Jo Lisa McKenzie graduated in 1983 from Oklahoma Christian University with a degree in Speech Communication/Marketing. A native Texan, she has called Kentucky home since 1996 and has resided in Wilmore since 1999. Jo and her husband, Joel, have been married since 1984 and have adopted six of their eight children. Prior to moving to Wilmore (with their son, Cato, and first adopted daughter, Olivia) their oldest daughter, who had suffered from a terminal illness since birth, died at the age of 9. Jo calls her daughter, Mikal, “her Moses” because it was through loving her that the Lord revealed His love to Jo and called her to Himself out of the bondage of dead religion into a loving, intimate relationship with her Bridegroom King, Jesus. In those years, she learned to pray, to listen to the voice of God and follow the leading of the Spirit of God. She loves the word of God and being with Jesus. She was tested in the fires of suffering and loss and came through miraculously more in love with Jesus. Promising her more children, if she would pray and wait on God, she did… for years. After several failed adoptions, betrayal and the stillbirth of another baby, the Lord asked them in January 2003 if they would take whatever child He would bring. Saying yes, He began to bring their children to them. In 2003 they adopted Joselynn; in 2005 they were given guardianship of two teenage boys who came to live with them; in 2006 they adopted William and JL and in 2007 they adopted Jordan. Jo and Joel believe that the Lord sets the lonely in families and the orphan is very important to Him. They are advocates for adoption calling the body of Christ to open their arms to the fatherless. In 2000, Jo was called as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ with a passion for prayer. In 2003, she was called to lead the house of prayer under the auspices of the Cornerstone International Board of Directors, a missions sending agency in Wilmore. She was commissioned in July 2004 as Intercessor and Director of CornerStone International House of Prayer (CI-HOP). In January of 2007, the house of prayer ordained Jo as a Minister acknowledging her authentic and lifetime call to prayer. The ministry got its start under the covering of CornerStone International, but the House of Prayer became a separate organization in November 2007. Joel is the Chairman of the Board.
Besides serving as Intercessor and President of CI-HOP, aka Sanctuary, Jo McKenzie’s other interests include music, traveling, reading, missions, watching the PGA and practicing hospitality in their Wilmore home. She and Joel also serve on the board of directors for Cornerstone International.
Far above all of Jo’s other interests and involvements, her all-consuming passion and calling is prayer: to attend to God and minister to Him. Jo said herself: “God is worthy of more worship than we give Him. Everywhere I look in the landscape of life, more prayer is needed. The nation needs more prayer; the state needs more prayer; our families need more prayer. ‘More prayer’ is my heart cry.”