Greg & Kim Julian
Boy's Home House Parents
The Julian's have been one of the first branches on the family tree at MSR. Cookeville natives, Greg and Kim Julian, will be serving as house parents for the first boys' home. Both TTU graduates, Greg has a degree in business administration and Kim has a degree in accounting, as well as an MBA. Kim previously served as a church treasurer for 6 years and currently works at Hugh Bailey and Associates.
Greg was employed 14 years at TRW manufacturing and recalls his first conversation with Rex regarding the vision of a children's ranch. "I did not think it was a coincidence that my job was going to be eliminated at TRW at the same time Rex anticipated beginning construction. This was even before land had been acquired." Greg added that for years he had even had a "wild dream" of living on a ranch with kids. "I've alwayss had a heart for kids, and it is neat to see how God has opened this door in our lives just as others were closing."
Kim stated, "We were searching for what the Lord's purpose was for us when this came along. It has just been amazing to see how quickly everything has fallen into place." Both Greg and Kim have been active in children's ministry over the years, starting in their teen years when they taught children's church together. They also have been involved in Team Kids, Royal Ambassadors and Girls in Action. They currently attend Washington Avenue Baptist Church.
The Julians have two children of their own, Paige, 12, a seventh grader at Avery Trace and Ryan, 11, a sixth grader at Prescott. When asked how they thought this decision would affect their children they stated, "They are excited and both have tender hearts for the Lord. We believe they will be able to minister to these kids as much as we can."
We are thrilled to have this dedicated family as a part of Mustard Seed Ranch. Many lives will be blessed due to their willingness to respond to the call God has placed on their lives, theirs included.
Kim and Greg have been with us since the beginning. We thank you for staying strong in your faith and continually sacrificing so much for your passion of working with children. We are truly blessed to have you as our family and friends here at MSR!
Albert & Becky Willis
Girl's Home House Parents
Reverend Albert Willis and his wife, Becky have lived in Tennessee since 1984 when they moved with their family for Albert to receive a master's degree in Choral directing. For over 37 years they have been in ministry with the United Methodist church as youth director, education director, music director, worship leader, and Associate pastor. Becky has taught inside the home and also as a public school teacher for over 15 years.
Together, with 6 children of thier own, they have enjoyed being in ministry with youth and children most of their adult life. Albert says that this was definitely a calling from God and once they said yes to becoming house parents, they have never looked back. This has been just an extension of what their lives have been about. God has anointed Mustard Seed Ranch and they are excited to be part of this vision that is just getting started.
It is such a pleasure being in the Girls House and watching Albert and Becky's passion for children on a daily basis. Their love is so selfless. We are so blessed to have you both as our family and friends!
Originally from central New York, Rachel is a graduate of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia where she earned her degree in psychology, specializing in child and adolescent development. Most recently, she spent time in Lenoir, North Carolina where she gained valuable experience living on site in a group home for girls. She served as a child care worker at the Baptist Children’s Home in North Carolina for five years, learning firsthand what it takes to mentor and develop relationships with children in the group home setting.
Rachel began feeling the desire to move to Tennessee in 2006 after her family eventually settled in Cookeville. She recalls being drawn to this area by saying, “I just really felt like this is where the Lord wanted me.” Without any definite explanation, other than to be closer to family, she moved in September of 2007 and stepped out in faith without knowing what was ahead. As it turns out, she ended up moving only seven miles from the MSR property. “All the pieces finally just started coming together,” she said.
Rachel looks forward to the arrival of children with great expectation and stated, “I’ve always enjoyed working with kids and love animals.” She believes that MSR provides an ideal setting for these children to grow. Currently, Rachel is our social worker for all of the children. She meets with them regularly to help them work through problems, grow, and create opportunity. We are thankful Rachel stepped out in faith so that the Lord could lead her to MSR and fill the role laid out for her.
Rachel gives so much of who she is to all of us at MSR, we are very blessed to have such a dedicated and loving person working with us.
Kayla grew up in the area and attended Jackson County High School where she was active in FCA and basketball, winning three state championships during her high school career. She attended King College on scholarship and competed in nationals at the collegiate level before graduating in 2008 with her degree in youth ministry. She graciously acknowledges how God has used athletics and opportunities in basketball to direct her current path.
She simply states, “The desire of my heart is to share the love of God with children.” This passion is evident through the various ways she has already been involved with children. She spent time with inner city youth through Urban Promise while in college, and recently developed a heart for special needs kids on a foreign mission field. Last summer she served as a counselor at Cedar Lake Christian Camp in Livingston. Kayla joined us in mid-July following a stint in Honduras where she spent six weeks working in an orphanage. She is also currently active in youth ministry at Living Hope Church where she enjoys teaching, planning events, and spending time with the kids.
In the beginning, Kayla dedicated a year to living in the girls’ home and and became a shining light to everyone at MSR. She says that she loved being an integral part of the girls’ lives…becoming a part of their family…and making a difference, through her actions and devotion.
Kayla presently serves in the school as an assistant to the Education Director. She plays an crucial role in helping provide a quality education for our students. Kayla also serves MSR administratively. She is an amazing person and employee, thank you for your amazing love for our children, it shows everyday you work with them!
Joyelle Hudson, pictured with her family, is currently serving as the Educational Director at MSR. Joyelle and Heath, married for 11 years, are Cookeville natives and have a son, Eli (8), daughter, Isabelle (5), and are expecting a third child in May. Joyelle has a BS from TTU in Multidisciplinary Studies grades 1-8. The Hudson family enjoys fellowship at Church on the Hill where they are active in Lifegroup, children, and women’s ministries. Joyelle explains, “When we heard about the Ranch and attended one of the first banquets, we immediately knew this was a much needed ministry and what a blessing it would be to the kids as well as the community. As we caught the vision for the Ranch, I developed a special interest in the educational program. I was already homeschooling our son and seeing the fruits of working one on one with a child. Since coming on board, it has been a tremendous blessing to see the Lord grow and encourage the children at MSR through their accomplishments in learning.”
Nine students and one preschooler are currently in the education program at the Ranch, while some of the children still attend public school. Working as a team, our intern and social worker are utilized in the preschool and life skills department. TTU education student volunteers are also working directly with some of the students on reading. Through the education program at MSR, the children are getting individualized instruction to meet their unique needs, which is designed to help them transition smoothly into their next phase of development. We are thankful for Joyelle and the important role she is playing as she contributes to their progress!