Meet our People
Bob Allums (M.Div), Director of A Praying Life for seeJesus, has taught over 100 prayer seminars around the world in countries including Morocco, Turkey, England, Spain, and Australia. Bob, who served in pastoral ministry for 14 years, gauges the success of a conference not by comments such as, “That was great!” but by declarations like, “I can actually do this now!” Bob is co-presenter, along with Paul Miller, on seeJesus’ Launch Into Prayer Cards course. Anyone who has worked, worshipped, or even been in the same room with Bob for long knows that his one-of-a-kind laugh is nearly 100% contagious. Bob and his wife, Helen, have three married children and one grandson and live in central Florida.
Justin Barry loves teaching and learning! With two Master’s degrees in education, this high school Chemistry teacher knows how people learn—in the classroom and beyond. After attending his first A Praying Life Seminar in 2005, he slowly began using the material in small groups and Sunday school classes with great success. Now a seeJesus trainer, Justin admits: “I have fallen in love with seeing who Jesus is and how he impacts my life and relationships.”
Justin is a backyard farmer, a beekeeper, and an experimental hobbyist whose explorations have included lip-balm making, seed-starting, egg-hatching, and all types of canning. He’s been married to his patient wife, Gretchen, for 12 years. They have three beautiful children who are growing physically and spiritually every day and live in the greater Philadelphia area.
Lifelong Winter Haven, Florida, resident Drew Bennett planted a church in the community he loves in 2008. Redeemer City Church (PCA), now a multi-congregational church, is seeking to make Jesus’ invisible kingdom visible throughout Polk County.
seeJesus has been an ongoing part of Drew’s ministry—both in Winter Haven and around the world. For the past 12 years, he has been leading local Person of Jesus studies in small groups with both Christians and non-Christians attending. Drew became a trainer for seeJesus in 2006 and has led Person of Jesus studies in the US as well as India and Uganda.
Drew and his wife Ashley live in Winter Haven with their four children—Canaan, Isaac, Abigail, and Sarah.
Jerry Borton has traveled around the country leading seminars on disability awareness, theology of suffering, marriage and disability, leadership, and fundraising—all from his power wheelchair. Born with Cerebral Palsy, Jerry now devotes his time to serving others with disabilities as Bethesda’s Associate Director. Before joining seeJesus, Jerry—who has an M.S. in Organizational Leadership and is an ordained minister—was Area Director for a local office of Joni and Friends.
Jerry admits to a mild obsession with baseball. He likes watching every form of the game—from two kids slapping at a ball with a stick to his beloved Detroit Tigers winning an American League pennant. Jerry and his wife, Joan, have been married for over 20 years and enjoy traveling and spoiling their nieces and nephew. Jerry and Joan make their home in the suburbs of Philadelphia.
“Easy” is rarely a word that is used in relation to disability ministry. But long-time disability advocate and Bethesda Coordinator, Joan Borton, loves to show people how easy it is to start a friendship with someone with a disability. Disability ministry has taken Joan to Ghana, West Africa, and all around the U.S, where she has taught on topics ranging from disability awareness to soul care to managing change to marriage and disability.
Joan has been joyfully married to Jerry, Bethesda’s Associate Director, since 1995. She is passionate about strengthening marriages affected by disability and frequently blogs and writes on this topic. Joan and Jerry are committed to hospitality—whether that means entertaining Airbnb guests at their Philadelphia home, providing respite care for kids and teens, or being a home away from home for family and friends.
Lyle Caswell teaches toward hope. Whether preaching at the church he planted (Christ Community Presbyterian Church), leading a seeJesus seminar, speaking at a national Mission to North America (MNA) event, or hosting a men’s retreat, Lyle eagerly watches for the moment when people begin to hope again in Christ. He loves exposing people to the seeJesus materials—including Person of Jesus and A Praying Life—that have made such an impact on his life. Lyle has been married to Luchrysta for 21 years. They have four children and live in Lakeland, FL.
Debbie Ellington taught her first Person of Jesus lesson around 2001, and she’s been a passionate teacher and advocate for the material ever since. For Debbie, it’s all about Jesus: “As I continue teaching, I increasingly adore Jesus and grasp that God's love—manifested in Jesus' life, death and resurrection—is truly our source of hope and strength in this world of trials and messy, often painful relationships.”
Debbie has led studies with both Christians and non-Christians, with other women, college students and, most recently, the elderly. She's led studies in homes, churches, a student center, a coffee house, and an assisted living facility. She loves discovering how the powerful lessons of Person of Jesus—lessons like “love always moves toward others,” “love begins with looking” and "love is not demanding"—apply to all relationships.
Besides leading groups, Debbie enjoys training, supporting, and encouraging leaders of this and other seeJesus studies. She and her husband Ned have been married for 36 years, have two grown children and three grandchildren, and live in Miramar Beach, FL.
Felicia Grandinette completed three years of study in Special Education before starting her family. When she returned to the classroom eighteen years later, the world of education had changed—and so had Felicia. She finished her degree in Adult and Organizational Development, unsure of where the Lord was leading.
As she had done for years, Felicia continued to serve in her church’s disability ministry—never dreaming it would lead to her vocation. As she reflects on her journey to Bethesda, Felicia explains, “Now I feel that I am exactly where God has called me to be.”
Felicia has led or spoken at youth retreats, women’s events, and a wide variety of disability ministry trainings. She treasures each opportunity to speak on behalf of those with special needs. “Knowing we are a part of bringing people to God who have been forgotten, marginalized, and shunned is surely a blessing,” she reflects. Felicia and her husband Brian have five children, one granddaughter, and live in Perkasie, PA, where they are known for their bountiful summer garden and luminous winter Christmas lights.
Over the course of nearly 20 years of pastoral ministry, church planting pastor Jon has been on a mission to experience and express the Father’s heart. When he read A Praying Life In 2009 and then hosted his first seeJesus training, he knew he’d discovered an invaluable tool. "SeeJesus changed everything about the way we do ministry!" he explains.
Now seeJesus’ Regional Director for the West Coast and East Asia, Jon has led more than 20 seminars—in places near and far. Watching people discover the depth of God’s love for them and seeing them fall deeper in love with Jesus keeps Jon teaching, preaching, traveling, and praying through it all.
Jon admits to an obsession with coffee, which has led him to amass a considerable collection of coffee mugs from around the world. His wife of 19 years, Sonia, has recently capped his collection (although he occasionally manages to sneak in a new one). Jon and Sonia have four kids and live in San Bernadino County, CA.
Steve Kirsch, formerly the CFO for a mid-size global manufacturing company, is good at data analysis. But he didn’t need to crunch numbers to recognize that individuals with disabilities are not being cared for in the vast majority of evangelical churches. “There is so much loneliness and separation experienced by families with disabilities,” explains Steve, now the director of seeJesus’ Bethesda ministry. “They need the church to embrace them.”
Steve, who once led financial training seminars around the world, now leads in a very different setting: by teaching churches and individuals across the US how to minister to adults with various disabilities, using seeJesus’ Bethesda materials. Steve—who also serves as a volunteer for Joni and Friends and leads a small Bethesda group at his local church—encourages and empowers people to overcome their fears and proactively reach out to people who are affected by disabilities.
Steve, who earned the nickname “Crash Kirsch” after crashing a car, a bicycle, and a motorcycle in one day, has been married to Claudia for 32 years. They have four adult children and live in Bucks County, PA, where they are eagerly awaiting grandchildren.
Chairman of the Board Bob Loker loves witnessing the “aha” moment (el ¡ajá! momento), whether he’s leading an A Praying Life Seminar in Purcellville, VA or teaching Person of Jesus to Mayan children in Guatemala. Bob—who speaks English and Spanish—grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico and spent seventeen years working for the U.S. Government at embassies in Ecuador, Uruguay, and Panama before settling in Virginia with his wife, Becky. Bob recently retired after twenty years as president and co-owner of Shaia Oriental Rugs of Williamsburg.
Bob and Becky, who met in high school, were married for 47 years and had three daughters and nine grandchildren. After a courageous battle with cancer, Becky—herself a huge supporter of seeJesus—passed away in 2009. Bob, who has now led groups through seeJesus materials in Colombia, Guatemala, Peru and the US, reflects: “Becky would have loved to be doing what I am doing now.”
Bob loves biking and kayaking and lives in Purcellville, VA, with a daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter.
Laura McCaulley loves watching people’s faces light up as they realize a new truth about Jesus or worship him in a new way. Laura, a new seeJesus trainer, has been involved in training women’s Bible study teachers and small group leaders at her church, Trinity Presbyterian, for nearly 10 years.
Laura is committed to telling—and helping others to tell—stories about God’s grace. Building on her training as a high school English teacher, Laura helps equip women to effectively share stories of God’s work in their lives in public settings on an ongoing basis. Laura treasures all kinds of teaching opportunities, including being a speaker at the 2016 "Story Teller" women’s conference at Christ Community Presbyterian of Lakeland and teaching 2- and 3-year-olds truths about the God who made them.
Deeply relational, Laura will stop whatever she is doing for a great conversation. “Let’s talk now and find my keys later,” says the admittedly forgetful mom of four kids under the age of ten. Laura lives with her husband, Frank, and those four precious kids in Lakeland, FL.
Dave Miller and his wife, Esther, spent four years mentoring and training church leaders in Chile before joining the staff of seeJesus as Latin America Coordinator. Dave, a church-planting pastor with the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), originally visited Chile to do short-term construction projects, but he and Esther moved there to facilitate discipleship and help raise up Jesus-centered leaders in Latin America. The same passion that led the Millers to move to Chile ultimately brought them to back to Philadelphia to partner with seeJesus.
Having now taught Person of Jesus seminars in Spanish and English in Chile, Colombia, and the US, Dave is continually amazed by the level of interaction and engagement that grows out of the inductive format. Each time he teaches, Dave watches and waits to see people’s eyes brighten with the realization of Jesus’ love for them. He’s rarely disappointed!
Dave and Esther grew up in rural Pennsylvania but now consider themselves thoroughgoing city-slickers, having lived and worked in inner city Philadelphia for much of the last 30 years. But the sight of rolling hills covered in wheat and corn still stirs their hearts! Dave and Esther live in Philadelphia and have four kids, three sons-in-law, and seven grandchildren.
Adaptive Curriculum Writer Jill Miller has a passion to expand the horizons of individuals with disabilities. After her daughter Kim was born with multiple disabilities, Jill employed her training as an educator—including a BA in Elementary and Special Education and a Master’s equivalency as a Reading Specialist—to design teaching tools to effectively convey the gospel message to Kim and her friends. From her labor of love, the Bethesda series was born.
Through the years, Jill has started two businesses aimed at employing individuals affected by disability. At a fundamental level, Jill believes that individuals with disabilities can thrive, learn God's Word, and know his amazing love for them. Jill is a mother of six, wife of Paul Miller, grandmother of many, and lives with Kim and Paul (not to mention two dogs, two sweet donkeys, and a few goats) on farm property in rural Pennsylvania.
Richard volunteered to train leaders in Latin America in 2005, while serving in his church. Today he equips others worldwide. His passion is that they will see, enjoy, and reflect Jesus. His goal is to multiply lovers of Jesus to use Person of Jesus study in discipleship and community ministries. Prior to working at seeJesus, he served in a variety of ministries from New Hampshire to Argentina.
Chilean pastor Miguel Rivera was introduced to seeJesus in 2010, during a period of extended sickness. “It was as if Jesus, through his teaching and the seeJesus trainer, put his eyes on me and gave me rest.”
Seven years later, Miguel—who is bilingual—has led twenty Spanish and English seminars for seeJesus in Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, Cuba, and the United States. Currently the senior pastor of a Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) church in southern Chile, Miguel has a passion for missions and discipleship. He treasures the opportunity to serve the Lord, to build his kingdom, and to be in relationship with people whom he can show the love of Jesus. His work as a volunteer trainer for seeJesus continues to afford him new opportunities.
Friends jokingly call Miguel “The Boss,” since he’s always dreaming up new ideas, new plans, and new visions for the future. Miguel and his wife, Ivonne, have two grown daughters and live in Villarrica, Chile, on the shores of the lake and near a volcano of the same name. Miguel has also written books on prayer and fasting and hosted a TV show focused on discipleship as well as conferences on leadership and church development.
With a law degree from Cornell University, you might expect to find Maggie Snyder holding forth before a court of law. But Maggie, who rests in the fact that Jesus fulfills the perfect law of God, now spends her time pointing people to him. As a seeJesus trainer, Maggie is passionate about leading people deeper into the life of Jesus and seeing them excited and challenged as they learn more about Him and about themselves.
Maggie, who has led or helped to lead women’s Bible studies for over twenty years, views each seeJesus seminar as an opportunity to worship alongside fellow believers. She’s excited to be part of what God is doing through seeJesus to get the words of life and light into people around the globe. Maggie and her husband, Mike, have three grown children and five grandchildren and have recently moved to the Philadelphia area from northern Virginia.
Monte Starkes has been discipling men for over 25 years and across six continents, and what he has learned from seeJesus has been part of his strategy since he attended his first Person of Jesus seminar in 2004. Monte now travels globally training pastors as Director of Life on Life and Global Outreach at Perimeter Church in Atlanta, GA. Previously a missionary in Japan, Monte has also served at churches in Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina. He is married to Amy and they have four children: Luke, Charity, Philip, and Anna Grace.
At 6’10,” Timo Strawbridge commands attention when he walks into a room. But the Director of Spiritual Life at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Lakeland actually gets a little uncomfortable when leading a group of over 50 people.
That doesn’t mean that Timo doesn’t love teaching and leading. On the contrary, he has been joyfully facilitating one Person of Jesus study almost continuously since 2002—a record among our trainers. He’s also participated in over 100 seeJesus events, leading 6-8 See Jesus Workshops each year for the past few years. Timo watches for the unique “aha” moment every time he teaches. “Each one is differently worshipful,” he explains.
In addition to his work with Trinity and seeJesus, Timo is also a missionary to his county, Polk County. Timo and his wife, Tina, have been married for 30 years, have one daughter, and live in Lakeland, FL.
Jonathan Winfree is a trainer for seeJesus simply because the work helps him to see Jesus. “Seeing him myself and seeing others discover the beauty of Jesus is the most rewarding part,” he explains. Jonathan has led about 20 seeJesus seminars in the US, Uganda, Kenya, India, and the UK.
A teaching elder in the PCA, Jonathan is on staff as associate pastor/director of congregational life at Redeemer Winter Haven. Though Jonathan got to fly in the cockpit of a commercial jet one time, he normally keeps his feet firmly on the ground in Winter Haven, FL, where he lives with his wife and two kids.