Meet Our Special Guests Mark Gungor John Branyan Mo Isom Carolyn Evans Danen Kane Diane Brierley

Mark Gungor
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When Mark Gungor conducted his first marriage seminar, he did so for one reason—because somebody had to do it, and no one else was reaching the couples in his area. The enthusiastic response he received from his first audience was just the tip of the iceberg. Today, he is one of the most sought-after speakers on marriage and family in the country. Each year thousands of couples attend his Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage® seminars. Mark's candid and comedic approach uses unforgettable illustrations and the power of laughter to teach proven principles that are guaranteed to strengthen any marriage.

"I love to inspire people's lives with truth and humor. There are a lot of performers that make people laugh, and there are a lot of speakers who give solid principles for living. I want to do both," Mark says. His take on marriage issues is refreshingly free of both churchy and psychological lingo. "Our secular culture over-romanticizes marriage and our Christian culture over-spiritualizes it. The reality is that relationships between men and women are very down to earth," Mark comments. "Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage® is about helping couples get it right, get along, have fun, and achieve a successful marriage." In recent years, he has devoted much time and energy to bringing the Laugh Your Way seminars and materials to the Latino population, a gesture that has drawn overwhelmingly positive response.

Mark is Sr. Pastor of Celebration Church, a multi-site church with five campuses across Wisconsin, and the CEO of Laugh Your Way America. Mark balances his pastoral duties with a rigorous travel schedule. He speaks for churches, civic events, and business meetings and is a much requested speaker for the US Army.

Mark has also been featured on national broadcasts such as Focus on the Family, Life Today and ABC News. His Better Marriage Minute radio program is heard on 250 radio stations nationwide and his daily internet radio talk show, The Mark Gungor Radio Show, debuted in the fall of 2008. He is also the creator of the television series, Love, Marriage, and Stinking Thinking broadcast around the world on various networks including TBN.

Mark is the author of Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage® (Simon & Schuster, 2008), the book based on his phenomenally successful seminar and years of working with thousands of couples. He is married to Debbie, his high school sweetheart and constant travel companion. The Gungors have been married for 40 years and have two married children and four grandsons and two granddaugthers.

John Branyan
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In November of 1990, John took the stage at an Indianapolis comedy club with the intention of getting comedy out of his system. "I figured they'd at least boo me off stage. Worst case scenario, they'd throw stuff at me."

As it turned out, there was no booing or throwing.

And since that fateful maiden voyage, John has made lots of people laugh from coast to coast. On stage, he's energetic and contagiously enthusiastic about numerous topics including: Electronic cigarettes, Snuggies, automatic flushing toilets and the proper age to stop chewing your shoe in church.

Born and raised in the heart of fly-over country, John is committed to "comedy that won't leave a filthy residue." There's nothing in his act that you wouldn't want to hear your children repeat. (In fact, if your children repeat anything he says, send him a video copy of it...he'd love to see it!)

"People didn't invent laughter. It was given to us by someone who knew we'd enjoy it. Every show, my goal is to hurt people. Seriously. I want people's jaws to ache. I want their sides to cramp up. I want them to experience dizziness from oxygen deprivation. When they are in pain, I've done my job."

And hundreds of audiences eagerly respond, "Bring on the pain..."

Mo Isom
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With a life scarred by one tragedy after another, LSU senior goalkeeper Mo Isom is no stranger to hardship. But when all else failed, her faith remained constant.

It was her faith that allowed Isom to persevere after a serious eating disorder, the death of her father and a life-threatening car accident.

From a young age, Isom resorted to physical activities -- lots of them. Before the age of 10 she competed in gymnastics, tennis and horseback riding. But in the end, she decided to fully pursue soccer, which she started playing at 6-years-old.

Aware of the expenses for travel teams and other development programs, Isom made a promise to her parents at a young age. If they helped support her throughout her soccer journey, she would reward them by getting an athletic scholarship to college.
"For a young kid to say and make that promise is pretty beautiful," Mo's mother, Heidi, said.

Eventually, Isom delivered on her promise and received a full scholarship to play soccer at LSU. Her time in Baton Rouge has been record-breaking. As she progresses through her senior season, Isom holds the LSU alltime school record in wins (35) and shutouts (25). She was also invited on multiple occasions to train with U-23 U.S. National team.

Off the field, Isom has been something of an athletic celebrity on campus. She has appeared on local commercials, billboards and an LSU web series called "Meaux vs."

To the naked eye Isom has lived the perfect life: Little girls admire her, guys want to date her and athletes respect her.

But it's what lies inside that has shaped Isom into the person she is today.

Carolyn Evans
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Carolyn Evans, MSW, is a writer, speaker and creator of The Bead Method, a fun, simple method that teaches couples to become intentional about their intimate life.

Her girlfriend-to-girlfriend tone and bottom-line sensibility have made her a favorite guest on television talk shows like The Doctors, The Marie Osmond Show and The TODAY Show among others. She has been featured in Southern Living, Redbook, and Time.com, and many online women's health media outlets.

Carolyn grew up belting out solos from the pulpit of her small, grey Episcopal church with double red doors in the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains of north Georgia. She has always felt God's presence guiding her life, but never more clearly than when she stumbled across The Bead Method. "Really, God?" she asked. "You seriously want me to talk to complete strangers about the importance of sex in a marriage—and tell them all about the Beads?" She got a resounding "Yes". So that's what she does—every day. The Bead Method has already saved thousands of struggling marriages. Now, with the release of their co-authored book, The Bead Method; Creating a Generous Marriage Evans joins forces with the inimitable Mark Gungor and aims to positively impact the course of many, many marriages. "Because sex in a marriage really can be easy and fun again—when you approach it one Bead at a time."

Carolyn lives in Charleston, SC by the Wappoo River with her husband of 18 years, teenage daughter and 9-year-old son. She and her family belong to Grace Church in the heart of downtown Charleston.

Diane Brierly
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Diane is a former elementary school teacher who stepped out of the classroom and has been working with Mark Gungor and Laugh Your Way America, LLC for 10 years. She has a great passion for strengthening marriages and families and has been involved with Gungor's marriage ministry in a variety of capacities. Diane is currently the co-host of "The Mark Gungor Show" and serves as the literary and content assistant doing research, writing and editing for Mark's seminars, books and websites. In addition, she creates much of the content for the small group studies and also developed the curriculum Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage® uses in their Video Presenter and Military Chaplain training programs.

Diane has been actively involved in Mark's Celebration Church network since the inception of the Stevens Point campus, serving on the Leadership Team, as the Director of Ministry Development, and as a leader of many small groups. She and her husband, Adrian, share five children: three grown and flown, one heading to college in the fall, and one teenager still at home.

Danen Kane
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In a day and age where it seems like all has been said and done before, those whose ears and lives have been touched by Danen Kane know there is more to discover, not only in music, but within their own heart and soul. Found in the depths of swelling ambience, the simplicity of rich melodic piano, the intriguing chord structures and signatures of an acoustic guitar style all his own, or simply found in a voice whose beauty reaches far beyond a pleased ear- the power of Danen's songwriting and music is not merely heard, it is deeply felt.

God's creative hand and anointing was easy to see upon Danen's life after releasing his first independent album only a year and half after picking up a guitar and singing for the first time. Songs of desperation, heartache, and love poured from him seemingly out of nowhere. Quickly doors and opportunities started to open all over the country just through good old fashion grass roots word of mouth.

Breaking onto the indie underground scene in 2004, Danen began garnering national attention and word of his music started spreading fast. Touring solo 9 months out of the year for 3 years straight- with only his guitar and his Creator to keep him company- he went city to city, state to state, sharing his story and leading people into the presence of an undeniable God. With a unique ability to tear down the walls between traditional worship songs and songs about everyday life, people consistently share stories of leaving Danen's presence and concerts inspired in the depths of their soul.

In 2006 Danen released his fourth album entitled She, a gorgeous extended love story between God and His broken hearted. Featuring the song "I Want You To Believe," She stirred hearts to the point of Danen receiving letters daily from all over the country with stories of salvation, redemption, healing, and revived love.

Three months after its release however, Danen experienced some tremendous losses in his life that required him to come off the road to heal, pray, seek, and re-evaluate his calling. Touring full time alone, while an incredible blessing and a huge time of growth, had also grown incredibly lonely and had caused some deep heartache. God was calling him to a time of rest, reconnecting, and a new understanding of what is meant to abandon everything "go" for Christ. As he studied the scriptures and sought the Lord like never before, he found that God valued very few things more than He valued deep community. Much of how people learn about the Love of God and even His grace is through extending grace and love to others. Even through the most beautiful of times, as well as the ugliest and most painful of situations. For the past two years, Danen has come off from the road with a desire to replant himself, to start to relearn what that meant, and to ask of God how that worked with what was still very much his undeniable calling.

But time off did not stop the growth of his fan base and the spreading of his music. It increased at an even faster pace gaining opportunities to do shows with the likes of Sarah Kelly, Shawn McDonald, and Barlow Girl just to name a few.

So in the midst of the rest and the seeking, Danen has been writing by far his most powerful project yet. This unbelievably soulful blend of funk, folk, European pop rock, and a stunningly anointed heart of worship will release in two breathtaking sections. The first of which, the Awakening EP, due to emerge August 1, 2009, features the much anticipated songs "Alive," "Inheritance," "Awakening," "Lullaby For The Forgotten," "You Came For Me," as well as one brand new angelic song, "Home". Written from some of the deepest pains ever felt by the human heart, the spirit of these songs can supernaturally lift the soul and mind off of our broken condition and onto the true hope to come... where true joy in the midst of suffering and heartache beautifully meet the captive.

This journey is just beginning and a great awakening is coming...