Meet the Staff
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  • Jeffery Ralston
    Jeffery Ralston
    Lead Pastor

    Settlement:

    I was born in Fayetteville Arkansas. I was raised in the Ozark Mountains by loving parents--we were not rich by any means…but we certainly were not poor. I grew up in a strong Pentecostal environment. I am a product of faith and sacrifice. I grew up in the country. My brother and I rode horses for miles and fished every day.

     

    My Family

    I met my wife, Shelly, at the Arkansas camp meeting. She is beautiful lady with an amazing personality… However, before I ever saw her, I heard her singing and fell in love. Shelly and I, started traveling as a couple and developed some of the more amazing memories of my life. One night we were on the road traveling from one state to another going to preach in a new city. We stopped very late at Cracker Barrel to get a bite to eat. We had very little money. Upon leaving we were told that someone paid for our meal including the tip. We didn't know anybody in town we had just pulled off interstate to get a bite to eat. We've always had angels all around us… But during that time we saw them often. Abigail, Nicholas, Luke and Levi make up my immediate family. Abigail, Nicholas, Luke and Levi all have unique personalities that reflect their mother and myself. I enjoy reflecting on that aspect of who they are, however, their own uniqueness makes everyday an adventure.

     

    Why I do what I do

    I will never forget when I felt the Lord called me to preach the Gospel. I was in an old Sunday school room praying and suddenly I was so overwhelmed by the "lost" that I felt sick and fearful. I had to do something and I felt the Holy Spirit tell me to trust and do what I already knew to do and the rest would come. 

     

    I am proud of the identity that our church possesses. We have maintained spiritual integrity in a culture that is constantly shifting. In addition, we have upheld our doctrines while maintaining a passion for the many un-churched in the Lake Charles community.

     

    My goal is to maintain the voice of God and to bring honor to Him in all things. I desire to see First Pentecostal Church grew in both numbers and spiritual depth. I desire to see as many as possible among our youth remain connected to our faith.

  • Jerod & Shelli Grissom
    Jerod & Shelli Grissom
    Associate Pastor

    Point of Origin:  Birthed in Kalamazoo, Michigan (yes there really is a Kalamazoo) and reared in Florence, Alabama.

     

    I go home to:  My friend and lover Shelli and three wonderful children, Alayna; the princess given to us from heaven, Kyle; the early riser who want's coffee milk first thing, and Mya; smiles with an attitude.

     

    My inspiration comes from: Where do I begin?  Every message I heard preached all my life from Youth Camps to church services. My Mom and Dad, the ones who brought me into this world and have prayed so many prayers for me.  My friend and leader of our great team, Jeffery Ralston.  My mentor and truly a man of great character, Harry Sommers.

     

    My Hobbies: Hunting in Colorado, fishing in and around Louisiana, Frogging, running and marathon training.

     

    My Passion: One of my biggest passions is leading God’s Church and helping others find out what the “God life” is all about.

  • Harry Sommers
    Harry Sommers
    Compassion Pastor

    Settlement: I guess my real story starts in the small community of Peaonian Springs, Va. My dad and mom owned a family dairy farm and thats where my story starts. Both of my parents worked hard and they passed that along to my three sisters and my self. My family taught me to be honest and to always do my jobs and do them well. I think this has helped me all my life. Not to say that I never made mistakes.  But when you do, you get up and start again !

     

    My Family: Back in the year of 1957(anybody remember that far back) The United States Air Force sent me to Lake Charles, La. I met the very person that God had planned for me to marry. Less than one year later we were married, as God had planned, and are now very close to 58 years. My wife has been the love of my life and my rock when I needed one. We have two wonderful sons, Harry 3rd and William, two daughters in law that are just like daughters, and 5 grandchildren, at this writing one great grandson and another on the way. God is good.   

     

    Why I Do What I Do: In my life time God has given me many experiences, some good, some not quite as good, but it enables me to assist other people. I feel that in recent years God has called me to assist the seniors, not only in the Church, but those that may seek help.  To sum up, I’m trying to go to Heaven and take as many people with me as I can.

  • Johnathan & Tori Walker
    Johnathan & Tori Walker
    Youth Pastors

    Settlement: I was born in Lake Charles, La and raised in DeRidder, La.

     

    My Family:  I met my beautiful wife, Tori, at a church softball Tournament in Baton Rouge La. All it took was one date and she was hooked and has been by my side ever since. 

     

    Why I Do What I Do:  The NFL has the Super Bowl, MLB has the World Series, winning a championship is awesome, but the thrill and excitement of winning a championship is only short-lived. Having the opportunity to help guide students on a life changing journey as they grow spiritually and just in life in general is the greatest calling you could ever be offered from God. This is a calling that will give you the greatest joy you will ever experience on earth, as you watch the lives you've been ministering to grow deeper in their relationship with Jesus and you see a person make the decision to live for God. Winning a championship is great and the excitement is awesome but it won't last like the excitement of witnessing a life transformed for Jesus. That's why I do what I do to further His Kingdom.

  • Glyn and Jill Bogard
    Glyn and Jill Bogard
    Evangelism Pastors

    Settlement:  Jill and I were both born and raised in Lake Charles, LA.  I grew up in a modest home in the center of town. When I was growing up, Lake Charles had the feel of a small community.  I remember playing outside and running around the neighborhood with my friends. I had an Alaskan husky as a pet and I felt at times she could literally read my emotions like a book.  I could have a bad day and when I walked into the yard she was there meeting me with her head low being very sensitive to what was going on. I enjoyed riding bicycles, building forts and getting into the mischief that most young boys get into.  I really enjoyed playing kickball growing up and we played it almost every day through elementary school. I rode the bus to Sunday school at Apostolic Temple church in Lake Charles.  Later, I attended Living Way Pentecostal and grew up there. I received the Holy Ghost under the pew at Apostolic Temple.  I remember the powerful moves of God we used to experience as a child growing up.

     

    My Family: I met my wife, Jill at church.  We started out as friends and our relationship grew till we were married.  She was and still is my best friend and I trust her with my life and the life of our children. We have two daughters, Nichole, and Baylee.  We are also the proud grandparents of Kenson and Karlee.  

    Why I Do What I Do:  When you have a call of ministry on your life you can’t run far enough from it.  I was called when I was eight years old.  I ran a while and realized I could not out run God.  He knows what is best.  Now I just want to serve him with my whole heart, body and mind and not limit what he can do through me.  I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me. I have been outreach pastor at First Pentecostal church for four and a half years.  

     

    I am also a commercial pilot and pilot instructor.  I am co-owner of Plane Simple.  Jill and I are honored to be a part of the ministry team at First Church. It's awesome to see lives changed, the sick being healed, and the broken being mended. 

  • Gayle and Danny Istre
    Gayle and Danny Istre
    Secretary

    Settlement – I was born in Lafayette, Louisiana to Godly parents Harold & Alice Spears whom raised me in First Pentecostal Church along with two (2) brothers, Bobby & Hal and one (1) sister, Joy.  Upon retirement, my parents became house parents to teen girls at Tupelo Children Mansion for several years.  Then God called them to start a church in Hickory, North Carolina for many years.  My parents moved back to Lake Charles when my daddy became ill with cancer.  

     

    My Family – I met my husband, Danny Istre while in high school where we were high school sweet hearts.  He is my best friend, my everything.  We have two (2) children, Kevin & Tammy, daughter-in-law Penny & Son-in-law Billy Creel.  We have been blessed with five (5) grandchildren, Tyler, Austin, Gracie, Hailey & Aubrey.  Such a great gift God has given us, blessed beyond measure.  I was a hairdresser for many years before I gave God my heart and soul, then asked God to use me where I would be needed.  I had a strong and healthy clientele, which God removed in one week’s time answering my prayer.  What a great God we serve.  I became secretary of First Pentecostal Church, September 7, 1981, the Best job in the whole world.

     

    Why I Do What I Do – It such a rewarding job because I love people.  I love helping them find their way to peace with God, helping them experience the love I have in serving God.  It’s a joy watching them find the happiness I found.  I put my heart, soul, and trust in God, never regretting a day serving him.  In our society we have so many people that are hurting and need help in finding their way in life.  I love sharing my life’s story showing them how God helped me find my way and how he can change your life to be a better person, a spiritual person pleasing to God.  What a mighty God we serve.

  • Klayton and Faith Cooley
    Klayton and Faith Cooley
    Worship Leaders

    Settlement: Klayton was born in DeRidder Louisiana and was raised there. I was born in Sulphur Louisiana and raised in DeQuincy Louisiana.  Both of us grew up in loving homes that believed strongly in the Pentecostal faith. Both of us were extremely young when we found our love for music.  Klayton started piano lessons at the age of 7 and took for 9 years and I began singing around the tape player with my dad and sister when I was around 4.  We both knew at an early age that music was in us and to be able to one-day minister in music for God would be a dream come true.  At our home churches we both took on leadership roles in our latter teenage years, Klayton played the keyboard and lead singing and I became the Choir director and lead our worship services.  Those were days of learning and ultimately lead us to where we are today, First Pentecostal Church of Lake Charles.  We, as a couple, were extremely blessed to become a part of First Pentecostal Church in September of 2012 right after we were married.  We were able to begin our ministry together, as one couple, as a team, on level ground, with new people that we couldn’t wait to get to know and serve the Lord with. 

     

    My Family:  Klayton and I have been married for 2 ½ years.  We are incredibly blessed to have each other and love each other.  We truly are each other’s better half.  We are now expecting our first child.  God has blessed us with this little baby and every day I thank God for trusting us enough to bless us the bundle of joy.  We pray every night for Gods blessings on us, our ministry and the future.  

     

    Why I Do What I Do:  Music is a ministry just like preaching, teaching and outreach.  When you are called by God to work for his kingdom there is no better way to live each day.  Each and every day we strive to be better, to grow more and learn.  Music is a gateway into the soul. People can be guarded and have walls built up and they don’t expect music to penetrate the barriers they have put up in their lives, but it does. It can touch someone’s heart without them realizing it.  All it takes is one note, one lyric, one song to help someone through a situation, or give peace or joy to their spirit.  Music is an incredible gift and for us to be able to be sensitive to the spirit of God and let him speak through us is something unlike anything else.

  • Dana and Lin McDonald
    Dana and Lin McDonald
    Administrative Ast