The Speakers

08_webJay & Laura Laffoon

“I can remember when I got married. I can remember where I got married. But there are days when – for the life of me – I cannot remember WHY I got married!!” All married people, if they’re honest with themselves (and their spouses), will admit to having that thought at one time or another. Jay and Laura are no different!

The Laffoons are real people with real lives walking through a real marriage. They like to call themselves “marriage edu-tainers”, combining education with entertainment. And the Laffoons put their real marriage of almost 30 years on display.

“You probably stood at the altar like we did; hearts and minds filled with giddy expectation of the journey ahead. But too often that romantic Street Car Named Desire gets derailed by the big Locomotive Named Reality” explains Jay and Laura. “Yet we’re convinced that creating and regularly celebrating a thriving marriage reaches beyond a husband and wife to positively impact three critical arenas in our culture; our homes, churches, and our local communities. We’re determined to be a part of that impact.”

Dr. Gary Chapman

Gary Chapman has traveled extensively around the world challenging couples to pursue healthy, growing marriages. His first book, Toward a Growing Marriage (Moody, 1979, 1996), began as an informal resource he gave to couples with whom he was counseling. Once officially published, this book became a blessing to thousands of people and helped launch Gary’s popular “Toward a Growing Marriage” seminar.

Since 1979, Gary has written more than 20 books. His book, The Five Love Languages (Northfield Publishing, 1992, 1993), has sold 4 million copies in English alone and has been translated into 36 languages including Arabic and Hindi. He has also appeared on several television and radio programs and has his own daily radio program called “A Love Language Minute ” that can be heard on more than 100 radio stations across the United States.

In addition to his busy writing and seminar schedule, Gary Chapman is a senior associate pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he has served for 36 years. Gary and his wife, Karolyn, have been married for 45 years, have two adult children, and two grandchildren.

Other Speakers Include:

Hellers5Alan and Pauly Heller, Walk & Talk

“Warts and all” is what you get when Alan and Pauly Heller speak about their lives and marriage. Co-authors of two books (Learning How to Trust … Again [with Dr. Ed Delph] and The Marital Mystery Tour), the Hellers also co-facilitate marriage seminars and communication workshops. Using current real-life issues mixed with honesty and humor, they teach and demonstrate how communication skills work in day-to-day life.

But their seminar is more than “we talk, you listen.” The Hellers present and demonstrate skills then ask participants to try them out in discussing their own real-life issues with their spouse. If you’re part of their class, you’ll leave with practical tools to help you successfully talk more of the time about things that really matter to you.

Alan Heller, MAFC, has 35 years’ experience as a personal life coach and counselor. He is founder and president of Walk & Talk, a ministry with the motto “Connecting People to God and Each Other,” and former director of mentoring at Phoenix Seminary. Pauly Heller, a former copy editor at Arizona Highways magazine, instinctively copyedits everything from restaurant menus to Alan’s behavior.

The Hellers have presented seminars in cities across the U.S., and for church and ministry leaders in Thailand and Nepal. Losing their oldest son, Josh, to colorectal cancer in 2010 has reshaped their lives in unforeseen ways. They have two surviving adult children and three of the world’s brightest and cutest grandchildren.

David and Terri Sumlin

The Sumlins are co-founders of Marriage Life Ministries.com and authors of the Marriage Innovators Workshop®, Intimacy of Marriage®, and Oneness of Marriage® series designed to help couples enrich their marriages through the application of biblical principles and adventure-based learning. They both have served over the last 15 years as international marriage educators, retreat leaders, pastoral counselors, and conference speakers.

David and Terri’s unique approach to marital enrichment is built upon some of the advances found in neuroscience, psychology, physiology, and adventure-based therapy, which were then tested through the lens of God’s word for validation. The result is an Adventure-Based Marital Enrichment model that helps couples derive positive behavioral transformation and increased levels of sustained learning.

David is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary for which he earned his M.A. and Doctorate in Marriage and Family Ministry. David pastored a church in Houston, Texas before founding Marriage Life Ministries. Terri is a graduate of the University of North Texas and served a 23 year teaching career before joining David as a full-time marriage educator. David and Terri will celebrate 27 years of marriage this year, have two adult children, and currently reside in east Tennessee.

Randy and Monica Zachary

After 10 years in Christian radio and church youth ministry, Monica filed for divorce, they were hopeless. As they sought counseling and had their individual broken places healed, they began to see their marriage healed. They were doing morning radio and shared their story on air as it unfolded.They were then invited to share their story on Dr. Oz, The Oprah Network, & New Life Live, with Steve Arterburn & Dr. Henry Cloud.

The Zachary’s passion to encourage marriages is fueled by their journey back from the brink of divorce. They believe NO marriage is hopeless, having seen what God did for them.They feel compelled to pay forward the TRUTH that with God, nothing is impossible. It truly is “Never too late to live happily ever after”.

Randy & Monica have written 3 books, and speak at camps, conferences & churches. They are currently pastors at The Lighthouse Church in Coarsegold, California, on the “front porch” of Yosemite National Park. Randy is a member of the John Maxwell Team, producing & co-hosting Johns’ nationally syndicated radio features. The Zachary’s have been married for 36 years, and have 3 adult children & one grandson.