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Wind & Wings 6
Friday, August 29, 1997
© Copyright 1997 by NewHeavenNewEarth

"ANOTHER thought-provoking exploration
of the extraordinary times in which we live."

A Special Edition

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CONTENTS:

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A REMARKABLE GAME

By David Sunfellow

-- A Brief History
-- What Makes the Game Work
-- Playing the Game
-- Helpful Tips
-- A Special Note to Counselors
-- VQ Game Board
-- VQ Decks
-- VQ Beads & Dice

TESTIMONIALS
By Linda O'Keefe & Lance Botthof

HOW TO BUY A COPY OF THE GAME

By Linda O'Keefe & Lance Botthof

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A REMARKABLE GAME
http://www.nhne.com/vqghomepage.html
By David Sunfellow

All of us are familiar with inspirations that seem to come from nowhere: an offhanded remark from a stranger that answers a prayer; a powerful dream that solves a nagging problem; an intuition that leads us to the perfect job, house, or mate. While most of these inspirations are meant for us and have little meaning for others, every once and a while an inspiration strikes that seems to have a mind, and will, of its own: Before we even realize what is happening, our inspiration is finding its way from one friend to another, working its magic on everyone it touches.

This issue of WIND & WINGS is dedicated to an inspiration like this: a remarkable game that made its first appearance over ten years ago in a small spiritual community in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. I decided to dedicate an entire issue of WIND & WINGS to this game because it has proven itself to be a powerful tool for personal and planetary transformation.

What follows is a brief history of how this game came to be, as well as how to make, play, and/or buy your own copy.


A BRIEF HISTORY

The idea for the game originated with Robert Foote, the co-founder of ASSOCIATIONS OF THE LIGHT MORNING (A.L.M.), a small spiritual community in Virginia. Robert's daughter, Lauren, wistfully picked up a deck of index cards with quotes from a Seth/Jane Roberts book, shuffled it, and asked the several community members to "pick a card, any card." They obliged and as each person read their cards, they were all struck by how each card seemed to speak directly to the person who pulled it -- and also address issues related to the group as a whole.

The following morning, an image of a game unfolded "as though it had a life of its own" in Robert's mind. Significantly, Robert had been feeling dissatisfied with his community's weekly study group. Concerned that the meeting had become too cerebral, that a few people always seemed to claim the lion's share of the "talking space", and that focusing primarily on one spiritual path wasn't able to incorporate everyone's needs and orientations, Robert sensed that the game might provide a remedy. Before long six decks of cards -- quotes from the Seth material, pictures from old National Geographic magazines, miscellaneous quotes, a Tarot deck, a "touch-feely" deck that included instructions for such things as hand or face rubs with the person sitting next to you, and a notebook containing A.L.M. Work Readings -- were created and the first version of the game, "The Tuesday Night Game" was born. While this version of the game eventually evolved to include many interesting nuances (see http://www.nhne.com/vqgroberthistory.html for details), essentially those who played the game took turns throwing a die to determine which deck to draw from -- and then spent time trying to understand what the selected card might mean or, in the case of the touchy-feely deck, acting on what they were told to do.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, my brother Wesley Ray Wyatt, and his wife, Shara, visited the spiritual community I helped co-found (THE NEW JERUSALEM COMMUNITY). At the time, half of us were living in California, while the other half of us (including me) were living in Sedona, Arizona. Wes and Shara visited the California half and told them about "The Tuesday Night Game". Knowing a good thing when they heard it, two members of our community, Bruce Fraser and Robert Perry, decided to create a version of the game that our community could play. The two of them put together a few original decks and also added a few store-bought ones. Bruce also had the inspiration to use a twelve-side die, instead of a six-sided die, and they began drawing from twelve decks, instead of six. This new version of the game eventually became known as "The Guidance Game".

When news of the game reached me, I added more decks and created a game board. Because we were using a 12-sided die, and because the number 12 is a universal archetype (the 12 disciples of Christ, 12 Tribes of Israel, 12 signs of the Zodiac, 12 positions on the Medicine Wheel), I created a board with spaces for 12 decks. Don Giacobbe, another long time friend and community member, also helped create two fabulous decks that were an interesting mix of thought-provoking pictures and headlines.

Although glorious, this version of the game was a hodge-podge of sorts. Some decks were large, slippery and unwieldy, while others were small, and easy to loose. It also took three boxes and one large map case to keep everything together. In addition, since community members were located in various parts of Sedona (by now the California half of the community had moved to Sedona), it was difficult to keep track of the game (it roamed from house to house) and sometimes there were scheduling problems -- different people wanted to play the game at the same time with different groups of people.

All of these problems were finally resolved when we began talking about who owned the game -- the four individuals who created the current version (Bruce, Robert, myself and Don), the NJ Community as a whole that helped play and refine it, or Robert Foote and the A.L.M. Community who had received the original inspiration. We started talking about who owned the game because many of us wanted to market it. Some of us wanted our community to market it, while others of us wanted anyone who was interested to be able to market their own versions. In the end, this issue was settled by Robert Foote who said as far as he was concerned "anyone should be allowed to use the idea any way they want to." Robert also felt, "Mass marketing seems to present an inherent problem; namely, that much of the power of the game comes from its indigenous nature. The quotes in the various decks, the pictures, and the nature of the decks themselves, have all grown out of who we are, just as I'm sure that the decks and cards that you use have grown out of who you are. Any 'prefabricated' decks, no matter how much care and insight and artistry went into their creation, would, it seems, lose a vitally important feature that makes the game so numinous. They wouldn't be home grown and home owned. Perhaps there's a way around this, but it's certainly a challenge."

With Robert Foote giving his blessings for the game to be used anyway anyone wanted to, and with it becoming increasingly clear that any attempt to copyright and mass produce the game would be frought with problems, the doors were opened for each of us to do whatever we wanted to with the game.

A couple months before we resolved these issues, Lance Botthoff and Linda O'Keefe entered the picture. I introduced Lance and Linda to "The Guidance Game" at an NHNE vision quest I was facilitating. Upon seeing the magical things that could happen when a group of people played the game, Lance and Linda asked if they could use it during one of their retreats (they regularly host men and women's retreats in Sedona). I said, "Sure. Go for it. But remember the game is something akin to the 'ark of the covenant' in the NJ Community."

The first time Lance and Linda borrowed the game, it was returned on time. The next time, sick conferees, desperate airline schedules, and other factors conspired to get the game back late -- which made us all realize we needed another copy. So Lance and Linda, with my help and encouragement, decided to make their own version. At the same time, I decided to make another copy for myself (so I could play it and/or loan it out to whomever I wanted to without inciting a civil war if something happened to it).

Lance and Linda called their new game, "Inner Guidance", and I called mine, "The NHNE VisionQuest Game." Lance and Linda designed their game so they could sell it to others who might be interested (you can find out how to order a copy of their game at the end of this article). I designed my version to encourage others to make their own. In the future there may be other versions that are available for sale, as well as specific parts to the game (like decks, beads and dice). But for now, Lance and Linda are the only ones selling a complete version.


WHAT MAKES THE GAME WORK

OK, now that we've got the game's history out of the way, let's talk about what makes the game work.

First of all, the basic divination principles used in the game have been used for centuries: the I-Ching, Tarot, Runes, they are all based on the idea that our Higher Selves can speak to us by influencing us to draw a card, throw a coin, or place our finger on a passage in a book that answers our question. In order for this process to really work, though, we have to make a sincere effort to set aside our preconceived ideas and honestly surrender to the Divine. We have to be willing, in other words, to receive whatever answer is in our best interest (and in the best interest of others), even if it is something we don't want to hear.

Being open and receptive to Spirit has been a central part of all divination tools. What makes this particular guidance tool different from other age-old systems is that it embodies three principles that are unique to our particular time period: It combines the strength, wisdom and power of multiple spiritual paths (past ages stressed singular spiritual paths instead of synergetic composites); it taps the power of a group of people (past ages emphasized the role of specially chosen counselors and wise people, instead of groups of equals); and it encourages people to infuse the game with deeper meanings by creating their own game decks and rituals (past ages emphasized rote, routine and conformity rather than individual initiative and inspiration).


PLAYING THE GAME

At present, there are four different versions of this game, all of which have slight variations in the way they are played. I'm going to spend a little time now describing how the NHNE VisionQuest version is played. You can use these guidelines for your game or come up with an entirely new set of rules.

Since there are only 12 decks in the current version of "The NHNE VisionQuest Game", all 12 decks are set out on the game board. It doesn't matter where they are placed. (If you have more than 12 decks, you will need to figure out a way to select which decks you are going to use -- we've sometimes let people take turns picking the decks they liked until all 12 had been picked, or lined all the decks up, given them each a number, and rolled the dice to decide which decks were picked.)

Once the decks have been selected, everyone spends a few minutes praying and meditating together. During this quiet time, the players do their best to open their minds and hearts to God, one another, and the game they are about to share.

Then the game begins.

Sometimes we pick someone to go first, while other times we all draw a bead ("The VisionQuest Game" is played with 13 beads instead of a 12-sided die) and the person that picks the highest number goes first. Once we've determined who goes first, the person on that person's left goes next.

When we first started playing "The Guidance Game", we understood that it was helpful to spend a little time deeply thinking about our questions before we asked them. We discovered, in other words, that questions that were asked more carefully, and prayerfully, tended to produce more helpful answers than questions that were asked quickly and haphazardly. With "The VisionQuest Game", I've been encouraging people to probe even more deeply; to really explore the ins and out of a given question before asking it. Not only has this process helped people understand their problems/concerns more deeply, but in some cases the exploration itself was all that was necessary. On one occasion, the initial probing was so effective that we ended up not using the game at all!

More likely though, a person will get clear about what they need help with and then ask a question. While we may sometimes decide to keep our question to ourselves, it is almost always best to share it with everyone in the group. This helps the group tune into the same question and prayerfully support us. Sharing questions (and struggles) also helps build a feeling a group consciousness, which, in turns, helps answers flow more easily.

After prayerfully asking our question aloud, we then choose a bead. Then we go to the appropriate deck and feel our way through the cards until we come across one that feels right for us to draw. After we've picked our card, we study it for a moment and try to get a sense about what it might mean for us. We share our thoughts with the rest of the group and then the rest of the group shares any thoughts they might have with us. Almost always, someone in the group will see something about our card that we've overlooked. Discussing the various ideas that come up, is often very inspiring, especially when the meaning of the card becomes apparent.

On the other hand, a person will sometimes draw a card that no one can make sense of. In this case, the person who drew the card is usually encouraged to rephrase their question, and draw again.

And so it goes. Everyone takes turns probing and asking questions, and supporting one another in finding answers.

Significantly, strange things sometimes happen during the course of a game. An important phone call might interrupt the game. Something may fall off the table. Perhaps a song will catch someone's attention that is playing in the background. Maybe a neighbor will yell something outside. Once the game begins, it is important to pay attention to whatever signs and synchronistic events might unfold. You may also notice that certain kinds of group themes, or messages begin to emerge in the game itself and that specific decks end up being picked from again and again.

All game times tend to have their own cycles and at a certain point people will start feeling like it is time to wrap things up. It's important to be sure that everyone leaves the game with some practical ideas about how they can apply the answers they've received. And then the game ends, like it began, with a few moments of quiet.


HELPFUL TIPS

Here are a few helpful tips to be sure the game runs smoothly, and produces helpful, sometimes even life-changing, insights:

1. Choose a quiet place where you won't be interrupted to play the game.

2. Create a special environment for the game -- and for your friends; light candles, play soft music, fill the air with aromatic oils.

3. Play the game with people who are really serious about getting answers, rather than just curious about an unusual game.

4. Keep the group small (no more than 5 or 6 people). Small groups provide greater intimacy and offer everyone more time to really explore their questions and answers.

5. If you get into time problems (which is less likely to happen with small groups than large groups), you may find it helpful to allow each person a set amount of time to ask and answer their questions. Personally, I have found time keeping to be counterproductive though, as it tends to encourage a goal-oriented atmosphere of rushing along, rather than a process-oriented atmosphere aimed at helping people feel really loved, supported and understood.

6. It has been said "The first duty of love is to listen." And this is especially true when playing the game. In order to foster a loving atmosphere, it is very important to encourage everyone to "really" listen to one another. Along with whatever insight and knowledge we bring to the game, our greatest gift will always be helping each other feel loved and listened to. Indeed, since all of us already possess all the answers we need deep down inside, the only real task is to find a way to allow this inner wisdom (and strength) to surface.

7. Bring something to write down the questions you ask, as well as the answers you receive. Later, after the game is over and you are pondering the guidance you received, you will often discover insights that everyone overlooked while playing the game.

8. And, finally, before we show up to play the game, it is a good idea to spend a little time envisioning the kind of atmosphere and results you would like to achieve. Imagine everyone coming and receiving the help they need. See everyone, including yourself, leaving the game feeling more empowered and hopeful about their lives.


A SPECIAL NOTE TO COUNSELORS

While "The VisionQuest Game" (and all earlier versions of the game) have been primarily used as a tool to help individuals and/or groups sort things out, it is also proving to be a surprisingly powerful tool for counseling situations. Like a normal counseling session, an individual or couple begins by exploring their particular hurts, needs, desires, concerns, and perspectives with a trusted friend or counselor. If an impasse or particularly muddy area is reached, the game can be used to help break the log jam.


VQ GAME BOARD

The game board used for "The VisionQuest Game" is the second canvass game board I have made. The first one is still being used for "The Guidance Game". I went to the local arts and crafts store and bought a large piece of canvass that artists use for canvass paintings, and fabric paints (the kind used to paint designs on tee-shirts). When I got the piece of canvass home, I measured it and cut it into a circle measuring about 36 inches in diameter. I wanted to make it big enough to fit 12 decks of cards on and small enough to roll up into a large tubular map case. After I finished cutting the canvass into a circle, I drew an outline of the design on it and then started painting. My three daughters insisted on helping me with everything -- especially the painting. Once the canvass has been painted, and the paint has thoroughly dried, it is remarkably durable. You can roll it up with no problem and the paint won't peal off. 12 small circles have been painted on this game board, each a different color. The colored circles also have little white dots in the center of them that are numbered. The colors and numbers match the beads (you will be reading more about the beads in the "VQ Beads & Dice" section). You can also visit "The VisionQuest Game" Web site and see a picture of this game board: http://www.nhne.com/vqgboard.html

A game board is, of course, not necessary to play the game. You could simply stack your game decks in a circle and number them so you know which deck to draw from. A game board does, however, help organize the game and create a feeling of specialness.


VQ DECKS

A picture of all the pieces that make up "The VisionQuest Game" also appears on the VQ Game Web site: http://www.nhne.com/vqgdecks.html. If you look carefully at this picture, you will see how I have put together the current "NHNE VisionQuest Game". The upper left hand corner of the picture contains a storage box that houses all the homemade decks. Each deck begins with blank, white, 4 x 6 inch index cards. On one side of the card, I have written (or printed) the name of a deck, while the other side of the card contains information and/or pictures. For instance, the Headline Deck has "Headlines" written on one side, while the other side has an interesting headline pasted on it. The upper right hand corner of this picture contains the decks and information I couldn't squeeze in the index card box. There is a three-ring binder that contains quotes from the Pathwork Lectures of Eva Pierrakos, and also a collection a meaningful short stories. Both the quotes from the lectures, and the stories are numbered. When someone draws a card from the "Myths, Legends & Stories" Deck with a number on it, the player simply flips open the notebook and reads the story the number belongs to. The same thing with the Pathwork quotes. There is a Medicine Wheel Book, a deck of Rune Cards, and a small I-Ching book sitting on top of the notebook. Each of these also has decks in the game. I will explain more about some of these in a minute. Here is a list of the decks I currently use -- and a few that you can buy in your local bookstore:

Headline Deck:

This is one of my favorite decks. In order to make this deck, all you have to do is go through newspapers and magazines looking for headlines that are especially interesting. Be sure to pick out headlines that have clear messages. Then cut them out and paste them on your deck of cards.

Myths, Legends & Stories Deck:

This is another one of my favorite decks. On some cards, you simply write the title of famous myths, legends and stories. You might, for instance, write "The Trojan Horse," and "David and Goliath." Generally, it is a good idea to stick with stories that are familiar to everyone, but, if you want to, you can also sneak in stories that only you know (if you do sneak in obscure stories, you will need to be sure you are playing the game so you can explain what these stories mean). You may also come across some fabulous short stories and want to stick them in a notebook. I have many stories like this. I have typed them out, and numbered them. They are all stories that have very strong, clear messages. I also have all of these stories on my computer, so I can print out copies for people who happen to pick them.

Famous People Deck:

This is a deck of famous people. Whenever possible, I have tracked down pictures and pasted them on the decks. Pictures aren't always easy to find though, so many of these cards simply have the name of a famous person written on it.

Quotables Deck:

This is a deck of quotes I have gathered from all over. Earlier versions of this deck included quotes I took from old calendars. Kathleen Blake-Frankel helped me gather many of the quotes in this deck and a complete copy of this deck is presently available on the VQ Game Web site for people to use to create their own quotables deck: http://www.nhne.com/vqgdeckquotables.html

Bible Quotes Deck:

This is a deck that James Gregory put together. A Bible lover, James went through both the Old and New Testament and made a deck of many of the Bible's most interesting and meaningful quotes. (A complete copy of this deck will be available on the VQ Game Web site in the near future.)

Picture Deck:

This deck consists of thought-provoking pictures.

I-Ching Deck:

I found a great pocket-size I-Ching book that lists all 64 hexagrams, including the change lines, and condenses the typically long commentary to short sentences. This little pocket-size book is called "I Ching: Discover the Ancient Art of Prophecy," by Lauren David Pedan. A regular size I-Ching book will also work fine (although the commentary is quite a bit longer). I use this small book by creating a deck of cards with all 64 hexagrams written on them. Once a person has chosen this deck, and pulled a particular hexegram, I have another deck of 6 cards that they pull from to draw a change line.

Virtues & Vices Deck:

This is a deck of virtues and vices and their dictionary definitions. This deck is presently available on the VQ Game Web site for people to use to create their own quotables deck: http://www.nhne.com/vqgdeckvirtues.html

Cartoon Deck:

I don't have this deck in the current "VisionQuest Game", but I made one for "The Guidance Game". It consists of cartoons I cut or photocopied from OMNI and other magazines and newspapers. This was a fairly time-consuming deck to create, since cartoons are often in short supply. A deck made out of some of the FAR SIDE cartoons might be really good!

Spiritual Path Decks:

There are a growing number of inspirational decks published by various spiritual teachers and organizations. "The VQ Game" contains decks I created from the Pathwork lectures and the Abraham material. "The Guidance Game" includes store-bought decks from the psychic readings of Edgar Cayce and "A Course in Miracles".

Store-Bought Decks:

Finally, there are a growing number of fabulous cards appearing in bookstores and catalogs these days. Here are a few I've seen and sometimes use:

-- Medicine Wheel Cards
-- Rune Decks and/or Stones
-- Findhorn Angel Cards
-- Tarot Decks
-- Angel Sayings Decks
-- Prosperity Affirmation Decks
-- Cards of Destiny Decks
-- Gems & Stones Decks


VQ BEADS & DICE

"The VisionQuest Game" is played with beads. I decided to use beads, instead of dice, because I liked the feeling of rolling wooden beads in my hand before picking one. Beads seem more soothing than dice, and also encourage a little more thoughtfulness before choosing one (dice make some people feel like they are in Las Vegas or playing a children's game).

The beads I use are wooden beads that come with a 1/4 inch hole drilled through them. I bought a 1/4 inch dowel rod, cut it up into pieces that would fit exactly in the bead holes, painted them the same color as the 12 circles on the game board, shoved them (and in some cases, glued them) into their holes, and finally stuck a number on one end. When you pick up one of these little beads, one end is colored, and the other end is colored with a number stuck on it. All the circles on the game board are colored and numbered, too. At first, I didn't want to use numbers. I hoped that the colors would be easy to match. But they weren't, especially when the room is darkened, so I had to resort to numbers.

In all, there are 13 beads: 12 beads match the colors and numbers on the game board, while the 13th bead is "The Hopping Stone Bead". When a person draws this bead they can pick whatever deck they want to.

Dice, obviously, are a lot easier to come up with than handmade beads. The original "Tuesday Night Game" required one 6-sided die to choose one of the original six decks. I encourage you to use 12 decks though (because you have more options for answers). If you do decide to use 12 decks, you can use either a 12-sided die to play with, or a pair of sixes. Normally, you can't roll a one using a pair of sixes. We found a way around this by making doubles a one.

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TESTAMONIALS
By Linda O'Keefe & Lance Botthof

Linda O'Keefe:

My experiences with the game have been from the perspectives of both participant and facilitator. In an enlightening weekend of friendship and vision quest, I asked the ever provocative question, "Where will the following of my purpose take me?" The response was a photo of a man flying among the stars with the headline "Reach for the Stars." The image was so powerful for me that I could not return it to the game, but kept it under my pillow for months!

As a facilitator of a women's retreat, I got to see the game "in action" with participants open to the powerful guidance that the combination of their intuition and the game provided. The first woman asked her question, picked her card, and was so moved that the group needed to help her process the experience for the next hour. Another participant asked what the next stop in her growth would be and she drew a picture of a very pregnant woman, lovingly caressing her rounded abdomen. She was so shocked that this response "tapped into" her secret yearning for a child. She hadn't even yet spoken to her husband about it. Interestingly enough, after group input, it occurred to her that the picture may symbolize her caring for her "inner child" as opposed to a physical one. That was a whole new level of realization.

Lance Botthof:

My first exposure to the game was at the same vision quest gathering attended by many of the NewHeavenNewEarth "family." My question centered around how I would best fulfill my purpose after our move from Sedona to Tucson. I was, at the time, struggling with returning to where my ex-wife lived with my two sons and all that goes along with blending children from two families. The card I chose simply said, "stand aside and watch self pass by." This was a wonderful help to me in realizing that I couldn't control the outcome of how this new situation was to unfold. We have since come to create a very happy home in Tucson with the result of Linda's children and mine living under the same roof. I hope I have learned to stay out of trying to control events that are really out of my control.

I later introduced "Inner Guidance," the version of the game that my wife and I created, to a group of men in a men's group that I facilitate. One of the participants wanted some assurance that he could take the steps he needed to in order for his career to become more fulfilling. He chose a card showing the Statue of Liberty showered in fireworks and proceeded to tell us that this is how he has always seen himself creating his physical reality (strong, explosive and with the single-minded purpose that the graceful lady depicts).

We have also used the game as an extended part of our family meetings. The level of intimacy and sharing that emerges between the children has been very moving to witness. I would highly recommend this exercise for families who are looking to deepen their relationships with each other and promote meaningful conversation and sharing.

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HOW TO BUY A COPY OF THE GAME

By Linda O'Keefe & Lance Botthof

As mentioned earlier, if you are interested in ordering a copy of the game, Lance and Linda are the only ones presently producing complete copies. You can write them for more details at "options@mci2000.com" and/or swing by the VQ Game Web site, which contains a fuller description of their particular version: http://www.nhne.com/vqginnerguidance.html

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EDITOR & PUBLISHER:
David Sunfellow

PROOFREADER:
Kathleen Blake-Frankel

REGULAR COLUMNISTS:
Gillian Holloway
Linda O'Keefe & Lance Botthof
Dottie Titus
Mary Dodd
Bob Manrodt

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NHNE MISSION STATEMENT, CREDITS & CONTACT INFORMATION

The mission of NewHeavenNewEarth (NHNE) is to answer humankind's oldest, most perplexing questions: Who are we? Where are we from? What is the origin and purpose of life? Instead of relying on ancient or contemporary wisdom, or the knowledge of isolated experts, we are building a global network of seekers from all walks of life, from all parts of the world, lay people and professionals alike, that can pool talents, experience, and resources to unravel life's great mysteries.

We also believe that our planet is passing through a time of profound change and are seeking to create a global community of like-minded people that can safely pass through whatever changes may come our way and help give birth to a new way of life on our planet.

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NewHeavenNewEarth (NHNE)
a 501(c)3 non-profit organization
P.O. Box 2242
Sedona, AZ USA 86339

eMail: nhne@nhne.com
NHNE Website: http://www.nhne.com/
Phone: (928) 282-6120
Fax: (815) 346-1492

 

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