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."
Christina thrives on deep, personal relationships. She has been called to meet people at the heart level and has lived out this passion in both public school teaching and ministry roles. Married and with 3 children, Christina graduated with her teacher's license in 1999 and worked as a substitute teacher for 20 years. She joined Garden Gate Ranch's staff as the Education Facilitator in 2022, and was promoted to Program Coordinator a year later. In her current role, she has the opportunity to speak truth and love into the lives of the women Garden Gate Ranch serves. She believes God's heart for His daughters is to truly know His love, and she has the privilege of representing that. As in the book of Esther, she believes that each Garden Gate Ranch resident is here "for such a time as this."
Aubrey is a 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.
Kelly is a dedicated wife and mother of three with a drive to share the gospel through relationship. After graduating from Oklahoma Wesleyan University with a BA in communications, she worked in development and began a home business in which she held leadership as a Sales Director for 10 years. In 2020, Kelly moved back to full time work at a hospital foundation. It was during this time that she felt pressed upon her to pursue ministry work and, within several short weeks, God led her to Garden Gate Ranch. Kelly firmly believes that, through her work at Garden Gate Ranch, God is doing something new—He is creating streams in a wasteland (Isaiah 43:18-19). She pursues this end by focusing on the hope set before us in Jesus.
Jim is a "numbers guy." Retired senior vice-president from John Deere Financial after a 40-year career, he makes his home in Urbandale with his wife and their bernedoodle. Grandfather to 13, father to four, golf lover and boating enthusiast, Jim has a servant heart for the Lord. He has helped lead over 14 mission trips to Ghana, Africa to help spread the Gospel, educate about malaria and build wells to improve the lives of others. Past board member of Meals from the Heartland and current volunteer with Lutheran Services of Iowa, Jim enjoys helping others and living out his faith in his daily walk with God. He was called to serve Garden Gate Ranch after attending a seminar at his church about fighting human trafficking. Undoubtedly, God made sure that he was at the right place, at the right time.