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March 3, 2002

Greetings, dear Shannon!

I love you!!! You were continually in my thoughts and prayers yesterday. The women of CHBC gathered for a retreat in the mountains of Maryland and I remembered your plans to serve the Lord by bringing folks together in a retreat-like setting where they would learn about the Word of God and His offer of salvation. I pray that the Lord might lead you to establish a retreat center on the farm in Lockhart if you do not want to join me in my Washington, DC ministries : ) The Lord has convinced me that you and perhaps some of the other brothers and sisters could be a real blessing to central Texas, especially if you brought children to a camp where they could learn all about the Bible as they learned about gardening and cooking and all of the tasks associated with life on a farm. Let me know if the Lord leads you to consider this plan. The farm is yours to use.

We really benefited from the messages and Bible studies we enjoyed at the retreat. Our speaker was the wife of Pastor CJ Mahaney of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland. I've not visited the church but have heard it's a Bible-based, Spirit-filled assembly. Carolyn Maheny talked to us about 1 Peter 3 (true beauty), John 15:21-25 (sinful comparisons) and 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 (sinful judging). We selected her as our speaker because we had listened to tapes of her "Wisdom for Women" seminars (Titus 2) and really appreciate her gift to exegete and apply Scripture. Carolyn's two grown-up daughters came with her to the retreat. The whole family (Pastor CJ and Carolyn and their three children) are an inspiration as they work together to serve others in the name of the Lord. God has blessed the parents with wisdom and the ability not only to teach but also to practice what they preach. I am trying hard to practice what I hear preached --- and just now that involves getting rid of ten extra pounds of flesh that indicates an unbiblical pre-occupation with food. ( At least my life is free from concern about clothes, make-up, movies, television, and so many other distractions. My main concern is being a good steward of all the blessings the Lord has given me and using my blessings (including my time) to bless others. "Through Christ I can do anything!" I pray that the Lord blesses you with the joy and peace of fulfilling His purpose in your life.

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