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Faith Conversations…
By Tim Hartzell

  The most devastating fall of all time happened thousands of years ago, but the consequences are still being experienced by us today. The story is found in Genesis chapters 2 and 3. The narrative provides the backstory, so let’s do an autopsy.
  Adam and Eve had a vulnerability – the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God placed that tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden and commanded them to not eat of it. The consequence for disobedience: death.
  The backstory reveals at least five factors that intensified their vulnerability:
  Deception. The Serpent twisted the truth and placed a question mark where God had placed a period. “Did God really say . . .?” This form of temptation is a rather subtle way to intensify a vulnerability – and the Serpent was very good at it. By the way, the serpent is still very good at it. He is like a roaring lion looking for people to devour. He masquerades as an angel of light. Never forget that you have a cunning and determined enemy.
  Ambiguity. Eve doesn’t mention the tree by name. Instead, she describes its location in the garden. However, God’s directive was very specific and included the name of one particular tree. By not naming the tree, Eve opens the door to ambiguity. Where exactly is the middle of the garden? Are we sure we have the right tree? Like temptation, ambiguity places question marks where God has placed a period.
  Exaggeration. Eve adds an interesting piece of information when she says, “You must not touch it, or you will die.” God’s directive was clear and covered only the eating of the fruit. Why did Eve expand on God’s directive? Is it possible Adam exaggerated God’s command? It may have been well intentioned, but when Eve touched the fruit and didn’t die, the exaggeration increased their doubt. I touched it and I didn’t die? Is it possible that the serpent is right? Another question mark appears where there should have been a period.
  Unprotected. Adam is with Eve during this time of intensified vulnerability, but for some reason, he doesn’t speak up. He should have protected her. Instead, he stands quietly by. Was he allowing her to be a guinea pig? Adam’s not telling me to stop, so it must be okay. Adam failed in the moment that Eve needed him the most. He should have been on her team.
  Hunger. God designed the sensation of hunger so that we would eat. And while hunger is an important and healthy part of God’s design, if not satisfied correctly, it can intensify a vulnerability.
  With her vulnerability intensified, Eve was now presented with an opportunity. The fruit was good for food and pleasing to the eye and desirable for the gaining of wisdom – and she was probably a little hungry – and more than a little curious. She had already touched it and she wasn’t dead. Adam didn’t seem to mind. What would one bite hurt?
  Opportunities come our way all the time, but we hardly notice them when we are strong. It is when our vulnerabilities are intensified that opportunities catch our attention and become a serious consideration.
  Have you ever wondered why God placed that tree smack-dab in the middle of the garden? Surely, if He didn’t want them to eat from it, He could have placed it on the other side of the world and far out of reach. Yet there it was, easily accessible and wonderfully desirable.
  People will sometimes seek my advice (or my approval) when they are presented with a rather attractive opportunity that clearly goes against God’s directive. In an effort to justify themselves they will argue that God has placed this opportunity in front of them. And while that may be true (God did place the tree in the middle of the garden), the story of Adam and Eve makes one thing perfectly clear: proximity does not equal permission.
  Parents understand that last statement. There are items in every home that children are not allowed to touch or use. Even older teenagers are taught that there are some things in the home that they do not have permission to use. Clearly, proximity does not equal permission.
  An opportunity may look very good. It may even appear that it was placed there by God. But let me be very clear on this point: no matter how good it looks, if an opportunity goes against God’s directive, it is not for you. If you choose to disobey, you will fall. Adam and Eve’s backstory makes that point abundantly clear.
  Are you vulnerable? Has an opportunity presented itself to you that clearly goes against God’s directive? Does it seem very attractive? Does it present itself as the answer to your pain and problems?
  If you need help, then talk to a trusted and objective advisor. Build your team and seek wisdom. Pray without ceasing. Get to know God’s Word and the voice of His Holy Spirit. Ignorance may seem like bliss, but in the end it is terribly reckless. Surrender to God’s wisdom and you will stand on the heights! Psalm 18:32-35

“Cinderella’s Closet”
Makes Prom Gowns Available At A Reduced Cost
By Lou Hunsinger Jr.

The high school prom is one of the most memorable and notable event in many young girls’ lives. But the cost of getting a fashionable and pretty gown for these girls can prove prohibitively expense. That is where the Junior League of Williamsport’s “Cinderella’s Closet” comes into play.
  “Cinderella’s Closet”, an event hosted by the Junior League of Williamsport, will be taking place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, March 25, at the Williamsport YWCA, 815 W. Fourth St. This is the tenth year for the annual event aimed at helping young ladies and their families by offering prom gowns for a $10 fee.
  Cinderella’s Closet is not just about a $10 dress; it’s about making
  sure that attending a prom isn’t a financial hardship for a family and about increasing the self-esteem of young women. According to national statistics, the average prom dress can cost $250. Add to that tickets for the event, shoes and other accessories and the total can jump to anywhere from $500 to $1,000.
  JLW member, Jennifer Flint is a high school teacher and told Webb Weekly. “Some girls and parents explained to me that they were really worried about not being able to afford a new prom dress. After last year’s event, many parents contacted me to express their appreciation for Cinderella’s Closet and to share how much fun they had choosing a dress with their daughters.”
  The event began after the Junior League assessed the needs of the community. The League realized that self-esteem for teenage girls was a large concern throughout our community. The first Cinderella’s Closet took place in March 2008 and served about 60 girls. In 2016, 135 young ladies took home dresses, thirty of which were given away for free, including 25 dresses for young ladies in the foster care system.
  Planning for the event starts as early as August. There are many things to consider, such as finding a location, obtaining dresses, advertising, getting enough volunteers, building dressing rooms and many other smaller details. Dresses, gowns and accessories are either donated for the event or bought with Junior League of Williamsport funds over the course of the year. Over 600 dresses in sizes 0 to 40 will be available, though selections for some sizes are limited.
  An assortment of shoes, jewelry, purses and scarves will also be available. Girls may choose up to two free accessories to go with their dress. Additional accessories may be purchased for $5. They will also receive an assortment of free make-up, donated by Wegmans and Bon-Ton.
  This event would not be possible without the support of the Junior League members and others in the community who have assisted in making this event such a success.
  Junior League members have many memories that make the hard work worth it, including Laurie Crane, who has been involved with Cinderella’s Closet from the start. Things that stand out to her are when the girls find a beautiful dress and express their thanks to the volunteers, stating they would not have been able to go to prom if it weren’t for the event. Fairy Godmothers (personal shoppers) will be present to assist in the search for the perfect dress.
  The Fairy Godmothers are Junior League members or community volunteers, who help the girls and family members navigate the racks of dresses. “Seeing the girls so happy to find that special dress, it’s priceless. That’s what makes it all worth it. The smiles and the girls,” says Barb Hoover, a JLW sustaining member. As girls look for and try on dresses, they’ll see multiple signs with inspirational messages, aimed at boosting their self-esteem. “I felt like a princess,” Lydia Mahonski, a Williamsport Area High School graduate said. “It was so much fun to be able to look through all the dresses and pick the ones out that I liked. It was also really nice to see other girls so happy with the dresses that they found. It was overall an amazing experience.”
  In order to participate in Cinderella’s Closet, girls must have a high school ID or other proof of enrollment. All purchases are cash only. The Junior League of Williamsport is a nonprofit organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. For more information, visit the Junior League of Williamsport’s Facebook page or email jlwilliamsport@gmail.com.

Fifth Annual Roads To Freedom Wheelchair Basketball Tournament
By Lou Hunsinger Jr.


A truly inspiring fundraiser will be held this Saturday, March 25 from 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. when the Fifth Annual Wheels To Freedom Wheelchair Basketball Tournament is held at Lycoming College’s Recreation Center. Admission is $2 and refreshments are available.
  “Our Annual Wheelchair Basketball Tournament raises money to increase the quality, self-direction and independence of people with disabilities; it also raises awareness of the barriers they still face today,” Misty Dion, Chief Executive Officer of Roads To Freedom Center For Independent Living of North Central Pennsylvania, told Webb Weekly. “Through a competitive and fun game of basketball wheelchair players are given the chance to experience how difficult using a wheelchair can be, in a world that is not yet accessible.”
  Dion said all Wheelchair Basketball proceeds go to their Ramping up Life program that covers unmet costs for people with disabilities who want to transition out of a costly nursing facility and into the community.
  She said Roads to Freedom provides services, programs, support and resources to over 400 individuals living with disabilities. They cover nine counties and most of their services are free to the public.
  The resources and support they provide include durable medical equipment, home modifications, ramps or relocation expenses, assistive technology, job and skills training, and so much more.
  “We are different from other disability agencies because 51 percent of our staff and board members are people living with disabilities,” Dion said. “We really believe in the peer philosophy of who better to teach someone how to live independently than a person with disability who lives independently.”
  “Roads to Freedom provides services, programs, support and resources to over 400 individuals living with disabilities. We cover nine counties and most of our services are free to public,” Dion added.
  In addition to the basketball there will be a craft/vendor show, basket raffle, games of chance and more. So come out and see these impressive wheelchair athletes and help support a worthy cause as well.

South Williamsport Students Raise Funds for Cancer Patient Care Bags

Students participating in the Key Club at South Williamsport Jr./Sr. High School recently raised funds used to purchase Tricia’s Totes, care totes for patients at UPMC Susquehanna’s Cancer Center at Divine Providence Hospital. 
  The reusable totes are filled with products for use during cancer treatments including warm socks, soft blankets, snacks and more. Tricia’s Totes owner Tricia Corbin, a breast cancer survivor who received treatment at the UPMC Susquehanna Cancer Center at Divine Providence Hospital, creates each tote individually to help others during their cancer journey.

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