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{SFTH}   *The Gift of Forgiveness*  By Kim Book  4/2/01

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If you enjoy this free daily email service, I encourage you to
spread the word to family and friends that we may bring
inspiration into the lives of many!  If you are not on the list
and this has been passed along to you, join us by sending
a blank email to:  Thunder27@aol.com

I appreciate any feedback or constructive criticism, so feel free to
write me (Michael T. Powers) and let me know what you think!

Just joined us and want to see all the past stories we've run? 
Visit our inspirational website at:
http://www.storiesfrommyheart.com

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The Gift of Forgiveness

By Kim Book


Each time the barbed-wire fence closes behind me and I see the
men sitting in a circle waiting for me, I begin to pray, "Please
Lord, I want them to see You in me."

I'm often asked to speak to inmates about being the victim of crime.
On March 23, 1995, my 17-year-old daughter, Nicole, opened the door
of her father's house to a 16-year-old young man named LeVaughn
whom she knew. LeVaughn came into the house and they began to
argue over drugs.

LeVaughn picked up the butcher knife from the kitchen counter and
stabbed Nicole to death. My only child lay dying on the floor of the
living room, her eyes still open. The last sight she saw that day was
the face of the young man who was killing her. This young man whom
I had never met in my life, came into my life that day and changed my
life forever.

I buried my daughter, and one week later the District Attorney informed
us he was asking for the death penalty for LeVaughn. He began telling
us how he wanted to try the case, and then he proceeded to ask us
if we believed in the death penalty. Everyone said, "yes," except for
me. I said "no."

I don't believe in murder. Murder is murder, no matter how you look at
it. It was no more right for me to take LeVaughn's life then it was for
him to take Nicole's life. I did not need revenge.

I waited one year to be faced with the young man who had changed
my life forever. He was hostile and angry during the trial. My greatest
fear was that he would get the death penalty and that I would then have
to fight to never allow that to happen. But God knew that wasn't
how He wanted me to spend my time. LeVaughn was found guilty of
second-degree murder and sentenced to thirty-eight years with
no probation.

God had other plans for my life. LeVaughn still looked angry when
he was sentenced two weeks later. Only now, he was sitting right
next to me as I stood  at the podium to address the court and the
judge, but I was warned not to address LeVaughn. I was told I
couldn't speak to this person who had changed my life forever,
and he was sitting right next to me.

I began reading what I had written and then God spoke to my heart.
I needed to talk to this young man. It might be my only opportunity. I
turned and looked into his face. This was the face that my daughter
saw as she lay dying on the living room floor just one year ago, and
now I was looking into that same face. I told LeVaughn that I was not
angry with him, but that I felt very hurt. I told him that I had
compassion for him and that I hoped that he could somehow find
a way to turn his life around.

And lastly, I told him that I would be praying for him. The face that
was so full of anger was now looking at me in disbelief, and the
anger was gone.

When I walked away from the courthouse that day, I knew that God
had given both of us a gift. It was the gift of forgiveness. I was able to
forgive the young man who murdered my daughter. Not because he
asked me too, but because it was what God wanted for both of us.
God was never going to be able to use me if I was angry. Forgiveness
brings peace. And with that peace comes overwhelming joy. The joy
of knowing that God will forgive me just as I have forgiven.

Two years ago, I became a Prison Fellowship volunteer. I also
volunteer for the Pre-Release Programs in several prisons in
my area. I do a Parenting Program, Personal Development
Program and the Victim's Sensitivity Program. I have also become
a trained mediator, mediating minor offenses for the District
Attorney's Office, and I'm currently working on a program to do
mediations between victims and offenders of violent crimes. I
believe in rehabilitation.

As I walk out of the prison I feel so much peace. I don't see
myself as a victim. I see myself as someone who has had
something happen in my life, and I chose to let God use it so
that I might be of greater service to Him. There is a sense of
God's presence in prison. God is everywhere, even in prison.
And to think I might never have known that -- if I wasn't able
to forgive.

Kim Book
JOCKOKIM@aol.com

Send Kim an email and let her know what you thought of her story!

Kim Book is a prison volunteer in Delaware for Prison Fellowship
Ministries, Pre-Release Program, Parenting Program, Personal
Development Program and the Victim's Sensitivity Program. She
is a trained mediator, mediating minor offenses for the District
Attorney's Office. She is currently working on a program to do
mediations between victims and offenders of violent crimes.
She may be contacted at e-mail: JOCKOKIM@aol.com.
 
Reprinted by permission of Kim Book (c) 2000, from "Chicken Soup
for the Prisoner's Soul" by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and
Tom Lagana.
 
In order to protect the rights of the copyright holder, no portion of
this story may be reproduced without prior written consent.  All
rights reserved.
 
"Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul" is NOT available in bookstores.
To receive a copy of "Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul"
autographed by co-author Tom Lagana, please send a check for
US$20 (includes shipping and handling by Media Mail) payable to
"Tom Lagana," along with the name to autographed it to, shipping
address, and mail to:
Prisoner's Soul
PO Box 7816
Wilmington, DE 19803
E-mail: Success@TomLagana.com
Web site: http://www.TomLagana.com
(For shipments outside the USA, please contact Tom.)

To sponsor a box of 24 books to help inmates find a positive purpose
in our safer society, please send a tax-deductible donation of $200
payable to "C-Cubed Institute" and mail to:
Prisoner's Soul
PO Box 7816
Wilmington, DE 19803

==================================================
From the E-mail Box:

From: Nguyen_Anh@operamail.com (Nguyen Anh)

Hi Michael!

 I am Vietnamese. I read your essay about: we should let the others
know how  much we love them on our Vietnamese newspaper. And
it was translated into Vietnamese with the title : "Your Saying"
(Celebration of Life). I like your essay very much and I hope that
I would read some more lovely ideas like that soon. Thank for
your saying! Best wishes for you!
Nguyen Anh  (from Viet Nam)

********
I REALLY ENJOYED YOUR STORIES AND PICTURES. I JUST
WISHED I WOULD HAVE TAKEN MORE PICTURES WHEN MY
CHILDREN WERE SMALL. AS YOU SEE WE LOST A
DAUGHTER TO CANCER AT THE AGE OF 24, IN 1977,
SO NOW THAT IS ALL I DO IS TAKE THEM. THANKS AGAIN...
PAT YENGER
PYenger@aol.com

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Thought For The Day:

"You can't hold a man down without staying down with him."
--Booker T. Washington


Verse for the Day:

"The man who sets a trap for others will get caught in it himself."
--Proverbs 26:27 TLB


Kid's Thought For The Day:

"Never smart off to a teacher whose eyes and ears are twitching."


Parent's Thought For The Day:

From Happy Days (The Popular TV show of the 70's and 80's)

Howard:  Well then. How are you gonna support my daughter? How
are you gonna live? How are you gonna eat?

Chachi:  Mr C., after we're married something is bound to come along.

Howard:  Yeah! Then you're gonna have to feed that, too!


Coach's Thought For The Day:

"The athletes you are privileged to coach are all different in what
they need and how they should be instructed.  The universal
factor is that you have to love them all."
--Bill Greer (Michael's mentor and role-model)


Deep Thought For The Day:

"Whoever said nothing is impossible never tried slamming a
revolving door."

==================================================
REQUESTS:

Hello Michael:

First I would like to tell you that I admire and am inspired by your devotion at putting out this very meaningful newsletter.  I'm sure that it helps and touches more lives than you will ever know, at least in this life.

I would like to ask you to put in a prayer request for me, please, in your newsletter, and of course, if you have a prayer group of your own or that you know about.  I thank you very much in advance. 

"I'm asking all of you for your prayers for my husband.  He is going for a biopsy of his prostate on Monday, April 9.  He is a wonderful husband and father to our children, Matthew, 10 and Jessica, 9.  And we love him very, very much.

I know that we are made in the image and likeness of God, and among all good things, He is also perfect health and harmony.  I also know that Jesus said, "Whenever two or more of you are gathered in my name, there I am in your midst."  He also said, "God knows of what you have need before you even ask...When you pray, give thanks and believe, and it shall be done."  And so I ask for your prayers and your belief and thanks that my husband manifests now and always perfect health.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart. God bless you."
kimluret@aol.com 
====================================================
  _
/_/\/\    MICHAEL T. POWERS
\_\  /    THUNDER27@aol.com  
/_/  \    "For I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but
\_\/\ \   Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body I live for the Son
   \_\/   of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20 

====================================================
The copyrights to the stories that appear in SFTH are owned by the
authors and are used with their permission.  This email may be forwarded
in its entirety, but please do not cut and paste the stories to be used
elsewhere unless you have contacted, and been given permission,
by the individual writer.  Thanks!
====================================================

Video Imagery (Michael's Video Production Business.)

"I thought of you first after my family sat down to watch the video we gave
them. They loved it, to say the least!  Within thirty seconds my mom was
crying and my dad did too.  They said it was the best Christmas gift we could
have given them!!  You did such a beautiful job!  They were so surprised and so
touched---they really, really, really loved it.  Thanks for helping to make it so
special to us all.  My mom mentioned how the songs were perfect for the
video too!  Thanks again!"
Kelli-- College Station, TX

Let me make you a video from your pictures or home movies!
Check out the web page for Michael's video production business!
http://members.aol.com/Videoimg/index.html

AOL Users click here:   Video Imagery
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AOL Users click here:  The Four Spiritual Laws

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