NLAI Board of directors

A nine member Board of Directors govern and direct New Life Advance International. These godly men and women serve three-year terms and may serve an additional term. All have some type of relationship and love for the ministry and missionaries of NLAI.


When they agree to serve on the Board, they commit to attend two board meetings every year as well as serve on different board committees to assure that NLAI is being properly directed and supervised. These gracious volunteers cover their own expenses for attending the board meetings as well as contribute to the work of the ministry in different ways. NLAI is grateful for our Board!

  • cody birdwell

    Board Chair

    Cody Birdwell was a student of NLAI President Emeritus Dave Depew in the 1970s. He has served as a missions coordinator for his church and has supported NLAI mission work for over three decades. He served on the board of directors in the 1990s and has come back to serve another term, beginning in 2015. Cody has been married to his wife, Terry, for 33 years. They have two children, Joshua and Heather, who are both in college.

  • kevin Dougherty

    SECRETARY-TREASURER

    Kevin joined the NLAI Board of Directors in 2019. He is a sociology professor at Baylor University. Religion, ethnicity, and inequality are topics of his research. When he visited New Life Children’s Home in 2017, he was deeply impressed by the life-changing work he observed. He is eager to help advance this work. Kevin and his wife, Kim, have three daughters. They live in Waco, Texas.

  • Marcy Ambler

    Marcy has an Industrial Engineering degree. Her passion is process change and improvements. She spent several years working with the youth in her church and in 2009 made her first trip to New Life Children’s Home. She loves that there is a holistic approach to bringing kids out of crisis – addressing the health, mind, heart, and souls of the children. She also believes that the education that the kids receive gives them the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty. NLCH is a great example of lasting change and making a difference in lives. She and her husband, Doug, live in Cape Girardeau, MO, and have two sons – Levi (25), and Caleb (22).

  • Michael Bourland

    Michael Bourland is an attorney practicing at Witt, McGregor & Bourland, P.L.L.C. in Waco, Texas.  Michael grew up in Temple, Texas and became a Christian at the age of 8.  He attended the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor where he majored in business administration and Spanish, and Baylor University Law School.  Michael met his wife, Carey, at Immanuel Baptist Church in Temple, where they grew up together.  They married in 1998, and after practicing law in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for several years, Michael and Carey returned to Central Texas.  They have lived in Waco since 2003 and attend Highland Baptist Church.  Michael serves as a Deacon at Highland, and he and Carey teach a 7th Grade Sunday School Class.  They have three boys - Cole (17), Ty (15), and Grayson (12).  

  • Clay Enger

    Clay has known Kendon, Wendy, their families, and NLAI for many years through the combined ministries of Trinity Church and Trinity Christian School in Lubbock, TX, where he serves as Elder and school board member.  Clay and his wife, Kristyn, have been married for 22 years and are the proud parents of one daughter, Annika (15).  Clay, with Coldwell Banker, has represented the Lubbock area in the real estate industry since 1992.     

  • Kara Harris

    Kara and her husband, Daniel, served as missionaries at NLCH from 2006-2008 and have led teams to the Home, believing strongly in its mission and continued work. Kara is a graduate of Asbury University and Richmont Graduate University. She is the Director of Events at First United Methodist Church in Midland, Texas. She and her husband have two children.

  • Danea Johnson

    After visiting NLCH in 2014 with then 12 yr old daughter, Danea was in love. Believing deeply in the work of the missionaries and seeing first hand the stewardship of those in charge, she has committed and invested into New Life Advance International with her time, money, prayers and heart. Danea says, "It’s an honor to serve on this board."

  • bill thomas

    Bill Thomas is a Professor of Accounting at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.  He attended Baylor University where he majored in accounting, and met his wife, Mary Ann, while at Baylor. Bill and Mary Ann have known Kendon and Wendy Wheeler from Highland Baptist Church in Waco, Texas since the mid 1980s have been active supporters of the Wheelers and NLCH for over 30 years. The couple have two children and five grandchildren.