Jane Nitz, Founder and CEO

Into Abba’s Arms

Jane graduated from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, and began her career as a dental hygienist in Port Neches. After moving to Sugarland, she began attending Sugar Creek Baptist Church. In 1997, after a dream about Africa, Jane felt called to travel to Kenya with a medical mission team from her church.

During the trip, Jane witnessed the deplorable conditions facing Kenyan orphans. Upon returning to the states, she could not stop thinking about her time in Kenya. She felt the Lord leading her to build a home for the orphaned children of Kenya. Nearly 20 years and many children later, the organization she founded is considered a hub for Christian ministry in the central highlands of Kenya.

Into Abba’s Arms provides a home for double orphans and introduces them to the love of Christ. Into Abba’s Arms is also the sole provider of clean drinking water and medical care for its surrounding community. Additionally, visiting teams come to provide educational programs for area schools and police and hospital personnel.

Brian Jenkins, CEO, Into Abba’s Arms

Owner RTP Consulting Group

Brian Jenkins is the owner of RTP Consulting Group. Shaped by a diverse background in business leadership, Brian has cultivated an unparalleled expertise in sales and growth performance. He has served in church and ministry leadership and is a published author, but by far, his greatest passion is in defending the fatherless. That passion has led him to adopt four children in addition to the five he shares with his wife, Candice.

Sallie Sills, Executive Director

Director Sales and Marketing, Combined Group

Sallie Sills is the Sales and Marketing Director for Combined Group, a commercial insurance brokerage, located in Dallas, Texas. While Sallie has spent the majority of her career in sales and service management, she has considerable experience as both a corporate trainer and a consultant for organizations seeking to restructure their governing boards and management practices. Sallie is a native Texan who enjoys traveling the world and spending time with her large extended family.

Kathleen Curnutt, Treasurer

Controller, Small Steps Nurturing Center

Kathleen Curnutt is the Controller at Small Steps Nurturing Center, a non-profit preschool that provides early education and emotional support for economically at risk children in Houston, Texas. Kathleen is responsible for managing day-to-day activities and procedures related to all financial and accounting functions such as reporting, accounts payable, budgeting, and more. She works closely with the organization’s Executive Director, Board of Directors, and Development staff.

Kathleen actively volunteers for and serves on Into Abba’s Arms’ Board of Directors. She has traveled to Kenya many times to develop relationships with the children, mentor, tutor, assist with chores, and prepare fun activities and outings. Kathleen has a true passion for fulfilling God’s work and a strong motivation to positively influence the lives of others.

Tom Jones, Board Member

Bechtel Hydrocarbon Technology Solutions, Inc.

Tom is the Manager of Chemicals Technology for Bechtel Hydrocarbon Technology Solutions, Inc. based in Houston, Texas. Tom advises the Petrochemicals business line on technology options/prospects and front-end project technical support. Tom has been with Bechtel for 21 of his 42-year career. Prior to Bechtel, Tom worked for operating companies including Union Carbide Corporation and Indonesian petrochemical operator, PT Chandra Asri. Tom is married to Debra, celebrating 40 years of marriage this year. They have two children and three grandchildren.

David Gardeen, Board Member

Assistant Branch Manager, Wells Fargo Bank

David has been happily married to his wife, Linsey, and together they have two boys. David is currently working for Wells Fargo Bank in Woodlands, Texas. He helps run and manage 20 different employees. Prior to Wells Fargo, David works overseas in Quito, Ecuador, for an International Church. He has also served as the Associate Pastor at English Fellowship Church overseeing administrative and youth ministry aspects. David and Linsey feel called to serve full time overseas and are in the process of being trained by WoodsEdge Community Church to become long-term missionaries. David also serves on the WoodsEdge Spanish service worship team.

David graduated from the North Park in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organization Management and Leadership. He is bilingual in Spanish and English using Spanish frequently in work and within his personal relationships. David has a heart for displaced people and third culture youth. In his free time, David loves spending time with his family and enjoys playing soccer, basketball, and golf.

Banks Chisum, Director of Site Development

President of JB Chisum Company, Inc.

Banks remembers from childhood how his father demonstrated the importance of serving others. His father’s influence was instrumental in leading Banks to employ his practical business and communication skills in various organizations and ministries across the globe.

Banks is an active member of First Baptist Church in Wimberley where he has served as a teacher in Sunday school and in the music ministry. He currently holds a position on the International Missions Committee.

Banks takes his interest in the community a step further and serves as the vice president of Wimberley Fire & Rescue. As such he witnessed first-hand the devastating floods of 2015—one of the worst natural disasters in the history of central Texas.

In his spare time, Banks can be found on the streets of San Antonio surrounded by the homeless as he works with Taking It to the Streets, a ministry in Boerne, Texas. He also enjoys exploring new countries and cultures and spending time with family and friends.

US Staff

Elissa LaRochelle, Director of Operations

Elissa graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Interior Design. She currently lives in Houston, Texas where she began her career as a designer and then a project manager of interior construction projects for healthcare facilities. After over 7 years in the industry, she took some time off from her career to focus on family. Elissa and her husband welcomed their little boy into the world in March of 2020.

Elissa’s passion for Into Abba’s Arms began in 2010 when she first visited Kenya and her involvement continued to grow over the years. In 2016 she joined the Board of Directors and served as secretary for 5 years. In 2021, after spending some time as a stay at home mom, Elissa decided to return to work as the Director of Operations for IAA. She is dedicated to the mission of IAA, cares deeply for all of the children, and is excited to be serving in this way.

Kim Fitzsimmons, Bookkeeper

Kim joined the Into Abba’s Arms family in March 2013 and has over 40 years of bookkeeping, administrative, and computer software experience. She developed these skills while working with private businesses, CPA and real estate firms, non-profits and educational organizations. She is detail-oriented, organized, and skilled in the use of many cutting-edge computer software programs. Outside of IAA, Kim is a wife, mom, and grandma and attends WoodsEdge Church. When Kim isn’t doing IAA business, she enjoys spending time with her husband, children and grandchildren, and loves traveling and reading.

Rachel Warren, Administrative Coordinator

Rachel graduated from Johnson University (Knoxville, TN) in December of 2018 receiving a Bachelor of Science in Human Services. After graduating, Rachel returned to her hometown of Columbus, IN, and began working for Into Abba’s Arms. She currently handles communications with mission teams and child sponsors, media marketing, and various other administrative tasks. In her free time, Rachel enjoys spending time with family and friends. She also has a love for outdoor adventure and animals – especially dogs. Rachel visited Into Abba’s Arms for the first time in 2019, and is excited to get back! She looks forward to continuing the work God is doing with Into Abba’s Arms and building relationships with both the children and staff in Kenya.

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