February 2020  
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  • Unbound Prayer Ministry Training

    Healing Prayer Training Conference - "Unbound Prayer Ministry Training"

    Date: March 20-22 (Friday 5:00 pm to Sunday Noon)


    High Pastures Christian Retreat & Conference Center
    290 Kings Hwy
    Burnsville, NC 28714 

    *(GPS: Use 1480 Georges Fork Rd. Burnsville, NC)

    Building: Laurel Lodge/Rhododendron Hall 

    Training Description

  • OSL Mountain Chapter

    "The Healing Miracles of Jesus" study

    Dig deeper into the healing ministry of Jesus in a group discussion setting. 

    Dates & Times

    Saturday, February 22 (9am - 2pm)
    Saturday, February 29 (9am - 2pm)
    Saturday, March 7 (9am - 2pm)
    Saturday, March 14 (Optional) (9am - 2pm)


    Grace Episcopal Church
    871 Merrimon Ave.

    Asheville, NC 28804

    More information

  February 2020  
Board of Directors

Our Prayer Teams consist of experienced lay men & women, and clergy of the Christian faith. The Blessing Place is Non-Denominational and Holy Spirit driven.  


Rev. John Rice

Following twenty four years of parish ministry in Episcopal churches, Rev. John Rice left parish ministry in 2012 in response to God’s call to focus more of his time and energy on restoring and growing Jesus’ healing ministry. He describes his teaching ministry as a way “to encourage, equip, and empower God’s people for Jesus’ healing ministry” .

Since 2009, John has led four OSL ministry teams to bring Jesus’ healing ministry to the Diocese of Durgapur, located in northeastern India. During the last 20 years, he has taught and preached on healing prayer ministry in churches throughout the United States. John recently completed a DVD teaching series of five healing prayer workshops. This new educational resource, “Equipping the Saints for Jesus’ Healing Ministry” was created for use in churches, small groups, and OSL Chapters.

John and his wife, Debra, live in Burnsville, North Carolina. Helping create a healing ministry in a local prison and at a nearby mountainside retreat center (High Pastures) are new opportunities for ministry in his hometown area. Otherwise, family life, lots of gardening and a little fishing keep John well occupied when home.

Education / Event Planner

Kim Garland

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Kim first met and gave her life to Jesus at the age of 27 in a small non-denominational church and, because she was studying to become a teacher, she was immediately asked to teach the children’s Sunday School class.  She says, “The kids and I learned about Jesus together!”  She has been learning with kids about Jesus ever since – 30 years in Christian Children’s Ministry!

In addition to teaching kids about Jesus, Kim’s passions are praying with others to help them experience the love, healing and freedom of Jesus and teaching others how to pray.  Kim became interested in Christian healing ministry after reading books by Catherine Marshall and in about 2007 when she first heard about The Order of St. Luke the Physician, an ecumenical healing ministry.  She went through the training to become a member of a new OSL chapter that started in her community and quickly was asked to lead the group.  She has been an enthusiastic student, advocate and teacher of Jesus’ healing ministry ever since. 

Kim is married to Randall and together they have raised four boys to be wonderful young men and are enjoying being Grammy and Grandpa to their adorable granddaughter.  In her spare time Kim enjoys running with her best friend and prayer partner and reading everything she can get her hands on about walking in freedom and wholeness with Jesus.  Kim and Randall are long-time, active members of Higgins Memorial United Methodist Church in Burnsville, NC where Kim is the Director of Children’s Ministry, of course.


Happy McLeod

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Before coming to Burnsville as the Administrator of The Blessing Place, Happy lived in Tryon, NC where she spent most of her life until she was married and after she retired. Other places she lived along her journey were Spartanburg, SC and the Low Country of South Carolina with a short stint in New York City where she went to high school. She was blessed to grow up in a Christian home with a father whose love was always unconditional. She has often wondered if she became a lay minister, served on the finance committee, was elected to the Vestry and became a Senior Warden at her church because she watched her father in those very same roles.

Happy was baptized, confirmed and married in the Episcopal Church. She attended the Methodist Church when she was married and later left the Episcopal Church to join an evangelical Anglican Church. She has also worshiped in Baptist Churches (because that is where the cute boys were!) and Presbyterian Churches before returning to the Episcopal Church. In 2018 she co-authored the start of the Carolina Foothills Chapter of The Order of St. Luke. These various affiliations have cemented her faith and spiritual views of Christianity.

After high school Happy attended a small liberal arts college where she graduated with a degree in Sociology. Later she earned a Masters Degree in Public Administration. She married her college sweetheart. They were married twenty-one years and have an awesome daughter and son and three beautiful grandchildren. Regrettably the marriage did not last forever as she thought it would.

From about age six to twenty-five, Happy’s greatest love was horses. As a little girl she played with horse figurines and built barns and farms on the floor of her bedroom. In high school and college she showed on the then Western NC Horse.

Show Circuit and rode and hunted with the Tryon Riding & Hunt Club. During the summers she helped Russell Walther with his riding clinics at Converse College, the Block House in Tryon, and Camps Green Cove and Mondamin in Tuxedo, NC.

Over the years she became a fairly good cook and enjoyed entertaining. Any time spent outdoors was time well spent. Her family and friends are the biggest blessings in her life. She has always strived to give back to her community the blessings it has given her.

In the mid-1990s, Happy’s life changed forever. She developed an infection in the cuticle of the middle finger of her right hand. After home remedies failed to make it better, she went to the doctor and was put on an antibiotic. The infection only got worse. The doctor changed the antibiotic. The infection worsened. She was referred to a specialist who changed the antibiotic again. By this time the nail was almost completely gone and the end of her finger looked like canned dog food. She was receiving the medicine intravenously now. One Wednesday morning the doctor told her if they didn’t find an antibiotic the infection responded to soon she stood a good chance of losing her finger and if the infection got into the bone she could be in real danger. She left the doctor’s office and went straight to the Healing Prayer Service at her church. She told the prayer team that prayed with her that she didn’t want this infection anymore and asked God to take it and use it. He did. The pain went away immediately. She never took any more medicine. She never went to another doctor. Slowly over three to four weeks the infection cleared up. The finger healed. Today that finger looks just like the others and the nail has grown back.

From that day on Happy has not been able to learn enough about healing prayer. She has studied under some of the best: Francis & Judith McNutt, John Wimber, David & Mary Pitches, to name a few. She has been a healing prayer minister for nearly thirty years now as well as coordinated prayer ministries. She brings with her to The Blessing Place a love of Jesus Christ Our Lord and a firm commitment to rekindle his healing prayer ministry by teaching and ministering to the sickness, disease, evil and brokenness in the world today. The Blessing Place is here for you. Please come!  

Assistant to the Director

Ed Pagán

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Ed was born on the island of Puerto Rico where he lived for a total of 13 years.  Enrolled in studies to become a doctor at the University of South Florida and later at Rutgers University, NJ, he was not able to complete the curriculum due to family responsibilities.  Eventually, however, he began to work in the field of pathology in areas ranging from biomedical research, to histology, to working in a hospital morgue performing autopsies.  Having an interest in technology, Ed later returned to school while in the medical field, obtaining a degree in Network Engineering and Data communications.

Going through many valleys and not raised in the church, Ed began his quest for the truth, eventually responding to God’s calling, surrendered to Jesus, and began full time discipleship.  

Developing a passion for the lost and needy, Ed began to share the hope he found in the gospel.  Some of the areas of service for the Lord include: technology in the church, helping and housing the homeless, prison & prayer ministries, facilitating Bible studies, and serving as deacon.  Through an inter-denominational & non-denominational road, the Lord continues to work in Ed’s life (together with his wife, Brenda) helping others bring wholeness to their lives at The Blessing Place of Western North Carolina, as Co-Convener of the OSL - Mountain Chapter (an ecumenical ministry of Christian healing), as well as other areas of the mission field. He also enjoys volunteering in many areas and serving as Registrar of the Blue Ridge Walk to Emmaus (Spiritual Renewal Weekend Events).  Finding joy in all of the above, Ed enjoys photography and can also be seen hiking the mountains of western NC with Jesus and his wife Brenda.  Come join us!


Monica Lester

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Monica is originally from Missouri. She was introduced to Christianity by her amazingly faithful mother, who attended a Pentecostal church. Monica attended church with her mother during the early years of her life.  However, after marrying and leaving Missouri at the young age of 17, Monica’s spiritual life joined that of her husbands and thus, it became one of studying various world religions.  This journey led to stepping off the familiar path of Christianity, as they entered the study and practice of the New Age Movement.  However, after years of daily prayers being prayed for Monica by her faithful mother, Monica made a decision and set out to “Find Jesus.”  This led to ending the marriage of her youth, and starting on her own Spiritual Journey.  This was in 2003, and she was 38 at the time.

Monica was baptized in a Southern Baptist church, which she attended for a year. She then began attending an Episcopal church and joined that church in 2004.  She has worshipped with her dear friends in the Methodist church as well. Still, with much fervor and dedication, Monica continued to study Christianity. As she repented and desired to be set free from her past sins, she received much needed healing from a healing prayer ministry from a local church where she lived in Florida at the time, through their deliverance ministry.  Monica was immediately drawn to the Healing Ministry offered at her church, as she is a Licensed Practical Nurse and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science.  Her pastor recommended her to the churches healing prayer ministry--The Order of St. Luke the Physician, ecumenical healing ministry. She went through their training and has served as a Healing Prayer Minister since 2006.

Monica and her wonderful husband Daniel were married in 2005, and between them have seven children.  They purchased a home in the Burnsville area in 2006.  Their faith journey together, led them to join the Catholic Church which, they entered in 2014. They moved permanently to their home here in the mountains in 2016, where they attend Sacred Heart Catholic Church.  Monica is now 54 and has attended numerous trainings in the faith, especially in the area of healing prayer ministry and pastoral care.  Monica received her certification as a spiritual director from the Cenacle of our Lady of Divine Providence School of Spirituality in association with the Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2015. She works with the Ignatian exercises and leads retreats.  She is an Advanced Life Coach, and is currently undergoing Unbound Healing Prayer Facilitator Training.

Liaison w/Conference Center Board of Directors

Barbara Blankenship

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Barbara Blankenship recently joined the leadership team, but has been involved with the Blessing Place since the beginning. She is a retired Registered Nurse after 54 years of nursing. Barbara became a Christian at the young age of 7 at a revival in the Missionary Baptist Church.  She has been involved in many denominations and presently is a member of Higgins Methodist Church in Burnsville, NC.

She is blessed with 4 children, 4 in-laws, 13 grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren with 3 more on the way, and loves the Lord, people, and growing in Christ.

Music & Worship Coordinator

Debbie McCraw

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Debbie joined The Blessing Place in December of 2018 as Worship Leader. Her spiritual journey began with the Episcopal Church in a small town in southern New Jersey. Her family moved to North Carolina in 1976, but it wasn’t until 1998 that Debbie found a true relationship with her Lord Jesus.  Her experience at The Walk to Emmaus changed her spiritual life forever as her Lord and Savior lead her into interdenominational churches where she shares her joy of worship and her love for God. Currently, she attends Liberty Covenant in Micaville, NC, where she is on the worship team and leads worship at the Wednesday night service.

Debbie grew up playing instruments and singing; God has blessed her with these gifts and she shares them with others through leading worship in her church, serving many times as a weekend music director for The Walk to Emmaus, and singing for her Hospice clients.

Debbie continues her participation with The Walk to Emmaus mostly as a music director, but also as a newly elected board member, and most recently serving as Lay Director for a women’s walk this past February. Debbie is also an active Family/Patient Volunteer for Yancey County Hospice, near Burnsville, NC. Other than Jesus and her family, Debbie’s other passions range from crocheting just about anything, to bee keeping and raiding their hard working girls of that delicious honey.


Brenda Pagán

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Brenda was born in southern WV and at the age of 4 her family moved to PA where she was raised in a Christian home environment and confessed her faith in baptism at the age of 12 in a nondenominational church.  She remained a faithful member and regularly attended the same church (different locations) for a large part of her life.

Brenda received her bachelor’s degree for Elementary Education and taught 2nd, 3rd, and 1st grade (in that order) for 18 years before retiring.  She is married to the love of her life and soul mate, Ed Pagán.  She has one son, a daughter-in-law and two grandsons who live in Texas.

Her different roles in church throughout the years have involved teaching children’s classes, heading a single’s ministry, leading a women’s group, helping with prison ministry, establishing and running a church library, and eventually getting involved in the technology room during the worship hour.  Brenda and Ed’s passion for the mountains and serving God led them to Western North Carolina where they are involved in different ministries outside the church they now attend.  Brenda is the registrar, a prayer minister, and serves on the board for The Blessing Place.  She is an active member, prayer minister, and greeter of the OSL - Mountain Chapter Christian Healing Ministry in Asheville.  She can also be caught volunteering behind the scenes or serving on teams at most every walk for the Blue Ridge Walk to Emmaus (Spiritual Renewal Retreat) where she is also the newsletter editor. In her spare time, she loves quilting, crocheting, scrapbooking, baking and playing the piano.

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