Laura is the visionary of REAL ministries. She is 35 and single. Currently, she is an elementary school teacher, and is involved in the women’s and singles’ ministries at her church, along with helping with local and international mission opportunities. After growing up in a loving, yet unchurched home, she became a Christian in her late 20’s and has a passion for sharing her love for Christ with others. A year after her salvation, she went on her first overseas mission trip, where she fell completely in love with Jesus, and international missions. He showed her that taking the Gospel to all nations meant across the oceans, as well as to her family, and in her own home town. She loves sharing the Gospel and telling others about God’s mercy and grace and believes that wherever you are, that’s your mission field. She believes as we carry out our calling, God wants us all to take off any mask the enemy has us hiding behind, and walk in a real, relationship with Jesus Christ. He has shown her that life isn’t about being perfect, but about having a true, authentic relationship with her Heavenly Father.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6
With her soul’s desire to be a woman that seeks God and hears his voice Psalm 27:4 is her life verse. One thing I have asked of the Lord, and that I will seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, To gaze upon the beauty [the delightful loveliness and majestic grandeur] of the Lord And to meditate in His temple. (AMP)
Shanon Mitchell is 50 years old and has been happily married to Lynn for 28 years. She has 2 children, Rob and Hannah. Shanon is a second grade teacher at Bryan elementary School and has been teaching for 29 years. Shanon and her husband joined GFBC 25 years ago. She has served in the children’s ministry, taught Sunday school and is currently serving in the women’s ministry. With a heart for women and a passion for Christ, her purpose is to encourage ladies in their daily walk with Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:11– …So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it. (The Message)
Shanon believes that being REAL, authentic and sharing life with each other is what spurs us on and changes us so that we become more like Christ. Hebrews 10:24– And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works.(NET)
Jesus has written and redeemed each woman’s story so that we can share our stories to encourage and build HOPE, FAITH and LOVE in each life God puts into our path.
Amanda is the 31-year-old wife and mommy of three. Curretnly she is involved with the women’s ministry at Gardendale First Baptist. She and her husband are foster parents through Alabama Baptist Children’s Home.
For Amanda, one of the most beautiful things is seeing someone who’s falling in love with their Lord and Savior. Having the Lord take her from wrecked to redeemed, struggling through family hurts, from losing her dad to cancer at 19, being in an unhealthy marriage and then divorced, and struggling with depression and anxiety, Amanda knows the joy Jesus brings as He begins to heal, restore, and rebuild. “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” Psalm 40:2-3. Keenly aware of the brokenness all around, her heart’s desire is to be an outstretched hand to Real women, in a Real world, seeking the face of a Real Savior. “The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.
Looking back to when she first began her Christain walk and the way the Lord placed someone in her path to lift and help guide her, Amanda realized the improtance of having Christain sisters especially as a person begins their walk with the Lord. So the passion was ignited to share everything the Lord teaches her in a very practical way. Her hope is that every woman will realize that she too can pick up the Word of God and find Him on the pages and feel His love in the living, God-breathed scriptures.
“Come near to God and He will come near to you.” James 4:8
Blaire grew up in the Gardendale area and came to know Christ at a young age. Through God’s grace, she continues to learn more about what is means to fall deeper in love with Him.
In 2009, Blaire became a member of Gardendale’s First Baptist Church and embarked on her first international mission trip to Peru. It was there that the Father ignited a passion in her for His people that she never imagined. Through many different gracious circumstances, the Lord has allowed Blaire to receive her DPT and has had the opportunity to travel to Brazil providing medical assistance. Since then, she has been involved in leading worship through song and spending time with local youth. She is a part of the Singles’s ministry at GFBC, but her greatest joy comes from loving on and serving those who are “the least of these.”
The Lord has used a series of personal struggles in the desert to show His boundless love and relentless pursuit to “win her back once again….and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope” (Hosea 2:14-15). One verse that she has held dear for the past several years in Isaiah 55:5 which states, “Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.” This verse demonstrates such grace that the Father shows those who are hungry for Him.
As she continues to constantly struggle to live a life worthy of her calling, she longs to fall deeper in love with Jesus and demonstrate His love to those around her as such grace was shown to her.
Debbie is a 56-year-old Jesus lover, wife to her sweetheart, Randy, for 35 years, mom to 4 young adult children & a beautiful daughter-in-law, and Gigi to two rambunctious grandsons. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Alabama, has had Precept leader training, and is a lifelong teacher and a writer at heart. She has taught in private Christian schools, homeschooling, and at church.
From an upbringing that had Debbie in church every time the doors were open 9 months before she was even born, God has taken her on a great adventure! It has been a wild ride at times, from her father’s death when she was 11 to facing her husband’s leukemia and chemo in her 30’s, and most recently walking through a long season of grief as she saw Parkinson’s dementia slowly steal away the mother she had always known. But God’s faithfulness has carried Debbie through all the ups and downs. Scriptures that have been foundational in her life include Isaiah 55, Romans 8, Philippians 4:6-8 and Psalm 139. She finds great comfort in being fully known by her Father God – “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:1-2, 16
Debbie’s testimony is an example of God pursuing a person and bringing them to Him, from a walk down the aisle at age 8, through years of doubts, to a life altering encounter with an earthly angel of God and radical submission to Him. The most important thing to know is that Christ is Lord of her life and the Great Commission has become her motivation – “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19. Bible study and discipleship are her life passions and to see lives changed and people walking faithfully in obedience to Christ is her great joy.