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Redwood Falls Gazette - Redwood Falls - MN
  • Echo pastor authors novel based on realities of alcoholism

  • In 2002 Maurice Russell’s dad died, and after his death, Russell began going through his father’s papers; those journals began to tell the story of the life he knew about his dad and how alcoholism became such a pervasive part of it.
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  • In 2002 Maurice Russell’s dad died, and after his death, Russell began going through his father’s papers.
    “In the process I learned a lot about my dad,” said Russell, adding he discovered his dad had been keeping journals for much of his life.
    Those journals began to tell the story of the life he knew about his dad and how alcoholism became such a pervasive part of it.
    “I was always troubled about the way he died and found going through his things to be very therapeutic,” he said.
    That led to his decision, for the sake of his family, to create an account of his dad’s life based on those journals and other papers.
    “I sat around for years wondering ‘what if’ things had been different for him,” Russell said. “My dad was a very godly man early in his life.”
    Yet, in the end, his dad turned away from the faith he knew, and that led Russell to ask a lot of question to which he never really got the answers he’d hoped to find.
    While Russell said he is never likely to know what happened in this life, he takes comfort in realizing “the Lord knows.”
    For the next decade or so Russell thought a lot about his dad’s story and began to contemplate how he might be able to use it in a way to help others who may be battling with the same kinds of personal, emotional, physical and spiritual issues he is sure his father faced.
    As a result, Russell began writing a book which he rec-ently had published called “The Chaplain.”
    “It’s not about my dad,” explained Russell, adding however, some of the events that took place in his father’s life are included in the fictional novel.
    “I wanted to write a different story, one with an important message about what alcoholism can do, but also one of hope – that you can change,” he said.
    The novel begins with the story of a man named Bill who is a man of faith serving God in ministry.
    The story unfolds as this minister takes a wrong turn and ends up becoming an alcoholic.
    Along the way he loses his family and his job as a hospital chaplain because of the poor decisions he makes as a result of his drinking habit.
    “In life it often becomes those little things we do that creep up and become big things,” said Russell.
    The book does have a happier ending than real life, which is the message Russell wants to get across – despite how bad you think your life has become God is still there and still loves his people. That is the encouragement he thinks people need.
    Page 2 of 2 - Russell said he enjoyed the process of publishing the book.
    “I think I rewrote the book at least 10 times,” he said, adding that was an interesting process as he worked with an editor who constantly made suggestions to improve the story.
    Russell owns the rights to the book, and WinePress Publishing is the company which published the book.
    Russell, who is the pastor at Echo Alliance Church, said those who are interested in getting a copy of the book can find it on Amazon, or they can contact him.
    Russell, who is an avid reader, said he has a few other ideas for books he may try to write in the future.
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