Jesus DOES Transform


Greetings everyone,


Well, now that I’ve had my official training on utilizing this blog site, I thought I would be brave, and do my best to write my first blog on my own. Let’s see how well it goes!! I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me, right?


I enjoy seeing God receive the glory He so deserves, scripture says and they shall overcome, by the blood of the K=Lamb, and the power of our testimony, and they loved not their lives, even onto death!!


That is pretty serious isn’t it?! Beloved, we are overcomers, because of the blood of Christ Jesus, as well, as when we share our testimonies, we help others overcome their struggles, I found it most helpful when I was transgender, my church introduced me to Janet Boynes who had a story so much like my own, I thought my goodness, I’m not the only one!!! What a relief to know, what I was experiencing, and my same sex REACTION was a “normal” response to an abnormal situation. Why would I not struggle in life when I was not protected and kept safe from the people who abused me, I say the life I lived I did not choose, rather, it chose me. It was an outcome to the brokenness I experienced. We all have these stories, we have all had some sort of brokenness, and when we allow the Lord to rule and reign in our lives, He cant help but bring healing, it is who He is, and it is, what He does. 


Beloved, let us share our stories with each other, even if you think you don’t have a testimony, because you think “I’ve been a Christian all my life” THATS A TESTIMONY!! How lovely and encouraging for me and others to hear you’ve known the Lord all your life, how, I’ve often wondered, how would I have turned out, had I never experience and survive what I went through?! 


Anyway, if there are things you wish to talk about, or ask about, I would love to share anything and everything with you.


May the Lord bless you.

In Christ Jesus.

Luca Jo




Daren Mehl Testimony

Daren Mehl shares his testimony of being transformed by Jesus. Having lived as a “Gay Christian”, yet being convicted by the Holy Spirit but no way out, God provided the help in the form of a Christian Brother who helped Daren gain faith in his heterosexual potential as God created him. Even after marrying a woman he met through a guy he used to date, Daren was addicted to porn and for years tried to pray the gay away but couldn’t stop acting out with porn. At the end of his rope, Daren discovered he was operating in self righteousness rather than in the righteousness and grace of God through Jesus Christ. After a radical experience of repentance and then guidance to truth by the Holy Spirit, Daren experienced freedom from sinful desires toward the same sex. Today Daren has been married 16 years and has two children. His message of the power of Jesus to transform a person’s heart and mind will encourage you that change is possible from any sinful addiction or false identity.

A little about Kelly


Hi my name is Kelly. I joined Agape First the summer of 2021. What drew me to Agape First, besides the lovely people, was my heart to help people navigate trauma (and my own) as well as their passion and commitment to see lives transformed by the love and power of Jesus.

Some of the things I have been involved in over the years is 15+ years of mentoring discipleship and pastoral ministry. I get super excited when people find out who they are in God and learn to live like they are loved. 

Being a single mom for 10 years, I know how difficult and painful it can be so mentoring young, single mom’s is something I’m always doing.

Partnering with God to create community, family and the rich, nourishing relationships we all crave is my passion.

My husband, Josh is a nurse. We have 4 year old and a 24 year old son and a daughter in heaven.

My favorite things are a good cup of tea and a book, a long walk with a friend, painting, a nice long laugh and chatting with Jesus in my garden.

Johnny Max: My Testimony

I grew up in a nominal Christian home, where if I was good I would go to heaven; if I was bad…hell. My great grandpa was a revival circuit rider with the shouting Methodists, so there was a godly heritage that had marked me; but I struggled with the connection because I didn’t really know Jesus. Amongst a lot of abandonment (because of my parents drug abuse) & abuse that surrounded me, Jesus began His call on my heart. 

In the second grade, I went to bible camp, where a pastor shared Jesus’ plan of salvation with us. It didn’t make sense because of my paradigm of God; but Jesus would soon change that. Hanging in my room was a picture of Jesus knocking on the door. Every night I would go to sleep, my heart felt Jesus walk out of the picture & stand next to my bed–He would say He was knocking on the door of my heart. I always had my excuse why I wasn’t ready…I didn’t feel I was worth it. I continued to run for 6 more years…Jesus kept faithfully pursuing my heart. I ran to new age philosophy to fill the emptiness of my wounded heart, until a friend invited me to his church. The presence I felt there was so familiar–He had been waiting at the altar of that church for 6 years! Never once did He let His arms down, He never turned His face from me. I surrendered my heart completely to Him & immediately fell in love with Jesus. 

My heart has found any & everything that I could ever dream of! I am completely satisfied with Jesus & have found so much healing. My heart has been set free to sing right to Him–He always loves to hear my voice. I am fully convinced of His love & the reason for my joy is the strength of His heart of joy! 

Vision for Agape First Ministries!

Jesus moved in signs, wonders and miracles. He bound up broken hearts and He released truth that set the captives free. As Jesus ministered throughout the land, the Father made His name famous. The Kingdom of God was manifesting on the earth.

We at Agape First Ministries believe God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. We believe Jesus still heals the sick, binds up broken hearts and speaks truth intended to free us from bondage and shape our world view. 

The kingdom of God is AVAILABLE to us all and we desire it’s manifestations on the earth just as they are in heaven.  This is the foundation of our VISION at Agape First Ministries. 


We desire to make the name of Jesus famous by discipling the nations regarding His transforming power, so that the saints will persevere in love for God.


Introducing Gracie Poole

  What’s goin on everyone? My name is Gracie Poole and my entire life I have wanted to know Jesus, love Jesus and live to tell everyone about Jesus.  Just a little about me and how I got to being on staff at Agape First Ministries.

There are just no words to describe how Jesus transformed my life with His love. Once I got on my detour away from Jesus, I never actually felt loved. I felt tolerated. When someone was done tolerating me they left. I was too much of a burden. I had caused too much damage. I had gone too far. They didn’t love me anymore. They needed to cut me off. I was never enough. I was never worth it. Their life was better without me in it. But none of that is love.
      I  talk a lot about a moment when my friend hugged me and it changed my life. I share that moment a lot because that is the point in time I heard God’s heartbeat- He just used my friend.  It was the loudest way to tell me He loved me and He didn’t have to say a word. That moment thrust me off my detour and onto a journey of healing and preparation for what was coming next. Somewhere on that journey the scales fell from my eyes and my heart was softened. All of my bitterness and pain was replaced with joy and peace.
    It was the incredible love of my Jesus that totally transformed my life. The more and more that I spent time sitting in His presence listening to Him the less like Grace I became. I’m not 100% sure when it happened but somewhere I became a totally different person and that’s why I go by Gracie. If I’m going to live the life that God has called me to and not the life everyone told me to live, then I’m going to go by a new name.
      His love changed me and I will never be the same. There isn’t a part of me that wasn’t transformed and made new. God doesn’t do anything half way. I look different. I see things different. I hear things different. The music I listen to is different. My talk is different. My desires are different. What I watch is different. Even my struggles . . . they are different. The old really has gone and somewhere along the way while I was sitting in His presence,  His love completely transformed me, created in me a clean heart, and the new has come!
I can say without a doubt that Jesus transforms because His love transformed my life and I will never be the same.
My name is Gracie Poole, and I was the 100th Sheep but Jesus left the 99 to rescue me. Now I live my life to make the name of Jesus famous by proclaiming Jesus transforms, because His love changed me.




Introducing Luca Jo Groppoli

Greetings all,

Welcome to Agape First Ministries. I’m new to this blogging business, so please bare with me. I am very excited to utilize this tool once I get the tools and functions figured out. May the Lord bless you all. I always welcome feed back and questions.


Luca Jo

Introducing Vicki Joy Anderson


Hello, my name is Vicki Joy. I am a newbie here at Agape First. My story deviates a bit from the norm around here because unlike many of those in (or drawn to) this ministry, I have never had a struggle with same-sex attraction. I do, however, have something in common with many who do–misplaced sexual identity and childhood trauma.

Being born with a birth defect that deformed my face meant getting teased or bullied wherever I went. I couldn’t even go to the grocery store or a movie without being stared at, pointed at, laughed at, or called names. (Probably didn’t help that my name conveniently rhymes with “icky” either!) But even those who approached me with compassion, asking me what happened to my face—honestly, it’s violating when strangers demand answers from you that come from the deepest core of the most-wounded parts of your heart.

Long story short, after 18 years of school, dealing with peers, being bullied, beat up, name called, and never being asked out on a date…by the time I graduated from high school, I was emotionally drained and completely detached. I also felt left behind. My friends were all going on to do adult things like driving cars, going to college, getting jobs, or getting married…while I sat at home terrified over the thought of growing up. If I went to college, I could buy four more years, but then what? I’d been in survival mode my entire life…but after college, could I survive…on my own?!

I didn’t realize how deeply this fear was eating away at me until my sophomore year in college. I had an emotional breakdown and sought the counsel of a friend. He led me to Jeremiah 29:11. Even though I had been raised in the Church and knew Jesus, I remember being in awe of this young man who was able to so easily locate some obscure verse in the book of Jeremiah. (This was long before the days of cell phones and Siri, kids!)

As he read the verse out loud to me, that little room FILLED with the presence of God and it was as if the words were being spoken directly from His holy lips to my quivering, anxiety-ridden, broken heart.

For I know the plans I have for you, Vicki Joy. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.”

I underlined that verse and wrote the date in the margin: January 11, 1991.

The entire course of my life changed that day. Overnight? No way! I’m still in process. But that was the day I realized I wasn’t a victim. God wasn’t a jerk or a sadist. He was ON MY SIDE. He was routing for me, fighting for me! He loved me, and unlike everyone else (at least in my own mind) He wasn’t ashamed of me, and He didn’t think I was ugly.

But, as I said, I am still very much a work in progress. I said a few paragraphs earlier that I don’t like it when I have to show the deepest core of the most-wounded parts of my heart with strangers. But that’s exactly what I intend to do right now. I’m going to share with YOU something I rarely speak of—but I do so because I believe I am not alone in this struggle.

I am 49 years old and I am a virgin. I am neither proud of, nor ashamed of this fact. But for many, many years, I believed I was a virgin simply because I was single and I had chosen to  obey the Word of God in this regard. But as the years went by and I (very intentionally) sabotaged every single potential dating scenario possible, I realized that my motives for being a virgin were likely much, much deeper than my being a “good, obedient Christian.”

For me, everything the Bible said about not having sex before marriage wasn’t a stumbling block, but a life line. It was like having a suit of chain mail on—a way of protecting myself from having to show the deepest core of the most-wounded parts of my heart to ANYBODY…EVER…including a husband. Nothing scared me more than the “H” word. Because a husband would have power…the power to cheat on me, abandon me, divorce me, reject me…and I was not going to EVER, ever let that happen to me again!

I don’t like sharing this with you. It is embarrassing to believe you lived your entire life from a perceived position of control, and then realize you were really operating out of toxic levels of fear and weakness. But praise the LORD, even when I was weak, HE was strong! HalleluYAH!

Plenty more to say on this topic, and plenty more likely will be said…by me…in this blog. So, if any of this is resonating with you or speaking to your heart, you are welcome to take this journey with me. Our goal isn’t to rush out and join a dating site, or to get married by some set deadline. Our goal is love and the eradication of all fear (because there is no fear in love). First, we learn to rest safely in the arms of the One who loves us. Next, we learn to open our hearts and love Him back. Then, if and when God takes us deeper, we learn, through fearless faith, to let go and to let others in.

Will this journey into the arms of the King of Kings be easy? I think C. S. Lewis said it best when telling little Lucy about Aslan the lion. “Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course He isn’t safe! But He’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Introducing Val Eliason

Hi! I’m so glad you have found my page! Thanks! 

My heart for working with Agape First is prayer and outreach. That has always been a part of my life. When we were missionaries in the Philippines, or now in the States working with Agape First. 

I am a wife of 40 years to Steve and we have 5 grown children. All of them miracles! We have a son that has identified gay for over 10 years and I came to Nate Oyloe’s ministry and have been a part of a parent’s group for about 7 years. My healing came in prayer at a prayer set when I totally surrendered our son to the Lord. It was so painful but it was where God took my burden away and I found total freedom and I can minister to others!