Through His words

Carolyn Carrara started the Baldwin Park Ladies Bible Study Group with the hope of forming a community through God’s word.

Although the group has dispersed for the summer, the members plan to stay connected and meet up multiple times before starting the Bible study back up in August.
Although the group has dispersed for the summer, the members plan to stay connected and meet up multiple times before starting the Bible study back up in August.
Courtesy photo
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When Carolyn Carrara moved in June 2023 from New Jersey to Baldwin Park, she asked God to send her friends. 

One year later, Carrara says she has been blessed in more ways than she ever imagined thanks to her creation — the Baldwin Park Ladies Bible Study Group.

“A few of my children had moved to the Orlando area, so we visited often,” Carrara says. “Eventually, my husband’s job went remote and then stayed remote because of the pandemic. Our family fell in love with Baldwin Park when we stumbled upon the community. It immediately felt like home, and everything fell right into place to help us get here. When we moved, I realized I didn’t know anyone. With six children, I was used to knowing almost everyone in New Jersey. I prayed about it, and I asked God to connect me with some good people.”


In August 2023, Carrara decided to make a post on Facebook in one of the Baldwin Park community groups to see if there were any local Christian or Bible study groups where she could meet people.

The post was flooded with engagement. 

“I wasn’t planning on starting a group; I thought I would join one,” Carrara says. “But, the Lord really put it on my heart that I was going to do this. … People started messaging me saying that they have been looking for something like this for so long and even thanking me. That really warmed my heart.”

After seeing the interest, Carrara edited the post and decided to invite those who had responded over to her home. That same month, the Baldwin Park Ladies Bible Study Group was created. 

The first time the women met, Carrara says they simply talked, got to know one another and shared their testimonies. She says every woman had an interesting story. 

The ages of the women in the group range from 21 to 58, and they come from all walks of life.

“What’s so beautiful about it is that in a group like this you just come together and you meet people right where they’re at,” Carrara says. “You just feel really supported. There’s no pressure about doing the homework; we just all love everybody up. It’s cool, too, because everyone is at a different season or stage with where they’re at with the Lord. There are so many perspectives.”

The group meets every Thursday at Carrara’s home, with light bites and refreshments. 

The women also have met outside of the study group, such as at Christmas time, when they went to one of the members’ apartment complexes and had a gathering in the common area with family.

Carrara says she tries to find Bible studies for the group that will last about six to eight weeks. 

The group most recently completed a series called “The Armor of God” from the book of Ephesians, as well as a series on Psalm 91.

Although some members have come and gone from the group, there are a core few who have remained consistent throughout the group’s evolution. 

“There were a few times when we didn’t have as large of a group, and so the space felt a lot more intimate,” Carrara says. “At first, I would think, ‘Oh, that’s too bad,’ or even feel a bit nervous about it. But then I would realize that the safe space created an environment where people would share. We may live in a beautiful space with beautiful people, but people are still hurting. When you have an intimate group like that, that you know loves you and don’t share your stories outside the confines of the space, that will listen to you and offer advice, it just allows people to open up. Sometimes, there’s some weeping and some hugging. It’s also the praise reports that we have come back. The answered prayers have been immense.” 

Holly Gilpin has been part of the group since the beginning and makes it a priority to attend. 

“I love studying God’s word with other women,” she says. “I am new to the area and was very interested when I saw Carolyn’s post on Facebook. My favorite part is the friendships I have made in Christ. Spending time with fellow believers is inspiring and helps me not only grow in my relationship with the Lord, but also helps me stay grounded in faith. Jesus said, ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ — John 4:16 We invite all to join us in fellowship and learn God’s word. It is such a blessing each and every time we meet.”

Sarah Nardella also has been with the group since its inception. 

“This group connects me to new friends who share a heart for knowing God,” she says. “For whatever reason, possibly because we aren’t associated with anything official or because it’s set in Carolyn’s comfy family room, our get-togethers have a very organic feel. We hear a message, share personal stories, encourage each other, and believe for the best. No week is the same, but each week I leave feeling just a little bit lighter."


Although Carrara was raised Catholic, she said one of her sons joining a youth group changed her outlook on faith forever.

“Around 2016, one of my children who was in about sixth grade got invited to a youth group in our town at a nondenominational local Christian church,” she says. “I watched him transform. At first, I was like, ‘What are they doing over there?’ And, ‘What’s happening?’ He was always smiling. … He was always known as the popular and cool kid in school, and he started inviting and bringing people to this youth group. It started to transform our family, and we ended up going to that church and reading the Bible, which honestly wasn’t really something we did when I was growing up. It transformed me and my family. Every relationship got better. My marriage got better, my children got better, anxiety fell away. … I’ve seen stuff you would never even believe.”

The Bible study group has yielded its own share of miracles. 

“To watch what the Lord can do when we’re obedient has been my favorite part of this group’s journey so far,” Carrara says. “He put it on my heart to start that group. I’ve watched the way he’s touched these people’s hearts. He’s pursuing them. I’m in awe of what he’s done in this group.”

Ailiz Bodzo has witnessed the miracles firsthand as a member since the group’s start.

“The focus of our group is to know more about Jesus, draw closer to Him, and we do so by being a diverse group of godly women that are willing to support, encourage and love one another in Him,” she says. “This group also allows women to participate even if they haven’t placed their faith in Jesus, are new to the faith or are ‘seasoned’ in their walk with Him. My favorite part of this group is that we all come from various denominations within the Christian faith with diverse theology. We don’t allow our differences to create division.” 


Recently, Carrara and her husband, Glenn, were asked by their church to help lead a marriage ministry group. The couple have six children: Lizzie Greenbaum, 29; Kate Allen, 26; Aiden, 24; William, 20; Matthew, 18; and Charlie, 15.

Although Carrara struggled on how to run both groups, the Bible study group decided to disperse for the summer, with plans to start back up in August. 

However, the women plan to use the group’s private Facebook page to encourage gatherings and stay connected throughout the next few months, with events such as walks, coffee dates, movie nights and dinner gatherings. 

The women also plan to include their partners and children in events, such as at a meet-up at Baldwin Park’s Fourth of July celebration. 

The group, “Baldwin’s DOP women’s Bible Study (Daughters of Promise),” is open to anyone with interest. Those who have additional questions can message Carrara on Facebook for more information.

“I just want it to be a place where people can come together,” Carrara says. “I want the word about the group to spread to even more individuals throughout Baldwin Park. Everyone is welcome. Whether you’re a Christian or maybe you just have questions about it. There are a number of churches represented in the group. Even if you just want to check it out. The Lord loves us all, and He wants you to know He’s got this amazing love, peace and joy that surpasses anything you’ve ever experienced that he wants to give you.”



Annabelle Sikes

News Editor Annabelle Sikes was born in Boca Raton and moved to Orlando in 2018 to attend the University of Central Florida. She graduated from UCF in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in sociology. Her past journalism experiences include serving as a web producer at the Orlando Sentinel, a reporter at The Community Paper, managing editor for NSM Today, digital manager at Centric Magazine and as an intern for the Orlando Weekly.

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