Prophetic Testimonies from TPR

It’s been a fun month for prophetic testimonies!! I’ve personally had four or five separate occasions the past few weeks of people giving me prophetic words out of the blue when I was least expecting it, and that’s not normal for me. (Yes, they were very encouraging and several of them were about the same thing!)

We’ve reached the point in our School of Supernatural Ministry semester that our students are ministering not only to each other but to staff and visitors as well. Two weeks ago, four students served 15 visitors through prophetic ministry. Some of these visitors had never even been to The Prayer Room before. They were deeply blessed to encounter the heart of God through the words of our students.

A couple came in with their son, who had a developmental disability. One student felt led to ask him, “What’s your favourite fish?” and said he saw Jesus grilling up some fish for him. It turns out, he was on a special diet and could only eat fish! The family was touched to be so known by God.

Another couple came in with a specific question on their hearts regarding a property decision. A student gave them a word about a property that was exactly what they needed to hear and brought so much peace and clarity about the situation!

Two students who were partnered together for the ministry time experienced a great flow of team ministry. Over and over, God gave one girl a picture and the other girl the interpretation. So many people were blessed by God using them both together!

My favourite recent SSM testimony was the student who came up to me outside of class and told me that she had encountered a woman who needed help with her car. She was nervous, but she obeyed the nudge of the Holy Spirit and asked the woman if she could help her, and then if she could pray for her! This is what it’s all about. We want students to encounter God in a way that it breaks the hold of fear and affects the way they live as powerful witnesses of Christ everywhere they go!

Prophetic Equipping Workshop – 65 attended!

On March 31, we did a Prophetic Equipping Workshop in place of our normal Encounter service. We had around 20 visitors on top of our usual crowd, and some of them were completely new to TPR. Andy and Jeremy taught on how to hear the voice of God and share it with others, and then everyone in the room gathered into groups of three or four and practiced prophesying over each other. My favorite stories were the people who came in skeptical, and were blown away that God would actually speak clearly to and through them!

One of our staff members brought her parents. She had been telling them for months about things that God was doing and how she was hearing His voice, but they didn’t really know how to take it seriously. When they came to our training night and started seeing accurate prophetic ministry in action, they were amazed. An SSM student gave the mom a prophetic word about yellow roses, and come to find out, she had actually been planting yellow roses just that morning!

Another young man who was not a believer came with a friend, and he actually heard the voice of God for himself for the first time! I don’t know what his history with God is, but he now knows experientially that God is real and wants a relationship with him.

The teaching from that night is available to stream or download on TPR’s Recent Messages page.

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SSM Testimonies – Healed Achilles Tendon!

L to R: Makayla, Jade, me, Rhoda, Nikki, Walter, John

We’ve completed the first half of our School of Supernatural Ministry! Our six students (yes, we lost another since my last update) have been really pressing in to hear the voice of God and to minister to each other. We’ve done several activations which involve asking God for His thoughts for each other. I’ve been so proud of their tenderness and boldness!

Earlier this month, John, one of my students who is also a fellow staff member, shared a testimony at Encounter service: “Every time I’ve walked away from the teachings I get convicted; there’s a new holy ache and burden that my voice matters, this is important… And after that, we have a ministry time, and it’s been very fruitful for me and worth it—getting to hear the Lord’s heart over me, strengthening my spirit, giving me confidence. I look forward to every class to get re-amped… it’s empowering me and I feel it throughout the week.”

The first six weeks, our Thursday night sessions were focussed on ministry training. From here on out, we will be doing “real” ministry on Thursday nights! Last week, we started slowly by prophesying over each other. Everyone received several accurate words which built on each other, and everyone was encouraged!

On Saturday, we prayed for a student’s ankle. Her Achilles tendon was in a lot of pain due to a recurring injury that had been going on for almost a year and she had been really struggling in believing that God would heal it. She hadn’t been able to walk that morning. The pain dropped as we prayed, and by the next day, her ankle had no more pain at all! Praise the Lord!

Kansas City IHOPU Recruiting Trip

Every year, IHOPU in Kansas City, where I was a student for four years, hosts an externship expo and ministry fair for their students who will be required to serve on a senior externship. Various ministries and houses of prayer come to recruit students to come spend a season serving. This was how I first got connected with The Prayer Room in 2014 and 2015.

The past several years as we’ve recruited from IHOPU, we have had 14 externs, 5 of whom stayed on staff. The same three of TPR’s senior staff (Brad, Lisa, and Caslin) go together every year, and due to a scheduling conflict, I was invited to go for Lisa this year.

It was such a special experience for me to travel with Brad and Caslin to represent The Prayer Room at IHOPU. I remember well what it felt like to be a student hearing from so many different ministries and praying about where I should go. The TPR team was amazing at reaching out and getting to know me then, and the opportunity to do the same for the next generation of students was an incredible honour.

We drove 9 hours to KC on February 8, and arrived at the home of our dear friends and TPR-to-IHOPKC transplants Andrew and Lauren Meek. The next day was the expo and ministry fair. Brad was given five minutes to give a short presentation about The Prayer Room at the expo. He shared his testimony of how in 2005 he had been a missionary in Africa getting kidnapped by crime lords and seeing Muslims get saved, and then God abruptly called him back to Texas and soon after gave him the most clear and dramatic word of his life: “Start a daily prayer meeting tomorrow morning at 5am and don’t stop until I come back.” And thus TPR was born as a daily 5am living room prayer meeting that over the years has grown into our own building with live prayer and worship 18 hours a day, 7 days a week.

We were one of the last presentations, so the students’ attention was starting to drift, but the story had them gripped. We got to talk to dozens of them afterward at the ministry fair, and we tried to set up coffee meetings with them all. The next day we had close to 20 coffee meetings with students every 30 minutes.

We made several great connections and look forward to keeping in touch with these students as they consider their futures. Please pray with us that God would lead some of them to extern and/or serve long-term at The Prayer Room!

Our table at the ministry fair

Clockwise from top left: Caslin, Whitney (TPR’s first extern, now a missionary in Hong Kong), Brad, and me

2017 Highlight Video

Happy 2018, friends! It’s been quite the busy holiday season… and when I got home from California and Kansas City, I was immediately hit with preparations for The Prayer Room’s School of Supernatural Ministry! Now that it has officially launched on January 20, I can catch my breath and catch up on some blog posts.

The first thing I want to share with you is my highlight video from 2017! When I went home for Christmas, I hosted an open house for some of my friends and partners, and I shared with them this video. I’m delighted to be able to finally share it with you!

Update: I’ve Joined Senior Staff at The Prayer Room!

Commissioning into senior staff on December 2 – video below

Here’s kind of a cool life update for you. A few weeks ago, I accepted an invitation to join senior staff at The Prayer Room!

Senior staff is the leadership team of The Prayer Room, made up of three men and three women (including me). We meet every Tuesday and address all the issues of building the house of prayer. It’s a close-knit team that shares the weight of leadership in many ways. When big decisions must be made, it’s the senior staff who pray and discuss until we come to a consensus.

Each of the senior staff is over a different division within the ministry. I will be keeping my existing role as head of the Forerunner Equipping Center, which is all of our internships and training programs. It makes SO much sense for the head of FEC to be part of senior staff, since FEC is such a big part of our vision.

Starfleet vessels have a senior staff… sometimes, commanding officers even dress up as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle characters.

When I was invited to a senior staff meeting a few weeks ago and given this invitation, it was a big shock to me. The team was very encouraging and called out many leadership-worthy qualities in me, even as they warned me of the weight and difficulty of being on senior staff, spiritually even more than administratively. They each could tell stories of the spiritual attack that has been connected to their role on senior staff.

I took a week to pray about it, and God was faithful and gracious to give me a confirming peace about the decision. For me, it was a decision based on faith and obedience. I realised that every reason to say no was fear-based – fear of the pressure, fear of attack, fear of my own inadequacy. Eventually, I agreed with the team that this was something God was calling me into, and I signed Him a blank check to my life a long time ago.

One of the things that helped encourage me in this process was the song Looking for One by Jake Hamilton (click for youtube). This has been one of my favourites of his for a number of years, but the chorus came back to me while I was leading worship, and I was able to find chords on my phone and play it right then and there.

Looking for One by Jake Hamilton

You’re looking for one
Who can hear Your heart beat
Who can feel when You lead
And the time and the season
You’re looking for one
Who will stand in the gap
Who will never look back
Finds Your heart in their freedom
You’re looking for one

You choose the broken
You choose the weak
You favor the humble
You raise up the meek
Blessed are those
Who are found poor in spirit
For there is the kingdom
It’s so hard to hear it
You don’t shy away
From the foolish and fumbling
You’re able to raise up
The tired and stumbling
And just when we think
That our work is all done
I hear Your heart

You’re looking for one

He’s not asking me to be superbly awesome. He’s just asking me to say yes when He leads and not look back. He chooses the weak, He favours the humble, and He isn’t afraid to use me even when I’m foolish and fumbling.

On Saturday, December 2, I was formally commissioned into senior staff at The Prayer Room. Brad Stroup, our director, said some encouraging things, solemnly charged me with 1 Timothy 3:1-7 (the biblical qualifications for eldership), and prayed for me.

The video is below, and I made sure it has accurate captions which you can turn on if you want/need them.

TPR Staff Retreat 2017!

The annual The Prayer Room staff retreat is our highlight of the year. We rent a huge house on a beautiful property about an hour away in Rainbow, TX, and we spend the weekend playing games, vision casting/discussing, and generally enjoying each other’s company. One of the beautiful strengths of TPR is the close-knit family feel of the community, and the annual staff retreat is a big part of fostering that. This was my third staff retreat in a row! (Check out 2015 and 2016.)

During our living room sessions, we discussed taking ourselves seriously as a house of prayer before the Lord and how rare and precious it is that He has given us the grace to sustain daily prayer for 12 years! As of last month, we passed 45,000 hours total of live prayer since our inception in 2005! That’s a culmination of five years of incense arising from our prayer room!

One discussion that really provoked and excited me was our Saturday night talk about what we could each do to make The Prayer Room better 1% at a time. We dreamed together and then made action plans to establish those plans. “What can we do to get the cords behind the sound booth more out of the way?” “I know a way to do that. Done.” “What else could we do to recruit worship leaders?” “We could make small flyers to put on our welcome desk directing people to our website.” “I can design and print some up. Done.” We talked about stepping it up, individually and as a staff, to be more proactive about our responsibilities and “raise the water level” of prayer and worship engagement in our prayer room. At the end of the day, all the clever admin solutions we come up with are about strengthening the atmosphere of prayer and worship that happens 18 hours a day in our prayer room.

I love this staff so much and am so grateful that I get to build the house of prayer with such a family!

Livermore Update

On October 31, we finally finished selling the house on Livermore Dr. that has served as our dorm for the past several years! Originally, this house was purchased to be the prayer room when the meetings outgrew Brad’s living room. When we moved into a storefront space on Pioneer Pkwy., Livermore became remodeled as a guys’ side/girls’ side dorm building. This is where I lived in 2015 on my externship. The house has some significant structural issues and we were losing money on it for months, and we’re so glad to turn the keys over to someone who can turn it into something useful to them so we can move on to a better dorm situation.

Now, we’re looking for one or more duplexes (or even a fourplex, if we can find one) where we can house externs, interns, staff, and guest speakers as needed. I was asked to move in as house manager, and after weeks of prayer and consideration, I said yes. It will be much cheaper rent and it will be an opportunity to live with and serve other staff (my current roommates both left staff to go back to school earlier this year). I’m praying that the dorm would be a consecrated place where we can provoke each other in love and pursue Jesus together. It’s going to be an exciting transition!

What I’m Praying: Refreshing

Continuing my What I’m Praying series…

The past few weeks, TPR has been focussed on praying for a time of deep refreshing to come to our community. This has been our rapid fire topic at the end of every set. To be honest, it’s been an exhausting year. Many people feel a bit dry and dull and just soul-weary. We need a good strong “time of refreshing” (Acts 3:20) from the Lord to revive our hearts. Living dry is no fun.

It’s true that most of life is lived in the mundane. Most of the time, we’re neither on the mountaintop nor in the depths of despair; rather, we’re sort of on the plateau of daily walking out life with God, trying to stay obedient and faithful no matter how we’re feeling.

But we don’t want to just be okay with not encountering God.

We’re asking God for a season of refreshing, that as individuals and as a community we would receive an increased touch of the Holy Spirit.

This past week, I believe we’ve started to see glimpses of that. On Saturday night, Brad was called last minute to attend a meeting, so instead of him continuing our teaching series, our weekly Encounter service became a prayer meeting with extended worship for exactly this topic of refreshing. We asked God to move in signs and wonders and to refresh us with an increased manifestation of His presence. The corporate nature of that prayer meeting, with all of us in the room joined with fervor and unity, and the worship team’s excellent prophetic leadership, definitely brought refreshing to our hearts. With the leanness of our 18/7 schedule right now, we’re not able to have those experiences together very often.

Also, on Sunday night a prayer group from a local Messianic congregation visited the prayer room. Almost 30 ladies joined us for an hour or so, and God really moved among them. Our worship leader felt a strong prophetic nudge to spontaneously lead a ministry time from the prayer mic (don’t worry, the usher took his seat so the stage wasn’t empty) and give a call for anyone who felt called to missions. The room was deeply touched and many responded. That kind of move of the Spirit is the kind of thing we’re praying to see more of.

Please join us in praying that God would refresh us with a fresh wave of His Spirit!

God, thank You for Your presence here – please increase our experience of Your presence. Open the heavens and send another wave of Your Spirit to refresh, awaken, and revive us. We’re crying out for fresh fire. Meet us in our hunger as You’ve promised.

What I’m Reading: Nazirite DNA

About seven or eight years ago when I was a student at APU, I came across a little booklet someone had left to share in the student prayer chapel. It was Nazirite DNA by Lou Engle, and I read it over and over and copied my favourite quotes into my journal. That little 37-page book stirred a fire in me to be wholly abandoned to God.

A few months ago, I purchased a copy to add to The Prayer Room‘s library, because this message of consecration is sooooo crucial to the prayer movement and the forerunner ministry. I’ve been reading and loving it all over again.

Nazirite DNA, $5 on Kindle

In Numbers 6:1-21, immediately preceding the Aaronic blessing, the invitation was given for anyone in the community to consecrate themselves to the Lord as a Nazirite.

In the Old Testament, only men from the tribe of Levi could be priests. The whole nation was called to be a kingdom of priests, but only the Levites were given the special privilege of living out lives completely absorbed in the vocation of jealously guarding the purity and administration of the worship of God. However, in the Nazirite vow, God opened the door to anyone, male or female, from any tribe, who longed to be as radical in devotion and near to God as the priests were. The only qualification was to have a heart that intensely desired it…Nazirites spontaneously, joyfully, and willingly apropriated the priestly separation and and condition of life because of an inward working of the Spirit’s grace.
–Nazirite DNA, page 10

Nazirites took three key vows:

  1. Abstain from wine and all grape-derived foods
  2. Abstain from cutting their hair
  3. Abstain from going near a dead body, even that of a family member

Lou Engle interprets these three vows in a modern context as being about 1) choosing to fast from certain permissible pleasures in pursuit of God as the greatest pleasure, 2) be willing to be radically and noticeably set apart from the culture, and 3) avoiding the defilement of anything that would lead to spiritual death.

God always responds to those who earnestly seek Him. Abandoned devotion to Him that chooses JESUS over everything else pulls on the strings of His heart and draws His presence close in a unique way. He moves dramatically in response to the cries of His people, and He’s shown us that a fasted lifestyle is a way to strengthen those cries.

In my own life, I know I so easily get sucked into the vortex of “lesser pleasures”–I love my Netflix and Nutella a little too much most days, and those things tend to dampen my hunger for God by making me believe I have all I need in the pleasures of this world. When I set myself apart from these things and focus all of my energy on seeking God, my hunger for Jesus comes roaring back to the surface.

It’s like I want to eat healthy but fill up on ice cream and potato chips every day. By the end of the day, I don’t really have an appetite for grilled chicken and veggies, even though I know they’re so much more satisfying. I have to actually make radical changes in my diet to enjoy my healthy food to the fullest and reap the benefit of it.

God changes history through people with a Nazirite-like consecration. He is looking for those who would be willing to be wholly set apart for Him–people to whom He can entrust the burdens of His heart and who will be in it for the long haul with Him until His dreams are fulfilled.

God, raise up a generation hungry for You above all else, who will forsake lesser pleasures in order to throw themselves into pursuit of You and partnership with Your dreams.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book for anyone desiring more of God, or desiring to desire more of God. If you’re local to The Prayer Room, you can stop by and borrow our copy to read in the prayer room. Otherwise, you can get it for $5 on Kindle (and no, you don’t have to have an actual Kindle to read it – there’s a smartphone app as well as a way to read ebooks online or on your computer) or you can order a physical copy for $5 from The Call. At one point there was an audiobook read by Lou Engle, but I can’t find it anymore (and no, the mp3 on TheCall.com is a sermon, not an audiobook) so if anyone finds it or has it, let me know!

What I’m Praying: Global Bridegroom Fast

I’ve never blogged on fasting before, because I’ve wanted to be careful about the way I’m honoring Matthew 5:16-18. But this is important, and it is something that’s currently happening in our community, so if it can be an encouragement to anyone, here you go.

When I was at IHOPKC, I was introduced to something called the Global Bridegroom Fast. The Global Bridegroom Fast is a monthly three-day fast, the first Monday through Wednesday of every month, that the house of prayer sets aside as a community to pursue Jesus through fasting. I remember there being a real sense of unity and spiritual hunger as we intentionally refocussed on what this is all about.

We call it a “bridegroom” fast because of what Jesus told the disciples of John the Baptist when they asked why He and his disciples weren’t fasting:

And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” (Matthew 9:15)

Jesus tied fasting to longing for His presence and for His return. In this type of fast, we’re primarily asking God to renew and stir up love for Jesus in our hearts and to refocus our hearts on longing for His return, what Titus 2:13 calls our “blessed hope”.

At The Prayer Room, we also value a lifestyle of fasting, since it was one of the primary aspects of godly life that Jesus identified in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:16-18) as well as being a key component of seeking God’s mercy on a people (eg Joel 2:12). For years, we’ve devoted ourselves to weekly fasting, and many of us made Thursday our staff fasting day. Recently, however, we’ve felt God leading us to switch it up and join in with IHOPKC, and in fact hundreds of other houses of prayer and communities around the world, in the monthly Global Bridegroom Fast. So from now on, rather that encouraging our community to participate in a weekly fasting day, we’re encouraging everyone to join in this monthly Global Bridegroom Fast!

Personally, I hate fasting. I can preach a good sermon on why it’s important, and I really do believe it, but in my flesh I can make a thousand excuses to deny myself as little as possible. (“Maybe I just won’t eat meat…between the hours of 12pm and 4pm…”) Having the whole community going hard together, and knowing that it’s only once a month, has so far been very helpful to me. And even though my flesh hates it, every single time I fast, God gives me grace to go without food longer than my metabolism could ordinarily bear.

I find that the hunger pains of fasting serve as a constant reminder to refocus on God. Every time I feel a pinch and fantasize about a big sandwich or plate of pasta, it’s an opportunity to say NO to my flesh and YES to God. It doesn’t earn anything from God, but it positions me to encounter Him because I am forcing myself to be serious about reaching for Him. It trains my flesh in the art of self-denial, which is a necessary discipline in every aspect of Christian life. And somehow, in the economy of the Kingdom, God really does respond to fasting. I can’t fully explain how or why, but He does.

For myself, I have a few rules about fasting:

  1. I must set the parameters of the fast at least the day before. If I try to decide when I wake up how I’m going to fast, my flesh will be way louder than my spirit.
  2. I’m not allowed to alter the parameters in the middle of a fast unless I’m actually close to passing out or throwing up and I feel God giving me permission. Even then, a small snack is enough.
  3. The other exception is if fasting would disrupt an important social event, like the time my mom wanted to celebrate a family birthday on my fasting day and saying no would have been hurtful. Also, when I used to choose my weekly fasting day, I would make sure to schedule it on a day I didn’t expect eating to be a social event (ie, weekly small group).
  4. I do try not to make a big deal of it and carry on my life as usual, but especially since we’re in a community where fasting is normal, talking about it isn’t exactly taboo.
  5. Most importantly, I have to actually spend focussed time in prayer that day.

It’s important to remember that fasting is NOT meant to be a vehicle for condemnation and guilt. Fasting is spiritual violence, and it’s hard, and we all fail from time to time. BUT we find that we’re able to stay steadier the more months and years we make this a lifestyle! When we fail, we immediately sign back up and keep going. Just like one sexual mistake isn’t permission to consider your purity ruined and dive headfirst into more sexual sin, eating during a fast doesn’t mean that you’re a horrible person and trying to fast is a waste. Just sign back up and keep going!

Also, it’s helpful to know that although a lifestyle of fasting WILL lead you into more encounter with God than never fasting, there is no timeline or measuring stick for what that looks like. Many people don’t experience anything extraordinary during a fast, but they will right after. Often it’s hard to discern any fruit even after months. My advice is not to evaluate the fruit of fasting for at least a year. Some people say five or ten years. Make it a lifestyle, and eventually, in small ways or big ways, God WILL respond in greater measure than He would have otherwise.

Fasting gets our flesh involved in our spiritual longing for God. It positions us to receive more from Him by clearing out some of the cobwebs in our hearts. By becoming more in tune with our longing for God, we catch a glimpse into His longing for us! Jesus has been waiting 2000 years, or really since the Garden, to come be fully, finally united with us. It’s His great consuming desire. If He carries that ache, then I want to carry it too, and fasting helps me do that.

I invite you to join us in this monthly Global Bridegroom Fast! If you think this sounds like a good idea, set a reminder on your phone right now. You could instead (or also!) choose a weekly personal fasting day. (IHOPKC staff fasts on Tuesdays in addition to the monthly three-day fast.)

As you embark on the adventure of fasting, know that even though your flesh will hate you for it, Jesus is so delighted! He is smiling on us as we choose to seek Him. And He doesn’t stop smiling when we mess up… He LOVES when we keep stumbling toward Him, though we fall a thousand times. So let’s keep stumbling forward in confidence in His love, believing that He is the prize worth any cost.

Summer Fun and a Testimony!!

July has been a fun month for me. I spent Independence Day at a pool party/BBQ with several families with young kids. On Saturday, July 8, several of us went on our annual TPR Community Trip. We took a day trip down to the Austin area to go tubing on the San Marcos River, swim in a natural water hole called Blue Hole, and get pizza and coffee in the city. The river was GORGEOUS with perfect 90 degree weather!

The next day, July 9, I spent my 27th birthday section leading (managing/overseeing) the prayer room from 5am-11am, then finished the day with church and teacher equipping group. Three Sundays out of the month, all of the teaching staff at The Prayer Room get together at Brad’s house to study and discuss certain topics so that we can get more clarity and grounding for future teachings. So even though my birthday itself wasn’t extravagantly commemorated, I loved spending it with close friends at the prayer room and at church, and felt very much loved and celebrated.

TESTIMONY TIME!!

Last week, Joshua, one of our interns/worship leaders/staff members, shared this incredible testimony (he’s from Yorkshire, so enjoy the British-isms!).

During my worship set tonight God gave me prophecy about a lad who came in. God began to break things off of him… He had once said a prayer, then lived a life contrary to his words… He felt a need to come to a house of prayer…

Afterwards we spoke and… he said he could feel presence of God. I had several words of knowledge about his life and God gave me the number of his birthday.

He repented and renounced several things and right there he gave his life to Jesus! Confessed about having cigarettes, which Holy Spirit had already showed me he had…

Went to his vehicle to get them and threw them in skip outside TPR. Asked him about following his commitment with baptism to which he adamantly wanted to do. Went to Lincoln Square fountain that we have used before for baptisms. He went under, joined with Jesus’ death and raised to new life speaking in new tongues! Praise You and thank You, Jesus!

New Rapid Fire Prayer Topic

At the end of every set, everyone in the room lines up at the mic to pray short “rapid fire” prayers on a certain topic, usually related to something happening within the ministry. The past few weeks, as I shared before, our topic was for finances for a new A/C for our upstairs preschool room. That process has progressed, and WE GOT THE MONEY WE NEEDED, PRAISE GOD! Now, our topic is:

Praying for the workers we are hiring to fix the upstairs A/C units to be able to make the needed repairs for a reasonable amount and to get them up and running quickly.

We need inexpensive, clever solutions and discounts on units that won’t fall apart. Please pray with us for wisdom and favor as we get these units installed!

God, thank you for Your provision! Please finish what You started, have Your hand on the workers, and give us favor in the repair/installation process!

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