NASHVILLE (BP) – Celebrating Great Commission stories and the faithfulness of the Lord in the lives of women was the theme of this year’s sixth annual Southeastern Women’s Breakfast, hosted by Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) Wednesday (June 16). Approximately 150 women gathered to hear from Lynette Ezell, Annie Locke, Kandi Gallaty and Missie Branch for a time of encouragement.
First in sharing her Great Commission story was Annie Locke, wife of SEBTS preaching professor Ronjour Locke, who shared how the Lord has grown her love and hunger for His Word since she was a child. The more she studied, the more it came alive to her, and she wanted to live a life that looked like Christ. One of the places the Lord eventually called Annie and her husband to serve for a number of years was First Baptist Church in Brooklyn in Baltimore, Md., from 2012-2018. During their time at there, they served the Brooklyn community by partnering with organizations to fight sex trafficking. Locke shared how the Lord used her time in Baltimore to powerfully impact her prayer life as she learned how to share the Gospel with pimps and prostitutes in the red-light district and was inspired by those who came to Christ. The red-light district was not only where their church was located but also where they lived.
“I want to share with you the hope that I see in the Great Commission,” Locke told attendees. “It motivates me each day to live a life sold out for the Gospel, making disciples in our neighborhood.”
Lynette Ezell shared how coming out of an economically broken home in Chicago spurred her to love and care for those coming out of broken homes in her community. Ezell, who serves as the volunteer director of the SBC Adoption Fund and is the wife of North American Mission Board President Kevin. She shared stories of how the Lord has continually placed adoption and foster care on her heart as a way to love others the way He has loved her. She and her husband have six children, three of whom are adopted from three different countries. She recounted how the Lord called her to humble herself and receive training from the State of Georgia to aid in foster care, adding that loving the broken is not only a picture of the Gospel but every believer’s calling.
“It is now time to put on flesh as Jesus did and get into the mess,” Ezell said.
Kandi Gallaty, wife of Robby Gallaty, pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tenn., shared about coming to Christ at the age of 20 after a season of running from Him. As a teenage girl, Gallaty and her youth group experienced the heartbreak of watching their youth pastor step down from ministry after an affair with the church secretary. It was after this time that Gallaty stepped away from church life and over the years turned to alcohol, busyness and unhealthy relationships to distract her from her pain and emptiness.
Through the ministry of a Gospel tract and a faithful pastor from her former church, she was saved. Now, as a leader of Replicate Ministries, Gallaty is committed to discipling more women to know, love and follow Christ with their whole heart.
“At the heart of discipleship is being a good steward of what the Lord has already done in your life,” Gallaty said.
Moderating the morning panel was Missie Branch, who interviewed the women on stage for a few minutes after they shared their stories. Branch serves as assistant dean of students to women and the director of graduate life at SEBTS, and she is married to SEBTS professor William “Duce” Branch.