Donna is known as a practical Bible teacher. She outlines step-by-step principles with simplicity and warmth as she openly shares from her own personal struggles. In 2001 she began developing a Bible study she called “The Answer ” in an effort to find healing for her internal struggles. The Answer identifies soul issues that have caused the problems we experience in life. The class has evolved over the years and the Lord has used it to mature Donna’s character and heal her soul in places she didn’t know she needed healing.
She developed a workbook and years later had her class recorded in order to have a corresponding DVD set. This interactive Bible curriculum has been used by churches and home groups around the country. In 2011 Donna released her class also in book form and now calls it “The Answer for Life”.
I was raised in Rochester, New York surrounded by loving family and friends. As a young child I would hear an audible voice calling my name in the night. I now know it was the voice of the Lord calling to me. There was a day in elementary school while reading to kindergarteners, that I felt in my heart that someday I would be a teacher. After growing up, I had no desire to work with small children, so I discounted that calling on my life. At the age of 16 my parents divorced. The loss of my family structure, my home and security turned my world upside down. I got in with the wrong crowd in high school, numbed the pain with drugs and made a series of bad choices that marked those years as the worst of my life.
I got married at the age of twenty-one in an effort to replace the home and family I felt I had lost. I gave birth to my daughter, Jenelle, and a short time later my marriage dissolved. Through a series of events, I started working weekends at a local strip club on the nights they had male dancers. I began working at the front door checking IDs and running the cash register, eventually making my way to tending bar and cleaning the place during the day. I made friends there and developed a false sense of identity. The day I signed my divorce papers I had a divine encounter with Tony C, he was the Christian father of an old friend. God has spoken to him and told him to wait in the lobby of an office building in the city because there was someone coming who would need ministry. He had been standing in that lobby for about a half hour when I walked in. Neither one of us could believe we were seeing each other. He took me to lunch and told me about Jesus, so I accepted the Lord. I was excited and told everyone at the club about Jesus. My life, however, did not change right away.
Being a Christian was very hard for me because I had one foot in church and one foot in the world. I used to watch The 700 Club every morning and I’d call them frequently for prayer. One night in particular, as I was tending bar and watching the dancers, I heard the voice of the Lord say, “This is disgusting to me.” I answered, “Really?” I was so desensitized to the environment that I just kept on working. During this entire time, Lord was faithful to keep drawing me to Himself.
Behind the bar, across from the parking lot, there was a church that had a large cross on the top of the steeple that was always lit up. The times when I would go outside there, I would look up at that cross and say, “Lord, help me!” In my mind, I could see no way out of the mess I had made of my life, unless the bar was to close. One day while I was cleaning the bar, I stopped to each lunch and literally laid hands on the bar, spoke out loud and said, “I command this place to be closed down, in Jesus’ name.” No one had ever taught me to do something like that. Without knowing it, the Holy Spirit was leading me.
On July 17, 1984 at 10:45 a.m., I was riding in a car with my friend Rhonda. It was a clear summer day without a cloud in the sky. Suddenly, we both noticed a single little cloud in the sky right above the car. The word yes was written in perfect dark blue cursive inside of the cloud. Both Rhonda and I had been praying silently during the car ride and we were so excited when this cloud appeared. We were also amazed that the other drivers on the road didn’t seem to notice it.
For many years I didn’t know what the Lord was saying yes to or why He would give a miracle of such Biblical proportions.
In April of 1986 a very handsome man named Mark Fiorini came into the bar. He was a friend of a co-worker and he had come to bring in drugs for the evening. Mark and I soon became friends. Then he and his cousin ended up moving into the apartment upstairs from where I lived. Within two weeks we were dating.
One day when I was home alone, I had snorted a quarter gram of coke and was high. I was sitting on the front porch, enjoying my high on a beautiful spring day, when the phone rang. It was a prayer counselor from The 700 Club. He told me he had been going through a stack of names and numbers and the Lord told him to call me! I proceeded to tell him how I was a backslidden Christian and had just gotten high. The counselor began ministering the love and forgiveness of God to me and he prayed for my life to be turned back over to Jesus. As we prayed, my high left immediately. After we hung up, I ran upstairs to tell Mark what had just happened and told him we had to give our lives to Jesus.
Two months later the bar was forced to close down. Shortly after that Mark received a call from his mother. He hung up the phone and said, “They know I have been dealing drugs. I’m done.”
With the club closed, I was free from my group of friends and the place we gathered. I was also out of a job. Mark’s mother, a strong Christian woman, hired me to paint all the windows inside her house. She knew I was a divorced young mother who was dating her son and she wanted to get to know me. She would spend time giving me her testimony and telling me all about Jesus.
As it turned out, Mark’s parents went to the same church as my mother. Our families knew each other and shared mutual friends. The Lord had both of our parents in the same church, praying for us, their wayward children. This was yet another in a series of supernatural moves of God in my life. Mark and I were married in December 1986, eight months after we met. We were amazed at all the Lord had done so quickly in our lives.
A couple of years after I had seen the “yes” cloud, I was watching The 700 Club and I heard Pat Robertson quote 2 Corinthians 1:20 - “For all the promises of God in him are yes, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” I finally had some understanding of what the Lord meant by yes, but it was still only the beginning.
Shortly after that, I received a letter from The 700 Club asking for testimonies. I wrote out what the Lord had done and how He used their prayer minister to call me and help me turn my life around. The 700 Club contacted me and filmed my testimony! It aired many times over during the late 1980’s.
View 700 Club interview
I continued to spend time growing in the Lord. I started to host a small group Bible study for my friends and my leadership skills began to develop. After recognizing my ability to teach, my pastor began to give me opportunities to share my gift by having me teach a weekly Bible study on Thursday nights at the church. In 1997, he encouraged me to go to the next level and gave me his platform to teach on a Sunday morning. That’s when I stepped into the call of God on my life.
In the early part of 2000, the Lord began to put His finger on areas of my life that were not healed. This led me on a journey to discover ‘the answer’ for life. I learned that what you bury alive stays alive. There were events in my life that were buried alive and hindering my ability to be whole. I began to learn that our soul (mind, will and emotions) houses every experience of life, shapes our ability to think and forms what we believe and how we feel. Through our soul we filter the events of life, creating our perceptions, which in turn influence our behaviors. We make decisions based on our feelings which are not always telling us the truth, affecting the lives of the people around us. Then we bring these patterns into our relationships, raise our children with them and they are carried on to future generations.
This understanding was a revelatory key that I had never learned in church. I was still mentoring my home group of women and everyone was learning about the soul right along with me. As I was dealing with my own personal baggage, I used my issues to teach others.
These were painful years for me. I didn’t feel like I had anything to offer this group of women every week because I was bleeding so much emotionally. It would have been easy for me to end those meetings. Yet each week, after the meeting, the Lord would show me the good it was producing in the lives of these women, so I kept going. During this time I was developing a workbook for the class I now call “The Answer”. In 2003, I began teaching from that workbook at church and lives were being changed.
In 2004, on Father’s Day, I was officially ordained into the ministry as a teaching pastor. I had great vision to see a corresponding DVD set to go with my workbook so that churches across the country could use them together. I worked hard to make that vision a reality. As I was working on that, the Lord also told me to put the whole course into book form so that people could just read it. That was a large task, ten years in the making, but in 2011 the assignment the Lord had given me was complete.
My desire is to expose the root of many of the problems we encounter in life and to show you how to find ‘The Answer’ for living an abundantly blessed life. Everyone has a past that is filled with unmet needs, unhealed hurts and unresolved issues that make up the “junk in our trunk”. My book, “The Answer For Life”, is a self-help book in which I openly share my quest for answers to my own internal struggles and my journey to overcome the issues of life.
My prayer is for you to achieve the same results in your life, so that you, too, can live in the abundance God has always wanted for you.