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On the Mend

How grateful I am and How I praise the Lord that you are helping me again. I know you have always been anxious to send what you could, but for a while you didn't have the chance. Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on Almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of contentment in every situation, whether it be a full stomach or hunger, plenty or want; for I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me stranger and power. But even so, you have done right in helping me in my present difficulty.

As you well know, when I first brought the Gospel to you and then went on my way, leaving Macedonia, only you Philippians became my partners in giving and receiving. No other church did this. Even when I was ever in Thessalonica, you sent help twice. But though I appreciate your gifts, what makes me happiest is the well-earned reward you will have because of your kindness. Philippians 4:10-14 (TLB)

What I mean is that we can mutually encourage each other while I am with you. We can be encouraged by the faithfulness we find in each other, both your faithfulness and mine. Romans 1:12 (CEB)

Ana Maria Sierra Olivares, from Bogota, Colombia, was a happy and friendly child, but her attention deficit disorder caused challenges with her schoolwork and in relationships with her schoolmates and teachers. For many years Ana was bullied, and she was weighed down with a great sense of frustration and rejection. But expressions of concern from a handful of teachers and friends meant so much to her, and her mother, a person of strong faith, always supported Ana.

When Ana started high school, the interactions with her schoolmates seemed to get worse - to the point that Ana wanted to retaliate for the bad experiences she suffered. But even more, she wanted to heal the broken pieces of her life. Ana knew a little about God from her early years, but at this stage in her life Ana began to seek God in earnest. She joined the church youth group. Her process of healing began when she met those wonderful people who truly reflected the love of Christ and guided and inspired her to learn more about him and his teachings.

Today, Ana is a university student and a proud Christian. Her wounded heart is on the mend, and she is learning the importance of forgiveness as she continues her faith journey to discern God's will for her life.

Prayer: Merciful God, thank you for loving us and for Jesus' example of forgiveness. Give us courage to stand up for those who suffer abuse and discrimination, knowing that we can do this through Christ who gives us strength. We pray in His name. Amen.

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