Your Stories

I learned I could stand on my own

How the N.E.W. Life Center changed Cara’s life

Cara Manns has a memory from when she was five years old. She is sitting in the back seat of a car with her mother and Big Jimmy in front. From between the bucket seats, she sees the man slip something into her mama’s drink. Then the memory skips ahead to an ambulance taking her mother away, never to come home again. She can still remember the dress she wore to her mother’s funeral, but she never remembers hearing anything about Big Jimmy being held accountable for her mother’s death. She was just gone.

Historian impressed by Church teachings

After 50 years, joining the Catholic Church was ‘worth the wait’

In 50 years, what will you accomplish? Will you get married? Have kids? Grow in your career? 

Seventy-four-year-old James Davis, of Dexter, has done all of that. He and his wife have two daughters, and he was a history professor for about half a century. And throughout those 50 years, James – who was born and raised Presbyterian – familiarized himself with the history and beliefs of the Catholic Church, ultimately leading to his conversion in 2014.

Unraveling Human Trafficking

For years, Anna braided hair by day and scrubbed dishes by night. Her workday began at 9 a.m. and concluded sometime after 2 o’clock the next morning. The grueling hours would have been difficult for any adult to maintain.

But Anna was just a child.

She remembers, “A lady brought me (to the United States in 1995) when I was 11. I was living with her from when I was 11 until I was maybe 18. She was a family friend; back home she lived next door to me.”

For Stephen Ray, evangelizing is an ‘adventure’

Clothed in a safari hat and vest, Stephen Ray is no stranger to wrestling snakes and enduring camel bites while filming the history of salvation from a Catholic perspective. 

And when Stephen – also known as “Jerusalem Jones: The Catholic Adventurer” – isn’t filming a 10-part documentary in biblical lands, he and his wife, Janet, are leading pilgrimages to the Holy Land. 

“I wear this hat everywhere so everyone knows me. If I go somewhere and I don’t dress like this, people say go home and dress like Steve Ray and come back,” he said. 

Foster children 'add more joy' for Betsy and Leo

“Joy” exclaims Betsy. “I was surprised by the amount of joy foster parenting and adoption brought into our family. I love watching the children grow, developing their sense of humor and seeing the people they are becoming.” Her husband Leo adds, “I see our family as big! We would like more foster kids with the hope of adopting. We understand the intent of foster care is to place the child back with their family, but we are open to adoption when that is not possible.”

Composing their lives together Ralph and Tina make music for God

Ralph and Tina Votapek’s gracious home of 46 years looks like any other. The dining room table covered in papers and the soft colonial style furniture attest to a comfortable, busy life.

“I don’t really see why FAITH would want to interview us,” Ralph muses from his recliner. “We’ve had problems along life’s way, like most people, but none has been insurmountable. God’s been good to us.”

Seated on the couch, Tina nods. “On the outside we’re just normal people.”


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