CARIARI UPDATE, 2016

MIRACLES OF LOVE SCHOOL

CARIARI UPDATE, 2016

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”Isaiah 55:8-9

In our ongoing mission to Costa Rica, I have discovered the truth of God’s words in yet another way. A few years ago, God connected us with a group of mothers who had been abandoned by their government, sequestered to a remote region of Costa Rica, left with housing, but no school system for their special needs children. Many of the mothers had been abandoned by their husbands. The only recourse they had for education was to wake up at 2am, get their child ready for school, walk 1 mile to a bus stop, then take 2 buses and a cab to get to school on time (a 5-hour trip).

Some 600 families and their children needed a miracle. Immediately, my team got to work with the intent of building a special needs school for them. Our partners provided the funds to create a video to share their story, formulate a foundation in Costa Rica, a conduct multiple ministry trips for those mothers and their children, while meeting regularly with local pastors and educators.

What God did for those children was so beyond what I could comprehend or think! Our local Costa Rican representative and close friend, Pastor Jaime Rojas, was able to set up meetings and connections and eventually got our video into the hands of the Vice President of Costa Rica, who began to get the wheels turning for a special needs school in the same location. She immediately added special needs classrooms on the existing schools for the school-aged children—right in their hometown! And, she approved the building of a $1 Million+ area-wide school, with state-of-the-art equipment, for ALL special needs people, including infants and adults!

This is a huge miracle. We have a relationship with those families that will never be broken, always being able to minister to their lives, and they have a premium school on the way, because of the agreement and giving of our Power Partners and our amazing Costa Rican team.

CARIARI, COSTA RICA

Befitting the call on Schambach Foundation, God supernaturally connected us with a group of families who are desperate for help. Some 450+ families relocated to take advantage of government housing. Shortly after they moved in, the neighborhood school disappeared. The only school available to the children was over 70 kilometers away and would require the mothers, many of them single, to travel by 3 buses and a taxi, one way, for some 3 1/2 hours. The ride is so taxing and expensive, most families cannot afford to go more than 1 time a week.

Just at the time when the committee was forming to do whatever possible to build a school, God brought us onto the scene. We knew it was our role to raise awareness of this need and do our best to help raise the funds to do it. In August of 2014, Donna Schambach, the team and the committee from Cariari, laid the first stone on the property donated by the government. Once the ground was dedicated to the Lord, and the name of the school proclaimed Schambach Milagros De Amor School (Schambach Miracles of Love School), Schambach Foundation opened a local office and Phase I of securing the start-up costs for the school began. We know God is raising up individuals to stand beside us who will donate generously to help us take care of these 450+ families and their severely handicapped children.

Not only do we want to help raise funds and awareness for building the school, we want to be able to bring teams of missionaries with us on People Trips (People Enriching Other People)! This would be our opportunity to invite you to come and pick up a hammer and help with the construction, help out with instruction in a classroom or a therapy session, participate in special events for the school or just love on the kids and their families. Please let us know if you are interested in these future life-changing trips to bless this community.

SPECIAL NOTE FROM DONNA

Every now and then God sends us a love letter of encouragement regarding our work with the newly emerging SCHAMBACH FOUNDATION. Please read the following words from a letter written by someone seeking credentials from us:

 

“For a couple years now, I have monitored the Schambach Foundation from afar, hearing of its powerful and Godly activity from those within the organization. As the boarders of the Foundation have continued to expand, my interest continues to grow. It grows for a number of reasons, but most notably because it seems that its activities are coming in line with the activities that matter most to me as well. The Schambach Foundation’s desire to work with those in oppressed and difficult circumstances is the paradigmatic event par excellencefor me (here I have in mind their mission to establish a school for special needs children in Costa Rica). I have also come to appreciate the Foundation for its desire to bring the Kingdom of God to those of all nationalities, ethnicities, and cultures. Further, their desire to share and model the love and grace of Christ in all circumstances is worthy of admiration. While these activities have pushed my interest in credentialing with Schambach Foundation to where it is today, there is one theological aspect that was the proverbial “icing on the cake:” their view of women in ministry.

It is my particular view that the church has often limited or cast out women from leadership roles based solely on patriarchal tendencies. This, in my view, has relegated most women to the sidelines of Christian ministry. However, the Schambach Foundation, with Donna Schambach as its leader, rejects this trend. Therefore, I view the receiving of my credentials from the Schambach Foundation not only important for what I want to do in ministry, but as an important theological outflow of the high view I believe God has for women in ministry. It is my view that the Schambach Foundation has an incredible mix of Godly activity and theology; one which I willing put myself underneath.”

We stand humbled before God.

THE SUBSTANCE OF THINGS UNSEEN

I couldn’t have been more enmeshed, hot in the pursuit of new students and teachers and desperately trying to find financial backing  for the operation of the Christian school I founded. My 18-hour days had me in a frenetic spin, bouncing from lesson plans, to interviews, to parent sessions, to strategy meetings, to the classroom again. The list of things to tackle grew longer every day, and my job was to come up with plans A-Z to get them done. (In NYC, Plan A seldom worked.)

Although education was my life’s work and I was passionate about the excellence of that school, there was another secret love and the slightest whisper of a voice, calling to me. I usually ignored those promptings, but multiple leaders who were hearing me speak began to tell me the same things:

“The school administrator role is not the mantle you will walk in all your life. God will use you to preach the Gospel.”

Although I wanted their words to go away, the nagging in my spirit was so intense, I finally just expressed my heart to God:

“Father, you know we already have one preacher in the family, and he is doing alright for himself. You don’t need another one. After all, I’m an educator; I am relatively quiet;  and, I’m a woman! Lord, if you really want me to preach the Gospel, You are going to have to tell me directly. I refuse to be “called” by a family member or a pastor.”

God definitely heard that prayer. One Saturday, my usual day for sleeping in, I was startlingly awakened at  5 o’clock by a divine hand pulling at my spirit, drawing me out of bed. The Spirit of God sent me to my living room chair to speak with me. First, He impressed me to open my Bible to Luke 1, the story of John the Baptist.

I knew something supernatural was going on, so I took my time, drinking in every word. Then, when I came to verse 17, it was as though the words were flashing neon:

“He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’”

Immediately I understood God was calling me to a forerunner ministry, trumpeting an alert to the people of God. I would see signs following the preaching of the Word; and He would use all I my experience with those precious inner-city children to frame my teaching and preaching.

In that same session God began to show me the nations of the world. He dropped 3 words into my heart: missionary-teacher-evangelist. I had never heard that three-fold descriptor used of a minister before. When I was ready for my ordination I mentioned that to my overseer. He told me what Dr. T.L. Osborn would tell me years later, “that’s the greatest need in the world today.”

It was crystal-clear. God had spoken; there was no doubt; I didn’t have to confer with anyone. A new call to ministry had been initiated.  About 3  years later, Dad asked me to join his evangelistic team, and the road to its fulfillment began.

That direct, undeniable word of the Lord, spoken that day in my humble Bronx apartment, became the “substance” of things hoped for, as referenced in Hebrews 11:1:

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

The word of the Lord became the “standing order,” and “the title deed,” to all the Lord would work out in my life through ministry. Every time I questioned or wondered if it would ever really happen; every time my faith was tested and nearly shaken; I just remembered the sure, clear word of the Lord and kept moving forward.

That was over 25 years ago.

Over those years, God showed me glimpses of the call. When I first joined Schambach Ministries, Dr. Daisy Osborn invited me to go with her and Dr. T.L. on their second missionary crusade to Uganda. My father sent me with them, and my life was forever imprinted with the overwhelming needs of 3rd-world nations. In 1991 Uganda was still recovering from the war and devastation of the Amin regime. On the 40-mile trek from the airport to our hotel, what should have taken less than an hour to travel, took us 2 1/2 hours because of the crater-like potholes in the road. The people were obviously poor and their population had also been ravaged by AIDS. I learned that over 50% of the population was HIV positive.  Uganda at the time had very few citizens over the age of 50.

That trip to Kampala, Uganda, influenced me in another way. Although the need and outcry for help was great, I saw the power of God to heal and restore in operation. It was so good for me to see this in the ministry of a man and woman team. Watching them in action, I saw a different style than my Dad’s and learned God was not limited to one method of preaching.

Dr. Osborn called for an AIDS night. A quarter of a million people were in attendance, many dying. I had a front row seat, staring out on a sea of people as far as the eye could see. Dr. T.L. began to preach from Deuteronomy 28, “Behold I put before you life and death.” As he preached, it was as though every word he spoke was weighted  and dripping with the anointing. I could feel the deposit of those words in the hearts of the people. God allowed me to sense their faith, like a tidal wave, rise up out of their collective heart. The rush of faith was so strong, it almost knocked me off my seat. God was giving me a revelation of the power of the gospel preached with bold faith.

After the message, Brother Osborn prayed one mass prayer. Then, for the next 2 hours, until it was too dark to see, the people came to give testimonies of how they had come to the meeting with AIDS, but they were leaving healed, freed from pain.

God was giving me a glimpse of what my life’s work would eventually become. I felt like a freshman student entering the school of the Spirit. That glimpse which matched so dramatically the call on my life, was enough to help carry me through the challenging times as the years progressed.

There would be other glimpses and sparks of expectation from meetings in Kamchatka, Russia. I learned firsthand in that meeting what a “breaker anointing” was as we plowed open a communist military region with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and saw 10,000 former-Soviets raise their hands to receive Jesus. There we planted a church which is still planting other churches, some 26 in all. That church is affecting the entire region with the power of the Gospel.

But, as Dad began approaching his 80′s and my mother was entering her last few years on earth, we didn’t do too many overseas trips. My mission was to care for my aging parents and be beside my mother, especially, until she went home.

Although I would never do it differently, those were the times that tested my faith most sorely. I could feel myself growing older with each year, and I felt I was missing ministry opportunities when I should be going full force. I felt a little like Sarah and Abraham who had been given a phenomenal promise, but they had no physical evidence until they were 100 years old. I felt like I would never see the fulfillment of that call.

When my mother passed away in 2010, I was free to evangelize again and I did some travel overseas; but, the work I was doing didn’t fit with the call in my heart. I saw my Dad missing Mother fiercely and growing weary in the battle. I wondered how long it would be until he went Home and when he did, what that would mean for the ministry. In my heart, I still felt as though I needed not to wander too far or too long away from home.

With all the unanswered questions and with nothing on the horizon, Dad breathed his last breath on earth,  January 17, 2012. What could have easily been an ending to his 65-year ministry turned out to be a brand new chapter, laden with promise. By March  2012 the call came for me to preach in Costa Rica, and miracles began to happen.

Something started to stir in my spirit. This was beginning to feel like the call I heard 25 years prior in a little apartment in the Bronx. That one trip to Costa Rica opened the door to South America and led us into Iquitos, Peru. During our Iquitos crusade, on a side trip up the Amazon, God connected me with Belen, the poorest town I’ve ever visited.

Belen seized my heart the moment I laid eyes on her. Ugly, smelly, diseased and forsaken. ..it was calling me to do something. I had carried around for 25 years the substance of things hoped for…over the next months I would begin to see the evidence of things I had only dreamed about since the Lord called me. With the encouragement, humanitarian aide, boats and shoes we provided for 6 village pastors, God began to turn the atmosphere of an entire town, infusing it with the joy and hope of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Yes my team and I are walking out the pages of the new chapter being written. We have become forerunners, proclaiming the Jesus story and bringing healing to families and communities. We are turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; all because faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.

I have learned first hand that God is a covenant-keeping God. He knows exactly what He is doing, especially in the darkest hours. He uses the wait time to impress on our hearts His voice, His expectation and His unfolding plan. I’ve learned I can always move forward, even if one step at a time, one day at a time. There is a substantive aspect to this faith we walk out–it is the word of the Lord.  I’ve learned to keep walking, clinging hard to His promise and listening closely for His voice. The faith produced in the journey is the title deed to everything He has ever promised and it brings the invisible into sight.

SWEET SORROW

The human psyche is a wonder. Just when a perfectly grown-up lady who is a seasoned traveler thinks she has it all together, she encounters a snapshot of life that is all too familiar, and she weeps. Although grateful for the tender sweetness of the memory, it is just so close. She could reach out and touch a vivid shadow of her past, but she knows it’s not hers to touch, it would be an illusion that faded into oblivion.

It’s not that I haven’t seen middle-aged daughters with their elderly mothers since Mom passed. There have been many that brought a melancholy smile to my face. But, seated next to me on my short ride to Detroit was a diminutive 80-something lady with a recognizable, tired smile. With her was her very doting daughter tending to her every need as a mother would a child. The daughter was cheerful-a cheerful I recognized too-a brave, settled kind of cheerful in the face of inevitable eventualities, just never knowing when.

We exchanged a few air flight pleasantries and then settled into our private worlds. I felt a gentle bump and thought I heard something, so I opened my eyes. Looking into my eyes was this little grandma, smiling and offering me one of her crackers. It was such a precious child-like gesture, and it was just the kind of thing Mama would have done.

I politely smiled, thanked her and had to say “No,” but I wanted to squeeze her. I know it sounds silly but besides it being such a sweet offering, she became my mother reincarnate for a fleeting second. Demurely, I turned my head and silently wept into my napkin.

That one moment brought back the memory of my mother’s final days on earth and my seat of gate-tending beside her.

Sorrow is a strange beast. Just when you think you have it tamed, it rears its ugly head to rip your heart open again.

The Only sweetness I have found in sorrow is the presence of dear Holy Spirit. He is the reality of Heaven living in our hearts and our promise of sweet reunion with loved ones who know Jesus. He is the healing balm rubbed into these broken human hearts and psyches; and He is the Divine Lullaby who puts our hearts to rest.

Thank You, Father, for sweet reminders of your amazing gift–my Mama; and thank You for walking me through the lingering pain, healing me along the way.

NOBODY WOULD HAVE KNOWN…

We had been in a powerful crusade in the heart of Kenya, guests of another ministry. We witnessed great miracles and saw scores of people give their hearts to Jesus. We had opportunities to pour hope and spiritual wisdom into thousands of area pastors and saw God do a work of uniting their hearts with each other.

It was an amazing week, but our job was not over until the last day of the meeting. Standing on the sidelines as part of the crowd, we saw 5 young boys with aerosol paint cans, huffing the fumes. We talked with them and practically begged them to give us the cans, warning them of the danger of those fumes.

That is the day of the week-long crusade that is permanently etched in my spirit. I don’t think I will ever forget the words of one little boy: “You give us food; and we will give you the cans. We are very hungry, and the fumes keep us from feeling it.”

My friend and I knew what we had to do. We found our driver and asked the boys to go with us to the center of town. We went directly to the market and bought them each something to drink and a large loaf of bread.

Words cannot describe the look of excited relief on their faces when they saw that bread. They devoured it in minutes, so thankful that we took time for them that day.

They were not part of a mass altar-call; they didn’t boast of miracles. But, because God connected us with a need on the ground…we were able to meet it and introduce those boys to the Bread of Life. We also were able to connect them with a local pastor.

We preached no masterpiece sermon to them. There was no crowd; in fact, no one would have ever known. But Jesus knew, because inasmuch as we did it to these starving children, we did it unto Him.

Perhaps you would like to connect with real, tangible needs of children like these. If so, please go to our new page on FB and like People Trips. And, let us know you want our newsletter to keep abreast of how you can be involved.