To God’s glory, COI had a very blessed 2014! We were able to mobilize several hundred participants to short term missions. We received new staff and new missionaries. We assisted local churches further develop their mission programs. We are starting a new outreach site in Costa Rica (fun!). We helped start some new mission projects on the ground, including our new Education for Girls Sponsorship Program, which is now going in Belize, a country where school is not free. I am convinced if we instill a sense of confidence and support in young girls and create opportunities for them, they will make a difference as world changers and history makers!
We are preparing for a special Anti-Sex Trafficking Outreach in the US and a Prayer Conference Outreach overseas (with me) in late 2015.
The on-going ministry of Santa Fe school (K-6) in the Dominican Republic is growing. This year there are 177 students, new classrooms, students turned away. The “graduates” are educated well, well behaved, and love the Lord. From the school’s beginning, COI Teams, namely Hillcrest Academy from Minnesota, have funded, built and served the school, the children, and Pastor Freddy and Mary, well. It is a powerful story of faith, teamwork and God’s provision.
The Sunshine Kids ministry of COI national missionaries in Kenya, made great strides. They received land and built housing for 30 children, and will have 50 affected kids served there by the end of 2016. We would like to bring a COI team to Kenya in the near future.
Our plans for a ministry base in Orlando are moving forward. Orlando will become a fine US base for COI. We are receiving more outreach teams there to serve the people, ministries, and city. We were able to provide the back to school back packs for 60 children in a less fortunate neighborhood, and 10 children were deeply touched by Christ through the VBS ministry of a COI mission team last summer. The future is bright for us in “the City Beautiful”. We are patiently trusting for office and mission team housing provision for COI Orlando.
COI missionaries in Ukraine were stellar in ministry to war refugees who fled to the Western cities when the war that broke out this spring in Eastern Ukraine. They worked with local churches and businesses to provide homes, needs, clothes, food…items to get new residents settled in the area.
COI missionaries, retired pastors in Florida, have been working in India for several years. They work with an apostolic leader, pastor and church planter (Pst. Philip) with a network of 13 churches in a difficult and very persecution-heavy area in India. Pst. Philip has also become a COI national missionary. There will be a team going to India in late 2015. We are so blessed and excited by what the Lord is doing there.
Every one of our staff, missionaries, and outreach teams did important, effective work for the Kingdom on every COI 2014 outreach project, as did COI full-time missionaries in their on-going mission work and ministries. We are grateful for the groups and individuals who sacrifice to go, donors, partners, partner ministries and churches, intercessors, COI Alumni (missionaries and participants), and friends. Our Kingdom mandate can only be as effective as our ability to collaborate with each other. Teamwork wins in the Kingdom!
My work with COI is with a call from God to mobilize and activate as many volunteers and workers as possible to His great harvest fields, home and abroad. Just one life-giving mission experience, away from home’s comfort zones and challenges, can change a life, both on the field and in the volunteer missionary’s heart forever. It happened to me at 17 years old. I found my destiny and calling serving on a field (as a missionary athlete) that was foreign to me.
God continues to reveal Himself daily…changing lives through the powerful venue of short-term missions. We need the boldness, confidence, and compassion that is found in this type of ministry. We need to be exposed to other cultures, be involved with outreach, support and understand missions and missionaries, see what God is doing in the nations. We need to use what we receive from God in these experiences in our everyday lives’ “mission fields”, and in our Kingdom service in and through our local churches.
By God’s grace, we plan to take as many people as we can on short-term missions, and create some on-line “missions basics” classes in 2015. I also hope to start writing the COI story in a book, with my Mom, Rosa Isleib, a retired missionary, widow and Bible teacher. My parents founded this work over 30 years ago as a result of my first trip…there are many powerful and beautiful stories to tell! We also plan to start a “widows and orphans” fund and scholarship program (James 1:27) to honor her 75th birthday and the legacy of my parent’s pioneering work in short-term missions.
I have attached or included the new 2015 COI handout flyer. We have created this for use in meetings, online, advertisements, emails, on information tables or booths, for churches, schools…whoever, however. Our new recruiting director, Kristen, is planning on working with Christian schools (and other groups), to introduce them to our mission possibilities. If you know schools that might be interested, thank you for pointing them our way. This flyer can be printed in black and white and color. It is available for anyone to down load from our website, as well. COI 2015 promo flyer
This was a fruitful year for COI. So thankful, so full of praise! 2015 is a year of new beginnings. No telling what great things He has in store! Can’t wait. Let’s GO! MaryAlice Isleib