Bookie and Lakesha Gates felt a sense of brokenness and mistrust in their marriage that Lakesha described as “horrendous pain.”

But the couple took a step in faith and turned to their pastor and friend, Clarence Presley, and his wife, Athena, for help.

Clarence Presley leads ministry at Word of Truth CRC in Tukwila, Wash., and also serves as a local mission leader with Resonate Global Mission.

The two couples met in the Presleys’ living room for deep conversations. As they shared, the Presleys were open about the struggles they faced in their own marriage and in grappling with the tragic death of Athena’s mother.

“Their openness, their honesty—their willingness to walk with us for the long haul—has modeled the process [of healing],” said Lakesha Gates. “They’re able to embrace those that most people would push away just because of their life experiences.”

“They didn’t come and tell me what I needed to do, they encouraged me and gave me Scripture, they prayed with me, they supported me,” added her husband. “That’s when I really realized the power of God.”

After many hard talks and time for healing, the Gates are now among the key leaders for Word of Truth. What’s more, their struggles have led them to start new ministries of their own, Bookie in youth baseball and Lakesha in business leadership.

“What I love about this couple is they understand they're in the people business,” said Clarence Presley. “[Bookie and Lakesha] may use sports or business strategy or relationship coaching but, at the end of the day, it comes down to God’s love for humanity—God’s love for his creation.”

Bookie and Lakesha Gates sharpen their ministry impact by meeting regularly with about 20 other ministry leaders in the Seattle area as part of the Kingdom in Neighborhoods Network (KIN) founded and facilitated by Clarence Presley.

“The network helps them see that together we can be great,” said Lakesha. “You have to understand individual mission vision but not in a silo. Together we can have a such a great impact.”

This vision of “having a greater impact together” is also what led Clarence Presley to accept the local mission leader role with Resonate, a new position created at Resonate’s launch this summer to allow people like Clarence to multiply their ministries in new places around the world.

“Clarence's work with KIN will help us learn how to do urban ministry across denominations and among churches of different shapes and sizes,” said Ben Katt, Resonate’s Western United States regional leader.

Katt said, “KIN embraces an approach to ministry marked by kingdom connection and collaboration. As part of Resonate, Clarence's vision for KIN can be informed by similar networks and support Resonate partners in places like Nicaragua and Guatemala.”

About the Author

Brian Clark, Resonate