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Tolerance and Love

Our Father in Heaven loves all of His children . . . .In fact: God is Love.

Peter taught that “God is no respecter of persons: “But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” (Acts 10:34-35)

In his conference talk on tolerance and love, Elder Russell M. Nelson taught that “real love for the sinner may compel courageous confrontation—not acquiescence! Real love does not support self-destructing behavior.” (Russell M. Nelson, “Teach Us Tolerance and Love,” Ensign, May 1994, 71)

Below are the words of Russell M Nelson, an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have taken the liberty of using part of his talk as I feel they are most applicable today. He too used that quote from Acts 10:34-35, then said:

“Yet His children can be so intolerant with one another. Neighboring factions, whether they be identified as groups or gangs, schools or states, counties or countries, often develop animosity. Such tendencies make me wonder: Cannot boundary lines exist without becoming battle lines? Could not people unite in waging war against the evils that beset mankind instead of waging war on each other? Sadly, answers to these questions are often no. Through the years, discrimination based on ethnic or religious identity has led to senseless slaughter, vicious pogroms, and countless acts of cruelty. The face of history is pocked by the ugly scars of intolerance.

“While we strive for the virtue of tolerance, other commendable qualities need not be lost. Tolerance does not require the surrender of noble purpose or of individual identity.

“We are grateful for the many examples of heroic service rendered in times of earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, or other disasters. Such cooperative efforts to help neighbors in distress transcend any barriers posed by religion, race, or culture. Those good deeds are latter-day love in action!

“Of course we are concerned with the need for ambulances in the valley below. But at the same time, we cannot ignore the greater need for protective guardrails on the cliffs above. Limited resources needed for the accomplishment of the higher work cannot be depleted in rescue efforts that provide only temporary relief.

“The biblical prophet Nehemiah must have felt that same commitment to his important calling. When he was asked to divert attention away from his primary purpose, he replied: “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you? (Nehemiah 6:3)

“Now may I offer an important note of caution. An erroneous assumption could be made that if a little of something is good, a lot must be better. Not so! Overdoses of needed medication can be toxic. Boundless mercy could oppose justice. So tolerance, without limit, could lead to spineless permissiveness.”

“The Lord drew boundary lines to define acceptable limits of tolerance. Danger rises when those divine limits are disobeyed. Just as parents teach little children not to run and play in the street, the Savior taught us that we need not tolerate evil. “Jesus went into the temple of God, and … and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers.” (Matthew 21:12) Though He loved the sinner, the Lord said that He “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.” (D&C 1:31) His Apostle Paul specified some of those sins in a letter to the Galatians. The list included “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, … wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.” (Galatians 5: 19-21)

“To Paul’s list I might add the regrettable attitudes of bigotry, hypocrisy, and prejudice. These were also decried in 1834 by early Church leaders who foresaw the eventual rise of this church “amid the frowns of bigots and the calumny of hypocrites.” The Prophet Joseph Smith prayed that “prejudices may give way before the truth.” (D&C 109:56,70) Hatred stirs up strife ( Proverbs 10:12) and digs beneath the dignity of mature men and women in our enlightened era.”

My beloved brothers and sisters, at this time in America many are trying to distract us from what is so important. Jesus Christ taught us to love others as we love ourselves. Remember, those who practice an “eye for an eye” only leave an entire nation of blind people.

Another of my favorite teachers was Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She once said,

“If we pray, we will believe; If we believe, we will love; If we love, we will serve.” (Mother Teresa)

It is my prayer that we will follow the Saviour and stop feeding into the world’s hatred. Rather, let us love and do good wherever we may be.

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Hope vs Despair

My beloved sisters, I wish to speak of hope today. I can think of many instances in my life where I learned firsthand the power of hope. I know that many of you have lost hope because of what has been done to you since you were little and for many of us, abuse continued into the later years of our lives. I hope you don’t mind, but I am going to include brothers here as well, for there are many who have suffered as we did.

I remember the days in my youth and early childhood encompassed by the horrors and despair of a family where I was not wanted and treated poorly. The lack of educational opportunities because I was a female child and had to work so I would not be sold to those whom I had been trained to please. Life-threatening health issues during my early youth because of those who did not want me to survive. As I grew older, each time I tried to get an education, my way was blocked by evil. It seemed each time I found happiness, there was evil to twist and turn my life into a nightmare. I was filled with despair.

After joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-saints, I learned that it is knowledge of who I really am, and that Jesus Christ died for me personally, that I began to have hope for something better. Until I learned who God really is, I had no hope.  Lucifer used the tools of “Despair” to discourage me. I know that many of you face this same type of despair.

As I read or listen to the prophets of God speak to us about truth, I have found hope. They say these truths much better than I do, so I share with you what prophets have said:

“Blessed is the man (or woman) that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” (Jeremiah 17:7)

“The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.” (Joel 3:16)

“Press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men (and women). Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.” (2 Nephi 31:20)

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons (and daughters) of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

“Beloved, now are we the sons (and daughters) of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

“And every man (and woman) that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself (or herself), even as He is pure.” (1 John 3:1-3)

In more recent times (2008), we have these words, spoken by our dear living Apostle of Jesus Christ and Second Counselor of the First Presidency in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-saints, even Dieter F Uchtdorf:

“Hope sustains us through despair. Hope teaches that there is reason to rejoice even when all seems dark around us.”

“The Lord has given us a reassuring message of hope: “Fear not, little flock.” (D&C 6:34) God will wait with “open arms to receive” (See Mormon 6:17) those who give away their sins and continue in faith, hope, and charity.”

““And to all who suffer—to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely—I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in.”

“Never surrender.”

“Never allow despair to overcome your spirit.”

“Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart.”

We are all brothers and sister in the family of God. Yes, even those who abused you. God loves each and every one of us. Jesus Christ died for each of us individually. They want us to be happy. They want us to have all they have, and that is a truth that Lucifer does not want you to know. Satan wants you to believe that he is more powerful than he really is. He may win a few battles, but he is going to lose the war. In fact, he has already lost, and that is why he is running amuck in the world right now. He is a child having a temper tantrum. I wish a squirt of cold water could end his tantrum, don’t you? And yes, we all make mistakes.

When we listen to the words of those who came before us, and see how others pulled through and repented, and then look up towards God, we can know for ourselves that this life is only a short time (no matter how many years you live) and that eternity is much longer. This time of testing we are going through is not going to last forever. But eternity does last forever.

Hugs from a distance. Your sister with Jesus Christ.

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One of the reasons I know we are to follow the living prophets is that all through the Holy Bible we can see how God blesses people when they turn to Him. Each time people, both men and women have gone to God in prayer, with a sincere heart, He lets them know how much He loves them. The world is kept because of those who are obedient to God.

When God spoke to Moses, and gave him laws, God spoke of how generations would suffer at the hands of those who did not worship the True God.

“I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:1-6)

Then, we move forward in time to another prophet. Dear Ezekiel. Bless his heart. He inquired of the Lord as to what the scripture meant that said:

“What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?”

“As I live, saith the Lord God, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel.
“Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:2-4)

When we go to the Lord for answers of our questions, we do receive answers. Even as the prophets do.

In the beginning, Adam and Eve had two sons. One by the name of Abel and one named Cain. Cain did that which Satan told him. Satan knew what the law was. The sacrifice was to be of the first born. He knew that God would not accept any other type of sacrifice. Cain worshiped Satan more than God, and when he learned his offering to God it was not accepted, he murdered his brother in his anger and frustration.

” And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?

“If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

“And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

“And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?

“And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.

“And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; (Genesis 4:6-11)

Just as Ezekiel had done, in a more recent time, Spencer W Kimball was concerned regarding the curse of Cain. He asked God regarding those who were descendants of Cain. He asked of God and once again, God responded, and great gifts became available to all worthy men and women who are descendants of Cain.

On September 30, 1978, at the 148th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the following was presented by President N. Eldon Tanner, First Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church:

“In early June of this year, the First Presidency announced that a revelation had been received by President Spencer W. Kimball extending priesthood and temple blessings to all worthy male members of the Church. President Kimball has asked that I advise the conference that after he had received this revelation, which came to him after extended meditation and prayer in the sacred rooms of the holy temple, he presented it to his counselors, who accepted it and approved it. It was then presented to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who unanimously approved it, and was subsequently presented to all other General Authorities, who likewise approved it unanimously.”

Then, he read a letter they had written. If you would like to know more, go to the Doctrine and Covenants to the 2nd proclamation and read the entire message for yourself.  I was honored to know that God still speaks to humans even now. Just as with all announcements by the prophets of God, not everyone was happy. Nonetheless, many of us were.

Then, even more recently, the Lord again spoke and told the prophets to warn the world that many are not doing what we need to be doing and some are doing away with the great blessings He gave us. I suggest you go to this link, and see what this warning means to you and those whom you love.

https://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation?lang=eng&cid=PA0414-02

It is my prayer today, that all people will turn to Thomas S Monson and the other prophets to learn truth from them in this day and time. Yesterday, I celebrated my Father’s Day in the Holy Temple of God and had a glorious day. I pray you will all remember God, for He truly is your Eternal Father. As you celebrate Father’s Day this year, be sure to let Him know you love Him. As His daughter, I believe He would love to hear from you.

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I pray for the Spirit of the Lord to be with me, as I share with you truths which I have heard and know to be true.

“This is an age of digital information. Our computers have become windows through which we can gaze upon a world that is virtually without horizons or boundaries. Literally at the click of a button, we can browse through the digitized libraries of universities, museums, government agencies, and research institutions located throughout the world. A worldwide web of electronic connections now moves data at ever-increasing speed and volume along what we call the information superhighway. Through the windows of personal computer monitors in homes and offices, we can access this network of interconnected data banks to see texts, art, photos, maps, and charts and to hear music and speech that are stored in widely dispersed locations.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints declares boldly that through another type of window, the windows of heaven, we can access spiritual information from the Source of light and truth. “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.” (Articles of Faith: 1:9) In this dispensation of the fullness of times, the revelation superhighway has been carrying heavy traffic of eternal truth ever since that day in the spring of 1820 when the Lord answered a farm boy’s fervent prayer in the Sacred Grove and ushered in the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Today, as in ancient times, God opens windows of gospel light and truth by revealing “his secret unto his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7) Those who have eyes to see, and ears to hear can learn eternal principles; view majestic vistas of knowledge, foresight, and wisdom; and receive direction on how to live their lives.

“The windows of heaven are open wide to the faithful and righteous; nothing closes them faster than disobedience. The unworthy cannot access fully the network of revealed truth. “The powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.” (D&C 121:36) Obedience is the first law of heaven. That is why Alma exhorted us to “be humble, … submissive and … diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times.” (Alma 7:23)

“To open the windows of heaven, we must conform our will to God’s will. Diligent, enduring obedience to God’s laws is the key that opens the windows of heaven. Obedience enables us to be receptive to the mind and will of the Lord. “The Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient” (D&C 64:34) are those who receive the blessings of revelation through the open windows of heaven.”

“Members of the Lord’s church can joyfully echo these words of the prophet Mormon: “Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.”

“We are the Savior’s disciples who “shall go forth.” All of us are called of him to be missionaries to declare his word among his people.

“We should follow the counsel of President Spencer W. Kimball (another prophet of God) and “do it,” and he added, “Do it right now.”

“If we are to fulfill the Lord’s command to open the windows of heaven to all of our brothers and sisters, we must prepare to teach the gospel. With study of the scriptures, fasting, and prayer, we fortify our testimonies. We cultivate Christlike attributes of “faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, and diligence.” (D&C 4:6) Through exemplary obedience, we can let our light so shine before men (and women), that they may see our good works, and glorify our Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) By keeping the commandments, we can light our gospel candle and put it “on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.” (Matthew 5:15) (These were the words of Joseph B Wirthlin, another prophet of God in 1995. His talk was entitled: Windows of Light and Truth)

I am Maurica, being called after the name of my father, born in the land of America, which land God has set apart as a place where men and women can worship Him according to the dictates of their own hearts. My forefathers died that all of us might have this land of freedom. I live to help keep it free and introduce those who do not know God to Him and His beloved Son, even Jesus Christ.

Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, and while walking with Him and serving others, I have felt called to lift those who struggle as I did before I knew that He was my savior. I have been reaching out since long before I was blessed to hear the Good Word of God confirm to me that I am one of His. And since following the Lord’s will I have been blessed to be able to do even more than I had ever done before. I have felt more loved by being obedient to His commandments than I ever did by being obedient to others who claimed to love me.

As Moses said to the children of Israel as they went forth out of Egypt (Deuteronomy 29: 2-4) I say unto you who are living in Babylon; Nineveh; Sodom; Gomorrah or that which is just like they were:

“And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land;
“The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles:
“Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.”

I would that we all might listen to the prophets of God upon the earth in this day and age and follow the counsel of God’s chosen so we may return home to He who gave us life in the first place. And this is my prayer, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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Prophets

It must be remembered in studying the lives and messages of the prophets of the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon, that in their day and times, things were not exactly like today. There were no television sets, no automobiles, no cell phones, nor computers. Generally the prophets were confined to a rather small geographical area. They acted within their culture, just as the prophets of today.

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter 1:21)

God must choose whom will be His prophet. This is entirely different than for man to choose God. You can’t go to school to become a prophet, only God makes His choice.

The Lord Himself said:

“Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”

“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”

“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”

“These things I command you, that ye love one another.” (John 15: 14-17)”

Many years ago, a very wise man, whom was an Apostle of Jesus Christ said:

“God raised up prophets in ancient Israel for the same reasons He raises up prophets today. They are to teach the people the laws of God and how to live them, call the people to repentance when necessary, and bear witness of Jesus Christ. The work of all true prophets of all ages is to act as God’s messenger and make known God’s will.” Elder A. Theodore Tuttle

Each prophet spoke, and those now living speak to us in words we can understand. Plain and simple words in whichever language we speak. No matter what level of education we have. Just as Jesus spoke in language the people of Jerusalem understood within all levels of education. He spoke of vineyards, and flowers and what the people knew. Now, prophets speak in whichever language and people they are among, of how to overcome, just as Jesus did. God puts words and thoughts into prophets minds which they in turn speak to us.

God loves us, yet as you know, we are not always obedient children. We do things that are displeasing to Him, and need to repent and turn back towards Him. As Moses told his people:

“For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. “Deuteronomy 4:24)

He was very concerned about the reverence due God. Many of his people were afraid of God. As with Moses, I know He is a living, loving, caring and forgiving being. God does run out of patience however, when His children refuse to repent. He has always wanted to be personal with His children, not just in days past, but rather He does now as well. If you have children, don’t you sometimes run out of patience with them? Yet, you love them, right?

“And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.” (Exodus 19: 17)

Many of those people were afraid and ran away thinking God was too powerful and if they left His presence, He would not see them. Many today make that same mistake. They think He is not watching. Moses said something to his people that I would like to share with you:

“And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!” (Number 11: 29)

God has called Thomas S Monson as a prophet to guide us today. Many years ago he said:

“Our youth need less criticism and more models to follow.”

I believe we still need to be better models of what we want all children to become. Not just by words, but by our own actions. Another thing that he stresses is to:

“. . . Become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and live by its teachings.”

Always, I wish to share with you that which I know to be truth:

“For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?”

“And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles.”

“But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.” (Mormon 9:9-11)

I know that God is a God of miracles. If you will take the time to look around, you too can know Him for yourself. I love God. I also love the prophets, both living and dead. I have learned so much about life by following their counsel. When I make mistakes, I repent as quickly as I am able and begin again to walk the walk so He will have no doubt where I am nor whom I follow.

I invite you to use this great gift of repentance and listen to living prophets then turn to the Lord God who loves us all. I am looking forward to seeing Him again. How about you?

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A New Way

“Remember that our Savior, Jesus Christ, always builds us up and never tears us down.” Dallan H. Oaks, Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-saints, as well as an Attorney at Law.

As I am finding others who are not afraid to speak up, I find hope and help for me to heal as well. Coming from a generation where children were to be seen but not heard did not help children of abuse. It may be true that my life is different than yours, yet, we are still all children of parents. I pray yours loved you, but even if they did not, you can still heal. If you have made mistakes in your life, you can repent of them and be healed. If others made mistakes that caused you pain, you can be healed of that pain.

Perhaps it is because I had to endure so much, prior to joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-saints that I was able to recognize the great love that Jesus had for me during those times. I can see how the Lord blessed me while living in my father’s back yard. I can see how the Lord comforted me when I was being abused. I can feel the love that Jesus has for me as He continues to rescue me when others only feel I need to be “locked up for my own good” or “drugged” to keep me quiet.

Knowing that I can lean on the Lord when times are hard, helps me to withstand whatever comes my way. Father hears my prayers and Jesus walks beside me to help me not fall. The Holy Spirit whispers truth in my ears since I was just a little girl, and has never lied to me. I am looking forward to my future now rather than wanting to escape life. I can enjoy life now, by looking forward to the future.

One of the things that has blessed my life was in learning that Jesus Christ was and is my personal Saviour. He came to earth for me. He came for all us sinners as well as for those of us who were sinned against. I want you to know that He also came for you. As I was helped to be forgiven by Jesus Christ, I was blessed to forgive others, at the request of Jesus Christ.

Here is a talk by another Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ who says it much better than I can. His name is Jeffrey R Holland. For his work in improving understanding between Christians and Jews, he was awarded the “Torch of Liberty” award by the Anti-Defamation league of B’Nai B’rith. He was a profession for many years and is also a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days-saints.

Today, 7 May 2015, I am witnessing as newspapers are asking people to pray. This is the first time since 11 August 2001- I have seen so many people praying. I for one have never stopped praying. I am so grateful that Father in Heaven hears our prayers.

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One Mercy from God

I love what Elder Oaks once said in regard to us who have suffered at the poor choices others made:

“While God will not prevent those choices, He will bless us to endure the consequences of other’s choices. And those whose mortal opportunities are cut short or reduced by the choices of others eventually have every blessing and opportunity offered through the Mercy and Atonement of Jesus Christ.”  Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Apostle of Jesus Christ. A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-saints. He is also a well known speaker and an attorney.

I personally know that the gift of Agency was not free. We all pay a price and Jesus Christ, the Son of the Most High God paid the highest price. He took upon himself our pain. Not just the sins of the world, but our pain. Yes, He knows about pain, suffering at the hands of others. He knows how we felt when beaten, starved, abused in horrendous ways, that we feel no one else understands. Yet He understands.

Many times, I have felt his tender mercy as I have felt His loving influence sweep over me. Many times I have felt lifted from off this horrible planet where others only saw beauty. Many times I have wanted to die rather than suffer more torture at the hands of evil men and women. Yet, through it all, Father was watching and weeping. The Lord paid a very high price for us, all because He loves us. I had never felt that dept of love that He has shown me.

I’m sorry if many of you do not know Him. I am sorry if this bothers you, but I just want you to know that I know God lives. I do pray this will not be deleted, but if it is, I have said my piece. Thank you for caring about me. It means a lot to me, as a feral child, to have others hear me.

I love this song. It speak volumes of love. When I hear the sweet voices of children in song it send chills down my spine. I hope you all have a great day. Hugs from a distance.

Photograph by Steve Gills.

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