What began over 33 years ago with two weak women, has been a constant testimony and a continuous outpouring of The Lord’s abundant love, faithfulness and provision here at Fellowship Valley, a Christian Retreat Center in North Georgia. To know the history of God’s work in this Georgia retreat center, you just have to look at the testimony of the two founders.
Bonnie Joan Hanson:
Bonnie Hanson was a dedicated servant of the Lord for over 50 years. She was the Director and Co-Founder with Alline Marshall of Faith Ventures, Inc. and Fellowship Valley Christian Retreat for over 31 years.
While the Lord had these two women teamed up during this time, the ministry hosted innumerable retreat groups from the southeast that also has included foreign students from 81 different countries. Many of these students came to know the Lord at Fellowship Valley and are now witnessing in their home countries around the world.
Bonnie’s talents ranged from writing to hosting a popular Christian Radio program that reached all of the South East.
On January 29, 2010, at 80 years young, Bonnie went Home to be with her Lord. And as we have said good-bye to Bonnie, we are all reminded of her passion for bringing Christians into a vital walk with Jesus. She has left a legacy that reaches far beyond Fellowship Valley Christian Retreat Center!
Alline Ballard Marshall:
Alline Marshall, co-founder of this North Georgia Christian Retreat Center, carries the same torch for the Church that she always has in the past!
To truly understand her fire and dedication, you have to read the book “Two Weak Women and Amazing Grace.”
There was nothing Alline could not learn how to do! Whether it was fixing a leaky plumbing line or getting under the hood to repair one of their work vehicles, this courageous woman of God was a big part of the heart and soul behind this North Georgia Christian Retreat Center. You can’t help but know the truth of: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” after learning about Alline’s determination to tackle whatever project needed attention at the time!
Now, because of her advancing age and subsequent health challenges, she resides at Gracemont, a beautiful, new Nursing Home/Retirement Center in Cumming, Georgia.
They specialize in “memory care” patients, with exceptionally (and caring) qualified staff, serving heathy and delicious gourmet meals (which Alline appreciates with every last bite!) and offer constant opportunities for residents to participate in activities and entertainment on a daily basis. Plus, she is only 10 minutes away from Charlie and Becky Wilson (who serve on our Board) and are able to visit her often and give her the assistance she requires with decision making.
We are so grateful for the many years of service she has given to the Lord, and how He has worked in her life for His Glory! And just as she and Bonnie brought God’s “Vision” of Fellowship Valley into fruition, those He has brought forward to carry on His work will always look to these pioneering ladies as “True Examples” of how to walk in His Amazing Grace by Faith.
Hannelore Ida Foerster:
Hanna Foerster came to Fellowship Valley in 1991 with her ministry partner, Emma Wisser, to begin an International Student Ministry. The Lord blessed this ministry in more ways than anyone could have imagined. So many of those foreign students who came to hear about the Love and Saving Grace of Jesus Christ, placed their trust in Him because of the teaching and evangelism of these two precious women of God. And all those “seeds” that were sown into the hearts of these new converts, produced huge “crops” for the His Kingdom when they took the Good News back to their home countries!
After Emma went Home to be with the Lord in 1997, Hanna continued the ministry with the help of faithful friends until 2010 when she retired due to her own advancing age and health issues. She experienced a season of rest and then on August 18th, 2011, at the age of 84, Hanna also went Home to be with her Lord.
Even though these mighty Women of Faith are not here physically, their dedicated, pioneering spirits remain. Their faith in God and His Purpose for Fellowship Valley lives on in the hearts of those of us who He has asked to step forward and continue His Vision.
Scooter, Guard Dog~Extrodinaire:
Everyone loved this face!
Scooter was part Bassett Hound, part Corgie and part…something else. He was usually the first “person” you would encounter upon entering the grounds at Fellowship Valley. He announced your arrival with his “commanding bark” and didn’t hesitate to greet you with the wag of his tail and a “happy growl” before you could even get out of your vehicle.
He loved to be given a good pat on the head and a little rub around the ears. He was such a Blessing since the day he “showed up” here and this place just isn’t the same without him. He earned his reward and went home on November 29, 2013.