Larry and Anita, high school sweethearts, were married in 1964 and have two daughters, one grandchild, and one great grandchild. Though they were in church all their lives they never remember hearing a salvation message until adulthood. They were saved in 1970 through a Lay Witness Mission held at their church. After 11 years with Delta Air Lines, Larry resigned to follow God's call to be house parents at a Christian City Children's Home in metro Atlanta. Larry later served as principal of Atlanta Christian School in metro Atlanta. After a time God placed him back in market place ministry with Waffle House restaurants. Being evangelists at heart they loved this contact with the lost and had a wonderfully fruitful time ministering there. For 25 years while their children were growing up, and after, they have loved having lost, addicted, hurting people living with them. In 2000 God again called Larry out of market place ministry and they have joyfully served with ServantCARE since that time. They have ministered to or with missionaries onsite in Brazil, Italy two times, Switzerland, Sicily, Mexico three times, and Kenya three times, as well as many missionaries while stateside. Larry has served as an elder at Northside Community Church In Eufaula, Alabama since 1996.
Jacob and Anna met and became best friends in middle school and began dating when Anna went to college. They were married in December 2009. Anna was saved at 12 and truly surrendered to the Lord at 19. Jacob was saved at 14 and completely surrendered to the Lord's calling at 21. Jacob graduated from Liberty University and Anna is a graduate of the University of Tennessee. Anna is a certified sign language interpreter. Jacob served as a youth pastor for 5 years, and they were both heavily involved in youth ministry since their dating years. Following this full-time ministry, Jacob was called to serve as a police officer in Birmingham, AL for many years. Now, called back to vocational ministry, they now both work for Praying Pelican Missions as a Missions Coordinator and as Assistant Directors for ServantCARE where they share the ministry as they speak in churches, with missionaries/pastors as well as host and minister at The Resting Place, a ServantCARE retreat center in southern Alabama. Their hearts are for missions and the local church worldwide - reaching the world with the Gospel and 'CARING for Those Who Serve'. One or both have served on mission trips in Mexico, Costa Rica, Belize, Jamaica, Kenya, Puerto Rico, North Africa, Amsterdam, Spain, and the U.S. Jacob and Anna have 2 children, Eric (adopted from Belize) and Eli (born in 2015).
Rod Varella became a Christian in 1975, at the age of 25 and entered the ministry in 1979. After receiving his Bachelor of Ministry degree at Florida Baptist College in 1982 and Master of Divinity at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas in 1985, Rod taught high school Bible and coached at a Christian school for 13 years. Having a heart for missions, Rod has traveled to Haiti, The Marshall Islands, Peru, Jordan, Israel, two trips to Kenya, and two trips to Mexico to minister with and to missionaries. Rod has been the pastor of Son Light Fellowship in Eufaula, Alabama since September of 1997. Rod and his wife Dotty have five children and fifteen grandchildren and ten great grandchildren.
Cheryl, and husband Jack, were both saved as children. Cheryl 'walked the aisle' at the age of five in the Baptist church where she was raised, but it wasn't until her early twenties that Jesus became Lord of her life. After meeting on a blind date they later married in 1983 and became actively involved together in their local church serving in many capacities. In recent years they have moved to North Georgia to be involved in the life of their one grandchild. Presently they are involved in local body ministry and have also served as ServantCARE hosts and intercessors for a number of years prior to coming on staff with ServantCARE.
Anna was born and raised near Birmingham, AL. She was saved at the age of 12 when she felt Him whisper to her that He would be a Good Daddy, and she fully surrendered to Him at the age of 19. Although she graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Educational Interpreting (American Sign Language), the Lord has really used that as a means to developing relationships, creating a heart for those who have experienced oppression, and to equip her in working cross-culturally. Her heart is for the local Church around the globe, pastors and their families, and missionaries. Anna serves as Assistant Director and host of The Resting Place with ServantCARE and works as the Consulting/Customer Service Lead and Staff Care Lead for Praying Pelican Missions. She often plans and leads mission trips domestically and internationally, equipping teams to serve and encouraging pastors to continue in what the Lord has called them to. She is the wife to Jacob and the mom to Eric and Eli. She loves Jesus wholeheartedly and wants all she meets to experience the freedom and identity only found in Him.
Kay (or Kaykay to her grands, kids and close friends) has lived her life in the Birmingham, AL. She attended mostly Baptist churches over the years. She publicly professed her faith to Jesus at the age of 10 - as the choir sang "Just As I Am." Kay has one beautiful daughter, Anna, a son in law, Jacob, and two wonderful grandsons, Eric and Eli. Kay is retired from the Social Security Administration after 38.5 years of work. She knew God didn't let her retire to "retire." She has worked in church as a teacher for children for over 28 years, served in Women's Ministry, supported missions and missionaries, served in local mission work, was primary caregiver for her parents until their passing, and has been on several mission trips to Costa Rica. Recently she was asked to join ServantCARE by her daughter and Mrs. Anita. Kay has a deep love for the Lord, a servant's heart, and is an assest to ServantCARE as well as all who know her.
When growing up Julia’s family were not regular church goers, but on one occasion she heard the gospel and as much as a small child could understand, she wanted Jesus. When it was time to enter school her father’s job with the State Department required the family to relocate to Saigon, Vietnam, then Bangkok, Thailand, then Lagos, Nigeria and back to Bangkok for her high school years at the International School. It was at that time a popular girl invited her to a ‘Christian youth rally’. At the end of the meeting there was an altar call and she went forward. It was a real experience with Jesus and a spark was lit. In a foreign country, though, there was nothing in place for discipleship so there was no real spiritual growth. She returned to the U.S. in her senior year and experienced a high level of culture shock. She went on to college and earned a degree in Social Work and later a degree in Business with a concentration in Computer Information Systems. While working she began to go to church and realized the need for community. Over time she began teaching Sunday School, Kay Arthur’s Precept, and Community Bible Study, and most recently she has completed Restoring the Foundations training as an issue focused counselor. Julia and her husband Ben have one daughter, Julianna, who has been in Bangkok, Thailand for several years teaching English through the Global English School. It functions as a Christian school with the student population being mostly Buddhist and non-religious.
Lin Braun, growing up near Charleston, SC, gave her heart to Jesus when she was 12. She felt the Lord was calling her to be a missionary overseas, but many years later (thinking she had let Him down) was assured by God that her mission work was here in the states with family, neighbors, strangers and ServantCARE. In 1995, they experienced a move of the Holy Spirit (Ft. Worth, TX) that completely changed them forever. They want to glorify the Lord and serve Him in everything they do. Moving to Eufaula, AL in 1998, they met Larry and Anita Parks through church and after a mission trip to the Marshall Islands in 2004, they felt called to be a part of ServantCARE and began visiting and establishing Hospitality Homes. In 2014, Lin became the Team CARE Ministry Leader. Team CARE has grown from 2 on staff, to 14. She is a retired educator of 30 years, teaching every grade except kindergarten, including college. She and husband, Jeff, have 2 sons, 8 grandchildren, and 1 great granddaughter.
Larry and Linda have served the Lord together since their marriage in 1980. Larry walked the aisle at age 12 in his hometown Baptist church, but came to a full commitment to the Lord shortly before meeting Linda. Although Linda was not raised in church, she came to know Jesus when her father lost his battle with lung cancer in 1977. Their early marriage was blessed with weekly opportunities to minister to foreign students. They have been Sunday School teachers over the years and teach the Financial Freedom course at their church. Over the years they have been involved in short-term missions to Scotland, Peru and Honduras. They are enjoying retirement which provides them time to visit their five daughters and twelve grandchildren in FL and GA, as well as bring their passion for missions and the Kingdom of God to the ministry of ServantCARE.
Jack was saved as a child in the Christian church where he was raised, yet, it wasn't until his college days that he wanted to live for Jesus day by day and a full commitment was made. After meeting his wife Cheryl on a blind date they later married in 1983 and became actively involved together in their local church serving in many capacities. In recent years they have moved to North Georgia to be involved in the life of their daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter.. Presently they are involved in local body ministry and have also served as ServantCARE hosts and intercessors for a number of years prior to coming on staff with ServantCARE.
Darlene was raised in a single parent home after her father was involved in a fatal accident when she was five. She attended church with her mother occasionally and walked the aisle at the age of 10 in a church she called home until she graduated high school. She didn't walk with God the following six years, then could no longer resist the woos of her Lord. She has been part of the family at Joy Fellowship since then. She met her husband there and they share three adult children. Darlene was given the gift of faith during her struggle with cancer. She now has a passion to declare the true and living word of God in prayer, to overcome all the power of the enemy, and to take back the victory of God's people. She serves as our Prayer Shield Coordinator. Email her your praises and requests at the address above.
Dotty, raised in a Christian home, was the daughter of a Naval officer and lived in Guam, Alaska and London in her growing up years. She received Jesus as her Savior at age 12 and after walking without Him for many years, a personal tragedy caused her to make Him her All in All. Dotty is married to husband, Rodney, who pastors Son Light Fellowship. They have 5 children, 15 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. Dotty oversees the church Food Bank program, leads worship at the church, and has served on a mission trip to Peru. She enjoys reading, quilting and hunting.
Jim and Anne Bevis serve as Directors of Christians Seeking Renewal Ministries based in Florence, Alabama. CSR Ministries is an international, trans-denominational conference ministry. Jim serves as a city facilitator working among the approximately three hundred churches in the Muscle Shoals area of North Alabama.
As an ordained minister, Jim, and Anne, are presently spearheading two new divisions under the CSR ministry umbrella. They are (1) The Ministry of Encouragement, a ministry to pastors and other church leaders and (2) the Shoals Marketplace Ministry, an attempt to mobilize those working in the market place for the Kingdom of God. Jim is also the author of a book, I Love To Tell The Story.
Dave and Sheri, parents of five children and eleven grandchildren have led a life of service. They worked overseas from 1974 until 2003, and lived in various locations for 20 of those years. They believe that today, missionaries deal with major uncertainties! As a result Dave and Sheri began in 2003 establishing hosted "Oasis Homes" around the world where missionaries, humanitarian aid workers, and Christian leaders can go for rest and personal ministry. Now, as founder and president emeritus of Life Impact, Dave Grissen was involved in Foreign Missions and Humanitarian Aid work for over 30 years, and lived in Europe and Central Asia for 20 of those. Dave strongly believes that only an intimate relationship with Jesus can remedy the personal and major issues facing people around the globe.
Mike and Margaret were born in South Carolina. Both were blessed to be saved at young ages, Michael at four and Margaret at eleven. They met while preparing for ministry at Tennessee Temple and married in 1969. Over the years they received additional training which included midwifery for Margaret and law for Michael. They have served together in ministry for many years (time with Operation Mobilization and Adventures in Missions), with another couple founded a church in Ellijay, Georgia, and have traveled together ministering to missionaries.
Two years after founding ServantCARE, Mike was led to return to the practice of law, and became the Circuit Public Defender for the Appalachian Judicial of Georgia. He has now retired. Margaret continues her ministry in midwifery. They have two sons, four grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.