No Matter What, God is With You

Penny grew up in Tennessee as one of seven children raised by her single mother and her grandmother. “I always remember my grandma saying, ‘No matter what, God is with you. No matter, just talk to Him.’”

So Penny talked to God. By age nine, she sensed there was something special for her life. She knew this because she would always go out of her way to make sure others were okay. “I always wanted everybody to be happy. Everyone deserved to be happy,” she says.

Penny was in her late 20s when she began to dive deeply into her faith through a discipleship class, Bible teachers, and personal study. She became more and more amazed by Jesus and the things He did. She learned not only about Jesus but about the Holy Spirit and the Triune Unity of God. Penny was blown away when she learned that we have the authority to do even greater works than Jesus did (John 14:12). “I can do more than Jesus,” says Penny. “But the thing is, you don’t have to die like He did; you just have to die of your will.”

While at a conference at age 28, a minister prophesied that God wanted to do great things through her. A few years later, a female minister told her, “You’re like a wildflower. Wherever the Lord plants you, you’re going to bloom, because you’re yielded to His will.”

Penny was baptized in the Holy Spirit at age 31. Early the next morning, a woman in her discipleship class called her and told her to read Acts 2. While reading it, Penny understood that her baptism in the Holy Spirit meant she was commissioned to go and share what Jesus did.

Penny, who went in and out of the foster system twice as a child, has a special understanding of what Jesus did.

The Rescue Mission

When Penny was four, she and her siblings were placed in foster care. Penny’s mother was later able to come and bring them back home. But three years later, they were placed in foster care for a second time. Once again, Penny’s mother was able to come and bring them back home.

During her time spent in the foster system, Penny noticed that all the children had something in common: they wanted to go home. Penny now finds an analogy in her childhood to what Jesus does for everyone: He rescues people and brings them into a new family, just as her mom “rescued” her twice and brought her home. “Jesus already took care of the rescue mission. He secured it,” says Penny. “All you gotta do is just trust, and God’s going to put you in a place and cover you and protect you until He comes and gets you.”

In her studies about Jesus, Penny noticed a theme in the Gospels: people were lost and looking to be found. Penny says, “What was that void? What can make us happy? And I found that it was Jesus. There’s a God that loves us so much that His son died for us, that we can be part of this community and learn how to love this God that loved us first.”

Penny, who from childhood wanted people to be happy, found Jesus to be the key to that happiness.

Two Black Bibles

Penny got married in her 30s and moved to Arkansas with her husband Calvin. Penny will never forget when Calvin’s childhood friend knocked on their door with two black Bibles. He handed them to the couple and said, “The Lord told me to bring these to you.” Penny said to her husband, “Okay. It’s time to go and do what God has called us to do.” They came into agreement that they were to share the gospel to the fullest.

Penny and Calvin pastored a small church in the inner city of Little Rock. But when her son was recruited to play on a basketball team in Oklahoma during his senior year, Penny moved with him while Calvin commuted every weekend to Oklahoma to be with his family. After basketball season was over, Penny began working toward a Pastor’s Ministry certification at Rhema Bible Training College in Broken Arrow, OK. Eventually, the small church back in Little Rock began to dwindle, and Calvin was spending more and more time with his family in Oklahoma until it became their home.

Penny and Calvin got involved in John 3:16 Mission in Tulsa. The mission provides shelter, recovery programs, youth intervention, grocery support and household items to the homeless, hungry and at-risk. One of Penny’s mentees at the mission said to her, “You don’t beat us up. You tell us, ‘Hey, can I walk with you?’” Penny holds that God does the same for us; that there’s that little part in Jeremiah 29:11 that says God’s plan is not to harm you. “Anything that brings harm to you, you know, that’s not part of God’s plan. His plan is hope, a future with Him,” says Penny.

Penny enjoys instilling her uplifting experience of God in those she ministers to as well as in her grown daughter and son. “One thing I tell my kids – condemnation is the enemy always nagging and scratching. God doesn’t nag us; the Holy Spirit ministers to you, reminds you of God’s word and lets you know you still have a choice. There is no failure in God, so if you’re feeling like that, know that’s coming from the enemy. His tactics are all the same. It’s just to steal, kill and destroy.”

Penny’s opportunities to share Christ and His abundant life continued through unexpected encounters.

Asbury Seminary Tulsa Extension Site

After Penny completed her Rhema training, she and her husband were excited to move back to Arkansas to rekindle their ministry there. But the Holy Spirit spoke to Penny and said, “You’re not done.”

Penny told her husband, as well as the recruiter at Rhema, that God wasn’t done with her in Oklahoma. Penny then accepted an opportunity to volunteer from 10 to 2, five days a week, recruiting for Rhema. For two years, she traveled and learned all the recruiting responsibilities.

Little did Penny know what that would lead to.

One day, Meredith Fulda, a current employee of Asbury Seminary, came into the recruitment office at Rhema to talk about the Seminary’s degree programs. Penny, who loves to learn more about God, listened in. Meredith recruited Penny into the Master of Arts program in Intercultural studies with a Church Planting emphasis. Penny started her program at Asbury Seminary Tulsa Extension Site in the fall of 2022.

Shortly afterward, Penny told Meredith she needed to find a job that had insurance. Meredith told Penny she was moving back to Kentucky to work at the Seminary’s campus in Wilmore, and she wanted Penny to take her recruiting job at the Tulsa Extension Site. “Penny, you would be amazing at this,” Meredith said.

Penny declined – twice – to take the recruiting job at the Seminary.

Soon after, Penny’s son called her and said, “Mom, the Lord woke me up and told me that you’re to take this job. I’ve already called dad and told dad, ‘Mom’s got to take this job. This is for her.’”

Penny was offered the recruiting job and began in January 2023. Then, just one month after her insurance kicked in, her husband almost died at the hospital.

I Now Believe

Pastor Calvin noticed his stomach wasn’t feeling well and that something wasn’t right. So he went to the hospital. His second day there, Penny decided to go to the hospital to see what was going on. When she arrived, Calvin was on life support, hemorrhaging to death. They gave him a 10% chance to live.

Penny’s fellow staff members in Enrollment started praying. “Asbury Community was my strength… And I kid you not, they were there for me,” says Penny. “And my husband walked out in probably less than 14 days.”

During those 14 days, Penny would go to the hospital each day and walk around and pray, not only for her husband but for the other patients and their families. “It was so peaceful,” she says. When Penny and Calvin were leaving the hospital, the doctor, who had seen Penny pray daily, said, “I now believe.”

The day Penny went into the hospital and found her husband on life support happened to be the final day of the Outpouring at Asbury University. Penny had just visited the Wilmore campus with him a month earlier, in January, and had experienced a profound peace that has been with her since. “It has motivated me to share with others about the Asbury experience: who Asbury really is, and what is really taking place, and what God is doing in this season with Asbury,” she says. “You don’t have to sell Asbury. It sells itself. There’s a community of love and peace.”

Planting Communities

Penny and Calvin are active members of Rhema Bible Church in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, as they continue volunteering at John 3:16 Mission in Tulsa.

As Penny thrives in her role as Senior Enrollment Advisor while working toward her M.A., the Lord has shown her not to plant buildings but rather communities. Penny believes that the earth is the platform for the church. “We need each other, we all need to understand one another’s culture, to want to understand where everyone comes from. We are the church. If we solidify the body, God can use it in any platform, any place.”

Penny and Calvin have founded a non-profit organization called “Spirit of Faith Ministries.” Their approach used to be, “get a building and bring people in it,” says Penny. Now, their approach is, “go where the community is, where there’s a need, and tell people, ‘Hey, the love of God is here, and He has a supply for the need. Who’s willing to come together and build?’” They are passionate not only about the rescue mission of Jesus but also about the “maintaining mission” – helping people grow and blossom into their callings.

According to Penny, she always tells people they are usable. “God can use you. He can restore you, renew you and all of those things. But you’ve got to just surrender your will. And that will is whatever means more to you than what God means to you,” she says. “You surrender and trust God. If it doesn’t work, then go back to what you’re doing. But we know it’s going to work.”

As a Senior Enrollment Advisor, Penny does all things enrollment. She travels and recruits, hosts hybrid courses for professors and students, and encourages people in their walks with the Lord along the way. She plans to graduate with her M.A. in Intercultural Studies with an emphasis in Church Planting by 2027.

Learn more

Prepare for the Call

Learn more about how Asbury Seminary can help prepare you for your call. Fill out the form below to get started!