Recommendations from Pastors, Women's Ministry & Community Leaders
Women’s Ministry Leaders
“Thank you again for being our speaker at the retreat. All the women had a great time and spoke very highly of you. You are a very godly and talented woman. I pray that God continues to bless you and your ministry!”
Karen Dickey, Women’s Ministry Team, Christ Memorial Lutheran Church, St. Louis, MO
“At the Women of the ELCA's Triennial Gathering in San Antonio, TX , July 2005, Laurette shared her program PraiseMoves as one of the workshop offerings. This contribution became one of the two most popular workshops and received overwhelmingly positive reviews. In addition, her new book BASIC Steps to Godly Fitness is still being requested (My personal copy has been borrowed so many times I haven't had a chance to read it myself.). Her very presence was a blessing to the event.”
Sally B. Sedgwick, Director for Programs, Women of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America)
“I was at The Salvation Army Retreat at the Lifeway Conference Center. I was blessed by your programs. I feel like a new person, I have been reborn and refreshed with the Holy Spirit – cleansed and made whole. I am on fire for the Lord. Keep up the good work. Remember me in your prayers. God Bless you, and may you continue to do His work and His will.”
Virginia Champion, Shelby, NC
“Laurette – I’m still smiling! What an awesome conference. I wanted to let you know we were touched by your keynote, PraiseMoves, your music and especially your welcoming, compassionate spirit.”
Jenny Neubauer, Women’s Ministry Director, New Beginnings Church, Stevens Pt., Wisconsin
“Laurette came to our Church retreat in answer to prayer. What an answer she was! Little did we know she was a woman of so many talents…
“We were entertained by ‘Elizabeth' from the Bible, regaled with music, uplifted with PraiseMoves, and gifted by the Holy Spirit through an amazing prayer time.
“We are now working on bringing her back.”
Nancy Thomson, Women's Ministry Director, First Baptist Church, Boise, ID
“Thank you for sharing your many gifts with the women of southern New England! You have truly been a blessing! While your professional background shows through, your commitment to the Lord and sensitivity to His Spirit outshine it. Praise God for the wonderful work He has done in your life so that you may be able to share the gifts He has given you!”
Nancy Hidle, Women's Ministry Director, Southern New England District Council of the Assemblies of God
“Since I am a visual learner, I especially love the way I felt drawn into the history and culture of the Bible through Elizabeth, Priscilla and Mary Magdalene.
“The Bible came alive with each character as we anticipated the birth of a longed–for son, poured the precious oil on Jesus’ feet and served with Paul and visited him in prison.
“What a great time we had with Laurette! May God continue to give her opportunities and ideas as she performs for Him.”
Jean Bond, Pastor’s wife, Countryside Baptist Church, Stillwater, OK
“Laurette is a fascinating speaker who combines the gift of acting and humor with spiritual words of wisdom and biblical truths. I highly recommend her… I thank her for giving women across the denominational lines of Christianity the lift they need in Christ Jesus.”
Mary Beth McElroy, Women’s Ministry Director, Will Rogers United Methodist Church, Tulsa, OK
“Laurette is very professional, but also has a very sweet Christian spirit that comes across in her performances. I would highly recommend her as a speaker to our District Directors of Women's Ministries across the nation.”
Linda Stamps-Dissmore, Women's Ministry Director, Oklahoma District Council of the Assemblies of God
“Our Women’s Ministry Team at Christ First FSBC cannot begin to thank you enough for the terrific conference presentations you provided. We have had tremendous feedback from our attendees on both your ‘Extreme Makeover by God’s Design’ (keynote) and your PraiseMoves (workshop). Some mentioned even having already worked out to your video 🙂
“Your multi-talented and perky personality contributed greatly to the success of our first-ever women’s conference. Not only did you share from a heart that is deeply in love with our Lord Jesus Christ, but you also brought humor and excitement into your presentation.
“We are already talking about a way to have you back for a church-wide event where we could tap into your ‘radio’ personalities (The Nutty ‘40s Radio Show).
“Thank you again for delivering to us what you promised.”
Marcia Y. Johnson, Christ First Women’s Ministry Team, First Southern Baptist Church, Topeka, Kansas
“Just this morning, I was having breakfast with my director of women's ministries for 9 states and we told her about you.
“In September, I am attending a Women's Ministries conference for The Salvation Army. We are preparing a packet of information about you and your ministry to be given to those in attendance. It is a conference that has women who are directly responsible for ministry in the 9 southern states. I hope that this is OK with you.
“Once again, our women still talk about you and your ministry to us. Thank you. Anytime you need a recommendation, please just let me know.”
Amy Kelly, Major, The Salvation Army, Divisional Secretary for Women's Ministries Arkansas-Oklahoma Division
“Laurette Willis has a very unique gifting in her ability to portray Great Women of the Bible. When she ministered at the New York Women Of Purpose Conference, there was a very real anointing of the Holy Spirit. She ‘became’ Mary Magdalene and Priscilla. We, the onlookers, felt as though we were transported back in time and were with women who actually knew Jesus, Paul and Timothy! Laurette's attention to the details of the costumes and styles, and stage decorations further added to the authenticity. She is a talented actress, very professional in her presentation, and exceptionally used by God to present the message of salvation and the deep commitment of His servants.
“Laurette also presented her exceptional workshop, ‘Fitness for His Witness.’ This was a huge success, motivating hundreds of women to care for the temple God has given us. She interspersed her powerful testimony of how God was with her for years and helped her to become the impressive woman she now is.”
Eleanor Grossglass, Women's Ministry Director, New York District Council of the Assemblies of God
“All our women enjoyed hearing you. We did not receive one negative comment about any aspect of our weekend on our evaluation sheets – and most of that was due to you. I think most of us wished ‘The Extreme Make-over by God’s Design’ could have been instantaneous, but most of us are still working on it! Also, we would love to hear more about ‘Fitness for His Witness.’ Maybe we can have you back some time. God has blessed you with many talents. I think we got just the right person in you to speak at our first retreat in 5 years, and I would be glad to recommend you to anyone. Thanks for a weekend of spiritual blessing.”
Darena Bankston, Women’s Ministry Director, First Baptist Church, Tulsa Oklahoma
Pastors, Church and Ministry Leaders
“Laurette was invited to present Great Women of the Bible for our Sunday morning worship service. Our church members were mesmerized by her performance. Especially effective was her benediction at the end of her dramatization, which led into the altar call at the end of the service.
“She also brought her ‘Fitness for His Witness’ seminar to kick-off our women’s ministry retreat this year.
“Laurette is multi-talented, and humbly uses these talents to bring the gospel message to as many people as she can. Her heart is completely set on bringing glory to our Lord.”
Dr. Charles E. Higgs, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Portland, TX
“It was a privilege to be with you when you performed Great Women of the Bible for the Episcopal Church Women’s Annual Meeting in Tulsa. Your presentation was superb. Your writing and performance and interpretation were moving and your songs were wonderful. You made Elizabeth and Mary of Magdala and Priscilla living disciples and you shared the Gospel through their experiences. The old, old story was made new and presented in a powerful manner.”
Bishop Robert M. Moody, The Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma
Note: Bishop Moody requested Laurette to present “Ruth” at his Retirement banquet in 2007
“Laurette: It was a joy having you for services last night. Your presentation was Biblically accurate…and powerfully anointed. Thank you for your ministry around the altars at the end of your presentation.
“We look forward to hearing you again. Blessings.”
Larry Hatfield, Senior Pastor, Grand Assembly of God, Chickasha, OK
“This letter is to recommend in the most positive way, the ministry of Laurette Willis. She is a delightful blend of professional actress and anointed minister. Her dramatic presentations bring a greater depth of understanding to the Bible stories we’ve always known. Her portrayal of characters like Mary Magdalene and other great women of the Bible seem to bring these people back to life and reveal their very souls.
“Watching her perform is like taking a ride on an emotional roller coaster all the way from joyous laughter to tears of grief and then joy again. She loves God and it shows. Her ministry will be a blessing to any church.”
Robert O. Johnson, Founder and President, Clarion World Ministries, Inc., Past President, Independent Assemblies Fellowship of Churches and Ministries
“Laurette Willis has an excellent stage presence that makes one hang on her every word. I highly recommend her work as an entertaining, educational presentation you won’t soon forget.”
Linda M. Harker, Senior Pastor, Faith United Methodist, Tulsa, OK
“Thanks again for a wonderful weekend. People at the church have had nothing but wonderful things to say. Many people were deeply touched.
“Your ability to make Mary Magdalene come alive for our congregation helped many to see the wonderful things that God is doing in our lives today. The Holy Spirit was evident in your life and faith and connected us to the life of Jesus 2000 years ago by making Jesus real for the right her, right now.”
Don Brown, Senior Pastor, Bethel Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, PA
“Thank you for your dramatic presentation in chapel. I appreciated the way you combined creative art with Biblical accuracy. Understanding was greatly helped by the background information you brought into your presentation, and it flowed naturally. May the Lord bless you as you continue to reach many with the message of the Gospel!”
Jonathan Stoll, Bible Teacher, Markoma Christian Academy, Tahlequah, OK
“We recently had the opportunity to have Laurette Willis minister at our church and what a blessing she was! Laurette ministered at our Women’s conference, whre she performed as Elizabeth and Mary Magdalene from the Bible. She truly has an amazing way of bringing the women of the Bible to reality. You feel like you have had a personal visit with each of them.
“Laurette followed by simply sharing her heart. There was such a ministry that went forth to the ladies. We are already planning to have Laurette back to minister at the conference next year.”
Dale Drain, Senior Pastor, Calvary Temple Church, Edmond, OK
“I wanted to thank you so very much for sharing your ministry with our congregation. We truly enjoyed seeing the Bible come to life through your portrayals of Elizabeth and Mary Magdalene.
“Your ministry truly brings glory to the Lord and I hope that you can continue to share the gospel story in this unique way. Lives will be touched and changed through your work. May God’s blessings be with you.”
Ron Rice, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Tahlequah, OK
“I wholeheartedly recommend Laurette Willis. Laurette spoke at our Aglow Lighthouse meeting in Tulsa and even though we only had time for her to give us a limited overview of her ministry, God ministered through her to many of us. We soon realized the professional she is, that she loves Jesus with all her heart, and ministers in the five-fold Ministry.
“Laurette also has an entertaining sense of humor that God uses to make a meeting memorable. It was not just another meeting!
“It is my prayer that local Aglow Lighthouses will invite her to speak and our Eastern and Western Area Boards will get to find out about her ministry.”
Kay Cousins, President, Tulsa Women Aglow, Tulsa, OK
“Great Women of the Bible is an inspiring performance. Spirit-filled and Spirit-driven!”
Rev. Kathleen Murray, St. Basil’s Episcopal Church, Tahlequah, OK
“It was our pleasure to have Laurette Willis come to our church in December for a wonderful weekend of laughter, entertainment, and anointed ministry.
“She performed The Nutty ‘40s Radio Show at our Christmas Banquet on Saturday night, and brought the house down! She performed songs, imitated famous voices and sound effects, and used audience interaction to make a very enjoyable experience for all who attended.
“Then on Sunday morning, she performed ‘Mary Magdalene’ from her one-woman show, Great Women of the Bible. The Bible stories came alive on our stage as Laurette ministered in drama, costume and song. Our church family was on the edge of their seats the whole time, and the spirit of the Lord was very powerful, indicating that Laurette had spent time with the Lord before coming to our church.
“I highly recommend her ministry to any church or outreach ministry, and will definitely ask her to come back to our church soon.”
Mickey Keith, Senior Pastor, Life Community Church, Ada, OK, President, Independent Assemblies Fellowship of Churches and Ministries
“Mrs. Willis gave a wonderful performance for the women of our parish. It is a delight to see how she brings so many theatrical talents together into one show. Perfection!”
Father Stuart Crevcoure, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Sapulpa, OK
“Thank you very much for your wonderful presentations at the Tri-State District Ministerial Retreat. You have been a tremendous blessing to each of us. May God continue to bless your ministry.”
Rev. Max Colaw, District Superintendent, Tri-State District of the Wesleyan Church
“What a delight to meet these wonderful women of the Bible! Your study and research are evident.
“This is a joy!”
Mary Manes, Director, The Missions Memorial, Tulsa, OK
“Laurette’s presentation at New Life Worship Center was the best-received event that I have ever done for Mother’s Day in my 25 years of pastorate.
“I heard many comments from the mothers how it inspired and encouraged them. Laurette’s anointing for acting and storytelling makes the Bible come alive in a way I have never seen before. You will not be disappointed…”
Garland Thomas, Senior Pastor, New Life Worship Center, Tahlequah, OK
“An excellent dramatic presentation with distinct accuracy to scripture; and giving clarity to the personalities she so obvious has well researched. Very polished, a quality drama professional in every way. Very touching. Simply presents the gospel and inspires the believer onward and to greater commitment.”
Willena Robinson, Researcher of Historical Documentaries, CHIEF Productions (Cherokee Heritage Indian Education Foundation), Tulsa, OK
Teachers and Students
“Mrs. Willis is a delightful speaker. She is particularly interesting in an Alternative Education Program because she instills enthusiasm and confidence in the students. She captures their attention and teaches them skills in reading and storytelling. They are totally absorbed in her presentation.
“These students are difficult to reach, but she quickly gained their trust, and they engaged in activities that amazed me.
“It was inspiring to witness the students’ reactions to her.”
Karen Spencer, Teacher, Harrah High School Alternative Education Program, Harrah, OK
“Her stories were magnificent and kept the students spellbound. I found her to be so versatile, not only covering Native American areas, but character development and avoiding drugs as well.”
Gretchen Veit, Project Create Staff, Morrison Elementary School, Morrison
Great Women of the Frontier, Storytelling, and monthly Cherokee Culture and Language Classes for Grades PK-6 for 3 years:
“Laurette Willis has been providing educational programs for Owasso High School for more than 10 years. She has an amazing ability to communicate with her audience. Laurette has a strong sense of morality and responsibility, plus, the most amazing talent in dialects, voice an acting.
“You can’t miss with Laurette Willis!”
Sallyanne H. Wallace, AP Language Arts teacher, Owasso High School, Owasso, OK
Performances presented at Owasso High School include: Great Women of the Frontier, Folktales of Scotland; Great Women of the Oil Fields; The Nutty ‘40s Radio Show; Introducing: Miss Emily Dickinson; Reflections: Letters from WW2 plus Drama Workshops and Residencies for Seniors.
“Ms. Willis acted so well that I felt overwhelming sympathy for Belle Starr. She definitely presented a new side to the Western icon that I had never really thought about before.”
Student critique, Living Literature Conference 2008, Northeastern State University, OK
The REAL Belle Starr
“When writing activities followed Laurette’s performance, the amount of information retained by the students was amazing!”
Teacher, 4th Grade, Bartlesville, OK
Great Women of the Frontier, Storytelling, and Storytelling workshops
“After observing Laurette’s performance at a Great Expectations summer session, I asked my principal to schedule her for our students’ enjoyment next year, even if I had to pay for her expenses myself. I wanted the students to witness her performance.”
Joyce McPhetridge, Retired teacher, Will Rogers Elementary School, McAlester, OK
(FYI – Mrs. McPhetridge didn’t have to pay for the performance – the Oklahoma Arts Council and school covered the expenses!)
“As I reflect back on the highlights of the past year, you come to mind. Your willingness to participate in our Indian Heritage Week Program is greatly appreciated.
“How many years has it been since we started this venture of you sharing your expertise with the students in Muskogee Public Schools? (Since 1993) Our teachers love having you come to their schools and the students gain valuable knowledge from the Culture and Traditions that you share.
“Thank you for caring about our Native American youth and for sharing your expertise so our youth will long remember the traditions of our people.”
Maxine Glory, Director, Indian Education Programs, Muskogee, OK
Great Women of the Frontier, Storytelling, Cherokee language, plus NACAIR (Native American Culture Artist-In-Residence Program) and storytelling workshops for students and teachers.
“Thank you so much for attending our school. The children and staff enjoyed your program and hope that you will come back again. I personally was amazed at how well you held a group of 2nd and 3rd graders as a captive audience. Just to see the smiles on their faces and hear the laughter in the room was a joy. In addition, the themes you used such as deception and honesty, goes along with our character education program. The best thing is that it allowed the students to learn about history, storytelling, acting, and character building in an innovative and fun way. Thank you again for a wonderful day.”
Janet Richardson, Counselor, William R. Teague Elementary School, Wagoner, OK
“Our Alternative Education students enjoyed the opportunity to actively learn a variety of concepts in literature with the vivacious Laurette Willis. The Oklahoma Arts Council funded this project of integrating the arts into the curriculum. Mrs. Willis’ enthusiasm generated a better school attendance, too!”
Harrah Schools Alternative Education Director, Harrah Public Schools, Harrah, OK
“Thank you for your wonderful presentations for us. Great Women of the Frontier brings the history we’ve been studying to life for the children. They look forward to seeing you all year!” 🙂
The 4th Grade Teachers from Hoover, Wilson and Ranch Heights Elementary Schools, Bartlesville, OK
Presenting in Bartlesville every year since 1993
Great Women of the Frontier, Storytelling, Storytelling workshops
“Your acts were remarkable, magnificent, sensational! You made me feel majestic. I felt like I was there. Come back again next year.”
Jeremiah, 4th Grade Student, Bartlesville, OK
Administrators, Librarians and Other Community Leaders
“I am writing in support of a project proposed by the Arts Council of Tahlequah. I am especially pleased that ACT has chosen to support the research, writing, and production of the play, The 1840 Cherokee Trial of Archilla Smith. Laurette Willis serves as the playwright, director, and narrator.
“This play documents an important part of Cherokee history and brings to life important Cherokee leaders. Ms. Willis developed her script from actual court transcripts of the trial. Cherokee actors portray the lead characters. Cherokee Nation Prosecutor Chad Smith, a professor of Cherokee law, will assist with an accurate representation of 1840 Cherokee law and courtroom procedure. The play will be staged in the Cherokee Tribal Courtroom in the old Cherokee Capital Building (on the same grounds where the original trial took place).
“We are very pleased the Arts Council is working with Ms. Willis to make this historical opportunity a reality.”
Wilma P. Mankiller, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation (1985-1995), Tahlequah, OK
The 1840 Cherokee Trial of Archilla Smith was presented in the Old Capital Building of the Cherokee Nation in 1994, and a video of the play was presented on OETA in 1995. (The Video is available from CHIEF Productions – Cherokee Language and Culture in Tulsa, OK.
“I had a notion of what I wanted to see you do. Let me assure you, what you taught far exceeded my expectations. You brought new skills and experiences to our people. When school starts think of all the lives they will touch.
“Thanks for sharing your rare talents. Great Expectations is enhanced by your involvement.
“I am glad to have you on our team. I appreciate the integrity you exemplify.”
Charlie Hollar, Founder, Great Expectations Institute, Northeastern State University, Certified Great Expectations Instructor from 1994 – 2000
“Dickinson’s genius and Willis’ craftsmanship make Emily Dickinson a gift of ‘Beauty’ and ‘Truth’ to the audience.”
Jean Havens, Daily Press, Northeastern State University Premiere 1995
Introducing: Miss Emily Dickinson
“Laurette has provided delightful programs for quite large groups – we can have up to 350. She is enthusiastic, positive, and a joy to work with. You can’t go wrong having her provide a program for your patrons – young or old!”
Sue Busch, Children’s Librarian, Stillwater Public Library, Stillwater, OK, Summer Reading Program performances in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008
“Laurette presented her Personality Plus seminar and The Nutty ‘40s Radio Show at our Annual Rotary District Conference. Attendees at the personality seminar were pleasantly surprised at the practical nature of the information presented and Laurette’s musical comedy was enjoyed by young and old alike. The audience participation was a big hit and the comments about the show were very positive.”
Michael Babb, M.D., Chairman of District Conference, Rotary District 5750, Rotary International
Personality Plus Seminar and The Nutty '40s Radio Show
“You were great at the annual meeting. Everyone enjoyed your performance.”
Frances E. Doyal, Secretary, Oklahoma Home Community Education
Great Women of the Oil Fields
“Laurette Willis has a way of making history come alive!”
Jo Ellen Clow, Arts and Humanities Council, Broken Arrow, OK
Reflections: Letters from World War II, The Nutty '40s Radio Show
“On behalf of the Women’s Studies Governing Board and the students in my Introduction to Women’s Studies class, I would like to thank you for visiting our campus last week both in and out of costume. From talking with my students I know that many of them were strongly moved by the honesty and sincerity with which you spoke to them about your life and work.
“Seeing you in character the following day added to their understanding of Emily Dickinson. Two of them told me yesterday that your performance left them as you hoped it would. ‘How did she say she wanted us to feel when we left the theater? Oh yeah… “bigger on the inside.”’ They are a quiet class and what two will express, many more are thinking.”
Alexa Larson-Thorish, Assistant Professor, The University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK
Introducing: Miss Emily Dickinson
“Your performance of Great Women of the Frontier provided a look into the past with the colorful characters you portrayed. The trials, laughter and insight of the women revealed the spirit and strength of each, and the footprints they made for us to follow today.
“Continue the good work in inspiring others with your blessed talent.”
Carolyn S. Roper, Coordinator, Deep Fork Community Action, Hughes County, Holdenville, OK
“People are still talking about how incredible your performances were! Thank you for adding so much to our event. We really appreciated your being a part of Frontier Fest this year and helping to make it such a success. We hope that you will be able to participate again and perhaps do more programs for us.
“Thank you again for your outstanding performances. I’m so glad that we were able to bring you to our festival and hope that we can soon talk about next year.”
Julie Northrip, Committee Chair for Frontier Fest, Fort Smith National Historic Site, Fort Smith, AR
The REAL Belle Starr, and Great Women of the Frontier
“We were so pleased with the training you provided for our Head Start staff. It was both entertaining and motivational. Your topic could not have been more appropriate if we had told you what to say.
“I will definitely pass your name along to other Head Start agencies in Oklahoma. Thanks for your fun and inspiration.”
Donna Carolan, Head Start Director, Oklahoma
Envision: Goals 101 Workshop and Keynote
“Thanks for making our pilot program for the Gilcrease Museum Oklahoma History Tour a smashing success! In addition to the comments I’ve heard in the museum from teachers, students, and our docent volunteers, we have received letters from many fourth graders naming the performance of Great Women of the Frontier as their favorite part of this museum visit.
“I have enjoyed working with you. Your professionalism, cooperation and ability to be flexible have proved invaluable to this program.”
Deborah Burke, Director of Public Programs, Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, OK
Great Women of the Frontier and spinning wheel demonstrations
“Thank you for the best after-dinner entertainment we’ve had in 16 years!”
Bonnie Buchanan, Vice-President, Jefferson Lines Group Travel, Minneapolis, MN
Great Women of the Frontier
“We would like to give a great BIG thank you for making our Annual Employee Christmas party such a success. Your Christmas version of The Nutty ‘40s Radio Show was a huge hit with everyone in attendance. We really enjoyed the personal song that you took time to compose for our bank and its employees. Your professionalism and musical talent really seemed to polish the entire show. Again, I thank you for helping make our party fun and enjoyable.”
Candy Jarvis, Marketing Coordinator, Bank of Cherokee County – Oklahoma
The Nutty '40s Radio Show (Christmas version)
“Laurette is the FUNNIEST woman I have ever seen!”
Rick Crom, Chicago City Limits and Second City, Chicago, First Amendment Comedy & Improvisation Company, NYC, NY