Your Stories

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.”

Two priests and a sister who Live for God

Is there a fragrance that evokes memories for you? For the Fedewa siblings, Msgr. Sylvester, Father Matthew, and Sister Joanne, peppermint evokes wonderful memories of growing up on a mint farm between St. Johns and Westphalia. All three attribute their deep faith commitment to this homestead and the lived faith example of their loving parents. In fact, that is where Father Matt heard his vocational calling: “between the cow barn and house late one winter night. The bright moon was shining on the snow.

From Abuse to N.E.W. Life - How Sisters Judy and Carol helped Jessie believe in herself

"At 7 years old I left my family’s Louisiana farm to live with my grown sister in Flint. My sister Beatrice was like a sister and a mother,” Jessie Cummings explains. “She and her husband had jobs, so they had money. They would treat me real, real special – sent me to school and dressed me real nice. On the farm, we used to make skirts and vests out of flour bags, and we thought we was looking good! When Beatrice and I went back to our family at Christmas, I could see that my parents couldn’t really feed their eight kids. Beatrice gave me a stable home."


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