Nolen Rollins and I first met through our mutual association with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He told me about the GPS (God’s Plan for Significance) Life Journey Program. My wife, Mary, and I hosted a GPS session in the spring of 2019. The timing of developing a personal mission statement, a major part of GPS, was ideal.
I was retiring within months, so crafting my own mission statement greatly impacted my thinking about how to approach the next chapter of my life. My mission is to “Glorify God by focusing on family, health and other Spirit-led opportunities which leave a legacy of impact.” This statement has guided me every day of my retirement journey. The photo is from Halloween of 2021 and captures how much fun we are having with our three precious grandkids.
When we first moved back to Pittsburgh to be close to family after retiring, Mary and I had childcare responsibilities four days a week due to the pandemic. In addition, I have placed a much higher priority on both my spiritual and physical health. Exercise is now a scheduled part of most days, and I’ve come to enjoy it. Above all, I’ve grown in my faith, increased my prayer life and continue to listen for God’s Spirit-led opportunities for my life.
One such Spirit-led opportunity has been to explore ways to honor and recognize the life’s work of my mentor, Frances Hesselbein. Frances is the former CEO of Girl Scouts, USA and the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian award. Her mantra is “To Serve is to Live”. I would welcome the opportunity to share with you 10 of her leadership lessons and how they apply to these turbulent times. If interested in receiving this information, just send me an email @ Ldpphd@gmail.com.
Another Spirit-led opportunity is the prayerful re-opening of my consulting practice, Patouillet Consulting 2.0, utilizing 40+ years in the field of higher education to help colleges, universities and community-based nonprofits advance their respective missions.
It is my hope that this work will make a lasting difference in the future of these organizations and the people they serve, thus contributing to a legacy of impact.
While my wife and I try to treasure every opportunity we have with our three grandchildren, consulting will facilitate special trips with our son, daughter-in-law and grandkids to explore God’s complicated, but beautiful world and to create more magical memories. My prayer is that when my time on this earth is over, that I will have used God’s blessings in my life to serve and bless others- and that my family especially our grandchildren see this as how life should be lived.
Lee Patouillet, Ph.D.
President, Patouillet Consulting
Working 6 to 7 days a week along with long hours isn’t the exact recipe for a successful work-life balance, let alone family.
As with any business, to be successful you need to be willing to put the energy into your work, the people you manage, and customers you interact with. Prior to 2016, I was feeling more and more personal pressure to find a work-life balance knowing that my current path would not be easy and likely fall short of what I wanted to achieve.
My story really begins when I was elevated to a leadership role in 2013 within the company. As the youngest General Manager in the company, I was opening two restaurants and a conference center while managing nearly 150 employees. My focus was solely on the operations of the business and building a strong team around me.
Fast forward 3 years to 2016. Work was going very well but continuing at the pace I was going was likely going to burn me out. I was forced to focus on long term priorities for the business and myself. Achieving a balance of work and life would require very intentional decisions and proper training for at least the next 5 years.
I was willing to commit but knew it was going to be long weeks, little time off, and continued to focus on the goals at hand. With God knowing the roadmap I slated out for myself He threw a curveball at me…my dad mentioned GPS Life Journey to me. He explained that it was geared toward retirees that were looking to find God’s plan and personal purpose for their next phase in life. However, he pitched it as a class that we could complete together and it may provide clarity for myself. I agreed to complete the class with him and the rest is history.
GPS Life Journey is exactly what I needed at the time and God knew it. He led me there and was able to provide clarity beyond any book I had read or devotion I had completed. GPS provided me with an understanding of my talents and God-given gifts. I had always been aware of my strengths and some of my struggles but GPS was able to not only highlight this but also put it on paper as a personal roadmap. That roadmap identified critical components of my personality and how I can inject those into my life and a career.
Then God showed up. Pastor Bruce Schoeman encouraged me to visit with a gentleman that he felt had a similar story as mine. We were introduced and I was fortunate to spend two hours asking questions and trying to understand my “WHY”. To this day I can remember the advice that was given to me, “The longer you do not pursue your WHY, the further away it moves”. For once I felt the confidence to make a decision, a decision that was never so clear. I needed to leave my job and pursue another career.
Two weeks later I would type a letter that I wouldn’t not have been able to prior to GPS. I put in my month's notice. Not a job lined up, not a resume built, not an application submitted. I didn’t know where life would take me but I knew my time with my current employer needed to come to an end. I ended up taking 4 months off to travel, spend time with family and friends, and pursue my next career.
Long story short, the gentleman I sought advice from worked for a local investment firm which at the time was not looking to add anyone new to their firm, nor was I looking to work a “desk” job. However, through a few conversations with the owner he felt led to bring me on. Note that I did not have investment or financial schooling prior. But he wasn’t looking for that, he was looking for someone that shared the same values, morals, and faith. He was confident in teaching me how to manage investments but he was more confident in my talents and God-given abilities, many of which were identified during my GPS journey.
If it wasn’t for GPS Life Journey, I wouldn’t have left my job or found my current career. God had set me up to attend this class and meet a future co-worker prior to me knowing. GPS Life Journey was the tool for me during that phase of my life. Since then, I see GPS as a tool for not only those looking for purpose in retirement but those looking for purpose in life and their career. This process helps identify who you are and how you may use those skills to be successful in life. Whether you are 23 or 63, you should go through your own personal discovery of your gift and talents and GPS Life Journey is the perfect tool."
You can discover your GPS Life Journey at one of our in person or online via zoom events. Check out what is happening on our EVENTS page or use the Contact page to get in touch with your questions.
This month's story is from Keith Nelson's GPS testimony!
"I had the opportunity to go through a GPS small group presented by our church in 2017. During the course I was challenged to look at my current career along with what I felt God was calling me to in my next career. At that time, I believed I was 5-8 years from retirement. The program was laid out well by first focusing on my God given strengths, which seemed to be servanthood-through ushering, greeting, helping at church behind the scenes.
One of our assignments was to develop my personal GPS Life Journey Road Map for the rest of my life. We were encouraged to do that during our prayer time and allow the Lord to speak into that statement.
My wife Kammy and I were on a business trip when I found time one afternoon to just stop and rest at the desk in the hotel room and allow the Lord to speak to my heart. I felt the Lord simply laid out a plan that spoke to me so deeply and positively that I knew it was from Him. I sensed Him impressing me with-look at all the talent I have given you in the construction industry, don’t waste it on just those who can afford it.
He also revealed how my heart hurt for those in my life that had suffered lost or divorce. Both my sisters had divorced and one of my sisters husband committed suicide. Even though she was very strong and appeared to be able to manage all the issues of home ownership on her own, I knew she needed encouragement and support.
That made the vision of helping widows and single moms clear almost immediately. The Lord allowed me to write a simple plan: “My personal mission statement is to fulfill needs thru works of service to those in need so they will be introduced to the love of Christ.”
The vision for the next stages of my life:
*I envision people’s lives less stressful thru my works of service.
*I envision starting a ministry outreach for the single moms and widows.
*I envision people’s eyes being able to focus on the love of Christ thru random acts of kindness.
My action steps were:
1. Explore single mom’s ministry teams online.
2. Find out if there were any current groups offering similar services in our community.
3. Ask for prayer from church leadership to sharpen the vision.
The ironic thing about this entire testimony is that during the time of reflection and hearing from the Lord-I was a secret but functioning alcoholic. The Lord delivered me from that bondage November 10, 2019! This resulted in a new passion for the ministry to start.
I shared my vision for this ministry with our small home group and a good friend stated he wanted to join me in this ministry. We approached the church and asked our Senior Pastor Keith Kerstetter for his thoughts and asked if the church would support this ministry. His response was overwhelming. He said he’d been waiting 20 years for someone to come forward with this, as he also had a vision for this ministry
Since then, we’ve spoken to a men’s breakfast and had 43 guys sign up to help with the SWAT team. (Servants With A Toolbelt) We’ve participated in 9 different projects with about 15 guys helping on different projects. Some of the projects included helping a single mom of 6 children replace a broken tub, repair structural posts and repair broken sewer lines. We’re currently completing a bathroom for a single mom with 3 children who lost her husband a year ago. We may be able to send a couple guys on a missions trip to Romania this fall to help paint and do repairs on a girls home.
With the Lord’s help, this ministry will continue to bless all who we serve, but it truly blesses us that we get to help others."
Keith Nelson, Ter Wisscha Construction Company, Willmar, MN
If you're interested in participating in the GPS Life Journey process then check out the EVENTS happening in person and online. Or learn more here! We look forward to helping you discover God's plan for you.
This month's story is from Linda Seehusen GPS testimony!
"My GPS journey started about 20 years ago during a sermon where a missionary was speaking. She was about 70 years old with medical problems and was traveling around the world doing mission work. I sat there thinking that if she could do that, why wasn’t I doing anything.
Later that day, while I was doing dishes, I felt that God told me that I should be a nurse. This was the furthest thing from my mind.
Nigeria’s Pastor Dr. Yemi Alfred faced her greatest tragedy. Recently, she and her family were deeply saddened by the loss of her 18-year-old, beautiful daughter, Miss Shekinah Alfred, who was tragically killed in a ghastly motor accident. Both Dr. Alfred and her daughter were graduates of GPS Life Journey.
Pastor Alfred, who has a personality that faces every life situation with great confidence, now must rely on God’s grace and comfort alone. And, as it has been true in every other situation of life, God has faithfully sustained her and her family through this difficulty.
Doctor Yemi faces life with a sense of purpose. She understands why God has her here on earth. She is accustomed to living in a hostile environment with church bombings and terror an on-going threat in Nigeria.
Several years ago, a team of Americans went to Nigeria to facilitate a GPS Life Journey Summit. Dr Yemi participated in this workshop experience and discovered her personal profile and gifting, her personal mission statement and purpose in life, and how to turn her vision into reality.
“GPS Life Journey has helped me to focus and not be confused over what God wants me to do. I no longer just focus on church planting but on helping others discover their calling so that many now are involved in church planting.”
Since participating in the GPS Life Journey process, she has helped hundreds of others discover who they are and their purposes in life by facilitating multiple GPS groups. “I have taken GPS Life Journey to prisons, shared it with Muslims, Hindus and many other non-believers. I invite couples who are having problems in their relationships to participate in the GPS Life Journey process. I use it with teenagers and next gen young people”
A recent GPS Life Journey group facilitated by Dr. Yemi Alfred
“I have seen God do miraculous things in people’s lives of all ages from teenagers to older adults in their 70s. I am happy that all across the region I am referred to as Mrs. GPS.”
“I am grateful to Nolen Rollins, the author and founder of the GPS Life Journey, and to the American team who made GPS available to me. I am now on my mission of making it available to thousands of others in the future. GPS can change your life!”
Yemi Faith Alfred, Ph.D., FMCDI, FCILG
Dr. Yemi is an ordained minister of the Gospel. She pastors alongside her husband (Bishop Alfred Femi Martins).
Kenzy recalled, “I was coming out of 2020 when I had my third baby during the
Covid pandemic and I had experienced extreme depression. It was the most
difficult time of my entire life.
“I never really knew what depression was before when others talked about being
depressed. To be honest, I thought depression was a cop out for just having a
negative mindset. Then I found myself dealing with pregnancy and being totally
isolated from others. I am a people person and need interaction with my friends
and family. I could not believe how depressed I became.
“Then GPS came at the beginning of 2021 and gave me a clear sense of real
purpose in life. My mission is to raise my babies, intentionally pointing them
Kenzy continued, “It’s so easy for someone in my season of life to think that I am
nobody, that I am not worthy, that I am just a mom. Then I came to learn through
the GPS Life Journey class that my mission and ministry IS my home and my role
as a mom.”
Going into the GPS process, Kenzy felt that she would have to have this massive
structured plan for her life, that her identity had to be related to something apart
from motherhood, like a profession.
“I thought that I had to have a big dream to lead some other big venture. Then I
realized that God’s mission for me now was to rear my children and establish a
Christ-like home environment.”
“Now I am living my life with a sense of purpose and I have a sense of significance
that I lacked previously. GPS Life Journey gave me such joy again in doing life and
being a mom. It gave me a renewed desire to want to grow and improve.”
“The GPS Life Journey class gave me the accountability to prepare for each
session, and as a result, I came to a greater understanding of myself and my
husband. What we learned really helped our communication and relationship.”
Kenzy added, “I loved that the GPS process was in a group setting and everyone
could interact with each other and support each other.”
When asked if she would recommend the GPS Life Journey to others, Kenzy
enthusiastically responded, “I would highly recommend the GPS Life Journey to
others. So many people feel lost; they live without any sense of purpose and don’t
want to admit where they are in life.”
The GPS Life Journey is for everyone, in all stages and life situations. We firmly
believe that God has a purpose for the next stage of your life. Contact us to learn
how you can discover God’s purpose for the next stage of your life and how you
can be fully engaged in fulfilling that purpose. Contact Nolen Rollins, GPS Life
Journey President, at email@example.com.
NEW DIRECTION AFTER THE PANDEMIC thanks to gps life journey online
Sam knew that she was gifted and loved dancing but for her it felt like a selfish pursuit. “I also had no specific direction for it. I had been praying for almost a year for clear direction and truly asking God to reveal it. I was really frustrated and disheartened and felt like I had little vision and hope.”
When she discovered GPS Life Journey online, it was the only Christian course she knew that seemed to suit her needs perfectly! She said, “I was doubtful that this course could still be offered to me in Australia (before finding out about the zoom options) but I was so keen to try and reach out anyway because I felt like I had nothing to lose and everything to gain!
I really wanted God to speak to me through this course and give me the vision and direction I had been praying for so long for.”
Thanks to connecting via Instagram @gpsjourney she was able to chat with Emily Miller. In October 2021, they started the GPS Life Journey process online via Zoom. Meeting weekly for up to an hour to discuss the eight sessions.
Vaartjes shared “The weekly classes were really manageable (as long as I had done all my homework!) and the short snippet videos gave a good little intro into the class for the week. I felt excited for the weeks to come (especially the one where we hear from God) because I was expectant concerning what I was going to hear.”
She felt encouraged and felt like she had ticked off another piece of the puzzle towards understanding herself and her calling better. “It was really eye opening finding similar patterns, or themes through my answers, which helped give me clarity, confirmation and confidence.”
“I am so extremely thankful for the GPS life journey. It was the vehicle through which God answered my prayers and gave me vision I had been praying for, for so long.
It was such a wonderful journey, through which I discovered the way God has intentionally designed me, the passions He has given me, and the values I hold dear - they are not a mistake, but carefully given to me for what I am specifically called to.
This process has restored my hope … it has given me vision for the future, and every day is exciting as I take one step forward into the calling God has for me.
I cannot recommend the GPS life journey enough! If you embark upon it though, be prepared - come expectant and get ready to hear God speak and release you into the wonderful exciting future He has planned for you!
The best thing about it is that it can be taken from anywhere in the world ... I was blessed to be able to go through this process via zoom. It was so personal and really allowed for extra time to be given to explore my calling and answers with my wonderful facilitator (Emily).
Thank you Nolen Rollins for creating such a God inspired course. It is something that has changed my life, and will be something I come back to time and time again as I age, and step into new seasons in my life.” Blessings, Sam
Sam has been working since December at Luna Park as well as a few more job opportunities here and there. "I have moved back to Sydney and am loving being part of the industry. I am working to settle in a new church up here and really get connected to be anchored in God’s community before going back out to do my work."
If you would like to participate in GPS Life Journey online, then please check the EVENTS page to find out when the next group begins.
Meet Emily Miller from our team at GPS Life Journey. She lives in SW Florida with her husband Jeffrey Miller and is originally from the UK. She is a licensed Ziglar Coach, empowering young women to find their purpose in Christ.
Emily and her husband completed the two days live blitz in May 2019. She discovered her mission is to guide young adults and others to experience GPS Life Journey and to fulfil their destiny.
She serves on the Board of Directors (since April 2021) and helps with the marketing and communications.
She worked with a team of volunteers to help bring GPS Life Journey online using Zoom in 2020. She facilitated GPS Life Journey with three young women in Bolivia thanks to a translator. You can read more about how GPS Life Journey Equips Orphans for a Successful Destiny here.
She has also facilitated with a young woman in Sydney, Australia, at the end of 2021. You can expect to read that story soon!
We'd love to hear from you and your stories, quotes, etc. Please do get in touch by leaving a comment, or using our Contact form.
When you meet someone who truly inspires you, do you wonder about their life journey and how they became the person you just met? Their energy and passion are palpable. You sense they might be living out their destiny and loving every moment of it. If so, more than likely, you have met Alice Skaff, founder of Haven of Hope International (HOHI), a global orphan care non-profit.
The organization’s mission is to strengthen and empower orphanages around the world to rescue, love, restore, and equip the abused and abandoned children they serve. Alice, along with her small staff and an active board and advisory board, has helped to change the lives of hundreds of orphan children across the world, setting them on their journey to reach their destiny.
Prior to founding HOHI, Skaff served as an advocate for the elderly in Lee, Charlotte, and Collier counties, a position she held for 23 years. She served as a Professional Guardian, Guardianship Paralegal, Professional Fiduciary and Life Care Coordinator working for local law firms and through her business, Guardian Angel Services.
“I got involved locally through the courts, local attorneys, financial planners and senior living homes. When vulnerable adult populations were unable to make sound decisions regarding their health and finances, I would get a call. By working with the family or professionals that witnessed the problem, we would get the person in a safe living environment, secure and protect their assets with the local judicial system, if needed.” explained Skaff. Coordinating care to improve quality of life while budgeting finances and utilizing public benefit has equipped her to do the same for orphans.
In 2004, she joined her church on a mission trip to Santa Cruz, Bolivia to build an orphanage. A native of Guayaquil, Ecuador, though raised in the United States, the mission trip was her first return to South America. It would not be her last.
Following that mission trip her journey expanded to help vulnerable children. Skaff explains, “My work coordinating care for seniors was challenging, demanding yet very rewarding. This new opportunity of investing time into our future through children in the same way was exciting and an answer to prayer.”
“When I was on that transformative mission trip, I’d see the kids on the street, and I was profoundly impacted. I prayed to God. I said, ‘If I can do anything to help these kids...”
Ms. Skaff vowed to advocate for the vulnerable population of orphans and their care. She immediately advocated for her church to “adopt” the Santa Cruz, Bolivia orphanage. The first Advisory Board was formed, and she hasn’t stopped since. The board not only provided funding but provided opportunities for others to share their expertise to help the children. The result has been a transformational and sustainable model of orphan care. Skaff explains, “When we realized the majority of children would never be adopted, we knew we couldn’t simply rescue the kids. We incorporated programming that would facilitate restoration and equipping them to pursue their dreams gives the children every opportunity to succeed as adults and fulfill the plan originally intended for their lives.”
In 2013, she founded the HOHI nonprofit organization, headquartered in Fort Myer’s, Florida, to bring the Santa Cruz model of orphan care to other orphanages around the world. “We realized there was a need for this model of care in orphanages and in 2016, she transitioned from working as a part-time HOHI volunteer to its full-time Executive Director. Today, HOHI’s staff, board and advisory council members, family, friends, and colleagues make up her team of supporters and donors, helping these children.
Not surprisingly, Ms. Skaff’s personal mission is to encourage people to experience a deeper relationship with God and help them discover, recover and engage in His purpose for their lives.”
She is a certified GPS Life Coach and God’s Plan for Success Facilitator and served on the initial GPS Steering Committee. She believes there is a distinct difference between compassion and empathy. Skaff explains, “In compassion, you feel their hurt. In empathy, you feel their hurt and you say, ‘what can I do to help you get beyond the pain.’.”
Skaff continues, “Going through GPS Life Journey and coaching from Nolen Rollin helped me prioritize my time and focus on next steps. It confirmed where I should focus my time – on my strengths and gifts and where I needed additional support from others – my weaknesses. The process confirmed what I thought were my natural gifts and strengths. My GPS strength finder is empathy, communicator, includer, connector and developer. That’s who I’ve always been.”
What began as a mission trip has become a life-long commitment for Ms. Skaff with 18 years of dedicated service to helping abused, abandoned, and orphaned children fulfill their destiny. “Did you know there are 153 million orphans?” Skaff asks. “By population, they are the ninth-largest nation in the world. As less than 1% of children living in orphanages will never be adopted, we need to make certain they learn skills while they’re with us. If the children age out without employable skills, 60% of the boys will turn to a life of crime; 70% of the girls will turn to prostitution and 10-15% of all children will attempt suicide.”
“I’m a vision caster, campaigner, advocate. God has brought an incredible team around His calling to become their “family”. We occasionally must adjust and expand and recently our team went through the GPS Team Workshop to ensure we are growing with a balanced team and the team value each other’s strengths to work well together. A few of our organization’s values are Family, Teamwork, Development, Empowerment. We want for our team here to fulfill the plan God intended for their lives as well.”
Jeff and Brian Basik have been members of Skaff’s team for years, serving on the HOHI board. Brian says, “You couldn’t have a better executive director for a children’s ministries. She has a heart for these kids. When it comes to doing something, her passion takes over and it is wonderful to see. HOHI’s work is more than saving and feeding these orphan children. It’s about working through their trauma, giving them an education, and helping them reach their potential.”
One of Skaff’s greatest strengths is her energy. Brian Basik confirms, “She is the energizer bunny, able to go 60 mph for a long period of time.” Which is a good thing for the organization.” In 2018, Skaff agreed to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise funds for HOHI. The fundraising campaign theme—'Think Big Dream Bigger ‘should be of no surprise. Five days up and 2 days down, Skaff climbed Mt. Kili, the highest mountain in Africa and the highest single free-standing mountain in the world.
“Those kids got me up that mountain to plant a flag on their behalf,” Skaff said. “I never hiked, and I don’t like to camp but God said, ‘You need to do this.’ So, I did.”
Skaff wanted to send a message to the children living in HOHI partner homes that they are not forgotten and the HOHI “Family of Hope” has their backs and will help them achieve their dreams. “When we work with these children and help them recover from the trauma they experienced, we ask them, “What do you want to be when you grow up? They say, ‘Engineer, doctor, nurse, chef, teacher, pastor…the list goes on. They too have big dreams.”
She continues, “Good leaders tell you that you can do anything, but it’s going to be challenging. Their climb is going to be harder than what I did. They have no voice of their own. Their parents are gone. So, we will be their voice.”
Since 2013, the organization has given a voice to more than 6,000 children in 54 orphanages in 27 countries providing a “haven of hope”, helping them to think big and dream bigger. Today, in addition to HOH Bolivia, HOHI is focusing on improving 5 additional orphan care homes in Peru, Kenya, Tanzania, and Trinidad. Those connected to HOHI firmly believe that teachers, and doctors, and community leaders on a mission to give back, will come from these homes.
Brian Basik explained, “We’re not taking the children out of the country. They’ll change the world from where they’re at. We also want them to break the chain of poverty and abuse. We tell them, ‘Your past doesn’t dictate your future’.”
Skaff finds herself challenged in being patient. She explains, “Expanding our orphan care model is a process, it takes time and resources. Global organizations that have seen the model of care are requesting we help homes they are connected with. When I think about the fact that every 3 seconds an orphan ages out, it keeps me on my knees. The need is great, but our God is greater and until we can get to these homes waiting, we trust God to care for His children.”
To donate to Haven of Hope International click here.
Nolen Rollins, Founder & President of GPS Life Journey