"Pastor Jimmy" comes to Friends Ministries with over 30 years of full time ministry experience. He graduated from Fruitland Baptist Bible College in Hendersonville, North Carolina and from The Baptist College of Florida with a B.A. in Theology with honors and has served as youth pastor and pastor of churches in North Carolina, Florida and his home state of Georgia. He joined Friends Ministries in 1998 as a member of the Board of Directors and came on staff as Director of Operations in 2003 and was promoted as Executive Director in 2008. He is dedicated to investing in the lives of children, youth and adults and leading them into an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. His experience in preaching, educating and discipleship provides a strong foundation for Friends Ministries. Jimmy loves being a husband to his wife of 40 years, Debbie; dad to Jenni and Amy and her husband Shane, Ben and his wife Sarah; papa to Ethan, Zoe, Hartley, Abram and Emily. In his “spare” time he enjoys playing acoustic guitar and hanging out in his shop fixin’ stuff.
Coming from a large family with six brothers and sisters Josh has learned the importance of having strong family and community values. After graduating from Lincoln High School in Tallahassee, Florida in 1997, he ventured for a higher education in the computer field. Upon receiving a degree in Graphic Design and Web Development he knew there was still a higher call on his life. Leaving home in 2000, Josh came to Friends Ministries as the organizations very first, full time employee managing and developing the organizations daily operations.
His capacity in program development and implementation of profesional fundraising strategy has helped birth multiple service projects and programs for adults, children and teenagers through out Decatur County over the past 17 years. He has served as President of the Bainbridge Kiwanis Club and was voted Kiwanian of the Year in 2005. He also received the Walter Cox Leadership Decatur County Award in 2006 and currently serves as a board member on the Decatur County Family Connection Partnership. He is also a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and Toastmasters International. Josh also serves on the Executive Committee of the National Association of Non-Profits Organizations & Executives Board of Governors and also holds the designation of Certified Development Executive (CDE) and Certified Nonprofit Executive (CNE). In addition, Josh has received professional certification as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). CFRE International certifies experienced fundraising professionals aspiring to the highest standards of ethics, competence and service to the philanthropic sector. Along with his wife Ashley and three children, Lillianah (4), Israel (2) and Daisy Love, Josh lives on a small family farm on the north side of Decatur County in Bainbridge, Georgia.
Johnny Payne is an awesomely anointed gospel artist whom God has appointed to minister his word through music. He is a native of Vidalia, GA but currently he and his wife Desiree, children Demario and Trenesha now reside in Bainbridge, GA. Upon growing into the realization of his love for music at a young age at the First AB Church in Vidalia, GA, he decided to make music his area of study entering college. Johnny attended and studied music at Brewton Parker Jr. College in Mt. Vernon, GA as well as Florida A & M University, Tallahassee, FL where he obtained a Bachelors Degree in Music with a Concentration on Vocal Studies. Johnny has written and produced 2 CD Recordings of our children singing scripture songs helping to get God’s word into their hearts. In addition, Johnny has formed a core group of children called the Friendship House Youth Ensemble. These youth display a sincere desire for music and worship, traveling throughout the surrounding areas spreading the gospel in song.
After serving on the FH Board of Directors for 10 years Justin came on staff in 2015 as the founding Ministry Operations Director of the Donalsonville Campus expansion. Justin holds a Masters of Sports Management from Georgia Southern University and brings 15 years of experience in management and working with children in sports to the job, most recently as the Assistant Director of Student Life and Coordinator of Student Wellness at Bainbridge State College and previously as the Athletic Director for Grace Christian Academy. Justin has served as a deacon and is currently an elder at Grace Church in Bainbridge, Ga. “I have been overwhelmed at times to think what the Lord has been preparing me for leading me into this position”, “I love being able to speak God’s truth in love to the boys and girls that sometime do not receive it”. Justin has a wife Tori and 4 boys Andrew, Ethan, Samuel and Silas.
Elizabeth Carter, 4 Year Old Instructor
Patricia Clarke, Lead Instructor, 7 & 8 Girls Instructor
Selimah Sanders, 5 & 6 Girls Instructor
Trey Pugh, 9 & 10 Boys Instructor
Sharonda Florence, Teen Girls Instructor
Terranecia Spencer, 5 & 6 Boys Instructor
Ashley Union, 9 & 10 Girls Instructor
Cheri Jaeger, Program Director
Cheri graduated from University of South Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. Her desire to grow her relationship with Jesus led her to attend Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary where she graduated with a Master’s Degree in Christian Studies. Cheri continued her education by becoming a certified Biblical Counselor through the Biblical Counseling Institute and Riley Center at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Cheri was a Human Resource Manager with Associated Computer Systems, Inc. in Brandon, Florida. Her counseling and communication skills helped her acquire the specialized talent necessary for the company. She is excited about using those skills to help the women in Still Waters to learn about Jesus. She is also excited about helping those same women to become productive members of our community.
Cheri and her husband Roy were married 37 years ago. After retiring, they moved to Bainbridge 3 ½ years ago from the Tampa, Florida area. Roy is currently the administrative pastor for Grace Church. Cheri has counseled at Samaritan Counseling center, and is active with the women’s ministry at her church. They love the small town atmosphere of Bainbridge, the friends they’ve made, and spending time with family who have been here over 40 years.
Cheri’s hobbies include reading, enjoying her three Shih Tzus, planning family events, and date day with her husband.
Jessica Allen Polsky joined Friends Ministries first as a volunteer in the spring of 2013. She had spent 10 years in Tennessee working and serving in counseling, communications and management for non-profit organizations. She had big ideas, but God had bigger and better plans for her here in her hometown of Bainbridge. Since being with Friends she has worked as program manager for Still Waters and founded and manages the Refinery. Jessica was greatly influenced by her faithful parents to love God, community and donuts. She is also co-owner of a local business, Maiden South, and a bride to be.
Debbie Maria Chitwood, Manager
Born and raised in Pelham, Maria, the youngest of 8 was a handful most of her life. She graduated from Pelham High School and attended Bainbridge College. She moved many times due to unhealthy relationships and battled addiction for over 25 years.
In January 2016 she was blessed to enter in a long-term treatment home and completed 5 months there. She knew she needed continued support and spiritual guidance and found Still Waters in July 2016.
Her attention to detail and knack for customer service made her an easy fit at The Refinery. She began part-time in September 2016 and then moved into Full-time in December. She lives in her own apartment now and has been clean and sober for over a year now. She celebrates God's grace daily and serves as a mentor to others struggling with addictions. In December 2017, she will graduate from Colorado University with her Bachelors in Business. She has two sons (Brian 23 and Tyler 19), one daughter (Faith 17), one daughter-in-law (Harli 21) and the most precious granddaughter (Braylin 4).
Sandy comes to us by way of West Palm Beach Florida. Her foundation of faith came through the Methodist Church, but her life had dark moments and abusive relationships. After years of a life outside God's will she moved to South Georgia, to a city close to some family in hopes to find her way. She had faith God put her here in this little town( full of gnats) with a chance at a better life.
In July of 2015 she came into Still Waters not finding the support she needed on her own. A few months later she moved into her first apartment with a full-time job. After leaving Still Waters she still volunteered with the Refinery on the weekends; she stayed close to the ministry because she felt it was the only family she had. She met her husband Dewayne and was married in July of 2016 and later that year went on to give birth to handsome son Kason.
She always wanted to work at The Refinery, to share her story and make a difference and in November of 2016 she did, first part-time and now full-time. Her favorite candle scent is Lightening Bug