Byron and Jennifer are Texas natives and grew up in the Dallas area. Together with their son Elijah, they moved to Fort Myers in 2012 when Byron accepted a call to Westminster. The Wests added to their crew with the birth of Evangeline (Evie) in 2013. Prior to moving to Fort Myers, Byron and Jennifer both taught in the public school system in Texas serving in culturally diverse school systems. Byron earned his master’s degree from Dallas Theological Seminary in 2012. In addition to his call as the Director of Family Ministries, Byron also taught 6-8 grade Bible and Social Studies at Summit Christian School and was ordained and installed as an Assistant Pastor in January 2015. He is now serving as the acting Senior Pastor. The Wests have a heart to see the lost come to know Jesus and to see the gospel redeem the culture. Byron and his family enjoy spending time together, fishing, playing at the multitude of wonderful parks in Lee County, enjoying the life of Southwest Florida, and Dallas Stars hockey.
Chris Minott is the Director of HOPE Biblical Counseling & Training Center in Fort Myers, Florida where she counsels many issues pertaining to marriage, women, teens, and children while also teaching classes and training counselors. Chris is an IABC and ACBC Certified Biblical Counselor who has been counseling since 2001. She is a speaker at Marriage, Parenting, Women's, and Recovery Ministry events. Chris and her husband of 31 years, Al, co-wrote and teach a course on marriage, entitled “God’s Design for Marriage”. They are blessed to have two married daughters who faithfully serve in ministry with their husbands, and a granddaughter who is the joy of their lives.
Virginia Stewart, Ph.D., Certified Biblical Counselor is the Director Emeritus of HOPE Biblical Counseling & Training Center. She received training from CCEF and Trinity Theological Seminary and is on numerous dissertation committees at Trinity . She was one of the first females in the nation to become a Certified Biblical Counselor and has been counseling and teaching for over 30 years.
Dr. Maria Hansen, Certified Biblical Counselor, received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1989 and subsequently was licensed in Pennsylvania and Florida. In 2004, she put her psychology license on inactive status, "because the Holy Scriptures directed me away from temporary, man-made solutions to life's problems." She then pursued biblical training and completed her Certification. She has been counseling at HOPE since 2004.
Paul Flores, ACBC Certified Biblical Counselor, has a background of working with people as the owner of successful small businesses in the Marine Industry. Called to ministry in 2005, Paul earned a degree in Christian Ministry in 2008 through Trinity International University. After receiving his degree, Paul pursued Certification in Biblical Counseling. He is a Ruling Elder and the Director of Mercy Ministries at Marco Presbyterian Church (PCA).
Toni moved to Sanibel in 1987. She has served in her home church in the areas of Children and Youth Ministries, and has led Women's Bible Studies and a Mom's in Prayer Group offering hope and encouragement. Toni now offers the same support and discipleship as an ACBC and IABC Certified Biblical Counselor. Married for over 30 years to husband Paul, they are blessed to have their son Alec attending college locally and extended family living in the area.
Barbie Branson is an ACBC & IABC Certified Biblical Counselor. Barbie has assisted her husband in youth and discipleship ministries for over 28 years and has 2 adult children who serve the Lord. Prior to joining the HOPE staff, Barbie owned and operated a childcare business for 14 years.
Jessica Hirchak, MS, is an ACBC and IABC Certified Biblical Counselor. She has previously worked as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in community mental health settings in Florida where she has served children, adolescents and adults. She decided to leave this setting to pursue Biblical Counseling because of the hope and sufficiency found only in Scripture. She also serves alongside her husband, Joel, in the Recovery Ministry at their local church. They welcomed their first child, a daughter, in 2014.
Zoe Hudson is HOPE’s Assistant to the Director. She moved to Florida in 2009 from England where she helped to run the family antique business. She worked at Evangelical Christian School for four years, first as a substitute teacher and then as a teacher of lower school computer and upper school video production. She has two daughters in college. She loves being part of HOPE and seeing God working in so many lives.