Debbie was born and raised in western NY state in 1954. She graduated with a teaching degree in Elementary Education at a Christian college in Massachusetts in 1976. It was at that school that she met her future husband, Ken, and after graduating they were married one year later.
Not finding teaching jobs after graduation, she found herself working at various insurance companies, gaining a significant amount of experience and thoroughly enjoying administrative work, until she and Ken started raising a family.
Debbie taught school and substituted in the classroom in various schools while their children were in school themselves. When they went off to college and began living their own lives, she began working in her husband’s businesses, performing administrative tasks as an executive assistant for many years.
Ken and Debbie now have grown children—a daughter and son who are both happily married to their spouses, both of whom they love dearly. Ken’s work moved their family to several states through the years. They lived in Jacksonville for six years while raising their children, moving back here permanently in the Fall of 2019. Their daughter and her husband recently moved to Jacksonville as well, not far from them.
Having the gifts of mercy and service has given Debbie the desire to come alongside of and help meet the basic needs of people who are less fortunate. This desire motivated her to become involved in Bella’s homeless outreach ministry, beginning about three or so years ago. It has been a way for her to joyfully serve the Lord and has given her an appreciation for all that God has given to her and her family. They feel truly blessed!
I was raised catholic, but I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior as a freshman in high school when I had the opportunity to visit a Nazarene church where I grew up. Fortunately, my Dad who was catholic (our Mother was raised Methodist but did not follow any faith after she graduated from high school) allowed me to leave the catholic church so I could become a regular attendee of this Nazarene church. I believe it was pivotal in my life because I decided to attend a Christian college when I graduated from high school. Since I met my husband there, what superseded was that I stayed in Massachusetts after college graduation and never lived in Buffalo again. That is significant for me because I came from a very dysfunctional home, so it was not a nurturing and supportive environment to live in. I, of course, did go back to visit my family on a regular basis after graduation, but just for short visits.
I really didn’t know who Holy Spirit was until I was introduced to Him around 2015 by a young family who started coming to the small country church we were attending in Bradford, NH. We had moved to New Hampshire, where Ken was born and raised, to care for his aging parents in 2003. This young family began a worship and prayer time on Wednesday nights. We sang along to anointed music from Hillsong and Bethel worship music. Ken and I continued to grow in and understand Holy Spirit’s presence more and more. When we began to come down and “winter” in Florida in the Fall of 2017, we wanted a church to attend. We were told about a church in Jacksonville that invited the Bethel worship team to come and lead worship from time to time. It was New Life Christian Fellowship. We knew that if this kind of music was played and sung in their church services, then this was the church for us to go to.
Ken and I joined membership after a couple of years when we became permanent residents of Florida. We have been leading life groups on Wednesday nights since 2020 and have thoroughly enjoyed meeting and ministering to many wonderful people through these gatherings and through being Sunday morning church greeters on a regular basis.