Please allow me to just thank you. Thank you for banding together once again as the family that cares for these precious children. If it takes a village to raise a child, it makes sense that it takes all of you to raise 85!
I’d like to share with you (1.) a brief summary of the miracle that happened and then (2.) a new move Becky and I are making for the financial health of the ministry.
We started last week with only a fraction of the funds that we needed to end the week with. We sent out the urgent call for help and went to praying! As Friday approached, we still didn’t know if we would make it.
Thursday afternoon, we called a meeting to initiate an emergency plan. We had to make sure there would be food for the children. We had to pay the caregivers as they live paycheck to paycheck, and we need all of them. We had to pay the electricity or it would be cut off by Monday. We had to pay at least something for gas to keep the place heated while we prayed for more. We had to pay our teachers or risk our children falling behind in school.
Then those of us in leadership decided not to receive our pay at all, and we instead chose to give along with you all in order to not permit the children to see even a hint of the turmoil we adults were facing. As Becky and I emptied our savings account, God filled our hearts with faith in the promises He has for us and this place.
Pastor Josue has always told me of great times of faith when he would gather the children to pray and God would show up in miraculous ways through the love of His people. After 50 years, none of this has changed.
After the emergency meeting, we gathered the children to pray, and I know many of you were praying with us. Many of you gave sacrificially. Many of you committed monthly and became new sponsors of children. Many of you spread the word to others or took up collections. Many just emailed or called to encourage us. As I had the chance to talk with some of you personally, I know some of you committed funds in pure faith that you would have them to give.
By Friday morning, God DID show up in the form of all the love you all have for these children. We were able to pay for every single one of the bills for the week. Leftover was the same small amount with which we started out the week. At this very moment, all the staff is paid and hurrying about, the lights are still on, heaters are going, our cook is preparing a great lunch, classes are in session, and all our children are happy and safe as always.
Last night, God allowed me to understand even more profoundly why He keeps this place open week after week. Becky and I led the children’s nightly devotional time as we do every Monday night. I had my adopted son Andres with me who grew up at Emmanuel as the boys quizzed us on their concerns of the day. Somehow we got into talking about life outside of the children’s home, and the boys all began to raise their hands to tell horrendous experiences they had before coming to Emmanuel.
I stood in shock as one little boy told me how he had to fight for his life against a man with a bat trying to attack him and his family. Another boy explained to me in detail how he witnessed several people being shot to death and how his family had to leave everything they had for safety. Another little boy told how he would be locked inside his house all day alone and scared while he learned to feed himself. Yet another boy told me how he spent his time outside where teens taught him how to live off the street and subjected him to many dangers before his mom brought him to Emmanuel.
I then realized there are so many more details that only God could carry them all in His heart. It’s for that reason He created this refuge called Emmanuel, “God with us.” He brings these children here to safety where He is with them, healing them, and raising them up to be the change our city needs.
And He has chosen YOU to be the extended family that makes this possible week after week. Thank you for getting us through the emergency of last week, and we are so thankful to say that this week is looking ok so far. However, we must face now the ongoing need to raise the rest of the monthly funds we still lack.
While we are indeed making some tough decisions to keep our costs at a minimum, I do NOT believe downsizing is the direction God is leading this ministry. We continue to receive more children in need, and we are overflowing with vision and dreams for the future.
One important move Becky and I want to begin making is visiting churches, organizations, and businesses in order to share all of the amazing things happening here and how others can partner with us in making it happen. We believe there are many others that will want to invest into the lives of these children, as the return on this investment is priceless.
With that, I leave you with this heart-warming clip I captured in church this past Sunday as we were celebrating the miracle God did for us. Pastor Josue, who founded Emmanuel in 1962 and turned 79 years old this past February, is seen here with his child-like heart allowing the children to teach him movements to one of their favorite songs about how we are royalty in the Kingdom of God.
Indeed we are.