Church service offers powerful story of forgiveness

Mary Johnson will share her story of forgiving her son’s murderer at a special worship service at Chain of Lakes Church Sunday, Feb. 9 at 10:30 a.m.

The church meets at DaVinci Academy, 13001 Central Ave. NE, in Blaine.

Mary Johnson will share her story of forgiving her son’s murderer Oshea Israel at a special Chain of Lakes Church worship service at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 9 at the DaVinci Academy in Blaine. Submitted photo

Mary Johnson will share her story of forgiving her son’s murderer Oshea Israel at a special Chain of Lakes Church worship service at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 9 at the DaVinci Academy in Blaine. Submitted photo

Johnson’s son, Laramiun Byrd, was murdered by Oshea Israel in 1993. After visiting Israel in prison, Johnson began the process of forgiveness. The two eventually reconciled after Israel was released from prison.

“We are excited to share Mary Johnson’s story with the community,” said Paul Moore, organizing pastor for Chain of Lakes. “I know from many conversations that people struggle with the issue of forgiveness. Hopefully by hearing Mary’s story many people can take some steps in their own journey of forgiveness.”

Johnson founded “From Death to Life,” a nonprofit that provides healing and reconciliation between families of victims and those who caused harm. Johnson calls Israel her “spiritual son” and he refers to her as a “second mom.” They have lived next door to each other for more than two years.

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