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Connie Allen

Discipleship Counselor

I was born and raised in Ohio. I was not raised in a Christian family. My brother was the smart one and my sister was the cute one and then there was me. I learned very early how to perform for acceptance and to wear a mask. I was raised in the ‘60’s and the theme of those years were; “if it feels good, do it.” So that is how I lived most of my late teens and twenties. …Read More

I was born and raised in Ohio. I was not raised in a Christian family. My brother was the smart one and my sister was the cute one and then there was me. I learned very early how to perform for acceptance and to wear a mask.

I was raised in the ‘60’s and the theme of those years were; “if it feels good, do it.” So that is how I lived most of my late teens and twenties. My husband got a job offer in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1977. It was exciting. I love to travel and I thought it would be a great adventure. After moving, I realized I had no family, no friends and no job. I was miserable and it was hot! We had our first son in 1978. I just knew this is what I needed. A total of three sons later, I was still miserable and needy.

My boys were in a Christian school so I started working in the kitchen. The church we attended had a drug & alcohol program for men. When they reached a certain point in their program they put them to work on the church campus. There was something so different about these men. I found out that they were being taught the grace message. They were learning their identity or who they were in Christ.

I completed my training in 2005. Because I received so much healing from abuse, shame and guilt, my passion has been to help hurting or broken women. When women come in, they often feel like their lives are broken in a million pieces. Jesus brings healing, truth, and forgiveness and He puts the pieces of their lives back together.

This truth has changed my life and I want other women to walk in victory, and not as victims.

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Scott Brittin

President – Conference Leader – Discipleship Counselor

BIO: Saved at eleven years old, I dedicated my life to serve God at nineteen years of age. Attending Bible college and receiving a Masters degree from seminary prepared me for that service, but not for life. After striving to serve God I realized I was totally inadequate even with my training. It was through understanding my inadequacy in my strength that I began to realize Christ as my life, not just my savior and Lord.…Read More
Grace Ministries InternationalNorth American StaffWork Phone: 770-690-0443

BIO:

Saved at eleven years old, I dedicated my life to serve God at nineteen years of age. Attending Bible college and receiving a Masters degree from seminary prepared me for that service, but not for life. After striving to serve God I realized I was totally inadequate even with my training.

It was through understanding my inadequacy in my strength that I began to realize Christ as my life, not just my savior and Lord. Gal. 2:20 took on a whole new meaning of Christ living through me, giving me a whole new identity and adequacy.

Joining GMI in 1984, I now serve as President. Serving in this capacity, I give oversight and direction to the ministry here in the states and overseas. I have the privilege of serving and leading what I have called “my dream team” staff. In addition to leading GMI, I teach conferences, lead and/or teach internships and do one on one discipleship counseling.

It has always been my passion to see the believer grow into the fullness of knowing and experiencing Christ as their all in all. Now my heart goes out to pastors and ministry leaders as they endeavor to lead their ministries.

My wife, Darlene, and I have been married since 1976, have two grown sons and live in Woodstock, GA. My hobbies include basketball, caving and woodworking.

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Sherril Busby

Director of Counseling – Discipleship Counselor – Conference Speaker

Birthplace: El Paso, Texas Spiritual birth:1979 Hobbies: reading, coffee with friends Husband: Bob Busby , married in 1980 Children: T.R. (1981), Randy(1982) Allyson(1985) When I was born again at the age of 17,I hit the floor running. I wanted so desperately to please God and to know He was pleased with me.…Read More
Work Phone: 770-690-0433

Birthplace: El Paso, Texas

Spiritual birth:1979

Hobbies: reading, coffee with friends Husband: Bob Busby , married in 1980 Children: T.R. (1981), Randy(1982) Allyson(1985)

When I was born again at the age of 17,I hit the floor running. I wanted so desperately to please God and to know He was pleased with me. I volunteered for just about anything that was needed. I loved serving God, but was He pleased with me? Had I done enough to be accepted by Him? I did this for years. Through unforeseen situations and circumstances in our family that I tried so hard to fix and control, along with keeping up my dedication to do God’s work, I finally realized I could not keep it all together.

In 2007, I cried out to God, “What do I do? I can’t keep this up!!” He spoke to my spirit and said, “You are not supposed to. I AM. Trust Me with your life.”This was my surrender point. Since I was in Middle school I have wanted to be a counselor. In 2008, God led me to Grace Ministries. With one divinely appointed conversation with Pam O’Gwin I knew He was speaking to me through her. God revealed His grace (the indwelling, enabling, empowering presence of Christ as Life) to me through my internship at Grace Ministries. His Life in exchange for mine!! Galatians 2:20…”I have been crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, YET NOT I BUT CHRIST LIVING IN ME……” was the Light bulb moment in my life. HE wants to work, to serve, to love and to live through me! This was and is THE rest for my soul. I don’t have to try harder, control, and work to please Him.

Because of my Jesus and His completed work on the cross and His living in me, I am. My heart’s desire is to walk with others and point them to Jesus who is our very Life so that they may experience their freedom in Christ through the revelation of Our Holy Spirit.

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Bruce Carlson

International Representative

Bruce was born of missionary parents in Hong Kong and spent some of his early years in a Japanese concentration camp with his parents – a rather unique beginning to a lifetime of adventure. After finishing high school in Hong Kong, he worked his way back to the States on a Norwegian freighter to attend Wheaton College, where he excelled in ping pong during his first two years.…Read More
Grace Ministries InternationalNorth American StaffWork Phone: 770-690-0433

Bruce was born of missionary parents in Hong Kong and spent some of his early years in a Japanese concentration camp with his parents – a rather unique beginning to a lifetime of adventure. After finishing high school in Hong Kong, he worked his way back to the States on a Norwegian freighter to attend Wheaton College, where he excelled in ping pong during his first two years. Realizing there was no degree granted in that field, he settled down to “the books” and graduated with a degree in Sociology – and a commission in the US Army. As a young lieutenant, he received his jump wings and was selected to the elite Special Forces training at Ft. Bragg, NC, before being assigned to Okinawa – the jumping off base for assignments in Thailand, Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam in the early stages of the war. The training was intense, the adventure was high, and his life was divinely protected on a number of occasions. In spite of his love of the “adrenalin highs,” he felt the strong urge to “help people” and left the exciting army life to enter graduate school and earned a Master’s in Guidance and Counseling. Divine protection turned into divine guidance, since it was here that he met and married the girl whom he had met briefly a year earlier. She introduced him to the discipleship ministry of The Navigators and the gentle, but firm nudges of the Holy Spirit led Bruce and Donna to Texas for further training in personal evangelism and discipleship, which eventually led to an unmistakable conviction that nothing less than guidance in eternal matters would really help people. The transition from a “counseling cubicle” to world-wide ministry opportunities gradually unfolded, and the “life of adventure” that God offered far exceeded anything that could have been experienced from a career in the military. Ministry assignments ranged from a training missionary candidates in the jungles of southern Mexico to a more traditional discipleship program in Ghana, to organizing mass immunization programs in Uganda and large-scale water projects in Kenya, to pastors training and leadership development programs throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America and more recently, Eastern Europe. The work was challenging and rewarding, but not without suffering – Donna passed away in a freak swimming accident off the coast of Kenya, loss of job and home due to lack of project funding, some poor financial decisions resulting in deep debt and a general downward spiral into a state of clinical depression took Bruce to decisions that nearly cost him his life – not suicidal, just providential. But God is faithful – the extremity of man’s crisis is the opportunity of God’s grace. Through what could only be termed as “miraculous,” followed by an unusual set of circumstances, God introduced Bruce to the “Grace-Message,” which revolutionized his understanding of God, himself and living the Christian life. Philippians 1:6, which he had memorized decades earlier, took on new meaning: “As you have received Christ Jesus as Lord (by grace through faith), so live in Him (by grace through faith) – so simple, yet so profound. In August of 2009, God took this “trained killer” and “stumbling servant” and gave him a new mission – to be an “agent of His grace.”

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Jace Caulder

Discipleship Counselor

My Encounter with Grace: I had been a Christian for 29 years and never knew what it was to really “know God” as He intended until I met Roger Stark, a pastor in Jacksonville, FL in 2012. After accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior in 1983, I served faithfully as a layman for many years before answering a call to ministry and going to Bible College in 1993.…Read More

My Encounter with Grace:

I had been a Christian for 29 years and never knew what it was to really “know God” as He intended until I met Roger Stark, a pastor in Jacksonville, FL in 2012.

After accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior in 1983, I served faithfully as a layman for many years before answering a call to ministry and going to Bible College in 1993. I earned my BS in Church Ministries in May of 2000 and served as an associate pastor for over 11 years before “hitting the wall”. I felt empty and dissatisfied; and I did not want to live in my “roller coaster religion” any longer. I resigned my position with nowhere to go but to my knees.

That’s when Jesus showed me the true meaning of His Grace! I was brought into something that I never experienced before and my heart craved for more! Now I know who I am in Christ; a son of God, unconditionally loved, forgiven completely, and accepted just as I am. I am a new creation IN Jesus. He speaks to me, He leads me, He comforts me; He is LIFE! My Life. It is my passion to bring this message of Life in Christ to all who will hear.

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Vlado Hoblaj

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Josie Howard

Accounting Manager

Responsibilities: Accounting Administrator responsible for accounts payable, account reconciliation, financial reports, budget preparation, and managing day-to-day accounting processes. Josie’s Passion: I want experience the reality of Christ in me and me in Him daily. I desire for my body, mind, and heart to be renewed and transformed as I live out life here on earth.…Read More
Grace Ministries InternationalNorth American StaffWork Phone: 770-690-0433

Responsibilities:

Accounting Administrator responsible for accounts payable, account reconciliation, financial reports, budget preparation, and managing day-to-day accounting processes.

Josie’s Passion:

I want experience the reality of Christ in me and me in Him daily. I desire for my body, mind, and heart to be renewed and transformed as I live out life here on earth. I desire to use my skills and experience in Finance to provide administrative support to Grace Ministries International as God uses the ministry to communicate His truth to others locally and beyond.

Quick Facts:

Birthplace: Ft. Benning, GA

Spiritual Birth: 1981

On Staff Since: Oct 2009

Hobbies: games & puzzles, painting, music

Spouse/Children: Married to Ed Howard

Mom to Sam & Josh

Bio:

The youngest of 6 siblings, I grew up in a strict home environment. As a result, perfection became the standard. Mistakes, errors, or less than stellar performance was often frowned upon. Although I received the gift of salvation as a child and understood Christ as my Savior, my relationship with Jesus was limited mostly to Sundays at church. As a young adult entering into marriage, my heart was drawn back to knowing Jesus more. I began to seek Christ as my Lord and wanted His guidance to live life the “right” way. I wanted to follow His way and serve Him. Of course I also wanted to be a “good example” for the children that I one day planned to have and raise with my husband. God answered my prayers for children and I was blessed with two boys very close in age.

Then the fairy tale life I had carefully planned for and envisioned fell apart. I fell into depression as I saw myself “failing” to be the mom and wife I had expected to be. Parenting was hard and for the first time my marriage relationship was rocky. Thankfully, my sister introduced me to Grace Ministries International. Through counseling, God gently and patiently helped me identify and process many false beliefs about myself, healing old emotional wounds, and revealing to me that I was already fully acceptable and wonderful to Him. I could stop trying to live life perfectly FOR Him, and start living life WITH Him, discovering who I really was as a new creation in Christ.

A few years after counseling, I was blessed with the opportunity to join the GMI staff on a part-time basis, and I am privileged to be a part of a ministry that has impacted my life so significantly. Today, I continue to journey with God, getting to know Him more as “Abba”, my heavenly daddy and learning to let Him transform and renew my heart and mind through everyday life experiences.

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Kim Kelley

Discipleship Counselor – Conference Speaker

I was raised in church and became a believer when I was nine years old. However, I was in my thirties before I started seeking out God for myself. Circumstances in my marriage and family had brought me to this point. I knew the Church’s answers of who God was, but I needed to know God for myself.…Read More

I was raised in church and became a believer when I was nine years old. However, I was in my thirties before I started seeking out God for myself. Circumstances in my marriage and family had brought me to this point. I knew the Church’s answers of who God was, but I needed to know God for myself. Knowing about Him was no longer enough, I needed to know Him intimately.

I can remember reading John 10:10b – “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it MORE ABUNDANTLY.”

Suddenly this scripture stopped me. I began to ask God, “Where is this abundant life?”

I certainly wasn’t experiencing it in my life, but I knew that if Jesus spoke it, it had to be true. Somehow I had missed it.

During this time, a friend invited me to a Grace Ministries conference at her church. It was there that God began to enlighten me of this abundant life: my life exchanged for His!

I had been trying to keep my life together for so long, out of my own strength. I was exhausted and simply couldn’t do it anymore. Little did I know, at that time, that was the best place I could have been. Through that Divine Design conference, God began to show me the meaning of Galatians 2:20a: “For I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me.”  Therein lies the answer to all my searching for the abundant life!

It wasn’t about me getting through the storms of life or carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. It was about me trusting and allowing Christ to do it for me and through me. It was about resting and receiving, knowing He would do the achieving.

This is the abundant life Christ came to give us all!

My desire is to share His good news with others, that they might walk in the fullness of His love and experience for themselves HIS ABUNDANT LIFE!

My husband, Dwight and I have been married since 1983. We have two sons, one daughter-in law, and five grandchildren with another on the way. My husband and I were born, raised and reside in Ball Ground, Ga.

 

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Peter & Anelia Kerchevi

True Life Foundation has a vision to bring the truths of the Exchanged Life to Bulgaria with a specific strategy of working with church leaders.Read More

True Life Foundation has a vision to bring the truths of the Exchanged Life to Bulgaria with a specific strategy of working with church leaders.

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Erno Kerekes

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Sylvia Kutsche

Administrative Assistant

s a small child I watched a very old, silent movie on T.V. about the crucifixion of Christ. Seeing Christ on the cross made me cry uncontrollably. I don’t know what happened, but from that day forward I had a bent toward God. I just wanted to be good for Him and please Him. Growing into my teen years I became very independent.…Read More
Work Phone: 770-690-0433

s a small child I watched a very old, silent movie on T.V. about the crucifixion of Christ. Seeing Christ on the cross made me cry uncontrollably. I don’t know what happened, but from that day forward I had a bent toward God. I just wanted to be good for Him and please Him.

Growing into my teen years I became very independent. I married at the age of 19, and after nine years and two children, we divorced. Working and raising two children alone is not easy. I tried going to church, but as a single, divorcee I never felt accepted. I continued to seek God, but He always seemed so elusive.

About nine years after my divorce I was alone and praying to God. I don’t remember my circumstances that day, but afterward I knew something was different. The next day God led me to buy a book called “Joni.” Reading this book helped me understand that I had been born again.

This was an exciting and happy time, but short lived. I was very involved in my church for a while but as a young Christian I had no real understanding of what it meant to be a Christian. I knew that Christ was the answer to all things, but there was still something missing in my life. This was so confusing to me. God began to show me through His word, books, people, and yes, even through suffering that Christ is my Life and that I have to die to myself in order for Him to live through me. “He must increase, I must decrease.” He doesn’t want my service He wants my life so that He can serve through me. My unhappiness was coming from my unwillingness to totally surrender to Him and let Him complete the work that He has begun in me. “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me.”

I am on a journey and Christ is my guide and teacher through my life here on earth. “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me.”

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Gary Layne

Director of Administration – Discipleship Counselor – Conference Speaker

Gary has 25 years’ experience of teaching the Bible. He has been on two church staffs serving as the education pastor. In the past he has also been the marketing vice president of several businesses. Gary has a wealth of experience in ministry and the business community. Currently he is a director at Grace Ministries International.…Read More
Grace Ministries InternationalNorth American StaffWork Phone: 770-690-0433

Gary has 25 years’ experience of teaching the Bible. He has been on two church staffs serving as the education pastor. In the past he has also been the marketing vice president of several businesses. Gary has a wealth of experience in ministry and the business community.

Currently he is a director at Grace Ministries International. Gary provides counseling for families and individuals as well as leads conferences and training sessions. He travels around the world bringing God’s Love and Grace to church leaders, missionaries, and lay people. Gary brings a fresh, application filled teaching style that many people find easy to understand.

You will be blessed by his friendly, conversational style of leading others into an encounter with God.

Gary lives in Marietta, Georgia, is married with 5 adult children and 3 grandchildren.

How may I serve you?

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Pam O’Gwin

Director of Training – Discipleship Counselor – Conference Speaker

I was raised in a Christian home and became a believer when I was 8 years old. I always went to church and I knew the Bible stories and all of the hymns. I had the knowledge of God’s love and Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. I learned as a teenager that Christ came “that I might have life and have it abundantly” which prompted my mission to achieve that abundant life by doing all of the right things. …Read More
Grace Ministries InternationalNorth American StaffWork Phone: 770-690-0433

I was raised in a Christian home and became a believer when I was 8 years old. I always went to church and I knew the Bible stories and all of the hymns. I had the knowledge of God’s love and Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. I learned as a teenager that Christ came “that I might have life and have it abundantly” which prompted my mission to achieve

that abundant life by doing all of the right things. After I was introduced to Precept Bible Study in my early twenties, I realized that Gods’ Word really did give life. The Word of God came alive to me as never before. I learned

about the character of God and the promises of God. I tried so hard in my own strength to live out what I read in Scripture. I really loved the Lord and I wanted to be pleasing to Him.

I married at a young age and we had two great boys and I felt so grateful and blessed. During the 17 years of marriage I tried very hard to be the best wife, mother, Christian, daughter, friend, neighbor, and tennis player! All of this effort of striving for the abundant life started to get me down and I became depressed because I felt like I could never measure up to MY standard. I had set the bar so high I could not attain it and I didn’t know how to rest in Christ for His strength. I felt like everything was up to me to figure out and live out. The result was depression and divorce.

During this time of grief, God showed me that He didn’t want me to work at having an abundant life, He want to be my Abundant Life. God began to heal me and teach me how to accept His invitation to “come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest..come and learn from Me…..and you will find rest for your soul.”

As time went on, I experienced God’s call to vocational ministry, so another journey began. After completing seminary I prayed for God’s direction. I knew that I wanted to be part of a ministry that taught believers and seekers how to discover and accept Christ for their very life. In 2004 a friend of mine told me about Grace Ministries International (GMI), so I looked them up and discovered that their passion and mission was also mine.

I attended a conference, a workshop, and met with several of the staff. I immediately knew that this was where God was calling me. I interned with GMI in the fall of 2005 and joined the staff in August 2006. It has been an amazing journey and God has guided me every step of the way. I have learned and am learning more of God’s faithfulness, truth and love as He leads me in relationship with Him and the people He brings into my path. This life is a life I could never achieve on my own. He alone is the One who meets our need for love, acceptance, worth, and security. He alone is worthy of praise!

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Priscilla Paquin

Office Manager

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Work Phone: 770-690-0433
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E. S.

International counselor and coaching

Becoming a follower of Jesus changed Eliza's life dramatically. She says, “My first experience of brokenness introduced me to the exchanged life and to being re-parented by my heavenly Father.  This gave me a full, new life—a beautiful spiritual path, forming the foundation of an intimate relationship with Jesus.  The Holy Spirit has transformed me from being a member of a dysfunctional family, with false believes about myself, into a new creation with a new identity.  …Read More

Becoming a follower of Jesus changed Eliza’s life dramatically.

She says, “My first experience of brokenness introduced me to the exchanged life and to being re-parented by my heavenly Father.  This gave me a full, new life—a beautiful spiritual path, forming the foundation of an intimate relationship with Jesus.  The Holy Spirit has transformed me from being a member of a dysfunctional family, with false believes about myself, into a new creation with a new identity.  I am pleased that I am now able to walk alongside people and experience that Heaven on earth is real.”

She is an in-depth learner and is quick to apply and grow from what she learns in her walk with Christ.  Now, she is sharing with others what she has learned and treasures.  Eliza has a big smile as she tells people that she is “blessed to be a blessing.”

A trainer and facilitator in both English and Chinese, she is also a Life Coach and provides group counseling.  She currently facilitates a discipleship and counseling group and leads a divorce care group.

Outside the U.S. she will facilitate “Immersion Experience” in various overseas locations, offering counseling and life coaching. While this is a program for church leaders, pastors and missionary families, Eliza will also serve teachers of orphans and helpers of the homeless. And she will teach, encourage, mentor and facilitate in both English and Chinese.

Grace Ministries International staff raise funds to cover the cost of their ministry. Most associates are supported workers, which means that they also raise funds for a salary.

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Lori Sargent

Discipleship Counselor

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Val Smith

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Charles Spoelstra

Discipleship Counselor – Conference Speaker

Saved as a child, I didn’t discover what it means to be saved by His Life until I came to GMI and learned about my Identity in Christ. Since then I’ve been on an amazing journey of discovering intimacy with Jesus, finding out just how creative, caring and kind He really is. If you want to read more and discover my heart and my relationship with Jesus go to one of my Blogs and enjoy.…Read More
Work Phone: 770-690-0433

Saved as a child, I didn’t discover what it means to be saved by His Life until I came to GMI and learned about my Identity in Christ. Since then I’ve been on an amazing journey of discovering intimacy with Jesus, finding out just how creative, caring and kind He really is. If you want to read more and discover my heart and my relationship with Jesus go to one of my Blogs and enjoy.
http://charlesgordon.blogspot.com/2008/02/fully-known.html
http://www.savedbyhislife.blogspot.com/

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Jimmy Stephens

Discipleship Counselor – Conference Speaker

In 1995 my wife suggested that I attend a three day conference at Grace Ministries International (later referred to as GMI) while seeking other counseling. My problem came to light and I realized that I was struggling with my identity; specifically who I am in Christ. What I had seen in the Lord and was experiencing were two different things.…Read More
Work Phone: 770-690-0433

In 1995 my wife suggested that I attend a three day conference at Grace Ministries International (later referred to as GMI) while seeking other counseling. My problem came to light and I realized that I was struggling with my identity; specifically who I am in Christ. What I had seen in the Lord and was experiencing were two different things. On the one hand, I saw His love and acceptance, but I was trying to live out my life based on a set of standards and rules. Having perfectionist tendencies, I started getting the revelation that I was trying to emulate Jesus instead of letting the Holy Spirit accomplish His righteousness through me. This was causing relational and marital problems, but I finally realized it was my insecurity and sense of worthlessness that was the main problem.

Over the following years, I was very active in our church leading small groups, it just got to the point that “nothing was wrong but something wasn’t right.” The Lord was teaching me about the new life I had in Him and giving me plenty of opportunities to grow through joy, trials and pain but I knew there was more. I wish I could say that I pursued answers at GMI soon after the initial three day conference I attended, but that was not the case. In 2004, I sensed a calling from the Lord to pursue counseling and the training at GMI so that I could be utilized as a volunteer counselor. I graduated from the counseling/training in 2006 and went through the process of co-counseling with another counselor until 2007 and then started seeing counselees on my own. Through all of this, I continue to learn about the most important issue after being saved is discovering who we are in Christ.

God has provided an opportunity that allows me to accompany people for a season of time in their lives so they can learn and experience who they are in Christ.

Is it your time for the journey to begin or continue at a deeper level?

Galatians 2:20 (MSG)
20 Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

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Chris Stuckey

Partnership Development

My Passion: To engage business people, college students, and high school students in personal mentoring and leadership coaching through small groups and one-on-one settings. My favorite thing to do is meet with someone new and listen to his life story over a cup of coffee. My other favorite thing to do is sit in a circle with a group, listening to each other and providing peer coaching for leadership or personal issues.…Read More
Work Phone: 770-690-0433

My Passion:
To engage business people, college students, and high school students in personal mentoring and leadership coaching through small groups and one-on-one settings. My favorite thing to do is meet with someone new and listen to his life story over a cup of coffee. My other favorite thing to do is sit in a circle with a group, listening to each other and providing peer coaching for leadership or personal issues.
I discovered this passion after I had spent approximately 15 years in the business world, specializing in data analysis using databases and spreadsheets.

Birthplace: Savannah, Georgia

Spiritual Birth: 1992

On Staff Since:2012

Hobbies:
I love to watch sports, especially college football. I’m a loyal Georgia Bulldogs fan. Go Dawgs! I consider myself a “techy.” I love to keep up with all the new gadgetry coming out. I also love to help individuals with their Social Media presence.

Married:
Yes, to my lovely wife of 10 years: Adrienne

Bio:
I was not brought up in a Christian home. We did the typical – go to church on Christmas and Easter – and that was it. I started to feel like I needed something different in my life I while was in college; I went to church a few times while I was there but never really committed to going. I received Jesus as my lord and Savior in the spring of 1992. The father of my girlfriend at the time asked me if I knew who Jesus was and if I wanted to know him better. Curious as to where he was going with this, I said yes. He talked to me about what Jesus meant by to him, and at the end of his story he asked me if I wanted to feel the love of Jesus myself. I said yes and accepted Jesus that day.
I became involved in Grace Ministries International through my friend Pam O’Gwin, who is the Director of Training and a Discipleship Counselor at GMI. We meet for lunch one day and I started to talk to her about my interest in counseling and mentoring. She told me about GMI and ask me to considering going through “The Encounter” training. I started the monthly Encounter in the fall of 2010. I went thinking I was going to get training to be a discipleship counselor; however I had a much different experience than I expected. God revealed my negative belief system and flesh patterns. It really gave me different perspective of him and his love and grace for me. My life has not been the same since.
I’m so glad that I’m part of the Grace Ministries International family and get to witness transformed lives every day.

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Janice Thomas

Discipleship Counselor – Conference Speaker

I have been counseling for more than 22 years.  I received my initial training in the First Baptist Church of Atlanta Lay Counseling Program.  I decided to get the training because I was constantly being asked for advice on life issues.  I figured if I was to help others, I needed to be equipped.  When I went through the initial training, little did I know how much I needed help.…Read More
Work Phone: 770-690-0433

I have been counseling for more than 22 years.  I received my initial training in the First Baptist Church of Atlanta Lay Counseling Program.  I decided to get the training because I was constantly being asked for advice on life issues.  I figured if I was to help others, I needed to be equipped.  When I went through the initial training, little did I know how much I needed help. I thought that since I was saved, that settled everything.   However, I had many fears and worries.  I had also experienced a painful trauma earlier in life.  Since I was saved, I told myself that it was all under the blood and that I didn’t need to address it.  Nevertheless, I began to see, while in the training, that I coped by having to be in control.  You see, what I feared, I attempted to control.  Through the training and personal counseling, I was introduced to Christ as my life.  As I began to understand what that meant and embraced it, I was set free from control and the fruit of it (fear and worry); in essence my “self-life.”  The Lord took me through a period of brokenness.  This led me to total surrender in exchange for Christ as my life.

Some years later, while serving as a lay counselor at First Baptist Church, ,I sensed the Lord calling me to full time counseling as a ministry.  At that time, I went back to school, received a B.A. degree in Psychology and a M.A. in Christian Counseling.  After receiving a M.A. in Christian Counseling, I was hired as a Staff Counselor at First Baptist Church of Atlanta.  During my tenure as a staff counselor, I counseled individuals and marital couples.  I also coordinated the Intensive and Lay Counseling Training Programs.  Late 2011, I sensed the Lord leading me away from the counseling ministry at First Baptist Church of Atlanta.  He had plans for me to counsel others at different ministry sites.   GMI is one of the places that He has called me to minister at this time.

Through my own healing experience, I’ve never been the same.  It’s been a wonderful journey of continuously experiencing Him as my life; my great reward.

I am committed to facilitating help and healing to hurting individuals and couples who are open to God’s solutions.

Personal

I am married to Floyd, have two adult daughters and six grandchildren.  I enjoy traveling with my family and reading.

Professional Affiliations

I am a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor through the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) and the Georgia Board of Christian Counselors and Therapists which is not affiliated with the Georgia State Licensing Board.  My professional memberships include the Association of Exchanged life Ministries (AELM), and the Georgia Christian Counseling Association (GCCA).

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Laurie Turner

Before discovering God’s grace, I lived mostly out of my head, trying to do the right thing, trying to be acceptable, trying to put on the right behavior. But it never answered the questions of my heart about why I felt so miserable about myself and so distant from God. When I began to discover His grace and acceptance, it was life-changing.…Read More

Before discovering God’s grace, I lived mostly out of my head, trying to do the right thing, trying to be acceptable, trying to put on the right behavior. But it never answered the questions of my heart about why I felt so miserable about myself and so distant from God. When I began to discover His grace and acceptance, it was life-changing. It empowered me to allow Him into some of the places in my heart that had been locked away from everyone, including myself. I tried to find identity through what I did. As a result, I returned from South America a hurting, burned-out missionary, wondering who I would be apart from ministry. That led me on a journey of discovering my identity in Christ and finding that His acceptance of me is not based on what I do or how well I perform but on what He has done for me and who He now is in me. Now I continue to discover that what I do does not make me someone. What I do is an expression of who He is, how He has made me, and of His life in me. And that’s a lot more fun than the other way around!

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Veronica Voloshyna

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Ron Ward

Discipleship Counselor

I was trained in biblical studies and completed seminary in 1986.  I have nearly 20 of experience in ministry, serving as missionary to Mexico, Jamaica and Colombia, South America.  It was Colombia where I met and married my beautiful wife before returning to the States.  In 1991 we moved to Colombia South America as missionaries and remained for five years. …Read More

I was trained in biblical studies and completed seminary in 1986.  I have nearly 20 of experience in ministry, serving as missionary to Mexico, Jamaica and Colombia, South America.  It was Colombia where I met and married my beautiful wife before returning to the States.  In 1991 we moved to Colombia South America as missionaries and remained for five years.  We have been married now for 28 years and are blessed to have seen our three lovely daughters grow in the grace and knowledge of God.   All three are missions minded and have a deep walk with our Lord Jesus Christ.

Personal Story.   I received the Lord as my Savior during my Senior year of High School.  I became obsessed with an ever growing need to be found acceptable to and pleasing to Him.  This quest led me through a series of what seemed obvious to me that any young Christian man should follow.  Certainly Bible College and Seminary were a good start, but even after that, I felt there must be something more I should do to prove my sacrificial devotion.  After nearly 20 years of striving for acceptance from God as a missionary, pastor and counselor, I was completely exhausted, spiritually and emotionally. I had struggled to do my best and to serve him with all my might, but my best just didn’t seem to be enough. I admit there were moments of victory, and satisfaction seeing God work in and through me, but mostly I felt I was falling short of the goal.  Exhausted, and feeling hopeless, I was introduced to Grace Ministries International.  During a GMI seminar a great truth was brought to my attention.  One of the key scriptures revealed to me was Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”   NIV

I learned that my service and hard work were not prerequisites for God’s love and acceptance.  According to Galatians 2:20, It was Christ exchanging my life for His that solidified and demonstrated His ultimate love and acceptance for me.   This simple truth set me free from the frustrations and disappointments of “striving” and I was suddenly free to serve from a place of resting in Him.

 

Today, I consider myself blessed to be on staff at Grace Ministries as a Discipleship Counselor. I count it great joy to lead others into a deeper understanding of the exchanged life.  My commitment and heart’s desire is to facilitate help and healing to those in crisis and to couples who are open to God’s solutions.

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Woody Whitley

Accounting Department

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Denise Yaun

Discipleship Counselor – Conference Speaker

Born and raised in Columbus, GA, I am the fifth of six children.   Attending church as a child, I learned that God expected me to behave a certain way and do specific things – obey, tithe, pray, love, be kind, etc.  Around 11, I had an understanding that I was a sinner and needed Jesus as my Savior. …Read More
Work Phone: 770-690-0433

Born and raised in Columbus, GA, I am the fifth of six children.   Attending church as a child, I learned that God expected me to behave a certain way and do specific things – obey, tithe, pray, love, be kind, etc.  Around 11, I had an understanding that I was a sinner and needed Jesus as my Savior.  By the time, I started high school I stopped attending church.  I didn’t fit in with the youth and there seemed to be little connection between what I learned at church and my life at home.

I received a Business Management degree from the University of Colorado and worked in an administrative capacity throughout my career.  Constantly seeking to prove my worth, I strived to be somebody based on my appearance and performance.  In my late twenties I returned to church, rededicated my life and put much effort into being a righteous and good person.  By my thirties, a series of disappointments caused me to feel depressed and discouraged questioning the abundant life Jesus spoke of in John 10:10.

Through a friend’s recommendation I sought counseling at GMI and my life has never been the same.  Understanding and experiencing the truth that my identity is not based on my appearance or performance set me free to be me and enjoy a meaningful relationship with Christ.  In 2006, I quit my job to enroll in GMI’s advanced training program.

As a result, I felt a compassion for other women like me who were judging their righteousness by their works.  In 2010 I began counseling at GMI on a volunteer basis and have co-taught conferences here and overseas.  It is my joy to journey with women as Jesus heals their hearts and awakens them to the reality of who they are because of His love and grace.

My husband, Donnie and I married in 2007 and live in Marietta, GA.  My hobbies include baking, sewing, and immersing myself in a great novel.

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Anita Zarfl

Anita Zarfl was born in Varazdin, Croatia. Before she became a Christian, she was a successful business woman.  She has passion for helping hurting women and has dedicated her life to minister and teach.  Her desire is to see the lives of individuals healed and restored.  She also has experienced that a few small steps of change will bring radical change to individuals, families, communities as well as to carriers and one´s own future.  …Read More

Anita Zarfl was born in Varazdin, Croatia.

Before she became a Christian, she was a successful business woman.  She has passion for helping hurting women and has dedicated her life to minister and teach.  Her desire is to see the lives of individuals healed and restored.  She also has experienced that a few small steps of change will bring radical change to individuals, families, communities as well as to carriers and one´s own future.  Anita holds a Bachelor Degree in Teaching and is the mother of two grown sons.

She and her husband make their home in Austria.

Her Christian Counseling Training and Internship was in Atlanta, GA, USA. She also completed The Schools of Spiritual growth, Prophecy and Inner Healing through Elijah House Austria.  She is a speaker and a teacher.

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