trees and hills

Friday, April 18, 2014

Dr. Ryan Fraser: A Hope Dealer

Everyone's Story welcomes Dr. Ryan Fraser. My main objective of this blog is to uplift and encourage others by sharing personal stories of how God is always with us and loves us. Yet, life happens. Sometimes, the tragedy level is high, the stress seems ready to trip you, and the landing pad resembles shattered glass. I am awed at people who get through all these trials and offer a hand and listening ear to others in need. Please visit with Dr. Fraser this week as he shares the past that has shaped him to counsel others and follow his passion for writing. Dr. Fraser looks forward to seeing your comments and why you're fond of writing and reading.



 



 Dealing Out Hope by Dr. Ryan Fraser


I want to thank Elaine for inviting me to guest post on Everyone’s Story. I count it such an honor and am grateful for the opportunity to interact with this special community. I promise not to be boring.

The first indication that I was destined to write was when my marvelous fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Howell, informed the class that we were going to be putting on a play for our parents and families. The production was entitled, “The Small Miracle,” and would be based on the life of St. Francis of Assisi. She then proceeded to ask for some volunteers to write the script.

Her challenge captured my 10-year-old, starry-eyed interest. “Wow,” I thought to myself, “this sounds cool!” Without a second thought, my hand shot up along with a friend of mine. Surprisingly, nobody else took the bait. We were encouraged to share the workload, but within a couple of days, it became clear that my buddy’s initial enthusiasm had evaporated and the responsibility had fallen squarely on my skinny shoulders. But that didn’t bother me, and, quite frankly, I reveled in the chance to excel at something—to shine.

After several exciting days of writing and editing, the script was finished. We rehearsed for a couple of weeks and the play was a huge success. In fact, I was given the lead role of St. Francis. The panty-hose bald wig I got to wear was absolutely fantastic. Anyway, this was my first real writing project that required true vision and commitment. I was hooked. I relished the creative process and delighted in the sense of satisfaction that comes from completing a worthy and inspiring project. It was enthralling to me.

Throughout my life, I have had an ongoing love affair with words. Whether preaching or writing, painting word pictures for my audience invigorates me. Finding subtle and unique combinations of words, especially when employing the art of alliteration in turning a phrase, truly brings me joy. I can feel my chest warm as the words are welcomed like newborn babes to the white page and take on a life of their own.

The writing I do nowadays has shifted just a bit since the fifth grade. As a minister, counseling professor, clinical therapist, and preacher, my focus relates primarily to pastoral care and practical theology. I feel that God has blessed me with the tools, training, and talents to make a positive impact in the lives of those who are suffering and struggling. But my lived experiences have, of course, shaped me the most as a Christian and writer. I am a “hope dealer.”

As a sixteen-year-old growing up on the mission field in South Africa, I suffered a fluke gym accident and broke my neck resulting in two months of hospitalization. It changed my life forever and later led me into the ministry. In 2005, my son was diagnosed with leukemia at age four and our family went through three grueling years of chemotherapy at St. Jude. During that same time period, my wife’s kidneys failed and she required a kidney transplant. A couple of years later, she developed endometrial cancer. I am thankful to report that both she and my son are doing fine today.

However, these traumatic events have affected my priorities and perspectives in life and ministry. Whether I’m writing about marriage and family issues, anxiety, depression, grief, or guilt, it’s my passion to communicate biblically sound concepts and ideas that help people to live faithfully no matter their circumstances.

So why do I write? To me it’s a spiritual calling and stewardship. Writing is a unique ministry that touches people at a deep and profound level. Whether I’m writing books, magazine articles, weekly newspaper columns, blogging, posting on Facebook, or Tweeting, I seek to challenge believers and non-believers to grow in their faith in Jesus Christ. I want to point them heavenward.

Thanks again, Elaine, for this opportunity to share my thoughts. It’s good to remind myself of why I write. People need hope and encouragement. I want to help them find God’s peace along life’s pathway. This is why I deal in words.

Dr. Fraser's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
What’s a “hope-dealer”? Dr. Ryan Fraser! Find out why on Everyone’s Story. (Tweet This)

Dr. Ryan Fraser shares his life experiences that shaped him as an author. (Tweet This)

What do you have in common with Dr. Ryan Fraser? (Tweet This)

Author's Bio:
Raised on the mission field in South Africa, Dr. Ryan Fraser has been happily married to his college sweetheart, Missy (Housel), for 25 years. Together they have been blessed with two wonderful children.

Ryan holds a B.A. in Bible and Master’s in Ministry from Freed-Hardeman University, a M.Div. from Abilene Christian University, and a Ph.D. in Pastoral Theology and Pastoral Counseling from Brite Divinity School (Texas Christian University). He teaches courses in the graduate counseling program at Freed-Hardeman University (since 2006), has a private counseling practice, and counts it a privilege to serve as the pulpit minister and an elder for the Bethel Springs church of Christ.

Dr. Fraser has recently written a book entitled His Heart, My Hands (Caring Like Jesus) that should be available in bookstores soon. Another work based on his doctoral research was recently published, entitled: The Spiritual Narratives of Adoptive Parents.

Ryan likes 80’s music, is an avid hiker, thrives on Indian curry and Thai Food, and loves hanging out with his wife and kids.

Places to connect with Dr. Fraser:



62 comments:

  1. Elaine, I truly feel humbled by this unique opportunity to share my story on your wonderful blog. Thanks again for asking! :)

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    1. It's my pleasure to host you, Dr. Fraser.

      Now… I have to get busy and promote you!

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  2. Thank you Dr. Fraser and Elaine, for this inspiring post. It brought tears to my eyes. I too was spurred on to write by my 7th grade english teacher, Mr. Brown. In front of the whole class, he held up and read a poem I had written, declaring it the best he had ever seen. I always loved to read and write, and dreamed of writing novels (the worldly kind) all through my teen years.

    I met Jesus when I was 17, but didn't surrender my life to Him for two more years. Then, I fell-in-love with the Word of God, but completely forgot my desire to write. After teaching Bible Studies for several years, the Lord reminded me of my desire to write. It was as if He took a dusty gift off a hidden shelf in my heart, and handed it back to me. It was time to use it for His good and glory. I felt called to write.

    I confess, teaching and speaking is much easier for me than writing. And, I find my life experiences, hard trials, and overcoming victories are the material for encouraging and teaching others about the Lord's love, faithfulness and truth. Mr. Fraser, I am so thankful your wife and son are healthy today. Thank you for being a "hope-dealer." I am encouraged and convicted to persevere in God's call.

    Elaine congratulations on your third anniversary! God bless you on many fruitful years ahead!

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    1. Cathy, thank you for sharing your story, as well as your sweet, kind words on my blog.

      I'm glad you enjoyed Dr. Fraser's message.

      Although I've shared my coming to know my Lord and Savior on my Testimony Page (of this blog) I'll add in brief that I too feel a call to write, led by such a strong passion that I know it's Him urging me to write. Yet, it's not all instant gratification or success when it comes to a publishing contract. For whatever reason, He has--from how I'm now seeing it--blessed me with extra time and life lessons to use as inspiration for my stories.

      Keep following where He leads you.

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    2. I truly appreciate your heartfelt response to my reflections, Cathy! It is clear from your thoughtful (and well-crafted) words that you feel a strong sense of calling to share your personal faith through the written word. I want to encourage you to keep persevering. It sounds like you have many significant ideas to share regarding God's powerful work of grace in your life.

      Thank you, also, for your kind words regarding my wife and son. God is good!

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  3. I think God gives us different seasons. I know when I worked in the abstinence program, I didn't have a fiction thought for five years. But as that phase of my life wound down, ideas began popping into my head. I really enjoyed Dr. Fraser's uplifting post.

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Pat.

      There does seem to be different seasons, for sure. I'm just so thankful that we don't have to go it alone, that He is there with us.

      Easter blessings.

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    2. Pat, I agree with you completely about God giving us different seasons. In fact, I left full-time ministry for 5 years during my family's health crisis from 2006-2010. During that period, I just didn't have the motivation or spiritual stamina to step into the pulpit week-in and week-out. But God was doing a different kind of work in me, a sort of wilderness experience time of trial and preparation for something greater. Looking back now, I can be thankful for what this gutwrenching time in my family's life taught me about God's grace.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. This blog has been a challenging and inspiring read. As a college student, and as someone who is looking to do good in the world, the use of writing is something that I may have overlooked. I often think of teaching or doing service or just small interactions with people as the primary modes of dealing out and sharing hope, but there is certainly truth in "Writing is a unique ministry that touches people at a deep and profound level," as is evident by how this post and many others change people's lives in a matter of a few minutes. Maybe it is time I figure out why writing is important to me and contribute to the world with words!

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    1. Welcome to Everyone's Story, Derrick. I want you to know that your words have stirred a joy in my heart. This modern world pushes people to achieve, measured in concrete black and white terms, demanding us to produce an accomplishment in equally tangible productivity like making the next wave of computers or finding the cure for cancer. Yet, not everyone is created to understand his or her world that way, let alone to reach out with compassion to others. Writing and reading are gifts to be used. It's taken me many years to realize, accept, and to admit that God has programmed me to write for a reason and to read the stories that I do for a reason. And that's okay. It really is.

      If you feel a similar stirring, please think about it. Don't worry what the rest of society says. But most of all, accept that like any thing else that we pursue, it may take a lot of time but it's worth it, right?

      Easter blessings.

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    2. Hello Derrick! I'm so glad you stopped by to visit "Everyone's Story." I am especially pleased that you found my post to be inspiring to you and to help you think differently about the power of the written word. It's always amazing to me when I realize that the apostle John described Jesus as the Logos, or the Word. It is my prayer that you will think more about your own gifts and consider exploring the avenue of writing as yet another means in your repertoire to stir hope and inner strength in others. I think you might be just be on to something life-changing! God bless!

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  5. As an English teacher and lover of literature, I am always intrigued by the" whys" and" hows" of writers. Dr. Fraser's assertion that his writing is a "calling" intended to point people. "heavenward" ....no matter whether it be through a sermon, article, tweet, or Facebook post is eye opening and inspirational to me. It made me realize that something as seemingly insignificant as a social media post could mean the difference in someone's salvation. Also, the optimism and joy emanating from his words, after facing the health challenges his wife and child have experienced, truly brought joy into my heart. Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. Welcome, Chastity. When I originally read Dr. Fraser's piece before posting in on my blog his mention of pointing others heavenward also grabbed my attention. And that is how it should be... keeping our heart and mind always on God.

      Easter blessings.

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    2. Chastity, hello! Thanks for your uplifting comments regarding my post. I'm glad they made a difference for you in some small way. Your being an English teacher means that you are multiplying your expertise regarding words and their usage to shape and transform the minds and words of your students. What an awesome task you have! I really admire the work you do and difference you are making in the lives of others!

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  6. Ryan, your life, your family, your stories give to me hope and a renewed desire to embrace life passionately. I welcome your creative spirit with its gifts of faith and love. I look forward to your new book. Your friend, Mark

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    1. Mark, thanks for visiting Everyone's Story this evening. I'm glad you were uplifted by Dr. Fraser's words.

      Easter blessings.

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    2. Hi there, Mark! Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and leave this encouraging comment. You are a huge blessing to me, your students, and to those you so wisely counsel. Take care!

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  7. Dr. Fraser, your story is very inspiring! May God continue to bless you and your family as you praise Him through the ups and downs of life.

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    1. Kathy, it's always a joy to see you here. Today, on Easter, I am thankful for Dr. Fraser's gentle reminder to praise our Lord no matter where life takes us.

      Easter blessings.

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    2. Thanks so much, Kathy! I appreciate your words of encouragement more than you know. May God's bountiful blessings abound in your life on this Resurrection Sunday!

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  8. Jessica GermanyApril 20, 2014

    Wow. Such an amazing story. You truely have the gift of words. You write in a manner that is easy to follow and understand. The fact that you write from a theological/ spiritual aspect is inspiring. Kept up the good work.

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    1. Jessica, thanks for your visit to Everyone's Story. I apologize for the comment snafu you ran into--I have no idea what happened. I'm glad Dr. Fraser inspired you.

      Hope to see you again.

      Easter blessings.

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    2. I appreciate that, Jessica! Thanks for taking the time to read my post and respond so positively. I hope that you will abound in joy today in the knowledge that we serve a Risen Lord!

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  9. Dr. Fraser,
    It's always amazing to see the life experiences that contribute to a person's skills and abilities. It seems that people expect individuals in your (current) position have never had a life altering or faith shaking experience. I'm thankful you are willing to use both (your skills and experiences) for a greater purpose. This was a very inspirational post.

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    1. "Anonymous," I appreciate your visit today. I think what you're describing is what I call the Greener-Grass Syndrome, you know--it's when others' lives look simpler or better than what you're presently going through. Speaking for myself, that's one of the demons I battle with daily, though life lessons lately have been showing me that each one of us faces turmoils. I have come to rely on my Lord and Savior to get me through each one.

      Easter blessings.

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    2. Hello, "Anonymous." You know, if we really think about it, just about every single biblical character we know of went through major life challenges. These are the very trials that test and refine our faith into "precious gold" (1 Peter 1:7). Thanks for sharing your reflections.

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  10. This was such a beautiful and inspiring read! Dr. Fraser your story is incredible and I can see the way God has worked in your life and am so thankful for Elaine for giving you the chance to write this so others may also be inspired. Continue to be a "hope dealer"I am honored to have been able to read this story.

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    1. Candice, thanks for taking the time during a holiday weekend to visit Dr. Fraser on Everyone's Story. I'm thankful you were encouraged by his words.

      Hope to see you again.

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    2. Hello, Candice! I'm very glad to hear that you drew some inspiration from my post. I feel very grateful to have had this opportunity to share some of my story with you. I would love to hear about your story some day!

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  11. Dr. Fraser,
    Thank you for using your life experiences as sources of inspiration for the choice you have made to have a meaningful impact on the lives of others. You have definitely been a positive influence in my life the past two years in part because of your words both written and spoken. I loved the story from 5th grade by the way!
    Take care.

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    1. Kevin, welcome to this little but growing corner of the cyber-world. I'm glad Dr. Fraser's words have resonated with you… his words of clinging to God no matter what are vital.

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    2. Greetings, Kevin! I appreciate your stopping by to visit "Everyone's Story." Your encouraging words mean a lot to me. By the way, in my story I mention "fifth grade." The truth is, however, that at that time I was actually in the South African equivalent in Kenridge Primary School of Standard 3. My UK and South African readers will be able to relate more to that academic system. Thanks again!

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  12. Chris CreecyApril 21, 2014

    Words are a beautiful means of dealing hope to those who struggle. Thanks for sharing your gift with others.

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    1. Chris, well said. Thanks for those thoughts and for your visit.

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    2. Thank you, Dr. Chris, for your kind words. It is an honor knowing you!

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  13. As a former student and now colleague of Dr. Fraser, I am so thankful to have been encouraged and influenced by him for many years now! Thank you for sharing your story, helping us to gain insight into what helped shape you into the person you are!

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    1. James, thanks for visiting with Dr. Fraser on Everyone's Story. And that's exactly why I've titled this blog as I did: everyone has a unique story to tell because God has made each one of us in a beautiful way.

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    2. Hi there, Dr. James! Your words mean so much to me. I know that you are a blessing to so many through your good work. Thanks for stopping by "Everyone's Story"!

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  14. Dr. Fraser is a wonderful encourager. It is great to see him connecting with more and more audiences.

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    1. Jesse, thanks for your visit this afternoon. This world can definitely benefit from the encouragement and reminder that God is what matters.

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    2. Thanks for your kind words, Dr. Jesse! I truly appreciate hearing that encouragement from you for sure. You inspire so many!

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  15. Encouraging word, Thank you Elaine and Ryan.

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    1. Hi, Diana. I was hoping you'd visit… so nice to see you here.

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    2. Thanks so much, Diana! I appreciate your stopping by.

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  16. Tammy Baker GriderApril 21, 2014

    A wonderful and inspiring story! Thanks so much for sharing. I believe that our trials in life help shape us for God's work; and your story is added proof. Your usage of words is a true gift with such an inspiration message. So happy that your son and wife are healthy today. I pray that you continue using your gift of writing to reach others!

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    1. Thanks for your visit and kind words, Tammy.

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    2. Tammy, I really am glad you visited "Everyone's Story" and appreciate your uplifting comments very much. You have encouraged me!

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  17. Wow wow wow Dr.Fraser it is truly amazing to read about all of the trials that you've faced and to know that your faith didnt waiver despite it, I'm so glad that God has been favored and been faithful to you. You're awesome and I'm honored to be a student of yours. SN: I wish I loved writing half as much as you do.

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    1. Hi, Ebony. I am glad you stopped by last evening. You have a great teacher!

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    2. You are too kind, Ebony. I agree with you regarding God's faithfulness in our lives. He is the One who deserves all of our praise, honor, and gratitude. And, it is a joy to be your teacher!

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  18. Dr. Fraser, we are all very blessed to know you. Hearing someone's story makes them relatable, connected, and human. Thank you for sharing the struggles and joys life has delivered to you. But most of all for finding a way to uses those experiences to benefit others and glorify God.

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    1. Nocona, as you are blessed to know Dr. Fraser, I'm blessed by your--and everyone else--visit and am thankful that you've taken the time to leave a comment. Hope to see you again.

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    2. Thanks for your kind and thoughtful words, Nocona. It is a great blessing to know you also. May God use each of our stories as an avenue for healing and hope in the lives of others!

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  19. Extraordinary--that's what this past week on Everyone's Story has been about. Dr. Fraser, thank you for guesting on my blog this week. Every day has proved to be a blessing and I thank you for your commitment, time, and energy. Not only have you encouraged a few of your friends, students, and colleagues to visit and comment but you have enjoyed a huge amount of international viewers. I pray that this spells a growing readership and fan base for all future Dr. Ryan Fraser books--that has a lovely ring to it, doesn't it?

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  20. Elaine, what a joy it has been to be a part of Everyone's Story! I want to thank you again for the honor and privilege of being your guest. Also, I have deeply appreciated having the chance to interact with so many great people who have stopped by to visit. Thanks, readers!

    One more thing, I have been so impressed by all the work you have done behind the scenes this week in keeping up with visitors' comments and promoting my post each day via your various social media sites. I pray God's richest blessings upon you as you begin your fourth year with your marvelous blog. I'm sure the best is yet to come!

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    1. Heartfelt thanks, Doctor.

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    2. Dr. Fraser,
      I get to see that ten year old boy and girl every day. Thanks for reminding me about the wonder of opportunity is a child's world and what God can do with that.
      Philip N

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    3. Philip, thanks for visiting. And thanks for your dedication to children. Blessings.

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    4. I appreciate your comment, Philip. Keep on making a difference in the lives of children as you are doing for the cause of Christ!

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  21. As a current student of Dr. Fraser, I have come to learn the importance of the wording of words. Reading this reminded me of the saying "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." That is so not true. Words can be uplifting and guides us in the right way or it can be damaging. So thank you for writing about words and how words have an impact on our lives

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    1. Imelda, thanks for visiting Everyone's Story. I so agree with you. Words can be a blessing or a curse, so much that even the Bible instructs that we must watch what comes from our mouth.

      Hope to see you again.

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    2. Thank you for your good words, Imelda. I pray God's richest blessings in your life as you make a positive difference in the lives of others.

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