“I cannot fully express all that Austin and Sarelle has done for me and my family! Through all of the devastation and heartache that I was faced with, they were constantly there as a support and voice of reason. Their godly messages and Biblical counsel were so comforting and allowed me to see light when all around me was dark. The countless hours that they spent with me and my family are something that many would not have committed to, but they stuck with us and gave hope, love, and peace to our otherwise troubled hearts. There is no way to adequately thank them for the fellowship, counseling, and friendship that they so graciously offered during the hardest time of our lives. God always provides and He proved that with the gift of Austin and Sarelle.”
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken (caught) in a fault (a transgression), you which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear you one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2 The word “restore” in this passage can speak to a badly fractured bone and one that is severely broken that needs to be carefully reset so that healing can take place.
One of the most difficult things we experience in the ministry is seeing how sin can wreak havoc in so many lives. Good people sin, bad people sin, church people sin, all people sin (Rom. 3:23). Sin wounds us, sin breaks us. What makes sin even harder to deal with though is when you deal with someone who has sinned that is a friend and fellow pastor. It was a very hard day for me when I realized that Austin had sinned against the LORD, Sarelle, his family and his church. As a couple, they had every reason to greatly succeed as a family and in the ministry. From their God-given abilities and training, to the foundation that had been laid for them throughout their lives, they had every reason to be greatly blessed in life and ministry (I Cor. 10:12, I Pet. 5:8). They were the exact type of family GOD likes to use . . . and the exact type of family that the devil would target and choose.
The LORD allowed (and I believe even appointed) me to serve Austin and Sarelle through some of the darkest days of their marriage. As we prayerfully, compassionately and carefully put Gal. 6:1-2 into practice, the only way for their marriage to survive was going to be through the grace of GOD. There were many tears and some very difficult times of soul searching. Honesty and transparency gave way to confession and forgiveness (I John 1:9). The Galatians 6:1 process of repentance, rebuilding, renewal and ultimately restoration began to happen. Though it is not an easy path, it is one that you will never walk alone (Heb. 13:5). And GOD was good to this family.
As much as the devil and sin had tried to destroy Austin, Sarelle and their family, I watched the LORD do an amazing work in their lives. The sin had been great, but GOD’s grace proved to be even greater! As their brother in CHRIST, pastor and friend, we were able to minister to them as GOD completely healed the brokenness of their lives. And not only did GOD heal them, HE has made them as strong as ever. Austin and Sarelle fully recovered in their marriage and even began to serve again in their local church. Choir, Sunday School, Awana’s, Ladies Ministries, there were multiple doors the LORD opened for them. Each one being another step in HIS Plan for their lives.
And now, HE has lead them to another great opportunity. To serve and counsel hurting couples/families who are in need of healing. GOD has given them a distinct and special ministry in helping relationships to be “restored.” As their pastor I can tell you that they not only lived through it, but they learned much from it. And they now use all that GOD has given to them (2 Cor. 1:4) by sharing it with others who are broken and hurting. I recommend them and their ministry to anyone who is looking for hope in a broken relationship. Through GOD, whatever has been broken, can always be restored.”
“My wife and I were introduced to Austin and Sarelle Pendergraft through a mutual friend that we both trusted. We had been to a family marriage counselor years ago and it was not that she did not help us, but the counselor missed the main ingredient to build a lasting, exceptional marriage. Jesus! Austin and Sarelle, through their personal testimonies, related their past struggles and personal story to our marital crisis. To be mentored by someone that has walked a similar path allowed my wife and I to trust and communicate openly. Austin and Sarelle love Jesus. It shows in everything that they do and how they serve others. Our family is still together because Austin and Sarelle gave us practical Biblical advice based on God’s design for marriage. My wife and I are now recommitted to making our marriage work and we are growing closer to the Lord and each other.”
“I was fortunate enough to meet Austin and Sarelle Pendergraft July 2012. Since then they have become my life mentors. There are not many days that go by that I do not talk with one of them. They build me up and help me through this journey of life. Their listening skills and ability to understand, while not wavering on their strong relationship with the Lord is amazing! They know how to share information and how to direct you in the right manner for understanding and growth. My marriage would not be as strong as it is without the dear friendship shared with Austin and Sarelle Pendergraft. Their hearts are of gold! I cannot thank them enough for sharing life with us!”