More Visitors

March 8, 2017

Taken by the drone!

We recently had eight visitors from the Jesus for Asia team, whom we most affectionately call our ‘bosses.’  But this time they called themselves:  ‘Mission Trek 2017.’ They are traveling to all the JFA mission projects and interviewing missionaries in order to produce programs for kids on 3ABN!  This will hopefully inspire them to do God’s work!

They never had occasion to visit us before so this was a first.  As usual we had to do a lot of driving on the terrible roads.  Several of them were sick so this made it very hard on them.  I was simply amazed at the different type of cameras they had and the photography that they were able to do.  I never saw so many video supplies, cameras and ways to take pictures.  I was so amazed by it all that I forgot to take pictures myself!  The ones you will see here are simply their pictures that I took off Facebook. Hope they don’t mind!

First of all Jon Wood brought along his own motorbike, which helped because our truck was loaded.  He enjoyed the bad roads and would zoom ahead, get himself in position on a particularly bad corner, or horrible steep place and catch a video of it.  He had pictures from a go-pro camera mounted on dashboard inside viewing us, on the hood, on the bumper, and down by the wheels of our truck.  Another time he had it on his helmet, on the front of his motorbike, or held high in his hand while driving!  If anybody can realistically show you the intensity and difficulty of our roads it would be him!

What really stole the show though for the villagers and might I add for me too, was the drone.  I never knew about drones and certainly had never seen one working!  They told us that they had flown another white one at the Sharon’s village and the village people were scared thinking it was a ghost!

Cameras were aimed at BletJhaw and I constantly – we could not get by with anything!  I just pray that the pictures they made in BYT and in all the other mission projects that they visited will be blessed of God and more than fulfill the purpose of their trip inspiring young people.

Some of them were able to visit other villages with us and could see the poverty, ignorance, and the great need of spreading a simple life saving gospel.  Their prayers mingle with ours for the conversion of these dear people in the jungle and the dear children (and adults) who will later view 3ABN Kids time!

Jon spending hours on this motorbike!

Unfortunately the visit ended with us taking James to the Emergency Room. I had to turn him over to the nurses there.

BletJhaw and I finally said good-bye.  I learned he did soon recover! Praise the Lord!

Mission Trek has faced many problems this special trip.  The devil hates what they are doing so this means there will be great results for God’s kingdom!

Love and prayers to all of you!

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Miles Stafford

March 8, 2017

Once again, sorry, because this should have been posted in November.  It is difficult sometimes to keep up with all the events here on the web page, but it all is too important to leave out.

Miles Stafford, experienced Advanced Paramedic, Flight medic and Combat medic, visited us in BYT for several days.  How privileged we were.  His consistent cheerful attitude, strength, intelligence and adaptability to jungle life in our many villages, held me in amazement! He very easily carried the heaviest backpack to other villages, comfortably sat on the floor in the local’s huts, ate their food with his fingers and worked along with me in treating the sick.  BletJhaw and I really enjoyed his help and company!

Let me add that he is now doing the work that he came here to do:  The start up and operation of one of the world’s most remote ambulance and rescue operations in Myanmar. He works with a team providing the highest quality emergency medical care and training in this far away part of the world!   Please go to his blog site and check out his most strenuous, and wild adventures in India as well as Myanmar at:  memsmedic1.tumblr.com    He is a prolific writer and has great photography.  I know you will enjoy it.

But first he visited us in BYT!

 

I chose with his permission, to enter his own blog post describing his visit to BYT.  It is so interesting to hear other people’s thoughts about our mission project.

Miles Stafford wrote:

 

Ban Beyortah 11/15/2016

Finally we were on our way to the clinic! The truck was heavily loaded with the supplies we would need including food, medicine, and a motorbike as we started our 7 ½ hour journey. In addition to the nurse and I, Thara Blet Jhaw, a good friend of mine from when I was in Thailand before and the nurses invaluable clinic running partner, was with us also.

For the first half hour we drove south on the main road following the river. We took a short detour to stop at the market and pick up some vegetables, eggs, and our lunch, then we continued on until we came to a small road that looked more like a driveway than a road and drove into the jungle.

Up and down we went (mostly up) on an incredibly steep one- lane cement road past recently clear-cut swaths of jungle where fields of tapioca, mountain rice, and corn had all been planted by hand and is just now starting to be harvested by hand. Because the road is so narrow we had to honk at every plentiful hairpin corner in order to minimize our chances of a collision.

After a couple hours we arrived at the halfway point; a beautiful pagoda situated at the top of one of the many mountains. Although we were halfway to the village distance wise, we were hardly a third of the way there time wise, because the cement now ended and the dirt road with rocks and ENORMOUS ruts began.

The mountains are so steep here that in order to cut out a space for the one lane track (without a shoulder of course) the bank on the uphill side of the road is 30 feet high in places!

As we ground along in 2nd gear 4WD we kept our eyes open for wild elephants that are known to like this section of jungle and hate people. Every once in a while the truck would make a strange clanking sound from the front axle but it seemed to be driving ok so we kept going and hoped for the best.

After another hour we came to a shortcut, but we could not take it because it is so narrow only motorbikes can use it. Last year a bulldozer came out to try and widen the road to make it safe for trucks but fell over the edge himself!

Eventually we gained enough altitude that we drove into a pine tree forest mixed with thorn trees and bamboo thickets where we stopped for lunch.

Several hours later we dropped down into another valley and after crossing and fording 3 large streams (actually the same stream 3 times) we drove into the village the clinic is in. We drove through the gate, up one last steep hill, and arrived at our destination as the shadows were lengthening.

The clinic is in a remarkable location sitting on a hill overlooking the village. It is surrounded by fruit trees and has an amazing view of the valley below and the mountains above.

The rest of that evening we worked on unloading the truck and cleaning the dust, spiders, and jungle thorn sized centipedes out of the building and getting everything ready for the next day.

The next morning our first patients started to arrive! A few villagers from nearby villages had passed us on motorbikes on our way in and spread the word that the nurse was back so we had lots of work lined up for us.

Over the next several days we treated ulcers, rashes, anemia, blood pressure problems, headache, stomach aches, muscle pain, coughing, congestion, infections, skin problems, and a multitude of other complaints some of which were esoterically described such as “heavy head”, “rotting insides”, “fry smell”, or “swirling blood ”.

The villagers don’t have any money and aren’t expected to pay but they are so grateful for the care they receive that they give us small bags of freshly harvested mountain rice, pumpkins, giant cucumbers, and wild vegetables and herbs that they harvest in the jungle as gifts.

When there were no patients, there is plenty of other work to do. Thara Blet Jhaw and I worked on weeding the garden and flower beds and weed eating the grass. Thara Mu even dredged the mud and grass out of the drainage ditch around the building!

One morning we woke up and there was no water in our cistern! The rainy season had just ended so there should have been plenty of water for several more months. Fortunately we had two gravity fed water filters in the clinic so we still had a little drinking water and there was the stream nearby that we used for bathing. After cutting a path through the jungle following the pipe from our cistern to the water supply we found out that the pipe was packed full of dirt and sand!

After lots of hard work with no supplies, Thara was able to clear out the pipeline and then we jumped into the cistern and emptied out the muddy water and piles of dirt and sand that had accumulated in the bottom and scrubbed it clean before letting it fill up again.

Besides having patients come see us at the clinic, we visited several villages with backpacks of medical supplies also. One village required a long hike through the jungle up and down steep mountains and across several small streams.

One stretch of our hike to this village passed through what the nurse and Thara affectionately called “leech lane” because the tall, thick underbrush formed a long tunnel over the trail down a mountainside with lots of shade from the canopy layer and is always crawling with leeches who like to sit on leaves and drop down onto any passerby! We walked as fast as the terrain would allow, but when we got to the bottom we still found leeches on ourselves!

After we arrived in the village we were invited to set up our temporary clinic headquarters in a villagers bamboo house and all the villagers who were not out in the jungle harvesting rice came over to visit with us and get medicine for various illnesses. After treating all the patients who came for help the grandmother cooked us a meal of rice and pumpkin that we ate with our fingers sitting on the floor!

Finally, after many wonderful experiences, it was time for me to leave Beyortah and rendezvous with the Myanmar Free Ambulance team to continue setting up the groundwork for ambulance operations inside Myanmar!

On our way out of the mountains the truck started sounding worse and worse. Going around corners it would pop and grind and would hardly steer, Thara had to make skillful 3 point turns on some corners.

Suddenly there was an extra loud bang so we stopped to have a look and saw that the left front CV joint had broken!

Well we couldn’t just call a tow truck and we didn’t want to sit there and not do anything so we limped out the last 90 km at a snails pace straight to the mechanics shop with the noise getting louder and louder as the axle grease wore off.

After everything was squared away with the truck I said goodbye and went to meet up with my team!

 

 

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Last trip out!

January 19, 2017

Leaving BYT in full rainy season!

(Sorry:  This was supposed to be posted back last August when I was leaving for America.  I don’t know how to place it back in the right sequence).

We were everything but rested when we headed out the next morning, Tuesday at 6:30a.m.  It had rained most of the night and was still raining.  I closed my eyes and tried to imagine the difficult mountain passes!  God always helps us and holds up our goings that our footsteps slip not!  We will trust in Him one step at a time.

I started out walking while BletJhaw struggled to get up the first mountain.  I could hardly take a step without sliding backwards. My precious Bible, computer and small ration of supplies for America were strapped onto that bike, making it even more difficult to manage.  I cannot describe to you in words the struggle that we had to progress through the perilous way!  Near the top of the mountain the rain came driving down accompanied by a strong cold wind and heavy fog.  I had no thought of a camera because if I tried to take a picture the camera would ruin in the rain.  I kept leaping off the back, trying to push that bike, but my feet had no traction – neither did BletJhaw and the bike. There were mud slides and fallen trees and I felt I would surely never be clean, warm and dry again.  The mud seemed to sink into the very core of my being.  BletJhaw has all my respect and admiration to even attempt to drive through those tangled, muddied, steep places on this simple wave 110 motorbike.  The bike slid and bounced in every direction.  Indeed, on the back of that bike without a seatbelt to hold me in place, I was truly the tail that wagged the entire dog, and I was barely hanging on!  Only by the grace of God we made it out.

Yet through it all I see God’s protective hand, I feel so tenderly cared for, nurtured and admired in His eyes.  Because I am so awkward, ignorant, and unworthy to work for Him and represent Him, makes His tenderness towards me even more overwhelmingly amazing! Words cannot describe how my whole heart goes out after Him.

“Our power is in the assurance that His love is exercised toward us.  If faith grasps this assurance, we have gained it all.  If we loose this assurance – all is lost.”  TMH 265

 

 

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Picture Stories

January 19, 2017

My quiet place far from the rapid pace! To refresh my walk with God and express my deep need!

 

Obstacles all along the way!

So thankful for the winch!

 

Feeding this elephant sugar cane to get on his ‘right’ side!

 

The poverty of MeDeLeGwee village

Roasted rat for dinner

Two roasted rats in all and a small chick. The smell is not good!

 

ShePaw, very sick after having her 8th child. She says she is allergic to BCP!

The small children care for the infant

 

These school girls are from different villages. They are my special friends.

 

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New Roof for the Church

January 17, 2017

Here we are beginning to put a new roof on our church.  The old roof was fine enough but the tin was so loud during rainy season that we could not hear to hold a meeting.

 

Old roof

 

As soon as all the old roofing was taken off it began to rain!  Of course our church is not like American churches.  There is no furniture, no carpet, no piano etc   We sit on mats on the floor.  But we felt so bad that God’s house is getting rain inside.  The 2 young men had to work on that roof in the rain the entire time.

 

Praise the Lord!

Next we will sand the wood down and paint it.  God’s house will be so beautiful.

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PaMeeNo, age 70

January 17, 2017

Question: What does it take to save a life?
Answer: It takes all you’ve got!

The first time we became aware of PaMeeNo was yesterday, January 11, when his son arrived at our door, asking us to please go see his Father in BlaGlow who is not eating or drinking, cannot walk, and has a problem with his stomach. BletJhaw and I looked at each other because, as usual, this did not fit our schedule at all. However I felt it was important to go because the man has not eaten or drunk anything for 4 days.

We took off on the motorbike with a few supplies that might be needed, but when I took my first look at this poor man, I knew that nothing I had brought was going to help him. He looked so emaciated, dehydrated and malnourished, that my mouth dropped open and I softly whispered to BletJhaw, “He’s dying!”

I could hear no bowel sounds

I listened for bowel sounds, but heard none. His waist and middle section was so skinny I could almost touch my fingers around it. His skin was tenting all over that’s how dry his was – just skin and bones is all. He wasn’t putting out any urine or having bowel movements. I call this stage 4 starvation/dehydration. He cannot swallow because it seems there is a growth in his throat that I hope is not cancer.

We agreed to take him to Meta hospital in the morning because it was already late and raining enough to give us a hard time to make it back. It had been raining a little all week. When we got back home it started to really rain and continued raining all night long – heavy rain at times. This is shocking and devastating this time of year.

We left home at 8:40 the next morning in the rain. Now we have to travel the long way. To take the shortcut would be suicide for sure in this wetness. I cannot possibly explain to you what trouble we had making it up one steep place after another. We met an abandoned truck which had apparently tried to make it up, but failed and slid all the way down backwards out of control, hitting a fallen tree which stopped it from falling down the cliff! The worst places for us were the down hills, which ended with hairpin turns. We slid sideways all the time and headed straight for the shear drop-offs. The last road to BlaGlow was the worst. It was so slippery! We fell into gaping gulches and slid towards the biggest canyons. We were praying constantly without ceasing. Sometimes our truck would come to a full stop just inches away from the precipice. Every time we descended a treacherous mountain we would say: “It will be impossible for us to come back up this!” Just before reaching BlaGlow there was a truck stuck and several people were trying to help another truck pull him up with a rope. BletJhaw jumped in to help. The rain kept coming down. The mud was horrible and all over us.

Finally we got to PaMeeNo’s house in BlaGlow, only for the family to tell us that they did not expect us to come in this bad weather and they were not wanting to go! However, they finally decided they would go, so we waited an hour or so, wet and muddy, shivering in the wind on the porch, talking to the people on the opposite porch.

PaMeeNo’s house

It was almost noon and I was really hungry, but no food in sight. PaMeeNo’s son carried him up the hill to our truck.

I wondered how the poor man would feel all crammed into the back seat with 3 other people, jerking around in the mud and rain. My total heart went out to him.


It was the angel of the Lord that got us out of there, because we got up what seemed like the most impossible places. But our God is a God of impossibilities! And we prayed to Him non-stop. Rivers of water were racing down the ruts of the road. Time after time BletJhaw had to rev the engine and spin the wheels to the max and our truck would go screaming inch by inch, lurching its way and almost not making it.

After 5 total hours of driving we pulled up in front of the hospital. I was so thankful that we got to see the nice doctor that I had worked with before. He treated my patient with compassion and understood our situation, admitting him and letting the hospital be responsible for his transfer to the larger hospital in the morning, instead of making us take him!

Now we must return home quickly before dark. It is still raining. We dread coming off the concrete part and hitting the mud again. Another 5 hours of driving. It is now dark, when we come across an area where they are getting ready to pave. Huge piles of sand and rock are on one side, the precipice on the other. Around a bend in the road we go into a slide, hit a rut and get sucked off the road against the bank, (Thankfully not the precipice side) into a pile of sand. BletJhaw tries backing up and going forward, but we are smack up against the bank and tilted into it at a precarious angle.

We try using the wench to pull us off to the left and out of the hole we are in, but we pulled the tree over Instead. There will be no way out tonight. We abandon the truck and begin walking home. At least it is not raining now, but our worn out flip flops are slipping and sliding. I don’t know how far we walked, but it is after 8 p.m. and we had eaten nothing. We are bedraggled, wet, muddy, cold, hungry and thirsty. Villagers helped us out of the ditch the next morning.


What does it take to save a life?
It takes all you’ve got!

But Jesus gave all for me!

 

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Venomous Visitor

January 17, 2017

 

I killed a dangerous and deadly viper today.  It is some kind of Keelback serpent.  The only reason I killed it myself was not because I was brave, but that there was nobody else around to do it, and it seemed like it wanted to get into the house!

Praise the Lord a hoe was nearby – the perfect weapon!  This is not my picture, because I chopped my snake up into many pieces

Also praise the Lord that we have a much greater weapon to protect from a much greater enemy than a keelback – that old serpent called the devil and Satan!

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”  2Corinthians10:4,5

 

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Enduring Thick Clouds and Cold

January 16, 2017

This week has been a struggle.  It is rainy with total clouds, (Even though it is supposed to be the dry season), it is windy and cold.  Each day of this week has brought me more oppression by the devil.  Now it is Thursday and we take the motorbike to LaGlah for their weekly Bible study, but the family that we are teaching was not there.  We gave a short worship because all attention had gone to the children who were making a lot of noise and drowning out our words.  Our songs, prayers and Bible promises seemed not to strike any responsive cord.  One lady talked non-stop nonsense all through the worship, dogs barked and chickens squawked.

“Oh Lord, to what purpose is all this?”  I sighed, “But You know what we do not know.”

Going home on that motorbike in cold, wet rain in the steeps is not fun.  Once at home I take a cold bath.  One hour later I am shivering and cannot get warm, so I did something I never did before.  I boiled water and stuck my feet and hands in the hot water!  What relief – oh how good that felt.  Then I turned around behind me to look at the thermometer.  What temperature do you think it is?

70 degrees!!  How totally crazy!  How could I possibly be so cold?

Now it is 56 degrees and you can see your breath in the house.  How cold do you think I am now?

My oppression lifted on Sabbath as I was preaching in our little church. God brought the people from 4 villages that day. So many people came!  Oh how wonderful to see the light of understanding and interest in their eyes. God took hold of that sermon that day because it did not come out as I had prepared it!!!   The Title:  “Lord Save Me!”

“The very time to exercise faith is when we feel destitute of the Spirit.  When thick clouds of darkness seem to hover over the mind, then is the time to let living faith pierce the darkness and scatter the clouds.”  CET 126.3

 

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The Miracle of MaLoWay!

January 15, 2017

“Not by might, now by power, but by My spirit saith the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6

…..And when that Spirit works it is a beautiful thing!!

Right “Out-of-the-blue,” or you might say, “Out of the woodwork” MaLoWay, age 46, came to see us – the last one you would ever think of who would have any serious thoughts in his mind to change his ways. He had NEVER attended our church, never attended any worships in our village, never prayed, and never even looked at us or greeted us on the pathways. With the exception of the time about a year ago when he got torn across the top of his head by a tree branch while riding on the back of a motorbike and I sutured him up. He has the skinny, gaunt, wiry look of an opium addict, who never takes a bath or washes his clothes. Dirt seems permanently ground into his feet and ankles, hands and face. Opium users hate water.

His house is small and falling down. Opium users cannot care for their homes or gardens.

 

It was Thursday, December 8, 2016 and MaLoWay stood on our porch and told us that he wanted to quit using opium, could we help him? I looked at him with amazement and joy! I get his history: He has smoked homemade cigarettes and smoked opium ever since he was a small boy, and now he has main lined opium at least twice a day for the past year, which means he uses heroin! I know this is going to be a tough thing for him, only God can change this man from the inside out. I tell him that if he really wants to quit and he is willing to obey us and take the treatments that we give, then we will go all out and do whatever it takes to help him, but we need him to stop opium, smoking, and coffee all three, as each one is addicting and exacerbates the others. He agrees.

Here he is at our house in BYT before leaving for MaeSalit. He is dirty and withdrawn.  He will not look at me or talk to me.

Because he has lived in BYT for many years and easily gets opium from others all around him, we suggest that for the first week, he should come with us out of the village. So we take him to BletJhaw’s house in MaeSalit.

The first 3 days of opium/heroin withdrawal is the worst, so I am prepared with medicine, vitamins and natural detox remedies. I am praying constantly.

Day one is the worst, he is very cold to the bones, and his arms and legs are very painful, (Which is normal), but I am surprised that his blood pressure dropped dangerously, because usually they have hypertension. Now I cannot give him the steam bath, or hot foot bath to cause him to sweat out the toxins, so I called my pharmacist friend in MaeSot, who told me they have a natural Thai herb that absorbs poisons out of the body, and they also can give me something for the hypotension. BletJhaw and I drive all the way to MaeSot for these things and we also buy him new blue jeans and several shirts. All this time, MaLoWay still cannot look me in the face or say one word to me. He always hides his face and draws away, but I continue to minister to him and pray aloud at his side.

On Day 2 he begins to feel much better and wants to go home, in fact he sounds desperate to go home. I think it is because he just wants to get opium and I feel badly and try to coax him to wait a few more days, but he tells us that he will cry and cry if he cannot go home right away! The night before he had a dream that he was putting a shirt on his little girl and he wanted to see his children. It is Sabbath afternoon, we pack up and take him home. What next?

Praise the Lord, on Day 3 he is staying with us in our home in BYT, alive, happy, looking at me, and talking to me! We are feeding him good food, and vitamins, and teaching him how to take a bath with soap and wash his clothes. He scrubs himself clean! We give him the new clothes! BletJhaw gives him a lovely hair cut, and now he looks and acts like a brand new person! A new person he really is! He seems to look at and admire his children like he never really knew them before. He is spending time at our house, playing with his children!

He goes home and cooks the rice for his family. It is like a person who has just come out of a life-long coma and wakes up to be alert and brand new! “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away: behold, all things are become new!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

MaLoWay’s happy family

Today marks almost 6 weeks that he has remained off Opiates, tobacco and coffee. He told us that a year ago, before mainlining heroin, he had tried to stop opium, but it was painful and terrible – he could not do it, however, this time it was much easier and he was successful.  He knew it was because I prayed for him! He sings our praises.  He tells everyone that when his little girl was born, she and his wife almost died. We had come, treated them and took them to Omkoi hospital and saved their lives. He is so thankful. We tell him that it is not us, but God that gives him the victory, and does the healing, he must thank God and daily call upon Him for help to continue on successfully.

MaLoWay is now attending church and has even had us over to his house to have a special worship with his family!

Right now he is energetically building a new house for his family up the mountain!  Radiance beams from his face.

No hardship is too hard to endure when the rewards are so great! Words cannot express my joy!

If God took this poor man out of the woodwork to save him from sin, then He will do it for others also. It is not our works, but the work of the Holy spirit to convict and convert. I am so encouraged that even now in this place we can see the results of the Holy Spirit upon hearts!

Please pray in your churches and in your home for MaLoWay never to return to the old habits. He needs your prayers.

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The King Dies

December 27, 2016

I share the grief of the Thai people as they morn the death of their beloved king, Bhumibol Adulyadej, the worlds longest reigning monarch. King Bhumibol died October 13, 2016 at the age of 88. His reign began suddenly when he was 18 years old, after his brother, the previous king, Ananda Mahidol, was tragically killed in 1946 at the age of 20.

The news reports state: “This king, (Bhumibol Adulyadej) was a solitary constant, a beacon of hope for the Thai’s rich and poor, young and old, rural farmers and urban residents. His majesties selflessness, generosity and compassion will always be remembered.” It seemed the Thai people worshipped him as a god. At his death the people broke down sobbing and weeping in enormous grief.

When I arrived at the Bangkok airport from America, November 7, 2016 a heavy atmosphere of grief and sorrow greeted me. It was a different country than the one I had left 2 months earlier. Here are the sights I saw as I took a taxi ride through Bangkok. We will all wear black for the next year. Buildings, billboards and black streamers keep this king ever before the beholder.

 

 

 

I want to remind the weeping people here in Thailand that there is a God in heaven.

“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed…and it shall stand forever!” Daniel 2:44

Because He is the: “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” Revelation 16:19

So let us: “Worship Him that made heaven and earth and the sea and the fountains of waters!” Revelation 14:7 For He is our beacon of hope for all people, rich and poor, young and old, rural and urban residents!

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