A dream fulfilled is only the beginning: this is MY beginning

This past week saw the payoff of two years worth of work, time, effort, and a piercing desire to see a dream fulfilled. The book I’ve been writing has seen the ink of pages.

Yes, 12 Jars: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life has been published!

Elisa 12 Jars photoWhile I do want to discuss some of the things the book contains you may find intriguing, this post will feature my “why” behind what I have written.

This book being published is just the beginning. At one time I thought having it published would be the realization of the dream. What I’ve come to find is there is no end to it. There is lots of work to be done to get it in the hands of people who want or need to be inspired and moved. This process is not for me, but for what God intended for me.

Here are a few reasons where I find myself at this time:

1. I am living my purpose; my calling if you will. Call it encouragement, inspiration, invigoration… whatever you want. My spiritual gift is exhortation. This is where one works to help those who falter in their faith or wallow in the results of sin or poor choices. Those with this gift strengthen and encourage others in their faith.

They can also challenge or refute others while at the same time lifting up and galvanizing them in order to foster spiritual growth and action. The goal of the encourager is to see everyone who calls themselves a Christ-follower “make disciples of nations” and glorify God. This book is a tool of encouragement to live a life worthy of your calling, to leave a legacy greater than your lifespan.

2. This project has been spirit-inspired – from the concept to the words on the pages. And not just this book. All other projects I’ve been working on including intentional conversations, speaking engagements, and several others projects .

And why is this divinely inspired? Because my prayers are being answered. I have come to a crossroads in my faith – where you are riding the fence or over it and running free. I’m free. And I’m running hard and fast.

3. This book ushers in the next era of my personal, professional, and most importantly, spiritual development. This represents opportunity for speaking engagements with meaningful conversations, relationship building, and honoring my purpose.

4. I want to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. To follow in footsteps this big or any for that matter, the first step is always a leap of faith. Faith is believing in the things we can’t see. Unless they are in sand, wet concrete, or mud, footsteps are unseen. But that doesn’t mean a path has not been walked before us. Lift your foot, believe you will come down on solid ground, and take a step. Then another… and another.

With that said, if you would be interested in purchasing a copy or have me speak, let me know. I’m ready to begin sharing my message of impact, love, and legacy. My site will be ready soon, but until then:

I named this post “A dream fulfilled is only the beginning: this is MY beginning.” What is YOUR beginning? Are you working toward the realization of a dream that will take you to a higher level? Or are you stuck living in a fantasy that gets you through the day?

A hard worker has plenty of food,
but a person who chases fantasies has no sense.

– Proverbs 12:11

Trey Campbell: tcampbell@southwestern.com
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Friends of fiberglass and iron

As we mature with age, we begin to realize how popularity fades, but true friends brighten our lives. True friends enhance us in a way that makes us rival the stars.

In the fourth and fifth grade age group I volunteer with at church, we talked about friendships. As we talked about making the right friends and what to look for in the friends you choose to have, it got me thinking about the extremes of friendship.

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
– Proverbs 27:17

Smooth words may hide a wicked heart, just as a pretty glaze covers a clay pot.
– Proverbs 26:23

On one hand, you have a your friend who is iron – they sharpen you, and you them. They are there for you in thick and thin and you for them. There is a mutual respect and continual line of encouragement. These are the friends who will cry with you, laugh with you, cry laughing, and laugh at you crying. They are true.

On the other, you have you fiberglass friendships. These are the ones that break easy at the first sign of turmoil, drama, or hardship. They cut and run or go into hiding and you don’t see them until the air clears. As Proverbs 26:23 says, don’t be fooled by those who aren’t true.

“Beware: Friends of iron will buy you lunch. Your fiberglass friends will eat your lunch.”

friendsThe fact is we all have friends who are just not very good friends. And sometimes, we may be that person to our friends. Choose your friends wisely or they will steer you on the wrong path – a path of destruction. Sadly, it’s the fiberglass friends who keep us from being the person God wants us to be.

There’s friends for all seasons of our lives – from tragedies to celebrations and everything in between. Make sure you seek out the sturdy, sharpening iron friends rather than the fragile fiberglass friends who come and go.

Trey Campbell, tcampbell@southwestern.com
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Photo credit: Evelyn Mostrom, Unsplash.com

Rise up shepherd boy!

Little boys (and girls too!) often don a cape and mask and engage in acting out their imaginative fantasies of being a hero. As adults, we still have those fantasies, though most of the time without the full costume. (Well, most of the time…)

hero igor-ovsyannykov-225463As an adult, you don’t have to have super powers, a costume, and secret identity to be a hero. In fact, heroes come in all sizes, shapes, races, cultures, and however else you want to subdivide our species. However, a dual-commonality between heroes of Hollywood or comic book fame and real-life is they have unexpected beginnings and are more about heart than strength. A real hero is not defined by how much they can bench press or how fast they are. They are defined by their actions. They are defined by their heart.

And that’s where I would like to take us now.

Do you remember the infamous story in the Bible where David fought Goliath? This was not only epic, it was God-ordained. How was it not? After all, who, in their right mind, would let a “beardless” shepherd boy with no formal warrior training, go toe-to-toe with the largest, fiercest Philistine?

This was just the beginning of an epic calling God had for young David. As a shepherd, David would fend off attacks on his flock by predatory animals by using a club or a sling and stones. He was not armed in any other fashion other than the staff he would use to reach and catch sheep and a club. Slaying a lion and bear to protect his flock was, in his mind, all in a day’s work.

I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God!
– 1 Samuel 17:36

You see, David’s secret weapon was being underestimated. His ultimate weapon was not the sling and stones, but rather the favor of God through his faith. We all have access to this favor. Though our purpose may not be to slay a giant, it is to slay the things in our lives that represent the giants.

Whatever went through King Saul’s mind to let David fight the giant is beyond me. But he consented because David’s faith won him over.

Are you like that shepherd boy? We all want to be. We want to be somebody. We want to be the hero. The only problem is, we can’t be the hero if we are not willing to rise up and accept the favor God has for us! We need to be willing to heed God’s calling for our life.

What are the giants in your life that need a stone between the eyes?
How will you fight those giants? And with what?
Will you run quickly to your giants as David did?
Will you embrace victory or fall to defeat?

Heroes are not born, they rise to the occasion. Out of a renewed resolution to be of great faith, a hero is born. Rise up and be the person God made you to be!

Photo Credit: Igor Ovsyannykov, Unsplash.com

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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Make this new year not about resolutions, but redemptions

2018flipcalendar

Bring on 2018!

I believe this to be the last minute rally cry for many of us as we move into the new year. After all, to many the new year represents new starts, a new you.

People typically make resolutions because they are looking for one of three things: growth, change, or an escape. The reality is a resolution is really just a fancy way of making a promise to yourself to enact the specific transformation required in order to see the result of your desire. A common example is if someone wants to lose weight, they may make a resolution to get fit by hitting the gym more.

As I’ve blogged before, I don’t really do resolutions. I believe we should be making an effort each day for improvement. I don’t need a change in the calendar to designate the start of promises I may or may not keep.  I do, however, respect those who have a resolve for something different in the upcoming year. You see, for a lot of you out there, this represents hope. For many people I know, 2017 was an absolute dumpster fire of a year. 

And if that was the case for you, I offer this advice: rather than get bogged down in resolutions, seek redemption. Redemption is the atoning for a fault or mistake. It’s being rescued, perhaps delivered from whatever chains bind you. It’s like a pay-off of sorts – an emancipation or acquittal of the past year. What I’m suggesting is putting in motion a different perspective of the age-old resolution pledges for the new year. Rather than resolving to do something, I wonder if it might make more sense to find redemption in the things already done?

The Greek word for “redeemed” is lytrōsis. This means verbatim “a ransoming, a deliverance, or a rescue.” Ask yourself:

  • What is it from the past year I need to be ransomed, delivered, or rescued from?
  • What was the cause of the fires in my life? The chains holding me back? The things I need to move on from?

It may be something out of your control such as the loss of a loved one or an illness. In this case, the redemptive strategy would be how you react and move forward from this point. On the flip side, what about the things that are in your control you need rescuing from – addictions, relationships, complacency? Are these things not deserving of redemption? You don’t get a clean slate just because it’s a new year. What you get is the opportunity to get better.

Personally, while2017 was not the easiest year in my lifetime, I have a lot to be grateful for – and even more to look forward to in 2018. Admittedly, however, I have more room to get better myself. For 2018, I have my first book being published – 12 Jars: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life. I will be embarking on, for lack of a better term, a “side hustle” of speaking. I will be working to impact others. This blog will be rebranded. I will have a devotional published. And these are just some of the many things in store for the new year. With all of this and more, I will also be working to find redemption in the things I am either not satisfied with or feel like I failed myself in my efforts.

One thing I know for sure: Despite all else in our lives, we are redeemed by the blood of of Jesus. So all is not lost, and all can be found. Redemption is the act of saving or being saved. Though we’ve already been saved, we manage to make a right mess of our lives. Enough of the resolutions where we say we are going to do something. Let’s move forward and be redemptive for the things we need to let go. Redemption leads to freedom. Freedom awaits you this year. Less talk, more do.

As I type this, another idea comes to mind: Maybe for some of us, instead of redemption, a better idea would be New Year’s Repentance… (but maybe that will have to wait for the 2019 New Year’s blog).

Happy New Year everyone!

The 2 sides of missions

Acclimating back to normal life after a mission trip is never the same when the Holy Spirit has been active in changing lives.

Nicaragua 1

As I washed out the dirt in my clothes and shoes from a mission trip to Nicaragua, I saw it as washing the dirt out of my life. I’m sure this is how others felt too. This is but one metaphor that symbolizes a week of intense experiences, discussions, relationships, devotions, and serious dedication to not only who we are through Christ, but who we want to be.

Since before its conception, this trip was blessed by God. It was his plan all along, when a former Southwestern Advantage student dealer and current missionary, Claire Whitcomb, had come back in my life. Months later, she contacted me about bringing a group to Masatepe, Nicaragua. This was met with enthusiasm because it had long been a desire of my personal ministry to take a group of young people on a mission. What was even better was this group included Madison, my 16-year-old daughter. I can’t think of any other better time invested in a child.

From the beginning, this trip was not to be one of “voluntourism” or something to be checked off a “Christian bucket list.” The way I see it, if the effects of your short-term help is never really felt long-term, then you have been no help at all. I appreciate the team in Nicaragua with International Teams (iTeams) mission organization. They interviewed me to make sure myself and the group I would bring down was the “right fit” with in their four-part missions strategy of ENTER > EVALUATE > ENGAGE > EXTEND.

Nicaragua 2Through this process, they are building teams both on the ground and who come to serve that are part of a long-term solution and not just a short-term feel-good experience. This community has been served well by this organization which has branched into multiple arms of blessings: a farm that is a product of many churches and pastors coming together that provides eggs (protein) for poverty-stricken children, and has orchards and pigs – this farm will also house a rehabilitation center for alcohol recovery which is the biggest problem in Masatepe; a coffee shop and company that provides jobs and makes coffee-related and leather products; and many other community projects and partnerships including a stellar internship program.

As I write this, I can hear my daughter reliving the past week’s events as she tells my wife about the people she met, those who invested in her, and what she learned. Over the course of a week, we had devotionals and worship, in-home visits with the elderly, dinner with locals, events we attended with Young Life, a Baptist school, and an Nicaragua 4organization that ministers to the children who live by the dump. We attended an inauguration for the farm in which the mayor spoke. We also helped prepare the farm for the vision the community and iTeams has for it. There were many more things that kept us busy and our spirits alive! Oh, and one of the college students was baptized in Lake Nicaragua.

Some of the best confidence builders in Christ came from the topics covered in our nightly devotionals which I can only describe as a discussion of real life problems with Biblical solutions. They were serious topics for a group of people seeking to live out their purpose and follow the Lord. It was refreshing being fed by these young people as much as I was trying to feed them.

I strongly believe in what a mission trip can accomplish on both sides. I’m familiar with When Helping Hurts and others opinions/facts on short-term missions, however, I can only buy-in with what I personally know and have experienced.

  • It must go both ways. The outcome is determined by what is accomplished and the reason it needed to be accomplished.
    • For the people going, is their perspective expanded and have they grown in their relationship with Christ? It’s not about creating memories, it’s about building a foundation of faith, becoming who you are called to be in the Lord’s Kingdom through an experience that would likely not happen without a change in venue and latitude.
    • For the locals, there needs to be a long-term vision or reason for what work or relationship building is being done. Is it to set up long-term help? Will it meet the needs after you leave? Will there be a  legacy to your trip beyond painting walls or getting pics for social media posts?
  • It is imperative to partner with an organization that “gets it” and has an existing system in place. In my experience, there are lots of mission organizations that have intentions to do great things, but may actually be doing more harm. There is good in almost every one of the orgs, but a lack of vision and execution is often the result of intentions without research.
  • Where’s the change? A successful short-term trip will have change in you, the team members you are with, the organization you may go through, and the people who you are there to reach or help. All of these must see growth for success to be measurable.

I know what we accomplished and what change was brought about in Nicaragua. That Nicaragua 3can wait for a future post, but what was told to me before we left will forever leave an impression on my heart:

“I was in a dry period, you all filled my soul.” – Jordy Vallecillo Tinoco.

This is not only change, but progress. I’ll leave you with this: the light of God shines down on those who venture into darkness for His sake.

Trey Campbell, tcampbell@southwestern.com
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Some holiday self-reflection

Merry Christmas everyone! May you and your family certainly be blessed on this fine day!

Each Christmas, I like to personally take stock in my thoughts and where they lead me dependent on where I am in my life. Coming off a tremendous Spirit-filled week on mission in Nicaragua, I had a question come to mind:

Do you have Christmas in your heart,
or Christ in your heart?

It’s fair to be curious behind my meaning. Having just returned to the U.S. from the 1000 Tips 164 holiday self reflectionsecond poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and the poorest in Central America, I see so many people who seem to be more concerned with what’s under the tree than what was in the manger. This is no indictment of Christmas as a holiday or reasons against families to get together and gorge on food and football, but it is an indictment as to the state of our priorities as Christians. After all, how many Christians will spend one hour at church and several days laying around the house in food comas and their “fat pants?”  While I am being overly dramatic in my portrayal to set up my point, in retrospect am I really that far off?

Back to the question posed above… what is the reason for the season? Or more accurately, who is the reason for the season? Is it a celebration of Jesus, our Lord being born into this world of sin to save us, or Christmas movies, gifts, and Grandma’s special Christmas cake? It can be all, and it is by no means wrong. You can have Grandma’s cake and eat it too! But, shouldn’t it be a birthday cake? Again – the true reason for the season.

I was lucky to do some home visits while in Nicaragua. These homes were not the three bedroom, two bath, two car garage, average middle class home we know in the U.S. As you drive through the country landscape of our own nation, you see dilapidated barns in better condition than many of these homes.

I’ll tell you this: despite the lack of possessions, the people I visited with reminded me of something I know, but we get numb to in the States: they had true happiness in their hearts. This December they did not have Christmas in their hearts; they had Christ in their hearts. I found I was not there to witness, but was there to be witness to a wonderful reminder that there is not anything we need other than Jesus. While reading the Bible early one morning before others in my group awoke, I found myself in the Gospel of Luke. In Chapter 9, Jesus gathered his 12 disciples and sent them out with nothing other than the clothes on their back and the shoes on their feet.

“Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them. “Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes.”
– Luke 9:3

They led a successful mission in other villages healing the sick and preaching the Good News. All they had was their focus on their faith and the belief they had all they needed through Christ. In my own life, I need to do a little better job remembering this. It’s a lesson learned from the Bible and reinforced in person on my own mission.

I had several additional reminders of this throughout the week. There was a 16-year-old named Jonathan. We were talking, along with my 16-year-old, Madison, while clearing a field on a farm. We were talking about how the age for driving in the U.S. was 16. I mentioned Madison had a car, but did not like driving very much. He was in awe she had a car. He said he had a bike, but it wasn’t even his, it was his cousin’s. It made me think of the dichotomy between our cultures. Another time we were at the dump going house to house to invite the children to an event. At the home we held the event at, the poverty was evident. I don’t need to go into details, but it made me feel guilty for having wood floors to place my feet every time I step out of bed. Shortly after, I had mentioned to Madison I had not done any holiday shopping. She looked at me and said “I really don’t care if I get anything for Christmas or not.”

With all this to say, I really wanted to point out what is in our heart determines how we live our lives and what level of importance is assigned to it. At this time of year, do you have Christmas or Christ at the center of your heart? Have Christmas on your mind and Christ in your heart. 

And with that, have a wonderful Christmas, filled with the joy of family and the love of a Savior born unto us on this day!

Trey Campbell, tcampbell@southwestern.com
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Impact is lost in anonymity

If you are silent in your sphere of influence, you are not destined for greatness, but 1000 Tips 162 anonymityrather, anonymity.

Let’s talk about anonymity for a second. The definition is “lack of outstanding, individual, or unusual features; impersonality.” It means you don’t stand out in a crowd. I’ll take it a step further and say this: it means your efforts are lackluster.

In my upcoming book, 12 Jars: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life, one of the themes is leaving a legacy of impact. No one is going to do this if they are anonymous in a crowd.

Some people are okay with this. But let me ask you this question. As uniquely, intelligently, and intricately as God designed us, do you think our purpose includes what I call the three “I”s of Obscurity – inconspicuousness, invisibility, and insignificance?

God gave us our personality and purpose to fulfill His mission. Some of us will have missions that keep us behind the scenes. While we are not served well to bring attention to ourselves, our works that are seen by others identify us as Christ followers.

Breaking the cycle of anonymity is not about being known necessarily. It’s not about being different. It’s about being great. We are made in God’s image. When you rise above mediocrity, you rise above anonymity – in your sphere and in God’s Kingdom.

1000 Tips 142 make you unique

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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3 types of leaders that will rock your socks off! Which one are you?

Take a good look at one way I define leaders. After you process the awesomeness of the graphic below (lightning bolts and all), I’ll explain what it all means!

Leadership Allignment graphic

In a nutshell:
I categorize leaders in one of three types – the strengths they lean toward: vision, people,and method.

  • Vision– They are visionaries, see the “big picture,” plan for the future
    • They set lofty goals and work to reach them
    • They ask: What? Why? When?
    • They think intangibly with the end goal in mind
    • They focus on both start and finish
    • They are action prone: shoot first/aim second
    • They follow the mission of the organization they believe will garner results
  • People– They are communicators, value input and often ask for it
    • They delegate and are team-players, which makes them effective
    • They ask: Who? Where? When?
    • They thrive in team environments, assemble teams, love group dynamics
    • Put a high emphasis on ethics/values and service to others
    • They know the pulse of an organization and its team members
    • Mutual respect is important, a two-way street
  • Method – They are the organizers, into the implementation and processes
    • They are into the numbers
    • They ask: How? When? Why?
    • They are detailed oriented, love to plan
    • They are concerned with data and deadlines
    • They are calculated in their decisions, methodical
    • Bottom line is important, but not the be-all-end-all

Those in leadership positions can be a hybrid of these three strengths but typically areLeadership Alignment Arrows more one than the other. Notice the arrows between the three types (to the right). These are key attributes shared between the two leader types.

For example: People and Method leaders place importance on “processes” that make the organization successful. Vision and Method leaders value “information” a little more that People leaders.

NOISE = Communications Barriers (static)
“Noise” are the things that get in the way of effective leadership. It serves as an interrupter of effective communication. It interferes with the Principles, Information, and Processes. Noise, an ever-present distraction, drowns out the delivery of any

transmission between groups or individuals. I’ve included it in the model above because it factors as a barrier of effective communication within the leadership process.

A few examples of noise include:

1. Lack of communication
2. Conflicting messages
3. Confusing messages
4. Too many/not enough involved
5. Different expectations
6. Poor planning
7. Organizational politics
8. No initial defining parameters (goals, ground rules)

While this is not by any means a comprehensive study of leaders and their specific styles of leadership, it’s a glimpse into how leaders lead. Most leaders are simply prone to be dominant in one of the specific strengths I’ve highlighted. Over all my years in business and working with many leaders in all aspects of life, I’ve seen how if you are able to pinpoint a specific leadership style, it makes working and communicating with the individual easier. It’s all about how to get the most out of a relationship with them.

In addition, you can apply the Leadership Alignment to yourself and see how you tend to work with others. You’re welcome!

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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Your hands never looked so good

Have you ever just looked at your hands? Hold them up in front of you. Admire them. They are surely something to marvel at. Look at how complex they are. Look at how you can independently move each finger. At how the knuckles bend at a whim. At how they were designed for grasping, emphasizing communication, and touching just to name a few of their many uses.

Look at how imperfect they are. Seldom, if never, are fingers perfectly straight. Knuckles1000 Tips 161A imperfection are definitely not the prettiest feature you have. I happen to think the beauty of imperfection is by perfect design.

It’s our finger prints that make us also unique. No one else has the same design given to us by our Creator. No one else can leave the same imprint we can on this world.

At the end, on the tips, we have these hard, protective coverings made of a protein called keratin. What a glorious invention within the miracle that is our bodies! Our fingernails are tools on tools. It’s like having your own personal, attached Swiss Army knife.

Why the big deal about hands? Our work and purpose is enhanced by our hands. One of the things you will change the world with is your two hands. But only if you use them. 

Whatever you find to do with your hands, do it with all your might,
because there is neither work nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom in the grave, the place where you will eventually go.
– Ecclesiastes 9:10

When I look at my hands, I see God-given tools that should be used with all my might. I can worship with them, serve with them, build with them, and love with them. As imperfect as they may be, they are really the perfect way to execute God’s will.

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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What’s your next move? Here’s mine.

In life, we always need to have a “next move.” It will either be all part of a plan or something spontaneous. Many times, however, whatever plan we have, it is put to the wayside because, well… sometimes our plan for us is not God’s plan for us.

My next move is something I have prayed about, shared my heart with others, and put forth a great effort. The reality is however, it is not even my move… So what’s Gods next move?

It’s the fulfillment of a long time dream. I signed a publishing contract. A book I wrote is now being printed. A real, in-your-hands book you can highlight, mark-up, circle, underline, and fold the corner of the pages to mark your spot. You can give it to a friend or loved one. You can read it with coffee or take it on a plane. It will be ready for sale in January 2018. There will be more on this to come. But for now, here is the title and typeface as it will appear on the cover:

12Jars logotype

Over the past two years, I’ve worked to put together a written work that tells a story that will motivate, inspire, drive to action, and make you think (or at least evaluate where you are spiritually and where you want to be). All of this was done in an effort to fulfill and extend my mission and purpose for life – to be an ambassador of God. He has placed me in an amazing work environment with some equally amazing people for nearly two decades, an amazing church, and with an amazing family and friends. He has also provided me with opportunity within these groups and the people I meet. How would I be able to look Jesus in the eyes on the Day of Judgement and admit I squandered opportunity? The answer is clear: I can’t. And I won’t.

My hope is this book will be relatable to everyone in some form or fashion. It will build your faith helping you realize your legacy is not necessarily what you leave, but what you build while you are still here that will live on. 

In the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing more about the book: the content, what some of the endorsers have said about it, lessons I’ve learned in writing it, and I’ll even share the cover artwork – which I am excited about! But for now, I am honestly just privately in awe and celebrating what God has done to this point. I’m hopeful it will speak to at least one person, and will be grateful for any more. And that will make this whole process worth it. A faithful messenger is a humble, yet important position in the Kingdom – not something I take lightly.

Thank you to all who have read my posts over the years and supported me in my writing and efforts to live a Christ-centered life. I have my flaws, but here’s to all of us growing through life to be the best versions of ourselves!

Love you all!
Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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