Hello all you beautiful people!
The photo above is from our first full year of existence in 2010! It’s amazing how far we have come since then, and we couldn’t have done it without you!
Thank you for bearing with me in getting these blog entries to you, and if i’m honest with you I would really like to be getting these updates to you on a more consistent basis.
So much happens in a two-month period that I really could break it down to providing monthly blog updates or even more frequent if I were to share about all the amazing healings and spontaneous encounters we have with folks while we are out and about.
So . . . I will do my best to be more consistent here on the blog so you all can share in our excitement and encouragement from the Lord and each other in actual time instead of after the fact.
First and foremost I want to update everyone on some significant changes that we will be putting into motion here very soon.
I have been thinking about this change for a while now, really for most of this year, and after discussing with more than a few folks that are connected to the ministry in some way and have input that we value, I think its time to begin putting it into motion. This change that i’m referring is with respect to the “Child/Family Sponsorship” aspect to our ministry.
Since The Isaiah Ministry was officially begun around the end of 2009, we have partnered with supporters of the ministry through the avenue of sponsorship. This has not been the only way in which we have received support as there have been many that have given in a more general sense towards the ministry to fulfill any need that we may have had. However, child and family sponsorship has always been our most basic and personal way for supporters to partner with the ministry, which also allows for a partner to be more personally connected to the child or family who receives their support.
It has always been one of my most sincere desires that the beautiful people who support our efforts here in Nicaragua would have a way to personally connect with the Nicaraguan people they support, and that continues to be a desire of mine. However, over the years I have seen some issues arise with connecting each sponsor with an individual child or family and I will do my best to explain them here in a concise manner.
The first being that in connecting sponsors to an individual child/family this up’s the work load on our end tremendously.
When we connected sponsors to our kids or families we encouraged letter writing on both ends and even the occasional gift giving through the mail if the sponsor felt lead to do so, however, each letter requires translation and usually most of the letter writing is coming from our end. This can add-up as we begin each year with roughly 35-40 kids and at least 2 families we are supporting, and at least at this moment I am the only one really capable of translating the letters, although my wife Jessica and Alex (one of our staff) are getting better in their handing of the English language.
Answering all the questions and requests for particular information related to a particular child or family can get difficult to handle at times and sometimes being human I, or we, forget something, or information gets lost in the shuffle.
With some sponsors choosing to send gifts to their child every now and again, it was always fun to be the one to get to see their face light up when they received their gift (a pair of shoes, a shirt, school supplies, etc.), but seeing as how the sponsors who regularly sent little gifts for their sponsor child were few, it also left us with the difficult task of explaining to all the other kids who didn’t receive gifts why their sponsor hadn’t chosen to do so.
In a way I discovered that with a handful of our kids receiving extra gifts from their sponsors, the other children were not appreciating as much what they were already receiving in the great blessing of a daily meal and all their school supplies that their sponsor’s $35/month provided them. Obviously in what I originally thought was a good idea in some of our kids receiving extra blessings, ended up being not such a wise idea in the end and I began to think it would be better to discontinue this practice using better judgement.
Another issue that I began to notice over the years that I would like to share here is that in connecting individuals together on a more personal level in sponsorship there is more chance that feelings are hurt, expectations dashed, and in the end a sour taste is left in the mouth of the sponsor concerning the whole sponsorship experience. Now, this obviously hasn’t been the experience of the majority of our sponsors who have lovingly and selflessly decided to partner with our kids and families in sponsorship, however I have seen that it is pretty much a guarantee that each year we will have a few kids leave the Isaiah Project due to reasons that are out of our control.
Sometimes this may happen because the child’s family picks up and moves all of a sudden, the child or his/her guardian could be escaping an abusive situation, or perhaps the child isn’t meeting the few but necessary expectations we have for our kids at the Project. This is indeed unfortunate, but it is never-the-less a reality in ministry, and when this happens it is always a delicate and difficult situation to handle.
We understand that at times sponsors can feel left hanging and frustrated that after a considerable time praying for and giving towards the education of their specific child it can all come to an abrupt end and they end up feeling somewhat blindsided by the unfortunate news. There really is nothing we can do prevent such events from happening, but what usually ends up happening is the sponsor is much less likely to continue on with us in supporting the ministry due to the unforeseen and abrupt ending to their sponsorship relationship with their child.
All this being said, what I have realized and decided would be better for all involved - partners, donors, Isaiah Project kids/families, and us - would be for support of the ministry to be divided up into different categories with respect to the various ministry outreaches we provide.
For example, instead of looking for specific partners/sponsors to connect with each child/family, we will begin asking donors/partners to consider partnering with us towards meeting the needs of a specific area of the ministry. If they would like to specify their giving to meet a certain need, it can be towards one of the following 6 ministries:
- The Isaiah Project - providing tutoring and all scholastic needs as well as feeding to the kids
- Family Needs Program - providing families with bi-monthly stipend which ensures they keep food on the table
- Beginners Sewing Class - teaching women how to sew as an alternate source of income
- Construction Outreach - providing families with roofs, flooring, bathrooms, etc.
- Love Out Loud Program - bible studies and public evangelism/outreach
- Higher Learning Program - helping to put students through college
Each branch of our ministry is important and requires support and we’d love to have dedicated partners to each so that each can flourish. I understand that doing things this way may seem to lesson the “personal touch” that supporting an individual child/family may bring, but in the long run I think this will be better for all involved and lesson the likelihood of misunderstandings and/or loss of confidence on both sides.
I would like to let those of you know who may be reading this who are already sponsoring a specific child/family that you will of course be able to maintain your sponsorship as we begin these changes in direction of partnership with supporters and donors; this shift will only apply moving forward as we bring new kids and families into our family.
We are still and always very thankful for your dedication and desire to help the specific child you have been supporting up to this point! 🙂
Obviously these changes will also affect the design of the website to a degree. No longer will we have the option to sponsor a certain child or family, but rather you will be given options toward which of the 6 ministries you would like to give or partner with. I hope that I have made this clear to you all as to why we are making these changes and of course if you have any questions or concerns about all this you can feel free to contact us by email.
The Isaiah Project
Family Needs Program
Love Out Loud Program
Beginners Sewing Class
Higher Learning Program
On that note, on to the testimonies!
As some of you, if not most of you, already know we at The Isaiah Ministry believe that God wants everyone well and is always ready to touch the sick with His healing hands through us who believe, so whenever we are out we try to be aware of those around us who may be in need. There are more testimonies than I can share here but there are a few that I’d like to mention that were especially fun!
Not too long ago we took all the kids and staff out on a field trip and within about an hour of being at our destination for the day one of our kids, Xoxhilt, came screaming down a hill on a bicycle and ran into the back of our parked bus, using both her hands to stop herself. I heard the “thud” and ran over to see her in a heap on the ground. I picked her up and carried her over to a shady spot so we could clean her up an calm her down and pray over her wrists which were clearly broken. After praying over her for a while and calming her down we took her to the children’s hospital in Managua and they promptly suited her up with full casts on both arms. They did X-rays to verify the breaks but decided not to do any surgical repairs until after the casts were off. They told her she would definitely need surgery on one, and possibly the other as well.
Well, a month and a half later they took the casts off and you could hardly tell her wrists had even been broken! God healed those babies right up while she had those casts on and no surgery was required!
Maybe it wasn’t as miraculous as seeing her wrists healed right then and there when they were broken, but never-the-less this was a miracle and we were so excited for Xoxhilt and everyone to see how amazing and loving God is!
Out one day on the way to the gym my wife and I stopped off at a used clothes store to look for a few things when I saw Fatima who had her arm in a sling. I approached Fatima, who was with her mom, to ask what happened and to see if we could pray for her because we believed that God would heal her.
To be honest she and her mom looked kind of disinterested, but to be nice they agreed to let us pray, and to their surprise Fatima’s pain left and her previously immovable arm was able to be lifted in all directions!
Fatima was moved to tears and we got to share God’s love for her and explain that He is indeed real and wants a relationship with her. Fatima was not a believer, her believing mom explained to us, but now she had just experienced a touch from the Lord and I guarantee she left that store impacted by the kingdom of God!
One of our staff, Carmen, had never been baptized in water so we had the wonderful opportunity to baptize her a few weeks ago. It was such a sweet time together and I am always blessed and honored to be able to baptize a close friend/family member or staff member.
Since I have known Carmen for about 7 years it was even more meaningful 🙂 We are excited for her and how the Lord is moving in her life and how He is continuing to reveal more of Himself and His love to her every step of the way!
Another awesome experience was meeting up with one of my friend’s for lunch one day and he brought along Yeyysy and her mom. Yeyysy had been diagnosed with leukemia about 4 months ago, so during lunch I had the opportunity to share with Yeyysy and her mom about God’s love for them and desire to see her healed, that cancer is from the devil and it would leave in Jesus’ name.
After lunch we prayed together and Yeyysy and her mom were both mightily touched, even to the point of being dizzy and almost falling out under the power of the Holy Spirit! It was awesome! The coolest part being that we were able to lead them in a prayer to receive Jesus as Lord and to be filled with the Holy Spirit. It was truly a blessed encounter and we are still keeping in touch with Yeyysy about her leukemia diagnosis and believing that God has done great things!
This last testimony is the most recent but has been equally exciting to be a part of.
I saw Dennis sitting on the sidewalk one day as I went to pay the Project’s internet bill. He was in a wheel chair so I knew he had some health issues. Before getting into my car to leave I popped over to his side of the street and asked him what happened. Dennis shared with me that he had broken his femur bone in a motorcycle accident back in April and had undergone 7 surgeries since then to repair the injury but still wasn’t able to stand without assistance or move his leg much at all without extreme pain.
As I often do, I was able to share with Dennis that Jesus heals through me because He loves us and wants us well and then I prayed for Dennis - all the pain in his leg left and he could move it slightly more than before! He was pretty excited that his pain had gone and thanked me for taking the time; I told him where I lived for any further prayer needs and so he could come by and tell me how he was doing later on because I told him I believed God touched him and he was going to see the results physically more and more.
Well, about a week later Dennis showed up to our door with a big smile on his face, and although he got my name confused with Matthew (and I had his name confused with David), we both got to share in the excitement about what God had done for him!
Dennis went to his physical therapy appointment the day after I prayed for him and he had no pain in moving his leg around when previously he couldn’t make any movement without extreme pain! He also was now walking on crutches while putting weight on his leg which he hadn’t done since April! God is so good!
What’s more, Dennis was a diabetic and after the doctors ran some blood tests and checked out his sugar levels they told him they no longer saw evidence that he was a diabetic and he didn’t need to continue on insulin! Wow! God is loving and so gracious to us, if we would only just believe and take Him at His word and step out!
As always I want to say thank you for taking the time to read this blog and staying informed about all that’s going on in our lives and ministry these days, and I hope you feel more encouraged than before you read all this.
Like I mentioned earlier, I will try to be more on top of blogging, more often, so the blogs are a bit shorter and more current. I know I have shared so much this time around. 😉
Thank you for choosing to partner with us in our efforts here in Nicaragua and wherever the Lord may take us! We love and appreciate each one of you!