Barrett & Priscilla Hand

Barrett Hand: I was born in Anniston, Alabama and moved to Biloxi, Mississippi at the age of three.  At the age of eight, I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida until my senior year of High School when I moved to Sarasota, Florida.  I now live in Mount Dora, Florida with my wife Priscilla and our children and grandchildren. I had a wonderful childhood, loving parents and family.  I have worked since the 5th grade and participated in sports and outdoor activities all my life.  

I gave my life to the Lord when I was in middle school but did not grow deeply in the Lord until after college when I met my wife Priscilla.  I began attending church with Priscilla and her family. The church we attended stressed the importance of a personal relationship with Christ which included a deep reliance upon His Word and the Holy Spirit to empower us, illuminate truth and guide us in the scriptures.  Prior to this time, I don’t believe I had even heard a teaching on the Holy Spirit.

I have a degree in Computer Programming and Healthcare Administration.  I have worked as an Information Technology Professional for 35 years working in a big six accounting firm, engineering/manufacturing and healthcare.  The bulk of my career has been working in major Healthcare systems. I have worked for AdventHealth for 18 years and currently serve as Executive Director of Information Systems at the busiest hospital in the United States overseeing a team of 130 employees responsible for the operational support of more than 100,000 end user devices.   

Since I can remember, I have been cognizant of cry in my heart to know God.  Even when I was not walking with the Lord, I had a sense that He was real. This became more intense after I married Priscilla and began teaching our children to know God.  However, this brought to light that I had doubts. I was just not sure. I wanted to KNOW that God was real. I did not want to be fake and pretend God was real. I wanted to KNOW beyond any doubt that he was real.  I remember praying and telling God that I could not be a salesman. I had to be authentic and to know that he was real. If He wanted me to teach His Word and tell others about him, then I had to know He was real; I couldn’t fake it.  This was the beginning of a pruning and a process by which God revealed to me that He was real and allowed me to feel the weight of my sins, the depth of His forgiveness and the breadth of His mercy and grace.

From this point on, I began to teach, counsel and study God’s Word.  Priscilla and I grew deeply in our relationship with the Lord and with one another.  We also grew deeply in our love for God’s Word and our desire to serve. We taught Sunday School, Led Care Groups, and began providing pre-marriage and marriage counseling.  We also began working with Pastors and Missionaries. I began struggling with a call upon my life to learn God’s Word and teach. I attempted bible college a few times but was unable to commit given the other responsibilities of life.  I could not forsake my first calling to be a husband, father and provider to attend seminary. However, I knew that God would make a way when He was ready. In the interim, I studied God’s word, theology books and tried to read quality books of substance by rock solid pastors.  I used any opportunity to teach, preach or serve in the church.

In addition, Priscilla and I developed a heart for Pastors, Missionaries and their families.  We began to have dreams of helping those who are burdened, worn out, or in need of a safe haven to face marital/family difficulties or sins in their life that they could not share with the congregation. The Lord began placing people in our path to counsel, support or assist with needs.

Priscilla pursued a degree in Biblical Studies while I continued to work in my first calling.  Seven years ago, I was working on an MBA when Priscilla started her Master’s of Theology. She challenged me to study with her.  We faced a turning point and big fork in the road but chose the path to deepen our studies of God’s Word. As a result, we attended seminary and completed our Master and Doctorate degrees.  This was not to accomplish a degree to be recognized by man. Rather, we pursued this to deepen our study of God’s Word so that we could be a better steward of what he is entrusting to us and a better representative of Him.  

Today, Priscilla and I work in ministry together whenever we can.  We both serve individually in various capacities. We work together to answer the call to help those in need with a special heart to pastors, missionaries and their families.  We want to help them gain rest, strength and encouragement to return to the place of service that God has called them.

Priscilla and I have been married  34 years and I am grateful every day for this privilege.  We have three children who know and love the Lord. We have 7 grandchildren and want to see them walk intimately and serve the Lord.   

I prefer to spend non-work time with Priscilla and my family.  In addition, I love riding motorcycles and being outdoors doing anything in nature to include hiking, kayaking, camping and shooting sports.  In the time that remains on earth, I would like to learn an instrument, learn another language and one day, write a book.

Priscilla Hand has been active in the counseling ministry for 20 years.  She is a Christian Counselor with a passion and calling to serve the broken hearted, the grieving, the burdened and those experiencing a crisis in their relationships.  Her passion is born out of a desire to serve the Lord because of the mercy and grace He has extended to her and her family. She recognizes God as the source of comfort, real peace, and healer of our soul.  She knows from personal experience in her own life, and in the lives of those she serves, that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Ps 34:18)

Priscilla started counseling with her husband as a ministry to their church.  As lay counselors, they provided pre-marriage and marriage crisis counseling. Individual and group counseling grew as a by product of teaching Sunday School, Women’s groups and preparing young girls for life.  Her passion deepened as she served several years in a pregnancy counseling ministry where she saw the emotional and relational trauma that accompany young ladies who are pregnant with limited resources for support.

Priscilla’s heart to serve others in counseling grew.  Her desire to be a responsible steward of the Lord’s calling led her to pursue formal education in Biblical Studies and Counseling.   Priscilla earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies, a Master’s in Theology and a Doctor of Ministry in Christian Counseling. She is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselers (AACC) and has advanced training in the areas of grief; crisis and trauma; and suicide.

Priscilla chose to focus her counseling as a Bible-based, Christian Worldview ministry because she knows that it is God who heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3).  She is reliant upon the Word of God as the source of truth and the ministry of the Holy Spirit to provide wisdom, illuminate truth, reveal the source of our hurts, and comfort us in our grief.  She knows that only God can penetrate the deep recesses of our heart and mind to bring healing and wholeness.

Priscilla is a wife of 34 years, a mother of three children and a grandmother of seven.  Today, she serves in Counseling primarily as a ministry of her Church but also serves in various Christian ministries and in the community in which she resides.  Her ministry has expanded to include family and group counseling, life coaching for Seniors along with end of life ministry and support.