13 Reasons Why: Warnings for Parents and Help for Students

I am a guidance counselor in a high school, and perhaps that’s part of what inspired me to watch the new Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. This show has captured the attention of teenagers, which is ironic because the show carries a TV-MA rating – TV Parental Guidelines’ warning that the content may be unsuitable for children under 17. Parents of teens need to be aware of what their students are watching!

Although I don’t have the time to personally write a deep and thought provoking response to this TV series, I felt it was important to share some links here that I hope will be helpful. For parents who want to know what the show is all about, this can help you make an informed decision about whether or not this is something that you will watch &/or allow your children to watch. (If you do decide to allow your students to watch it, there are further suggested action steps for you as well). For students who may be struggling with thoughts of depression or suicide, know that there is hope and help.

Suicide is NOT the answer!

Call the Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868.



Netflix 13 Reasons Why: What Viewers Should Consider:

The Jed Foundation: Recently, Netflix released Thirteen Reasons Why… a fictional story that is meant to be a cautionary tale. It tells the story of a high school student who experiences a series of terrible events-many of which are perpetrated by her classmates and friends. Hannah has died by suicide but before she died she made a series of tapes explaining what each person in her circle has done to hurt her…

Because the show takes up issues related to suicide and sexual assault, there have been strong reactions from many viewers along with several professional and advocacy groups… the depiction and circumstances of the suicide have raised concerns because there are several elements in the story that are inconsistent with safe messaging guidelines around handling portrayals of suicide in media and works of fiction.

To read the rest of this article, click HERE.

Schools Warning Parents About Netflix’s Series 13 Reasons Why:

People.com: Schools across the country are issuing warnings to parents about Netflix’s latest original series, 13 Reasons Why, over concern that the breakout teen drama could glamorize teen suicide. So where does the concern lie with the critically well-received show – and why are schools getting involved?

To read the rest of this article, click HERE.

  • See also: How to Talk to Your Child About Suicide and Bullying After Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why: To read this article, click HERE.

13 Reasons Why TV Series Review:

Focus on the Family’s Plugged In: Is it a well-intended show? Yes, I think it’s fair to say that it is, as far as that sentiment goes. 13 Reasons Why encourages viewers to really examine their own lives and how they treat people. That said, shows like this can also have unintended consequences.

Those familiar with the issue of suicide know that the act itself can be strangely and sadly contagious. If someone commits suicide in a given school, the odds go up that someone else will attempt it, too. Why? There are lots of potential factors… But in the emotionally charged world of adolescence, suicide can feel romantic. It can be a shout for attention. It can be revenge.

13 Reasons Why may, unintentionally, romanticize suicide for some students, even though that’s certainly not the show’s intent. The tricky thing about stories like this one is that, for some, it might be just the right message at the right time. But for someone else, the intended message could also be received in a tragically different way.

To read the rest of the article, click HERE.

The JED Foundation, a non-profit that aims to prevent suicide in teens and young adults, has developed a series of talking points for children and adults here (and below) and has a hotline number 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

13 Reasons Why

Suicide Awareness Voices of Education: https://www.save.org/13-reasons-why/

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The Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey: Step Four: The Inventory

The Twelve Steps – a Spiritual Journey: Step Four: The Inventory

Step 4

In the twelve-step journey of healing, there are four sub-groups with three steps in each of them. The first three steps could be summed up with one word: Surrender. Here we said, “I can’t, but God can, so I will let him.” And now we move onto perhaps the hardest step of the entire process – Step Four. This is where we look within:

“Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

For many years while I was pastoring a church, we saw dozens of people start attending our Overcomers Outreach programs. Not all of them finished. Most of those that didn’t usually stopped when they reached step four. Why? Because it’s hard work! To sit down and do a searching (examining closely or thoroughly) moral (having to do with right and wrong in our conduct) inventory (an evaluation or a survey, as of abilities, assets or resources) can be overwhelming! But we can be encouraged by this truth:

“We don’t begin or finish this moral inventory on our own. God goes with us every step of the way. He uncovers the defects and flaws so that we can see them and grow beyond their influence.” (Meditations for the Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey).

The Biblical basis for this step is found in Lamentations 3:40-41: “Instead, let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the LORD. Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven.” (NLT). God wants us to search our hearts and our lives, and repent of our sins.

When I first went through the twelve steps and did my inventory several years ago, it was a daunting, almost overwhelming task. To look back at all of my sins, failures and defects of character: From lying and selfishness, to lust, pornography, alcohol, pride, rebellion and more, I could relate well to the words of the Apostle Paul: “Oh what a wretched man I am!” However, I knew that if I wanted to find true and lasting freedom from everything in the past that had me bound, then this was an important step in that journey. But not only must this inventory include the bad and the ugly, it should also include the good as well. For some people, this part of the inventory is even harder than listing all the bad things they have done.

There are two keys that are essential to doing this step well: One is a sponsor, and the other is a pen and a piece of paper. We need the help of a trusted friend, someone who is further along on their journey of freedom than we are, to help us as we work through our inventory. And secondly, we need to write the inventory down. This will help us to truly and accurately see what we have done, and help us to move forward from the place where we have been stuck.

Fourth Step Prayer:

“Dear God, It is I who have made my life a mess. I have done it, but I cannot undo it. My mistakes are mine, and I will begin a searching and fearless moral inventory. I will write down my wrongs, but I will also include that which is good. I pray for the strength to complete the task.” Amen! (Prayers for the Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey).

Chris Jordan, President of Overcomers Outreach of Canada.

Overcomers Outreach Canada Website: www.overcomersoutreach.ca

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Reflections with Calvin and Hobbes – Every Man Dies (#Braveheart Quote)

One of my favourite quotes is from the movie Braveheart, spoken by Mel Gibson’s character William Wallace: “Every man dies. Not every man really lives.”

Braveheart Quote Every Man Dies

Life and death.

Living and dying.

One day, every one of us will die.

But what is the purpose of living?

What is the purpose of dying?

Today’s series of Calvin and Hobbes comic strips offer some thoughts on the topic of death…

Calvin & Hobbes - squirrel die 1

Calvin & Hobbes - squirrel die 2

Calvin & Hobbes - squirrel die 3

Calvin & Hobbes - squirrel die 4

Calvin & Hobbes - squirrel die 5

Calvin & Hobbes - squirrel die 6

Every man (or woman) dies.

But not every man really lives.

What are you doing to really live today??

Calvin & Hobbes (c) 2017 Bill Waterson.

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The Twelve Steps – a Spiritual Journey: Step Three: Surrender

The Twelve Steps – a Spiritual Journey: Step Three: Surrender

Our journey to freedom began with the first two steps, admitting, “I can’t!” but “God can!” But that’s just the beginning. From here, we must move from a place of believing that God can help us, to actually inviting Him into the brokenness of our lives and surrendering to His will for us. This is where we say, “I will.” This is step three:

“Made the decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”

Jesus Take the Wheel

Step three is about letting go and letting God. There’s a popular song by Carrie Underwood that tells the story of a young mom who’s driving home to see her parents on Christmas Eve. It’s been a hard year for her, she’s got a baby in the backseat of the car, and there’s a blizzard outside. Suddenly, she hits a patch of black ice and starts spinning out of control. What an apt picture of those whose lives have become unmanageable! In this story song, the young woman is so scared she simply throws her hands up in the air (there was nothing she could have done to save herself anyway), and prayed:

“Jesus take the wheel, Take it from my hands, Cause I can’t do this on my own. I’m letting go, So give me one more chance. Save me from this road I’m on, Jesus take the wheel.”

That, my friends, is what surrender looks like. Where we stop trying to be in control of everything. Where we stop pretending to be in control of everything. Where we pray: Jesus take the wheel, and You be in control on my life!

The Biblical basis for this step is found in Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” To turn the control of our lives over to God is to say that we trust that His plan for our lives is good, that He is good, and that He cares for us.

“We will not make this decision just once. We will make it every day, many times a day. Deciding to choose our will is a way of death. Deciding to choose God’s will for us is a way of life.” (Meditations for the Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey).

Who’s in the driver’s seat in your life? As long as you’re in control, you’re going to make mistakes. But when you choose to let Jesus take the wheel, you can trust that He is good, and that His plan and purpose for your life will lead to joy, peace and freedom!

Third Step Prayer:

“God, I offer myself to you, to build with me and to do with me as you want. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do your will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of your power, your love, and your way of life. May I do your will always.” Amen! (Prayers for the Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey).

Chris Jordan is the President of Overcomers Outreach of Canada.

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Pilgrims: Not Home Yet – Rejoicing in Suffering – #SermonNotes


(Pastor Chris Jordan – Horizon Church)

Not Home Yet - Rejoicing in Suffering

This is a message I shared with our church family this past Sunday morning. You can click HERE to listen to the audio MP3. Note: Because of a technical difficulty, only the last half of the message was recorded.

INTRO TO SPEAKER: It’s been a quiet spring break with Liza and Hannah on a mission trip in Mexico, and Austin on a mission trip in Uganda. Caleb’s at home but working most of the time.

NOT HOME YET: Lyrics by Steven Curtis Chapman

  • “To all the travelers, pilgrims longing for a home,
  • From one who walks with you, On this journey called life’s road, It is a long and winding road,
  • From one who’s seen the view, Dreamt of staying on the mountains high,
  • And one who’s cried like you, Wanting so much just to lay down and die,
  • I offer this, we must remember this… We are not home yet.”


Someone said once, “For every mile of road, there are two miles of ditch.”

This is a great picture of contemplating the topic of suffering!

  • On one side, there are those who say, “Once you become a Christian, there is victory in Jesus, it’s your best life now, and you will never suffer again!”
  • On the other side, there are those who say, “The Christian life is all about suffering for Jesus. Pain, despair, gloom and agony every day!”
  • On the middle road is the true Biblical teaching about suffering, and that’s what we’re going to look at this morning.
  • Because we are going through a series in First Peter (Pilgrims), most of this teaching will be taken from this book of the Bible. Suffering is one of the main themes of First Peter. But let’s start with some good news!


“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5, ESV).

  • Three things that God has given to His children:
    1. Great Mercy: Not just a little mercy, but great mercy and amazing grace!
    2. Living Hope: When all hope seems lost in the world, we have hope in Jesus!
    3. A Heavenly Inheritance: Discuss the now/not-yet tension of the Kingdom.


“In this you rejoice… (what God has given us – Mercy, Hope, Inheritance!) … though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials.” (1 Peter 1:6).

  • Keep an eternal perspective – our inheritance is in Heaven.
  • Our suffering is only for a little while, though we do get a taste of Heaven now.
  • “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” (Philippians 3:10).
  • When the disciples went through the storm, they experienced Jesus in a new way!
  • PREACH: If you’re going through hell – don’t stop! You’re walking through the valley of the shadow of death! You’re experiencing a dark night, but dawn always comes!


Why do we rejoice? “7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:7-9, ESV).

  • James 1:2-3 says: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” (NKJV).
  • It’s helpful going through the trial because it strengthens your faith and patience.
  • However – if you don’t see the good in it, you may give up or lose heart!
  • ILLUSTRATION: Several years ago, I picked up a workout DVD – P90X. It was extreme and insane. But for about three months, I got up every morning and put in the work, because I saw the value in it.
  • “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” (1 Peter 2:21).


“13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.” (1 Peter 3:13-18, ESV).

  • Suffer: Greek pascho –  to be affected, to suffer sadly, be in a bad plight.
  • Suffering – Biblical definition: The experience of physical pain and/or mental distress.
  • “14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.” (1 Peter 4:14-16, ESV).
  • There are two kinds of suffering: One is a consequence for doing something wrong, and the other happens even if we are doing everything right.
  • Sometimes suffering is a consequence for our sin and rebellion – look at Jonah’s storm.
  • But sometimes we experience suffering when we are doing good – like Jesus and Job.
  • When we suffer for doing good, glorify God!



“12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed… 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” (1 Peter 4:12-13,19, ESV).

  • Peter said, “Don’t be surprised by suffering.” When you’re taught that “Christians never suffer,” and you experience suffering, you will get surprised and confused.
  • ILLUSTRATION: When we prayed for protection (Psalm 91) and woke up to a flooded basement. We were confused because we were (wrongly) taught Christians never suffer.
  • Jesus said: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).
  • What is Jesus saying? We’re not home yet! As long as we’re living on this sin-cursed earth, we will have trouble, but we can still rejoice because He cares for us!
  • Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives and not based on our circumstances.


“6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:6-11).


Suffering is going to come, but it doesn’t have to overcome you. We can cast our cares upon Jesus, because He cares for us, and experience God’s abundant hope, peace and joy.

PERSONAL TESTIMONY: Since moving here, we still haven’t sold our home in Beausejour. We are paying a mortgage on our house there, and rent here, so we haven’t been able to buy a house here, and we don’t understand why. But it’s not about the why. It’s about knowing that God has a plan and works all things for His good!


  • Cast your cares on Jesus because He cares for you. Prayer!
  • Praise the Lord! Psalm 22:3 says God dwells in the praises of His people and “In Your presence is fullness of joy.” (Psalm 16:11).
  • Get into His Word: “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11).

PRAYER: For those who are suffering to experience God’s peace, joy and hope.

CLOSING: BENEDICTION: 2 Corinthians 13:14.


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Mexico Mission Trip – Spring Break Report #4

Here are the final two reports from Liza from yesterday and today…

Saturday – Last Day in Mexico:

Time to say goodbye. During breakfast this morning we had a surprise visit by our house build family. They heard we were leaving today so they came to say goodbye. Right after breakfast it was time to clean up our rooms, pack our bags, clean the bus and load bus. Just before we loaded the bus we prayed for our house build family and then climbed on the bus. As we drove away from IDT we were happy to be heading home to some of the things we have been missing like Wifi but also sad because we have been having such an amazing time here.

Mexico - group on roof

As the temperature started to rise outside we started our journey to the Mexican border. We drove most of the morning arriving in Ensenada for lunch around 11:30, where we quickly grabbed some lunch from McDonalds and continued our journey. We decided to try the border crossing Tecate again, as it is a quieter border crossing. There wasn’t that long of a wait – we did have time to buy churros for everyone from a street vendor. As we approached the border they asked to see our passports and then sent the bus to unloaded. This time they only required us to bring our suitcases and some personal items. It didn’t take us too long to get the stuff needed and everyone through the scanner. And before long we were back on the bus in the United States.

We drove for a couple more hours to Corona, California. We headed to The Gathering Church – Ken Peters church – where they served us a wonderful meal – a delicious Tri Tip Beef. The kids have been entertaining themselves on the bus during all this driving. We still have many more hours of driving ahead of us, but for now we will enjoy our time off the bus.

Sunday: In California:

The shower this morning was wonderful! We got ourselves cleaned up and went to church this morning. The Gathering Church was having an outdoor worship service and then a BBQ in the park. It was a great experience to be a part of another church and worship with them. Today was another hot day and many are loving it. Some have been hiding from the sun. Today has been a bit of a quiet day as we have been so busy. The hotel we are staying at has an outdoor pool so many of the team spent the afternoon cooling off in it, while others had a little nap.

Later in the afternoon we all got together as a team to have a bit of a debrief and talk about our experiences and how do we take what we have done and what God has done in our lives and go home. How do we share our story with those who have never gone on a missions trip? From our very first meeting to today they has been a dramatic change in these kids and there is no doubt that God is working in each one of them. They each have had their own different experience and are excited to share with you.

During our meeting we gave Jessica a birthday card as tomorrow is her birthday and in the card was a pass to the Happiest Place on Earth! We are going to Disneyland! A lot of the team have been trying to guess what we are doing on our fun day and it has been a huge surprise. But now the surprise is out! We then headed down the street for a nice dinner out at Red Robin – table for 30 please! It was nice to go out for a meal where the menu was not on the wall. This evening we are just relaxing in the hotel, resting up for our fun day at Disneyland tomorrow.

Our team returns home on Thursday…


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Mexico Mission Trip – Spring Break Report #3

Here’s the third set of reports from my wife Liza and the mission team from Regent Christian Academy in Mexico…

Thursday in Mexico:

What a full day! Today started early again and everyone has been eager to start the day. The bus pulled out at 8 am and we headed to the build site to finish off the house. There were a few things that needed to be done at the house, so a small focused group stayed at the house to finish while the rest of the group drove up the hill to a women’s shelter. There the leaders of the shelter had a long list of odd jobs for us to help with. So our group jumped in and helped where needed to playing with kids, planting beans, fixing a fence and working in the kitchen. It seemed to be one of the hottest days here in Mexico but no one complained and just jumped in. Meanwhile our focused group worked away on finishing the house.

At lunch the whole team met back at the house build where our family that we were building the house for made us a lunch of chicken, beans and salad. After lunch we all piled into the new house where we sang a couple of songs and had an opportunity to dedicate the house. We prayed, read some scriptures and had an opportunity to bless the family. After many pictures we sadly had to say goodbye to our family. There were a few tears but also a lot of smiles.

Mexico - family and house

Once again we loaded up the bus and headed back to IDT where we had about 45 min to get cleaned up only to get back on the bus loaded up with a fabulous meal of beans and empanadas to take with us to the men’s rehab. After a 45 min drive we arrived at our destination. The rehab had 6 men staying there at this time. Some of the kids and men played a game of soccer and a few played volleyball. After we shared a meal with the men. After dinner we went into a powerful time of worship. Three of our students shared their testimony and then the men staying at the rehab shared theirs. After we started singing “How He Loves” and the students then went into a time of prayer for the men. The Holy Spirt was so powerful and overwhelming, many were touched and ministered to. It was such a powerful time.

During our prayer time Mr. Johnson was praying for the Pastor and his wife and after felt like we needed to head to their church just down the road and do a victory march around the building. There is such a feeling of depression over the area and we wanted to pray freedom over the pastor and the area. After marching and singing we went into the church where we prayed over the chairs in the building for the people who sit in them would receive and find that freedom. Then our students jumped onto the instruments and we sang Holy Spirit You are welcome here. It was an amazing powerful time. For the Pastor and our team. After a long day we headed back to IDT where we had a short debrief. The students are so excited for what God is doing in the people here but also in the team. One of the students commented that “we left as a team and are now a family”. What an amazing God time we are having! We have some changed students!

Mexico - group photo in front of house

Friday – Last Day of the House Build:

This is our last full day in Mexico and there are some very sad teenagers. Some think the trip was two short and want to stay longer and some want to stay forever. Being our last full day here… We got to sleep in until 7 this morning!! After a pancake breakfast we headed out for some fun and went to Maylu the local candy store. I now know where the phrase “a kid in a candy store” comes from. After loading our arms with all varieties of Mexican candy we headed the local Market that happens every Friday. It is located in a park, where vendors set up tables with all kinds of authentic Mexican items. We headed out in small groups to barter and purchase all our souvenirs. Right across the street was the ice cream store Thrifty’s. One of the team members Noble had wanted to buy ice cream for the team, so it was a nice treat on a hot day.

After leaving the market area we headed out for a little tour. A few team members had wanted to go to the house build from last year so we headed over to see the house. When we arrived we had hoped to meet the family from last year but no one was home. We had been invited for lunch at Elia’s for her famous fish tacos. They were so tasty. After lunch we just hung out chatting with a Elia, while some played with a few kids that were there. When we were leaving we were able to leave some Bibles for her, also some basic food items. Many of the team also decided to leave some of their clothes behind and donated them to Elia. It was sad to say good bye. We have only just met but it seems like it’s been much longer.

As we were leaving Elia’s we decided to drive to the beach before heading back to IDT. Our bus drive turned down the road he thought would lead us to the beach, but quickly realized that the road would also bring us back to the house build from last year. Upon pulling up to the house the mother was standing at the gate. A small delegation went out to greet her. She and her kids remembered those from last year. The team had an opportunity to find out how things have been going for her. Her story had taken a turn and she had to kick her husband out because he was quiet abusive with her. She and her 2 young girls were struggling. This gave the team an opportunity to pray for her and bless her. We really felt like this was a God given opportunity. We then continued up the road to find the beach.

When we reached the end of the road we saw the most beautiful masterpiece – the ocean. We were not able to go in the water but we enjoyed the view from a distance. Athens headed back to IDT where the staff had prepared an authentic Mexican meal for us. It was absolutely amazing. They went above and beyond. After dinner we had a our God time with a couple of songs and then went into a time of sharing. Sharing what God was doing and our feelings about the trip. That lasted a couple of hours spending quality time together. We came to Mexico to serve and love on the people here. I also know that each one of us were impacted from our time here. After we headed out side where the team was having fun reading self written poems and singing some songs. We laughed and had a good time together. And then it was off to bed at 10:30 as we have an very early start time tomorrow. Please continue to pray for the team as we head out on to the road and to the US border in the morning (today/Saturday).

Thanks for continuing to pray for the team as they journey home!

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20).


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