So like everybody else my story starts with my parents. I was born to a 17 year old single mother in Los Angeles California. Shortly after I was born my father passed away and my mother fell into addiction. I later fell into the same gang lifestyle as well. Yet at the age of 17 I gave my life to Christ. The best decision I ever made that would forever affect my future. Since then my life has been a constant adventure and joy with our Lord Jesus. At 18 I entered Masters commission and for three years did seminary classes learning more about my Lord, His word and how to serve him. Then my Lord sent me for two years as a missionary to Paraguay South America to start a Masters commission and work with street kids there. During that time I met my husband Daniel Candia as we served together in Paraguay. We have now been married for 13 years and been in youth ministry and worship ministry the whole time. We now have the joy of servicing here at FBCPG. I also have the privilege of serving as young life’s missionary to Charlotte high school and Port Charlotte middle school.
Jennifer Candia/Youth Ministry Leader
Originally from Hartford, Connecticut. Moved to Miami, Florida in 1976. Retired from Wells Fargo Bank after a thirty-three year tenure. Former member of Wayside Baptist Church of Kendall, Florida. Moved to Port Charlotte in August, 2015.
Associates of Science in General Studies, Colorado Technical University, November 2008.
During my time with Wayside Baptist Church of Kendall the Lord gave me a vision for starting the Women of Wayside (WOW) women’s ministry. The vision has been fulfilled. In addition; Sunday school teacher for classes from pre-school through senior adults, choir member/soloist, provided Clerical Support to the Financial Secretary and Office & Facilities Administrator, functioned as a Summer VBS and Kidz Camp Before and Aftercare Coordinator (working with KidCheck Secure Check-in for Childcare Professionals).
I accepted the Lord as my Savior at the age of eighteen and when looking back I can see how the Lord groomed me to be ready for ministry at First Baptist Church of Punta Gorda. The Lord directed me to FBC of PG through the late Wayne Goff. My first ministry opportunity was Wednesday night Children’s Bible Study and Missions as well as a Christmas program presented by the children. Then the Lord opened the door to teaching the Ladies class and, recently, to start-up and oversee the Eagle’s Wings Widows Ministry.
I am excited about how the Lord is growing and developing ministries to meet the needs of His people at First Baptist Church of Punta Gorda and beyond its walls. Oh to see what He will do in, for, and through us as we yield in obedience to the voice of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.
Sondra Davis/Women's and Widows' Ministry
My story is the fortunate one. The Lord has always been faithful to me and my family.
I was born and raised in a Christian home in Paraguay South America as a pastor’s child and grew up knowing the truth. Yet unfortunately like many teenagers strayed from the Lord for a short while, but God in his faithfulness used my grandfather (Lorenzo) to remind me I am no one without the Lord. After coming back to the Lord he trained and use me in ministry from a very young age and continues to use my family. I did not grow up in a perfect home, we did not have a lot, but I did grow up in a home who knew the one who is perfect. It is my desire to help people know our Lord and his perfect love. Then help them express their love to our Lord in worship.
Daniel Candia/Music Ministry
When I gave my life to Christ 13 years ago, God revealed to me that I am to serve with children. I have loved and served in the children's ministry since. At the end of my first year at FBC/PG as Children's Ministry Director, I am grateful to be here. God has touched my life here and the lives of many children.
It was overwhelming to me in the beginning. Trying to work out a plan, orchestrate lessons, what could I do to make children's church fun and exciting but valuable? I asked God, "What am I to do with this ministry?" How could I possibly be anything more than a mother, wife, and child of God?
God handed me VBS. I have taught in VBS, but never had to coordinate everything. God had a plan! He sent Michele Clary. At least. that is what I believe. VBS last June was great! We had 27 children attend and many willing hearts to serve!
If I could compare how I felt nearly a year ago to now, I would say that this is where I feel at home. God is ever present and continuing to bless this ministry and all ministries in this church.
We have great kids in this ministry. They have transformed into humble servants unto the Lord. When it is time to serve in church, they get up and serve. They are a blessing to Michele and me. i look forward to meeting new children and desire to teach them to know, love, and serve God. Thank you to all who have made me feel welcomed and loved.
Jerri Thompson/Children's Ministry Director & VBS Co-Coordinator
My story starts like many others. I gave my life to Christ when I was 13. I was at a revival with
my best friend. My parents did not go to church, so the only time I attended was with my
grandmother and later with a boyfriend and his family. However, it was never reinforced at
home. My grandmother was soon diagnosed with cancer; some of the ladies in her prayer group came to her house to lay hands on her and pray for her healing. She passed away within the year. If God didn’t save her, why should I believe? As I got older, I was in and out of church. However, I was never truly committed. My life was never picture perfect and I knew something was missing. When I was 39, God brought the most wonderful man into my life. He knew that Mike and I needed to save each other. We both decided that we needed God in our lives. In October of 2014, we rededicated our lives to God, we were both baptized, and then a few weeks later we were married. God has led us to many places, and now we have settled here.
When He told me I was going to work with children, I fought it. But, as I have seen my life
unfold, I cannot see myself not teaching children. They bring me joy and knowledge that I never knew was possible. I thank God each day for my newfound faith and love for children.
Michele Clary/Sunday School Teacher & VBS Co-Coordinator