Episode 2 - Tonya's Story


Tonya Jewel Blessing

"All though I am a tender-hearted woman, I am not so kind as to embrace a snake. Yet, 

somehow a snake decided to embrace me."

Hear Tonya's Story on Links Below!

Tonya shares her snake story as well as her life with us.  

While in South Africa

Snake bite!

 My sleeping medication, beginning to take effect, calmed me as I walked slowly, without turning on the light, to the kitchen where my husband was enjoying a night-time snack. With no inflection in my voice, I quietly told my spouse, “I think I’ve been bitten by a snake. Well,if not a snake maybe a rat, but it felt like a snake.” Having been married for over 35 years, I recognized the look of disbelief on my handsome husband’s face. His demeanor instantly changed, however, when he saw the droplets of blood from my hand making a tiny, red, glistening pool by my bare feet. 

I referred to the movie “True Grit” and suggested to Chris that he draw the venom from my finger with his mouth. His response was simple, “This isn’t the movies.” While ushering me to one of the blonde colored pine chairs at the kitchen table, he began squeezing my finger. We later learned that the squeezing technique, like the sucking technique, is best left to dramatic movie moments. 


The follow morning, I was called “the lucky lady",the blessed woman,” and “the miracle.” 

Doctor after doctor paraded through my room - some telling me horror stories about the effects of snake bites: blackened skin, amputations, even death. 

There's LOTS of Tonya's story in between these lines!  Please listen to her story above and see her complete Bio below.  

Listen to Tonya's story on any of the links below!


Tonya's Bio

Tonya Bio - shortened version - edited (docx)


About Tonya

Tonya's Story

Tonya grew up in rural Ohio. She currently lives in South Africa with her husband of 35 years. Tonya decided to trust Jesus for the destination of her young soul at the age of four.  

National and International Speaker

Tonya is a well-known national and international speaker, often serving women in areas of the world which cannot be publicized.  She writes articles and devotionals for missions’ magazines and women’s groups and is also a published author.  She is the 

author of The Whispering of the Willows a novel set in Big Creek, West Virginia, during the late 1920’s. It is a redemptive story of a young heroine by the name of Emerald (Emie) Ashby). 

Tonya has also co-authored a devotional called Soothing Rain – Living Water to Refresh Your Soul. Both of Tonya’s books have received literary awards.

Connect with Tonya

Tonya enjoys speaking and sharing her life with women at retreats and events.  

She thinks that women are amazing, and appreciates that the female gender is multifaceted yet fragile creations of God. In her personal life and as a speaker, Tonya believes that God’s Word is powerful, and needs to be read and written on her heart 

and on the hearts of women everywhere. For additional information, please review her author and ministry webpage: 

She was ordained in 2011 and is currently pursuing further pastoral and biblical studies.  

For additional information regarding Strong Cross Ministries South Africa, please visit the ministry web page – 

Listen to Tonya's Story on Links Below: