November Member Spotlight
SISTER LASHANTA EBONI CRAWFORD
Introducing Sister Lashanta Eboni Crawford! Eboni was born and raised in Los Angeles, California to Ms. Wanda Stance and Mr. Samuel Crawford, Sr. She has a younger brother (Sam, Jr., 34 y/o) and four half-sisters (Chanel, London, Diamond, and Jasmine). Eboni will be celebrating her 38th birthday on November 10th! By her own admission, as a kid she was a bit “chunky” and was a huge fan of wrestling. Thus, her uncles affectionately bestowed upon her the nickname of “Glow”; an homage to the 80s female wrestling organization G.L.O.W. (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling)! After blossoming into a young lady and going off to college, the family then nicknamed her “Fly Girl” because of her poppin’ social life and stylish wardrobe!
Eboni says her mother is her greatest inspiration because of her strength, sacrifices, poise, and entrepreneurial drive. She says, "I can’t wait til I can give her the world because she definitely did that for me and my brother." Eboni’s maternal grandparents (R.P. and Lillie Stance) where very influential in her upbringing from childhood through high school. They provided a loving support system for her mother who sacrificed so much to raise two children as a single parent. Eboni grew up in the church and was raised under the guidelines of both the Baptist and Pentecostal way. Her grandparents attended Greater Holy Light Missionary Baptist Church, where her grandfather was a Deacon. Her mother attended Lighthouse Church of Deliverance (a Pentecostal ministry), where she was active in Missions work and intercessory prayer. Eboni received salvation at 17 y/o. She is Holy-Ghost filled with the evidence of speaking in tongues!
Eboni graduated from King Drew High School of Medicine and Science (Compton, CA) in 1998 with a Senior class of about 53 students. Her small school didn’t offer much in extracurricular activities; however, they did have a Mock Trial team where students created and worked through case studies where they learned the due processes of the American judicial system. As a student, Eboni was studious and focused which earned her multiple appearances on the Honor Roll. Eboni is a high-achiever, ever pursuing her personal best in academics. In the fall of 1998, she enrolled in Mount St. Mary’s College (now University) in Los Angeles. She was a member of the Black Student Union and was a Resident Assistant. She earned an Associate degree in Liberal Arts in 2000, and a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development (minor in Psychology) in 2002. In 2010, she earned her Master’s degree in Education at the Atlanta campus of Central Michigan University. In 2012, she received her Georgia Teachers Certification through the Georgia Teacher Alternative Preparation Program (TAPP). In 2017, she earned her Education Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Piedmont College (Atlanta). In 2020, she will embark on her Doctoral degree at Piedmont College studying Educational Leadership, or Curriculum and Instruction.
Eboni has an anointed skill-set (and ministry) to work with children. For the past 15 years she has been favored to excel in her chosen career field of academics and social work. She’s held integral positions such as Case Manager, High School Liaison at an all-boys academy, and Director of a children’s center. As a classroom teacher, she’s helped shape the impressionable minds of students from Pre-K to 3rd grade, both in Los Angeles and metro-Atlanta school systems. From 2015 to present she’s taught 2nd and 3rd grade at Gwinnett County Public Schools. Her desired career pinnacle is to own and operate a Charter School that specifically services elementary students who fall in the lower economic demographic. Eboni says, “I believe if you reach and teach these students at an early age, where they can envision possibilities, you have a greater chance of these students aspiring to be more than what they see.”
Eboni moved to Atlanta when she was 27 y/o, though it was 10 years prior that she had her first encounter with the city. After returning from a missions trip to Jamaica, she spent a week in Atlanta for rest and recreation. While here, she felt a calming peace in her spirit, not knowing that in a decade she would take residence here. Over those 10 years she would make periodic trips to visit a friend. When the Lord released her to move to Atlanta, within a week of relocation she received and accepted a job offer! Since then, the Lord has proven Himself through His provisions.
Upon moving to Atlanta in 2008, Eboni joined Victory World Church (Norcross), where she remained until uniting with Redeeming Word Church. She was invited to a Family & Friends Day service at Redeeming Word by one of her then Kindergarten students, Rylan Randle. Rylan told her “My dad is a Pastor”. From that invitation, she not only faithfully attended services, she became quite active in ministry. Eboni officially joined Redeeming Word in 2015! She says what she loves most about Pastor and 1st Lady is their ability to help you see what God says about you. "They help guide your potential in ministry.” She diligently serves as Co-Coordinator of 4:12 Youth Ministry and is an Aspiring Missionary currently enrolled in classes to receive her license in September 2019. Eboni is a worshipper who intentionally takes care to spend quality time with the Father. It is through constant communing with Him that she’s able to identify His will for her life.
By initial observation, Eboni may appear calm, quiet, and reserved. To the contrary, she is a gregarious people-person! Whether listening, engaging, teaching, or nurturing she has the innate ability to connect with people. Aside from ministry and career, she takes time to indulge in self-care and personal interests. She loves shopping, movies (love/romance and Black cinema), music (old school R&B, classic Jazz), and dancing (from hip hop to liturgical). Her favorite cuisine is Mexican. She loves to laugh and sing (but says the praise team won’t let her be great). She enjoys traveling and has fond memories of trips to Jamaica and Mexico. Her bucket-list destinations are Africa and Paris.
Eboni’s favorite scriptures are Isaiah 54:17 and Jeremiah 29:11. Her personal motto is #SweatlessVictory (a prophetic word spoken to her by Prophetess Cherisse Stephens which has set the tone of her expectation from God!)
Did you know?... Eboni’s mother ran her over when she was 8 yrs old! Ms. Wanda thought Eboni was a "big girl” and could close her own door so, she buckled Sam in the car, then took off. Eboni fell out of the car and her mom ran her over! She says, "The funny thing is I got more scars from falling out of the car, than having my head run over!"
October Member Spotlight
BROTHER SALEM M. MUMUNI
Meet Brother Salem Mumuni, born March 19 in The Bronx, New York. His family calls him “Johnny”. He was reared in New York until his father moved the family to Atlanta in September 2001. He is the oldest of five children (he has three brothers and one sister). Salem has a multi-cultural heritage and upbringing. He is biracial, born to Puerto Rican and Native American parents. From birth to 11 years old, he was raised by his maternal grandmother (Rosa Estrada aka “Mami”), before going into the foster care system. His foster parents, Musah Mumuni (Ghanaian) and Amanda Brown (African American) provided him a loving, nurturing home. After two years, at 13 y/o, he was adopted by his foster parents and they officially become his “Mom and Dad”. From his early teens, Salem spent some time in the Christian (Baptist) faith until his father became a practicing Muslim. Though he never converted with his father, his father’s conversion prevented him from continuing to attend Christian church service.
Salem is married to Veanna Hill-Mumuni. They were fellow students at Lithonia High School, but only knew each other casually, as he was a senior and she was a junior. In July 2004, just after graduating, he joined in the Army. The gag is, his recruiter promised him a new TV for enlisting. He’s still waiting on that TV! A few years later, after receiving orders to ship out to Germany he proposed to Veanna and a week later (April 5, 2009) they were married. His beautiful new bride joined him in Germany four months later. Salem and Veanna look forward to celebrating 10 years of marriage next spring! They are the proud parents of one child, a gregarious 4 y/o little boy named Stephen. Salem says Stephen has much of his mom’s personality. He’s outgoing, very headstrong and won’t take no for an answer.
Salem discharged from the Army in September 2014 after 10 years of active duty service. In addition to Germany, he was stationed abroad in Romania and all over South America. In 2010, he was deployed to Afghanistan for a year. His company saw combat and sadly he lost some fellow soldiers to war. Salem’s military occupational specialty (or “job”) was a Signal Supports Specialist working with electronics. He currently works for Purafil, an air purifier company in Doraville. Ultimately, he wants to own/operate his own Private Security Firm, in addition to becoming a Certified Computer Technician.
Because of challenging events from childhood, it took some time for Salem to develop a personal relationship with God. The 2014 birth of his son was a pivotal point in his life, and it was at the baby dedication that Salem accepted Jesus as his Lord and Saviour. Salem was introduced to Redeeming Word by Veanna and officially joined sometime in 2009. He says what he loves about Pastor and Lady Randle is that “they don’t look at what you have done, but what you can do.” It is because of their teaching and instruction that he strives to be better today than he was yesterday, and to become even better tomorrow. Salem currently serves as the Parking Lot Attendant. On a spiritual level he knows the Lord uses him to maintain order by being watchful in the natural and in the spirit. In time, he hopes to get involved with the Youth Department and starting a co-ed sports league, competing with other ministries in basketball, softball, football, etc!
When not at work or church, Salem is a family man who enjoys nothing more than sharing fun times at home with his wife and son. “I love seeing them. I just love them,” he says. Evenings and weekends usually center around Stephen… laughing, playing, watching movies, reading books, and doing homework. Stephen is his whole world!
Salem’s personally motto is: It doesn’t matter how bad your situation may be, someone else is dealing with far worse, so be grateful. When he was 14 y/o he visited a museum for the first time. That excursion piqued his interest in world history. He’s fascinated by the fact that any person or any culture can have such a great influence on another.
September Member Spotlight
Meet Mother Teresia… known as “ReRe” by her closest friends! She was born in Mableton, GA in June 1952 to Mr. & Mrs. Willie and Louise Freeman (both deceased). Her family moved to Atlanta when she was two years old. Mother Teresia was married 25 years and is a widow. She has one daughter, two sons, and eight grands (4 boys/4 girls) who call her “Grandmama”.
Mother Teresia was raised in a God-fearing home where faith was foundational, hard work was expected, discipline was handed out, and family was everything. She had eight siblings and a host of cousins who were just as siblings. Growing up, her family home was where everyone congregated for food and good times. Her mother (Head of the Mother’s Board) showed love to all in the community. She never met a stranger. There was always plenty of food and a seat at the table for anyone in need. Her father (a Deacon) loved his family. He was a reserved, staunch disciplinarian who raised his children to either “go to school or get a job”. Right out of high school, Mother Teresia married. She was a homemaker who took pride in her children. Eventually she would enter the workforce. For more than 25 years, Mother has been a private Adult Sitter; providing daily companionship for the elderly. In previous employment she was a property manager, physical therapist, and business manager. With no post high school education or vocational training, all of Mother’s employment has come via word of mouth and stellar recommendations.
Mother Teresia grew up in the Baptist church. Her paternal grandmother was an Evangelist who held bible studies in her home. It was at one of these services that Mother accepted salvation at 11 years old. In 1997, she received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Prior to joining Redeeming Word Church, Mother Teresia had been out of church for about a year and a half due to surgery and physical therapy. It was through recommendation of her Physical Therapist that she came to RWC. Her first visit was in July 2017. A few Sundays later she became an official member and her faithfulness has been rewarded many times over! Mother Teresia’s constant prayer petition is that God will keep us unified as a church family. She says, “I cover 1st Lady Randle as she covers her husband, and I cover Pastor Randle as he covers us.” At RWC Mother Teresia serves as a Church Mother, Usher, and Greeter. She says she wants every visitor and member to feel the love of the Lord when she greets them at the door.
Mother Teresia has a soft and gentle approach…both with people, and with life. She believes everyone should be treated with basic human dignity, and that steadfast faith is better than temporary fear. As friendly as she is, what Mother enjoys most is quiet time alone with the Lord. She finds cleaning to be therapeutic and gardening relaxing. With such a big family, ironically Mother does not like to cook… but she does love to eat! Her favorite foods are seafood and soulfood (but, she does not eat fried chicken).
Mother Teresia’s favorite scripture is: No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord. [Isiaiah 54:17] Her personal motto is: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. [Phillipians 4:13] Mother says her greatest inspiration in life will always be her late mother, as she was “the consummate example of the Proverbs 31 woman.”
Did you know?... Off and on for the past 10 years, Mother Teresia has opened her heart and her home to the homeless! She has provided single mothers, families, and men a safe haven for food, clothing, and shelter until they are steady on their feet. The Lord has both protected AND rewarded her for showing unconditional love to “the least of these.” [Matthew 25:35-40]
August Member Spotlight
MS. ASHTINE' A. BESTEDA
Meet Ashtine’ “Ash” Besteda! Ashtine’ turned 19 years old in July. She was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia to Letitia and Greg Besteda, Sr. She has an older sister (Rayven), a younger brother (Greg), and an adorable 1 year old nephew (Adrian “AJ”). Her formative years were spent in Alabama until she, her mother, and siblings relocated to Atlanta in December 2014.
In high school back in Alabama, Ashtine’ was a member of the International Baccalaureate Program (for advanced placement students), the Women’s Ensemble (an elite choir for skilled vocalists), and she assisted with events for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. In the middle of her sophomore year, she transferred to Shiloh High School (Snellville, GA). It was during her junior year that she learned she only needed one credit to graduate. She took advantage of this opportunity and attended night school to complete her course requirement. She graduated May 2016 at 16 years old, after completing her junior year!
Upon graduating high school, Ashtine’ enrolled at Georgia State University (Atlanta) and began classes in Fall 2016. She completed her Freshman year then transferred to Agnes Scott College (Decatur) in Fall 2017, where she’s currently enrolled with a major in Business Management. Since high school, Ashtine’ has been an A/B student. This past semester, she set and achieved a personal goal of making the President’s List with all As! Ashtine’ has joined Pinky Promise, a national Christian movement where ladies commit to honoring God with their lives and their bodies. She was recently appointed as Secretary of the Executive Board of the Agnes Scott College Pinky Promise chapter! She has plans to host weekly prayer at the campus chapel.
During the 2017-2018 year Ashtine’ held a work-study position in the President’s Office, reporting directly to the President’s Assistant. This role gave her first hand experience in working in a corporate office setting and learning the intricacies of supporting executive-level staff. After earning her Bachelor’s degree, Ashtine’ plans to attend the University of Chicago to pursue a Masters degree in Intellectual Property Law. She says perhaps she’ll pursue a Juris Doctorate degree, as she has always had an interest in Law.
Aside from being academically astute, Ashtine’ is a young entrepreneur! In March 2018 she launched True Bread, LLC (www.truebreadab.com)! True Bread is a merchandising brand, with its mission and vision based on John 6:35. In effect, it is an evangelism tool to both raise conversation about and foster deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. As CEO of her own company, she has a broader view for True Bread, as it is not merely an apparel company. Ashtine’ is so fully invested in the True Bread brand, that the company logo is her actual handwriting!
In addition to being a business owner, Ashtine’ loves to sing and is passionate about music. She has dreams of being a multitalented entertainer. Beyond having strong vocals she writes lyrics, is learning to play instruments, and has “beats” in her head that she hopes to produce as tracks. Ashtine’ is artsy! She dabbles in photography and dancing…she can easily pick up choreography for hip-hop or praise dance. During her leisure time she enjoys eating at hibachi grills (her favorite food is anything teriyaki) and watching crime/law shows such as Criminal Minds. A self professed “church nerd” she also watches sermon videos from some her favorite preachers, Pastor John Hannah and Dr. Matthew Stevenson.
Ashtine’ attributes her work ethic and tenacity to her maternal great grandparents: Mr. Arlee “Daddy” Carmichael (deceased 2015) and Mrs. Evelyn “Mama Evelyn” Carmichael (deceased 2011). They both taught her the value of hard work, the importance of education, and that excuses are never an option. Above all, Mama Evelyn really impressed upon her the importance of love. Ashtine’ has charged herself with upholding their legacy of “earning your keep” and to “love everyone…regardless”. Additionally, her parents have greatly shaped the young woman she is today. From her father she acquired manners, structure, and a healthy sense of humor. From her mother she’s learned to be an effective speaker, assertive, and professional. Ashtine’ says, “I really appreciate all of my family for all that they’ve each contributed to my life. Their love and support is invaluable and irreplaceable. I just love ‘em!”
Ashtine’ accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior and Lord in 2015, at home, in her bedroom. Shortly after joining Redeeming Word in 2016, she joined the Praise Team and became active in the youth department. Ashtine’ is known as “The Voice of the Youth”. Being wise beyond her years, her peers look up to her as an example to follow. As a child prodigy, she understands God has both gifted and graced her with the responsibility of exemplifying the truth of being “hip and holy”, in that she doesn’t have to compromise righteousness to be relevant. Ashtine’ is grateful for the leadership she has in Pastor & 1st Lady Randle, as they have been instrumental in helping her develop a deeper relationship with God. Their influence has helped push her into His presence. She says, “They have helped me to grow as young woman of God, and permitted me to express that growth within the ministry.” When asked about her relationship with God she simply says, “I just want to please Him.” Ashtine’ is on a personal journey to read the entire bible by the end of 2018. Daily she sets aside time for devotion and prayer. Ashtine’ received the baptism of the Holy Ghost in September 2017, during a revival at Redeeming Word. On that night at church, she worshipped God in tongues until nearly 1:00am!
Ashtine’s personal motto is an expression she learned from Mama Evelyn…”Love is what love does.” She says, “As hard as it is in the world today, I want to bring back pure love and kindness, because the world needs it.”
Did you know?... Ashtine’ was once a burgeoning R&B artist! Upon moving to Atlanta she connected with a local producer and together they recorded a single called “Drifting Away”. In March 2015, she performed before approximately 400 people at an artist’s showcase!
July Member Spotlight
SIS. KOREEN L. RUDD & MISS AMAYAH
Introducing Sister Koreen Rudd…one of several island-transplants at Redeeming Word Church! Koreen was born March 22 in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad to Mr. Kenny Rudd (deceased) and Ms. Sandra Tuitt. She has 7 siblings (2 brothers and 5 sisters), among which she is the youngest daughter and second to last child. At 21 y/o she relocated on her own to Miami, FL where she lived for a short while. From Miami she moved to Savannah, GA and lived with one of her sisters while attending college. She graduated from Savannah Technical College with an Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts (2006). Ever pursuing academic excellence, Koreen would earn her Bachelor of Science in Applied Management (2015) from Grand Canyon University-Arizona. She is currently enrolled in their Masters of Business Administration program with an anticipated conferment of Spring 2019.
While in Savannah, Koreen spent one year as a Personal Chef to the Arch Bishop of the largest Catholic cathedral in Savannah. Additionally, for two years, she was the Head Baker at the Savannah School of Art and Design. Koreen acquired her culinary interest from her maternal grandmother, whom she observed preparing/cooking full meals every day. She further developed her skill set in Home Economics, and by high school she would win a national award for her cooking prowess! Masterfully preparing good food is so dear to her heart that one of her life goals is to open a cooking school for kids where they would learn how to cook “staple” foods, the basics of meal preparation, and grocery shopping made simple.
Koreen moved to Atlanta in 2007 to become the Head Baker at Emory University’s dining hall. Subsequently, she took a second job at a commercial baking facility. Though working two jobs, she would find herself with downtime and not much to do. A friend in management at a Home Depot retail store offered her a part time job assisting with merchandising. At this pivotal point, a Home Depot star was born! Though cooking will always be her passion, Koreen switched career-gears and began making noticeable strides up the ranks within Home Depot. Her sharp intellect and astute work ethnic have opened doors for significant career advancement within the company. In July 2015, she was promoted to corporate headquarters to work on the Pro Support Team where she managed multimillion dollars accounts. In February 2018, she was promoted to Project Planning Analyst on the In-Store Environment Team, where she plans and executes projects for all 1900 hardware stores. Her one year goal is to earn a promotion to Senior Analyst!
Koreen’s “one and done” miracle baby is a beautiful daughter named Amayah. Her name translates to “Chosen by God” in Japanese. At the time of conception, Koreen was under doctor’s care being treated for cancerous cells in her cervix (a precursor to cervical cancer). She was told that pregnancy was an impossibility…until she learned she was 4-months pregnant! Amayah is a brilliant 3rd grader at CJ Hicks Elementary. She’s on A/B Honor Roll and is testing for gifted classes. Her favorite subjects are Math and German and she wants to be a School Teacher when she grows up! She credits her favorite teacher, Ms. Mickens (Reading and Social Studies), with being her inspiration. Amayah is Mommie’s Little Helper in so many ways. Koreen says, “She makes being a single parent easier because she is so helpful, intelligent, and self sufficient.” She’s Mommie’s Culinary Companion, as she loves getting involved in the kitchen. Amayah loves Mommy/Daughter dates where they dress up and go out for fine dining. Because her mom is a chef, Amayah has an advanced palette. Her favorite food is sushi and she was recently introduced to Mountain Chicken (frogs), which she loved! Her long time best friends are Ariana and Kayla, and she’s building a great relationship with Rayne Randle from church, with sleepovers and brownie back-offs! She has three pet turtles: “Shelley” (well, for obvious reasons), “Grandpa” (because he looks really old), and “Trouble” (because he always jumps out of the tank). Amayah says the best advice her mother has given her is “Always be nice to others and… education is very important.”
Koreen and Amayah came to Redeeming Word Church via invitation from Youth Pastor Watson. On her first visit, in Summer of 2015, she found herself at the altar, surrendering to God, yielding to His call of holiness and sanctification. By Fall of 2015, she and Amayah made RWC their new church home! Though she was raised in the Anglican church, and attended Catholic school, Koreen says “COGIC culture” was no real shock to her. She easily adapted which further confirmed that RWC and the ministry of Pastor and 1st Lady Randle, was a safe place for her spiritual growth. In September 2017, Koreen received the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues! She serves in the church by availing her talent to the Culinary Ministry. She serves outside of the church as a member of the Outreach/Missions Team. Quarterly, she and her team assemble toiletry bags to distribute to the homeless population in downtown Atlanta.
Koreen loves to travel and has been on 9 cruises! She’s a proponent for “seeing the world outside of where you live.” Her travel goals include The Sistene Chapel (Vatican City, Rome) and Dubai. Koreen loves retail shopping and finding hidden gems while thrifting! During her leisure time with “grown ups” she likes touring Atlanta’s restaurant scene with her Atlanta Eats n’ Greets Foodie Group. Koreen is a social butterfly who loves good food, good company, and good times! She stays connected to her Trini roots with annual trips back home. She also walks in the annual Caribbean Carnival parade held in Atlanta! Her favorite scripture is Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Her personal motto is: “This too shall pass” which means, whatever you are going through, you will get through. It will pass, and you will still be here!
June Member Spotlight
MS. CHELSEA B. OLLIE
Introducing Chelsea “Chels” Ollie, born in Willingboro, NJ on March 9th. She is the only child born to Mr. & Mrs. Henry and Angela Ollie. Chelsea has one older step-sister, Monique, with whom she is enjoying building a stronger relationship. Chelsea and her mother moved to Atlanta in 2000. She has come to love Atlanta and is striving to live her best life in this city. Her life hasn’t been without tremendous heartbreak, as she has suffered two great losses…the life transition of both parents. She says only God’s love - expressed in abundance through the support of family and the church - sustained her during those difficult experiences. As a result of these tragedies she’s found her own inner strength and a stirring desire to help other youth and young adults cope with devastating life matters.
Chelsea graduated from Sandy Creek High School in 2011 where she sang in the school chorus from 9th-12th grades. In 2016, she graduated from the University of West Georgia (Carrolton) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications. Her career goal is to become an elite tastemaker in the industry of Fashion Public Relations (branding, marketing, imaging, etc). The niche of Crisis PR piques her interest because she has a knack for “making people look good in person and in print!” She says a good PR person, especially one who’s saved, possesses the skills to tell a bad story in a good way, thus making the subject/person both relatable and forgivable. It’s all about spinning a positive outlook on an adverse situation. Chelsea recently completed a Fashion PR internship with Green and Gorgeous online boutique www.greenandgorgeousboutique.com. The proprietor was so impressed by her work, that she was offered the coveted fulltime position of Fashion Journalist for Live In Color online magazine www.liveincolormagazine.com! Chels has been favored to make major moves that will fast-track her career Fashion PR!
Chelsea has been in the church all of her life; however, it was around age 23 that she made a conscious commitment to living for God. She received the baptism of the Holy Ghost on the 3rd Sunday of May 2017! It’s been a full year of walking in the authority of the Holy Ghost and activating His power in her life! She says the experience of being baptized with the evidence of tongues was beyond words. She had been longing for His manifested presence and being filled has changed her life! Chelsea remembers being 15 y/o when she joined Redeeming Word; however, from infancy Pastor and 1st Lady Randle have been in her life, as they were very close friends with both of her parents dating years back to New Jersey. Upon moving to Atlanta she was initially a member of Anointed Word Evangelistic Tabernacle COGIC (Bishop Bobby Henderson). Shortly after, she and her mom followed Pastor Randle after the launch of RWC. Chelsea considers Pastor and 1st Lady Randle her second set of parents, as they have always been two of her biggest supporters through all times good and bad. She credits The Randles as being the ones who really pushed her to pursue the career of her dreams. Chelsea says the RWC family is endearing to her because throughout the formative years of her teens to young adulthood, RWC has supported her growth both spiritually and naturally. Chelsea is very active in ministry. She currently serves on the Praise & Worship Team, and is Co-Director of Fine Arts & Drama. However, her primary ministry is with the 4:12 Youth Department. Within 4:12 she balances dual roles of Youth Public Relations Director and Youth Advisory Board member. As an influential leader and mentor she does not take for granted that her own life most reflect the “Set The Example” model of living a Christ-like life, which goes against the grain of today’s social climate. Chelsea’s favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29: 11 KJV “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Her favorite sermon is a series preached by Pastor Randle on the topic of “Trusting the Process”. Chelsea’s greatest inspiration will always be her mother, District Missionary Angela Ollie, who taught her the power of persistence. Chelsea says, “She was a determined woman…an unstoppable force.”
Aside from being ministry-minded and career-driven, Chelsea takes care to live a balanced life. She enjoys all the typical social offerings of shopping (malls, boutiques, online), restaurants (Cheesecake Factory is the MVP!), movies (romance…and anything with Taraji P. Henson), and music (the soulful sounds of Jazmin Sullivan). She’s been told she inherited her father’s “fashion sense”. From her mother, she mirrors her “sense of humor”. Chelsea has a brilliant, creative mind. She is a very talented writer with the gift of exceptional wordplay. She began writing poetry in 2nd grade and in that school year she received the “Best Poem of the Month” award for writing a piece called Death in homage to her father. She’s currently sharing her musings on her blog www.dailydoseofchelsea.wordpress.com platform for young Christian women seeking peer support, inspirational messages, fashion tips, etc. In five years she sees herself running several successful businesses (published author, brand consultant, fashion, public relations, inspirational speaking, merchandising…) all apart of the Dose of Chelsea conglomerate! The sky is NO LIMIT! Chelsea serves a BIG God who does all things BIG!
Did you know?...Along with her mother’s sense of humor, came her gift of gab! As quiet as she seems, Chelsea can be a real chatterbox! Put her in the right setting and she’ll have plenty to say!
May Member Spotlight
ASPIRING MISSIONARY DENISE M. LAWSON
Meet Denise Lawson, affectionately called “DeeDee” by family and “Niecy” by her closest friends. On October 15th she was born, and raised, in New Orleans, LA to Mr. Leonard Lawson, Sr. (New Orleans) and Ms. Patricia Ann Gaudet (deceased). Denise has two brothers; Leonard Jr. (deceased) and Montreal (New Orleans), and two sisters; Shelita (Seattle) and Tanya (New Orleans). She has one son; Malachi 28 y/o (Baton Rouge) and one daughter; Tayler 22 y/o (Atlanta). Denise was formerly married to Roderick Burke (deceased).
Out of high school, Denise enrolled in Nichols State University (Houma, LA) to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. She was enrolled in their Nursing program from 1982-1984. However, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Nichols State University) in 1986. From 2011-2013 she was enrolled in Georgia Perimeter College, yet pursuing her BSN. She has one class to complete and hopes to make this lifelong dream of becoming a Nurse a reality in 2019! As a high school student she participated in a Nursing Assistant program where she shadowed the nursing staff. This experience really piqued her interest in having hands-on involvement in patient care.
Denise grew up in the church, as her father held positions of Assistant Pastor and Senior Pastor in local churches. She also sang with the Avondale Community Choir. At age 19 y/o, while her choir was on program at a tent revival held by a local Evangelist and Pastor Rayford Iglehart, she gave her life to the Lord. On that night not only did she receive salvation, she was filled with the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues! She credits Pastor Iglehart (Garden of Prayer COGIC, Baton Rouge) as being the spiritual father who laid the foundational teaching of the holy ghost, fasting, prayer, tithing, and other key components of her faith. She was under his ministry from the late 80s into the early 2000s.
In employment, Denise held key positions as a Corporate Buyer from the late 80s to late 90s. She was employed at Odeco (purchasing parts for offshore rigs) and Children’s Hospital of New Orleans (purchasing everything from baby bottles to patient beds). Since the late 90s, Denise has enjoyed a stellar career in the Hospitality industry, providing consultations with hotels and conference centers. Over the past 20 years she has quickly risen through the ranks in her profession, from her beginnings as Sales Administrative Assistant and Executive Assistant to the Food and Beverage Director. She has since held key roles such as Assistant Director of Catering, Executive Meetings Manager, and Senior Sales Manager. She has worked for reputable hotels such as Hyatt Regency, Radisson, and Crown Plaza Ravinia, as well as Aramark Sports and Entertainment. She has been entrusted to handle up to $7 million budgets. Denise has been rewarded with complimentary airline tickets, trips to the Bahamas, membership in the Million Dollar Club, and numerous commendations. Capitalizing on her skill-set and industry expertise, in early 2017 she started her own independent consultant company called Global Impact Hospitality Group. She manages a task force of 9 consultants and has plans for expansion in the near future. This will afford her the opportunity to work from home, thus significantly reducing her travel assignments. Ever seeking career advancement, she is currently studying to become a Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) with anticipated completion of coursework in late 2019.
Denise came to Atlanta under tumultuous circumstances. She was one of the thousands of people affected by Hurricane Katrina which devastated New Orleans in late August 2005. She and Tayler were first evacuated to Dallas, TX for several weeks. Fortunately, Malachi was already away visiting his father in Houston. The company that she worked for back in New Orleans helped facilitate her move to Atlanta to work in an office in that location. On September 11, 2005 she and Tayler moved to Atlanta to begin a new life. Malachi returned to Baton Rouge to finish high school there. In 2009, Denise suffered yet another harsh circumstance of life. Following the economic downfall, she was laid off from work. Having a young daughter to raise and no substantial income, she learned in a very real way that God is Jehovah Jireh! She was unemployed from 2009-2014. With the help of the saints, friends, family…and even favor with her landlord, she and Tayler never missed a meal or went without shelter. She never gave up on God nor loss faith in her own will to push pass the pain. God proved Himself and gave her a latter life that is much greater than her former!
Upon moving to Atlanta, and desiring a place to fellowship, Denise was referred to Anointed Word Evangelistic Tabernacle COGIC (Bishop Bobby Henderson), where then Elder Raymond Randle was a key leader in ministry. She attended AWET for some time. Upon the invite of Sister Natalie Ramsey she visited Redeeming Word, founded by now Pastor Randle. She enjoyed the services, but moreover Tayler loved the Youth Ministry and together they joined RW in 2012. Denise says what she admires most about Pastor and 1st Lady Tracy Randle is firstly, their commitment to each other, and secondly their commitment to the members of RW. She appreciates how they encourage us to live a whole and balanced life. She believes Pastor Randle has an apostolic anointing to birth out other ministries and ministry leaders. In ministry, Denise coordinates the annual Prophetic Conference and serves as an Altar Worker. She is an Aspiring Missionary & Evangelist who strives for both ministry and personal development that she may make her calling and election sure. She believes the Lord uses her through keen discernment and revelations through dreams. Her favorite scripture is Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
During her leisure time, Denise enjoys cooking Southern and Creole meals for her friends and family. She also bakes from scratch! Her favorite restaurants are Cheesecake Factory and Pappadeaux. She loves music (gospel, jazz, and old school R&B). She enjoys live entertainment (Tyler Perry plays) and movies (comedy and action). Because of her career she travels extensively, but for leisure travel she loves Vegas and has a European tour to Belgium, Paris, and London on her bucket list! Denise is known for her style and poise. From retail therapy, to spa days, to brunch for one at the Ritz-Carlton…she believes in pampering herself in special ways. She is also an Independent Sales Consultant for Traci Lynn Fashion Jewelry.
Denise’s motto is: “Girl, you got this!”…a personal motivation that helps her rise to the occasion of any challenge or opposition. Her greatest inspiration in life is her mother from who she learned inner strength and resilience. She says, “My mother was single with 5 children and she worked 2 jobs. In her late 40s she earned her GED and went from being a housekeeper to the Director of Housekeeping. She taught me how to hold my focus against all odds.”
Did you know?...Denise has a history in dance and entertainment! From being a Majorette in elementary school, to middle school Dance Team, to high school Cheerleader...she has never been one shy away from the spotlight of showmanship and performance! Even now, she can Wobble and Cupid Shuffle with the best of them!
April Member Spotlight
MINISTER JACQUELYN BOYER SWANN
Introducing Minister Jacquelyn “Jackie” Boyer Swann! She will celebrate her 61st birthday on October 6th. She was born in Atlanta to Brother Jack and Evangelist Brady Boyer (both deceased), at Hughes Spaulding (though her mother was a nurse at Grady Memorial). She has three older brothers (all deceased); Robert Johnson, Roosevelt Daniels, and Nathaniel Boyer; and one older sister, Mother Minnie White, the beloved Church Mother of Redeeming Word. She has two biological children; Alvin (42 y/o) and Victoria (26 y/o); and a stepdaughter Nayokia Swann (45 y/o). She has seven grandchildren; 4 girls and 3 boys.
Minister Boyer was married to the late Deacon Morris Swann. She became acquainted with “Mr. Morris” as he was known, when he assumed the role of Neighborhood Watch in the community. As such, he would keep watchful eye for the children getting on/off the school bus and gave them candy and toys…one of those kids being her daughter. Being a protective and dutiful mother, “Ms. Jackie” squared up with Mr. Morris to question his motives! In time, he not only won her trust, he won her heart. “Mr. Morris and Ms. Jackie” married in December 2000. Sadly, after nearly 10 wonderful years of marriage, Deacon Swann passed away in 2009 due to terminal illness.
Minister Boyer has taken great care to pursue academic excellence. In 1982, she earned an Associate’s degree in Music from Metropolitan College (Atlanta). She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies from Beulah Heights College (Atlanta) in 2006. Further, in 2017, she earned a Master’s of Divinity degree also from Beulah Heights College. In the near future, she plans to enroll in Richmont Graduate University (Atlanta) to earn a Master’s degree in Pastoral Counseling.
Minister Boyer has an unassuming career background. For nearly 25 years she worked in the Optical field! She says, “This career quite honestly began because initially I just needed a job!” Before long, the real business of eye-care piqued her interest and she pursued it as a career. She worked all positions from entry level Sales Associate, to Opthalmic Technician, to Opthalmic Assistant (directly supporting the Optician), to Office Manager…to then becoming a licensed Optician (“eye doctor”) through Pearl Optical! She worked for private practices (approximately 5 years) and public providers such as LensCrafters (approximately 20 years). Having reached her personal best as an Optician, she pursued her next career path in the Chaplaincy. She earned a Chaplaincy Certificate from Piedmont Hospital-Henry County Campus. She is an active member of The Chaplaincy Group of McDonough. The Chaplaincy Group is a network of Chaplains who convene quarterly to share resources, speak words of strength, and review best practices for work-life balance. While currently seeking a full-time Chaplaincy position, she is pursuing entrepreneurial ventures, and stays very busy with Baskets by Jackie…creating gifts baskets for all occasions “naughty or nice”!
Minister Boyer received her Pastoral License in 2002 (Logos Fellowship International, Apostle Jan Wilson) and her Elders License in 2007 (Worship Center International, Bishop Jeffrey Billingsley). She joined Redeeming Word Church in 2014 after being introduced to the ministry by our drummer (and her “nephew”), Minister Michael Watson. At the time, she and her son Alvin were Founders and Co-Pastors of True Living Word Church. She began attending 3rd Sunday evening service at Redeeming Word and over time felt the impression of the Lord that He would have her to close her ministry for a season. She was obedient to the Lord and join Redeeming Word to be strengthened, sharpened, and better equipped when He releases her to relaunch! Since joining Redeeming Word, she has been actively involved with the Evangelism Team, Intercessory Prayer, Ministers Council, and Beautification Committee. Her newest ministry assignment is heading the Bereavement Ministry, and she occasionally sings on the Praise Team. She loves people and believes the Lord uses her through the “power of touch”. She says her prayer is that everyone she embraces will feel the love of the Lord transferred to them through a hug.
Minister Boyer says one of the things that endeared her to Pastor and 1st Lady Randle is their commitment to the congregants of Redeeming Word. Her personal experience is how they both offered hands-on care and support when she suffered a heart attack in September 2015. She says, “They didn’t just send someone by…they cooked and delivered food to my home themselves.” Minister Boyer sees Redeeming Word as a “community ministry”. She believes our ministry has great potential to affect positive change in the community with classes such as mentoring, financial empowerment, English as a second language, Marriage & Family counseling, anger management, and more! She says, “Within our ministry is the skills needed to deal with real life issues. People are hungry, not just for food, but for answers to live a satisfied life.”
Minister Boyer received salvation before her teens, but remembers distinctly that she received the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues at 14 y/o! She attended a tent revival held by Evangelist DeWitt Hill. He laid hands on her in a prayer line…she was filled and spoke in tongues all night long! Her favorite text is mash-up of Psalm 23:1 and Mark 11:23 “The Lord is my shepherd, I can have whatsoever I say!”
To unwind from the cares of life and ministry responsibilities, Minister Boyer enjoys thrifting, live music (concerts, orchestras), plays, reading, watching Game of Thrones (Daenerys is her favorite character), and karate movies with Donnie Yen! A lover of Jazz music (Al Jarreau and Rachelle Ferrell), she supports WCLK radio and their initiative to keep the Arts thriving for the next generations to come. She has the gift of hospitality and loves to entertain in her home. She is currently learning French, as one of her bucket list items is to vacation in France.
Minister Boyer says her greatest inspiration is Black Women in America. She has lived to see black women from past generations survive, and black women of current generations thrive. She says “black women in America have stared in the face of racism and sexism, proving they will not be shut down or shut out. I admire our fortitude to just stand!”
Did you know?...Minister Boyer is rather spunky! She loves to dance (and not just praise n’ worship) and she’s a self-professed “Prince feign”! If no one else, MINISTER BOYER was praying for Prince to get saved and use his talent for the kingdom!
March Member Spotlight
JOSHUA & OLIVIA CUMBERBATCH
Joshua “Josh” and Olivia “Livi” Cumberbatch…son and daughter of Mr. & Mrs.
Jeff and Rebecca Dixon. Josh n’ Livi
were born in Richmond, VA. Their family moved to Atlanta in 2006.
Joshua will be 17 y/o on July 25th! He is in 10th grade at Archer High School in Lawrenceville, where he earns all As or As/Bs. He gets to showcase his astute intellect as a second-year member of the Speech & Debate Club. His Geography teacher encouraged him to join the Speech & Debate Club, because of how well he articulates his thoughts and presents himself in a respectable manner. One of his favorite speeches was about how God gave birds trees to build their homes in nature, but humans put birds in cages, forcing them into an unnatural home. Next school year, Josh plans to run for a seat on the Student Council and HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America). HOSA is an international student organization that supports community initiatives. Josh is also a skilled athlete as the top Junior Varsity player on his school’s Tennis Team! He played a key role in the Archer “Tigers” recent 8-0 win over the Winder-Barrow “Bulldoggs” in a doubles match! Additionally, Josh is a very talented, self-taught guitarist! He owns four of them – two electric and two acoustic. His favorite guitar is a beige and black acoustic which was given to him at 13 y/o. In his collection of guitars is also a “pink and sparkly” one he took from his sister because of her lack of interest in it! His musical inspirations are Eric Clapton and BB King. Josh also owns two drum sets and a piano. He likes jamming out with his Dad playing instruments and has been TRYING (LOL!) to teach him to play guitar. As a rising upperclassmen, his attention is now turning towards college. He is interested in attending either the University of West Georgia (Carrollton) or the University of North Georgia (Dahlonega). He is considering majoring in politics, law, or psychiatry. Josh has a heart for helping people and considers it his civic duty to one day help the disenfranchised and under-served. He occasional works part-time as a busboy for a family friend’s business. As most kids his age he likes video games and school sporting events. His favorite scripture is Joshua 1:9 “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
Olivia turned 12 y/o on February 10th! She is a 6th grader at McConnell Middle School in Lawrenceville. She has consistently appeared on the President’s List for having all A’s and has never been less than an A/B student! One of her favorite classes is Language Arts, because she has a love of reading and creative writing. Additionally, she really likes her beginners Spanish class. She is excelling so well that she’s strongly considering signing up for Honors Spanish next year! Livi is also a skilled musician who plays the Cello in the school Orchestra, and for a while she took piano lessons. She is also athletically inclined. For four years she took gymnastics and plans to join the Track & Field team when she enters high school. Livi LOVES to swim! From a toddler she took to water like a fish. She brags about how once, during a family vacation to Canada, she jumped from a diving board into 9 feet of water with NO FEAR! Livi is already giving strong thought to what she wants to be when she grows up ….an Obstetrician/Gynecologist (OB/GYN). She says she wants to help women who have health challenges get better physically, and feel better emotionally. Next school year, Livi plans to run for a seat on PAC (the Principal’s Advisory Council). PAC is a select group of students who meet monthly with the Principal to offer ideas on improving student-life on campus. Some of her closest friends are Mia, Jania, and Zia. They recently took a baking class together at Williams Sonoma in Norcross! She loves horror movies, and Mama keeps a watchful eye to monitor this closely. Livi likes having “girls time” with her Mom (shopping, going out to eat, and trips to the nail salon). However, she is actually a Daddy’s Girl. Whenever something is wrong she goes straight to him for advice and strength. Livi is the family goofball! She is playful with high energy…always joking, jumping and climbing! She loves to wear Army fatigue-print clothes and has been dreading her hair for about 3 yrs!
Josh and Livi are saved and have been baptized. Both express that Jesus is an ever-present friend who hears the things they can or cannot express, and helps them whenever they feel overwhelmed or uncertain. They have been actively involved in ministry at Redeeming Word. Whether on the Praise Team, Dance Ministry, Greeters, or Junior Armourbearer…they enjoy serving God by serving His people. They also look forward to participating in the 4:12 Youth Department activities. Josh and Livi love their RW family and hold Pastor & Lady Randle in high regard.
When it comes to household chores, Livi sometimes helps with cooking. Josh says his chores are “EVERYTHING”, but he understands his parents are teaching him responsibility, accountability, and independence. As a family they enjoy bowling, going to restaurants, skating, and movies!
February Member Spotlight
BRO. KENNETH & SIS. RHONDA THOMPSON
Introducing Brother Kenneth (aka “King” or “Scooter”) Thompson and his adorable wife Sister Rhonda Rahymes Thompson! Brother Kenneth was born and raised in Charleston, SC and will be 28 y/o on June 11th. Sister Rhonda was born in Orlando FL, but she too grew up in Charleston. She will be 30 y/o on July 30th.
Kenneth graduated from RB Stall HS (North Charleston) in 2008. He played basketball, was on the Year Book Committee, and was a Mentor at the community Boys Club. Rhonda graduated from West Ashley HS (West Ashley) in 2007. Though she was a teen mom, the Lord graced her to have supportive teachers who encouraged her to stay in school. She passed all of her classes and was able to graduate with her fellow senior classmen.
In their early 20s, The Thompsons became acquainted with each other through their social circle of friends. Kenneth had a crush on Rhonda and on a day that seemed like a chance encounter, they ran into each other at a McDonald’s. He offered to pay for her meal, to which she retorted, “It’s McDonald’s, I don’t need you to pay for this.” Even with the brush-off, Kenneth was undeterred and a couple weeks later, he connected with her on Facebook. From there a relationship developed and they began dating in September 2010.
After enduring some trials and tests of young-adulthood, it became clear to Rhonda that she needed to relocate and re-start her life. Kenneth fully supported her decision and in July 2011 she moved to Atlanta. In February 2012, Kenneth relocated to Atlanta as well and they resumed life as a couple. After a few years of dating, and a brief engagement, they were married on August 14, 2013! There were plans for a big wedding to be officiated by Kenneth’s uncle. Sadly, he passed away so he and Rhonda opted for a ceremony at DeKalb County Courthouse with lots of family present as witnesses!
Kenneth graduated from Trident Technical College in North Charleston, where he earned an Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts in 2010. In 2011, he graduated from Southeastern Institute (Charleston) as a Certified Massage Therapist. After tapping into his passion and what really motivates him, he is now focusing on his career goal to work in the healthcare industry. He is enrolled at Cambridge College (Atlanta) to become a Radiology Technician with impending graduation of December 2018. Afterwards he will pursue certifications as an Ultrasound Technician and CT Scan Technician. Kenneth enjoys working with people and wants to have a hands on approach to helping them have a better quality of life. As he is making strides towards securing a career in healthcare, in the interim he and Rhonda work full time to provide the best for their sons. Rhonda is a Care Giver to the elder at Hapeville Manor Assisted Living and Country Gardens Assisted Living. Kenneth is using his culinary skills as one of the main Chefs at Morehouse College. Additionally, since 2013 they have operated their own janitorial business called Ready Made For A Day, where they provide cleaning services for residential properties. With this endeavor they aspire to build a stable and lucrative stream of income where their boys will always have the security and inheritance of a family owned and operated business.
The Thompsons are the proud parents of four energetic and intelligent boys! First there’s Zayviion (13 y/o 6th grade). He’s very protective of the family, has a compassionate heart, and always seeks to resolve conflict. He’s a math whiz with great athleticism in football and basketball. Then there’s Ta’Kary (11 y/o 5th grader). He’s also a great football player, but has a greater interest in entrepreneurship. He already has multiple streams of income with a sneaker cleaning business ($5.00 a pair) and candy sales (purchasing in bulk then selling it to turn a profit). He has aspirations of owning a web design company. Next there’s King (8 y/o 3rd grader). King can be both shy and outgoing. One of his favorite classes is Physical Education, but he’s really an artist at heart, so he’d rather draw and color to express his creativity. Lastly, the newest addition is 5 m/o Kenneth Thompson III (aka “Charm”)! Charm aspires to be fed, cleaned, held, and spoiled with attention! Mom and Dad are excited about Charm’s Baby Dedication ceremony at church on Sunday, February 11th! Rhonda says the best thing about having all men in the house is that everyone’s focus is on catering to the Queen and making sure she’s happy! Kenneth says he really appreciates how Rhonda takes it all in stride, letting the boys be boys never complaining about the noise!
The Thompsons both had a foundational upbringing in the church. Kenneth received salvation at 8 y/o and was very active in his South Carolina church home (Shiloh AME Church). He was one of the lead singers in the choir and even won a couple talent shows because of his singing ability! As a child Rhonda attended various churches with her Aunt. She too made an early decision to receive salvation, and be baptized, when she was 12 y/o. The Thompsons joined Redeeming Word in 2014 after Rhonda’s encounter with Sis. Debbie Morris during a Team Redeem Community Prayer Walk. Sis. Morris prayed with her, and she got to speak briefly with Pastor Randle. After visiting the church a few times, Kenneth and Rhonda knew RWC was their home! Both have embraced Pastor & Lady Randle as their spiritual parents, gravitating to their genuine, parental care. They say RW is a family church where they feel comfortable, accepted, and encouraged. Kenneth says, “Since coming to Redeeming Word, I see how God is making me a better man, father and husband every single day. Redeeming Word is such a fitting name, because it says that God allows you to start your life over again.” Rhonda says, “Redeeming Word has given me courage to witness about my faith.” She is now eager to tell people about what she has learned as a result of Pastor Randle’s teaching/preaching. They both look forward to getting their boys involved in ministry, as they’ve been asking about joining the Drama & Arts Department. Rhonda says, “The more Jesus that gets into them, the less of the world that gets into them.” She and Kenneth want to get more involved as well. Kenneth wants to work with Youth Pastor Watson as a Youth Mentor, and Rhonda is interested in the Choir/Praise Team. They’re both believing God to change their secular work schedules so they can commit themselves to ministry.
The Thompson are a young couple who make intentional efforts to cultivate their marital union through support, compromise, and communication. Kenneth says, “Rhonda gives me the green light to Go in life. She calms me and strengthens me at the same time. God really helped me out when he gave me her.” Of Kenneth, Rhonda says, “God gave me the man that I needed to raise sons with. He is their primary example of strength, endurance, perseverance, and commitment. One of the great things about my husband is that he doesn’t give up. He is willing to try until he succeeds.” Because of their work schedules, date nights are usually date days. They may spend time together over lunch so that nights are reserved for family time: dinner, homework, movies, and games. The Thompson Family Motto is: “One band, one sound”, which translates to “the success or failure of this family is dependent upon the contributions of every member of the family.” They take great care in keeping their family unified through faith in God and being accountable to each other.
Though “family is everything”, Brother Kenneth and Sister Rhonda are looking forward to time alone on their cruise to the Bahamas in March!
January Member Spotlight
SIS. FELICIA DENNIS
Meet Sis. Felicia Finch Dennis, known as “Lisa” to family and “Fe” to friends! Sis. Dennis was born in Manhasset, NY to loving parents Ms. Barbara Agard and Mr. George Finch. She also has a wonderful bonus-mom, Mrs. Pauline Finch. Sis. Dennis celebrated her 48th birthday last August, and this coming September will celebrate 20 years of marriage to Mr. Larry Dennis (a warehouse supervisor).
Sis. Dennis has a large – and ever growing – family. She has two older brothers, Kirk (deceased, USMC veteran) and Ricky; an older sister, Michelle; and a younger brother, Quin. She has two daughters, 26 y/o Jocelyn (son-in-love, Aaron) and 25 y/o Azandria; one son, 16 y/o Aeneas; and two bonus sons, 33 y/o Lawrence and 27 y/o Alex. Further expanding the family, she is Grandma (or “Nana”) to 6 y/o Candice, 2 y/o Camden, and 5 m/o Caleb!
Sis. Dennis attended LaGuardia College where she pursued a degree in Accounting. She works for Ballard Designs (home décor) in Atlanta. She’s been with the company 10 years and is the Manager of E-Commerce Content. She aspires to own and manage an event center, which she will name Full Circle. Full Circle will be a multi-plex facility that can host a myriad of events from weddings to live performances. Sis. Dennis knows that proper planning plus faith in God, makes EVERYTHING possible!
It seemed serendipitous (though actually divinely orchestrated) the circumstances by which Sis. Dennis and her family came to live in Atlanta. In the early 2000s she and her husband and their circle of friends had all been talking about moving to Atlanta…”the land of opportunity for Black folk!” This was a very tangible goal for The Dennises, until Larry was informed of an impending lay-off in June 2002. Not to be shaken in her faith, Sis. Dennis took this news as a sign that it was in fact time to move! While she and her husband were in their valley of decision, one of the couples yet proceeded with their plans and began having a home built in Atlanta during spring 2002. Larry would make periodic trips to Atlanta with Jamal to check on the progress of the house and to scope out the city. Larry loved Atlanta and soon inquired with a realtor himself. On one particular trip with Jamal, he recorded about six videos of properties and sent them to Felicia for viewing. It was through video recordings that she chose her Atlanta home…having never stepped foot on Georgia soil! She and Larry closed on their Atlanta home in September 2002 and immediately relocated! Ironically, The Dennises moved to Atlanta before the other couple’s house was finished, so they lived with The Dennises for a couple months. In the end, what was a lofty dream for all the circle of friends eventually became a reality as all the couples have now relocated and settled in Atlanta!
Sis. Dennis was raised in a Christian home. She attended 1st Baptist Church in Great Neck (Long Island) where she sang on the Praise Team. She also sang with a community choir called the K. Smith Choir. She accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior at a Watch Night service altar call during her 20s. Upon moving to Atlanta she periodically attended a Methodist church until being invited to Redeeming Word Church by her step-mother in 2007. Going from Baptist to Methodist to COGIC was a culture shock in many ways, but within a year she joined RWC knowing the Lord had connected her to this ministry and this leadership!
What drew Sis. Dennis to RWC was the young, charismatic leader she saw in Pastor Randle. He had a fresh Word that fit today’s reality. She also loved the family dynamic, not only from what she observed in Pastor, 1st Lady and their children, but within the church membership. It was important to her that she not be just another member. She says, “I wanted to attend a church where people knew me by name.” God responded to that desire and gave her not just a church home, but a church family. Sis. Dennis credits Pastor Randle with opening her understanding to biblical truths that she never learned, or understood, before…specifically the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Her testimony is that after gaining an understanding of who the Holy Ghost was, she began to fervently seek the in-filling of Him, which came upon her during an altar call at RWC at the Washington Road location! This encounter with the Holy Ghost marked a significant transitional period in her life.
Sis. Dennis’ favorite scripture is Isaiah 40:31 - "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." For her, waiting upon the Lord means giving Him more of her time. She feels the pull of the Lord to be still, listen, and draw closer. As a wife, mother, and career-woman “life” can become all consuming; however, she knows that yielding to time alone with God will afford her the proper balance and harmony that He alone can give. Her favorite sermon by Pastor Randle is “The Purpose of the Anointing” (aka “the nose flies” sermon). She loves this classic message as it gives such a vivid description of the importance of allowing your pastor to shepherd (train, discipline, and protect) you. Sis. Dennis’ personal motto is “It is what it is.” (meaning: Own it, Embrace it…Conquer it!)
Sis. Dennis serves in ministry as the Armourbearor to 1st Lady Randle. The Lord has endowed her with a servant’s heart, thus making this role more an honor and less a duty. Through divine instinct she is able to anticipate the needs and sensitivities of 1st Lady. She wholeheartedly supports Pastor and 1st Lady by giving of her time, talent, and treasure. She says, “I support Pastor’s vision, because I know his vision is the Lord’s vision.”
Aside from workin’ n’ churchin’ Sis. Dennis spends much of her time taking care of family. From cooking, to Football Booster Club, to Nana duties…her plate is full. Though Larry supports her through it all, she says they are way overdue for quality time as a couple. In a year, when Aeneas graduates high school, she and Larry will be on “destination vacation!”…there first time away - ALONE - since their honeymoon!
Did you know?...Felicia met her would-be husband at a night club! After spotting him across the room, she acted on sheer confidence and approached him! They danced and talked all night…and the rest, as she says “Is what it is!”