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Prayers Around the World

Congolese Cell Phone Prayers

I'm reading a book called The Poor Will Be Glad by Peter Greer and Phil Smith. I highly recommend this book. In the final chapter, the authors introduce us to a Congolese village known for minerals such as coltanite, used to make cell phones. The authors note the irony that, at the time of this book's publication, no one in the impoverished village owned a cell phone. Further research indicates Congolese coltanite as a conflict mineral, extracted through violence and oppression.

This presents an opportunity for prayer – and action beyond prayer. Prayer itself is an action and should precede other actions, whenever possible. (Obviously, in an emergency situation, action sometimes precedes prayer, or the two happen at the same time.) Often, prayer leads to further actions. That is the case regarding this story of the Congolese minerals.

If you are reading this and you have a cell phone, your phone has now become a good reminder of people struggling through difficult conditions in this and other Congolese villages. Let your cell phone become a prayer reminder. As you pick up your phone, pray first for the people living not just in this particular village, but also in remote villages all over the world. Take some time to put yourself in their shoes and say a fervent prayer for them. Know that God will work through your prayers to make a difference. 

Let your cell phone also be a reminder that people who live near bountiful resources often do not benefit economically from those resources. Pray for God's justice to bring redemption and restoration to those situations.

Finally, allow prayer to lead to a further action: Learn about global sources of injustice, such as conflict minerals. Do some research on the current state of legislation regarding corporations and source minerals. Know where the items you purchase originate, and at what cost to human lives. As Christians, we need to do at least that, just for starters. As God leads you further, in prayer and in action, to bring global justice, follow His lead.

Begin all things with prayer. Know that your prayers are powerful and will make a difference. Be willing to be used by God as an answer to prayer. And when your cell phone rings, take a moment to pray for the people living in Congolese villages.

***

Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Teenage English Lessons in a Polish Suburb

The atmosphere was quiet, as I waded through calf-deep snow toward a little apartment on the outskirts of Poznan, Poland. The light in the windows was inviting. This kind of winter was new to me, a Florida girl. The night sky was a deeper blue, as the moonlight reflected off the snow.

After spending the summer in Poland, and the fall semester back home at University of Florida, I decided to go back to Poland for the final semester of my senior year. Here I was, in the middle of an osiedle, a Polish housing community. The towers of lighted windows reminded me of Miami Beach. But I was a far way from there.

I was going to meet Krysia, an 11-year-old daughter of one of the university officials. She wanted to learn English. I had committed this semester to living my Polish experience to the fullest. I was here not just to complete the credits I needed to graduate. More than that, I wanted to squeeze out every ounce of this adventure. So I volunteered to teach English to this sweet little girl.

Her apartment was different from most of my Polish friends. She had her own room, for one thing, and a piano in her room. Her walls were beautifully painted and covered with posters that looked not unlike an American teenager's decor. Cozy thick carpet and lots of pillows piled up made me feel young. Everything was bright and colorful, including her disposition. She had a beautiful smile and a giggle that bubbled up with joy.

I didn't know her background, other than her parents were divorced. I knew nothing of the circumstances that led to her living in what seemed an affluent place, in the middle of this snow-blanketed osiedle, two tram lines away from my dorm. But this was part of my experience, so I embraced it.

We spent an hour together, two evenings a week, and in between she practiced. I asked her questions about her life, and her school. She tried her best to recount, in English, things that happened during the day, which opened a window for me into the life of a Polish girl. I knew it wasn't a typical window, as she went to a private school and lived in relative luxury. But it was a window into her young world, and I appreciated that.

With her vocabulary largely self-taught, she stumbled over the words. When she didn't understand something I said, in English or in Polish, she simply giggled. Her eyes showed genuine joy. My heart felt light too, after each session.

Even so, we weren't making much progress. I knew it; she knew it. Her father tactfully expressed that he knew it. I wondered if he would fire me, but he said it was good that she spent time with a native speaker from America. However, it was clear he expected more. While she wasn't a disrespectful child, I could tell she wasn't terribly worried about her father's wishes for her language skills. But she was thrilled to spend time with someone from the States.

That's when it finally hit me. "What questions do you want to ask me about America?"

The barrage tumbled out of her heart, with a mixture of Polish and English. I smiled. Now, we're getting somewhere. I asked her to spend time that week writing her questions, in Polish, in her notebook. I would answer them – in English – the following week, and we would talk about them.

Her pages were filled when I returned. Although I spoke Polish, and I understood more than I could say, it took several dictionaries and the full hour for me to understand some of her questions. I took her notebook home with me and wrote my answers in English. The next week, we had so much to talk about. In English.

Her improvement was amazing each week. One night, I walked in and she had sheet music from a song that was popular in the States. I helped her learn to speak the lyrics, and to understand (most of) what they meant. (She was 11, after all.)

At the end of the semester, her father gave me a bonus payment. I used it to buy her a gift, and we enjoyed a celebration.

The creativity that was needed in teaching her was something that would inspire me through many years as a teacher, in equally challenging situations. Do what works. Do what will stick. Make a connection. Be present. Get to know and appreciate the person you are teaching.

I will never forget that little girl, in the moonlit apartment, in the snowdrifts of a suburb of Poznan.

Do you have memories of teaching, or working through language challenges, or unexpected connections in places away from home? I'd love to hear them.

Be blessed.

***

Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

 

The Beauty of an Ordinary Moment in Belarus

I crossed the border between Russia and Belarus at a tumultuous time. I had a lot to worry about – and to be excited about. I'm amazed at how, some 19 years later, what stands out in my memory isn't the dramatic backdrop. It's an ordinary moment with a student whose name I don't remember, but whose heart I will never forget.

As a visiting university lecturer, I was based in Russia for two years. A friend had invited me to travel to her university in Belarus and give a guest lecture. I was always excited to see a new place, and I was so passionate to teach on human rights, anywhere I was invited.

I was struggling with visa issues – nothing I had done wrong, just a mix-up on paperwork. This train journey was supposed to provide a chance to get a new exit/entry stamp that would clear up all my problems. Little did I know, the tension between Russia and Belarus meant that the borders were "removed."

While the border confusion might have inconvenienced me, the tension affected a whole nation far worse. The country's leader canceled elections and the value of currency plummeted the day I arrived. My friend who had invited me was married to the American consul. When he met me at the train station in Minsk, he just shook his head by way of explanation, and we went to McDonald's for a burger. He expressed sympathy over my visa situation but there was nothing he could have done.

I was to speak that evening, and again the next day, as part of a weekend conference. Meanwhile, I had a few hours with nothing to do. A student from the university in Minsk had been assigned to help with whatever I needed. She was willing to take me on any official errand or to any of the famous tourist sites in the city.

After a moment's thought, I said with a laugh, "What I'd really like to do is buy some eye liner." I also asked where I could find a CD of my favorite Russian pop singer.

She smiled. "I know where we can go."

We spent the afternoon at a shopping mall, looking for makeup and CDs. This was an old-style Soviet-era shopping mall – not what probably comes to mind when you read those words. The arrival of Western items was still fairly new. But this student knew where to find the things I needed. We could barely communicate but we had so much fun. Eye makeup and music doesn't require translation to be enjoyed together.

I've never forgotten that day. It stands out as one of my favorite moments living overseas. Forgotten were all the politics, border patrols, visa problems, and even the excitement of presenting my work at the conference. We were just two kids having fun at a shopping mall. An ordinary moment that brought such familiarity and peace in an otherwise tumultuous world. I am thankful for that student spending the afternoon with me.

When you travel or live abroad, these are the moments not to miss. They are the memories that will last far longer than the bigger dramas. Be fully present in those ordinary moments. Enjoy the company of the people who cross your path. Then write about those experiences, as an encouragement to others.

Have you encountered an ordinary moment in an extraordinary situation? I'd love to hear about it.

Be blessed!

***

Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

 

Prayer Lessons from God’s Heart

A week ago I returned from a surprise mission trip to Guatemala. What a blessing, in countless ways, many of which I am probably still not aware of.

God used that time in Guatemala – away from familiar surroundings and language – to teach me a lot about His heart for prayer. I am so grateful, and I am trusting Him to work these new lessons and changes through my heart.

Meanwhile, I would love to share with you some of my reflections on prayer during my time in Guatemala. I was able to post these at our team's blog site:

Treasure in Jars of Clay

I would love to know your thoughts, and to hear similar stories of how God has taught you from His heart of prayer.

God bless you.

***

Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Praying Family - background

Small Steps to Prayer

The weekend is here, and that means it's time for me to post a "weekend warriors" prayer request on my website and on Twitter.

What is weekend warriors? It's where I share an opportunity for folks to pray for a child who lives in extreme poverty. I share the first name, male/female, age, and country. All I ask it that everyone who sees that post take a moment to pray for that child.

Does this really help? I believe it does. Every time we pray for someone, God moves in response to our prayers. I believe that child experiences the benefit of those prayers, and God's heart is touched, because He loves that child beyond measure.

So often, we tend to overcomplicate prayer. Really, it should be very simple. We pray, and God moves. As a friend put it once, "Prayers go up, angels come down."

As someone who wants to encourage others in prayer, I look for simple ways. Just some small way to help all of us pray a little more during our day. Weekend warriors is one way. There are infinite other ways.

What is one very simple way you could inspire folks to say a quick prayer that will touch someone's life? I know you will come up with amazing ideas, and I would love to hear what you feel led to do, to encourage others to pray.

God bless you.

***

Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Surprise Trip to Guatemala!

Countryside

I'm heading to Guatemala today on a mission trip. What? You didn't know I was going? Neither did I! Many of you don't know the story so I'll share, because it's always good to be reminded God can do the impossible.

Hearts for the Children ministry has been part of my heart since my first visit in 2009. I love those people! I've been praying for this team that was leaving today but, as a missionary of prayer myself, my funds are at an all-time low so there was no thought of being able to join them. I've been doing a LOT of praying but staying close to home.

Imagine my surprise to wake up Wednesday morning and learn of an extra paid-for ticket. Three days later and I am packed and ready to leave tonight. AMAZING!!!!

It's in the "little" details where God shows up even more – my passport is within 30 days of the cutoff; my school professors both gave me an immediate excused absence, which almost never happens. Every little detail came together so quickly.

My heart leapt when they said they were wanting intercessors to pray with folks in a village. I've been already praying for these folks from my living room, having no idea God would send me to pray in person.

This has been the toughest year of my life and I need God to revive me. He has pulled out all the stops.

I share all this to say, first of all, please pray for us – our team of 14 plus 3 missionaries who live there – June 11-18, and pray for the precious folks who will receive ministry, encouragement, medical help, food, and love.

And also I share it to say that for God, nothing is impossible. You have no idea what wonderful and amazing things He is doing right now on your behalf that He will soon reveal. It will be tailor made for you, even to the finest details.

Love you all! Thank you for your prayers.

***

Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Village

The End of the Story

Intercessors don't often get to hear the end of the story. We pray in faith that God has done whatever He intends to do, in whatever situation He prompted us to pray. And we thank Him for the privilege.

Today, I met a lady I had never met before. She began to share with me about a ministry event God had orchestrated in Israel that took several years in the planning. When she told me the month and the year she received the vision and began to move forward with the planning, and when she told me the nature of the event, my heart began to pound.

As it turns out, I was in Israel at exactly the time the Lord began to germinate this vision with her. The type of event that transpired, several years later, was exactly what He had laid on my heart to pray.

I was excited beyond words to learn how the event had transpired, and the lives God had touched. She was grateful to hear of how God had orchestrated intercession, even with someone she didn't know at the time, an intercessor who "happened" to be visiting Israel for the first time in my life.

Intercessors often don't get to hear the end of the story. What a sweet and amazing God, that He allowed me this day to hear this story.

If you are an intercessor, be encouraged. God moves mountains in response to your prayers.

***

Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Israel

 

31 Days of Prayers for our Children

These prayers were written for Gisele, a little girl in Burkina Faso. As you pray, you can speak the name of the child/children you are praying for, and let's pray together each day for God's love to change these kids' lives … Your prayers mean so much!
1st
God, thank you for Gisele. Thank you for how precious she is. Thank you for how much you love her. God I pray that you will help her to know you better each day. That she will always feel safe and secure in your love. That she will know she belongs to you.
2nd
God, please help Gisele accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. Help her to learn your Word. Help her always to walk in your ways. Thank you that Psalm 1 says she is like a tree planted by fresh water, that bears amazing fruit. God bless her.
3rd
God, help Gisele know she can talk to you anytime she wants. Help her to learn how to listen to you, how to recognize your voice. When the enemy tries to talk to her, God, tell him to be silent. Make your voice loud and clear for her, and let her come to love the sound of your voice.
4th
God, please help Gisele’s family with their daily needs. Give them food and shelter, warmth and cool in season, meaningful work, joyful experiences, love in community, and everything else you know they need. Help them to feel your presence and your love daily. Lead them, guide them, strengthen and encourage them.
5th
God, help Gisele to have good dreams at night. Dreams created by you, just for her. Encourage her through her dreams. Let her see your power and love. Inspire her. Help her to follow your path. Give her visions of how amazing you are, and how precious she is to you.
6th
God, help Gisele smile today. No matter what is going on, no matter what she experiences, help her to smile, just for knowing that you love her. Fill her with the joy that comes only from Jesus. Sow seeds of the joy of the Lord deep into her heart.
7th
God, thank you that your Word says in Zephaniah 3:17 that you sing over Gisele. Help her to hear your song of love for her. Teach her to sing in her heart back to you. Let her spirit dance and soar. Fill her to overflowing with your love. Let her day be blessed.
8th
God, help Gisele to learn and grow as your child. Let her know that you have an amazing plan for her life, and that you will help her to walk on the path you’ve set for her. Give her the daily nourishment – in body, soul and spirit – that she needs to thrive as your daughter. Let her know that she matters to you, that your heart is for her, and that she is the great love of your life.
9th
God, help Gisele to see you in nature. To see your presence, your fingerprints, your handiwork all around her. Whatever she sees today – trees, flowers, grass, clouds, sky – let her see you in all of them. Fill her with awe and wonder, as she recognizes that you are right there with her. Your Word says in Hebrews 13:5 that you will never leave nor forsake her. Fill her with that assurance today, deep in her heart, and seal it with joy.
10th
God, let Gisele enjoy ordinary experiences today. The stuff of daily life – help her to find your presence in it. Let her enjoy just sharing her day with you. Help her family, as well, to put you front and center of their daily life. Strengthen them, God, and let them know that every part of their life matters to you.
11th
God, as your Word instructs in Matthew 6:33, help Gisele and her family to seek you first, today and every day, in all things. Help them turn to you for answers, for encouragement, for comfort. Give them your wisdom and direction. Let them know that you want to be close to them, and help them draw closer to you.
12th
God, thank you that you are Gisele’s provider. Help her to learn to trust in you, that you will always provide what she needs. All she has to do is ask. Don’t let her fall into discouragement that she lives in a place of poverty. Let her know that you are more than able to provide all she needs, and that you love her so much.
13th
God, give Gisele hope for the future. Stir excitement and peace, deep in her spirit, to know that you have planned an awesome life for her, and that you will see her through it. Help her, day by day, to take each step as you lead, and to grow as your precious child.
14th
God, your Word in 2 Timothy 1:7 says Gisele has not been given a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love and sound mind. Help her to not be afraid. Help her to trust in you. Silence the voice of fear, and bring her freedom and peace. Help her to sleep through the night peacefully, as your precious daughter. Give her strength each day to face every circumstance, knowing you are right there with her, and she does not need to be afraid.
15th
God, help Gisele learn that she is a valuable part of your kingdom, the Body of Christ. Give her ways, even now, to serve others. Help her to follow your lead, and serve in ways that bring her joy and grow her gifts. Teach her even at a young age how to be a servant leader. Help her to wash the feet of others, just as Jesus did, by thoughts, words, and actions.
16th
God, surround Gisele with godly people to instruct, mentor and guide her, and to encourage her daily. For her family and the folks who teach her in church and in school, give them your words of life to speak over her. Help her to flourish as your daughter. Keep her in safe, healthy community in the Body of Christ. Let her know how much she matters to you.
17th
God, keep Gisele in good health. Protect her from the diseases and environmental toxins in the land where she lives. Speak life daily to every cell of her body, and fill each cell with the joy of Jesus. Help her to grow strong and healthy, and teach her the things she needs to know to live a healthy life. God, please provide what  is needed to bring good health to her family and her whole community.
18th
God, give Gisele safe, fun things to do each day. Even when she is working – at chores, at school – help her to have fun. Let her spirit sing and dance. Let her find joy, even in the mundane, even in the difficult things. True and lasting joy, from the Lord Jesus Christ. Help her to carry that joy in her heart, that others around her will be affected as well.
19th
God, teach Gisele that she carries your Holy Spirit everywhere she goes. Help her to know that she is a lantern of your goodness and peace, that she can change an entire atmosphere, just by being herself. Don’t let her conform to the ways of the world, and don’t let her feel pressured to perform for you or for anyone. Help her to know it’s enough to be your child, and to be just the way you made her. Help her to know that your presence in her will help those around her.
20th
God, help Gisele discover the unique gifts you’ve given her. Help her to see where she fits into the Body of Christ. Help her family and teachers to recognize and encourage her unique gifts, and not to try and fit her into a mold. Help her to live and thrive in true freedom and joy, as your daughter.
21st
God, help Gisele know that nothing is impossible for you. Help her to grow through each challenge she faces, and to see how you show up each time. Help her to rejoice in thanksgiving and praise for all that you are, and all that you do in her life. Teach her how to praise you at all times, in all things.
22nd
God, help Gisele’s community to be safe and thriving. Fill her whole community with the presence of your Holy Spirit. Give wisdom to the leaders of the community, and to the spiritual leaders of each family. Help them to make wise decisions and to be good stewards. Give Gisele a sense of peace and hopefulness, to know that you are working on behalf of her whole community.
23rd
God, fill Gisele with an excitement and desire to learn more about you, and to grow closer to you. Teach her how to grow and live in relationship with you. Help her to share you with others, in whatever ways you’ve equipped her to share. Let her relationship with you become as much a part of her life as breathing. Let her rejoice in your presence.
24th
God, fill Gisele’s life with laughter. Give her good friends that she can laugh with, and play with, and enjoy each day with. Help her family home to resound with laughter. Even as she grows older, help her to keep the childlike joy you’ve given her. Let that joy spread through the land like wildfire.
25th
God, when Gisele has difficult days, let her know you are there. Let her know she matters to you. Wash her clean of all traumas, all fears, all sorrow, all discouragement. Fill her with your unshakeable peace. Let her know that her tears matter to you. Help her to learn how to ask for you in all difficult times, and to trust and know that you are there.
26th
God, let Gisele know you are fighting for her. That she doesn’t have to be enslaved to the lies of the enemy, or to the poverty that surrounds her. Let her know that you are moving mountains on her behalf. Give her the courage to step into the life you’ve created for her, and not to be knocked down by the enemy, or by her family’s past. Loose the generational blessings that you’ve intended for her family and for her nation.
27th
God, give Gisele a voice in this world – the voice you intend for her. Help her to learn how to use her voice, by the strength and leading of your Holy Spirit. Let her know that what she has to say matters, and will be heard. Prick people’s ears and soften people’s hearts to listen to the way you speak through her. Give her favor in all areas where you want her to speak. Help her to know when to speak, and when not to speak. Give her the courage to speak truth in love as you lead.
28th
God, give Gisele’s family the assurance of knowing how much you care for her – as well as for them – and that they don’t need to worry. That you will provide all she needs. That you will fulfill your plan in her life. Help her family to believe your words in Jeremiah 29:11, that you know the plans you have for her, plans to prosper and not to harm her, plans to give her hope and a future. Help her family to praise you for all that you are doing in Gisele’s life.
29th
God, help the wealthy nations of the world to respond to your call to help the people of Gisele’s nation, and other nations in poverty around the world. That the Body of Christ will grow stronger and purer around the world, lifting up each other and loving each other to life. Let those who have enough trust you in sharing what they have with other children and families in Gisele’s community and nation, and in other places where poverty is deep. Dramatically increase the number of children around the world who find sponsors to help them, to hope for them, and to encourage them.
30th
God, help Gisele to know that you are her best friend. Let her know that you would love to talk with her every day, about whatever she wants to talk about. Let her know that you cheer her on each day, and that you love to celebrate with her. Help her to feel your comforting arms around her on the tough days, when things don’t go right, when she gets discouraged. Help her to know you’re a friend she can count on through all things, and that you will always be there, forever, loving her.
31st
God, let Gisele know that Jesus died for her to live forever with you. To be reconciled with you, and forgiven for her sins. Help her to know the power of the cross in her daily life, and that she does not have to live in a yoke of bondage. That freedom in Christ is your gift to her. Keep her in a healthy Christian church that has life, that walks in godly ways, in genuine relationship with you, in active service in the community, in discipleship and missions. Help her to find her place in the Body of Christ, and to be encouraged and excited about her life, and about her eternity with you.
IN JESUS' NAME. AMEN

 

More Faces of Nepal … Thank You for Praying

God's beautiful daughter

A beautiful daughter of God in the Trishuli, Nepal marketplace … please pray for her and her family …

Worship at a Nepali church

A little one dancing with Jesus at a Nepali church service …

Foothills of the Himalayas, Nepal

At home in the beautiful foothills of the Himalayas … the pollution is real and painful to breathe … but God is real too, and more powerful … please pray for the fresh air of the Holy Spirit to ease aching lungs, refresh tired bodies, and renew hurting hearts … thank You, Jesus …

"You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands" – Isaiah 55:12 …

Nepali baby

The future of Nepal … please pray for Nepali families … and their precious babies …

God bless your day, and thank you for your prayers.

***

Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

 

 

Faces of Nepal … and Prayers

Nepali children

Remembering folks in Nepal today … and praying for them.

So many beautiful faces … adults trying to get through the day, as we all do … trying to keep their families safe … food on the table … finding joy and laughter … Nepal is not an easy place to live, but the people are so willing to smile, laugh, find joy in moments of their day …

Lots of children … smiling, giggling, despite walking miles over dusty, rocky mountain roads from school …

Faces of the landscape … despite the pollution that lies like a suffocating blanket over Kathmandu valley, God's beauty cannot be dimmed… His beauty, His fingerprints, His heart can be seen everywhere you look …

If you'd like to join me in praying for people in Nepal, please take a moment to look through this post and the next one. These are real people who would love to spend their day with you, and they would love your prayers. Thank you!

God bless you –

Janet Eriksson – amazingprayeradventure.org

Family in Kathmandu

A family walking in the midst of a busy day in Kathmandu … please pray for them …

Kathmandu - peaceful afternoon

A peaceful afternoon communing with God on a hillside in Kathmandu … He loves His kids!

Nepali school girls

Nepali school girls … sharing their smiles and laughter after walking on a dusty mountain road home from school … please say a prayer for them … thanks!

Continued on next post …

***

Janet Eriksson is a missionary of prayer in Dahlonega, Georgia and founder/coordinator of the Hometown Prayer Mission. She also volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.