NorthEast of the Well began because a few people heard and obeyed God’s call to GO. They stepped into an unfamiliar place and brought God’s Word to residents in a county recovery program.
The result was newfound relationships with God and each other – as well as dramatically changed lives. This group longed to remain connected; they needed a place to stay encouraged and accountable in sobriety and in Christ. A group of men, women and children began to meet regularly to enjoy fellowship, worship, and Biblical teaching. In addition, people continued to GO out into dark and desperate places to share a message of hope with those still in need. As the mission continued, NorthEast of the Well was born.
Over the past few years, our ministry has inflated to cover new territory and reach many more lives seeking change. We reach out locally, gather in community, and rise up in leadership. Through all we do, the mission of NorthEast of the Well remains the same: to go to those in need and declare that grace, new life, and full restoration can be found in Christ Jesus.
“Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, ‘Come, see about a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?’” [John 4:28-29]The name NorthEast of the Well comes from scripture, in John chapter 4, where a woman has a life-changing encounter with Christ. This woman came to a well to draw water at mid-day, in hopes of avoiding human contact. She was living a life she was ashamed of, marked by sin and failure.
Christ met her here with intention. He validated her worth; He spoke truth into her situation. Despite her attempt to remain unseen, the Savior saw her. He called her to higher living and freedom from sin.Forever, this woman was changed by the Man she met at the well. With excitement and passion she returned to her home town, which was located “north east” of the well. She told others what she had seen and heard, spreading the message of grace. In this beautiful transformation, the outcast became the witness.
We believe Christ always makes the first move: Christ sought her –Christ saw her –Christ spoke with her. We, at NorthEast of the Well, aim to find people where they’re at; in their current state, space and situation. We step outside, we seek them out, and we speak with hope.
We believe that an encounter with Christ results in a life changed for the better, and we continue to beckon others with this call: “Come, see about a Man …”
Laura is our Founder, Pastor, and Executive Director. Her ministry career is marked by a burden for the Gospel and a passion for reaching the marginalized. Laura uses her own history of addiction, recovery and faith to identify with those struggling. She has spent the last 21 years in mission work, including local community development, global evangelism, disaster relief, motel and jail ministry. She is married to Tim Suk, director of Orange County Teen Challenge. Her key verses are Colossians 1:24-29.
Gail’s passion is to actively engage in ministry outside of the four walls of the local church, as a way to intentionally carry out The Great Commission (Matt. 28). She has a heart to serve the marginalized and share the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ. For 30 years, Gail has spent her life teaching, preaching and serving women from all walks of life. Gail holds a Masters in Theology from Fuller, is married with one son, and recently welcomed her first grandchild. Her life scripture is Romans 8:28.
Drug addiction had a severe hold on Alex's life. He spent 8 years living in abandoned houses, going in/out of jail, and eventually lost custody of his daughter. After a dark drug experience, he discovered Teen Challenge, and later on, NorthEast–it was here that he felt the love of Jesus surrounding him, despite his sickness. Since then the Lord has changed his life entirely. Today, Alex is on staff at NorthEast and is passionate about teaching the Word of God, as he stands strong on Joshua 1:9.
Being a recent graduate from UCSB, Hannah was determined to find a career that was meaningful; that would allow her to bring light to those in need. The more aware she became of NorthEast’s purpose, the more passionate she felt about their mission. Today, Hannah is dedicated to seeing broken people healed as she expands event planning+fundraising efforts. She is blessed to be part of a team that helps others discover faith & empowers them as they learn to live in freedom. Her verse is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
When Kristel first experienced NorthEast in 2011, she was amazed at the unabashed worship she witnessed. Soon, she began volunteering and leading worship at our gatherings. Today, Kristel plays a vital role as we reach out to a broader audience with a communications strategy that reflects our core mission and builds recognition for our brand. Kristel is passionate to spread the Good News far and wide, and see others rise up to claim their full potential in Christ, embracing "life to the full."
Bethany struggled with addiction all of her adult life, which ultimately ended in losing custody of her 2 precious boys. She believes the Lord used social services to intervene and awaken her from a drug-enslaved nightmare. While living at a rehabilitation center, she met NorthEast of the Well, who came every week to do Bible Study. As God restored her, Bethany began using her passion and gift of music to lead worship. She now embraces and lives on Luke 15:7.
Since the ministry of NorthEast began, Emily has played a pivotal role in outreach, discipleship, strategic planning and development. Drawn by its authenticity and transparency, the NE community has been foundational to the deepening of her own faith journey. Over the past 6 years, Emily has written over $1 million in grants, securing funding for programs to expand our reach and put our community to work. Emily was a founding board member and now serves as an at-large director. She stands on Hebrews 11:1.
Sarah struggled with drugs for 17 years, lost custody of 2 children, and was in and out of jail/prison. While in a county recovery program, NorthEast came to her residence and introduced her to Jesus Christ. She began a relationship with Him, and built a foundation she is still standing on 8 years later. Sarah handles all ministry operations, tracks metrics, is the financial assistant and oversees the Newport area. She quotes Isaiah 43:18, "Forget the former things-I am doing a new thing!"
Lauren is all about knowing Jesus and making Him known to the world. She grew up serving God, but felt a radical shift during college when she discovered that her true identity is not based on her ministry performance, talents, culture, or status, but that it is found in knowing Jesus intimately. Lauren finds passion in utilizing the vehicle of musical worship to help others grow in the knowledge of God, experience His presence, and break free from bondage. It is no wonder that she is drawn to NorthEast.
Stephanie was raised on a foundation of spiritual growth with Christ and His teachings. In 2010, one powerful sermon persuaded her to rise up and truly acknowledge His purpose. Now, she aims to provide roots for her children to grow and expand God’s Plan. Her path is ever evolving, but her purpose is to give back more than what was given to her. Stephanie is honored to serve NorthEast by assisting with grant writing and development. She stands firmly on Matthew 11:28-30.
Shaneen recently graduated from Teen Challenge Ministry Institute and has joined our team as the Long Beach Area Coordinator. She battled a heroin addiction for 6 years before God got a hold of her. Shaneen first served with NorthEast as an intern for 3 months and absolutely fell in love with the ministry. She has a heart for the lost and to reach out to woman who struggle with the same things as she did. She believes that she "can do all things through Christ who gives her strength." Philippians 4:13
Stacia was introduced to NorthEast while her brother was in the Teen Challenge program. She would meet him for the NorthEast service in Newport and remembers the powerful times of worship and The Word that she experienced. She was greatly impacted by the authenticity of the NorthEast community and their deep hunger for Jesus. The messages of hope and love she heard helped encourage her faith for the healing journey with her brother. Stacia serves the ministry by providing oversight of financial operations.
Simone struggled with alcoholism throughout her life; caught in a vicious cycle of going in and out of jail since the age of 18. One night, a tragic incident led her to a treatment facility called Vera's Sanctuary, where she was introduced to NorthEast of the Well. After meeting the NorthEast community, she found hope in their mission. Today, she is honored to help with our outreach and is growing in her passion for helping children. Simone quotes, “Simply put: God works miracles."
Mary brings over 30 years of experience through various community, international, and church-related volunteer/board positions. She also serves with Powerhouse Ministries in Watts LA, reaching out to inner city children and families. Mary has personally witnessed the transforming power of Christ in the lives of many. She holds a Masters of Science degree in Nursing, specializing in education and management. In addition to healthcare consulting, Mary has held various management positions at Baxter Healthcare Corporation, Deerfield, Illinois as well as at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach. Mary is blessed to have a husband, John, of 35 years, and two grown sons and a daughter-in-law. She remains committed to the Lord, and passionate about His commandment to love and serve one another in His name. “To whom much has been given, much is expected.”
Rochelle recently retired from 28 years of full time ministry as assistant to Bob Shank, Founder of Priority Living, Inc. and the Master’s Program, whose mission is to “prepare Christian leaders to change their world and build God’s Kingdom.” Rochelle has also taught the Master’s Program for Women and examined her own God-given potential for her Kingdom calling. Rochelle is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, and has worked in banking, marketing, publications and advertising. Her service with Junior League and the National Charity League has given her a heart for children and the homeless; her service as a volunteer chaplain at Mariner’s Church has opened her heart to the needs of broken and hurting people. Rochelle and her husband, Scott, have been married for 40 years. They have three married daughters and four grandchildren, with another on the way.
Emily is a co-founder of NorthEast and has played a role in numerous areas of the ministry, from the days when it was still called the “Heritage House Bible Study.” She is a Bible teacher, discipleship leader, and has written over $1 million in grants in the past seven years. Currently, she is working on Steps to Success, a program that wil help women and men from the NorthEast community overcome barriers like criminal history or lack of experience, and to prepare for and obtain gainful employment. As Interim Treasurer, Emily utilizes a background in financial services as well as her experience in helping to develop and monitor NorthEast finances since our 2011 incorporation as a 501 c)3 nonprofit. Emily has two grown sons and has been married for 33 years to her husband, Bruce Sansone.
Karen has spent nearly 30 years nurturing her faith and that of her family at her church home. A mother of 4 adult boys and 3 granddaughters, Karen most recently finished her role on the Pastor Nominating Committee to find a new leader of her church. She has also served in a number of mission outreaches, most recently to the Grand Canyon to serve the Havasupai Indian tribe. For more than f4 years, Karen has served as part of the Loaves and Fishes ministry of NorthEast of the Well at St. Andrew's where she enjoys preparing food as well as fellowship with those they serve. She enjoys hiking, spending time with her grandchildren, and connecting with God in the high country of the Rocky Mountains. Married to her husband Mark for 37 years, Karen looks forward to seeing where God will use her to further His work with Northeast of the Well.
Charlie became a part of the community of NorthEast of the Well through his wife, Marji, who is a longtime volunteer and supporter. He served for many years as General Counsel and Board Member for Quiksilver and the Quiksilver Foundation and continues to be active in the surf industry. Charlie and Marji have been blessed with 6 children and 11 grandchildren. They are inspired by the scriptural and family-based vision of NorthEast of the Well.
Phil brings 30 years experience as an attorney, specializing in real estate finance and development. Born and raised in Glendale CA, Phil earned a B.S. in Applied Chemistry from Caltech, an M.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering from Caltech, and his law degree, LLB Cum Laude, from Harvard Law School. Phil and his wife of 57 years, Elizabeth, have raised 4 children. Phil has been active in the Caltech Alumni Association, President of the Newport Beach Sunrise Rotary Club and on the board of the Rotary District 5320 Charitable Foundation. He serves as a deacon at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and enjoys traveling, photography, gardening, music, reading, bridge and time with his grandchildren. Phil and Liz moved to Newport in 2009, just as NorthEast of the Well was getting started. He is inspired by the many lives that NorthEast has seen come to faith and is encouraged how the pernicious generational cycle of addiction and abuse is broken through Christ. Phil hopes he can help Laura and her team consolidate, expand and diversify their dynamic and vital programs.
Rick Fortier was born in Chile and moved to the US with his family during his last year of high school. After receiving a business degree and a law degree, Rick joined an oil company where he eventually would manage all trading and refining operations. In 1987 Rick started Bravo Energy Trading N.A., an international oil refining company and currently serves on the board. Rick has been married to Gaile for 36 years and together have 4 adult sons. Rick came to know North East of the Well from his wife’s involvement as a volunteer over the last 4 years. Rick has served on multiple nonprofit Christian organization boards such as the OC Rescue Mission, House of Hope, Every Generation Ministries and in church ministries such as Mariners Local Outreach, Global Outreach and Lighthouse Ministry. Rick has been involved in the startup of Children’s Ministries in the Latin American countries of Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Peru. Rick currently serves on two Board committees for Every Generation Ministries and recently joined the Mission Ministry of his church were he serves as an advisor.
While no claim is made that the Corporation’s Statement of Faith contains all Biblical truth, the Board asserts that it encompasses the Corporation’s fundamental beliefs as further described and supported in the following scriptures:
1) We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. It is the final authority for all we believe and how we are to live (Matthew 5:18; John 10:35, 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
2) We believe that the one true God exists eternally in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and that these, being one God, are equal in deity, power and glory. We believe that God not only created the world but also now upholds, sustains, governs and providentially directs all that exists and that He will bring all things to their proper consummation in Christ Jesus to the glory of His name (Psalms 104, 139; Matthew 10:29-31, 28:19; Acts 17:24-28; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 1:9-12, 4:4-6; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:1-3; Revelation 1:4-6).
3) We believe that Satan, originally a great and good angel, rebelled against God, taking a multitude of angels with him. He was cast out of God’s presence and is at work with his demonic hosts to establish his counter-kingdom of darkness and evil on the earth. Satan was judged and defeated at the cross of Christ and will, at the end of the age, be cast forever into the lake of fire which has been prepared for him and his angels (Matthew 12:25-29, 25:41; John 12:31, 16:11; Ephesians 6:10-20, Colossians 2:15; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Revelation 12:7-9, 20:10).
4) We believe that Adam was originally created in the image of God, righteous and without sin. Asserting his free will Adam chose to disobey God and sin entered the world and death through sin, which was spread to all of mankind. All are therefore sinners by nature and by choice, separated from God and subject to His wrath unto judgment and death, wholly unable to save themselves or to contribute in any way to their acceptance with God. (Genesis 1-3; Psalm 51:5; Isaiah 53:5; Romans 3:9-18, 5:12-21; Ephesians 2:1-3).
5) We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, that He was conceived and born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, and offered himself as a penal, substitutionary sacrifice for sinners. By the blood of His cross He obtained for us eternal redemption, the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting. He was raised bodily on the third day and ascended to the right hand of the Father, there to make intercession for the saints (Matthew 1:18-25; John 1:1-18; Romans 8:34; 1 Corinthians 15: 1-28; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:10-14; Ephesians 1:7; Philippians 2:6-11; Colossians 1:15-23; Hebrews 7:25, 9:13-15, 10:19; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 1 John 2:1-2).
6) We believe that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. No ordinance, ritual, work or any other activity on the part of man is required in order to be saved. This saving grace of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, also sanctifies us by enabling us to do what is pleasing in God’s sight in order that we might be progressively conformed to the image of Christ (John 1:12-13, 6:37-44, 10:25-30; Acts 16:30-31; Romans 3-4, 8:1-17, 8:31-39, 10:8-10; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 2:12-13; Titus 3:3-7; 1 John 1:7, 9).
7) We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ baptizes believers in the Holy Spirit in whom also we are sealed for the day of redemption. The Holy Spirit regenerates, forever indwells and graciously equips the Christian for godly living and service. Following conversion, the Spirit desires to continuously fill, empower and anoint believers for ministry and witness. We also believe that signs and wonders, as well as all the gifts of the Spirit described in the New Testament, are operative today and are designed to testify to the presence of the kingdom and to empower and edify the church to fulfill its calling and mission (Matthew 3:11, John 1:12-13, 3:1-15; Acts 4:29-30; Romans 8:9, 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Galatians 3:1-5; Ephesians 1:13-14, 5:18).
8) We believe that water baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the two sacraments of the church to be observed until the time of Christ’s return. They are not a means of salvation but are a means of God’s sanctifying grace and blessing to the faithful in Christ Jesus (Matthew 26:26-29, 28:19; Romans 6:3-11; 1 Corinthians 11:23-34; 1 Peter 3:21).
9) We believe that the church is God’s primary instrument through which He is fulfilling His redemptive purposes on the earth. To equip the saints for the work of the ministry, God has given the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. We also affirm the priesthood of all believers and the importance of every Christian being joined with and actively involved in a local community of the saints. We believe that women and men are called and gifted to proclaim the gospel and do all the works of the kingdom and that the method ordained by God for the support of His ministry is through the giving of tithes and freewill offerings (Malachi 3:10; Matthew 16:17-19; Acts 2:17-18, 2:42; 2 Corinthians 9:7; Ephesians 3:14-21, 4:11-16; 1 Timothy 2:11-15; Hebrews 10:23-25; 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10).
10) We believe in the equality and essential dignity of men and women of all races and classes. We recognize that all persons are made in the image of God and are to reflect that image in the community of believers, in the home and in society. We believe in the family, celibate singleness, and faithful monogamous heterosexual marriage between a man and a woman as the patterns God designed for us (Genesis 1:26-28; Galatians 3:26-29).
11) We believe that God has called the church to proclaim the gospel to all nations. Part of that proclamation must include remembering the poor, widows and orphans, ministering to their needs through sacrificial giving and practical service. This ministry is an expression of the heart of the Lord Jesus Christ and is an essential part of the kingdom of God (Isaiah 58:6-12, 61:1; Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 4:18, 21:1-4; Galatians 2:10; 1 Timothy 6:8; John 4:28-31).
12) We believe in the literal second coming of Christ at the end of the age when He will return to the earth personally and visibly to consummate His kingdom. We also believe in and are praying for a great end-time harvest of souls (Psalms 2:7-9, 22:27-28; John 14:12, 17:20-26; Romans 11:25-32; 1 Corinthians 15:20-28, 15:50-58; Ephesians 4:11-16; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-12; Revelation 7:9-14).
13) We believe that when the Christian dies he/she passes immediately into the blessed presence of Christ, there to enjoy conscious fellowship with the Savior until the day of the resurrection and glorious transformation of the body. The saved will then forever dwell in fellowship with their great Triune God. We also believe that when the unbeliever dies he/she is consigned to Hades, there to await the Day of Judgment when he/she shall be punished with eternal separation from the presence of God (Matthew 25:46; Luke 16:19-31; John 5:25-29; 1 Corinthians 15:35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Philippians 1:19-26, 3:20-21; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10; Revelation 20:11-15, 21:1-22:15).