Welcome to Alabaster Heart Ministries
FIRST annual women's conference!
MICHIANA WOMEN'S CONFERENCE
My heart swells with gladness and is overflowing with thanksgiving being able to watch God move and work within the hearts of so many. It has been a joy to see the body of Christ come together from so many communities and work alongside one another to help bring this vision to life with God leading the way!
It is with great honor to warmly invite you to join us for a Christ-centered women's conference where we will dive into Scripture, worship Jesus, and grow in our knowledge of who God is. He is enough in all our circumstances and provides for our every need. We will see that the God of the mountaintops is the same God of the valleys.
Our prayer is that you will leave after this time of worship and study of Scripture, knowing that God sees you, hears you and loves you beyond measure.
In His love,
MEET THE CONFERENCE TEAM
We are so happy you are here. We would love for you to get to know more about our incredible team today.
We look forward to spending our time together in October with you!
For more information on each speakers session, click the button in their bio!
Founder, Alabaster Heart Ministries
Jennifer Smith lives her life wholeheartedly for Jesus. Her heart’s desire, whether through speaking, leading Bible studies, writing, or her artwork, is to uplift, strengthen, and walk alongside others while pointing them to Christ. She is passionate about helping women find joy, hope, healing, and freedom in Christ. Jennifer is an artist and loves creating beautiful pieces of art centered around God’s Word and illustrating creative journal books focused on Scripture.
In addition to homeschooling, Jennifer supports her husband in their local business, Five Lakes Coffee. Jennifer currently serves in her local church on the women’s ministry team and prayer team. She has over 13 years of experience in helping and leading women. Jennifer is currently pursuing her bachelors in Biblical Studies and Ministries and serves on the board of Youth for Christ, Southwest Michigan.
Jennifer enjoys spending time with family and friends and traveling. She resides in Southwest Michigan with Paul, her beloved husband, and their three children. This fall, they will celebrate 25 years of marriage. You may read more about the beginning of Alabaster Heart Ministries here. You can find Jennifer's writing within the ministry's blog.
Merchandise and Vendor
Karen Bates is the mother of 2 exceptional children, Elijah, 16, and Naomi, 12. Karen is a licensed Cosmetology Instructor at the Southwest Michigan Beauty School in Sturgis, MI. Karen has the privilege to teach the next generation about this exciting career path.
Karen helps serve in her local church, Radiant Life in Sturgis, as a vocalist on the worship team and the Tech team in her spare time. Her heart is for leading others to a place of worship and encouraging women on their faith journey.
Karen has overcome significant obstacles in her faith walk and gives all glory and praise to God for bringing her through and making her a better person through the fire. One of her greatest pleasures is speaking life over women walking through a difficult season.
Mia Gilbert was born and raised in rural St Joseph County, Michigan, where she and her husband of 26 years have put down roots. She’s the mom of two adult daughters and host-mom to two foreign exchange daughters from Austria and Spain.
Mia was saved at a young age and grew up in church. She has taught Sunday School, led Bible Studies, directed children’s ministry and VBS, and served on several committees and boards within the church where she grew up. After walking through a hard season of job and church changes, she and her husband now attend Grace Christian Fellowship, where they oversee the Café Ministry. One of Mia’s passions is learning, but specifically, she loves learning about leadership development. In addition, she has a heart for women, especially the college-age/young married.
Mia works as a bookkeeper/office manager for Five Lakes Coffee in Sturgis, Michigan.
Amy Keeslar is a woman after God's Heart. Accepting the Lord into her heart at a young age, she has gone through peaks and valleys as the Lord continues to shape, mold & refine her to do His will & bring Him glory. Although she struggles daily with an Autoimmune Disease, she finds joy in the journey as she runs to her Heavenly Father to drink from the Well so that she can pour into those God brings into her life.
Along with her beloved husband of 28 years, they have two wonderful adult daughters, who bring them joy (& a little excitement) & a dog. She enjoys spending time with family and friends while encouraging them, laughing together & (hopefully) pointing them to Jesus, the Healer of our souls. When not involved in ministry or helping family & friends, she enjoys nature while resting in God's Truth/Promises on their property in rural Southwest Michigan.
Angela Stevens is a small-town girl taking BIG steps in faithfully seeking the Lord. Trusting in the Lord to give her strength and guidance to be her authentic self in every situation.
Angela is married to her best friend, Gregg and is a devoted wife and mother who thrives in time spent with family and friends. She serves at her local church and enjoys community and connecting with other women.
Tammy has been growing in her journey with the Lord for 37 years. She and her husband of 31 years have three adult children, a son in heaven, a son and daughter in law and two delightful grandchildren.
She has a passion to help women move into greater freedom and healing from life’s hurts, disappointments and traumatic events, as they embrace their God given identity. She loves volunteering at a local recovery home for women.
In her three decades of ministry she loves to point people toward hope. That is the focus of her book, Daniel, where she shares her journey through grief.
"Be Still: A Time of Reflection"
Rosa Chupp, an Amish-raised woman of faith, has been married to her husband, Randy, for 50 years. They have two children, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. She and her husband attend Firm Foundation Ministries, where she has been active in women’s retreat and jail ministry. She also has helped lead a sexual abuse class. Her heart is to minister to the broken-hearted through prayer and relationship.
Betty Detweiler became a Michigander 23 years ago when her husband of almost 45 years, Rod, moved from IL for her to work at Amigo Centre. Their last 11 years in IL were spent in the Christian Camping ministry where they raised their daughter and two sons. Their children are now married and have blessed them with six grandchildren, as well as one in heaven.
Betty is active in her church, Firm Foundation Ministries in Centreville, where Rod is employed as the Pastoral Care pastor. Together they counsel couples and extend hospitality to people in their home. Betty loves to mentor women, young new Christians as well as older seasoned women.
Connie is a blogger, storyteller, and author of Grief Witnessed, an interactive journal for those walking through a season of grief. Her devotional writing has been featured in The Upper Room, The Perennial Gen and Just Between Us magazine.
A newbie to art herself, in 2017 Connie began a painting class for women in the retirement village where her elderly mother resides. She loves creating art pieces for these mature women to paint and joyfully anticipates the weekly interaction.
Connie is currently the Women’s Ministry Leader at Maple City Chapel in Goshen, Indiana. There, after the passing of her husband, she created, Alone Together, a class for women who are walking through life single, divorced or widowed. She is passionate about women sharing their stories, finding their place of belonging, and trusting God for healing and hope.
High school sweethearts, Connie and Jon were married for 46 years. They have four grown daughters and seven beautiful grandchildren. Connie currently resides in Shipshewana with Jon’s dog, Ruby. You can find Connie’s writing at conniegochenaur.com.
Ingrid Lochamire is a writer who left a career in journalism to homeschool her four children. She has a heart to minister to women, particularly those challenged by life’s circumstances (and isn’t that all of us?). Ingrid has been a Bible study teacher, a women’s ministry leader, a camp director and, most recently, a volunteer with local agencies addressing domestic violence, parenting and pregnancy. In between, she has partnered in her family’s business and has worked as a licensed FTD floral designer and a barista. Ingrid’s empty nest rural life has given her time to read, write, knit and travel. Ingrid desires to encourage others to embrace their life stories and to share them, framed in the love, hope and redemption of a closer relationship with Jesus.
Ingrid is a writer and Bible study teacher who shares encouragement and spiritual insight in essays for various ministries. You can find Ingrid's writing at ingridlochamire.com
Karen Smith Metzger, BA, MA Ed, has been a Bible teacher since the age of 21. She is passionate about calling people to prayer and walking with individuals to receive freedom in Christ. Karen has a deep heart for discipling women through teaching, speaking, writing, and mentoring. She is retired from Glen Oaks Community College where she taught communications and student success courses for 23 years. She is also a retired homeschool mom and has been the director/head teacher of two preschools. Twenty plus years of prayer ministry experience has led to her current staff position at Radiant Life, Sturgis, MI, where she serves as prayer pastor.
Karen and her husband, Harry, live in rural Bronson, MI. They have three adult children and six grandchildren. Besides enjoying their grandchildren and serving in ministry, the Metzgers are beekeepers, hunters, and gardeners. They especially enjoy exploring the Great Lakes region on their Harley and look forward to celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in 2023.
Cinda Miller is a life long resident of Sturgis, Michigan. Cinda's heart is for women to truly know Jesus so deeply that their every heart beat is like the Father's heart beating inside of them. She desires to help women walk in the fullness and freedom of who He says they are and what He has for them so much that God's peace and love flows out of them and into others.
Cinda has been married to her husband, Loren, for 33 years and attend Grace Christian Fellowship in Sturgis, Michigan. They have 4 amazing children, with 2 of them being married and one soon to be awesome son-in-love.
Tammy Robertson was born and raised in Lagrange, IN. Her journey took her to various communities in Indiana, including Muncie where she graduated from Ball State University. From there she moved to Illinois, Indiana again, then back to Sturgis, MI where she lived for 20 years. In 2020, she moved to Grand Rapids, MI where she currently resides. (That is a whole lot of moving.) She is a single mom of three young adult daughters and one son-in-law who all live in Grand Rapids.
Tammy has worked in the field of Health & Wellness for 35 years teaching wholistic living and started her own business in 1999. In addition to this, she works part-time at Cornerstone University as the Administrative Assistant of Social Sciences. She enjoys public speaking, reading, bird watching, hiking, nature, and shares a passion for travel with her family. She attends Relevant Church GR and serves as the Lead for Community Outreach, and also serves on the First Impressions Team.
As she has grown in her walk with the Lord, she has learned that as you know and accept your own value and worth to God, you are able to set very healthy boundaries with the unhealthy, toxic, and abusive people in your life. God placed a calling on her heart to help other women do the same.
"Shake yourself from the dust and arise; be seated, O Jerusalem; loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion." Isaiah 52:2
Understanding that effective communication is the foundation of healthy relationships, Rachael Sylvester has dedicated the last 22 years as a lecture professor of Communication Studies at Eastern Michigan University, Indiana University of South Bend, and Purdue. She has a heart for women growing in the knowledge that their words and actions are powerful, creating a tremendous impact on those closest to them. She believes women have the ability to bring and speak life into all relationships by relying on Christ, recognizing how they currently communicate, and revamping their communication by adopting tried-and-true effective techniques.
Rachael is married, has five children, and attends the non-denominational church, Grace Sturgis, in Sturgis, MI. Within her church she serves on the praise team, teaches in children's ministry, and is a member of the ladies' ministry committee. Having a strong desire for reaching those on the fringe, especially outside of the church, she tends to wear many hats. She is one of the Public Relations Representatives for ROOTED of St. Joseph County, a nonprofit organization assisting those with necessities when transitioning in traumatic events such as children moving into foster care, kinship placement, and house fires, to name a few. She is also known to organize fundraising events, perform social media marketing for special occasions, and help create community by throwing some pretty amazing parties-ha!"