Marine Corporal Aaron Mankin enlisted in 2003 at the onset of conflict in Iraq as a Combat Correspondent. On May 11, 2005 he was wounded when the 26-ton amphibious assault vehicle he was traveling in struck an IED. During the attack, six Marines gave their lives and Cpl. Mankin suffered 3rd degree burns which disfigured his face, arms, and hands.
Two years later, Cp. Mankin became the first patient at UCLA’s Operation Mend. This nonprofit organization offers reconstructive surgeries to veterans and mental health support for them and their families. He has undergone nearly 70 surgeries and countless procedures.
Throughout his recovery, he has remained a passionate advocate, supporting service members as a spokesperson for Operation Mend, the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Through those organizations and his diligence, he’s addresses and stimulated significant change on a national level with issues such as the VA backlog, veteran’s suicide, and fostered Veterans Preference bills in his home state of Arkansas.
Cpl. Mankin’s resilient spirit has been recognized by a number of prestigious organizations. In 2008, the USO named him Marine of the Year and awarded him the George Van Cleave Military Leadership Award. In 2009 he was named one of People Magazine’s Heroes of the Year and was inducted into the Impact Player Partners Hall of Fame. Cpl. Mankin conferred with then Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, on matters affecting wounded veterans. In 2012 he was invited to the White House State Dinner to represent over one million veterans who have served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. In 2013 he was honored by the Rogers Public Education Foundation in his hometown as an outstanding graduate by being inducted to the organizations Wall of Distinction. During the general election of 2016, Cpl. Mankin was asked to speak at the first ever Commander in Chief Forum.
Mankin’s inspiring story has been shared on The Today Show, Anderson Cooper 360, Morning Joe, ABC’s Dateline with Bob Woodruff, The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, The Don Imus Show, The Rachel Maddow Show, Paul Harvey Radio, and NPR. He has also appeared in People Magazine, GQ Magazine, Best Life Magazine, and countless publications around the globe.
Now in his twelfth year of recovery, Mankin resides in his hometown of Rogers, Arkansas with his two children, ten-year-old Madeline and nine-year-old Hunter. He is currently employed by the U.S. House of Representatives as the Military and Veteran Liaison for Congressman Steve Womack in the third congressional district of Arkansas.
Emma Mae Jenkins
Emma Mae Jenkins is the daughter of Jason and Amanda Jenkins and a big sister to her 15 year old brother, Nolan.
She is 18 years old and currently a senior at Bentonville High School, in Bentonville, Arkansas. She is the all body student president of her high school of 3200 students, member of the Acapella Choir, teammate of the Bentonville Soccer team, and leads the Outreach for Christ Club on campus.
She is a blogger and a social media influencer using her social media platform of YouTube and Instagram to help lead her generation into having a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ.
She is currently writing her first devotional book and has a passion to travel and speak to her generation about how to let their light shine unashamedly for Jesus. Emma has a fire inside of her to influence and encourage her generation to embrace their uniqueness that God has blessed them with and use it for the purpose of building God's kingdom.
Twenty-year-old Marjorie Jackson is the author of two books thus far—The Greatest Book You’ve Never Read, written to get young people excited about reading the Bible, and Devoted: A Girl’s 31 Day Guide to Good Living with a Great God, as well as a third book in the works, The Devoted Life, a creative devotional journal, coming out December 2018. She is the oldest of five wildly energetic, half Guatemalan girls. She enjoys playing the piano, hand lettering, art, musical theater, Italian cream sodas, learning about different cultures and languages, and talking away with family, friends, strangers… pretty much anybody.
Jackie is a Jesus girl who is committed to tell the story that God is writing with her life, no matter how messy. It is a story of faith, obedience, love, loss, adoption, autism, suicide, and grace… lots and lots of grace! It is a story of God’s active pursuit of her heart that has resulted in a deep love for His life-giving Word and a strong desire to teach it to others. It is not uncommon to spot Jackie around town giving a quick Hebrew lesson to a friend in a parking lot, complete with charts and posters.
Jackie lives in Springdale, Arkansas with her husband of 21 years, Keith, whom she met when she was just 5 years old. She serves along side him at Cross Church where he is the Marriage & Family Pastor. Together they have three children, each 10 years apart and each with their own unique story. Two of the three entered their family through adoption and have changed their family in the most beautiful way.
Besides Jesus and her family, Jackie’s loves include playing on the lake, a good cup of coffee, Mexican food, ice cream and all things Harry Potter.
Kristen Hatton is the author of Face Time: Your Identity in a Selfie World for teen girls and the teen devotional Get Your Story Straight. She is also a speaker, Bible study leader and blogger. In addition to her own blog, she is a frequent contributor to the Rooted Ministry blog and the enCourage women’s blog. She resides in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her pastor husband, and they have three teenagers. To learn more, visit www.kristenhatton.com
Grace has been a Things Above leader for four years now, and has been blessed to have been a student speaker at five BGR. She is a homeschooled senior, and is a concurrent student at JBU and plans to attend fulltime next fall. You might find her scooping ice cream and the Spark Cafe, reading christian romance novels at a coffee shop, or hiking trails at Tanyard creek. She would say she's often compared to Anne of Green Gables. God has never failed to remind her how faithful He is in her faithless moments!
She is always ready to meet you for coffee! Genevieve is a worship leader at her church and has a passion for the worship ministry. She is also an avid baker! She is currently a culinary student, as well as a highschool senior. She cannot wait to connect with you!
Jason and Amanda Jenkins
Jason and Amanda Jenkins are the parents of Emma and Nolan Jenkins and have been married for 22 years. They currently reside in Cave Springs, AR and are originally from West Monroe, LA.
Amanda graduated from the University of Louisiana at Monroe School of Pharmacy and has worked for Walmart for over 15 years. Jason graduated with his bachelor degree from the University of Louisiana at Monroe and has been in high school fundraising for over 17 years.
They have a passion for the being a light in this world and to show other couples and parents that there is power in faithfulness and intentional parenting. They live out loud and on purpose and are excited to share their hearts at the NWA Beautiful Girls Retreat.
Dana is the Executive Director of Loving Choices. She is a wife, a mother of 3, and - best of all - a grandmother of 2 little angels. She has a passion for the Pregnancy Center that dates back to high school where she first felt God calling her into this ministry. It would be years later before she was able to fulfill this call but she knows she is where God has called her to be at this time in her life. She works with the youth at her church where she & her husband are very involved. She also travels to India to share Sanctity of Life and the Gospel to remote villages. She loves to show her own bravery with plans to jump from a plane to celebrate a coming birthday!
Esther Seim is a 20 year-old homeschool graduate, ballet dancer, award-winning fiction writer/author, YouTuber, FCA leader, aspiring filmmaker, actress, and photographer. She is passionate about mentoring young people and encouraging them to be world changers! God has blessed her with the opportunity to do just that as the assistant artistic director for Rejoice! Children’s Ballet Theater, a Bentonville-based ballet school that focuses on excellence in dance and Christian discipleship. She is also a FCA community sponsor/leader for Creekside Middle School and Osage Creek Elementary School in Bentonville, giving her direct access to sharing the gospel in what she believes to be America’s greatest mission field!
In her free time, she enjoys singing and songwriting, spending time outdoors with friends and family, serving in her church, and watching her two younger brothers on the ball field. She looks forward to connecting with the girls at the NWA Beautiful Girl Retreat 2018!
Jim has been married to his beautiful wife Barbara for 31 years and is the father to two amazing daughters, Tiffany and Shae. Always eager to be out doors, he loves living out by Beaver Lake and enjoys hiking, kayaking, and spending time on board his boat the "fellowship."
Since attending his first Promise Keepers event 20 years ago, Jim has always had a heart for men ministry. He is currently on the staff of Rugged Faith Ministries, where God's Word and adventure experiences are used to equip men to be Godly leaders in their homes and communities. Jim and his family love to volunteer at the Beautiful Girls Retreat and he believes it is critical that men participate and be on influence presence to this generation of young ladies.
More to be announced!
To be announced!
Rejoice! Children's Ballet Theater
Rejoice! Children's Ballet Theater is a company-model classical ballet school based in Bentonville, Arkansas. It is run by Kim and Esther Seim. RCBT strives to cultivate a culture of honor, love, and excellence in each class, from the youngest preschoolers to the oldest advanced dancers. Their highest goal, however, is to make sure that each dancer who comes through their doors understands that everything they do, including dance, is intended to be an act of worship unto the Lord Jesus. This is their second year serving at that NWA Beautiful Girls Retreat, and they can't wait to return!
More to be announced!