HFW Conference Biographies
Matthew has ministered to the gay and ex-gay community since 2000. God called him into ministry at age 9; but, he ran from God for alost 20 years before answereing that call. Matthew worked as a Sea World animal trainer for 15 years before leaving to pursue full-time inistry. Interestingly enough, God used Matthew's animal training career to teach him the fundamentals of minisrtry. He served as a youth and adult small group leader before starting Big Fish Ministry in 2009. Big Fish Ministry is a mentoring ministry for people seeking to leave homosexualtiy and follow Jesus. God has gifted Matthew with a ministry of relational reconciliation to fathers and sons and to parents and the LGBTQ+ children. His first book, "Bedside Diary", retells his story through peoptry and prose. Matthew currently serves as the Executive Director of Exchange Ministries in Orlando , Florida.
Dr. Shirley Baskett, MAVP, DMIN
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Shirley Baskett is Director of Renew Ministries. This is an umbrella organisation that has several ministries across Australia and New Zealand who help Christian people who have same-sex attraction, or their families. She is also on the Board of Exodus Global Alliance as the regional Director for the Australian/Pacific region. Her autobiography called ‘The Woman Who Outran the Devil' tells her story of moving from lesbianism to following Christ (Lion Monarch Books). She has been married for more than 34 years to Peter. Shirley worked for 22 years in the travel industry, most of these years managing a corporate travel office. She then went into full time ministry as an associate pastor ordained with the Assemblies of God, also travelling as an itinerant speaker. Shirley has been a conference speaker at international Exodus conferences in Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico and Brazil and has spoken in other nations in the Pacific and in Asia. Shirley’s doctoral thesis looked at how the church can respond to people with same-sex attraction.
Tom Cole is co-director of Pure Heart Ministries International and Hope Grows Farm and Restoration Center. He and his wife, Donna, minister worldwide, bringing the healing work of Jesus to broken and wounded hearts. They own and operate Hope Grows Farm and Restoration Center in Campobello, SC, where they lead missionaries, pastors, leaders, and others through week-long intensives of counseling and prayer. They also lead the Hope Grows School of Sustainable Agriculture and Healing of the Soul at their 16-acre farm. They are authors of the book, "Pure Heart—Restoration of the Heart through the Beatitudes".
Fort Mill, SC
Liz Flaherty regularly speaks, blogs, and mentors others in the areas of overcoming sexual brokenness, identity, and spiritual formation. She has authored two books. In her first book, The God of My Parent’s: The Uncensored Account of My Journey to Find Identity, Liz takes the reader through her struggles with homosexuality, pornography addiction, drug abuse, and other areas of dysfunction in her life in which she overcame through Christ’s love for her. Her second book, Discover Eden: Empowering Christian Women to Walk in Sexual Liberty, teaches women how to live in freedom from sexual bondage such as pornography and same sex attraction. Liz’s heart is to see the power of the transformative gospel working in each individual she meets and to equip the church in how to love and guide those with sexual brokenness.
Liz lives in South Carolina with her husband Andy. They’ve been married since 2005 and have spent the majority of their marriage ministering to and mentoring people in areas of sexual wholeness and identity.
Her website is www.lizgflaherty.com
Rev. Brenna Kate Simonds
Rev. Brenna Kate Simonds has been learning to walk in freedom from same-sex attraction, disordered eating, self-injury, self-loathing, and chronic low self-esteem over 19 years. For the past 13 years, she has directed Alive in Christ, a ministry for Christians impacted by same-sex attraction, while ministering to others with life-controlling issues. Because of this, she has had the opportunity to be in “The Boston Globe,” award-winning documentaries “Such Were Some of You” and “Just As I Am,” and the TV show, “Pure Passion.” She is the author of the book entitled “Learning to Walk in Freedom.” Brenna holds ministerial credentials with the Assemblies of God and attends Brockton Assembly of God. Brenna's favorite pastimes are singing, gluten-free cooking and enjoying the company of her husband and their three children at their home in the greater Boston area.