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How does it feel to be on Canadian soil for Thanksgiving weekend? “So grateful.”

Only if you’ve been held for 775 days in a foreign prison, with no family contact, sleep deprivation, rationed food, death threats and relentless interrogation, can you understand the depth of emotion behind those words.

Undeserved Grief

My friend Kevin Garratt lived a nightmare. So did the “Two Michaels.”

Kevin and Julia Garratt made China their home since 1984 where they ran a café in Dandong, near the North Korean border. The Garratts were role models of compassion, kindness, hard work, commitment, and service. They poured their energy into making life better for those around them.

In August 2014 they were detained and accused of spying – pawns in a political game.

In September 2016 he was found guilty of espionage and deported to Canada. A bittersweet conclusion to a horrendous ordeal.

Unlimited Gratitude

Thanksgiving 2015 Kevin was in excruciating pain physically and emotionally with no end in sight to his ordeal. One year later Kevin and Julia were on Parliament Hill to thank the Canadian government for bringing him home – an answer to prayer.

“Prime Minister Trudeau, former prime minister Harper and their teams and family, friends and communities in Canada and worldwide, persevered in prayer and quiet but strategic action, never stopped until we were on home soil.

We are so, so grateful.”

Unrestrained Relief

Deborah Bergman,  Kevin’s sister-in-law, who faithfully posted updates on Facebook, attributes his tenacity to his faith and sense of humor.

What’s on Kevin’s mind this first Thanksgiving back in Canada? Coffee, gravy and gratitude.

Kevin’s been calculating how many coffees he needs to have to catch up with friends.

For now, he says, “There is always so much to be thankful for. Thank you very much.”

Read more about the Garratts here.

Please post a greeting for Kevin and Julia in the comment section below. Thank you.

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Bob Jones

Happily married to Jocelyn for 44 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vincent and daughter Jayda; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love inspiring people through communicating, blogging, and coaching. I enjoy writing, running, and reading. I'm a fan of the Double E, Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers


  • CD Mayo says:

    Praise and thanks to our amazing Father for bringing you home safely! This Thanksgiving must hold the most genuine meaning for yourself and all those you love. I am so glad for all of you that you’re able to share coffee, a meal and so much love. Your faith has sustained you and your story will be used for God’s glory worldwide! I know I am inspired by your faith, Julia and Kevin, and I will continue to pray as you find yourself returning to life here.

  • bob jones says:

    All of us are glad for The Garratt’s freedom and for getting a glimpse of the sustaining power of Jesus against all odds.

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