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Grace-ballot
Nov 03, 2020

This Month at PAYH: Monthly Newsletter, November 2020

A Little Grace Goes a Long Way

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” – Colossians 4:6

My parents might be shocked to read this, but I wasn’t a well-behaved child growing up. It seemed like I was always in time-out, getting spanked, or otherwise suffering the consequences of my own actions. This was true at home, at school, in church, or out in public. I was a natural-born trouble-maker and there were times that I pushed my parents and the other authority figures in my life to the breaking point. I was a very strong-willed child and I was determined to do things my own way.

Once, I was given the assignment to write sentences at home for misbehaving at school. In my mind, this was the worst punishment that had yet been invented; the boredom of writing the same thing over and over was more difficult for me than any spanking or time-out. Although I’m sure I deserved it, I honestly don’t remember what I did to earn this consequence. However, I will never forget the way the teacher handled it.

You see, that night my dad was going to take us to the circus. Like any other kid, I was excited about this and couldn’t wait to see the show. However, I knew that if I went home with sentences to write, there would be no circus for me. Nearly in tears, I told the teacher privately about our plans and asked if there was anything she could do. She thought about it for a few moments and said “Have fun at the circus. We’ll worry about your sentences tomorrow.” The next day, after having a blast at the circus the night before, I was allowed to do my sentences a day late. I had never been so happy to receive a consequence.

My teacher would have been justified to refuse to help me. It wasn’t my first offense, and it wouldn’t be my last either. She could have insisted that I be “taught a lesson,” but while it has taken years to process, I think I learned one anyway. God is gracious to us on a daily basis. Every breath we take, every meal we enjoy, every heartbeat – 3 billion of them over the average lifetime – is a manifestation of His grace and mercy.

2020 hasn’t been an easy year, and it shows no signs of getting easier. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic troubles, civil unrest, and natural disasters, today may prove to be the most bitter and contentious election of our lifetimes. Our society seems to have plenty of anger, hate, and frustration, but suffers from an extreme shortage of grace. As we navigate what seems sure to be a turbulent next few weeks, let us remember that God chose to show us grace when what we really deserved was judgment. I pray that we will keep that in mind and let grace always be at the forefront of our dealings with others.

Stephen Nichols

Director of Communications

STORIES FROM THE HOME

New Creatures in Christ

Scripture has been a part of the PAYH program’s foundation since its inception, and it is both taught and memorized on our campus. This year, we are pleased to have Gady Youmans teaching God’s Word to the young men. Gady, who is currently working on his doctorate in Biblical Counseling at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, is guiding the young men through a chronological study of the Old Testament. Before taking the young men through a chronological tour of the Old Testament, he led them through the “Romans Road,” and 4 of them accepted Christ!

Founders’ Day

Instead of a normal work day, the PAYH young men spent Paul Anderson’s birthday honoring his legacy. After being allowed to sleep in, the day began at 8:30 AM with prayer at the knoll where Paul is buried. Eddie Burris, who came to the home as a young man in the 1960’s and has been employed at PAYH for over 50 years, gave them a lesson in the home’s history. After a mid-day meal, they concluded with a series of physically intense games on the field.

Paul Anderson: Legacy

On October 17th, 1932, a champion was born. After overcoming Bright’s Disease as a young child, Paul Anderson went on to win the 1956 Melbourne Olympics before founding the Paul Anderson Youth Home. This year, as we prepare to celebrate 60 years of operation, we look back and remember the life and selfless sacrifice of our PAYH Founder.

Watch our newly released tribute to his life and legacy at payh.org/legacy.

Hudson

We said goodbye to one of our young men last month. After losing his best friend, Hudson described his life as a “disaster.” At PAYH, he learned to respect himself and others, how to discern right from wrong, and how to apply himself as he seeks God’s best for his life. Quoting Philippians 4:13, he said “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Listen to his testimony in his own words at payh.org/hudson.


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Sep 29, 2020

This Month at PAYH: Monthly Newsletter, October 2020

I WANT TO DIE FOR HIM

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. – John 15:13

In July 1941, a prisoner successfully escaped what at that time may have been the most terrible place on Earth – the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. Frustrated by this occurrence, and wanting to discourage the remaining prisoners from repeating this feat, Commandant Karl Fritzsch randomly selected 10 prisoners to be forcibly starved to death in retribution. Upon learning that he had been chosen, a 39 year old prisoner cried out in agony, as he knew that his wife and children were about to be orphaned. It was at that time that one of the others, Maximilian Kolbe, stepped out of line and approached the Commandant.

He risked being shot on the spot, but Fritzsch noted that instead of the Star of David, this prisoner’s uniform bore a red “P,” identifying him as a Polish political prisoner. Rudely, the Commandant stated “Was will dieses polnische Schwein?” (What does this Polish pig want?) and called for an interpreter. However, no interpreter was necessary as Kolbe, a highly educated priest, replied in perfect German Ich will sterben für ihn.” (I want to die for him).

I want to die for him.

Everyone was silent for some time, until finally Fritszch spoke up and asked him why. Kolbe replied that the man had a family and that he wanted to take his place. “Gut!” (good) said Fritzsch, and allowed the substitution. Over the course of two weeks Kolbe calmed and comforted his fellow prisoners, leading them in singing hymns and praising God as they suffered through their final days. On August 14th he finally passed away, the last of the 10 to do so.

Franciszek Gajowniczek, the man whose life Kolbe saved, lived to the age of 93.

Christ hasn’t called everyone to die for others, but we have all been called to live for others. James chapter 1 tells us that true religion takes care of “orphans and widows in their need.” Indeed, Christ spent a large portion of His time on Earth in service to others. As Christians, we should be eager to do the same.

Stephen Nichols

Director of Communications

STORIES FROM THE HOME

More Than a Ring

Some time ago, Jonathan, one of our Alumni, was playing with his daughter, Sofia, who saw his PAYH class ring and put it on. He couldn’t help but snap a pic of her power pose! When asked about this, Jonathan stated “The class ring serves as a reminder of what the Lord has done in my life. In the Scriptures, there are numerous verses pointing to the past so that we may remember what the Lord has done for His people.”

PAGC 2020

It was a beautiful (but hot) day at The River Club in North Augusta, where we held our 27th annual Paul Anderson Golf Classic. The course was in immaculate shape and the friends and partners who played with us helped raise over $74,000 to help transform the lives of young men who need a second chance. PAYH alumnus Nathan Perkins and his team took first place, while Jonathan, the alum whose daughter is pictured in the previous story, took both the long drive and putting contest prizes. Click here for a video recap of the day.

Riding for the Nazarene

Our COO, Col. Ken Vaughn, took some time off from his duties at PAYH to engage in his own personal ministry – Riding for the Nazarene. Over the course of his 3,558 mile route, he visited 17 states and numerous historical locations, including Paul Anderson Memorial Parkin Toccoa, GA (where he is pictured with Paul and Glenda’s daughter, Paula Anderson Schaefer), raising funds and awareness for Voice of the Martyrs, which helps sustain and support the millions of Christians across the globe who have suffered persecution for their faith. Learn more about his story, his journey, and his mission at his blog, ridingforthenazarene.com.


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Sep 01, 2020

This Month at PAYH: Monthly Newsletter, September 2020

CAUSE AND EFFECT

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

On this day, 81 years ago, German soldiers stormed across the Polish border and officially began the largest and bloodiest conflict in world history – World War II. Over the course of 6 years the world would be forever changed, and many tens of millions of lives would be lost. Many decisive battles were fought, such as the Battle of Britain, El Alamein, Midway, Stalingrad, Guadalcanal, and many more, culminating in Allied victory and the ultimate defeat of Nazism and Fascism. One such engagement, the Battle of Kalkhin Gol, is particularly interesting in that while it was fought before the war even began, it dramatically affected the course of the war to come.

The USSR and Imperial Japan had been in the midst of a border dispute for some time, and in August of 1941, their forces would meet at the Kalkhin Gol River on the border between Mongolia and Manchuria. The resulting Japanese defeat led them to abandon their hopes of conquest in the North and sign a nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union that they would never violate throughout the course of the upcoming war.

This had two major effects on the impending conflict. First, when the Nazis invaded Russia in the summer of 1941, they had no support from their Japanese allies. This ultimately allowed the USSR to use Siberian troops to reinforce a beleaguered Moscow, helping prevent the fall of the city. Had they been engaged with the Japanese instead, they could not have turned the tide of this critical battle, which could have led to the fall of the USSR itself. Second, the Japanese shifted their focus away from the Asian mainland and began to look toward the Pacific theater – a course which would ultimately lead them to attack Pearl Harbor and draw the United States into the war. This massive influx of manpower and material support virtually guaranteed victory for the Allied cause. In short, without the Battle of Kalkhin Gol, the USSR might have capitulated, and America may not have entered the war at all, and the war itself may have ended with Axis control of the Afro-Eurasian landmass and dominion over 80% of the world’s population – a grim outcome indeed.

Like the Battle of Kalkhin Gol, the situations in which we find ourselves often end up having a greater impact than we realize. As Christians, we can recognize that these events are ordained by God and that, even when we don’t have the slightest idea how, He is executing a plan that will ultimately work out to our benefit. Just as we are able to look back and see the ripple effect that Kalkhin Gol had on the events of World War II, so will we one day be able to look back on the struggles that shaped our own lives and see how God’s perfect will was accomplished through us.

Col. Ken Vaughn

Chief Operating Officer

STORIES FROM THE HOME

To Live is Christ, and To Die is Gain

Last month marked 26 years since our founder, Olympic gold medalist, and world’s strongest man, Paul Anderson, finished his earthly mission and went home to be with the Lord. Through his commitment God’s call, his fervent desire to share the gospel, and the Christ-like love he showed to all around him, Paul helped offer hope and a second chance to innumerable young men. Though he was a man of unrivaled strength, Paul knew that he could not get through one day without Jesus Christ. Today, 59 years after it began, his legacy continues at the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

Freefalling

Bryce, one of our recent alumni, recently had the chance to do something he had wanted to do his whole life – skydiving. After taking off, they climbed to 10,000 feet before he and his instructor deliberately left the safety and security of fully functional aircraft and plunged toward the Earth. Reaching speeds of up to 120 miles per hour, Bryce described the experience as “just awesome.” A few short minutes later, they were safely on the ground after a successful landing. Bryce stated he not only wants to do it again, but he intends to get his own certification.

Farmer to Family

In partnership with the Southeast Produce Council, Nickey Gregory Company, First Baptist Church Vidalia, Shuman Farms, Vidalia Heritage Academy, Vidalia Police Department, Handy Andy, and Pastor Ricky Cummings, the “Farmers to Family” food giveaway was a great success. With their help, we were blessed to be able to distribute over 1,000 boxes of fresh, high-quality produce to those in need in our community!


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Aug 04, 2020

This Month at PAYH: Monthly Newsletter, August 2020

FINISH THE RACE

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to undertake a significant physical challenge. After almost a year of training, I rode the 2020 PAYH Bike Ride. Over the course of 5 days, I pedaled 332 miles, averaging just over 66 miles per day at 16 miles per hour. Throughout the week I had highs and lows. Sometimes, I felt like I had unlimited energy and could ride forever (normally in the morning when it was cool). At other times, I felt as if it was all I could do to keep going. It’s easy to get discouraged when the sun is high in the sky, the temperature is in excess 100 degrees, every muscle in your body is urging you to quit, and you look ahead through the shimmering air rising from the asphalt to see that the Good Lord saw fit to create yet another hill.

One of the ways I stayed motivated was to make sure to keep my focus on the right thing. It wouldn’t have been helpful to take a 70-80 mile day and count down the distance until it was complete; instead, I had to break it down into manageable chunks. It was far more helpful to tell myself “only 5 miles to go before the next rest stop” than to say “I still have over 50 miles left to ride today and I’m already getting tired.” If I had focused on the heat, or my exhaustion, or the fact that I still had a long way to go, I don’t know that I would have ever finished.

As Christians, it’s also easy for us to get discouraged, particularly in the midst of the continual turmoil of the fallen world in which we live. There are many distractions out there to keep us occupied, weigh us down, and cause us to veer off course. We have only one way to avoid these pitfalls – we must keep our focus on Jesus Christ! To focus on anyone or anything else guarantees that we will fail. Without Him, we are powerless against Satan and his angels. Through Him, we have access to the strength and endurance we need to accomplish His Will for our lives.

Stephen Nichols

Director of Communications

STORIES FROM THE HOME

Remembering the Man They Never Met

One of our employees took his daughters on a walk on the PAYH campus, and they passed by Paul’s grave. They asked about his life and listened in amazement as their father told them of Paul’s feats of strength, and how he used to lift up multiple grown men at a time, and once even picked up a cow and carried it. Most importantly, they were glad to learn that Paul knew Christ. Seeing a crape myrtle nearby, the girls then decided to place some flowers on Paul’s grave.

Sports Enhancement Initiative

We are in the process of strengthening our sports and physical fitness programs, and a partner who wishes to remain anonymous has gotten us off to a great start with the donation of softball helmets, balls, and a pitching machine, as well as a dozen soccer balls, two sets of jerseys, socks and shin guards, and two regulation-sized goals! We are also working on concepts to completely reconstruct our sports fields, remodel our gym, and expand our weight room to better suit the needs of our young men.

Lifeguard Training

Several of our mentors undertook the challenge of a lifeguard certification this past month and have completed their certificates. As a result, we now have the ability to staff our pool with a trained lifeguard any time the young men want to take a swim. This adds an additional measure of safety to our young men as well as peace of mind to their parents and families. Congratulations to Jay, Dustin, Daniel, Aaron, and Jimmy for finishing the course and obtaining your certifications!


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Jul 06, 2020

This Month at PAYH: Monthly Newsletter, July 2020

Freedom and Responsibility

This weekend we celebrated the 224th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In all, 56 men from the 13 original colonies affixed their signatures to a document that, if the war were lost, would likely have served as “exhibit A” in their inevitable trials for treason. They knew that by placing their names on that page, they were offering up their very lives for the prospect of freedom from the British Crown.

When I was a child, my dad would read to my brothers and me. In addition to reading from the Bible, he often drew from the many stories, poems, and essays found in William Bennet’s The Book of Virtues. The pieces are arranged into groups that share a common theme, and one of his favorite themes to discuss was that of responsibility.

Nestled in between excerpts from C.S. Lewis, MLK, Plato, and more, one can find the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence. This might seem strange to some, but to quote Bennet, “If we truly hold these liberties to be gifts from God, we realize the moral duty to respect, preserve, and defend those rights for others.” This is exactly what the founders were doing; they were taking personal responsibility for their actions and were willing to pay the price for the freedom they sought to achieve. Many of them would lose their lives, fortunes, or both in its pursuit, but in the end their sacrifice was not in vain.

Today, we still reap the fruit they sowed 224 years ago, but I’m afraid we haven’t continued to sow as we should. My dad would often tell us “You can’t have freedom without responsibility. It will never work.” I believe that current events have proven him right in an all too sobering way. Freedom is only as good as the person using it. While we rightly partake of the blessings of freedom, we often fail to consider the effect we have on others. As Christians, we have both freedom in Christ as well as the responsibility to set a selfless example. As Paul said in his letter to the Philippians:

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” – Philippians 3:3-4

Stephen Nichols

Director of Communications


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Jun 18, 2020

My Name is on the Sign

My grandfather was the only father figure I had when I was a kid, and after he passed away, I had no one to look up to. When I came to the youth home in 1963 at the age of 13, Paul Anderson stepped in to fill the gap. From the time I arrived, I noticed that, although Paul was a busy man, he always made time for each of us. He traveled a great deal raising money for the home, but when he was home, he always made us a priority. Whether we were sitting down to dinner as a family, playing football on the weekends, playing football while he cheered us on from the stands, or having one of many one-on-one talks behind his house on the round patio, you never doubted that Paul cared for us as his own sons.

I remember one game during the 1967-68 season where one of our guys (Danny) took a hard hit and had to be taken to the emergency room. It turned out that he had a blood clot in his brain, and that he needed emergency surgery. Although he had been traveling extensively that week and was exhausted, Paul stayed with him throughout the entire ordeal. He refused to leave his side, even when staff members begged him to go home and get some rest. He turned them down, saying “My name is on the sign. I’m responsible for him.”

He always made sure we had what we needed (but not always what we WANTED), he was a tough disciplinarian who didn’t raise us to be “soft,” and above all made sure we had every possible opportunity to get to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior. In the 50 years I’ve been on staff at PAYH, I’ve tried to apply the lessons he taught me – how to be a man of your word, how to make time for the people who are important to you, and how to shape young boys into strong men of Christ through tough love.

Happy Father’s Day in Heaven, Paul!

Eddie Burris

Director of Plant Operations


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Jun 02, 2020

This Month at PAYH: Monthly Newsletter, June 2020

Our Father is Always With Us

In May of 1945, just over 75 years ago, the forces of Imperial Japan were on the brink of defeat. Nazi Germany had surrendered at the beginning of the month, and Japan now stood alone, outnumbered, and surrounded. It was simply a matter of time before US forces would overcome their defenses.

The island of Okinawa was the final stepping stone before an invasion of the Japanese mainland could take place, and the fighting there was brutal and intense. As many as 20,000 US Marines were killed, as were around 100,000 Japanese. A few days before his death, PFC Michael Fenton had a chance encounter with his father, Colonel Francis Fenton, who also was serving on Okinawa. They spoke briefly, glad to see one another, before their duties forced them to part ways. These would be the last words they would ever say to one another.

When Colonel Fenton received word that his son had been slain in a Japanese counterattack, he hurried to the place where his son was killed in order to conduct the funeral. As he knelt and prayed over his son’s flag-draped body, he looked around at the others who had been killed with him and remarked “Those poor souls. They didn’t have their fathers here.”

As Christians we can take comfort in the constant presence of our Heavenly Father. Joshua 1:9 tells us to “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Whatever trials we face, we know that He is there, and that He will never leave or forsake us.

Our Father is always with us.

Stephen Nichols

Director of Communications

Stories from the Home

A New Ride for the Young Men

The old PAYH van has safely seen our young men through many journeys, and Eddie Burris has done a fantastic job maintaining it. However, time and mileage take their toll, and it became necessary to replace it. In an answer to prayer, an anonymous partner funded a grant and Woody Folsom helped us find the vehicle we need. Now, our young men have a safer, more reliable, more comfortable ride. May the Lord be praised!

Y Camp 2020

The PAYH young men had an excellent stay at Athens Y Camps last month. In the mornings, they helped with maintenance and renovations on the grounds, and in the afternoons and evenings had many opportunities to relax. They enjoyed many outdoor activities, especially fishing. Lucas and Drake both caught their biggest bass so far. On the way home, they visited Paul Anderson Memorial Park in Toccoa, the birthplace of our founder.

Bryce & Tres

Two of our senior young men finished the program on May 15th. Bryce and Tres are both stellar examples of what a PAYH young man should be, and we look forward to seeing what they achieve in the future. If you haven’t had a chance to watch them, you can see their testimonies at payh.org/bryce and payh.org/tres.


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May 12, 2020

This Month at PAYH: Monthly Newsletter, May 2020

The New Normal

I cannot believe how much our daily lives have changed in the last few months.  I don’t think any of us could have imagined the impact the coronavirus would have when we first heard about it.  Here at the PAYH, we have been on a shelter-in-place order since the end of March with only essential staff allowed on campus.  We have established protocols that we follow to screen staff as they come in, no visitors, washing our hands, practicing social distancing, sanitizing, etc.  I have heard many people say that when this ban is lifted there will be “a new normal,” that life will never go back to the way it was.

The Lord recently reminded me that this is exactly what the Paul Anderson Youth Home is all about.  For over fifty-nine years, young men have come to our campus where they remain while learning how to make better decisions.  Essentially, they follow a shelter-in-place order.  They are here not only for protection, but also to learn “a new normal.”  A life where they apply what they are learning and begin to make wiser choices.  Addictions and bad behavior have been addressed and they begin to have HOPE for a productive future instead of the hopelessness they felt when they arrived.

Our boys also learn about our God’s eternal love.  It is our prayer that each young man who becomes a member of our PAYH family makes the decision to invite Jesus into his heart.  We know that God calls us to “plant the seed.” Sometimes we have the awesome privilege of seeing young men come to know Him while they are with us, and other times, they make this life altering decision after they leave.  We are grateful for our many partners who regularly pray for our boys and staff.  Would you join us in praying for their salvation as well as their “new normal?”

Betty Burris

VP – Outreach & Compliance


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Apr 21, 2020

Nuts!

If you read our newsletter, you’ve read the story of the 101st Airborne and how they stubbornly refused to give up the fight, replying with a simple “NUTS!” when the Germans demanded their surrender. Just like the 101st in Bastogne, we can sometimes feel a besieged. Fortunately, we have access to the same weapon they used to ultimately prevail in the fight. Will you help support us through prayer and through your financial contributions? Your gift can change a life for eternity!


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Apr 18, 2020

Staying in the Fight

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. – Matthew 6:33

I was once asked what combat was like. Believe it or not, my answer described a feeling that I am almost sure a lot of you have been feeling.

“Will ‘it’ happen to me?”

“If ‘it’ does, how bad might it be?”

“What are my chances of surviving ‘it’?”

“What can I do to improve my chances against ‘it’?”

“What can I do to help others from getting ‘it’?”

These were all questions that found myself pondering for the year that I was deployed for combat in Iraq in 2005. Every day of that year was accompanied by a sort of very low-level hum of anxiety or tension not only for me, but for the people around me. How might I do just one more thing to improve the chances that we all make it back whole? This was a constant worry as we lived day to day that year, a year during which we were shot at in some way every day.

Every. Single. Day.

It seems that a whole lot of people these days have that same sort of worry. Although they go about their lives as best they can under difficult circumstances, the worry is never far from the forefront of their minds.

For me, in 2005, I tried to convince myself that it wouldn’t happen to me. Or, that it wouldn’t happen today. Or that if it did happen, I’d live. Or, if I didn’t live that I would be accepted into God’s kingdom. I finally resigned myself to His will being done.

I should have just skipped all the “ifs” and gone straight to that last sentence.

God is sovereign and His will is going to be done. I don’t believe for a minute that God will allow a virus to undo us. No way! What I DO believe is that He is watching how we as a family, as a nation, as a world are reacting to this.

In combat, we followed our training and common sense. We cleaned our weapons twice a day, we test fired at the range before every patrol, and we rehearsed EVERYTHING. It was what we were trained to do and it was common sense. There was literally nothing any of us knew to do that we did not do to be ready. That’s all we could do. The rest was in God’s hands, and He was faithful to us.

It’s not all that different in the current pandemic. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and keep your distance, and use common sense. It’s simple guidance that anyone can follow.

Just as importantly, if not more so, we must guard our spirits. Christ tells us not to worry in Matthew 6, reminding us that God will take care of His Children. That doesn’t mean He will spare us every heartache or give us a life of ease. What it does mean is that He has a plan, and it’s better than any plan we could have made.

Stay in the fight!

Col. Ken Vaughn

Chief Operating Officer


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