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2012 Support Letter

Robin, Jacob and I began working with Phil and Donna Waldron and René Rosa in September of 2010.  We moved to Santa Rosa de Copán in the western part of Honduras after having worked in Santa Ana for seven months.  We are excited about what is being done here and we feel our prayers have been answered that an offer was made to us about joining this team.

We are working with a team of fourteen. We are three North American couples and the rest Latino couples or singles plus two single North American interns. Most of us attend and work in conjunction with the church at Santa Rosa de Copán.  This team has vision, excitement and they have a PLAN!  That plan is to plant churches and teach them to plant more churches with an emphasis on the six “states” in western Honduras called “Occidente.”  The movement that begins here may very well continue throughout Honduras.  At least, this is the dream and prayer.

These are not just dreams, though, the team has worked together to plan how this will happen.  There is now a strong and active church in Santa Rosa.  We have worshiped with them for a year now.  The church has caught the same vision as the team.  We haven’t seen a church more excited about what God is going to accomplish than this one is.  There is something going on four or five nights of the week.  They are growing and reaching out to others with the gospel.  There are regularly 185 in attendance any given Sunday.

Part of the strategy involves C.R.E.O., a school to train men to carry the gospel and the vision back to their home congregations.  Seven young men attend at present.  They will attend classes during the week but are expected to return to their home congregation each weekend.  This is done for two reasons – to help the local church but also to encourage the student to return to his home when he graduates.

Another method to train preachers and leaders is intensive weeks – a time when Christians from rural areas come and attend classes for six straight days. The most recent one was a study of the Sermon on the Mount. There are six sessions planned for this year. This has been shown to be an excellent method of preparing leaders for rural congregations.

The following is one area in which we, the Whites, fit into this plan.  Robin and I noticed even before we moved to Honduras what a terrible problem exists here in relation to marriages.  There are very few people married.  The culture has developed into a mentality that living together without marriage is normal.  Men do not want to make the commitment and women don’t expect them to do so.  Infidelity is rampant.  The team and we understand what an impediment this is to the maturity and growth of the church.  Add to that the promiscuity of the youth and you have a recipe for failure as far as the church is concerned.  Our task, not an easy one, is to begin a program of teaching to change this.  We will concentrate on teaching the church membership but hopefully will branch out to those not yet in the church.  We will teach the sanctity of marriage through the use of preaching, seminars, pre-marital counseling sessions and any other means which proves valuable.

Phil and Donna have already identified a couple of programs that have been successful elsewhere that they believe can be adapted and translated into the Latino context.  Robin and I feel we have the experience and knowledge, with the help of the team, to build several programs that will bring glory to God by changing the minds and hearts of both young and old in Honduras.  We do not presume to think it will be an easy task.  We are daunted by the thought of making it happen and have not made the decision easily because we understand how difficult it will be to change a culture of thinking that has been molded by the world and the evil one who influences it.  But it must be done if the church is going to successfully grow in this country and we believe the Lord will be leading us and supporting us and helping us all along the way.

Let me quickly share some of the other things we and the team are doing. I (Lowell) am in charge of the Tuesday night children’s classes. The men teach these classes – something out of the ordinary in the Latino context.  Robin teaches a children’s class almost every Sunday. She and I have a weekly Bible study in our home on Friday. Each Saturday night the couples who have been recently legally married attend a class and discussion on marriage issues in our home. Most recently we’ve been studying lessons based on the Fireproof movie. Tuesday nights we attend praise and worship. Thursday nights we attend disciples classes. Saturday nights Jacob, our son, attends youth meetings. Robin has a group of children in our home on Wednesdays to work on crafts. Every other Monday night is a men’s meeting with the brothers of the congregation.

The team works with short-term missions groups who come to hold medical, dental and eyeglass brigades. Some brigades will work on other projects like painting a kindergarten, painting murals, holding volleyball clinics and conducting VBS. We expect over two hundred people here this year. And to give an example of what they accomplish, there were 900 people seen at a medical, dental and eyeglass clinic this month. Plus, we try to hold these in villages where we plan to plant a church soon or where one already exists. Donna Waldron is the coordinator for these but she enlists the help of most of the team. It’s a big effort.

The team also has a work called DESEO. This is an effort to enter primary schools and teach classes with the goal to “impact the children in a way that forms their character and helps develop an intimate relationship with their creator”. Last year there were team members working in four schools. This year several more schools will be added. In conjunction with this the team is starting a program based on the Upward basketball program in the States which also works on developing character and a relationship with God, but in addition, works to impact the parents as well. We’ve already had one training camp and a brother is returning this week to continue the training of those who will be involved.

Did I mention that the team would like to plant 12 new congregations this year? I’m not as optimistic as others on the team about the possibilities of accomplishing that but even if we are able to do half and instill in them the desire to plant other churches, the year will end well.

We believe the work in Santa Rosa fits our gifts, personalities and experiences because there is:

A Team – A group of missionaries and Latinos with one goal.

A Vision – A restoration-type movement concentrating on the six states of western Honduras.

A Plan – To plant churches and grow mature Christians who want to plant churches.

An Excitement – Young people and old, new converts and older Christians are filled with excitement.

A Need – Our purpose will be to build Godly marriages and encourage lives of purity to make the churches strong.

May God continue to bless each of you as you seek for and find the will of God for your life,

Lowell, Robin and Jacob White

If you would like to help, please contact me at lowellwhite@post.com

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April/May 2011 Newsletter

When I think that June and July are going to be busy with brigades coming and going I get overwhelmed. We’ve been busy without any brigades here. Brigades are great though. We look forward to working with the folks that come down from the USA to help the people here by providing medical and dental services and providing eyeglasses for those who need them.

Some of you have heard of Let’s Start Talking. We had two retired couples who came in March /April to teach English classes using the Bible. That’s what LST does. There were 29 students who graduated from the classes and we are continuing to follow up with them. I (Lowell) called each of them this past week-end to invite them to a Bible study we’ll be having on Monday nights. It will be in English and will help them with the language and since we’ll be using the Bible we’ll be teaching them the gospel as well. Several of them had some nice comments for the LST teachers that they really enjoyed studying the Bible and learning English at the same time. We’re hoping they will find our Monday night classes helpful, too. There are two or three more groups of LST teachers coming in the next three months so hopefully this will continue to grow.

Graduates of LST course

LST graduates show off their certificates

I had an opportunity to preach in April. I gave the lesson in English and René Rosa translated. This also is an encouragement for the folks who are learning English as it gives them more practice listening and then the translation helps them. I’m scheduled to preach again in June. I hope several of them will come.

Robin, Jacob and I traveled out of the country in mid May. It was a lot easier than our trip to Belize last year. We just got on a bus here in Santa Rosa de Copán, rode for two hours to the border, walked across into El Salvador, hopped on another bus for ten minutes and arrived in San Ignacio. Then we walked ten minutes to a hotel/resort and stayed for two days. When we returned we had another 90 days permission to stay in Honduras. Doesn’t that sound easy? You can read more and see some pictures later on this blog.

the heavens declare

Watching the sunset in San Ignacio, El Salvador

The congregation had a retreat planned for the week of Semana Santa (Easter week). Robin and I didn’t go because we were asked to help with a couple who had come from a S.C. church to visit some preachers they were supporting. Bob and Leah Davis were a joy to be around as was Nathaniel, who was with them. We were able to visit three families with them in three different locations close to San Pedro Sula, the largest city in our area. We also met the new couple who just started working with one of the congregations. These families are committed to the cause of Christ even though they live in some pretty difficult situations. One congregation has lost three church members recently from violent crime. One of the daughter’s of one of the preachers was accosted on her way home from school but escaped. Another of the preachers runs a bus ministry and picks up 40 – 50 neighborhood kids and brings them to church. They bring problems with them but he and his family are committed to changing their lives for the better.  Click here to read more.

Our team held a two-day seminar for the leaders of the Occidente region in which we live. We were also asked to teach two classes at the lectureship at Baxter Institute in Tegucigalpa. Both were well attended and there were great comments during and after the classes. René and Josúe did most of the teaching. Their teamwork is incredible to watch. There is always a lot of action going on in their classes. No one has an opportunity to get sleepy. And the way they include everyone in discussion makes for a much better class than just hearing a lecture.

Lowell directing the Zacchaeus story.

Lowell directs Zacchaeus as he climbs the "tree" to see Jesus

Another of my opportunities I’d like to mention is going with Angie and Karol to one of the elementary schools where I started the school day with a devotional. Angie and Karol teach a program called DESEO at four different schools. Their goal is to teach the children to grow physically, mentally and spiritually. We men on the team take turns teaching a devotional before the children start classes. I was given the character Zacchaeus. I had a script and got the children to act out the story. We had fun with it. I made the point that Jesus can change our lives as he did Zacchaeus’. The secondary point was that he may have been a “wee, little man” because he didn’t eat right when he was a child. Angie and Karol then used that to teach their classes on nutrition. I’m not sure how much the kids learned though. I noticed when they had recess a lot of them went and bought chips and pop (Coke for you southerners). Angie and Karol do a great job. Parents are asking the teachers at school why their kids are now praying at home before meals. Little by little they are learning.

I have been put in charge of Tuesday night Bible study for the children. Our goal is to get the men of the congregation involved in teaching the kids as we usually leave this to the women. We’ve had some training sessions so far and the first group of men will start this Tuesday night. We are using the same curriculum as the DESEO program uses. We figure these kids at church need to learn the same things. The other thing we are trying to accomplish is to get positive, Christian male figures into the lives of the children. Many of them live in families where the dad has abandoned them.

Notes from Robin

I stay busy with the regular activities in our home and with Jacob finishing up his Junior year of high school. We continue with the Friday and Saturday evening Bible studies and the random group of young people, also, different ones come over for meals. I am on the May schedule to teach in our Sunday school – I work as co-teacher with the 5 – 7th grades. Last Sunday there were 24 students in this class!

We’ve added a Thursday afternoon activity. For the month of May Liliana Molina and I are teaching sewing classes to neighborhood girls. The course is called “Sewing For Christ” and the time begins with a lesson from the Bible and moves into how to sew. We meet from 2 until 5 in the afternoon. The sewing class will continue after this course (designed with 4 classes) but with older girls next time. Also, May 7thsaw 18 ladies from the congregation gathered at our home for an evening of study, fellowship, and fun. This was the initiation of a new program that will carry the ladies through the year with a quarterly class to touch base – something like “Secret Sisters” but there are no secrets … just new buddies. I am also working on a series of Bible lessons for women and the children in our sewing class. A young lady from the congregation, Dineth, helps me with translation and Zonia Rosa helps me with the final editing. This is proving to be quite a job but very rewarding. You can read more about these activities in our blog later as Robin posts them.

Cutting out dress patterns

Lili and Cecilia help Diana cut out a dress pattern

– Lowell, Robin and Jacob White

Our phone number: 011-504-9491-6485 (Lowell’s cell) 615-752-2986 (MagicJack number)

Remember to send any contributions to:

Wilkesboro Church of Christ

P.O. Box 81

Wilkesboro, NC 28697-0081

Make the check out to Wilkesboro Church of Christ, put Honduras on the “for” line on your check and enclose a note that it’s for the Lowell White family. Also, tell us if its for something particular.

P.S. If you would like to help Jacob attend Carolina Bible Camp this June please contribute as above. If there is enough money, Robin will go with him to visit our grandchildren and children.

Jacob and a tree

Jacob under a tree in El Salvador

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March 2011 Newsletter

The newsletter is a little different this month. In order to let you see what we are working on, I am including the latest work that we’ve done with Joshúa here in Santa Rosa de Copán. This is a draft of the kinds of ideas we are coming up with to accomplish what God desires of the families in Honduras.

Construjendo Familias Fuertes (CFF)

Building Strong Families

Goal: Build strong families by preparing young people for future marriage and strengthen existing marriages by helping couples be successful marriage partners and great parents.

Results:

Teach youth to prepare for a successful future marriage by abstaining from sexual relations until marriage and teaching them to search for a godly spouse.

Rescue troubled marriages, make good marriages even better and teach new couples how to build a strong marriage.

Develop strong families by teaching parenting skills in order to raise up children who follow God’s way and by developing relational skills to model the life of Jesus for each other.

Products:

  1. Youth
    1. Youth who maintain their chastity and purity before God.
    2. Youth who are prepared integrally for their future marriage before God.
  2. Marriage
    1. Couples who are sufficiently prepared emotionally and spiritually for a legal marriage.
    2. Couples who continually better their marriage.
    3. Couples with broken marriages who will commit again to their marriage vows.
  3. Families
    1. Families who model what a Christ-centered family should be.

      Parents who have the skills to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

      Children who obey their parents in the Lord, respect their elders and honor God.

Activities:

  1. Youth
    1. Video series on sexual abstinence.
    2. Classes in church gatherings
      1. Chastity
      2. Preparation for marriage
    3. Classes during youth rallies.
    4. Classes for parents to help youth say “no” to sexual pressure.
  2. Marriage
    1. Pre-marital counseling for couples.
    2. Wedding arrangements for couples to wed.
      1. Legal documents
      2. Place for wedding
      3. Reception
    3. Marriage retreats for (legally) married couples.
    4. Marriage conferences to strengthen marriages.
    5. Classes for specific areas of marriage.
      1. Finances
      2. Communication
      3. Parenting
      4. Extended family
      5. Sex – a Gift From God
      6. Following Jesus
      7. Male Spritual Leadership
    6. Retrouvaille program
    7. Divorce Busters (Michelle Weiner Davis program)
  3. Families
    1. S.T.E.P. (for parents of children 6-12 years old.)
      1. For church members
      2. Use as outreach
    2. Family retreats with classes
    3. Sermons
    4. Conferences
    5. Classes

Basic necesities:

  1. Place for private counseling

  2. Place for public teaching

  3. Projector

  4. Drama team

  5. Couples trained to lead or participate in conferences and retreats

  6. Place to hold retreats

  7. Place to hold conferences

Pray for us as we continue to work out the details of each of these and other programs to further the cause of Christ in this country.

– Lowell, Robin and Jacob White

Our phone number: 011-504-9491-6485 (Lowell’s cell) 615-752-2986 (MagicJack number)

Remember to send any contributions to:

Wilkesboro Church of Christ

P.O. Box 81

Wilkesboro, NC 28697-0081

Make the check out to Wilkesboro Church of Christ, put Honduras on the “for” line on your check and enclose a note that it’s for the Lowell White family. Also, tell us if its for something particular.

 

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Whites Honduras Newsletter January 2011

Bring in the New!

Our new year started off in the States. It was a multipurpose trip and we must say that it was successful on all counts!

  • We enjoyed quality time with children, granddaughters, and family. Our three big kids sacrificed time and money to arrange their schedules to come to NC so we could all be together for a little over a week. The Rawleys opened their home and hearts to us for a ‘home-base’ for which we are very grateful.
  • We experienced precious moments with our church families at Yadkinville, Piedmont, Wilkesboro, and Archdale. We were surrounded by brothers and sisters in the Lord’s family with genuine interest in us and our work here. We were able to tell stories, answer questions, be prayed over and most of all be loved in the Lord.
  • We were blessed by all of you in raising much of the necessary funds to extend our work here in Santa Rosa. We were given the gift of trust and confidence by those of you who are taking an active part monetarily in our work here. We are so humbled and grateful and look forward to being accountable to how this support is used.
  • We loved being in the thick of winter and got to experience the best of snowfalls – more than once! The weather is mild and temperate here in Santa Rosa – we love it but, it was great getting a taste of real winter and at least for a little while seeing God’s beauty in the changing seasons. We even delighted in a day of sledding with all the kids!
  • We were blessed with traveling mercies in every way and we praise God for his love and protection.

The second half of January saw us settling back into our home and the crazy, wonderful busyness of our life here began immediately!

  • Lowell is in the middle of his projects, was able to be a part of 3 great meetings – the first with the local church, then the area-wide congregational planning meeting, and finally the Mission Upreach team and it looks like a wonderful year of the Lord for this area of Occidente!
  • Jacob got right back into his school work, started hanging out with friends – here at the house and of course, futbol (soccer) in the park. Also, youth nights at the church building are every Saturday. A good group came over Wednesday for popcorn and Wii.
  • Our home has had people coming and going and that means the usual for Robin – making them feel at home with coffee, cookies or whatever is on hand. When someone comes to your home you prepare to relax because they’ve come to stay for awhile. The cake she made last Monday came in handy a few times plus she baked cookies for six of the neighborhood girls that came over to spend an afternoon.
  • Then together, we have started painting our extra rooms – a bedroom and a bathroom – anticipating guests! Also, we got to help clean the building Sunday morning – that was very special because two of our older sisters in the church, Olympia 1 and Olympia 2, were there to help and they were an absolute inspiration to be around. Then too, we got to be a part of the medical brigade at La Lima where a church was newly planted. We rode the bus with our teammates and the Honduras translators and the whole day was great. (6:30 am – 5:30 when we finally got home.) A couple of hundred people were seen by doctors. We also attended a three day seminar on “Conflict Resolution” taught by Fernando Nesmyth. It was offered by the church as an outreach to our community.

*~*~*~*

Lowell’s thoughts: I asked Robin to write the newsletter this month. Sometimes she has a better and/or different perspective on things. This year is going to be a very busy one. The Friday night small groups are starting back up as are the disciples classes on Thursday nights and the Saturday night get-together’s at our house with the newly married couples. There is a medical brigade getting ready to come later this month. I rode a couple of hours away last week with three members of the team to meet with a couple of preachers in the area. It was a difficult meeting but needed to be done. Not all is nice weather and roses unfortunately.

The church in Santa Rosa continues to be an inspiration. We have another good song leader that has joined the team. Jose is one of those guys who can sing bass, tenor or the lead equally well. Another family moved in who are alumni of Baxter Institute. We continue to meet neighbors and are always hopeful that they will soon be brothers and sisters in the church. I go for walks around town and inevitably see members of the church. Two sisters from the church sell whatever fruit is in season out of the back of a truck so I usually buy something from them.

Our prayer is that the Lord will bless each of you in this new year. We could not continue this work without you. And we know that you cannot continue to help us unless you are blessed with prosperity. So, our prayers may be a little selfish but we’ll continue to pray anyway. May 2011 be one of the best years ever. Who knows, it may be the year God tells Jesus, “Its time, go gather them all home.”

Our wish list (I thought I would include this here so you would know our needs): More monthly supporters.

May God continue to bless each of you as you seek for and find the will of God for your life

– Lowell, Robin and Jacob White

Our phone number: 011-504-9491-6485 (Lowell’s cell) 615-752-2986 (MagicJack number)

Remember to send any contributions to:

Wilkesboro Church of Christ

P.O. Box 81

Wilkesboro, NC 28697-0081

Make the check out to Wilkesboro Church of Christ, put Honduras on the “for” line on your check and enclose a note that it’s for the Lowell White family. Also, tell us if its for something particular.

Just be sure you live as God’s people in a way that honors the Good News of Christ. Then if I come and visit you or if I am away from you, I will hear good things about you. I will know that you stand together with the same purpose and that you work together like a team to help others believe the Good News.

(Philippians 1:27 ERV)

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Whites Honduras Newsletter October 2010

On the night of October 26th three couples arrived at the church building to become legally married. There is a law here that if two people live together for a certain period of time they are to be considered married. The only problem with that is that it has developed into a culture that if one of them wants out of the marriage, they just walk away. There is no legal process to go through to dissolve the marriage. It happens here a lot. It’s similar to what happens in the States, where couples live together “in preparation” for marriage. This is developing into a culture where people just live together until one walks away and then they get with someone else and do the same thing. We’ve met people here and listened to them tell who their siblings are and it makes your head spin just hearing the explanation of who is who’s kid and which is their father and on and on. I feel sorry for children that grow up in that kind of situation because they never know when one of their parents are going to up and leave. This is the reason we want these couples to be legally married. The cycle of abandonment needs to stop.

So, the church building was full of relatives of these three families plus most of the church members. The first part of the service is a civil ceremony. A lawyer is there and performs the ceremony, gets the couples to sign a lot of paperwork and has them take legal vows of marriage. This took way more time than it should. Then the “religious” ceremony comes next. Well, there was a short sermon in between the two on the importance of marriage in God’s sight. The religious ceremony was very touching as each couple was asked to say their vows. Some of the couples had rings, others didn’t. They were all dressed beautifully. The situation was different than what you would see in the States but it still had a wonderful, moving tone to it all.

The ladies of the church had spent hours and hours decorating and also prepared the food, so we all had a good meal to celebrate and we ended the night by heading home. Two of the couples were on the church bus with us. One couple lives a few blocks from us, so we all walked together. It was a good night.

We had the three couples over to our home the following Saturday night. We want to work with them to help in building a lasting marriage. I gave a short lesson on love and respect using some of the ideas from the book Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs. We had a pretty good discussion afterword. We were pleasantly surprised at their willingness to open up and talk. We also began a book lending program – I had 2 books we had bought on marriage in Spanish and they will read this and bring them back to swap out for the next … this was a really big hit! We then introduced them to Jacob’s Wii and had a good time bowling in the TV room. (Those of you who don’t know what a Wii is, just ask your grandchildren).

Did I mention that before the wedding we had just returned from a four day trip to Belize? Because we don’t have residency papers yet we have to travel out of the country for a few days then return so we can get another three month stamp in our passport. We can pay $60 toward the end of the three to get an extra month but if we don’t leave before that fourth month is up we have to pay some hefty fines. We can’t travel to any of the bordering countries as they have some kind of pact. So, it has to be Belize (the closest) or Costa Rica or any place else. We could have gone to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on Spirit Airlines but there were two problems – we didn’t have a thousand dollars to spend and we don’t know anyone in Ft. Lauderdale to stay with, so it was off to Belize.

One of the missionaries from Teguc has made the trip so she wrote down the directions and e-mailed them to me. The trip involved eight buses and four boats so I have to say I was a bit “concerned” about the trip. Robin tells all about it on our blog site (see above). Did I mention that Robin and I each had a backpack of about 30 or 40 pounds to carry?

*~*~*~*

Reflections from Robin –

Our trip to Belize was wonderful, crazy, energy-sapping, educational and necessary. It will be a blessing to someday have residency and I know God will bless us in this working out.

Our work here in Santa Rosa involves primarily making friendships that will build trust and confidence and then we go on from there with the teaching and living examples. We talk with our neighbors daily – chatting with this one and that one up and down our streets. It is so precious to me to use our home as an outreach for the Lord’s church and it happens multiple times a week. Already we have seen Christ glorified in so many ways through the body that meets here in this city – the church grows week by week – numerically and spiritually. Not having a vehicle means we walk every where which is wearing but rewarding. We love meeting new people and telling why we’re here. I don’t think I can think of a time that we’ve gone into ‘el centro’ and not seen members of the church – what a blessing!

With all the great things that are happening Satan is trying his best to see it all destroyed. Just when attendance is up in one area it will be down in another … consistency is a challenge. One couple backed out of marrying just hours before – they’ve come around now and will ‘do the deed’. Just know this is a mighty step to take and it is one of courage and commitment. Please pray for these and the 10 or so others we are working with.

All this to say something very important to us – with God’s help and the help of an awesome team of people here – we are working hard to make a difference for eternity’s sake. We know it is of utmost importance to feed the hungry and shelter those who struggle to keep a roof over their heads, but the crux of the matter is – they need Jesus in their lives and have to be shown The Way. I am so happy and proud to be a part of His Body here in Santa Rosa – a body of Hondurans helping Hondurans see light for this challenging path before each of us.

*~*~*~*

Our wish list (I thought I would include this here so you would know our needs): a vehicle, $3,200 for our 5 year residency papers which would keep us from having to travel out of the country every four months, someone who will purchase and ship Spanish books on marriage, parenting, dating and sexual abstinence.

May God continue to bless each of you as you seek for and find the will of God for your life
– Lowell, Robin and Jacob White

Our phone number: 011-504-3341-5864 (Lowell’s cell) 615-752-2986 (MagicJack number)

Remember to send any contributions to:

Wilkesboro Church of Christ

P.O. Box 81

Wilkesboro, NC 28697-0081

Make the check out to Wilkesboro Church of Christ, put Honduras on the “for” line on your check and enclose a note that it’s for the Lowell White family. Also, tell us if its for something particular.

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:20-21)



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