Letters and References

Caregiver’s Letter

To whom it may concern,


When our mother went to be with the Lord in August of 2005, we thought our sister Ina, who was born with a developmental disability would go into a state of depression. However, quite the opposite happened. A friend, Diane Stevens, told us about the Circle of Friends Ministry. I took Ina to visit and upon leaving she said, “I like that place”. The students were working, smiling, and obviously having a good time.


As Aunt Mert talked about how the Circle of Friends Ministry was started, I could see that she had a heart for the students and the ministry. That same loving and caring attitude is seen in each of the workers. It’s very gratifying to know that our sister has a safe place to work, learn and grow in knowledge of the importance of service to others.


Barbara Pearson & Kathy Carr

Pastor’s Letter (2005)

To whom it may concern:


I have known Mertice for nineteen years. As her pastor, for these years, I have enjoyed her total support and dedication.


Mertice has a tremendous testimony overcoming family disabilities through her faith in God. Her testimony will lift up every person who had struggled with life’s complications and problems. I recommend her as a speaker.


In HIS service,
Rev. A. J. Steverson

Paul Gerrard, Banker
Center State Bank

To Whom It May Concern:


I have only known Mertice a short time and I will never forget the first time I met her. I had been asked to serve on the Circle of Friend’s board by a current board member. Before making my decision, I wanted to meet the Executive Director, Mertice. She met me at the door and gave me a tour of the facility and then we went up to her office. While sitting at her desk, she proceeded to give me her testimony and from that point on, I have become a big fan and prayerful supporter of Mertice and her ministry, Circle of Friends.


Mertice has proven to be a person that “walks the walk” and she is deeply devoted to the on going ministry of the Circle of Friends and cares of the special needs participants.


Paul W. Gerrard

Parent’s Letter

To Whom It May Concern:


I am a parent that has a son with various disabilities. We have associated the Circle of Friends for going on five years. In the beginning when I volunteered for Circle, in 2002, there were many times I would get a call about my son. At one time, he would be sick and the doctor said he was a diabetic. Another time, he was agitated and called before being diagnosed as having “Asperger’s Syndrome.” The Circle referred me to The Agency for Person’s With Disabilities. I went to Lakeland and they set me up with a case worker to help with the situation.


One other time, Mertice suggested that I go for Positive Parenting classes in Lakeland. I signed up for ten classes for one time, and again in two years. It was fabulous! I learned and also taught my husband how to change our behavior in order to change our son’s behavior. It worked so well I was amazed. It still works when applied.


The Circle of Friends has been a God-sent to me and my family.


Lynne Pabani- Special needs mom

Karyn Brinkmeyer- Singer/Song Writer
Published Artist

To whom it may concern:


Commitment to God, dependency on God and joyful in God are three characteristics that come to mind when I think of Mertice Kelly. As a ministry partner and friend, I have watched the storms of life attack her physically, emotionally, and spiritually, yet she has stood faithful to the One who gave her new life by looking to Him and His Word for strength and direction.


As you listen to Mertice share her story, you will sense the very real presence of God in her life. You will also be encouraged in your life struggles and you will be challenged to “seek Him with all of your heart.”


For Jesus,
Karyn Brinkmeyer