Pain to Promise

The Willard’s have been coming to the church for about five years. Their story involves some pain and a lot of joy. It goes back to when they first got married:

 “When we first got married, I remember Kate having a heart for adopting,” says Nate Willard. “She had a special place in her heart for a little girl from China.” That desire to adopt never went away, even as they continued try to have children naturally. 

When they decided to have their first child they got pregnant almost immediately and were super excited and also scared to find out it was not one, but two babies! At 24 weeks into the pregnancy, the Willard’s found out that there was a problem with their twin boys. Kate's water broke, and they had to do an emergency C-Section and the boys were born at one pound each. They lived for 14 hours in NICU and died. 

This was an extremely hard time for the Willard’s.

 “As we came to terms with this terrible and crushing reality, the doctor said that due to the nature of this type of emergency C-Section, it would be at least a year before we could even try to get pregnant,” Nate recalls. They figured the best way to get through this time was to find something good to do with their love for children, rather than sit and wait for the pain to pass.

      “We decided to be foster parents,” he says, “I feel like God put the right relationships in place for us to go down the right path on this.” 

While being foster parents, the Willard’s had two kids in their house. One of them named Vaughn, who was only nine months old. That desire to adopt was stronger than ever at this time and they decided to adopt Vaughn. Over the next couple of years of their marriage they continued to hear heartbreaking stories of some of the orphan children in China, and they began to talk about taking steps for another adoption. 

 “We had one child naturally, Jack, and then started the China adoption process. The hunger for adopting a girl had been increased by our first adoption.” 

During this time, China was getting increasingly more closed and difficult. However, another blessing came along when Kate got pregnant with Clive.  

They finally finished the China adoption paperwork and two months after they got on the list, China closed down it’s adoption and it was obvious this road was closed for them. Disappointment was nothing new for the Willard’s and they did not give up on their desire to adopt a girl. 

They decided to go through adoption with Ethiopia and began the process. Sooner than expected they had the opportunity to put their name in a hat for one of ten starving children coming from a poor orphanage in an emergency transfer. Sadly, four of the ten children died of starvation on the trip. But by the grace of God, one of the six children that survived was their girl, Sabriya, who was four months old and weighed four pounds.

Today, Nate and Kate Willard have four children, Vaughn who is ten years old, Jack is eight, Clive is six and Sabriya is four. Nate jokingly says, “Originally Kate wanted zero kids and I wanted four, so we compromised on four—first time in history a husband won a compromise!”

      “We had a lot of struggles along the way,” says Nate. “But everything we went through was a blessing, even the pain in the journey. We have four wonderful children, and when we remember how our family started, with pain and loss, while it is still there, it is not an overwhelming emotion. We have incredible blessings, they are abundant and we are thankful for the journey.” 

Tomorrow is Just a

Dream Away

Laura and David met while in college, fell in love and got married. Your classic love story? Pretty much. But their life is far from ordinary. 

Laura and her husband, David are some of the faces you will see at The Harvest. You might see David playing the keyboard in the band, or Laura greeting guests and making people laugh. Laura is one of the funniest people you will meet and has a charismatic personality and is always ready to share a funny story. David has the greatest laugh, is a great listener and is one of the most hard working people. Both of them have a passion for people and a passion for serving. 

“My husband, David and I, both love The Harvest, and the community we've found here,” says Laura. “We love that the environment pushes us to dream big dreams, and to chase those dreams.”

If you know the Pitcher’s you know how much they love traveling. Since their marriage in 2013, they have made it their mission to travel the world together. They have been to Disney World, Disneyland, Oahu, California, New York, Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Miami, the Bahamas, London, Paris, and Rome. And this is just the beginning. 

“One of our dreams,” Laura says “which was born at The Harvest, was to start a travel website together.” 

And they did. The Bucket List Narratives, the name of their website, documents all of their favorite places, pictures, activities and food. 

“Laura and David love traveling more than almost anyone I know,” says good friend, Shelbie Bartok. “As long as I have known Laura, she has always loved Disney World and traveling and had such huge dreams to travel.” 

As a couple they have never wanted a “normal" life, they have always wanted to go on adventures. Their dream for adventure continues to grow, and now they get to share their adventures with others. 

“We had the idea to encourage other people to live adventurously,” Laura explains. “We want to show them how easy it is to to turn their somedays, into tomorrows.”

The website has become a great success and they hope to continue it in the future. 

“We adopted the motto, 'tomorrow is just a dream away', and have had an incredible time turning the website into a job we love.”

“Our next big adventure is a trip to Europe next summer,” Laura says. “We know it will include the Greek islands, and our first international Disney Park (Disneyland Paris), and most likely the small town Annecy, France, near the Alps. We are really excited.” 

To follow their story and adventures, go to

I learned to dream bigger dreams for my life, and was taught practical practices for my life to make those dreams a reality.

Journey to Redeemed

In 2012 while at a Discipleship Training School in Germany, Anelisse’s burden for human trafficking was conceived. Prior to the trip, she had never heard of sex trafficking before. 

“I never knew what it was,” Anelisse explains, “but in Europe, prostitution is legal, and red light districts are right in your face—and it’s bad.” 

The issue is prevalent there and because of that, the burden hit Anelisse hard.

“It was super emotional for me. I felt this huge burden. I actually felt it.”

Only a month after learning what sex trafficking was, she went on a three month outreach where her team encountered a twenty-six year old man who was running away from his traffickers. “Seeing him in front of my face and hearing him tell me what happened to him— his eyes were sunken in; dark and sad— was almost too much. And it made me realize how common it is,” she says as she recalls the memory. On her very first experience outside of the United States, it was overwhelming for eighteen year-old Anelisse to take the weight of this on.

“I had to ask the question, ‘Is God big enough?’ That is how bad it is.” 

While on her outreach, her team was able to help the victim they met and send him back home. Despite how heavy and difficult it was, Anelisse explains, that experience changed her life— “Ever since I saw that, I was never the same.”

Helping send the victim home showed her “that God really does want to do something about it. That He wants US to do something about it.” 

Over the next three years that burden grew in Anelisse, 

“It is the worst form of abuse— it’s slavery. I knew God didn't want that for them.” 

It was not an easy time for Anelisse. There were times when she felt frustrated. There were times when she felt discouraged. 

“I kept thinking of all the girls who were stuck or couldn't get out, and I would put the weight of everything on myself.”

She found it difficult in not knowing what to do or where to begin in making a difference, but knew that she was called into this ministry. 

“There is so much potential in women, and what is being done to them, from being captured, to being abused to being manipulated and tortured— it think it breaks God’s heart,” she says. 

“But at the same time, He is not losing his mind over it.” 

Weeks and months passed, where she found unrest in the situation. 

As she continued to pray and seek God for her next step, He continually deposited compassion for these women and men, but did not reveal her next move. 

“I could hardly come to church some days because I was so down about it,” Anelisse confesses, “I got to the point where I thought it was hopeless.” 

With such strong emotional connections to this issue, Anelisse realized she had to let that dream die. God would be the only one to bring it back to life. “The hardest part about this time was waiting on God’s timing. I had to really put it in God’s hands and know that every step of this, He has already laid out.” So she waited. 

As God opened one door after another, then closed a few, and then opened more, Anelisse realized it was not about making things happen, but just being obedient. 

Then, during the summer of 2015, Anelisse got connected with Redeemed— a faith-based, nonprofit organization that helps in the fight against human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. She soon found out that the organization was starting a base in Dallas. This was exactly where God wanted her to be. Through prayer and counsel, despite her many doubts and other obstacles, Anelisse decided to start a ministry through Redeemed at The Harvest. 

After three years in the making, the burden that was deep in Anelisse’s heart, was birthed. The beginning of Redeemed at The Harvest, is starting simply by visiting some of the local brothels, building relationships, bringing baskets of food and cards, and getting to know the girls and people involved.

“My vision isn't to start anything new,” Anelisse says, “ My vision for this ministry is to be a support to Redeemed and get the church as involved as I can.”

The long term goal of this ministry is not just to see girls rescued, but to open people’s eyes to the abuse and suffering that is taking place in their communities and getting them involved. It is Anelisse’s belief that despite the hundreds of victims who are daily sold and used for their bodies, God is not passive about sex trafficking. 

“I think we might be behind in stepping in to help with this cause,” she says, “but He has been fighting for (the victims and the pimps) the whole time. I don't think we should be passive about it either.” 

Just like everything else The Harvest is about, Redeemed is about loving people. 

“I just want to love extravagantly, the way Jesus loved extravagantly.” 

For more information about Redeemed Ministries outreaches, safe house or their engagement in the community, click here.