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From times of singing in a dark closet to the founding of a national womens mentoring ministry, Thelma Wells' life has been a courageous journey of faith. The name on her birth certificate read simply: Baby Girl Morris. Thelma's mother was a severely deformed teenager with no husband and no place to go, after her own abusive mother insisted that she take the baby and leave the house. So when the baby was born, her unwed teenage mother found work as a maid cleaning the big house while living with her baby daughter in servants quarters. Eventually, the baby went to live with her great-grandparents, who called her Thelma Louise Smith and loved her dearly. They took little Thelma to church, where she learned to love the hymns and praise songs. On those occasions when Thelma was taken to her grandparents home, her grandmother abused her, just as she had tormented Thelma's mother. She was locked in a dark, smelly, insect-infested closet until just before her grandfather came home when her grandmother would bring her out of the closet, clean her up, and act as if all was well. In spite of her deep fear, little Thelma spent her time in the closet singing every hymn and praise song she could remember. She would sing herself to sleep in that closet, and the Lord received this little girls innocent praise and rewarded it with an abundant life of joy, protecting her from feelings of anger or bitterness. [+]