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Monday, November 12, 2012

By Paul Harrison, Staff Writer, Jackson County Herald-Tribune

            What impact does one life make? Kay Frels passed away this past May, having touched lives just being herself, and among those she touched and changed were a trio of women brought together by an echo of her impact on their lives. Jennifer Storz, Tyanne Rakowitz and Monica Bard are now reaching out to the entire Gulf Coast and Crossroads area women the way they were reached by Kay.
            The ladies formed God’s GALS - Growing And Learning Servants of Christ - and are holding a kick-off ministry event, a women’s escape in Wharton Nov. 2-3.
            “Known to God, but not to us, Kay had planted and watered seeds in all three of us,” said Bard.
            “Frels’ passing gave clarity,” said Storz. “Tyanne and I both had stirrings of the spirit of doing something, but weren’t sure what direction.”
            “Women need encouragement as never before in today’s society,” said Rakowitz. “So, our emphasis is to reach out to all women, in all seasons of life.”
            By putting the conference in Wharton, they are hoping God’s GALS reaches as wide an area as possible.
            “We hope to offer opportunities to do things online as well as face to face,” said Storz. “We find there are not that many opportunities for women in rural communities to come together for retreats.”
            Usually, travel becomes an issue with retreats in Houston  or Austin, and small children and elderly parents have to be taken into consideration, points out Rakowitz.
            “It’s the need we see that needs to be met (in this area),” Storz said of starting with an area-wide scope. “It’s different when it’s just one person trying to do something large-scale, but the three of us are very connected to the community in our three separate towns. In addition to hopefully growing our board and bringing in more interest, we have the support in place to at least get started.”
            The escape is only the leading edge of what they hope to get started, with considerations for Bible studies, classes on home organization, finances and balancing priorities and a prayer group, depending on feedback from the conference. 
            “Sometimes you have to think big and go out of your comfort zone in order to really make things happen,” smiled Storz.
            “We’ve worked on different aspects going on during the retreat itself,” said Rakowitz. “It’s fellowship and fun, but still feeling His presence and just connecting with other Christian women. I don’t think women do that enough. We put ourselves on the back burner, especially moms. Everything comes in front of ourselves.
            “We feel like this is an opportunity for people to step away from the busy-ness of their lives and just be in His presence.”
            The gals of God’s GALS say they’ve felt God’s hand in the planning and set up of the retreat.
            “Of course it takes hard work and creativity and a commitment of time for each other and for our families, but all in all it’s been a smooth process,” said Storz. “All of our resources, everything we’ve needed has just come together.”
            All of it has been about coming together, starting with Kay Frels.
            “In her daily life, she had character and integrity and it showed,” Rakowitz grinned. “She wasn’t afraid to go up to someone she may not know and share God’s word with them.
            “Proverbs 31 that was read at her funeral brought tears to my eyes because that is the woman I worked so hard to be. She was that woman.”
            To sign up or volunteer for God’s GALS, visit their website at www.godsgals.org, email info@godsgals.org or look them up on Facebook. Retreat registration forms are also available at the Jackson County Herald-Tribune.

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