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One of the horrible outcomes of slavery and extended incarceration is the destruction of family life. Without family, we lose connections and identity. Children find it tough, if not impossible, to prepare for life. Homecomings and family reunions help restore kinships. Websites that let you search for ancestors also help. One example of a family reconnecting comes from the book of Genesis chapter 29. After running away to escape his brother’s wrath, Jacob comes to Haran, his mother’s birth country. At the town well, he inquires if anybody knows his Uncle Laban. While he’s asking, his uncle’s daughter Rachel arrives with her father’s flock, because she was a shepherd. She was his cousin, the daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother. Jacob waters her sheep then kisses his cousin Rachel as he weeps aloud. He explains that he is her cousin on her father’s side. WOW! She runs to tell her father, Laban, who runs out to meet Jacob. He embraces and hugs him and brings him home. After Laban hears Jacob’s story, he lets out, “You really are my own flesh and blood!” Even though Jacob had never before seen these relatives, he is overjoyed to find family. It turns out that in this family connection, Jacob finds work, wives, and wealth. Family is important. That’s why we should do all we can to foster it.

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