Penny Bragg: I took my wedding ring off, and I threw it across the room at him. That’s how much volatility and anger and all of that was – was inside me. That anger was toward me.
End of Excerpt
John Fuller: Recounting a dramatic moment in their relationship, that’s Penny Bragg. And she and her husband, Clint, join us today on Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.
Jim Daly: John, here at Focus, we have the privilege of hearing all kinds of marriage stories – from light, funny things that happen to heartbreaking tales of brokenness and sorrow and regret. On the flip side of that are the stories of God’s redemption, and our guests today, Clint and Penny Bragg, have a powerful marriage testimony to share with us. They got divorced, then remarried eleven years later. You know, everybody can lift their jaw up. I mean, that is amazing! Their story reminds me of the accounts we hear from Hope Restored, our marriage intensive program at Focus on the Family. Every day, lives and marriages are being changed in remarkable ways. Marriage is the solid foundation that families are built upon. I have met with many presidents and other leaders in our nation – we all agree on that, and frankly, Democrats and Republicans. Marriage is the foundation that families are built upon. God has a purpose for your marriage, and we’re going to explore that today. We’re gonna help you learn how to discover the unique mission God has for your marriage, and give you the tools you need to live out that mission with your spouse.
John: And Clint and Penny Bragg will help us do just that. They are the founders of Inverse Ministries, a nonprofit where they serve as “marriage missionaries”. They’ve written three marriage books, including the one we’ll touch on today – Your Marriage, God’s Mission.
Jim: Clint, Penny, welcome to Focus on the Family.
Penny: Thank you.
Clint Bragg: Well, thanks for having us.
Jim: It’s great to have you. I love the stories of marriages that are saved and being on the right path. And we all can learn so much from that. Let’s start with how the two of you met. That’s always a good place. What drew you together?
Penny: Absolutely. Well, we met on our church’s softball team.
Jim: That’s always a good place.
Penny: And that was our interest. I thought so. And we had, you know, similar interests. And at that point in our lives, I think we thought, “Well, if we love God and we love softball and, you know…”
Jim: All things that would be easy.
Penny: …Have some similar – yeah. Similar things – that if we dated for a few years and…
Jim: How long did you know each other before you got married?
Clint: Probably about two and a half years.
Jim: Okay, so two and a half years. So you had a good feel for each other. You kind of knew who you were. Where was the Lord in that context? Were you faith-seekers, or were you already committed Christians?
Clint: Well, I-I had gone through, uh, a discipleship program – six month intensive program – and I was living in Oklahoma at the time. And when I moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area, the Lord led me to this church. And I was a new guy in the church, and I asked the pastor – I said, “I’d like to teach this course. And it’s a six month program, so will you allow me to do that? I’m new to your church and all this stuff.”
Jim: I bet he…
Clint: Yeah. Yeah.
Jim: …Was like, “Well, uh, come back in a few weeks and I’ll let you know.”
Clint: But he gave me permission and somebody volunteered their house to host it. And I think I had six or seven people in that first class. And Penny…
Jim: Penny was one of them.
Penny: I did all my homework.
Clint: She was one – she was the only one in the class who did all her homework…
Clint: …Had all the verses memorized.
Penny: So that’ll – that’ll kind of give you an indication of where I was at spiritually. I was just the do-gooder, you know?
Penny: And – and maybe – like the Word says, you know, the seeds are planted in the soil, but they didn’t take root.
Clint: But the thing about it is – is that we were very similar. We were both pointed towards Christ…
Clint: …And we were both trying to please Him. But we were, I think, maybe more works-oriented than really – even though I was spending time every day with the Lord, I still don’t think it had sunk down into my heart the way it needed to be.
Jim: Well, and that’s a great, uh, foundation to build on because I – I kind of want to get a handle of where you’re at, uh, as you’re being married or just prior to you being married. So that paints the picture really well. Now let’s get into that first year of marriage and kind of those explosions of reality, if I can call ‘em that.
Jim: What did that look like that first year where you were trying to do all the right things?
Clint: Well, I think it was pretty amazing. You know, the church that we were both, uh, belonging to – they – it was a small church, so they needed warm bodies to take care of this thing and this thing. And Clint and Penny were always trying to please, and we never knew how to say no.
Jim: So you would describe yourself, too, as a – as a person wanting to do good?
Clint: And so what happened was – is that everything that came up, the – the pastor would come to us and say, “Will you do this?” And we said, “Sure, why not?” And so we did it. And – but we were running so far behind that instead of taking God with us, we – in our minds – we weren’t saying it out loud, but in our minds – in my heart, I believe I was saying, “God, can’t you keep up?” And – and…
Clint: And – and you know, that’s not a good thing to do.
Jim: That’s a statement.
Clint: Yeah, exactly. But that’s exactly what was going on with me. And so I thought maybe the way that we could figure this out and really see if we’re serving the Lord properly – I asked Penny, “Would you go on a short-term, uh, overseas mission with me?” And she said, “Yes.” And so that first year, everything was going pretty good, but we were starting to run out of gas. Then we go on this mission trip.
Jim: And the goal of the mission trip was to recharge your batteries?
Penny: Yeah. Exactly.
Jim: Okay. You guys are in a different plane than I’m in.
Penny: I know.
Jim: I mean, that’s amazing. And so what was that mission trip like? What occurred? It was kind of a pivot point for you, Penny.
Penny: It was a huge pivot point for me.
Jim: What – what confronted you?
Penny: I had never been outside of my little town of Castro Valley, California. I’d never been in a third world country. We were in Haiti at the time. Uh, we would drive along these roads 10 hours at a time in the back of a truck. There would be voodoo bands along the side of the highway. I mean, my eyes were just this big around.
Jim: What were the adjectives you would whisper to Clint when you were on that trip? What things would you say that would help us understand your heart at the time?
Penny: “Are we gonna be alright?” You know?
Jim: Right. So fear?
Penny: Yeah, a lot of fear. And I didn’t wanna be separated from him…
Penny: …Because I was afraid. And I know – I – I also, I think, felt a lot of, um, fear about being so far away from my family.
Penny: And that being the first time and just – yeah. I – I think I was really afraid.
Clint: And I – and I didn’t realize there was one time they separated us. Uh, and they sent me to – on a work crew and, they sent you in the village to…
Penny: Into the hut – huts.
Clint: Into the huts.
Penny: And it was pretty intense because we’d go into these huts, and there would be sick, maimed, lame people just laying in corners on the floors.
Jim: Kind of overwhelming?
Penny: It was really overwhelming.
Jim: And not a lot of preparation, it sounds like.
Penny: No, no, no. And I think, Jim, really, it was the first time I encountered suffering.
Penny: And I was trying to reconcile in my mind, “Well, Lord how – why do I have all this, and these people are suffering so?” And I – it was just a huge pivot point for me – sudden faith crisis, I think.
Jim: So what – what was the outcome of that? Was it a good thing or not a good thing?
Penny: Well, it was a good thing in what we got done.
Penny: But for me, it was – you know, Clint wanted to do more, and I wasn’t honest with how I was feeling. I just got real quiet and kind of shut down. And he was trying to figure out, “Well, what’s wrong? Are you just tired?” And boy, I was just going through a lot of feelings. No, I can look back on it now so clearly and see that so many unaddressed issues in my childhood, in my past were surfacing during that first year of our marriage. I think I kept trying to push them back down.
Penny: And you can only do that for so long.
Jim: So you get through that. You’re in a spot where it’s hard to communicate about some deep issues. That’s not unique to a couple that’s been married for one year. I mean, that’s kind of normal in many ways, but these sound like, you know, pretty deep issues. What happens in year two? What begins to…
Clint: So you know, what happened was is I thought we had a plan together. I didn’t realize she didn’t share with me how she was feeling. She was trying to be Superwoman. She was trying to – to please me, but I was trying to figure out – she’s my wife, and I want her to be happy. And I thought she was, but I fell a distance of her pulling away at that point. So into year two, what happens about three, four months into it – the distance is getting further and further apart. And I’m saying, “What did I do? What – what’s going on?” And I finally confronted her. And when I confronted her, I found out there was someone outside our marriage pulling her away.
Clint: So I was willing to do whatever it was going to take to get her back, but I didn’t know that she had already checked out.
Clint: I did everything you’re supposed to do in – in the Bible to reconcile. I did every – all the steps. I knew what the steps were. And – and…
Penny: I wouldn’t have any of it.
Clint: …I couldn’t budge her.
Jim: Where was your mind at, Penny? What was happening? Describe that because there may be some listeners right now, maybe some women who are in marriages where – they’re where you were.
Penny: Yeah. I was ashamed. Um, I felt like a failure as a Christian. I didn’t have anybody to talk to, and if I did, I probably wouldn’t have shared the depth of what I was feeling – um, the emotional disconnectedness from him – ‘cause Clint kind of went into military mode, which made me shut down a little bit more. And the more he pursued me, the more I pulled away from him.
Penny: And so, um – but a lot of my feelings, uh, I believe – marriage is such an intimate relationship. It requires so much from us that I think all my issues that had been surfacing that I was trying to push down – I was running away from the reality of what I needed to deal with. See, I was letting Jesus in at a certain point, but then saying, you know, “This pain’s too deep.”
Penny: “He can’t heal that.”
Jim: When you look at that, um, and to me, it’s almost like letting the Lord in so far before it really hurts.
Jim: “It’s like all the rooms are here for you, Lord. Clean – clean house and my heart. Oh, but not that closet.”
Penny: But not – exactly. Exactly.
Jim: “And by the way, it’s locked, and I’m the only one with the key.”
Penny: That’s right.
Jim: But how did you begin to say, “Okay, let’s open that up?” In fact, uh, you walked out of the marriage…
Penny: I walked out.
Jim: …In year two, correct?
Penny: Yeah, less than two years. And I packed a few things in a suitcase and rolled it right out our front door. And I didn’t look back. We never had children together, and I was just on that fast track to run away. And – and if you’ve ever tried to run from God, you move toward what you’re good at, what feels good. That was school for me. That was accolades, academics, all of those things. And so the more I could distance myself from Clint, the more I could run from the shame of what I had done. I-I moved further away from him. I got a job in a school district further away. And I went to church a little bit, but eventually, I just stopped going altogether.
Jim: That’s amazing.
Jim: Penny, before we move from that part of the story, um, you had to be wrestling so deeply…
Penny: I was.
Jim: …I mean, because you’re a person who wants to, uh, be the – the good person.
Jim: And here you’re warring in your own…
Penny: I was.
Jim: …Heart about that bad person in you…
Penny: I was.
Jim: …The person that’s not connecting, the person that’s walking away from your husband and trying to reconcile that. Did you project blame onto, uh, Clint? Were you saying…
Jim: “…Well, if he would’ve been this…”
Penny: Oh, yes. Absolutely.
Jim: “…Then I would’ve been a better person?”
Jim: What did you learn in that context, ‘cause this is really critical, everybody. If you look at marriages and how they break down, this is usually one of the big nuggets.
Jim: It’s the other person’s fault entirely.
Penny: That’s right because then it shifts the focus, and you don’t have to deal with your own stuff if you can always point it in the other direction. So I kept doing that. You know, “He was emotionally unavailable. He was this. He was that” – all of the while compromising my own convictions. And so sometimes we’ll see a spouse that lashes – I mean, literally – and I did that with him. I – Jim, I took my wedding ring off, and I threw it across the room at him. That’s how much volatility and anger and all of that was – was inside me. That anger was toward me.
Penny: It was because of what I had done, because of what I hadn’t done. And so – yet I was projecting all that on Clint, and I think that’s critical.
Jim: Yeah. Well, and the bottom line – and people should strap themselves in their seat – you did divorce.
Penny: We did.
Jim: And you were divorced for 11 years.
Penny: Yeah. Eleven. Eleven.
Jim: Eleven years.
Jim: That, to me, was, like, jaw-dropping. I mean, after that, you would think it is done. It’s dead. It’s over. And you didn’t have a lot of contact during that time.
Jim: Zero contact?
Penny: Zero contact.
Penny: Zero contact.
Clint: I didn’t know where she was. She didn’t know where I was.
Jim: Boy, people who have no hope with their marriage, they need to hear this part right here.
Jim: I mean, it was dead, gone, buried, done.
Penny: And nails around the edge of the coffin.
Jim: Wow! So the big question everybody’s going, “Ask this Jim, ask this!”
Jim: How in the world did you ever reconcile and pull this back together and remarry? What was the catalyst for that?
Clint: For me, I think it was about 8 and a half, 9 years into our divorce. Um, I was – I moved to Florida because I thought, “Well, if I change the scenery, I’ll get a new life, you know, and things would go well.” And so I get to Florida. I become a real estate investor. And at the beginning, man, I was blowing everything up and doing great and making lots of money. And then all of a sudden out of nowhere, it collapsed on me. Now, I need to tell you this. I quit reading my Bible every day. I quit going to church the last three years…
Clint: …Before – because I was so angry at God. I blamed God for the way that He took her away from me. I said – and when I finally recognized this – so I crash and burn with the real estate thing. I’m at the bottom of the bottom. And finally one day, I looked up. I was out for a run. I finally looked up to God and said, “You know what? I’m angry at You.” And I told Him exactly why I was angry. And then I turned around and I apologized to Him. I said, “You didn’t play a part in this breakdown. I played a part. And I apologize to You. I’ve been angry at You for so long. I’m sorry I left You. But here’s what I’m going to do. You see the mess I’m in? You can help me clean it up. But if You don’t want to clean it up, I’m still gonna read Your Word. I’m still gonna talk to You every day. And when I go to church on Sunday, whatever the preacher’s preaching, I’m gonna try and apply it the next week.” And so I kept my end of the bargain. And you know what? God didn’t just snap His fingers and say, “Hey, I’m going to clean you up because you said all these good things.”
Clint: I actually put it into practice and applied myself. And, I mean, I gave Him my whole heart.
Jim: You know, let me – let me ask you this. And Penny, I’m coming to you because I want to hear your side of the story in terms of that 11-year span. But how was the Lord processing your closet, as we mentioned earlier?
Penny: Well, you know…
Jim: The stuff that he couldn’t touch?
Penny: The wrestling, all the wrestling I was doing, I wrestled with it about seven, eight years. And then…
Jim: What were those elements, to help people understand?
Penny: Oh, I just felt guilty all the time…
Penny: …For what I had done. I felt like I was still running from my past. And when people would ask me about my life, I’d shut down. I wasn’t hanging out in social settings because I didn’t want answer too many questions about what I had done.
Jim: Let me ask you on the guilty side because so often, we run from that as if it’s wrong. But guilt plays a role. Conviction plays a role. We, in the Christian community, talk about that being the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
Jim: So there is a healthy kind of guilt feeling when you do something wrong. That’s a good thing that you feel bad. But how does it become unhealthy? And how did you manage dumping overboard the unhealthy guilt…
Penny: Well, I…
Jim: …And embracing the real guilt?
Penny: Yeah, it’s like the false guilt and the true guilt. The true guilt of, have I done something wrong? And I should feel convicted about that. But where it becomes, I think, unhealthy is what you do with it. And I was doing some pretty destructive things – maybe not outwardly, to everyone else. But I had – because I had that – enough of the education, I guess, to look okay on the outside and be functioning and all that. But I think it’s what we do with that and what we project onto other people. I had become a very controlling, strong woman to a point of – of pushing down other people. And I wasn’t tolerant at all. I was very cutthroat. And I was gonna move up that education ladder. And – and that’s what I was doing with those feelings of guilt and insecurity. So I think that’s when it becomes unhealthy, Jim, is what we’re doing with it.
Jim: Yeah, and I so appreciate that because that, in so many ways, describes the culture we’re in.
Penny: Oh, yeah.
Jim: I mean, that’s what we’re all…
Jim: …As a culture…
Jim: …Trying to do. Hopefully, there’s the remnant that will be a light to those that are in the darkness in this area. But how did you – that’s tough, to turn those things inside out.
Penny: It is.
Jim: How did you do that? How did you say, “Okay, Lord deal with my approach to life. And I don’t need to be winning all the time”?
Penny: Well, I was transferred to the school that I had started teaching at.
Jim: What grade level?
Jim: What grade level?
Penny: Elementary. Elementary.
Jim: I mean, what grade, though? Was it all grades?
Penny: Yeah. You know, K-6.
Jim: I was gonna say, leave it to kids to beat you up in this area.
Penny: I know.
Penny: It was my assistant principal, actually.
Penny: Who was a Christian. And when I found out, I was just – oh, no, you know, she’s Christian. And she was a pastor’s wife.
Jim: So the reconciliation, we got to get to that part.
Jim: How did it happen? You’re opening your heart. Clint, you’re letting go.
Jim: And God’s bringing you together somehow. How did you meet again? How did you pick up the phone? What took place?
Clint: So, you know, here’s what happens. My life is going good now. God’s what – man, He’s walking with me. I’m walking with Him. I’m doing things, and I’m feeling good. And, you know, I’m – I’m a real estate agent. I’m selling homes. And then I had a second job. So in between jobs, I go home. And this is March 1, 2002. What happens is I go to my mailbox. And I’m running up the steps of my house. And I notice that the package says California. I thought my mom was sending me something. It wasn’t her. I saw it was Dublin, California. I knew where Dublin was, but I didn’t know anybody there. But then, when I put the key in the door lock, it was P. A. Bronzini, the love of my life. And so I walk in the house. And I say to God, “Man, is this good news or is this bad news?” I walked into my office, set it on the desk. I says, “God, should I open this up or throw it in the trash?”
Clint: And so I sat there for several minutes. And finally, He said, “Open it up.” So I opened it up. And inside it was a letter apologizing for the way that she had left our marriage. And she asked for forgiveness. And at the very bottom of the letter, it says, “If you get this, will you send me a letter?” Well, I wasn’t a letter writer. It says, “Will you send me an email?” Well, I didn’t have an email account at that time.
Clint: And then the third thing was, “Will you give me a call?” So I go ahead right away, and I give her a call. But it’s three hours’ time difference. And I didn’t think about that. And she wasn’t there. So I left a message. And what did that message say, babe?
Clint: And nicely, now.
Penny: “Got your letter. This is Clint. I’ll call you back one more time.”
Jim: Oh, my.
Penny: “Your time, 8 o’clock. If you’re there, you’re there. If you’re not, you’re not.” Click. I was like, “Oh, here we go.”
Penny: Here we go.
Jim: So that communicated, “Yeah, you’re in a good place, but maybe I’m not.”
Penny: Yeah. I mean, I was just scared to death. I just – his voice, hadn’t heard it in 11 years. Eleven years.
Clint: So, I did. It was 11 o’clock my time. I gave her a call. She answered it. And…
Penny: It was a five-hour phone conversation.
Penny: It was longer and deeper than we’d ever spoken during the time we dated.
Penny: When we married, it was two broken people.
Clint: Yeah. And one of the things in her letter that she said – and she was right back when we were first married – everything I did, I was a winner. You know, I wanted everything. And so I always came out smelling like a rose. And she said in her thing, “I’m sure that you’ve been successful in everything you’ve done.” And I was scared to share with her at first, but the Lord – the Holy Spirit inside me just prompted me to say, “Penny, I haven’t been successful.” And when I had to tell her that I took bankruptcy, it was like, in my family, that’s a shame – a shameful thing. You take bankruptcy, you broke your word, your promise. And I says, “I did that.” And – and she couldn’t believe I shared it. I could actually see her mouth drop on the other side.
Jim: That was a good sign?
Penny: It was a great sign because then I shared a little bit more about…
Jim: Yeah, there’s progress.
Penny: It was just…
Jim: You know, in this regard – and, unfortunately, we’re gonna need to take this online and ask a few more questions, if we can do that.
Jim: And if this is touching your heart, follow us to the online discussion. And we’ll ask more questions there. But your book, Your Marriage, God’s Mission, the bottom line in all of what you’ve heard and what you two have expressed is that it’s clear God has a mission for your marriage.
Penny: He does.
Jim: And you’re Exhibit A. I mean, I can’t find two greater professors of that than the two of you. Describe why you feel God has a mission for your marriage, and what should that mission look like?
Penny: We – we missed that the first time around somehow. And the way that God kind of set us forth on this mission was that through our story, after we had that conversation, my dad got saved. He was so shocked that this reconciliation happened. And I called Clint. And I said, “Isn’t that God’s mission for us, that the Gospel come through the marriage relationship?” And so that just set us on course to find out more about what God desired from this relationship called marriage. And we saw plenty of examples of marriages like ours that didn’t have a mission, that was just haphazard…
Jim: That’s usually the story.
Penny: …Just, you know, no – no shared purpose, no shared goals, no vision forward, no seeking the Lord together, no spending time in the Word together, no praying together. That was us the first time around. And so now what that mission looks like is a couple who’s seeking God together…
Penny: …Not so focused on the mission, but focused on their maker. He’ll reveal that mission to you.
Penny: I mean, we never saw this one coming, Jim.
Penny: This was just…
Jim: And that’s – that’s the beauty of what you’ve written in your book here, Your Marriage, God’s Mission because it really is a great blueprint from combat marriage veterans.
Jim: If I can refer to you in that way.
Penny: Yeah, battle scars and all.
Jim: I mean, you guys have been in the wars and in the foxholes and everything else. And it’s such a powerful story of what God wants to do in all areas of our lives, not just in our marriage. But He reconciles everything…
Penny: He does. He does.
Jim: …To Him. And, Penny, I give you great credit for the depth of recognizing some of those – even tears me up – just the fear and the control and the pain and what a transition, transformation, you have gone through. And, Clint, you’re the dude. I can tell.
Jim: You’re just the steady guy.
Penny: He is.
Jim: You know, “Take the hill. Here we go.”
Jim: And, you know, we – we play those roles because it’s how God has wired us and the temperaments and the things that He uses. But I really admire what you have done to come all the way back around. That’s how it should work. And it’s a wonderful testimony to our Lord.
Clint: Can I share one thing…
Clint: …With you? We decided three months after we contacted each other – we did lots of different things to make sure it wasn’t a warm, fuzzy feeling. And, you know, the transformation she made, it was really fantastic. But God, He smoothed a lot of my edges…
Jim: Oh, absolutely.
Clint: And the thing about it is – is it – for the guys listening here, I want you to know, man, that God gave you that woman. And He wants you to be the spiritual leader in your household. And that means that you love and respect her, and you treat her like your mate. And you’re a team of two. And – and if you can get that straight, God’s gonna use you. Maybe it’s making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to give to the homeless, but it could be, um, some other kind of ministry that you have a heart for. But I’m telling you what, if you turn it over to God and let Him work through you…
Penny: Yeah. Watch out.
Clint: …It’s amazing.
Jim: Well, that’s a good word. Thank you so much for being with us. Let’s go with a few more questions. And we’ll do that online. Can we do that?
Penny: Let’s do it.
John: And I hope you can join us then. This has been such a strong conversation, Jim. And I love the idea of having a mission in mind for your marriage.
Jim: Well that’s something that can benefit all of us. And I hope that you, the listener, have found a lot of help in this program. Focus on the Family is here for you. We’ll help you find the answers you need when it comes to your marriage, whether you’re just starting out or you’ve reached a point where you don’t think your relationship is going to survive.
John: And if you’re at that point, we do have caring, Christian counselors to talk with you, listen, pray, and get you on the path toward healing.
Jim: We also have our Hope Restored marriage intensive program. I mentioned at the top of the broadcast here. These intensives are for marriages that are in desperate trouble. Some of them may have already signed divorce papers, but it – it really is the last couple of wisps of hope. And this is something you can do. We now have two locations: Branson, Missouri, and Greenville, Michigan. And the success rate is phenomenal! We just reassessed that, and we do follow-up with these couples, and after two years – we’ve come back to them two years later – more than 80% of the couples are still married and happier and stronger than ever. So if we can be of any help, contact us and ask about our Hope Restored program.
I’d also like to ask you to consider supporting the ministry of Focus on the Family. There are so many couples who need solutions to their specific situations, and we couldn’t be there for them without your prayers and financial support. So do consider a donation today – a gift of any amount and we’ll send you a copy of Clint and Penny’s book, Your Marriage, God’s Mission as our way of saying thank you for helping us reach out and restore these marriages that are in trouble.
John: And you can donate online at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And of course, you can also listen to the rest of our questions for Clint and Penny there and get a CD of the whole conversation. That’s focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY – 800-232-6459.
Well, have a great weekend! And join us again on Monday as Jonathan Catherman will encourage you teach your son about manhood as early as possible.
Jonathan Catherman: “You have to speak it so, Jonathan. You gave him no other options. You told him he was embarrassing, in trouble, going home to be in timeout. What else did you say to him?” I said, “I didn’t say anything.” She goes, “Every day you need to tell him to be strong, to be brave and to be of great courage.
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