Blog Team



Ashley Allen /        

Ashley was born and bred in Dallas, Texas, and has served as the Senior Consultant for Embrace Women’s Missions and Ministries since August of 2009. In college the Lord began using mentoring and discipleship relationships to shape and refine her calling to women’s ministry. She earned a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in Christian Education and a Doctor of Philosophy in Administration from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Ashley enjoys sitting down with ladies and hearing their stories about their lives and experiences. She has been an adjunct faculty member at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and currently serves as adjunct faculty at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Ashley has a deep passion and desire for women to be discipled in the things of the Lord Jesus and to live out their faith in abandon in their everyday life circumstances. She desires for women to seek the Lord and apply the truth of His Word to their daily lives. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends; learning about the history of people, places, and events; reading and writing; being outdoors; competitive long distance running; craft projects; antiquing; and all things related to musicals and ballet.



Abby Edwards /        

Abby resides in Wake Forest and works at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina as the Great Commission, Associational & Collegiate Partnerships Team Leader Ministry Assistant. She and her husband, David, moved to Wake Forest from Greenville, SC for David to attend Southeastern Seminary. She has her Masters in Pastoral Counseling from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and attended Liberty University for her Undergraduate Degree. After spending time in Japan as a missionary’s kid, Abby has a heart for the Japanese people but has a heart also for those that are hurting and have questions about their identity in God. She hopes in the future to be a part of a ministry that will allow her to counsel individuals dealing with these issues.



Erin Gandy /

Erin lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, but she is from a small town with big NASCAR ties – Darlington, SC.  Her passion is to encourage women and walk alongside them in whatever form that takes. The Lord led Erin to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary to pursue a Master’s in Women’s Studies in 2007.  It was completely the Lord, because she never in her life wanted to move away from Darlington. Erin is thankful for His grace that allows her to grow daily in the knowledge of who He is. Some of the small things that excite her on a daily basis include Target, Chick-Fil-A, chocolate, blogging at This Is My Life, Duke basketball and running outside when it is absolutely lovely!



Lauren McCall /

Lauren grew up in East Africa and has been living in various places among the Southern states for the last few years, moving often being an experience that God has used to shape and develop a passion for people from all nations to know Him personally and deeply, to be changed by the Gospel and for the Church to walk along side of each other, striving as disciples with one another.  She seeks to live daily in light of the “Missio Dei,” God’s Mission; to see and love people as Christ sees and loves her, so that somehow, through her those who do not know Him, will come to know Him and those who do know Him, will know Him deeper. By His grace, He daily reminds her of her “nothingness” apart from Him, and in His deep love, He allows her to be a part of all that He is doing in His story! Currently she spends her week-days working as a Ministry Assistant on the Disciple-Making Team at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, and the majority of her evenings studying, as she pursues a Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.



Sara Jolley /

Sara is a small town North Carolina girl who is proud of her roots, appreciates a good glass of sweet tea, laughter, and family time. She has lived in the Raleigh area since she graduated from Gardner-Webb University, where she concentrated in Public Relations and minored in Spanish and Religion. She loves culture, loves learning, and loves connecting with women. One of her most favorite things to do is to share life with her sisters in Christ. She has a passion for teenage girls and seeing them truly pursue an intimate relationship with our Savior. She dreams of full-time women’s ministry, writing literature, and traveling – ultimately sharing the gospel with women globally.



Shirley Sells /

Shirley serves as executive leader assistant for the Church Planting and Missions Partnerships Group. Her past experiences in the business world were in the areas of accounting, banking, cash management, travel management, payroll and experiential education. She has traveled with Embrace on trips to NYC and has enjoyed her time engaging in other areas of Embrace. Shirley’s passion is to assist churches with demographics so they can use the information to impact lostness in their communities which is in line with the Baptist State Convention of NC Vision Statement. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the Charles M. Snipes School of Business at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory in 2005. Shirley’s husband Steve is the Director of Missions in the Randolph Baptist Association and they have two children who are married, Matt and Donna Sells and Steve and Kelly Sells Hamborg and three granddaughters, Abby and Maddie Hamborg and Zoey Adora Sells.