MEET THE TEAM
Founder & Executive Director
Brenda is a dedicated wife and caregiver. She is the mother of three, step-mother of three, second mom of an adult foster daughter, grandmother of 28, and great-grandmother of four. Brenda is a native rural Iowa girl who has also lived in Texas, Kansas, and California before returning home to her roots. She was raised on a farm in central Iowa, sharing a house with her parents and seven other siblings. Brenda now enjoys living in the wide-open spaces of rural Iowa with her husband Steve and their family pets —two Yorkie’s, and three horses. Brenda is an active member of Heartland Church and a former local real estate agent, with over 17 years of service. In her spare time, Brenda enjoys reading and learning new things. Brenda’s history includes working with CASA for at-risk children, volunteer services with a safe home for young women at risk, and 13 years of foster parenting alongside her husband. She is a graduate of JSMI School of World Evangelism in Fort Worth, TX and has her ministry credentials with Heartland Alliance in Ankeny, IA.
"The belief that everyone is born on purpose for a purpose was the driving force behind my prayerful pursuit of the purpose of my own life. In late January 2015, I found my answer and started the journey of walking in my God-given, God-ordained destiny. Garden Gate Ranch was birthed out of that pursuit, combining an endless passion for God with a deep compassion for His people."
Co-Founder & Operations Director
Lauren grew up on a farm in Central Iowa, developing a determined work ethic and an enthusiasm for adventure from a young age. She received her BA in student ministries from Nebraska Christian College and also holds three life coaching certifications. During her senior year of college, Lauren felt the Lord place the issue of sex trafficking on her heart and, upon graduating, moved to Arizona to intern for a restoration home. One year later, she returned to Iowa, sensing a call that, someday, she would help open a restoration home in her home state. For seven years, Lauren worked management jobs and wondered when she would serve survivors again, never once receiving the vision to open a home on her own. Instead, God used the time to equip her with the tools she would need to assist Brenda in opening Garden Gate Ranch and, at the right time, brought the two of them together. Lauren is passionate about organizational culture, communication and honor. She encourages others to freedom—to defy odds and become all they were made to be— knowing that every person's story has the power to change our world.
Brooke grew up in a family passionate about living out their faith, fighting injustice and serving others. God used volunteer opportunities and family missions trips to prick her heart with a desire to walk alongside those overcoming addiction, abuse and dysfunctional home lives. At 17 years old, Brooke began to pray that God would show her how He intended to use this heart He had formed in her. After praying that prayer for three weeks, God answered and directed Brooke to the issue of sex trafficking. From then on, God connected Brooke with incredible people, ministries, and opportunities in the fight against this issue. To this day, Brooke stands amazed and humbled by all that God has done in her life, as it surpasses anything she could have imagined. Brooke graduated from Bethel University with a BA in Psychology and is passionate about walking alongside others and training up leaders in Christ so that, together, we can set the captives free.
Aubrey is a twenty-something creative from the suburbs of Des Moines. She grew up in a Christ-following family of 5 and now lives with her husband and dog. After graduating from Dordt University with a degree in graphic design, Aubrey spent 8 months abroad in 4 different countries, immersed in Christian discipleship and anti-human trafficking training. Through her work with Garden Gate Ranch, she exercises her passions for art, justice, and restoration as the team’s Communications Coordinator. Aubrey desires to see all people awaken to their God-given identity, knowing that freedom and joy are found in the wholeness of His love. She longs to see the Lord complete the work ascribed to Him in Isaiah 61—that all would be set free.
Colleen is a dedicated wife, a wise mentor, and a lover of animals. She grew up in rural Iowa surrounded by her family, and now lives on an acreage with her husband and their many pets. After graduating from AIB with a business degree, Colleen began to climb the corporate ladder of the accounting world, attaining so high a status as second in command for a million dollar construction company. But her success was not satisfying, and after many interactions with a Christian coworker, Colleen finally found fulfillment in a relationship with Jesus Christ. The joy and healing that followed her conversion filled a void that no status or achievement ever could, and it fueled a desire to use her gifts for the service of God and others. In Jesus, Colleen found healing and restoration from past trauma, and she longs to see this same grace transform victims and perpetrators alike. Today, she lends her gifts to Garden Gate Ranch for the expansion of God’s Kingdom, and for the healing of all those He loves.