Welcome to the Cultivate Speaker Series! At the conference, we'll have a variety of workshops that offer tools to equip and empower your faith journey. Speaker Series is an interview-style editorial about each speaker at Cultivate.
Let's meet LaRae Jonkman, learn more about her breakout session (Lasting Legacy - Setting the Example Best) and, how God has been working out this in her life.
LaRae loves encouraging, giving hope, and sharing with others about trusting God for their futures and is passionate about encouraging her children and grandchildren stay close to Christ. She will share with us the challenges and triumphs of life’s circumstance and how to find joy and build a Lasting Legacy for our families and how to live a victorious and miraculous life.
Tell us about you and your family.
I was born in Colorado, and went to college and married in Oklahoma. When I was 4 years old I had the dreaded disease of polio, and was 100% paralyzed. I was in the Children's Hospital in Denver and with God's healing, I was able to walk again, and live a mostly normal life, while my best friend in the hospital had to spend the rest of her life in an iron lung.
My childhood and teen years were happy, and then at 18 years old, my mother died. It has been hard to go through life without a mother and grandmother for my kids, and I didn't have the example of a mother figure through the remainder of my life. Once again, God brought me through this very tough situation.
I got married at 20 years of age, and we were blessed with 3 children and 6 grandchildren. I was a stay at home mom for quite awhile, then worked part time in the office in high school, and later in a Juvenile Court School, which then led to working at Sacramento County Boys Ranch with incarcerated teen boys, who I loved and always wanted to encourage them.
I also had a business called "LaRae's Interiors", and had 2 store fronts at different times. I loved working with people and helping them decorate. The last 25 years I have worked as a travel consultant helping people with travels. My husband and I traveled over much of the world, and it was so great.
My husband passed away 9 days before our 50th anniversary, which was a huge loss to me and my family, and once again, God was there to pick me up, give me strength, peace and joy. Though there have been some very tough times during my life, God has strengthened me through each one of them, and I love to encourage others through Christ.
My two daughter's families live nearby, and my son's family lives a few miles from Washington DC. I have 6 grandchildren, and 1 great grandchild. Today I'm getting ready to say g'bye to one as she leaves for her first experience in college, and it's with mixed emotions as we all come to a new chapter in life. I've loved being a grandma, and it's so much fun when the kids are little, and a different experience when they "grow up", but it's still very rewarding. I'm so thankful for all of them.
Tell us about your faith journey.
I remember being raised in church, and my experiences with church was great. I gave my heart to the Lord when I was 9 years old, and re-dedicated my life to God when I was 14. My first teaching experience was teaching the high school Sunday School class when I was a young adult. My husband and I were youth sponsors and took the youth on some great retreats. Later I led the children's choir at church and we had some fun children's musical productions which gave the kids some great opportunities of acting/performing while enjoying their lives in church.
Last years have consisted of leading women's tables at Bible studies, giving my testimonies, being on the leadership team for Sr. Adults' New Vision ministry, chaplaincy, greet/usher. My passion is working with and encouraging women who have difficulties or any type of problems in their lives. My joy comes from listening, caring, understanding, and praying with/for them. My goal is to keep God #1 in my life, above anything else, while trying to be an example for Him, encouraging my grandkids and other people to trust God in ALL things, no matter what they encounter, and then to give God thanks for all our blessings.
When you were asked to speak at Cultivate, what was your first reaction? Why?
I was asked about a year ago. I'm not sure why, but when I was told that God laid me on their heart to ask me, I felt it wasn't up to me to question it. Though it's somewhat scary, it's so important to follow God's lead.
When you heard what you would speak about, were you surprised by the topic that was asked of you? Why or why not?
I had never really thought about the subject, "LEGACY", but it makes sense, as I've encountered so many situations that I couldn't have endured without God's help. All I can say is that "God just works!" I've seen it so many times, and if there's anything I can say that would help anyone, I'd love to do that.
Looking back up to this point, how has God worked out this topic in your own life?
Yes, in many ways. Some are hilariously funny. Some are heart rendering, it's just too much to share in a few words.
In what ways do you struggle with your topic?
After I accepted the invitation, several situations happened. I probably had one of the worst days with taking my grandkids out for a fun day, that I felt was disastrous (because of me, I will add). My thought after that was "I can't speak on "LEGACY". "Look how I just fouled up the time! But again, God just knows what He's doing when He allows these situations to happen.
Has God worked in your life to overcome some of this?
What do you want women who attend your breakout session to walk away with?
I want them to be encouraged with any situation that's happening in their life, whether it's wonderful, happy, worrisome, sad, gruesome, or whatever! I know God has the answer for them, and I'd like to share my love and heart with them, as I know God has a plan for each one of us, along with joy, peace, and comfort.
What if our entire community came together and intentionally put aside time to equip and cultivate their relationship with Jesus?
Cultivate what matters, learn how to nourish your soil, tend your garden of your heart, harvest contentment and grow in the wait. To live a life of purpose, set apart for Him.
Oct 6 | 800 White Rock Rd,El Dorado Hills