BJ has been horse crazy from the start. Even as a little guy, he rode the arm of the couch like a cowboy on the run, using a Superman cape for a saddle and the neck strings for reins. When he was eleven, he got his very first horse, a red gelding named Dandy.
But it was Max, the black pony he had next, that stole his heart and gave him a myriad of incredible childhood memories. On Max, BJ was a cowboy one day and an Indian the next.
His love for horses carried throughout his teenage years, when he raised and broke Appaloosas. BJ credits those Apps for keeping him out of a lot of trouble as a teen.
BJ was 18 years old when God called him to preach and led him to Bible college. In 2001, after graduating from Liberty University with a Bachelor's Degree in Biblical Studies, BJ sold his horses to raise money for a nine-month missions trip to Kenya, Africa. He assumed that was the end of his horsemanship.
With the tragic events of 9/11, BJ and his missions team were brought back to the US, and he took the position of Youth Pastor at Sewell Valley Baptist Church in Rainelle, WV. He served in this capacity for four years, until God called him into full-time evangelism. As such, BJ and Maryanne joined the staff of Uplands Reach Conference Center, in Millers Creek, NC, where they served for six years and helped launch the equestrian and pottery programs.
In the fall of 2013, BJ had the opportunity to ride in a Ken McNabb Horsemanship clinic in Yadkinville, NC. After the clinic, BJ was invited to spend a year working with the KMH team, serving as a Chaplain and hosting Bible Studies as well as doing Cowboy Church at equine-events. In October 2014, BJ completed his Master Trainer Certification, which equips him for hosting clinics, demos, and rides of his own, all for the purpose of bringing folks in to hear the Gospel.
BJ's two greatest passions are preaching and horses, and he is grateful that God has given him a ministry that combines the two. His favorite verse is Joshua 1:8: "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success."
BJ and Maryanne's Co-Adventurers
For as long as she can remember, Maryanne has loved to read, anything and everything from historical fiction to Presidential biographies. This prompted her to pursue Bachelor's Degrees in English and Education, which she received from Concord University in 2006. At Concord, she was honored to be a Bonner Scholar and, through this program, fell in love with nursing homes, assisted living centers, and hospice care. Some of her best times in college were spent changing hearing aid batteries, painting nursing home residents' fingernails, and shuttling hospice patients to appointments.
In 2009 she graduated from Appalachian State University with a Master of Arts in English Literature and two years' experience as a University Writing Consultant, both of which sealed her nerd status once and for all.
In the summer of 2007, on a whim, she signed up for a pottery class through ASU's Craft Enrichment program. She's been covered in mud ever since. While Maryanne loves all aspects of the art, her absolute favorite is throwing on the wheel, especially big bowls. She loves setting up and selling pottery at craft shows and farmer's markets, where she always ends up meeting the coolest, most interesting people. Maryanne also enjoys doing pottery demos for church groups. In fact, her favorite age group to teach is senior adults. You can check out Maryanne's work at her facebook page, Pottery by Maryanne.
In addition to pottery, Maryanne loves cooking, eating, and spending time with family (especially her sweet nieces!),
all of which tend to run together.
Maryanne really enjoys the administrative aspect of Circle G Ministry. Her job includes general bookkeeping, keeping in touch with supporters, creating newsletters and other publications, correspondence, scheduling events, and maintaining
the website and social media.
Her favorite verse is the one inscribed on the inside of their wedding bands: "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass." (Psalm 37:4-5)
"Mabel vs. Cheese Puffs"
My dog hates baths like celebrities hate silence. This is unfortunate, on several levels. First of all, she is a Basset Hound, which renders her naturally odorous and in frequent need of aromatic assistance. Secondly, she often accompanies me to feed the horses, where she indulges in a veritable buffet...(READ MORE)
"These Boots Weren't Made For Walkin'"
I can't help it...I'm a boot fanatic. I love 'em. Always have, always will. And today is no exception. My sweet husband took me to Watsonnatta in Boone to pick out a new pair for my birthday. And what a blissful pair I found. Knee high, distressed...(READ MORE)
"Hide and Seek, Mabel-Style"
Call me crazy, but I love to muck stalls. For some reason, nothing frees up my brain quite like shoveling horse poop into a wheel barrow. It’s my thinking time. And it also affords me the opportunity to witness my dog doing what she does best—clowning around. Mabel carries around a huge bone...(READ MORE)
So…I had an interesting drive to Jefferson yesterday morning. First of all, I ran over a golf club. Random. Secondly, I heard a story on 106.9 The Light that stopped me in my tracks. Metaphorically speaking, of course. Behind me was a big Dodge driven by a burly dude who probably wouldn't...(READ MORE)
"Nowhere to Go...Thank God (Literally)"
Newsflash: The Christian life ain’t always easy. In fact, sometimes it’s downright difficult. You, of course, are invincible. However, I am a mere mortal, and sometimes I find myself disheartened. But I must give credit where credit is due. Satan’s specialties are doubt, disappointment, and discouragement. He...(READ MORE)
Minister with Us
BJ would be honored to speak at your church