Our Team

Michael and Julie Meissner

Executive Director and Ministry Director

Michael and Julie have been married 22 years and have three children:  Caleb, Courtney, and Joshua.  Pastoring churches for 21 years in San Antonio, Colorado Springs, and Cypress, Michael is the founding pastor of LifeBridge Church in Cypress, and has an M.Div. from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO.  Michael has a passion for gardening, the outdoors, good conversation, and telling “dad” jokes.  He can be found most days working in the garden or visiting with a neighbor.

Julie, with a B.A. in education from Concordia Texas, homeschools their children, is a certified spiritual director through Leadership Transformations Inc. and a member of the Evangelical Spiritual Directors Association.  She offers soul companionship and spiritual formation through Dwell Ministries.  Julie loves great books, inspiring art, nature, and cooking/eating with her Paleo friends.  She can most likely be found helping the children in the home with their school work, cooking up dinner in the kitchen, or hiding in her prayer closet with Jesus.

Their family has fostered children through Loving Houston, a YWAM ministry that provides Christian foster homes for street babies.  They have taken numerous overseas mission trips to Nepal, Africa, and Belize, and worked extensively with local refugees from a variety of nations.  One of their greatest delights was hosting four girls from the India Children’s Choir to live in their home for a month in 2004 and 2005.  Together, they have a passion for helping women and children in vulnerable situations, especially refugees.  The Meissners will live in Abba’s House to work daily with the refugees in residence.

Wendy Lemmons

Administrative Director & Prayer Team  Wendy

God led Wendy to LifeBridge Church in January 2012.  A few months later she went on her first mission trip… 3 1/2 weeks in Nepal.  During that time God filled her with such a love for the country and people of Nepal that she did not want to leave.  On May 29, 2013, Wendy arrived “home” in Nepal where she worked alongside Nepali Christian church planters, helping with their micro-finance program for 2 years. In early 2016, having returned to the States, Wendy joined a small group from LifeBridge that began meeting to fellowship and pursue the possibility of something God had been putting on all of their hearts for years, and at last it seemed God was guiding them towards His plans for Abba’s House. Of course, having lived overseas, and having experienced first-hand Nepali Christians who lovingly helped her learn a new language, new customs, and how to simply navigate day-to-day activities, Wendy feels beyond blessed to offer those same gifts to refugee women and children who will be arriving in America.

Leslie Sjurseth

Life Skills Mentoring Team  Leslie 1

Leslie has always desired to travel and experience the world, even as a young child. God answered her prayers and for the past 35 years she and her husband have traveled all over the globe and lived in 5 countries; Tunisia, Qatar, Australia, Egypt and Malaysia, but always called Houston home. Along the way they were blessed with 3 children, and now 4 grandchildren. While living in each country, Leslie integrated herself in the lives of the people and culture by leading fundraisers, partnering with NGOs, working in orphanages and with refugees displaced by the tragedies within the countries they fled. Leslie has worked in the relocation industry for 20 years assisting fellow Houstonians, AMERICANS and international expatriates relocate and make Houston their home. Leslie is sensitive to diversity and multicultural issues, and has an inherent gift of helping people assimilate into different situations while showing God’s Word and love. She believes God has given her the wonderful opportunity to help people assimilate into their new home, no matter where it is or what difficult situations they face.

Ericka Grappe

ESL & Job Skills Mentoring TeamEricka

Ericka has a heart for missions and attended Youth With A Mission’s (YWAM) missionary training schools and bible college.  She has traveled to numerous countries and loves different cultures.  She and her husband have been married 13 years and have 3 daughters.  Ericka serves as a volunteer for her church Bayou City Fellowship as they launched a new ESL program in Cypress.  She worked as the coordinator for the children’s program and now also teaches an adult ESL class.  She loves the international community and enjoys making them feel welcome while helping with the practical skill of learning English.  She is excited to serve Abba’s House and love on all who come through the door.

Angie Trevino, LVN

Health & Wellness Mentoring Team Angie

Angie met Rob in 1996, and they married in 2000.  All she wanted to do since she was a little girl was take care of people and make them smile–a calling she does so well.  In her vocation of wife and mom, Angie cares for her husband and their four children, which brings her heart great joy.  As a nurse, Angie has worked in hospitals, doctors’ offices, a nursing home, natural medicine, and a school over the past 19 years, including Hotze Health and Wellness Center in Houston, TX.  Ever since Lifebridge Church began working with refugees at Los Arcos several years ago, Angie has felt compelled to care for these vulnerable people in a more real and direct way.
“And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.”  Isaiah 58:10

Heather Pedoto

Artisan Skills and Creative Play TeamHeather

Heather Pedoto is an award-winning author, as well as an artist. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Houston’s honor’s college, where she majored in creative writing. In her free time she enjoys experimenting with different forms of art, from sewing and weaving to sculpting and painting. She’s also working on learning Swahili and French to help the women and children she will be working with feel more at home. She has a particular soft spot for making sure people know that they’re valuable and loved in the eyes of God (and that she loves them, too). On any given day she can be found with paint smudged in her hair, glasses, and clothes.

Mary Zavala

Donation Coordinator

Mary is the friendly face who gathers and stores all of the donated goods from Donation-Boxanyone seeking to give to our guests for their time of stay with us as well as for their first apartment to which they will transition after their 6-8 weeks at Abba’s House.  She also works with outside organizations, schools, churches, and other groups who desire to collect needed items or raise funds for the purchase of goods for the women and children who will dwell with us.  Besides clothes, toys, furniture, and toiletries, donations of food will be gladly welcomed once the home is open and operational.  And if you would like an Abba’s House t-shirt, Mary will gladly help you order one!

Kristen Morrisett

Interior Design and Decor   DSC_0485

Kristen is the incredible interior design coordinator and wife to Paul as he oversees the construction of the house.  Kristen has a B.A. in Education from Southwestern University, has taught underprivileged children in HISD, plays the flute, and is boy-mom extraordinaire to Weston, Grant, and Thomas.  She has a special knack for making the house look welcoming, with impressive builder skills for an amateur!  If there is a unique piece to be found, rest assured her honing device will find it on the cheap!  Kristen is currently coordinating the Angel Tree giving list for BCF.

 Team pic

 

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