Elaina Smith Music

Creekside Gospel Music Convention

Beyond the Song: Hope’s Journey sing We Are Not Ashamed

Written by Staff on June 6, 2020 – 4:46 am -

Beyond the Song: Hope's Journey sing We Are Not Ashamed

Hope’s Journey


Beyond the Song by Jantina Baksteen 

Hope’s Journey has a new song out to radio called, “We Are Not Ashamed,” and I got in contact with Alicia Estis to tell us about the trio’s ministry and the story of this song.

Jantina Baksteen: Please share with SGNScoops readers who Hope’s Journey is. When and how did Hope’s Journey get started?

Alicia Estis: Fourteen years ago, Vonda Easley Armstrong and her daughter, Ashley (Easley) Franks, began the ministry of Hope’s Journey. The vision for the group was to spread hope to a lost and dying world. 

JB: What is the current line-up of Hope’s Journey?

AE: Hope’s Journey is comprised of Vonda Easley Armstrong, Alicia Estis, and Jenny Sullivan, and our mission is still the same.

JB: The name of your group tells a message already. What is your hope on your personal journey?

AE: My hope is that my life points the way to Jesus. We are here for just a breath. It does not matter if people know my name or what I have done. Only Christ…nothing else.

“Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” –C.T Studd.

JB:The new song that Hope’s Journey has released to radio is “We Are Not Ashamed.” I believe that you wrote it with your husband. Please share when and how this song came to be.

AE: “We Are Not Ashamed” was written in the summer of 2016. Rachael Gill and her mother, Debbie Gill, co-wrote this song with us over the phone while my family was on vacation in Gatlinburg, Tenn. I vividly remember sitting with my husband on the balcony overlooking the beautiful Smoky Mountains, scribbling words down on paper as God gave them to us.

I always find myself in awe! It’s exhilarating to hold the pen as the Author speaks to my heart.


JB: How does this song encourage you to stand boldly for the Gospel and share the good news to a world that needs to be reached?

AE: Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes….”  People can’t believe if they do not know. As Christians, God has chosen us to be the vessels that carry the good news to this world. It is our obligation.  Luke 9:26 “Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. This world is not ashamed of the messages they are sharing. The Bible is our authority, not man. Pass all the laws you want, you can’t legalize sin. God hasn’t changed his mind. His word is still as true today as it has been for all time. What an impact we could make if we all joined together and boldly proclaimed that Jesus Christ is Lord. I am not ashamed!

Beyond the Song: Hope's Journey sing We Are Not AshamedJB: Quite remarkable how this song is out now, when the world is in a big storm through this Corona virus. What message of hope would you share to the crowd you sing to, or your next door neighbor, or even in the grocery store?

AE: Christian hope is not the same as the word hope often used by man. It is not a feeling, it is a reality. A confidence that when God makes a promise, he keeps it. He has promised that his grace is sufficient, we can have eternal life through him, and he will come again for us. People need to know this. We can’t keep it to ourselves.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (KJV) “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 1 John 2:25 (KJV) “And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.” John 14:3 (KJV) “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Titus 2:13 (KJV) “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ!”

JB: What is coming in the near future for Hope’s Journey?

AE: Since we are an all-female trio, we have an awesome opportunity to minister at ladies conferences and events. Women and men have different needs, and this allows us to break down barriers and reach those that may not feel comfortable sharing in another setting. God has given Vonda an unbelievable gift to communicate his word, his love, and his truth. I know that God has placed this desire in all of our hearts to share to hurting women through music and the spoken word, offering the hope and peace that only Christ can give.

JB: Do you have a personal testimony you’d like to share with the readers of SGNScoops?

AE: I was very blessed to grow up in a home with parents who were fully committed to God. I remember that special tug at my heart when the Lord called me to the altar when I was in sixth grade. He was so very real to me, and I made promises to him that I was determined to keep no matter the price. In my youth, I watched my friends come in and go out of church; it really burdened my heart to see the consequences of sin impact the lives of people I loved. I began working with children and youth when I was in high school; and God united me with a young man who shared my passions. Now, as youth pastors and parents to four beautiful children, we have grown together in the Lord, and our desire is to inspire children to have a deep relationship with Christ. I feel an urgency to share what he has given us and want everyone to experience what I feel. I want more of him. I want to always be sensitive to his Spirit and go where he leads me.

JB: How many tour dates does Hope’s Journey have in a year?

AE: We all have families and are active in our home churches, so being a full-time group is not the goal. What is most important is that we go when and where God wants us to.

JB: Do you have a funny road story that only the members of Hope’s Journey know?

AE: To display our shirts, we have a torso that we bring along with us named “Fred.” We love him because he doesn’t say anything. We had a blow out on the road and couldn’t get the blown out tire back in the space where the spare was held. There was no room in the car, so Fred had to ride in my lap for the duration of the trip. We had some interesting conversations with Fred…..and some head turns from passing traffic. By the way, Jenny is amazing. You should have seen her on the ground changing the tire.

JB: What is on the bucket list for the group?

AE: More than anything else, we want to see souls saved. That is all that matters.

We hope you enjoy “We Are Not Ashamed,” by Hope’s Journey:


Beyond the Song: Hope's Journey sing We Are Not Ashamed







Find Hope’s Journey HERE.

Thank you Alicia for sharing your ministry with us. We pray that the gospel you share through song will touch the lives you sing to.

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Sweetheart Stories: Jack and Vonda Armstrong

Written by Staff on February 13, 2020 – 8:57 am -

Jack and Vonda Armstrong

Jack and Vonda Armstrong

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and we are happy to present another love story in our series of Sweetheart Stories. For many years, the gospel music community had known Vonda Easley as the vivacious blonde southern belle with a big smile and country drawl. However, behind the smile was a lifetime of challenges and mountains that she had overcome. She was a single mom with two grown children, who had their own families and lives. Vonda is hard-working and generous, humorous and full of faith in a God who cares. Yet, she realized a couple of years ago that something was missing. Here’s Vonda to tell her story:


I must have said it over a thousand times, “It just isn’t in the cards for me to find someone that loves me enough to let me be me.” And I usually followed that statement up with, “They would want me to leave my home, and I will not ever do that.”

I met Jack Armstrong at a Bill Bailey Event in Bonifay, Florida. I remember thinking that he was one of the friendliest people I had ever met, but the last thing I Jack and Vonda Armstrongwas looking for at a gospel concert was romance. I was there to hear my kids, Josh and Ashley Franks, sing and cover the event for SGNScoops Magazine. However, my daughter and Penny Shelnut (Scoot’s wife) were at Ashley’s booth, already playing matchmaker. When they suggested we go out to eat after the concert, I was quick to let Ashley know that I knew what they were doing, and I was not interested. I told her there was something messed up with your child having to get you a date!

As the concert went on, Jack talked to me a little about radio promotion, and when I got home, he called and hired Hey Ya’ll Media, my radio promotions company, to work radio for his group, The Bibletones. (I often tease him that he married me so he wouldn’t have to pay me anymore.)

I believe that God set up a divine appointment for me that night to meet Jack. It still amazes me today how much he is like my Daddy. I felt safe when I was with my Dad, and I feel safe when I am with Jack. He makes me want to be a better person, and he supports me in all that I do.

Jack and Vonda ArmstrongTrue Love is unconditional. There are no expectations set. To love unconditional is difficult, and most people aren’t good at that. But true love really does love without trying to change the other person. I love you, Jack Armstrong. Thank you for loving me and letting me be me. And by the way, Home is wherever you are…….. V


Vonda and Jack Armstrong, III,  were married on October 21, 2018, at her daughter’s church, People’s Tabernacle Church, Savannah, Tennessee, and officiated by her son-in-law, Josh Franks. Standing up with the couple were Vonda’s grandchildren, Priscilla and Eli Franks. The couple fits together like hand-in-glove and Jack’s laidback personality complements Vonda’s vivacity.

Do you have a Sweetheart Story to share? Write to me at lorraine@sgnscoops.com.

Be sure to let everyone you love know how much you care this Valentine’s Day. And Jack and Vonda Armstrongremember, God loved you enough to send Jesus Christ, his only son, to die on a cross so that he might have a relationship with you. Jesus went willingly because he knew it was the only way to bring you into his love. Please accept that love today. Want to know more? Write to me!

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Jack and Vonda Armstrong

Eli Franks, Jack Armstrong, Vonda Easley Armstrong, Priscilla Franks

Jack and Vonda Armstrong

Jack and Vonda Armstrong

Top Row: Josh and Ashley Franks
Bottom Row: Eli Franks, Jack Armstrong, Vonda Easley Armstrong, Priscilla Franks

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