No matter what you're going through, we want you to know that you're not alone. We all face challenges and hurt, but we can find hope together.
This conference is designed to help you do just that. We'll be sharing stories of hope, offering practical advice, and providing opportunities for you to connect with others who understand what you're going through.
We know the journey to hope can be difficult, but we believe it's worth taking. We hope you'll join us on this journey.
John Ashley grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. The youngest of three children. His parents were divorced when John was five years old and he and he was raised primarily by his mother. After graduating high school, he joined the United States Navy. As a rebellious teenager, he got involved in alcohol and drugs while in the service. He spent most of his first year in the Navy in and out of trouble. Until one evening a friend spoke to him about Jesus Christ, a day that would eventually change John Ashley’s life. He trusted Christ as his personal savior that night in the front seat of a Jeep Wagoneer, outside of his barracks in Pensacola, Florida. The weight of sin was lifted off his shoulders that day, but he never really got involved in a church and, eventually, fell back into his old lifestyle.
In the years following, John married his wife, Joann, and they had two sons. Life was going along fine, or so he thought. However, after 9 years of marriage and putting up with her husband’s self-centered lifestyle, Joann encountered a young woman that had a personal relationship with Christ. This encounter proved to be a life-changing meeting for Joann. The young woman gave her a book on the Christian home that spoke of how a family needed to have Jesus Christ as its foundation. By the end of the book, Joann was convinced that she needed Christ and that her family needed a change.
She told John about her decision to trust in Christ and that she desired to have a family like the one in the book that she had read. Having been under conviction for years, John knew this was his last opportunity to get his life in the right relationship with God. That Sunday they took their boys to church and haven’t looked back since.
In 1987, an event took place that tested the newfound faith that John and Joann had been practicing. Their youngest son, Johnny, was born with unique multiple malformations. God had entrusted into their care a special child that would require much of their time and energy, but who would also be used by God to teach them much about God’s grace and strength.
Through the many trials the Lord has allowed Brother Ashley and Joann (his wife of over 40 years) to go through, He has provided strength and blessing along the way. IN SPITE OF their difficulties, John and Joann have faithfully served the Lord, launched new ministries, and currently are traveling and encouraging God’s people to live for Christ IN SPITE OF the trials they face.
Brother Ashley and Joann have co-authored the book “Finding Grace & Peace IN SPITE OF Trials & Tragedy: The Johnny Ashley Story.” A book written about their son, Johnny’s life and the inspiration he was to countless people. The book is also a testimony of how the Lord has sustained their family through the many years of having their faith consistently put to the test.
It is their firm belief that God gave them their son Johnny, and His strength so that they can use what the Lord has taught them to be a help to others. Everyone has an “In Spite Of” in their lives; some big, some small in comparison, but each one is real to those experiencing them.
With great passion and compassion, Brother Ashley will encourage and challenge those in his audience to see their “In Spite Of” in a different light; not as a problem that God has allowed into their lives, but as an opportunity to see God’s power in operation personally. He is available to speak in churches, conferences, seminars, workshops, and where ever there are hurting people.
John and Joann have a special place in their hearts for caregivers. They know firsthand many of the challenges they face and desire to be a help and encouragement to them.