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Archive for December, 2012

Adoption Stopped!

Craig and Kim

My sister and brother-in-law are seeking to adopt two boys from Russia. Below is their story. I ask that you pray for them and the other families in the U.S. who are now in limbo as the Russian government has banned all adoptions. Below are three news stories (one print and two television reports).

This is the Winston-Salem Journal article:
http://www.journalnow.com/news/state_region/article_803bceac-515c-11e2-815b-001a4bcf6878.html
Taylor and Leah and boys

This is the WXII-12 New Report…

http://www.wxii12.com/news/local-news/piedmont/Triad-Family-Caught-In-Russian-Adoption-Drama/-/10703612/17940180/-/skg0a3z/-/index.html

This is the Fox8 News Report…

http://myfox8.com/2012/12/28/russian-adoption-ban-threatens-wilkes-county-family/

Craig and and Leah playing with Thad in Russian orphanage, while Kim feeds Luke on the sofa…
Leah picture

This is the room the boys would sleep in…
Adoption 2
Amount of paperwork already completed…
Paperwork

Having been through this process twice with Clara and Andrew, I can’t tell you what an emotional, spiritual and even physical toll this takes on you. I will also say this. Vladimir Putin should take note what he is doing.
Vladimir Putin

He, in my mind is a modern-day Pharaoh. I would watch the news in the days and weeks ahead for potential plagues that might come to his nation for his actions. He needs Jesus and I’m praying for him. I will also ask you to pray. As God’s people pray, well…we will see what happens. May God be glorified in all of this. That’s the prayer of my sister, Kim and my brother-in-law, Craig and my two nieces, Taylor and Leah. They are trusting the Lord and His Sovereign will. So am I.

Thank you for your prayers!

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Christmas is Over…Now What?

cropped-104-001.jpgWe had a fantastic Christmas! Josh and Katy were able to come in from Cherry Point and they stayed through yesterday. They arrived safely back to the coast just prior to the terrible storms moving through. Tornadoes were just east of them. Thank the Lord for His watch-care.

We had a wonderful time with the family this past Monday night (Christmas Eve) and Tuesday on Christmas Day. We started out at Pam’s mom and dad’s. We had a feast! Mary goes “all out” and George makes some awesome cooked cabbage. It’s spicy and delicious! Then George asked Clara and Kandace to play their violins…
Clara and Kandace playing violins

We then opened up presents. Here’s George sitting beside of Andrew along with some friends of the family, Buster and Lucille.
George and Andrew
Clara and Katy had some good “sister-time” together. (Each time Katy leaves…it is VERY hard on Clara. Clara and Katy are very close. Katy has given Clara more baths than me and Pam combined times four.)

Clara and Katy

Christmas morning was a blast! Andrew had prepared an entire wall of his room to receive the Legos City Police Station. Well…he got it and he’s been working like a machine since Christmas assembling this “city.”

andrew and legos

Here’s the “City” about 90% complete…
Legos City
The thing I love about Andrew is that he has great faith. He has had the wall in his bedroom cleared for almost three months waiting for the arrival of the Legos Police City. Oh that I had that kind of faith of my Heavenly Father.

Legos City 2

Clara received some cross-stitching items and she’s begun her work…
Cross-stitching
She is a dutiful worker.

We enjoyed a wonderful time with all the family. We are trying to indoctrinate Josh…

Josh-Carolina
Josh fits in well…don’t ya think?
Josh and Girls

What was great was seeing and hearing all the laughter. That’s what I love so much about family and Christmas…

Laughter
Andrew and Clara loved “decorating” me!
Decorating Dad
Andrew loved getting up close and personal…

Andrew-watching

We always have a large “family” picture at Mom and Dad’s. I loved Taylor running from behind the camera (having only a few seconds) before the picture is snapped…

Christmas-All Family

I love the memories the children are making…
Mom, Andrew and Clara

Christmas is such a special time of year, but I have tried to make a concerted effort to teach the children that there shouldn’t be this huge “let-down” after Christmas. We are here for God’s glory…not Christmas morning and presents. There is so much build-up to Christmas that when Christmas morning comes…it’s almost a “downer” that afternoon. It shouldn’t be.

Friend, do you realize Christmas can’t touch heaven. We are to live for heaven, not Christmas or “fun.” That’s called existentialism. That’s pagan. Living for fun has become the American way. Living for Jesus is the Biblical way. We are here on this earth to point people to Jesus. Truthfully, Christmas can get in the way of that very easily. We try not to go overboard on Christmas and really point the season to Jesus. We want to focus on Matthew 1 and 2 and Luke 2. Santa…(we don’t do). We teach about the truth of Saint Nicholas and helping children (that part is true), but we don’t do the North Pole and coming down the chimney. We tell them the Lord has blessed us with being able to provide gifts at Christmas as God (the Father) gave us Jesus.

Why don’t we do “Santa?” Well, when I told Katy there was no Santa. She said, “I believed you.” She said, “Is Jesus real?” I said, “Yes.” She said, “How do I know for sure since you lied about Santa.” Well, that did it. No more Santa for the Brown family. We feel like it’s lying to our kids and it just didn’t feel right. To each their own. As a dear lady tells me often, “Own your own decision.”

Let me show you my Christmas Cactus in bloom…
Christmas Cactus

So, it’s back to life and living. That includes folding clothes.
Folding clothes
Yes, children can work. It won’t kill them. They are to be “blessings” in the home and not “burdens.” Sound crass? I don’t mean to. I just know that many families are running hotels for their children and the kids do next to nothing in the home to help out. That’s not doing the children any favors. Just look at our nation if you need any proof of that. There are a lot of hands out with palms turned up.
And here’s a job well done…

Clothes folded

In case you think I am just a slave driver sitting down drinking a lemonade, I have been doing dishes and cleaning up the kitchen. But, the kids love to accomplish a task. Children need to feel that sense of accomplishment.

Well…onward we go. What are you living for now? Is it to tell others about Jesus…or do you need another thrill to get you “up” about life? I pray it’s the former and not the latter.

Have a wonderful New Year!

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I was thinking…

I was thinking this morning how blessed I am. 22 years ago today I was married to this wonderful lady…

Kevin and Pam

Let me tell you that I am a BLESSED man! I can remember Pam walking down the aisle…

pam wedding pic

Wow-eee! What a beautiful lady! But, I’m telling you the truth (and any of you who know her will agree), she is even more beautiful on the inside. She is one of the most godly people (man or woman) I know. She loves the Lord and serves Him with great passion. She’s a fantastic wife and mother. As I watch this couple…
Josh and Katy at CP
…grown in their marriage…I hear Josh talking about Katy like I talk about Pam and I think, “Yep, Pam did a wonderful job of showing Katy how to be a wife and mother.” Lessons are more aptly “caught” than “taught.” Katy caught a lot!

So, I’m a blessed man. I was thinking about the wonderful parents I have. My mom and dad are amazing! They are two of the most loving and giving people you will ever meet…
Mom and Dad Christmas
They have blessed my life so much. Living beside of your parents (some tell me) is a pain in the neck. Not in my case! I don’t know what we would do without mom and dad. They are constantly doing things to help our family (and my sister’s). Thanks mom and dad!

Pretty nice family, huh?
Family at Cherry Point-Smithfields

I was also thinking about another couple of couples that have blessed me. This is my mother-in-law and father-in-law, Mary and George.

George and Mary
Without them (this will be corny), I wouldn’t have Pam. But, sincerely, they are wonderful in-laws to me.

I must introduce you to a couple that has blessed me and my family dearly as well. This is Dean and Norma Byrd…

Dean and Norma

Norma is my dad’s sister. What a couple! They live on the same “family land” as I do, my parents and my sister and her family. There used to be around 22 acres of land. I think it’s now around 17 or something like that. We are fortunate to all be together. Dean grows a huge garden and gives us so many “first-fruits” of his garden. He says, “I want to take care of my Pastor.” And he and Norma do that in many, many ways! Thank you Dean and Norma!

I was also thinking about the men in the church, Deacons (and Elders…even though we don’t officially use that term yet…I pray one day we will), who work so hard to keep things going in our church. We had 465 people in church last Sunday and it’s a load to care for all these folks…but, we’ve got some wonderful Deacons and their wives who are doing a fantastic job. Here is a shot of our Christmas dinner a couple of weeks ago.

Deacons

I was also thinking this morning about Jesus. He came from heaven to earth to give me life. From the moment the juice of the forbidden fruit was rifling down the throats of Adam and Eve, Jesus was making preparation to come to earth to rescue me (and you). Without Jesus there is no hope. It doesn’t matter if you are married to a good woman or you have wonderful children, parents, in-laws, church family, Deacons, Elders…you name it… It doesn’t matter. The only thing that really matters in this life is Jesus.

Yes, I was thinking about the babe in the manger…
the_nativity_story_08[1]
He came to bring light into our darkness…the darkness that comes from absolute and utter separation from the Father. And then He died. He died alone (separated from the Father) so that I wouldn’t have to be alone (ever). He faced and took my Hell… Hell that I deserve…He took it for me. He rescued me.

I was thinking…

Why? Why would He do that for me? I’m not worthy. And you know what…neither are you. He, because of His mercy and love and grace, chose to give His life for ours. All we must do is to receive the gift.
Jesus the gift
Would you receive the gift?

For God so loved…He gave…

If you haven’t received this gift…you will face an eternity separated from God. That’s Hell. Yes…Hell is fire… Yes…Hell is weeping and gnashing of teeth. But, the “Hell” of Hell is total and 100% separation from any hope of coming to God for all eternity. Is there anything in your life worth that price? Being in control of your life? Is it worth that? Having it your way? Is it worth the price? Eternal separation? Really?

I was just thinking…

I pray you will too, (think that is), about all that’s been given to you this Christmas. Most importantly…

JESUS

Galatians 4:4-7
4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Merry Christmas!

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We live in a fallen world. When sin entered paradise, in the Garden of Eden, over 6,000 years ago, we’ve quite simply never been the same. Sin kills. Sin destroys and sin is certainly distinctly present with us today. The shooting massacre in Newtown, CT gives us first-hand evidence of this fact.

CT tragedy

I have heard and read many pontifications and thoughts and explanations of why someone would kill children or another human being of any age. Many of these reasons have left me scratching my head. Yet, I have come to understand that we all look at like through a specific “worldview.” Whatever your worldview is…well…that’s the lens through which you will see the tragedy in Sandy Hook Elementary School. If you have a worldview that guns are evil…then you will blame the killing on guns and call for new and stricter gun laws…or perhaps to remove guns from our society entirely.

If however your worldview is that evil is present with us because we are “fallen” and sinful, then you might have a different perspective on the tragedy. You see, from a Biblical point of view, we know that people used to throw their children into the fire to the god of Molech. They thought offering up their first-born would please this god. We know Herod wanted all boys under the age of two-years-old killed to protect his kingdom and his throne. We can think of Hitler and Stalin and Hussein. So, how do we make sense of the senseless in our country in this day? How can we process all that has happened in the last few days. What does this mean for us as Christians in America?

Well, I must tell you that so far, the best explanation I have heard, seen or read comes from the former governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee. To me…again…from my perspective…from my worldview…which is overtly Christian…Huckabee offers the best explanation.

See what you you think… It’s 3 minutes that’s worth your time in my opinion…
http://www.facebook.com/pam.s.brown.73#!/photo.php?v=10151195531403915

Friends…we must see that evil will not disappear from this earth until Jesus Christ exorcises it all from this earth after His millennial reign. Revelation 20 will give you insight to this fact. Until then, we must love people and share Jesus. That’s our mandate. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations…” Jesus came to “seek and save that which is lost.” So, the directive hasn’t changed. We must give people Jesus.

I must say that I’m encouraged by the fact that many people are turning to God during this tragedy. Our president invoked the name of God several times in his speech last night to the grieving families in Newtown. He even mentioned the name “Jesus.” I see a nation that has her attention not on politics or even the financial cliff…but, upon God and seeking answers to life’s toughest questions. So, let’s make sure that we tell people about Jesus. Let’s make sure that we seize the day. People want answers. Let’s give them Jesus.

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Merry Christmas!

This is our Christmas card this year…

ImageFrom my family to yours: MERRY CHRISTMAS!

We bring Christmas greetings to you from the Browns  and pray all is well with you and yours during this 2012 Christmas Season.We are always excited about another Christmas and the blessings that come with celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.

It’s been another busy, but blessed year in the life of our family this year. The most significant event is the marriage of Katy to Josh Isaacs. We are so excited and grateful to have added another “son” to the family. Katy and Josh are living in Cherry Point, NC, where Josh is a Lance Corporal with the Marines and works at the base Air Station. Katy continues to pursue a Communications degree online through Thomas Edison University. She’s a wonderful free-lance writer. You can catch her blog at heartsonthingsabove.blogspot.com. We certainly miss our girl, but we are so excited at how the Lord is using them as they serve the Lord in Cherry Point.

Pam continues to homeschool and be the best wife on the planet to me. She’s an amazing lady! Her ability to juggle a million things is mind-boggling. The way she planned and put together Katy’s wedding for a crowd of 400+ people was a miracle of organization and love for Katy and Josh. Can I tell you that I’m the most blessed man on the planet to have such a wonderful bride! Well, I am! In fact we’ll celebrate 22 years of marriage this December 22nd.

I continue to serve as a Pastor/Elder at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church. I’ll be starting my 8th year in ministry in January. It’s been an exciting year as a church. We bought a mission house in Texas last year and have helped to plant a church there, along with two missionaries. We baptized 58 people last year and are moving to two services in January to accommodate the growth. We are averaging 440 people, but more than just “the numbers,” I’m convinced people are growing in their faith and walk with Christ! Praise Jesus! I continue to blog at www.dkevinbrown.wordpress.com and send out daily devotions from www.mpbc.ws.

Kandace will be 15 years old in January and will get her Learner’s Permit. She is a sophomore this year and loves studying Biology and nursing. She continues to take violin lessons (her 6thyear) at Appalachian State. Each summer is a wonderful time for Kandace as she performs in Nashville, TN at the Fine Arts Summer Academy. She loves clogging and now is the “big” sister in the home as she takes over that role from Katy. Kandace likes doing mission work with the church in Texas/Mexico and will travel again this spring to continue our work there.

Clara is 7 years old and takes violin like her big sister. She loves it! Her teacher says, “She’s a natural.” Clara loves to read and write and draw. Clara takes ballet and can bend her body in ways that make me say, “Ouch!” She has a sweet spirit and loves for everybody to be“happy.” She’s a hugger and still likes to ride on her Daddy’s back. Clara would run around year-round with no socks on and a t-shirt and shorts if we let her. She loves her cats, Wendy and Amos and can be seen carrying them around at any time.

Andrew is also 7 year old and is “wide open!”He has to be one of the greatest Legos builders of all time. His ability to make things out of Legos is amazing! I think perhaps a profession as an Architect/Preacher might be in his future. J Andrew is taking Karate now and really enjoys that time each week. He has a sweet smile and a tender heart. He always makes sure Clara has what he has and protects her and Kandace at all costs. Andrew has (hopefully) his last surgery on his feet on March 12, 2013 to remove the plate and screws in each leg. He has been a trooper through all of the surgeries and multiple casts.

We pray you experience the true meaning of Christmas this year. Let’s remember, this season is about Jesus Christ…not just presents, food and time off from work and school. Jesus Christ truly is the Savior of the world. He’s not just one of many ways to Heaven, He’s the only way (John 14:6). He proved this fact when He rose from the dead conquering what man can’t—death! It’s so wonderful to know Jesus was willing to give up His life so we could gain Heaven by inviting Him, by faith, into our lives and following Him. (For whosoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:13). So, from the Browns and Isaacs’, we wish you a very joyful and merry Christmas!!

Kevin, Pam, Katy and Josh, Kandace, Clara and Andrew

 

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Growth Brings Change

This January 1st will be the beginning of my eighth year in the pastorate. Unreal! I figure you are probably tired of hearing about the wedding by now. 🙂 So, here’s an update on what’s happening in my life that’s really blowing me away right now. Reach Center 2

We’ve outgrown that building you see above in just 6 1/2 years. We are now averaging 440 people. So, we’re going to two services starting January 6th. Now, I’m not looking forward to going to two services from the standpoint of not having everyone together. Yet, it makes perfect sense to utilize the facilities we already have at our disposal. Because this is the truth of the matter. 64% of the citizens of Wilkes County will NOT attend church anywhere this Sunday. You read that right. Only 36% of folks living in my home county will attend services this Sunday (according to our local Economic Development Survey). People need Jesus.

After all…why did Jesus come? We will celebrate Christmas two weeks from tonight. So, we need to know why He came. He simply came to “seek and to save that which is lost.” Therefore, we must make room.

So change is coming!

See this picture…
Office at MPBC

  • <

    That is my office and get this…it used to be where I crawled on the floor as a one-year old. That used to be the nursery. Now we don’t even have a nursery. Why? Because we want the entire family to be able to worship together. And we’re packed out!
    worship

    Many people have been asking me of late, “What are you all doing up there? What’s causing all of this growth?” Well, I must tell you that it’s nothing that I can explain. If I could…it wouldn’t be God. I know that sounds trite and common, but it’s true. Honestly, I believe people are hungry for the Word of God. I believe people want to experience an honest and genuine change that comes by surrendering to Jesus Christ. Walking with Him is the best this life has to offer. After all He is the “LIFE” (John 14:6). We saw 58 people baptized last year…a record…

    2012-04-15 001
    I must also tell you that we have leaders in the church who have shown a desire to “get out of the box” and reach out into our community to grow. So, we try all kinds of things. We do community outreach projects, Flag Football an annual Passion Play that’s like none other…
    Passion Play
    …and we have partnered with churches in Ethiopia, Mexico and Texas to build the kingdom.
    2012-06-16 001

    Bottom line. God is blessing this. He loves missions. Go into all the world…

    Here are a bunch of our Deacons and their wives at our annual Christmas party this past weekend…

    Deacons

    Five years ago when I took over at the helm, we were averaging 285 and today it’s 440. Where will we go from here? Only God knows, but I’ll tell you this. I’m very excited. I’m excited because people are getting excited about telling others about Jesus. We’ve got powerful music Praise Team
    …led by a very creative man…Brad Cordray…
    Brad

    And the preaching…well…I try to proclaim the Word for what it is…the living, breathing, bread of life. I don’t water it down. I don’t skip verses. I study hard…pray hard and prepare each time I speak, (I mean this), as if it’s going to be the last time I’ll ever preach. And so, because of God’s mercy and grace… He’s having favor on us. That’s the only way I can explain why we are experiencing such unprecedented growth that’s never been seen in the 137 year existence of the church.

    Beginning Sunday, January 6th we will have two services. Here’s the schedule:

    8:30 1st Service
    9:55 Sunday School/Bible Study
    11:00 2nd Service

    So, if you don’t have a church home…come join us. We’d love to have you and best of all…we’re going to have plenty of room. So come right on up 421 and see us. If you live in Wilkes County, we are just six minutes west of Chick Fil-A heading west on highway 421 at milepost 295. We’d love to see ya!

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  • Very Interesting

    I have a hodge-podge of thoughts to share with you this evening… You might find them interesting. You might not. 🙂

    Do you like to read? You must or you wouldn’t be reading this blog. Well, I just got Al Mohler’s book, “The Conviction to Lead” (Bethany House 2012)

    File:Al Mohler.jpg

    I’d like to share this snippet… It’s excellent!

    When You Find a Leader, You Find a Reader, and for Good Reason

    As a general rule, clichés are to be avoided. The statement that leaders are readers is an exception to that rule. When you find a leader, you have found a reader. The reason for this is simple–there is no substitute for effective reading when it comes to developing and maintaining the intelligence necessary to lead…Leadership requires a constant flow of intelligence, ideas, and information. There is no way to gain the basics of leadership without reading.

    Leading by conviction demands an even deeper commitment to reading and the mental disciplines that effective reading establishes. Why? Because convictions require continual mental activity. The leader is constantly analyzing, considering, defining, and confirming the convictions that will rule his leadership…

    Leaders know that reading is essential, as it is the most important means of developing and deepening understanding. That is why leaders learn to set aside a significant amount of time for reading. We simply cannot lead without a constant flow of intellectual activity in our minds, and there is no substitute for reading when it comes to producing this flow.

    I love to read and I’m grateful for a grandmother, Ruth Brown, who pushed me and my sister to read. I got hooked on the “Hardy Boy” detective books and my sister on the “Nancy Drew” books. I then loved reading biographies and I read books about Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett and Walt Disney. I loved those books!

    Reading is so important and we’ve removed this from the expectations we have about our children. They text…play the Wii, X-box…watch TV…YouTubes…you name it.

    But, why don’t we expect them to read anymore? You say, “Well, they do that in school.” Good. But, what about their free time…say, in the summer. What are they doing? Check out most Facebook’s for teens and see what books they have listed. Most say, “I don’t like to read.” Well, they will struggle in their lives. Count on it. This is why it’s so important to read to children early in life.

    We read to Clara and Andrew at night and Pam does during the day as we homeschool.

    They are developing a wonderful appetite for books. It’s no different from introducing vegetables and fruits to their diets. We can take the easy way out with fried foods and quick meals that aren’t nutritious, or we can work towards developing good habits for them now. Isn’t it any wonder that almost 60% of sixth graders in America are considered obese and hate to read. Amazing correlation if you ask me.

    Next…the election. I hate to go there…but, it’s important to know what happened a month ago today to determine what the future might hold. So real quickly…take a look at these finding from the Barna Research Group at www.barna.org. Just a couple of quick items you might find very interesting.

    How Faith Affected the Vote

    About half of the people who voted in November (45%) indicated their faith affected how they voted. Those voters were evenly divided between those who said their faith affected their vote “a lot” and those who said it made less of a difference.

    Voters who said their faith affected their vote “a lot” cast their ballot for Mr. Romney by a 2-to-1 margin. Those who said faith had no affect on their voting preferred Mr. Obama by a 3-to-2 margin. Three-quarters of evangelicals (72%) said their faith affected their presidential preference a lot. That was more than double the proportion of non-evangelical born again voters (34%) who were similarly affected. Very few notional Christians (16%), voters of non-Christian faiths (17%), Catholics (19%), or Skeptics (5%) said their candidate choice was impacted a lot by their faith.

    Ideology and Faith

    There is a correlation between faith and political ideology. In the 2012 election, the more theologically conservative a voter was, the more likely they were to also hold conservative social and political views. For instance, 71% of evangelicals described themselves as politically conservative, and just 1% said they were politically liberal.

    Given the strong link between ideology and party identification, it was not surprising to find the only faith segment for which a majority (57%) was Republican was evangelicals. The remaining evangelicals were evenly divided between affiliation with the Democratic Party (20%) and an independent affiliation (22%). Non-evangelical born again adults were evenly divided between affiliating with the Republican (41%) and Democratic Party (40%). Notional Christians were more likely to align with the Democrats (43%) than Republicans (38%). Non-Christian adherents were more than twice as likely to be a Democrat (50%) as a Republican (22%), with a similar party profile among Skeptics (46% Democrat, 25% Republican).

    You decide what this means. That last sentence says a lot.

    People are asking me how I’m doing with Katy being gone. Well, we are adjusting. We miss her greatly. I mean terribly… But, it’s getting a bit easier over time. And I must tell you I’ve picked up a perk. Well, I’ll show you my new office…

    Office at home

    This is Katy’s old room. I got moved up to the penthouse! And get this!!! I have a window now! I can actually work (when I write and study and “sermonize”) and be able to see out of window. I’m out of the basement with old beach towels wrapped around my legs and neck to keep warm. Hilarious! So, thanks for the room, Katy! I sure do miss you…but, I love my digs!

    “How’s Katy and Josh,” you ask? Well, take a look for yourself…

    She’s fixed up their home at Cherry Point (Marine Base)…

    Nice huh! A ton better than where her momma and I started out…I promise you that! We are so grateful for the Lord’s blessings for them.

    Some asked for a few more wedding pictures…so here ya go.

    Blessings!

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