RRC: Who or what helped you understand the person of Jesus Christ?
KH: I attended Blue Lake Camp in Andalusia, Alabama, during the summer of my 5th-grade year. My camp counselor, Freida Daughtry Gatewood, shared the Gospel with me, and I prayed to receive Christ.
RRC: How did you keep your two daughters, Francie (24) and Mary Phyfer (22), involved in mission work/activities during their youth?
KH: Our church has a huge heart for missions, so it was easy for us to get involved. When the girls were around five and seven, we started serving at Bell Street, a weekly service to children and teenagers. A few years later, we went to help with the children’s ministry at Frazer’s Asbury Campus. We took other mission trips as a family, and when they were teenagers, they went on mission trips with the youth group. They also were in a mission program called Christian Youth in Action (CYIA), a ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship. CYIA students learn to share Bible stories with the Gospel message with children. These children are then extended an invitation to receive Christ as Lord and Savior, and many of them do.
RRC: How has your trust and faith in God sustained you during difficult times?
KH: The truth is I would not have made it without Jesus Christ. He has given me stability in an unstable world. His Word is a solid rock on which you can build your life.
RRC: For parents who desire their children to know God but are unsure how to train them, what information can you share?
KH: As your life transforms, they will see and experience that. Share with your children what you are learning, and spend time praying and asking the Lord to help you understand His Word and apply it to your life. Get your family involved in a Bible-believing church. Read a children’s Bible with them regularly. As you walk through life together, look for opportunities to share your faith with them. When your children are arguing and need to forgive each other, talk to them about how much Christ has forgiven us and how He wants us to forgive each other. Be intentional with your teaching opportunities, and don’t be afraid to talk with them about God. If you have questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
RRC: Your work with Child Evangelism Fellowship has been long-term. How has it impacted your life?
KH: I have seen the Lord open hearts and minds and draw children into a relationship with Himself. I have seen Him bring together people and events to help further His Kingdom. It has amazed and encouraged me!
RRC: Through your journey of becoming a counselor, is there anything you wish you knew prior and why?
KH: The journey to becoming a biblical counselor was filled with studying, learning, praying, and growing. I’ve learned that because people go through varied circumstances/struggles, each case for me still consists of all those things.
RRC: Please share why you’re passionate about people having a faith community inside and outside of church and not being isolated.
KH: A life-or-death situation is how serious I believe it can be. God created us for the community. We need other believers in our lives for accountability, wise and godly counsel, and so the gifts God has placed in each of us can help strengthen the other. When people are isolated, they are more anxious, fearful, and depressed. I find myself saying a lot to people, “Do you have a church home? Do you have a church in mind you’d like to try? If not, please come to mine.” Once someone finds a church home, they need to be involved in small groups where they can grow spiritually, know others, and be known.
RRC: Does your community of faith always stand behind you in a time of need? How?
KH: The Christian community has been the hands and feet of Christ in my life on so many occasions. When I was so grief-stricken I couldn’t stand, they helped nurture me back to life through prayers, letters, cards, books, food, time, acts of kindness, help with my children, Bible studies… just so many things.
RRC: Primarily, you work with women and teens. How does your faith handle societal issues such as premarital sex, teen pregnancy, and divorce?
KH: My faith tells me that God loves people and that premarital sex, teen pregnancy, and divorce happen because we live in a fallen world. My faith in Jesus Christ says there is nothing that He cannot redeem. There is no circumstance He can’t use for our good and His glory. If you read the Scriptures, what you will find is that our highest good in this life is to be transformed into the likeness of Christ.
Kelley has been married to Torey Herring for eight years and they have two adult daughters, Francie Parker (24) and Mary Phyfer Parker (22).