Hi! I’m Tori, I’m from Northern California, specifically the East Bay Area 45 minutes outside of San Francisco, and I’m the oldest of 3 girls- I absolutely love my role as “the big sister”! Music has always had a special place in my life as I grew up singing in choirs at church and in school. I can still vividly remember the days when our home would be filled with musical praise as my mom would sit at the piano and freely worship. She instilled in me, simply through her love for it, a love for praise and worship that has continued to grow and carry me into my life today. I began serving on the student leadership team and leading worship in 2009 for my college (University of California, Davis) fellowship group, Athletes in Action, where I developed a heart for ministry to college women. I continued leading worship and being a member of worship teams after graduation at churches near my hometown for Sunday services, corporate worship nights, and intercessory prayer gatherings, as well as, on mission trips to Haiti.
Upon obeying the call of the Lord to move to Bolivar for grad school, my journey took an unexpected turn as He opened my eyes (when I was removed from all my comforts) to the reality of how I had lived the past 23 years of life. Day after day, God brought to light identities- masks- that I continued to live out that took the place of my one, true identity: His. Over the journey of the last year, the Lord has stirred in me a deep passion for the Church, specifically for women in the Church, to come to know and believe in our true, unchangeable identity as the Beloved One of God. For me, worship is the space where my walls come down and I engage most intimately with the One who knows both the inner workings of my heart and my wretched sinfulness, but still loves me just as He loves His Son. It is my prayer that through our time of worship together, we would enter into the secret place with the Lover of our souls and allow Him to speak and move with love and life into the masked spaces in our hearts.
Currently, I lead worship for a home fellowship group of PT students who gather together in a living room and I help out a couple times a month at Freshwater Church in Springfield. My musical inspirations include my mom, worship leaders Lisa Green & Elizabeth Hunnicutt, Rita Springer, Kim Walker-Smith, Kristene DiMarco, Laura Hackett, Misty Edwards, Bethel Music, The United Pursuit Band, Christy Nockels, Phil Wickham, Shane & Shane, and Adele (That girl sings with so much soul!). I am so blessed and excited to worship with you all!
"I have been married to Joshua Hedger since 2005, and they have been my favorite years on this planet so far. The last six and a half years we have served in full time ministry. Joshua has been a youth pastor, lead pastor, and church planter. Coming from a broken family, abuse and unchurched background, the immersion into ministry life has not always been smooth. However, God has patiently strengthened and grown me over the years. He is teaching me still what it means to walk fully in my calling and His grace.
I have a B.A. Biblical Studies from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and am working on my M.A. Counseling Psychology. We just accepted our first foster placement, and are very excited to be foster parents and look forward to how God will build our family over the years.
We recently moved from Bolivar, Missouri where we had planted Freshwater Church to Kansas City, Missouri where Joshua is now director for the Midwestern Seminary Center for Church Planting. And we are planting Emmaus Church in Parkville, KC in 2014.
God has ministered profoundly to my brokenness and rescued me out of deep pits. Some of my most thankful moments in life are when God uses me in a small way to encourage women to stand up confidently in the inheritance that is theirs because of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is our single hope and the sufficient answer to every emotional, spiritual, and physical malady we face."
Visit Tish's blog, Tish Hedger ~ Beautiful Jesus. Beautiful Hope. Beautiful Life.
“Hi friends! My name is Joy Files. I am 28 years old, been married to the man of my dreams for almost 10 years, I have 4 precious children, and I live in the beautiful state of Virginia. I am the girl in the room that will say what everyone else is thinking. I love talking to girls, married or single, about one of the most secretive subjects talked about... SEX. Whether you have lost your virginity, have never been kissed, or are married and trying to figure the whole thing out... I would love you to join me in some laughter and possibly some tears as we seek out God's purpose for us as women in the beautiful thing we call sex.”
Sarah Hollis is thrilled to have the opportunity to speak on what the modern day Proverbs 31 woman looks like. She is the perfect one to speak on this because she rises before dawn, sews her children's clothes, and weaves purple cloth with regularity. Oh wait....no, that's not right. She doesn't do any of those things. In reality she is a homeschooling momma who never misses an episode of New Girl. She has a sort-of organized house and loves (with deep affection) sleeping in. She has been married to her pastor husband, Rayden, for almost 13 years and together they laugh a lot! Although she may not bake everything from scratch and she has never bought a field (with or without consideration first) she still feels up for the challenge of painting a picture of the woman of valor described in Proverbs 31.
Hey! My Name is Kelsey, but most people at SBU call me Coach Keizer. The sport of basketball has threatened to define me since the age of 14 when I grew to the giant size of 6 feet tall. As a collegiate athlete and then professional athlete, I struggled through finding my identity outside of my sport and my worth beyond my performance. However, I have been rooted in TRUTH and reminded in GRACE that my CREATOR knew exactly what He was doing when he knitted me together in my mother’s womb. Through a windy road of God’s provision, I am now in my THIRD YEAR of enjoying the greatest job on earth – coaching college basketball. Daily I have to remind myself of God’s TRUTH and repent of my stubborn struggle with TRUSTING in the Lord. I am looking forward to diving into the truth of who GOD sees us to be and how we can actively believe that WE ALONE are valuable to God – and nothing we do or do not do will change that. Amen!
Monica Nixon is a gifted communicator who works as a Communications/Web Writer and enjoys connecting with and encouraging the hearts of women. She believes one of a woman’s greatest roadblocks to living a rich and infectious life is the fear of being herself. Her mission is to use writing and speaking to inspire women to embrace and enjoy the beauty and freedom of living an authentic life - unashamed of the past, unafraid of the future and free to enjoy the present.
On the web, she hosts a blog community called Be Completely You with Monica Nixon at monicanixon.com. At Be Completely You, Monica shares about everything from life, love and relationships to the pursuit of fancy yellow dresses and cute sandals. This year she’s hosting a weekly blog series called 52 Weeks to Be Completely You.
Monica’s heart to positively impact the lives of women young and old has also been displayed through projects she created such as:
- Secrets of the White Dress: a character building workshop for preteen and teen girls with a focus on abstinence education
- The Future Wives Club: a small group fellowship for unmarried women featuring the Wisdom, Virtue and Rubies© study
- Welcome to Summer Ladies Tea: a tea party fellowship for residents of a local women’s shelter
Monica Nixon is also a member of the Junior League of Atlanta, the third largest Junior League chapter in the world. She and her husband call metro-Atlanta home, where they attend Dunwoody Baptist Church and Monica fellowships with the women’s DiscipleU bible study. In her spare time she loves to see new places, meet new people, spend time with family and friends, read, shop, watch classic movies, listen to music, and of course hang out with her best friend, also known as her husband Sean.
“Hello! My name is Toni Redick. I am a daughter of the Lord Jesus Christ, wife to Jason and momma to my beautiful blessings, Samantha & Collyn. My husband serves as a Student Pastor and Worship Leader at our church, Heritage in Lebanon, MO where I am a minister’s wife and ladies Bible Study facilitator. I married my high school sweetheart in 1999. I graduated from SBU in 2000 with a degree in Psychology, Sociology and Counseling which I joyfully used for eight years working as a counselor and social worker. The Lord rocked my world when He called me to be a stay at home mom, which has been one of the greatest callings of my life!
My world was also humbled when I was invited to be a part of a ministry called Heart to Heart. Around 10 years with two of my besties, we traveled to churches and put on retreats for teen girls. The Lord used my testimony as hope for many. Over that time, my heart ached as most girls I met struggled with their image. A passion of mine is to encourage young ladies with truth that only His Word can provide.
“I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14"
Gary and Stacey Spani have been married for 27 years and in those years their heart's cry have been to be a "Lover's of God" committed to living a lives led by His Spirit and dedicated to exhorting, challenging and encouraging and building up His body on the message of truly "Knowing Him".
Gary and Stacey have five daughters, whom they have also home-schooled and believe that they have been called to build a foundation built on God's word and choices of the heart. They have also enjoyed coaching girl's basketball for 10 years winning a national championship at Metro Academy, which is a high school team that is comprised of home educated athletes that compete as a KHSSA approved high school. They have had the joy of coaching each of their daughters through this experience, four of which have gone on to play basketball at the collegiate level, Shalin at Kansas State who is now married to Collin Klein, Taber at Tennessee who now plays professionally abroad, Tanis here at Southwest Baptist, Sajel at Avila University and Taris who currently is on their high school team.
They also helped develop and coach AAU teams and soccer teams as well. On any of these team experiences, they purposed to build their coaching on the Lord and the word of God and also emphasized the "Double Win" philosophy and understanding the "Inner Game" which has been greatly influenced by Stacey's late father, Dr. Frosty Westering, a coach, teacher and author, who left a big mark on the teaching and coaching profession and mother, Donna Westering. Stacey's degree is in Public Relations and TV Sports Broadcasting.
Prior to marriage she worked and lived in Hawaii in the Hotel and Travel Industry working for a public relations company handling over 45 major hotels throughout the Islands. Stacey also helped in speaker training and effective communicating within the public relations firm. She started as an assistant public relations manager helping to re-open a multi-million dollar renovation of a Regent International hotel in Honolulu.
She has been a college cheerleader, a high school athlete and cheerleader and was involved in the Fellowship of Christian of Athletes for many years with her family. She has been blessed beyond measure to have been raised by loving Christian parents, that helped lead her and her two sisters and two brothers to the Lord Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior. She counts all her family as "good and perfect gifts" from above and continues to be in awe of the goodness of God. She stands continually with her beloved husband, Gary, and their family, counting on the faithfulness of the refining and purifying "fire of the Lord" to see His Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven!
I am Nichole Surber. I reside in Kansas City, Missouri just a few miles from the city center. My husband of nine months, Dustin, and I met leading worship at our tiny urban church. Currently, we are both students at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and College. I am working toward a Master’s degree in Biblical languages while he pursues his licensure in Biblical Counseling. Our heart in ministry is to raise a strong family and plant a church in Ireland. In the mean time we are living in one of Kansas City’s most difficult and diverse areas, the “Historic Northeast”, where we persistently pursue ways to engage our neighbors and “the least of these” in our community. I am happy to return to my alma mater, SBU, and to share a few hours of life with you. It is an encouragement to be apart of this continuing heritage!