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    Krystal’s Story

    I have been meeting inspirational young women since I began doing some writing for Peggy and Bob Christianson, founders of Ray of Hope.  This week I met Krystal, a young woman who works at an assisted living organization in Flathead Valley.  While currently working as a CNA, she has plans to get her G.E.D., then continue her education to become a registered nurse.  Krystal typifies how Peggy and Bob give a "hand up, not a hand out," enabling hard working people to continue to pursue their dreams, and to become contributing members of our Valley. 
    Krystal's story is an inspiration because she never gives up, working, raising her children, helping her Gramma who has Lupus.  Krystal is 24, the "youngest of 3 living children out of 8 pregnancies my mom had."  She stated calmly, "My dad died when I was 3 – then my dad's dad stepped in, but died when I was 14.  We were told he died in his sleep – years later we learned that he committed suicide."     She continued, "I met the Lord in Whitefish when I was six years old - I remember having ash put on my forehead."  She recalled getting her first Bible from the youth group in Pablo, at Church of the Nazarene, and frankly admitted that "Gramma 'forced' me to go at first, but then I began going myself."  She stated, "After turning 14, I lost all my friends when we moved to Fort Benton, and I felt closer to God outside than in a church.  I had to miss school to take care of my older siblings' kids, so didn't finish high school.
    "I was 16 when I had my first child – she is nine years old now, and I have a seven year old and eight month old.  My kids' dad and I have been together since I was 15, and we just keep trying to work out our relationship.  We have separated a couple times, and are separated now.  He helps with the kids while I work, and he also works all the time he's not with the kids.  Thankfully, we own our trailer, so all we owe is lot rent and utilities."    
    She continued, "I found a church home again when I moved back to Columbia Falls in June.   A friend who attends Crossroads Church asked me to go on Wednesday night and we have attended there ever since – the children are so happy to go there – they want to be there.  My husband does not understand this yet – I have to be around people who know God.   
    Last year I asked Peggy's help when I learned I was loosing one of the twins I was carrying and had to cut back at work.  She had helped my brother-in-law, and she helped a friend with baby clothes and a bed.   She offered to help me with baby clothes, diapers and food, and offered to pay our electric bill when we couldn't.  She helped me get through losing one of my twin babies when I was just eleven weeks along, and assured me that if I need help of any kind she will be there for me.  Peggy had my family 'adopted' by another family for Christmas last year and again this year so my kids will have Christmas presents.  
    I am not the only person who needs help out there – single mothers have it hard, so if you see how Ray of Hope does help others, maybe you will step up and give to Ray of Hope.  Peggy helps others, and I feel God wanted me to tell what Peggy has done for me."