I Laughed. I Cried. I Changed.

July 5, 2014

by PF Women’s Director,

Deanna Shrodes

If I cry, there’s a really good reason.

Some women cry and don’t know why.

Not me.

I always know why.

It means something realllllly good is happening.

Or, something bad.

Or, the Holy Spirit is touching me in a profound way.

The latter happened over ten years ago at an Assemblies of God Women in Ministry Conference. Susanne Cox was one of the speakers. As she shared her life story which has now been chronicled in the book, Call it Incredible, I wept. And wept. And wept some more.

I also laughed.

A lot!

And most of all, I changed.

Coming home changed from a Christian women’s conference is exactly what should happen. And this was definitely one of those times. I called my husband from the conference and said, ‘”Babe, we need to bring Susanne to our church in Tampa!” We did, that same year. And what a weekend we had!

Over the weekend, Susanne and I became dear friends, and our heart connection has blossomed over the past decade. This seems to be the case with so many of the pastors, pastors’ wives and women’s leaders that she meets.  Susanne will move powerfully in the altars and then stop you in hallway to give a hug, or chat over a cup of coffee. She’s as real as can be!  I marvel at the way she reaches people.

Week after week I notice the reports on her Facebook status updates of lives changed all over the world — women saved, filled with the spirit, and healed!

We are so blessed to have Susanne Cox with us for the entire THRIVE (Breakaway) weekend!!!

One thing I feel strongly about is that our teen girls be in services with us at the conference. We will have breakout sessions and separate activities for them, but I believe they need to experience ALL of the main services with us. Girls and women of every generation experiencing Pentecostal power together is going to be UNFORGETTABLE!

We are in for more than a “treat” or some light inspiration. We are in for a transformation!

Do everything you have to do to get there — and bring your daughters! Everything you need to register is right here at this link! If you have any problems downloading the information, or have a question please don’t hesitate to email at women@penflorida.org or call us at (863) 683-5726, ext 232. We’re here to help!

I love you and can’t wait to share the weekend with you. The best is yet to come!

Much love,


An Interview with PenFlorida’s First Lady, Athena Raburn

Today at the PFWomen’s blog, it’s my privilege to ask some questions of our First Lady, Athena Raburn. She was glad to share here in this space today and says she does so, “in His service” and “with an open heart to all.” Let’s get to know our First Lady a little better today.  ~ Deanna

Deanna: It is such a privilege to have you share with us today. Let’s start at the beginning…where were you born?

 Athena: I was born in Lake Wales, Florida.

Deanna: And where did you grow up?

 Athena: All over the state of Florida, including the projects of Lakeland.

Deanna: Can you tell us anything you’d like to share about your family growing up?

 Athena: I am the oldest of many children. (My parents were married a number of times.)

Deanna: How did you come to know Jesus?

Athena: I came to know the Lord at a small wooden Baptist church in Chiefland, Florida, during  a missions convention.

Deanna: Did you always feel that you would be a minister’s wife?

Athena: Yes.

Deanna: How did you meet your husband?

 Athena: We met at the end of summer at a youth water ski party in Winter Haven.

Deanna: Can you share with us a bit about your dating and engagement?

 Athena: We dated long distance for almost five years. I worked for a Judge in the Juvenile Division. I think it helped me learn what to do in youth camp when we became youth directors.

Deanna: And where did you and Superintendent Raburn get married?

Athena: We married at Mt Zion church in Plant City, Florida.

Deanna: What was your first ministry assignment together?

Athena: We were missionaries, itinerating and returning to Beirut Lebanon.

Deanna: What was the most surprising thing for you, about being a minister’s wife?

Athena: The expectations!

Deanna: And what about as Superintendent’s wife? What was the most surprising thing about this role?

Athena: So many life issues and the incredible needs of the ministry.

Deanna: If you could give just one piece of advice to a brand new minister’s wife, what would it be?

Athena: Make sure to have a solid relationship with the Lord, and don’t be afraid of whom the Lord has created you to be.

Deanna: What do you like to do for fun?

Athena: I love history and finding out about the times and circumstances that have created what we have become. You know the southern question is always, “And who are your people?” Loaded question but full of information!

Deanna: What is your favorite color?

Athena: I love all colors, but purple would be the primary.

Deanna: What is your favorite food?

Athena: I love all types of food and love to experience the flavors, spices, history and culture through food.

Deanna: What is your favorite TV show?

Athena: Right now it’s Call the Midwife and Law and Order. (What does that say about me?)

Deanna: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us today?

Athena: I am so excited to see the women of PenFlorida taking steps toward ordination. Many years ago I asked the Lord to grant an opportunity for the women to have a place within our fellowship to minister and work together.

We now have so  many outstanding qualified women within the district. Our district has put into place PenFlorida Women’s Director, Deanna Shrodes, the PFWomen Reps – so many are ordained and serve in many capacities within their sections. PF Widow, Freda Kramer; PF Woman Presbyter, Susan Pippin; PFKids Director Sydney Morrow; Natalie Barnoske with PF Youth Alive – ministering to middle and high school public ministries; Linda Adkins, Senior Pastor of Words of Light; Christina Knotts of Christian Life Community Church in Jacksonville area and Maria Khaleel of Pembroke Pines who is an original church planter. Well, I could go on and on forever about the incredible ministry available to Peninsular Florida and the women of this district. It is my prayer that everyone finds a place of ministry and is able to find value in their calling.

Deanna: Thank you so much for sharing  all of us today. I speak for so many in saying that we are absolutely delighted to get to know you better. We love you.

A Note From Our New Pen Florida Women’s Ministries Director

I’m humbled, honored, excited [insert a plethora of other adjectives here] to serve as the new Women’s Ministries Director for Pen-Florida. I can’t wait to see what God will do as we journey forward, together.  I believe the only reason a person is ever given a position of leadership is to help people. That’s what ministry has always been about for me, and answering God’s call to lead PFWomen is no exception.

What’s coming for the women of PenFlorida?  More than you could ever imagine, all year long! We’ll be hosting life-changing sectional and regional events, providing many publications from our leaders that will be a great encouragement to you, offering ministry online in various forms that will bless and increase you, and so much more.

Our entire team is here for you.  I am so blessed to serve with amazing  leaders across our district who are eager to help you. If you’re not sure who “the team” is, just click, “The Team” at the top of the website, and you will have all the information you need to contact your sectional representative. All you have to do is reach out. We are here for every PenFlorida woman, and church. We can help you in ways you might not even be aware of! I invite you to call or email me anytime, to ask about how we can assist you.

This blog page will feature news, notes, updates, thoughts from my heart, guest posts, interviews and feature stories with women of God across our district. Check back here often to see what God is doing across PenFlorida and how we are impacting our world.

Our department has been in a transition phase since the beginning of the year, with my appointment to this office taking place in mid-May. For this reason, we are just finalizing the details for the Fall Breakaway Conference, our biggest (but not our only!) event of the year. We anticipate record numbers of salvations, Holy Spirit baptisms, healings and much more at this year’s conference. Because of the transition taking place, all of the details for registration information are not ironed out yet, but soon will be. We appreciate your patience and giving us grace this year as we navigate this transition. What you can do right now is SAVE THE DATE and determine to be with us October 16-18 for the conference. Let nothing stop you from being a part of this move of God!  Our guest speaker, Susanne Cox, is confirmed. She is one of the greatest Pentecostal preachers of our time. You absolutely do not want to miss what God will do.

Like our Facebook page to receive up to the minute updates from our ministry. We’ll be communicating with you daily, there. That’s right, DAILY!

You can also follow us on Twitter and Instagram!

The best is yet to come! I am so excited about walking out the future of PF Women’s Ministries, with you. Know that you are loved.