My name is Mark Donaldson, a loving husband to Nicole for almost 30 years, proud father of four, and 'Poppi" to two beautiful grandkids! I'm blessed to be sharing life with such a fantastic family, always on the go doing something adventurous.
I recently married off my oldest daughter Lora, after achieving licensed clergy status through CLI. Thanks to Covid-19, our incredible plans for a large castle wedding with family and friends vanished before our eyes. They became like Mary and Joseph, where everything reduced down to a simple setting and just them. It's amazing how God uses the simplest of beginnings to bring about His grand plans for our lives. I have no doubt God has big adventures in store for Kevin and Lora!
With a Design degree from Azusa Pacific University, I have been in Construction Management most of my life. I enjoyed classes at Azusa, but it was the dynamic family atmosphere and community of believers that forever shaped my spiritual life. The day I stepped foot on campus one hot August afternoon after my best friend, and I drove a thousand miles to visit his brother, I knew I found something very needed in my life. A Godly community! One week later, I was back home, begging my parents to let me transfer.
That was a tall order. Private school was expensive, and as a member of Central Washington University's National Championship swim team as a diver at the height of my sophomore year ranked, I had a lot to lose. But life was miserable. The team's out of control party atmosphere was taking me down a dark self-destructive road, and I needed real guidance in my life. I often say Christian universities aren't for everyone, but it was what I needed.
With no guarantees, I dropped everything, and with transcripts in hand boarded a red-eye flight, the day classes started. Arriving at the registrar's office unannounced, I somehow got in by the skin of my teeth, registered, and made it to my first class right on time. It was indeed a miracle!
Even though I knew God wanted me there, Azusa, unfortunately, did not have a swim team. Figuring I sacrificed something significant for a greater cause, I resourcefully found a pool and became a diving coach for age group kids just down the road. Not knowing it at the time, that pool was about to change my life.
It was fall, 1985, just two months after arriving in LA when the Monday morning call came in exclaiming the pool was shut down for three weeks to film a movie called 'Back to School' with Rodney Dangerfield. "Wait; what??? Did you say a movie featuring diving!"
I thought hey, I work at this pool and have clearance. Maybe the movie needed divers! I climbed into my car and once again took a chance and arrived unannounced. Working my way to the set the moment actor Billy Zappka was filming a goodbye kiss scene with actress Terry Farrell in the pool lobby, somehow I ran right into the Casting Director, Bill Dance. Wearing his signature white sleeveless jacket and reebok tennis shoes, he looked straight at me as I leaned in and whispered, "I'm Mark, a diving coach here. Just wondering if you can use another diver?" Still staring and sizing me up, "Its a big commitment. Can you be back at 6 am sharp tomorrow?" "YES!!!" I said ever so quietly. Forget those finals only a week away, I'm in!
Taking that step of faith opened up a world of adventure, and Hollywood became my playground. After filming alongside the US High Dive team for 'Back to School,' I quickly moved on to become a professional Stand-In, setting up scenes for top actors of the '80s. Filming everything from "Made for TV" movies to epic "Big Screen" blockbusters, Bill and I became the dearest of friends, and as one of the most respected casting directors in the business, he kept me as busy as the school would allow.
Life moved on after college, and so did the adventure of Hollywood. As impressive as it was working alongside famous people, being front and center to making movies, none of that ever compared to becoming Mr & Mrs. Donaldson. Loving and respecting one another and being front and center to raising four kids that bear our image and share our journey in life topped Hollywood. There is no make belief in marriage. Honesty, respect, transparency, and unconditional love are guiding attributes that transform us. Marriage to Nicole completed me like nothing else, and raising a family gave both of us a sense of purpose and destiny far beyond anything we could achieve on our own.
As a minister, I'm a designer/builder with a pastor's heart. My hands are busy creating and designing living areas, problem-solving through construction management challenges. My heart engages with people in their situations, getting to know families personally, bringing Jesus to the center of our conversations.
My wife always said I'm a builder on a deeper level. Presented with this opportunity to marry Lora and Kevin was as natural as designing and building something with my hands. Facilitating God's blessing over a couple declaring their undying love for each other, embarking on a journey to build a Godly family who serves Jesus in power and truth; it's all front and center to my spiritual ministry DNA.
Christian Leaders Institute became the launching pad God is using 'to equip me for this work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ.' Eph 4:12 (ESV) Becoming a Licensed Christian Wedding Officiant, ushering in the blessing of God and the empowering of the Holy Spirit for new couples coming together under the headship of Jesus. Wow, what an honor! Soon to be realized many times over.
Please pray for a new crop of Spirit-filled couples equipped with hearts on fire for raising God-fearing warriors for what's to come—for the advancing of the gospel and the ministry of reconciliation through their kids, declaring in the streets and school hallways the love of Jesus. These are the things I dream of in this calling. Marrying warrior couples that won't back down or be "tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes." Eph 4:14 (ESV)
They say life is a matter of perspective. I live life to the fullest, riding a big wave of spiritual adventure. I love it when we step out in faith, leaning on God in moments of pure trust knowing he is with us, loving us, wanting nothing but the BEST for us. I boarded a red-eye flight once and climbed into a car in complete faith. I especially said yes to a beautiful woman, grabbing ahold of her hand never to let go. Look where God has taken me!!!
My name is Iraida Garcia. I am married and live in the beautiful city of Miami, Florida, where I was born.
I was blessed to grow up in a loving Christian family home. My parents taught me to love the Lord from the very beginning. I gave my heart to Jesus at the age of five. I will forever remember myself standing at the little altar of my Christian school chapel, in a pink dress, asking Jesus into my heart.
My parents taught me the importance of servant leadership from a very young age. I started serving as a child in Sunday School, into my teen years, and throughout my adult life. This service has trained me to work in many different capacities and areas of ministry at the church.
At the age of 18, I married my high school sweetheart. Almost two years later, we had an amazing son, Mike, and together as a family, we all served the Lord. Then after 26 years of marriage, I was devastated to lose my marriage. I thought I would never marry again. However, God has a way of showering us with His love. My Pastor introduced me to Carlos, a wonderful man that loves Jesus and loves to serve Him. Carlos had lost his wife to brain cancer five years earlier. We fell in love and married soon after.
Carlos immediately embraced my family, and my family welcomed him. I especially love to see the great relationship he has built with my son. Mike is now married to my wonderful daughter-in-love, Carolina. Together they serve as Youth Pastors at their church. The best gift they have ever given us is our granddaughter Zoe. She makes us the happiest and proudest Papa and Mimi on planet earth.
Carlos and I have been facilitating the premarital course at our church, Trinity Church Miami, for over seven years. In the last couple of years, we have also been working with many of our married couples. We now lead the Couples Ministry there. It is truly our passion to see couples excel in their relationship with God and each other.
I thank God for the Christian Leaders Institute! With our schedules the way they are, as we tend to family, run our business, couples ministry, etc., I love that I can be trained for ministry with flexibility. CLI is an answer to prayer!
My name is Ian Biggs. I am an only child born and raised in New York City. About 12 years ago, I came to know Jesus at a time in my life when I was "broken" from the separation of my parents. Before that, all I cared about was going out, drinking, partying, and having fun. At least what I thought was fun. I would find my self often hanging out with the wrong crowds and ending up in bad situations. It was during my parent's separation that my mom and I moved out and moved further uptown. An aunt of mine introduced us to a small Pentecostal Church.
I remember going for the first time after having a couple of drinks and feeling the presence of God. However, at the time, I did not know it was the presence of God. One night, I was sitting outside on a fire escape broken, not sober, and sad from all that was going on around me. I remember saying a prayer to God, "God, I am tired of living this way, feeling empty, with no purpose. I hear a lot of different people talk about who you are and what you do. If you are real God, show me who you are, prove yourself to me!" That was about 12 years ago.
Since then, God has taken away my desire to drink or smoke. I have been attending a Church in Midtown Manhattan called Times Square Church for about ten years now. I met and married my lovely wife, Cathleen, who was born and raised in Michigan. Together, we lead the High School Ministry and teach the high school students from all backgrounds who God is and how good he is to us. We are also involved in the counseling ministry at our church, in the marital division. I work full time as a paralegal in a small firm, and I am a Real Estate Agent on the side.
I found out about the Christian Leaders Institute by accident. We were visiting Michigan last year, and a friend of my wife's, along with her future husband asked me to marry them. I looked for an organization to get ordained with that aligns with my values and beliefs. I found it here with CLI! Now that I think about it, it was not an accident. There are so many classes to take at CLI that I might sign up for something else in the future once I get ordained to do our friend's wedding. I also feel that this will give me teaching and training to equip me further to lead the ministry with which I am currently entrusted.
Finding CLI is something that only God could have done! If you took the time to read all of this, I encourage you that God is real, so real. He has a plan and a purpose for your life that you can not even imagine. My wife and I have been all over the world on Mission trips to give the lost the hope of Christ. I know there is more in store for us and you! Ask God to show himself to you and to reveal to you the plans he has your life. Put him to the test and watch what he will do. Please, take advantage of all that CLI has to offer. God Bless you!
It's a great pleasure to meet everyone and to be a part of CLI. My husband has been a part of CLI since 2010, so I'm excited to jump on board. My real name is Isabel, but I go by Lizzy. I live in the beautiful state of Colorado in a suburb near Denver.
I was radically saved during my middle school years at a youth camp called Pine Springs Summer Camp, deep in the mountains of Ruidoso, NM. Since then, I had some struggle due to alcoholism in my family. However, around my high school years, both of my parents received Christ, and our family began to see Jesus for who he is. My stepfather was instantly delivered from alcoholism, and the Lord restored our entire family. We have five children for around 50% of the time and two (which are my grandchildren), who live with us continually. We currently faithfully attend a church in Centennial, CO, where we are the Children and Youth Leaders but will be starting a new church here soon.
During the early 1990s, I began attending a beautiful Rhema church in Orlando, FL, for almost seven years, assisting in that church plant. Unfortunately, our Senior Pastor suddenly graduated into glory, and the church closed soon after. I left for Bible college in Tulsa, OK, attending Domata School of Missions under the leadership of Pastor's Mark & Janet Brazee, who worked closely with Senior Kenneth E. Hagin. I was deeply discipled in subjects such as healing school, evangelism, prayer, and many other ministry leadership courses. My worldly career work was in media and the printed press. It consisted of departments in Human Resources/Executive/Office and Payroll management, all of which led me back and forth from Orlando to Colorado. I have been back to Colorado since 2006, with a two-year absence from the state to handle the Casey Anthony trial in Florida.
Over the years, I have completed a Legal Secretary certification at International Business College, an understudy of early childhood development at El Paso Community College, and received my Bachelor's in Business Administration for Human Resources Management from Strayer University.
My ministry experience includes leading & training worship teams, assistant to the theatrical department, leading pre-service and weekly prayer teams, an outreach ministry to homeless and church programs, women's meetings, children and youth leaders for many years.
I am now working from home as an author, writing Christian literature, primarily for children and youth ministries. Also, I am completing my third book/novel, and soon a full children's curriculum for Spirit-filled churches. My books are on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other book entities under "From My Heart to the Throne for Girls" and "From My Heart to the Throne for Boys." There are also journals and other notebook types of materials on these sites. The two "named" above books are currently sent to orphanages in English speaking nations, such as South Africa, which was my original dream for these books. Musically, I minister in song, play the guitar, some keyboard, and the violin.
My reasoning for continuing education and obtaining the Deacon Ordination award, as well as Wedding Officiant certification with CLI, is so that it will assist me in furthering the call of God on our lives. We know we are called to pastor a local church. Both my husband and I know that we have a shepherd's calling in the five-fold ministry, and the Lord has revealed this amazing and honorable call to us these last few years. We do not take it lightly and are thanking the Lord for the incredible ministry of CLI and all their staff.
God bless every staff member for obeying the call of God to start the Christian Leaders Institute. CLI assists people like us in fulfilling the call of God for our lives through the ordination process and the anointed education. Due to its free cost, my husband and I can receive such high-quality training, of which we are incredibly grateful. And though this ministry is free, we have already given a significant one-time gift and will continue to do so as the funds allow. We thank the Lord for CLI always, remember it in our prayers, and tell others about it. We believe this education will enable us to effectively reach out to the harvest - rightly dividing the word of truth - for his kingdom gospel. Each one of us has an anointed and powerful sphere of influence around us. Pray for our family as we step out in faith into the next phase of ministry.