The years leading up to the formation of twentyTHREE61 have weaved together a diverse and inspiring group of leaders with a passion to transform our community, our nation, and even our world. With God at the helm, we believe healing and growth is not only possible, but probable and indescribably beautiful.

– These Former Acorns

Donna Brendel

Donna Brendel

Executive Director and Co-Founder

Donna has been leading women and men through abortion healing for the past 12 years, ever since her own healing experience at a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat in 2007. She first became a volunteer with Rachel’s Vineyard and then worked as the Center Director of Care Net Family Resource Center in Kenosha, WI. She resigned her staff position but continued volunteering there, specifically in their post-abortion ministry. She has now co-founded twentyTHREE61, Inc. so that she can dedicate all of her efforts toward healing this silent trauma that so many people secretly carry and suffer with alone.

She has published her story of abortion and healing redemption in The Lookout magazine and The Brink devotional magazine as well as in her blog, uniqueauthenticity.com. She has testified before the Wisconsin State Legislature in support of legislation that would protect women and babies. She has walked in the March for Life in Washington DC and shared her testimony there through the Silent No More Campaign. She enjoys meeting people from all over the world who share a common and active passion for life and healing.

Educating new volunteers and community leaders has become a privileged joy in her journey of affirming life. There are many myths and stigmas that she is able to defuse because of her unique experience which God has used for His good.

Donna is available for interviews, writing assignments and speaking engagements. If you would like to inquire as to her availability, please email donnajane@twentythree61.com. For speaker requests, please complete our form HERE.

Her favorite verse is Proverbs 29:25, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”

Peggy is a courageous woman. Her obedience to God has broken open the floodgates for countless numbers of women and men to come to healing from their abortions, including twentyTHREE61’s Executive Director, Donna Brendel. She wants to do God’s will, and nothing more or less, giving Him all the glory. Peggy is passionate about studying God’s Word daily and has a no-nonsense way of stating God’s truth at just the right time, without hesitation, while still maintaining a loving attitude in her deliverance.

She is also passionate for her family, giving them first priority and modeling Christ-like behaviors for them to follow. She teaches 5th & 6th graders in her church, and witnesses to her family and friends at every opportunity. She and her husband are beautiful foster and adoptive parents.

Peggy serves in the prison ministry with us, and is a lead facilitator for our local Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat. She has presented her healing journey for the Janesville Pregnancy Helpline’s banquet, another host of the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats. She was a panel speaker for our recent banquet, sharing her story and God’s redemptive work in her life with compelling, edge-of-your-seat intensity. She is an inspiring, Spirit-led speaker, offering challenging wisdom along with comedic flare.

Peggy Lemay

Peggy Lemay

Board President and Co-Founder

Donna Efinger

Donna Efinger

Board Vice President and Co-Founder

Donna has a passion for equipping youth to make the best life decisions possible. She volunteers at her church in the youth group bringing fun and life to Bible study. She is also developing a horse ministry and Bible study curriculum for those with a broad range of unique struggles. She has volunteered at Care Net FRC in the past as a peer counselor and The Path to Sexual Healing Bible study leader.

She is our Board Vice President as well as our Director of Redeeming Sexuality in which role she coordinates the Bible studies, our facilitators, the where and when of our studies, and communicating with participants and site personnel. She also helps in training new volunteer facilitators. She also continues to facilitate our Redeeming Sexuality Bible studies with her huge heart of compassion and burden to inspire others.

Donna has presented her life journey and compelling encouragement to choose a life of purity to various youth groups in our community, and she has offered her story of healing and redemption to the women of her church as a keynote speaker at their women’s retreat. She is a big vision servant, inspiring those who suffer in silence to God’s amazing grace and transformation.

Laura brings expertise to us in her role as treasurer with us as she is an accountant by trade and a treasurer on other non-profit boards as well. Laura is also passionate about using her voice for post abortion healing through the Silent No More Campaign, in leading the Forgiven & Set Free Bible study even before joining our team, enabling us to bring the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat to Guatemala as one of our bi-lingual team members, and finally providing support to our Spanish speaking community right here in Southeastern Wisconsin.

Laura Brown

Laura Brown

Board Treasurer

Amber Culverhouse

Amber Culverhouse

Board Secretary

Amber has always wanted to be a part of a ministry that helped women heal from their abortions. Even before she started telling her own story, she knew that the path to her freedom started in her own transparency, even though she was so afraid of that at the time. After 37 years of keeping quiet about her own abortion experience, she was led to the ministry of twentyTHREE61. She completed the “Forgiven and Set Free” Bible study and the “Pure Desire for Women: Eight Pillars to Freedom.” This began a life-transforming journey for her. She joined the ministry of twentyTHREE61 two years ago and is now a board member. She leads post-abortion classes, sexual addiction classes, as well as co-leading Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats.

As part of her desire to break free from living in the silence of abortion that affects so many women and men, she recently participated in a photography series called “After the Abortion” by photographer Angela Forker, which shows the traumatic impact of abortion on women as well as the beauty of healing and forgiveness in Christ. This photography series allows women to be photographed in the depths of their journey of grief to the beauty of forgiveness and peace in God’s love. The wounds of abortion go so deep, and part of Amber’s passion is helping others to realize how much abortion hurts women, how others can be compassionate to post-abortive women, and how abortion is a true trauma in the multitude of ways it effects both women and men, often in ways they themselves don’t even realize.

Her life verse is Isaiah 61:3 as she wholeheartedly believes that God can take the most horrific things in our lives that can leave us feeling like our life is a heap of ashes and He can turn them into something truly beautiful.

Pamela has always had an interest in doing things that are out of the ordinary.  Inspired by her father’s thirty-two-year Naval Career, she entered the Navy at nineteen, going through Basic Training in Orlando Florida.  During her twenty-one-year career she qualified for the coveted Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist Designation, served as a Medical Independent Duty Technician at four isolated assignments and one ship, served two tours of Instructor Duty at Hospital Corps School Great Lakes, and even managed a tour at the Pentagon.

Tired of moving and desiring to try her hand at civilian life, Mundling “retired” from the Navy.  She entered the corporate world, became a Certified Life Coach, and then started her own business. In Pamela’s spare time she is active at her church, serves on the boards of two community organizations, is a Storm Spotter for the National Weather Service, is active in Coast Guard Auxiliary, serving as both Flotilla and Division Public Affairs Officer, teaching boating safety and performing free vessel safety checks. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Management of Human Resources from Excelsior College in Albany New York and significant Graduate work in Information and Security Management from Webster University in St. Louis Missouri.

Pamela adds so many diverse layers of service and insight to our board and team, both behind the scenes and with clients. She particularly enjoys leading our redeeming sexuality Bible studies in the prison setting where she uses humor, boldness and love in addressing sensitive and difficult topics with the women there who’ve endured some of the most atrocious stories we’ve heard in our time of ministry to our community.

Pamela Mundling

Pamela Mundling

Board Member

Alex Chobanian

Alex Chobanian

Board Member

Alex is a dedicated individual who wants to see men healed and whole in God’s strength. God has worked a true miracle in his life delivering him from severe porn addiction and abortion guilt. Alex is now a newlywed, married this past May to the love of his life, after experiencing five years of celibacy from both sex and porn and a remarkable time of growth and healing. Alex began his healing journey with the proclamation, “it’s all for God’s glory,” and he continues to boldly and transparently share his story for the benefit of others’ healing and most importantly, for God’s glory.

He is currently leading two different groups through the Conquer Series and Seven Pillars to Freedom studies for recovery from pornography addiction. He also works with men in need of abortion healing in the series Healing a Fathers Heart as well as at our Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats when men are participants. 

God’s mission for him is to lead and guide men into true freedom in Christ! He feels a strong connection to this verse which speaks of his life journey, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” 1 Cor 1:27

Alyssa 

Alyssa Valenza

Alyssa Valenza

Board Member

Paul has had a heart for healing since his early days as a Christian.  Over the years, through facilitating and leading Bible studies, men’s ministries and involvement in pro-life activities, he has ministered to others and shared God’s wonderful gift of forgiveness and healing.  Seeing the desperate need for the healing of post-abortive women and men, he trained as a men’s PACE (Post-Abortion Peer-Counseling & Education) facilitator through Care Net FRC, and also received Light University’s Crisis Pregnancy Certification. He helped us to co-found twentyTHREE61 as our first Board Treasurer with a strong background in past treasurer and bookkeeping roles. 

Paul was our pioneer as the first man to serve on our Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat team, and since then we have helped many men and couples recover from the abortion trauma that they carry alongside of the women, equally in painful secrecy and regret.

Paul has also been pioneering our men’s Conquer Series groups, which have started out very small, but through Paul’s steady faithfulness, we’ve seen them grow in number and outreach. Paul shines in the small group and one-on-one setting and is a strong mentor to our participants.

Now he looks forward to the joy and freedom he sees in the eyes of those who are willing to, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

Paul Powell

Paul Powell

Co-Founder and Men's Facilitator

paul@twentythree61.com

Carol has volunteered as a PACE (Post-Abortion Peer-Counseling & Education) facilitator at Care Net FRC in the past, and also received Light University’s Crisis Pregnancy Certification. She continues to facilitate our Abortion Healing and Redeeming Sexuality Bible Studies with great energy and enthusiasm as well as insightful care to those seeking healing.

Carol has participated in the Silent No More campaign for many years, and has shared her personal testimony at a variety of events and before the Wisconsin State Legislature. She was a panel speaker for our past banquet, sharing her story with our audience with tenderness and conveying a palpable desire for the healing of others who are hurting. She is a demonstrative, yet tender-hearted and transparent leader allowing her listeners to connect with common areas of suffering and guiding them to God’s grace and forgiveness in Christ Jesus.

She also has a strong gifting in administration and organization, and fills a great need of helping hands.

Carol Powell

Carol Powell

Co-Founder and Women's Facilitator

Derek Brendel

Derek Brendel

Co-Founder and Technology Coordinator

Derek has a valuable combination of natural leadership and behind-the-scenes know how. His leadership combined with his technical expertise has been invaluable in providing not only the vision but also the plausibility for forming this nonprofit. He’s also a people person of the most diverse kind, with abilities and passions in a wide range of areas. Through this diverse landscape of connections and people-types, he is the same person with whomever he converses, open and honest about his faith, beliefs and passion for life.

Derek serves on our Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat Team when men are in attendance, and has brought a unique combination of emotional strength and tenderness that all at once dispels any awkward stiffness in the group while initiating a connection and cohesiveness within the group. We are thankful for his person-ability, his insights and kindnesses.