Marriage and Family Initiative
Bruce and Leta Wilbanks, Founders
Bruce and Leta were high school sweethearts, marrying on August 20, 1976. They have two sons, Adam, married to Christina, and Brandon, married to Kendra, and live in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. They attend First Baptist Church in Broken Arrow, OK.
Bruce has been an executive recruiter and career and life coach for professional and executive men and women for the majority of his 35+ years business experience. Bruce and Leta also work with Eagle Family Ministries of Northwest Arkansas. Bruce is currently getting his master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. Bruce and Leta are certified in Prepare and Enrich and SYMBIS (Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts).
After seeing some of their closest friends divorce after 37 years of marriage God placed a call on their lives to marriage ministry. Bruce and Leta founded Marriage and Family Initiative in 2017. They have a heart toward working with couples to renew their love and commitment and change their family legacy.
Don and Gail Donell
Don and Gail were also high school sweethearts, and married August 14, 1976. They have four children, daughter Rachel, married to U.S. Army Captain Aaron Selph, son Ryan, married to Lydia, daughter Amy, married to Claudio Molina, and son Ian, serving in the U.S. Marines, along with seven beautiful grandchildren. They attend Christ Presbyterian Church in Tulsa, OK.
Don has spent most of the past 35 years in the pastoral ministry as a bi-vocational pastor in Oklahoma and South Carolina. Additionally, Don and Gail spent 12 years as missionary church-planters in Cordoba, Argentina and Asheville, North Carolina. Don is currently a corporate trainer for Hilti in Tulsa.
We are very fortunate to have Don and Gail working with MFI as program consultants and event speakers.
BRUCE and LETA WILBANKS and DON and GAIL DONELL have been best friends since high school, wedding attendants for each other as they married one week apart in their small hometown of Gravette, AR, and attended Southwest Baptist College together in Bolivar, MO. Bruce and Don both sang and traveled with the Sonshine Quartet for many years, and still reunite with the group for special concerts. But then life and careers separated them as they lived very different lives across the world from each other. God’s divine plan has now brought them back together in Broken Arrow, OK to work together with Marriage and Family Initiative, a 501c3 nonprofit.
What We Believe
We believe the Bible to be the inspired, only infallible, authoritative Word of God;
We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit;
We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father and in His personal return in power and glory;
We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful humanity, regeneration by the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ is absolutely essential.
We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life;
We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost, they who are saved unto the resurrection of life and they who are lost unto the resurrection of damnation;
We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Permanence of Marriage:
We believe that the institution of marriage is a sacred covenant designed by God to model the love of Christ for His people and to serve both the public and private good as the basic building block of human civilization.
Marriage is intended by God to be a thriving, lifelong relationship between a man and a woman enduring through trials, sickness, financial crises and emotional stresses.
Therefore, Christians are called to defend and protect God’s marriage design and to minister in Christ’s name to those who suffer the consequences of its brokenness.
“‘Haven’t you read,’ He replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate.’” Matthew 19:4-6
Marriage is under attack in our country, and we truly believe that so many of the challenges facing our society like crime, poverty, violence and education can be addressed by strengthening families. Strong families begin with a healthy marriage. Join us in taking a stand for marriage!