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Sunday, September 2, 2001 about 4:45 pm

From: Marie Ann O'Hara
Bolivar, MO

To: Pastor Dr. Ray Leininger
Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Bolivar
Trustee of Southwest Baptist University
Fax: (417)-326-4706

Dear Pastor Leininger,

As I prayed this afternoon, the Lord laid on my heart the realization that
unless you truly understand, understand with your whole heart and spirit,
this process will not provide the freedom to build from a firm foundation
and bear good fruit.

If the foundation be unstable, how can the structure be sound? If the seed
be tainted, how will the fruit be good?

If you refuse me (or even offer me) assistance because you hope to
achieve some advantage over me or to gain from the transaction, how
can this truly be of or from God?

I ask you to reconsider my request for assistance with my electrical bill,
not as means of manipulating you, but I ask that this be given as a gift
and a seed to honor God -- a gift to free us all from the cycle of hostility,
suspicion, and greed which has enslaved us, a seed to provide for future
growth and fruit.

During the last election, John Ashcroft was defeated by a man who had
died tragically only weeks before, by a man who was not even alive.

The appointment of his widow, Jean Carnahan, was certainly anomalous:
I believe it was, in fact, probably illegal, but John Ashcroft saw beyond
the letter of the law to the Truth of the Law.

The people, he said, had spoken and had elected as the junior senator
from Missouri Mel Carnahan's widow, who so tenderly and publicly
grieved the loss of her soulmate.

Valiantly, graciously, with eyes filled with tears of compassion, John
Ashcroft stepped aside and did not contest the election.

In that beneficent act, he proved his character in a way that could not
have been proven with all the combined speeches of his political life.

He move beyond politics. He became more than a mere man, he became
a representative of the saving, loving, magnificent grace of God.

... And a cynical nation, still in the heat and contention of the presidential
election, paused, and smiled, and saw God ... if only in a brief news clip.

As he stood on the podium making his concession speech, John Ashcroft
did not know it, but God would use this sacrifice to free him, to build a
firm foundation, and to plant the seeds of a new a future -- a future for
the soon-to-be Attorney General of the United States, John Ashcroft.

We do not always understand the purpose or reasons we are asked to
make sacrifices or concessions, but we can know that, if God be in the
action, the deed will always bear good fruit to the glory of God.

I ask again for your assistance.

Thank you,

Marie Ann O'Hara

Dr. Leininger has not responded ...

A Second (Previous) Letter to Dr. Ray Leininger,
Pastor of First Baptist Church of Bolivar