Roses and Rainbows Ministries founder Kim Crabill will transplant her women's ministry to Baltimore next month.
She will continue booking speaking dates under the ministry banner from a new office there. Her husband, Lee Crabill, was named executive senior vice president of Omega Nursing Investments in Baltimore this year.
Though the ministry's location will change, its focus is the same: encouraging women to grow in their Christian faith and personally.
It is the message Mrs. Crabill brings to conferences, retreats, women's luncheons and seminars whenever she speaks, some 30 to 50 times a year.
The ministry, started in 1993, grew from a women's morning coffee group. "It wasn't anything formal. It was just 'Come over and have coffee,"' said Mrs. Crabill, 43.
Two events motivated her. The death of her mother at a young age, 51 - "I was dealing with her last words, 'Oh, gosh, Kim, I never was able to do what God wanted me to do" - followed by a call from her doctor's office with a probable diagnosis of leukemia.
The news stunned her. It took all her strength to just cross the kitchen in her Evans home, she said. "It was a devastating moment to me because I had just lost someone at a very young age, and I'm sitting there saying, 'Oh, my gosh, I may be dying."'
Further testing showed she was clear of disease, but through those events she truly surrendered to God's will in her life, she said.
Roses and Rainbows brought speakers with national reputations to Augusta in the mid-1990s through its biannual conferences. Appearances by Jan Dravecky, wife of former San Francisco Giants pitcher Dave Dravecky; Edye Smith, who lost two sons in the Oklahoma City bombing; Carmen Pate ofConcerned Women of America; and others drew audiences of 300 to 400.
When Mrs. Pate came to Augusta, it was to pinch-hit for Concerned Women founder Beverly LaHaye, who had canceled after a sudden illness. Since 300 to 400 women had already paid to hear Mrs. LaHaye, it was a public relations nightmare.
But the conference "turned out to be great, and Carmen was wonderful, an awesome sweet lady. But at that moment, you think, 'Oh, my goodness - what is going on?"' Mrs. Crabill said.
The two women have become good friends - Mrs. Pate lives about 30 minutes from where the Crabills will be in Baltimore. "She is my link up there with that area. Funny how things work out," Mrs. Crabill said.
Early Roses and Rainbows conferences were based on a team approach, with Mrs. Crabill sharing the podium with four or more speakers. The idea spread to other cities, but she saw the need to make the ministry more portable after her husband took the Baltimore position.
She began booking engagements as a solo speaker about six months ago. "It has opened up so I can do Texas or Oklahoma in a day and be back (in Augusta). It makes it more accessible to the local church" - few churches could afford to bring in a team of speakers anyway, she said.
She also closed the ministry offices on Washington Road and moved the operation to her home. Cindy Ladomirak, a staff veteran with Roses and Rainbows, will maintain an office in her Martinez home. Mrs. Ladomirak, who accompanies Mrs. Crabill on virtually all of her engagements, also manages the tape-and-book table during conferences and retreats.
"I call her 'the right side of my brain,"' Mrs. Crabill said.
Roses and Rainbows is building a Web page that will likely be up by about January. She also wants to begin a national newsletter based on a current mailing list of about 25,000 names.
The list got a boost after she became a contributing writer to Around the Home, a feature carried in Money Matters, a monthly newsletter from Crown Financial Ministries in Gainesville, Ga., formerly Larry Burkett's Christian Financial Concepts. Her August article generated response from 43 states, Mrs. Crabill said.
The opportunity to write for the Burkett ministries was "overwhelming ... It was very humbling. So I take it very seriously. I work on the article three to four months before I submit it," she said.
Leaving Augusta is difficult yet exciting, Mrs. Crabill said. "It pulls your heartstrings, especially because my home has meant so much to me . ... That is really where God got my attention."
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Reach Virginia Norton at (706) 823-3336 or firstname.lastname@example.org.