TESTIMONY OF RHONDA GRACE, FOUNDER/CEO
I had grown up in a loving Christian family and was very “sheltered,” but when I saw poverty and brokenness up close and personal and the devastation it caused in the lives of precious men, women and children. . . . . it wrecked me, and I couldn’t go back to being “normal”! I kept telling God, “I can’t do this,” and He would always say to me, “That is why I chose you!” He instructed me to just love the one in front of me. I said, “There are too many in need!” He said, “I would rearrange your entire life for just one!”
I moved to Monroe, LA in September 2001 and started Grace Place Ministries in an 18 room abandoned and badly neglected house in the “hood”. I had very little support, but my pastor, church, family and friends encouraged me on and we prayed in every gallon of paint and plaster to renovate. The house was transformed from wrecked to elegant. At God’s instruction I took in “needy” women, but on the outside they didn’t look needy. They were educated and well dressed, but struggling with hidden addictions and the ravages of abuse. They needed a safe and confidential place to heal up from life’s traumas and disappointments.
God didn’t tell me at first that He wanted a children’s ministry, and I initially told Him that I didn’t want to, but I did say “yes” to Him. Underprivileged children and at-risk teens came to Kingdom Kids Club twice a week where we met in the basement for Bible study, worship. refreshments and fun. Again, I didn’t know what I was doing, but God was in control and I was amazed at His glory and Presence that filled that basement! We lost the lease on this house after 3 1/2 years but God had even more surprises in store!
One day I was driving down the street and I heard the Lord say, “Buy that building!” I took one look at it and told the Lord that it was an ugly building! Simply on obedience, a bank loan and lots of volunteers . . . . Grace Place began renovations on this old gas station. During this process, I heard Him say, “Feed the people!” Once again, I had no idea what I was doing, especially since I had never even been in another soup kitchen, but now after many years . . . . we are feeding thousands!!
I love God with all my heart, and because I love Him, I will go anywhere and do anything that He would ask of me. If He can use me . . . . He can use anyone!
I have been to Israel three times and lived in Jerusalem for three months in 2011. During my time there I was given the opportunity to minister to women survivors of terrorist attacks who were suffering from trauma and have embraced God’s chosen people with His love. I look forward to going back and I am waiting for His instructions. I stand with Israel and I “pray for the peace of Jerusalem”!
If you want to be used by God….don’t look at all your inadequacies and insecurities…just simply say ” yes”! When someone asks for my qualifications, I refer that one to 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, “For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
God bless you! Rhonda Grace
Born in 1951, Rhonda grew up in El Dorado, Arkansas where she was raised in a Christian home and was a member of the Methodist Church.She graduated from El Dorado High School and attended Louisiana Tech University majoring in Interior Design. Rhonda is a former business owner in Ruston, LA. She is the mother of two daughters, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren. She is a member at Christ Church in West Monroe, LA.
*Called at age 15 to work with alcohol & drug addictions.
*2000 to 2001 – Trained on the streets of New Orleans as the director of a women’s halfway house.
*October 1, 2001 to present – Opened up Grace Place Ministries, Inc. (Soup Kitchen & Clothes Closet)
*2002 – Certificate of Completion – Caring for People God’s Way.
*April 3, 2003 – Ordained as a minister by Mercy Ministries International, New Orleans, LA.
*2002 – Member of American Assocation of Christian Counselors.
*2012 – Awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award by the City of Monroe.
*2015 – Certified Responder/Chaplain by Crisis Response International.
*2021 – Founder/CEO Bird Song Retreat