Hello again. Emboldened by Mike's request that different ones write about
what and how they're doing now, I will take a chance that this is not a
total act of vanity that leaves everyone saying "obviously Dave thinks it
important that everybody knows all about HIM." Maybe it will encourage
someone else who hasn't yet written to say "If he can put this drivel on
the site, I guess I can write a testimony too." I started to write a
"part two" picking up where I left off part one: leaving cobu, but I
realized that God has done so much in my life that it would take forever
to get to the present. So I'm going to copy Mike again and start with
where Vilma and I are at now, then maybe go back and fill in how we got
there some other time.

We have been married for almost ten years (10th anniversary August 26
1999) and live in Groton Connecticut where we have our own version of a
lamb house. We have two children born to us (ages just-turned-three and
going-on-eight), five who are my brother's kids that we moved up here to
Connecticut to take various degrees of custody of (ages 10 thru 19), and
one going-on-19-year-old who is the best friend of my brother's 19'er
since kindergarten who lives with us because of a bad home situation and
is due to give birth any day now (as of writing, Dec.20, 1998). Is that a
run-on sentence or what?

I am an optician, I have a New York State license and national
certification, though I don't have my Connecticut license yet because I
have to learn a lot more about contact lenses first. I have a B.A. in
history from UConn. I had most of the credits I needed from before I
finally moved in, and finished just recently up by taking the last four
courses I needed at night, one at a time, with the encouragement and help
of my family. I graduated with a bunch of kids half my age, including Jen
Rizzotti, the hero(ine) of the '95 women's basketball championship.
(Anyone from Tennessee out there? Take that!)

Vilma has her hands full with the house and the kids, but still finds
time to cook every third Thursday at the "soup kitchen" at our church
(They never had such good rice). She is also involved in the Weigh Down
Workshop (you may have seen its originator, Gwen Shamblin on 20/20 and
Larry King lately) It's more about getting closer to Jesus than about
losing weight, but she has lost 40 pounds on it and looks more beautiful
than ever. Though Vilma likes to read this web page, she's not much into
writing on it; she leaves that up to me. But she loves getting and
sending e-mail, so any of you who know her, consider that an invitation.

We go to a terriffic church here. It has a good balance of solid
grounding in the Word of God and freedom for the Holy Spirit to move. In
many ways it is like what cobu was supposed to be: seeking to be obedient
only to the Word and the Spirit. Have I made it sound like it's perfect?
Well, far from it, but so am I. We like it anyway, and we have received a
lot of healing there.

Vilma and I are both on the ministry team, praying with, and for, people
who come down to the alter. Like at Times Square Church, which many of
you are familiar with, and other churches "moving in renewal" the alter
calls are not just for salvation, strictly speaking, but for whatever the
need: deliverance, getting set free from bondage, for healing: physical,
emotional, and spiritual. Jesus does all things well.

The Lord is aparently moving us in two related directions at once: a home
for troubled teenage girls and a more general counseling ministry. We
have some excellent mentors in counseling in Russell and Nancy Lietch who
come to our church one day a week to do individual counseling during the
day and a class for care-group leaders in the evening. Being the basket
cases that we are, Vilma and I have received much counseling, and learned
a lot. Much of what I have been coming from in my letters to this site is
the principles that I have been learning from the Lietches and from
others from whom they have learned.

I have an accountability partner (besides Vilma) who I love dearly, and
with whom I can talk about anything. At several of the churches of which
we have been members, I have come to know and love brothers in the Lord
who are into loving one another, not manipulating one another as we were
taught to do. The word  "accountability" thereby lost the terror that it
held for me.

I'll close with an update, it's now Jan 3 and Eliena's baby was born Dec
22 at 4:44 am. Jazmyne Monique. 6lb 15oz. Mother and baby are healthy. A
new phase in our ministry begins. God bless you all, hope you had a good
CHRISTmas and New Years. Write us back, whether on the site here or at
our e-mail, which is on "the page".

Yours in Him,
Dave & Vilma Paradis