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Mark Russak


Camp Lead


Hi, my name is Mark Russak. Four years ago my daughter Lauren and I hiked 43 miles on the Appalachian Trail with the team from Beauty for Ashes. That hike changed my life forever. One evening during our daily devotional and prayer, my daughter Lauren was sharing how Jesus had changed her life at Beauty for Ashes. Everyone was sharing how Jesus had changed them, but I could not share. For the past ten years before that day, I had allowed my heart to become hardened from war, cancer, and addiction. I had refused to allow any real hope or joy be a part of my life. I had turned and walked away from Jesus. As everyone headed back to their tents, I wandered off into the woods to pray. I asked Jesus to change me and restore me. As I stood there in those tall trees, I felt the Holy Spirit come over me and melt my cold heart. I began to cry like I had never cried before in my life. I felt His love wash over me and restore my soul. I think it rained every night during that hike but it was one the most joy-filled times of my life. 

God doesn’t just use Beauty for Ashes to change the lives of the women and children in the program but He uses it to change and restore the lives of their families too. That is why I am a firm believer and supporter of Beauty for Ashes and the mission of Pastors Cindy and Mike Zello. I am returning this year to help Pastor Mike take care of Base Camp for the Beauty for Ashes hikers. I can’t wait to be in those mountains with my daughter Lauren, her husband Michael and all the wonderful people from Beauty for Ashes. 

Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise! (Jeremiah 17:14)


Thank you for supporting me and the ministry of Beauty for Ashes

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