Staff Highlight: Mary Trousdale

Mary TMary Trousdale is the Student Ministry Administrative Assistant at First Free. She has worked faithfully with our youth for several years. Enjoy reading her sweet story below! Thank you, Mary!!

1) You have invested in the lives of many teens for many years, unto God’s glory. What motivates your desire to serve the Lord wholeheartedly in this capacity?

Because of the Gospel, I have a strong desire to take the love that God showed me on the cross to others. I am motivated to work with teenagers because I have seen how the world influences so many teens in a negative way. I would have loved to have had strong godly woman in my life during my teen years.  I want to be a positive influence that shows teen girls the truth of the Gospel, that they are loved by our Heavenly Father, that they have been created by Him for His purpose and that they can make a difference in this world.

2) How has God increased your faith through this?

My faith is increased by living the Gospel and sharing my life with teen girls. As I look back over the years, with 14 of them in this ministry, my faith has been growing. I struggled through a move to Kansas which took me away from everything that I knew (and thought that I needed), the death of both my parents and my brother, and the constant changes and demands of marriage and raising a family. Because of these life experiences, I can lead the young women in the ministry to trust God to be with them at all times. My faith is stronger now because I can see God has been with me every step of the way. To keep my faith strong, I know that I have to be in God’s word and stay focused on the Gospel message.

3) How can the women of First Free be praying for you?

I covet the prayers of other women for me to have peace and trust in my God’s care and providence over all that happens in my life and strength and confidence to tell others about His love and grace.

 

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Staff Highlight: Dan Curnutt

Pastor Dan Curnutt is First Free’s Pastor of Counseling and Missions. Today we hear him share of the many areas of faithful service he has given to his Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. Thank you, Pastor Dan, for your heart that pursues after God’s!DanCurnutt

1) You have invested in the lives of many, many individuals and families, for many years, unto God’s glory. Would you briefly share with us some of the ministry roles you have served in? What has motivated your desire to serve the Lord wholeheartedly in these capacities?

I worked with World Impact for 25 years full-time.  During that time I taught Bible Clubs with middle and high school students.  I taught Vocational Job Training Programs and help incorporate and run our Thrift Stores and Benevolence Funds.  I also had many administrative duties in the National Office.

I have been here at First Free since 1993.  I came originally as the Pastor of Administrations & Missions.  My task was making sure that the church’s business interests were taken care of, as well as Human Resources, Building and Maintenance and working closely with the Trustees.  I also taught the Sunday at Six service for six years.

Later I took a leave of absence for 20 months to go back and help World Impact get their Adult Conference Center up and running.  I came back to First Free to serve in the area of Evangelism and Missions.  Due to a staffing issue I then became the interim Youth Pastor, a position I held for six years. Those six years were some of my happiest here at First Free.  I now work with Counseling and Peacemaker Ministry as well as our Assimilation and Retention processes.  I have some oversight of Deacon’s and a new Hospitality Team that we are starting.

My desire to serve the Lord came at the age of twelve.  I was being mentored by our Pastor of our small church because I told him I wanted to be either a Missionary or a Pastor.  I gave myself to the Lord for His service.  I started serving Him at the age of 15 by volunteering to teach Bible Studies in the Inner City of Los Angeles.  I moved into the Inner City right after graduating High School and spent twenty three years living and working there.

Upon leaving World Impact I was blessed by the Lord to be able to serve as a pastor here at First Free.  Thus my two desires of being either a missionary or a pastor have been fulfilled.

Upon entering ministry I took three vows, one of poverty (i.e. not in ministry to make money) one of obedience and one chastity.  These are the three vows that early missionaries took.  God has been good to Karen and I over the years and I feel blessed to still be able to serve Him.
2) How has God increased your faith through this?

My faith has increased by the fact that through the years God has taken care of me.  When I started out in ministry I was paid $150.00 a month plus given a place to live.  Sometimes we didn’t have enough money at World Impact to even pay the salary of $150.00.  But we never missed having food on the table as God would faithfully provide through many different ways.

God has continued to strengthen Karen and I through the years as we have seen our son mature and grow into a Godly young man.  He has served overseas with missions and gone to Seminary and now serves full time in a Denominational Office and part-time as a Worship Pastor.

I have learned, sometimes the hard way, that God will take care of us if we will just lean on Him.

3) How can the women of First Free be praying for you?

For wisdom in my counseling and peacemaker ministry.  This is sometimes very difficult as you are dealing with people in times of crisis, conflict and major family turmoil.  I need Godly wisdom and good recall of scripture to be able to effectively help people.

Staff Highlight: Pastor Jeremy Krause

Here is another mini interview with one of our beloved staff members: Pastor Jeremy Krause. Many thanks, Pastor Jeremy, for your enthusiasm, your faithfulness, your integrity and your commitment!

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1) You have a strong desire and heart to motivate God’s people towards “being disciples that make disciples.” What motivates your desire to serve the Lord wholeheartedly in this capacity?

Some of my motivation is anchored in My own story. When I went to college, I met men who were passionately devoted to Jesus Christ. They would spend time with me, discipling me, and showing me how to love Jesus Christ.  As a result of their investment, I was won over by both their message and methods.  As I have investigated Gods word for myself, I can see how being a disciple that makes disciples is all over God’s plan.  From Moses to Joshua, Elijah to Elisha, Jesus to Peter, Peter to Mark, Paul to Timothy, And Paul to Titus… Disciple making is everywhere.
2) How has God increased your faith through this?

My faith has been increased when I see the fruit God provides.  There have been a number of God moments in disciple making. There is no way that I could take any credit for some of the things that God has done. I am so thankful that God’s word does the work.

3) How can the women of First Free be praying for you?

  • God would continue to remove idols from my life (my identity, peace, and hope would be found in Him)
  • NYC Mission Trip: support would be raised; students would be equipped; hearts of those in NYC would be soft to hear the Gospel
  • 2013 Plans: God would grant us wisdom and discernment for our ministry plans

Staff Highlight: Judy Hollander

Hello, sisters in the Lord!! Here is our next mini-interview with one of our precious ministry staff. Today’s guest? Judy Hollander!

I am continually amazed, astounded and in a state of speechless awe the more I watch people serving in Children’s Ministry: truly, it is a precious and profound way to honor His Name. Being a young mother myself, I am grateful to Judy’s leadership as the Director of Children’s Ministries as she equips her staff, her volunteers, the parents, and the children with God’s Truth.

If you have not met Judy, I know she would love to meet you! She is a woman full of grace and love, and has one of the most welcoming smiles I know: I can testify to this especially, as I rammed into the back of her car at a stop light about a week ago (egads!!)…grace truly abounds in her!! Much love to you, Judy!

1) You have a strong desire and heart for children and families to know Christ and be disciples. What motivates your desire to continue serving, equipping, and encouraging these children and families?

God continues to give me such a passion for my work, and I’m so grateful for it. I want children to know God and to love his Word. I want that knowledge to lead to faith in Christ and a lifetime commitment to follow Jesus. I believe these early years are so key to establishing a strong foundation of knowledge of God and his Word so when they are old enough to consider and question they will have truth to draw on. I love the passage in 2 Tim. 3:14, 15 “But as for you (Timothy), continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make youwise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.” First, you need to learn the ‘sacred writings’ and the prayer is that this knowledge with make children ‘wise for salvation’. This is motivating to me! I am also motivated to encourage and equip parents because their role is this is primary. Timothy’s early education in the Scriptures came through his mother and grandmother- the church cannot replace (nor should we try) what happens at home. I am motivated to consider ways that we can encourage and equip our parents in their role of discipling their children.

2) How has God increased your faith through this?

I want children to know the God that I know! It is circular—the more I know about God the greater my desire is for teaching and equipping children and their families in the Word. I love the end of Job where God responds not with answers to the many questions of Job and his friends, but with such a description of himself. Our comfort and courage and our very salvation comes out of the glorious person of God. We can never know him fully, but if we can start children on the path of knowing God through his Word and his Son, then we have given them the most important thing.

3) How can the women of First Free be praying for you?

Pray that I will be faithful and persistent in all of the above! Pray for our teachers and volunteers who serve children that they will be motivated by the desire to make Christ known to the boys and girls they teach.

Pray for my family: Ross, Blake and Katie, Mary Ann and Clark. Pray that I would walk worthy of my calling in Christ Jesus.

Thanks so much!