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“I Found Myself Among Family”

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Joseph was distraught over having recently lost his bride of 64 years and still couldn’t fathom his life without her. As his despair lingered on for nearly a year, Joseph’s doctor and family suggested that he get out of town to clear his head and get away from the constant, daily reminders of the loss of his dear, departed life partner. A still small voice told him to go to Orlando.

Joseph grew up in Orlando, and although he had no remaining blood relatives there, he heard that “the family”—more than 3,000 strong­—was gathering there that week. Now a member of an Alliance church in San Diego and not having attended Council for 20 years, this 90—something, seasoned saint with some physical disabilities and no one to accompany him on the journey took a faith­—filled risk and boarded a plane
to Orlando.

Joseph was greeted warmly by Danny on the Council registration team, who noticed he seemed distraught. Danny told him it was no mistake that he was there and laid hands on him, praying he would find joy and encouragement there in Orlando as the week progressed.

That joy and encouragement showed up in the form of several whom God had divinely appointed to lift Joseph’s heavy heart that week: a woman who stopped to chat with him early on–and followed up with a fruit basket delivery to his room the next day as a new friendship was birthed; an  international worker couple who gave up their seats so that Joseph could rest his unstable legs—and passed along their phone number to  him so they could stay connected throughout the week; and a fellow widower a little further along in his grief journey who stopped in the middle of the jam-packed, post—service hallway to lay hands on Joseph, pray for him, and assure him that grief will indeed give way to joy in the days ahead. 

Joseph left Council filled not only with a revived passion for God’s hand at work through The Alliance but also a renewed hope that Jesus will lead him beyond his grief and into joy again. And of his experience at Council, Joseph notes, “I came expecting to be among strangers—but found myself among family.”

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