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Sunday School with Jimmy Carter draws hundreds
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With the sanctuary and overflow room in the small Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia, packed, the teacher of Sunday's Gospel lesson taught for the 689th time to a crowd diverse enough to include attendees from Guatemala and Ghana, according to CNN.

He spoke on love and never fearing to ask God for help when necessary. But the Associated Press reported that regardless of what the lesson entailed, its message stuck with the crowd a bit more because of who taught it: Jimmy Carter.

Just three days after opening up about cancer spreading to his brain, the 90-year-old former president taught Sunday School in his hometown to a group totaling more than 700 people, according to the AP.

Sara Hammel of People magazine reported despite undergoing treatment for cancer, Carter showed enough energy and passion for teaching about faith that when he learned hundreds of people might be turned away, he volunteered to teach a second class for the first time ever.

"He wanted to accommodate as many people as possible," the church's pastor, the Rev. Jeremy Shoulta, told People. "He voluntarily chose to do that and ended up being able to teach just about everyone who showed up."

And the hometown crowd said Carter "did what he does best" when discussing the Gospel, according to People.

An article by Grant Blankenship of George Public Broadcasting indicated Carter emphasized the idea of "Love Your Neighbor."

Eventually, he linked this theme to modern issues, describing what would happen if those involved in conflict in the Middle East and even here in the U.S. "adopted Christ's definition of love," Blankenship wrote.

You have heard it was said that you will love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, Carter read from the Gospel of Matthew, according to GPB.

The Guardian reported Carter's lesson Sunday underscored two steady aspects of his life: little fear in discussing faith and devotion to his hometown of Plains.

Carter said last week that his future "is in the hands of God, whom I worship," The Guardian article read.

The Guardian's piece also indicated two of Carter's 20 published books focus on his faith.

Former presidents and dignitaries have wished him well as he battles cancer, but the gestures that remain closest to his heart are from Plains residents, according to the Guardian.

My roots are there, and my closest friends are there, and our little church is there, which is very important to me, Carter said, the Associated Press in Atlanta reported. So Plains has just been the focal point of our life.

The faithful of Maranatha Baptist anticipate Carter delivering his 690th Bible talk Sunday, CNN reported.

When taking on the obstacles cancer brings, Carter actually lives what he teaches at church, making lessons more powerful, Shoulta told People.

"To see his faith and his hope in the midst of this challenge is an inspiration to people everywhere who may face life's greatest challenges," Shoulta said. "He shows us what it means to be thankful for a life well-lived."
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