Gayla was born in Benton, Illinois to Sam and Joyce Latta. Adventure came early as a tornado ripped through the small town of Benton Illinois. Only 3 days old, cradled in her father’s arms, the young family was kneeling in prayer beside a closet when the house was blown away, leaving only their lives intact.
At age 7 Gayla moved with her parents and three brothers to Liberia, West Africa, 65 miles from the nearest motor road in a mud house located central to a jungle village. Along with three brothers, Gayla attended school taught by her mother. The experience of this early adventure provided her with an early education in humanitarian mission work, which impacted her for life.
Upon return to the United States to complete schooling, Gayla met and married Evangelist Gregory Holley on December 27, 1975. As itinerant ministers and teachers, the couple traveled throughout the world and continues to as Ambassadors of New Life Foundation. Their Ministry continues to be in many nations teaching, educating, feeding, bringing medicine and clothing to those less fortunate.
Gayla birthed their baby girl, Angela, in Harare, Zimbabwe, in the civil war of Rhodesia during their years as missionaries there. She also home schooled their daughter for 10 years.
Supporting orphanages for hurting children, and homes for those who are in poverty, her compassion for the young, encircles the world. Dr Gayla founded the organization MOMS AGAINST HUNGER , which feeds hundreds of thousands of children and their mothers around the world annually. MAH assists others in setting food pantries to provide for local communities, as well as offers aid in disasters for earthquake victims, hurricanes, floods, fires and tornados in the USA.
Millions of packages of formulated rice meals have been distributed in many nations to provide essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals and vital nourishment to the starving through her efforts. Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Ghana, Liberia, Mexico, Romania, Belize, Malawi, Haiti, Guatemala, Fiji, Honduras, Zambia, Mauritius are just a few of the list of nations that containers of aid have been shipped to providing food and supplies to the impoverished. Please visit www.momsagainsthunger.org to see ongoing efforts in different nations. Or join us at Facebook/ Moms Against Hunger
Dr Gayla founded ROLE MODELS of AMERICA as an encouragement to women who succeed to model and lead the next generation. It is designed to allow women to use their abilities and talents to fulfill the desire to help others. She has hosted many educational events helping women to achieve personal life skills and leadership. She manages the Role Models of America Thrift Store which serves the working poor with vouchers for needs. www.rolemodelsofamerica.org
She founded the Pass it On Program at Illinois State University.
A singer and original songwriter for two albums, Sanctuary and Reflecting Your Glory.
Dramatist and Playwright of The Big Bang, The Mysterious Woman, The Razor’s Edge, The Bag Lady, Baby Baby, Equipped but Not Prepared. The Experience.
The following are partial list of her teaching projects. New Horizons for Women, Time Management for Women, the Love Scrapbook, The Successful Working Woman’s Guide, The HomeBuilder Series, The Worship Leaders Manuel and Pro31.
She is a writer for the Community Bible Institute which has over 1600 incarcerated men and women enrolled in 43 States whom her writings encourage. She has many years of teaching and training lessons, seminars and classes for women in leadership.
SPECIAL HONORS, CERTIFICATES AND AWARDS:
She is one of the Thousand Points of Light in America. In 1991, Dr Gayla along with her husband, was awarded #389 in President George W. Bush’s 1000 Points of Light.
Dr Gayla has received numerous awards for her Community Service and her advocacy for women and children. Nominated as the “The Woman of Distinction for the Ten Top Women in Houston, Texas in 2005.
Awarded Dame of Grace by the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta Ecumenical Order
Awarded Commemorative Medal in Recognition for her Charities by H.S.H. The Grand Master, Count Joseph Frendo Combo CD, GB, GCSJ(H), MOC, ORCB, D.Hum, PhD Marquis & Count de Torre Sarroca, Grand Bailiff, Grand Cross of Justice, Hereditary Knight, the Knights Hospitallers OSJ
She received the Service Recognition Award from the Houston Police Department for her work and aid to Haiti in 2010.
She serves beside her husband who is the Archbishop and President of Independent Christian Churches International, which serves over 4500 men and women across America in Pastoral Ministry.
She has her own blog www.gaylasmagazine.com and writes on different facets of leadership, travel, family, educational and faith. She has touched over 100,000 readers who follow her online.
Certificate of Ordination – 1984
Illinois State University -1987 Senior Counselor for Women’s Crisis Centers
Dame of Grace of The Knights of Malta - 1998
Doctor of Divinity Degree - 2009 American Bible College
The Therapon Institute Licensed Pastoral Counselor – 2003
The Therapon Institute Belief Therapist – 2003
Light Learning Institute – Extraordinary Women Course - AACC 2003
American Association of Christian Counselors – Member since 2005
Served as an Executive Board Member of The Bridge – a Shelter for Battered Women
Facilitator and Teacher of many Marriage Classes
Houston Police Department – Certificate of Training for Profiling Criminal Behavior
Served as a Senior Counselor for the Women’s Crisis Centers- Illinois State University
Certificate of Appreciation by the American Bible Society
Certificate of Appreciation from The Boy Scouts of America
Served as a Board Member of McClain County Human Resource
Served as a Executive Board Member of The Bridge, a shelter for battered women in Texas