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I didn't have many friends growing up, yet I knew I always had Jesus. I have been in this church since I was born. I went to youth group back when Darrel Martin was the Youth Pastor. I had my fair share of excitement, you could say. It started at creation when I learned about weed and made some friends that way. Drugs seemed to make you cool. I was about 15 and I started thinking, “I have to get more.” It was addictive. I wasn't doing as good in school as I should have been. My grades were slacking, and my mom was always sick. I always wondered why I was born. It wasn’t until later that I discovered why I was born. For a while I was in and out of jail for about 3 years total but over a period of 6 years. Some might say I have regrets, but I learned from it. I made it through an abusive relationship with my ex, and my son, who has disabilities. I told God I would praise him in the good and in the bad, and He got me through more times than I care to count. Each time thanking God for He is good. I also think I owe it to my mom. She taught me about Jesus and his love. I learned the biggest lesson about loving those who hurt you, and today I bring a message of hope that I’d like to share with the world, but I’ll just start with the church. I’m no saint, well frankly nobody is, but it’s about getting back up again and not focusing on the storm but focus on Jesus and you won't sink. I came a long way, and I learned the importance of life and how to love, even if that love costs you everything. The Lord restores and heals. Maybe not right away but believe it and it shall happen. Today I do not worry as much as before and I feel I was called back here with good news. I had this dream of doing more of God's work and spreading hope to us all. I guess that’s what I was made for. Not to be some rich guy with a big house and 5 cars, but to love till there was no end. I gave my life to Jesus the day I ran out of gas and a lady stopped and gave me some. I thought I was on my last breath, but He restored me and brought me back with a heart for him..S. I have seen the power of Jesus how he molds us like clay and it’s amazing. I’m hoping all might hear this. ~ D.S.

Before fasting week I was talking to God about what to fast from and he told me he didn’t want me to fast food, but to give him my mornings. So I did all week. On Thursday morning God told me to not pack a lunch, and that he will provide me lunch. All morning I wasn’t sure where my lunch would come from. At lunchtime the homeowner came out and gave me a $20 bill and said, “go get yourself some lunch!" ~ K.M.

I lived with my husband Ronald for 15 years before I proposed to him. It took getting married and dedicating our lives to the Lord to have full trust in Him. If it weren't for my faith in Christ and relationship to Petra, I wouldn't have made it this far. I am dedicated to taking care of Ron full time, due to his health changing dramatically; I haven't had a job in a year. I monitor his meds, cook and clean, and put both Ron and my church family before myself. God strengthens my heart and soul, and so does my Petra family. If it weren't for my faith and trusting God, I don't know where I'd be. God gives me strength!  ~J.W.

My family and I walked to the fireworks in Ephrata on July 4. While we were watching the fireworks, I noticed a woman. I felt the nudging of the Holy Spirit to pray for her. I love praying for people, but don't do it often with someone I don't know. After the fireworks, I decided to approach this woman. I simply asked if I could pray for her. She was very willing to receive prayer. As I was praying, you could see goose bumps appear up and down her arms. This was so cool. After praying, I talked with her a little and discovered she didn't know Jesus. So, I asked if she would like to accept him into her heart. She said "YES." So, right there in that 10-minute moment, she committed her life to Christ! What an awesome experience! Way to go, Jesus!  ~E.M.

I want to share my story of being a recipient of an act of kindness on Saturday, May 19, during our Missions Festival weekend.

I awoke that morning to my children telling me we had a leak from our living room ceiling.  After days of rain, this was disappointing.  I am a single mom of eight (seven living children).

We had a bucket in the living room but I figured it would be better if I were to go up into the crawl space to place a bucket in the attic so the water would not come down into the living room.  I was already in tears dealing with this but climbed up.  I was trying to locate the exact drip source as the plywood was pretty wet over a big area under the roof, when next thing I knew, half my body fell through the living room ceiling.  Praise God I caught myself from totally falling but three of my little ones saw it happen and freaked out.

Once I peeled myself out of there (sobbing), I didn't know what to do.  I texted two gals who are prayer warriors, one being from church.  She immediately contacted my regional deacon, Neil Martin.  Within an hour, both gals and Neil showed up at my house.  Neil tarped my roof and Melissa Mabry was there for physical support as I was a mess before that.  (My friend, Holly, came as well).

Neil left but came back and fixed the huge hole in my ceiling by dry walling it!  He also came back on May 24 and caulked my roof to keep it from leaking again.

The most amazing "God story" of this is that the same Saturday morning, Neil said he was cleaning his own attic and found an old tent he was going to pitch.  He then decided to cut off the bottom part to keep and use as a tarp someday if needed.  Less than an hour later, Melissa contacted him on my behalf for help and said I needed a tarp.  ONLY GOD!!!

I'm so thankful for Petra's continued support of my family during this tough time!  They are truly the hands and feet of Jesus!  ~J.P.

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