely to rehab, and they said to me that they didn't know if I could endure rehab because of my lungs and all the pain I was in. Pneumonia had exacerbated the neuropathy and I was in twice as much pain as normal. The pain felt as though it was between an eight to ten 10 all the time. The doctors decided to put me on an IV pain medication to get me through rehab and on round-the-clock respiratory treatments. I was also given large doses of steroids which they had already done a Putnam Hospital. One of the unpleasant side effects of steroids is they make you gain a lot of weight and I blew up like a balloon. My face looked round and at 5'9" I almost weighed 220 pounds. Between the steroids and the heparin shots given to me in my stomach every day to thin the blood and prevent blood clots, I was black and blue—swollen—looked completely disfigured—Yes, I felt ugly and like a black-and-blue disfigured bloated pin-cushion! Emotionally, I went through a very hard time with how much this fight—this trial—the disease—pneumonia—and how the medication had disfigured me—It was very difficult to deal with.

I ended up starting a two-month stay at the rehabilitation center, and tied the longest record they had for rehabbing there. They put me right in front of the nurse's station. I praise God because I did have a lot of favor through everything. I had a private room and when the nurses took their breaks, they pulled the curtain and they would chat with me—my room was the happening place to be to hang out and chat. Other patients would come to visit me and I'd go visit them as well. The hospital gave me special privileges and one of them was to be able to decorate the wing for Christmas. I decorated my wheelchair too with all sorts of garland in the spokes and ornaments hanging from the handles then, go scooting around the floor—the nurses would laugh. The nurses were very attentive to me not only when I was in pain or distress, but also if I wanted special food from the cafeteria. I had wonderful physical and occupational therapists, who were dedicated to trying to get me well.

While at rehab, I was on medication to help my heart rate, antibiotics, steroids, and a cocktail of drugs that tried to keep me stable and alive. Then another complication arises from the steroids and weight gain—for the first time in my life, I became diabetic and needed insulin shots anytime my glucose level went above 200. I continually had IV's and then, they put a PICC line in me, running from my vein to my heart. I had to put my faith in the Lord and trust Him—I was walking through the valley of the shadow of death, but God was walking with me—I was never alone—He never left me—He never forsake me—He never allowed the plans of the enemy to come to fruition in my life—He never allowed the enemy to kill me— He always stepped in the way and gave me the grace because His grace is sufficient to help keep me pushing—"Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." (Psalm 23:4) "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  (2 Corinthians 12:9)

I was at physical therapy for a couple of months and while there, they had to put metal braces on my legs from my knees down to my ankles—I looked like the bionic woman. These metal braces forced me to stand up and during therapy; I would have somebody behind me with a wheelchair and someone else on the side of me. At first, they had me walking a few feet then—I slowly progressed to the point where they sent me home in a wheelchair along with physical therapy. Let me tell you that it's a very humbling experience when somebody has to take you to the bathroom—when they need to help bathe you—wash and dry your hair—and dress you—count your blessings for the simple things you can do because if you lose them, you will see very quickly how important doing tasks independently really are.

I was sent home four days before Christmas on December 21st, 2012, and my husband, Chris, had put up a Christmas tree. My dog's Roxy and Gracie had no clue where I went for two months—they were dumb-founded and when I arrived home, they were happy and confused all at the same time. I do have to say, that I felt very insecure being home on my own because my husband worked and I was in a kind of incubator for two months with people around to watch and protect me.

To help at home, I got an aide three times a week and my mom would come to help as well, but I had to learn a lot on my own like how to slide into the wheelchair by myself and go to the bathroom. I also needed to learn in my weakened state, how to go get food out of the fridge and feed myself. Soon, I received a wonderful aide by the name of Mary, who was sent by the Lord to help me with everything including walking my dogs and the insurance company. With her help, I was able to get an electric wheelchair with all the bells and whistles. This helped me greatly, so I could get out of the house and walk my dogs around the property. Getting fresh air was another huge blessing! I knew that the Lord was providing these blessings to help me get through everything—He was giving me provision to help me endure the battle. I have learned that passionate people have a will to fight and being a feisty Italian girl who was raised in the Bronx—I had a will to fight! 

It's a good thing I am a fighter because by Christmas I got sick again with such a horrible infection that I couldn't even sit up. My mom and dad came over even though they're divorced—which was slightly uncomfortable, but they both wanted to be there for me. My husband, Chris, was determined to cook Christmas dinner and my mom helped him. I was so sick I couldn't even get up to enjoy Christmas. I was bloated and something was very wrong because I couldn't move—perhaps I was sent home a little too early because four days later, I end up back in the emergency room with the doctors telling me that I had bronchitis and they had to admit me. All the progress I made for the two months that I was in rehab being able to stand up with the braces and walking a little bit was lost. It was like I was paralyzed from the waist down—I had no use of my legs—my body had completely crashed. I was back in the hospital depressed and beside myself and crying out to God from my heart..."Where are you? I need you! Why?" Over the next three weeks, the Lord did some pretty miraculous things. I had ended up back in the cardiac care unit and they had sent me to a step-down unit, which is when you're well enough to be out of ICU or cardiac care and they send you to a regular floor. My husband came early on New Year's Eve to see me, but he was exhausted and went home. I said to the Lord sadly…"I'm going to ring in the New Year all by myself in a hospital bed." Well, no sooner than I said that, the nurses from the entire floor came into my room with hats and noisemakers and said…"Amanda, we took a vote and we unanimously decided we all wanted to ring in the New Year with you!" This was an answer to prayer praise God—the Lord really heard my prayer about feeling alone, and all the nurses came in and put a party hat on me, gave me a noisemaker, and we all rang in the New Year together. 

Every morning, I had a respiratory therapist come in and they would make me blow into a peak flow meter which would indicate how well I was breathing. A good reading is 400 or higher and mine was around 280, so my lungs were still not completely healthy. The one time I blew into the meter, it felt like somebody had plunged a knife into my chest sending my therapist running to get the nurses because I couldn't breathe. They rushed down the hall and brought an echocardiogram (EKG), which read that I was having a heart attack. Then they rushed out of the room and called a code. Because most of the doctors and nurses on the floor knew me, and the room number that I was in, they all came running. I was suddenly surrounded by twelve doctors and nurses. It was too early in the morning for my husband or mom to be there, so I was alone and scared as they were taking blood, putting things into my IV, making me put nitroglycerin under my tongue, got me on oxygen as they were rushing me back down to the cardiac care unit. I said a very simple prayer…"Lord, you're the only one that can reach into my chest and stop this heart attack—I'm scared—please help me." By the time we got down to the cardiac care unit another echocardiogram was taken, the heart attack had completely vanished! It just registered that my heart was beating a little fast, and the doctors and nurses were in the corner comparing the two EKGs saying…"How did this happen?" They checked the machine and it didn't malfunction—they were completely dumbfounded! The Lord miraculously stopped the heart attack that the enemy was trying to bring against my life! That is the power of almighty God! Yes, my heart needed to yield to what God says—that's how powerful the name of Jesus is because every knee must bow and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord.  (Isaiah 45:23, Romans 14:11)

They called my mother and in turn, she called my husband. She raced over to the hospital and when she got there and heard what happened she was just praising Jesus up and down—she was calling people—I mean it was truly miraculous! You know it is one thing to hear about miracles, but when the power of almighty God manifests in your life and miracles begin to happen it's a whole different ballgame—it's a whole different story. I was at the hospital another two weeks before they sent me home in a wheelchair. I couldn't walk at all and it was too soon for me to go back to the rehab, so I needed to go home and they had a nurse come to clean my PICC line. The nurse happened to be a gentleman who was about six foot five and 300 pounds—he was a very big boy! Well, my puppy, Roxy, who we rescued from a high kill shelter down in Georgia, had enough of people taking her mommy away and she was going to do something about it, so on this particular day when the nurse was washing his hands in our kitchen sink, I heard Roxy yelp, and the nurse yelled…"Your dog just bit my a**!" Shock and embarrassment came over me, like blood draining out of my face, and before I could yell at Roxy, she was doing a victory lap wagging her tail—head held high running around the kitchen and living room like she just did a great thing and from that day forward, that nurse never turned his back on Roxie again.

I was only home for about ten days when I woke up one morning throwing up among other symptoms. The PICC line in my arm was red, hard, swollen and oozing. I felt like I was going to die! My husband could see that there was something very wrong, so he called my mother and they brought me to the hospital which was a tough ride because I threw up the entire way. My mother called the hospital when we were on the way, so the medical staff was ready when I arrived. When I got there, they immediately put me into nausea medicine, pain medicine, and they pulled the PICC line out. When the PICC line came out, there was a hole in my arm that was oozing. They did cultures and sent it to be analyzed and it came back that I had MRSA. I became septic and found out it's so rare to get MRSA through a PICC line that I had to be reported to New York State. Now, I was septic fighting MRSA that kills healthy people and I am in a weakened state—my heart was weakened—my body was weak—I couldn't walk, and now here comes the third attack MRSA and septic. They immediately admitted me to the hospital and put me on a nuclear bomb of antibiotics that included multiple IV bags at once. The situation was grave—In fact, I found out later that the doctors didn't know if I was going to live because my body had little strength to fight off this very; very deadly infection.

My mother called everyone who could pray because God was the ONLY ONE who could intervene and stop what was going on. Well, something miraculous happened—within two days, the numbers on my blood work doubled and were near normal! Dr. Singh was so stunned that he came into my hospital room and said…"Amanda, I have to tell you—we didn't think you were going to live and it's incredible the turnaround you've made in just two days!" Well, because I kept on improving, I only had to stay there a week and they sent me home without a PICC line for good reason.

They couldn't get me back into the rehab facility, so I went home completely paralyzed from the waist down—I had no use of my legs whatsoever. The Lord had saved my life yet again—He had miraculously intervened yet again—No infection—No disease—No situation is impossible for God! I am home in a wheelchair, bloated from the steroids, black and blue from the PICC line, and disfigured but—I'm alive—Praise God! Once home, I had to adjust to life in a wheelchair. My aide, Mary, came back to work with me again and she would bathe me, wash and blow-dried my hair, help with laundry, walk the dogs and so much more. My mom was also working overtime to help out because my husband was not around during the day due to his job plus, it was like an automatic pilot for my mom because she's been through this with me since I was a kid. Even though Mary and my mom were coming over to help a lot, I tried to learn to do things on my own as well such as—doing the laundry, how to get in my electric wheelchair and walk the dogs, and how to slide on and off of the wheelchair without falling. It was rough, but I had to accept the fact that at that moment, I was in a wheelchair and paralyzed from the waist down. The Lord and His favor were so good because a physical therapist, named Gary, was sent to my house who was determined to try to help me walk again. Gary was Catholic who believed in the Lord but never has seen a miracle before, so God was setting up something pretty incredible. Gary was special because I had another physical therapist come before and say that I wasn't going to walk again and it wasn't worth trying. But Gary wanted to try and he had a lot of compassion on me—thank God.

When Gary came over, Roxy didn't want anyone to take her mommy away again so she would get up on her hind legs and try to push Gary away from me. God bless Gary—he had the patience of a saint with Roxy and worked with her till she trusted him. Roxy would circle the wheelchair and get anxious when Gary would work with me because, in her mind, I was supposed to be in the wheelchair at all times. If anyone tried to stand me up, I'd flop right back into the wheelchair because I had no use of my legs and my upper body was so weak from what I had been through for over five months. Gary worked with me on building up my upper body and moving my legs. Well, it was about a little over a year and I still couldn't stand up and still very sick and weak. I couldn't do a lot and I felt very useless and worthless because people had to do most everything for me, which is a very humbling and embarrassing feeling—Praise God I had the help, but it's a very humbling and embarrassing feeling, when you can't do many simple tasks for yourself like doing your hair, showering, going to the bathroom, and getting food. I was determined over that year to learn how to do some things for myself. It was now May of 2014, and on a particular day, the Lord told me to go to church, which was an odyssey because just getting ready to go to church was exhausting for me and an ordeal for my husband to take me in a wheelchair. That morning though, the Lord told me to go, so I got myself dressed which is something as that point I could do on my own.

Chris wheeled me into the church in which everybody already knew that I was parlayed from the waist down. Well, they decided that day for everyone to stand up and walk down to the altar meanwhile, I was feeling that the joke was on me—it was something about an exercise in faith. So now, I'm being wheeled in this line while everybody else can stand up and walk. I began to say to myself…"Oh yeah—simple for them—I'm in a wheelchair my legs don't work." So I get to the pastors and they said to me…"Amanda, Do you want to try to stand now?" I call this my "get out of the boat moment". Was I going to stay in the boat, stay in the wheelchair where it felt safe or was I going to have the faith that when I got out of the boat, that the Lord was going to meet me, and I was going to walk? Well, I was so desperate at this point and sometimes the Lord gets us good and desperate to increase our incredible faith to do what man deems impossible, and I said "yes", I want to try to stand, so they started praying as the congregation watched. Then I began to brace myself by putting my hands on the handles of the wheelchair and in my heart I said…"Lord I need you to meet me—I'm taking a step out in faith—I need you to meet me and as I began to push, I began to stand as my legs were trembling. They were holding me—not completely, but just balancing me and then they asked… "Do you want to try to walk now?" I can taste it—now the miracles happening—now the Lord is present—now I want it and I said "yes" and one by one, I walked up those steps with their help and walked across that stage fighting for every step with my legs trembling—my body sweating from working so hard, but the Lord was touching my legs and I was walking for the first time in over a year! I was walking and you could have heard a pin drop in the congregation—they were stunned because they all knew my condition—people began crying and praising the Lord. The pastors got on the microphone and said that this is what happens when someone takes a step of faith and truly trusts that the Lord is going to meet them—This is what faith in action does!

Remember Gary had no clue what took place at church and he comes on Monday for physical therapy. When he came, I was sitting in the wheelchair and I told him that I had something to tell him. I said over the weekend, I went to church and I was prayed over and I miraculously got up from my wheelchair and I'm able to walk. With that, he threw a walker in front of me and said…“Show me!” I stood up with that walker and walked 10 feet unassisted and sat down. Gary was so stunned and proceeded to say…“In my whole career, I have never seen a miracle this!” Mary was dumbfounded too! All of a sudden, Gary had a revelation… “How am  I going to explain this to the insurance companies—How am I going to explain to them that you couldn't walk on Friday and now you can walk?” Gary then had a great idea…“I know what I'm going to do!—I will write it’s an “Act of God” in the reports!” It was a complete act of God and because God does nothing halfway—the insurance accompany accepted his report and told him to continue doing physical therapy with me until I could completely walk on my own. Praise God! Gary was with me another six months or more and I was able to walk with a walker quite a way. The Lord touched me and I continued to get better. During this time, there was a wonderful woman named Barbara Nelson Stone. The Lord brought her into my life eight years prior and she had been in the prophetic ministry for over thirty years. As I was getting better, God was also increasing me in prophetic gifts. From the time that I was a child, I had dreams about heaven—I would see angels in my doorway—and I would talk with my mother about events coming before they happened. As a child, it’s hard to know how to harness this gift God put in me. So over time, I got better and I became less introverted with my relationship with the Lord. Barbara prayed for my boldness to begin to pray out loud because I was shy and this poses a problem if the Lord is going to use you as a mouthpiece and vessel. I'll never forget that I was getting better in my health, my faith and relationship with the Lord was growing a lot as well—everything was growing together.

It was 2015 going into 2016, and I anointed our property and I said a prayer telling God that all the wildlife can come and live here and be blessed. Well, let me tell you—be careful about what you pray for because life and death are in the power of the tongue. The Lord taught me a very funny lesson about this through what happened within 24 hours of my prayer—I kid you not because my mom and my husband both witnessed it—hundreds of birds showed up, sixteen deer, about eight vultures, numerous forest critters all within 24 hours. I hid behind the couch while I was on the phone with my mother because it was like the attack of the birds. I told Barbara what was happening and she suspected, that the gift the Lord put inside of me from a little girl was beginning to flourish, so she prayed about it and the Lord put on her heart to mentor me.  During her mentoring, she taught me invaluable lessons and I began to prophesy and seeking the Lord continually because the Lord would give me dreams about events to come before they happened. As my soul prospered, so did my health! "Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well." (3 John 1:2) As the Lord was continuing to prepare me, I began to prophesy in church and putting prophecies out from the Lord on Facebook that have come to pass such as the Spain attack, the earthquake in Iran, and a word shared a day before the election of President Trump. The Lord sees the beginning from the end and He shows His children what is to come so others can prepare and come to Him.

At the same time that I was getting better—the Lord started sending many animals to our property that has a pond—Ducks of all different kinds, geese, deer—you name it—they were coming! The Lord told me to begin to feed them, so that’s what I did. God gives seed to the sower—so I began taking my own money and sowing into the feed to bless God's creation, and the more I did—the stronger my legs got because I began to have to walk the property by getting outside to do manual labor. Then, the Lord sent me a Muscovy duck, named Jake, who ended up on my property. Jake was too domesticated to be wild, so he probably lived on a farm and illegally released. My husband, Chris, built a patent on our property for him, and then God sent other rescue ducks and a chicken named Jingles. Bald eagles began showing up too. The Lord kept on sending so many animals and I would faithfully feed and take care of them including a beautiful African Collared-Dove, who I named Grace and has become well-known on the broadcasts.

I encourage you to be faithful in the little things, and the Lord will give you bigger things to do. God honors our faithfulness in simple tasks because if the Lord can't see you can't do a simple task every day consistently how they expect you to fulfill the demands of a bigger task the same thing in your job the same thing in life be faithful in the little things those simple tests are important doing it consistently is important God does honor that so I'm going to encourage you to keep being consistent in the little things bless all of God's creation bless God wants all of his creation blessed people and animals he wants you to bless all of them he wants you to show his love to all of them he wants you to sew into all of them and if you are faithful in that God will give you bigger things God will honor you before men, God will make you an effectiveness so we are vessels we are instruments we cannot be played unless our Creator plays us like a like a saxophone or a violin or a guitar somebody's got to pick that up and play that instrument to make beautiful sounds to make beautiful music it's the same thing with our Creator we are the vessels he operates through us he is Almighty he is everything we are dust without him and to be an effective vessel for the Lord you have to know that you are a vessel you are simply a humble vessel that God has chosen to operate through you and whatever gift or task he's given you so please do the simple things every day read your Bible consistently every day your spirit and soul need the nourishment of God's Word as much as your body needs good food to run properly to be healthy simple tests read God's Word every day do it every day consistently I encourage you to do that because it will transform you from the inside out and I will tell you the Lord has completely restored me.

The Lord restored me from my head to my feet and inside out! I still fight some pain, but I am the strongest I have been in a long time. God will restore, but the thing about restoration is the old has to be torn down first and everything in my life in a way got torn down but, it has been built back up so much more beautiful and stronger than it was before. Are there some days that I get frustrated? Yes, but I have an open line of communication with the Lord and I tell Him how I feel— I tell him if I'm upset—I tell him if I don't like something but I continue to praise Him through it anyway. God wants an open relationship with us. He wants us to speak to Him—to walk with Him—to activate His Word speaking it out loud because the Word of God is a sword and whatever trial you're going through, you can swing like heck with that sword—resist the devil and he shall flee from you! It has been difficult looking back on these 16 years, but I know He gives and restores to us what the locusts and cankerworm have eaten. Yes, the years that have been taken—the Lord restores. He has restored everything to me—including my physical appearance. I am in the best shape that I've been in a long time, and that's because of the Lord and His grace and I continued to walk things out with the Lord with fear and trembling— dedicated to persevering even in the face of an impossible situation. I stared the mountain of the challenge down because through faith, my God moves mountains. Your deep grounded faith brings forth deep roots and will bring forth the most amazing miraculous events in your life.  Today, I am a walking testimony—a living letter read by all men as to the power of Almighty God and what He can do for one—He can do for another. Keep fighting and persevering in the Lord. Do not give up faith—do not give up hope! The joy of the Lord is your strength. Sing praises to the Lord and speak God's Word and watch those mountains move in your life. God bless you all!                                                                  

ARK OF GRACE MINISTRIES

"And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."  (Mark 16:15 NKJV)      

Amanda Grace is the founder of Ark of Grace Ministries LLC, and Animal Sanctuary. She gives all glory and praise to the Lord for all He has done as she ministers to those around the world, as well as helping animals of all kinds, including those with disabilities, who are in need of a place to call home. Amanda Grace also takes care of her husband, Chris, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in January of 2019. He is a true walking miracle! You can learn more about her, the work she does, and the animals on her YouTube channel.  If you feel led to bless this ministry that ministers to both people and animals, please click on the PayPal icon. Thank you & God bless! 

Ark of Grace Ministries YouTube Channel  

Ark of Grace Ministries Blog Spot (Bible Study Notes & Amanda's Prophetic Words)

If God puts on your heart to give toward Ark of Grace Ministries LLC, and the Animal Sanctuary you may do so through PayPal—Information can be found on her YouTube channel. 

Scriptures to Encourage & Build Your Faith:

"Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses."  (1 Timothy 6:12)

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”  (Psalm 23:4)

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  (Jeremiah 29:11)

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me."  (2 Corinthians 12:9)

"Everything is possible for one who believes."  (Mark 9:23)  

"The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit."  (Proverbs 18:21)

"Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well." (3 John 1:2) 

"I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come."  (Isaiah 46:10) 

"But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams."  (1 Samuel 15:22)

 "Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets."  (Amos 3:7) 

"Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness."  (2 Corinthians 9:10) 

"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."  (James 4:7)

"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much,"  (Luke 16:10)

"And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you."  (Joel 2:25) 

"Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."  (Matthew 17:20)

"...for the joy of the LORD is your strength."  (Nehemiah 8:10)


 


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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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31Jul

Marty Breeden had a near-death experience that brought him into the Lord's presence. While in heaven, he received an urgent message for the Church. Join Marty, as he shares his amazing testimony called CODE BLUE.

"...while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed."   (Titus 2:13) 

Marty Breeden

At one time, as a young man of 17, I had given my heart to the Lord with great passion. As in many cases thoughI got busy with life. In 2015, at 51 years of age, those years of experiencing the zeal of the Lord seemed far away. I had no idea how the Lord was about to sternly, yet lovingly, bring me back to Himself.

On July 17, 2015, as a result of my going into acute respiratory failure, I went “Code Blue”. I would go “Code Blue” yet again within 48 hours. When I “coded” the first time, I immediately left my body, and I found myself standing in what I sensed was the presence of the Lord. Thinking back now, there were a million things He could have said to me, and what He did say, I was certainly not expecting. With an imminence and urgency beyond description, He said, “MY CHURCH DOES NOT REALLY BELIEVE THAT I’M COMING BACK SOON!” He repeated this two more times, as I stood there in stunned silence. Each time, it was with more volume and more passion. I finally said, waving my hands like a school child to get His attention, “Lord, yes we do believe you’re coming back soon. We sing about it, pray about it, study about it; yes, Lord, we do believe that you’re coming back soon!” He then said, “MY Church does not really believe I’m coming back soon, for if they did, they would not be living as they are!” Then, I listened as the timbre of His voice changed. He said, “I AM coming back soon, and my Church is not ready…Now, go back and tell the things that you have heard, and know that your message will not be received!”

I was in the CCU for three weeks, the majority of that on a respirator with a tracheotomy. I survived and would go to the University of Virginia Transitional Care Facility to learn how to walk, talk, and swallow again. It was there, that I had a second encounter with the Lord on August 14, 2015. In a night vision, He spoke to me these words: “My church should be living as though this is the TWO-MINUTE WARNING!” Being a huge football fan, I knew exactly what He was saying: That we should be working with absolute purpose and passion, because in that Two-Minute Warning, those last 120 seconds can determine victory or defeat. It’s an all-out rush to do all you can to win the game, to put up a strong offense, and—if you’re winning—to keep the opposition from gaining ground or scoring points. As the Apostle Paul said, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” Those encounters changed my life, and as I lovingly warn the Church, I see this message changing the hearts of others as well. I now go to the highways and byways and compel men to come in. I often pray that in the time I have remaining that I will live a life that will make sense in the light of eternity. With all that is within me, I know He is coming, and I believe His blessed return to be nearer than most would believe. Get your houses in order; ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and leading as to what you are supposed to be doing in this late; late hour. Surely, our “redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28 KJV).


Marty's message has been shared on A Minute to Midnite --- Remnant Call Radio & many more. 







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03Jul

Emily's, dark past included many failed relationships, an abortion, addiction, welfare, and single motherhood. She became so hopeless, that she came up with a suicide plan. However, a chance meeting with a stranger, changed her life forever!

"Neither is their salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven whereby we must be saved."  (Acts 4:12)

Emily Myers


This is the story of how God intervened in my broken life and turned my past into purpose.....


In 2012, I was a single mom on welfare, unemployed, and addicted to drugs and alcohol. I was hopeless and in despair with a suicide plan, when a chance meeting with a stranger changed my life forever. I met a woman who invited me to an addictions program called Reformers Unanimous at her local church. It was there, that I was faced with the most important decision of my life.


I grew up in a very religious home with a large family. My mom was loving and attentive, but unfortunately both of my parents came from abusive childhoods, and so that cycle continued. My dad drank alcohol every night, and was violent and unpredictable. His unfaithfulness toward my mom affected our family greatly. There was no moral compass or guidance for my siblings and me. My childhood (and eventually adulthood) was marked by fear and mistrust of everyone. I was taken out of the family home several times as a child, living in various institutions.


I spent adulthood trying to escape the pain of my childhood. Failed relationships, abortion, drugs, alcohol, regret, guilt, shame, 10 years of counseling, multiple 12 step groups, false religions, self-help books, and the list goes on. I needed an identity, but couldn’t find one. What was missing? Why did I feel so empty inside? These questions haunted me every day.


By 37, life had come undone. I couldn’t handle one more failure, and the only way out that I could see...was death. I made the decision, that I was going to kill my daughter and then myself. It was no coincidence that shortly after this, I saw a news story about a woman in Florida who had the same idea, however...her son died and she survived. For that reason, I delayed my actions for several weeks and that is when God intervened by putting the Christian woman in my path. She showed me a kindness and acceptance that I had never known. She didn’t judge me, and wasn’t afraid to jump into the mess I had made of my life. If that wasn't enough...she held my hand through the darkness. For the first time, I saw the love of Christ through another person! Curiosity got the best of me, and one night I attended the program. There was a preacher there named Mitch Zajac, who shared his incredible story of redemption. He was as hopeless as I was before he too, was faced with a decision to make. He explained why Jesus came to the earth over 2,000 years ago. He came to seek and to save the lost! I knew I was lost! And, I knew I was broken! He asked me this question with urgency:  "If I were to die in a car accident that night, would I go to Heaven?" I thought I would go to Heaven, but according to the Bible I was wrong. I realized I was a sinner in desperate need of a Savior. I had been wrong about many things, but I knew I couldn’t be wrong about that. My whole life hinged on whether I would accept Christ or reject Him! I chose to accept Christ's payment on the cross for my sins, and in that moment...a burden was lifted from me that words can’t describe. Shame and guilt vanished and although, I still had the same problems, I now faced them with a new hope.  


Within a year, God blessed me with my best friend, Andrew, and we have been married 5 years! Our marriage is happy and healthy because God is the best matchmaker! I have been completely clean and sober for 6 years as of 2018! Through Biblical counseling, the Reformers Unanimous program, weekly Bible class, and church services at Valley Forge Baptist Temple, in Collegeville, PA,...I have experienced complete victory over addiction! Most importantly, God gave me a clear conscience after forgiving my sins. The one who made me is the only one who could fix me. God was the missing piece!!



***Valley Forge Baptist Temple in Collegeville, PA***                                                                                     

***Valley Forge Baptist Temple (Biblical Counseling Center)***


***Mitch Zajac, had the opportunity to share his testimony on CBN's The 700 Club this past year. Today, Mitch is a traveling evangelist, spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. Feel free to contact Mitch for prayer and questions about Jesus and salvation***        

                                                                     

Making a Living from Anger (Mitch's Story)       Mitch's Ministry Site      Talkin' Faith TV Show      

Reformers Unanimous








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24Jun

Nora, learned from an early age, that life can be hard and disappointing, but she never knew what God had for her, until she realized that He was there all along. It is when Nora gave her life to Christ, that He turned her world right-side up!



I was born into a very unhappy home with 6 siblings. My father was a working alcoholic who was kind to me even when he was drunk. My mother on the other hand...was an overweight, unhappy, and angry woman. She didn't know how to show her children affection or love, and never told me that she loved me. When she beat me...she hit to hurt...not to teach. She made life miserable for us including my Dad"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)


My father was un-churched, but all of us were brought up Catholic, and enrolled in a Catholic school with strict Dominican nuns who beat students for even small infractions during the school day. If my mother found out about the beating...she would beat us again. Though I had a great sense of humor, and loved to make others laugh...in my heart I was always crying for love. Due to a lifelong struggle with atopic dermatitis, I was mocked for my skin condition, and was always very nervous, anxious, and insecure. Inside I began to get angry and this root began to grow deeper and deeper in my soul. I always wanted to go to college and be a teacher, but when I was a senior in high school…my parents believed that women didn’t need to go to college. My heart was broken once again, when all my friends left for college, and I had to find a job, and still live under my parents' roof.


At age 18, I could no longer stand all the fighting and screaming that went on all the time, and was afraid to bring any of my friends to my house. So, I escaped and married a navy seaman whom my brother brought home on leave. Little did I know, that he would also become a working alcoholic, and when our son died a few weeks after being born...he began to drink even heavier. Our marriage ended after 15 years, but God had richly blessed us with two more sons. Afterwards, I continued to struggle and fail with many relationships, but managed to find stability and purpose by renovating an 1885 Victorian home near Erie, Pennsylvania, into a 9 bedroom bed & breakfast. I hired 2 young Mennonite girls to help, and was drawn to their quiet behavior, maturity and spirituality.


Little did I know that God was working to draw me to Himself. One Saturday night, I had no guests in the inn, which was a rare occurrence. Then a TV in one of the guest rooms turned on by itself. I sat down to watch...it was a local pastor who was preaching the gospel and challenging his listeners to go to church. I now know that God was orchestrating this “coincidence” because I didn’t know which church to go to until I realized I had a pastor and his wife staying at the inn approximately 2 weeks before the TV incident, and...that their church was the one God had planned for me. I sat with the pastor’s wife during the service, and could not understand why I couldn't stop weeping. She quietly asked me, “Do you want to know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?” I had never heard that statement before, but was truly at the end of myself and needed the salvation God freely offered. I knelt in that little church that day, December 6th, 1999, at 52 years old… and yielded myself to accept Jesus Christ’s loving offer to forgive all my sins, and His free gift of salvation. A few months later, I was baptized and began to grow spiritually through God’s Word—The Bible.


In September of 2007, I had problems with 2 of my fireplaces, and called 3 chimney sweeps to come and look at them. Mitch was the only one who called back. I was taken back by his height, and since I didn't know anything about how he would fix the leak, I just thought he would slide down the chimney—I actually feared he might get stuck! Duh! He saw a plaque by my front door that said, "As for me and my house we shall serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15). Then he went out to his car to get his tract. (His personal testimony of coming to the Lord)


When I read it, I was certainly taken back, but at the same time...I was very intrigued. I was attracted to him. He asked me, if I was saved, and then he started a whole new conversation. Looking back at this point in my spiritual walk, I guess I was still very carnal. Anyway, he proceeded to start the work on the roof, and stopped a number of times to talk to me, while I was pulling carpet off the basement steps. As I was pulling the carpet up...I kept breaking the bulb in the lamp that I was using for light. In order to find out more about him, I asked real stupid questions like: "Are your children as tall as you too?" (Actually, I was trying to find out if he was married. Pretty bold don't you think?) Then, he told me he wasn't married and my heart skipped a beat!


He came back the next day to finish the job and brought a gift. It was a new bulb, but it was a stronger one. That was when I fell for the guy! Forget about being romantic it fads, I just wanted a practical man. After that, we talked on the phone almost every day about the Bible, his salvation, my salvation, etc., etc. He came back in October, to rake all the leaves off my very big front lawn while I was at work. I knew I was hooked!       


One afternoon in December, I was sick with the flu, and had been in bed for three days. The doorbell rang, and I snuck out of my bedroom very softly, to see who it was and— to my surprise it was Mitch all dressed up in church clothes. I couldn't possibly answer the door in the condition that I was in! Let's just say—I had no makeup on (don't leave home without it) and—the worst case of bed head hair (didn't comb it for 3 days, and probably frighten a cadaver!!). Well, he kept ringing the bell, and the dog was barking like crazy, so I decided to call him from my bedroom. He had just preached in the Pottsville, PA Prison, and was so anxious to tell me about how many men gave their lives to Jesus. I really had missed him, so I asked him to give me an hour to get ready, and he said that he would wait. I never moved so fast in my life! I even started a fire in the now working fireplace to add a little cozy atmosphere.


We sat opposite of each other in the living room and I finally got the nerve to ask him a question that had been on my mind for a while: "Mitch is there anything going on between you and me?" His answer was: "Oh yes, I like you, I really like you". I said, "Well now, at least we are on the same page". We married on April 6th, 2008. In these 10 years as husband and wife, I have grown spiritually stronger in the Lord primarily because, Mitch was my disciple and I have been blessed by his furor for the Word of God.


Three years ago, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma the same cancer that took my sister’s life in 2012. There is no cure for this cancer because it affects your blood and bones. I am not afraid of dying—because I know where I am going! “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21), but while I am alive—I want to tell everyone I can about the Jesus who changed my life, and my eternity—so they will also come to know that they can share the same joy, peace, and purpose for living that I have and—be comforted that they no longer can only hope for Heaven, when the Bible tells us we can KNOW for certain that Heaven CAN be our eternal home too. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life.”  (1 John 5:13)


The anger, disappointment, and wounds we experience in this life are real, but they are all a result of sin. Jesus is the cure for sin, and He wants all of us, to turn our lives “Right Side Up”...as He has mine.         “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved!” (Romans 10:13)  I pray that you too, will call on Him today, and make Him your Lord forever. It’s the most important decision you can ever make!


***Nora's husband, Mitch, had the opportunity to share his testimony on CBN's The 700 Club this past year. Today, Mitch is a traveling evangelist, spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, and Nora is right by his side. ***  Making a Living from Anger (Enjoy watching Mitch's testimony!) Mitch's ministry site: Mitch Zajac 













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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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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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