Daniel and Marlene DeJesus are a precious family, full of faith and confidence in the Lord Jesus. They live what they say. Daniel effectively and compassionately gives away the love of Christ to those in prison, to ex-offenders who are transitioning to aftercare, and to anyone God brings into his sphere of influence. One thing about Daniel: you know that he is genuine in his love for God and others. That love is contagious. The Lord has called Daniel to serve full-time in ministering to the hurting, needy, and broken. Marlene serves as a nurse in the Texas Medical Center. Daniel and Marlene would tell you that they are blessed to be a blessing. Both are genuine servants of Christ who freely give away the rich blessings of the Lord.
Glory be to God in the Highest!
After three mission trips last year and one this year (and the longest one yet), Marlene and I are clear about what we need to focus on at this time in our “golden years”: The United States of America.
We have lived here in America longer than in our birth country, which is the Philippines. So, we have lived in the USA for more than forty years. God brought us here with his blessing and anointing. He called us to be ambassadors of Christ. As the American missionaries were used by God in the Philippines to disciple us, so we are now discipling Americans. The USA has become more of a mission field now than a sending country.
We want to continue what God has started in us while we were in the Philippines. We came to America to continue that journey. We did not come here for any other reason, but to “go and make disciples,” as Jesus said. That commission by Jesus upon our lives is still strong in our hearts. That passion remains.
Our passion is not only to help Calvary Community Church, but also to serve Grace Abounds Church.
Right now, I (Daniel) am involved in these ministries giving time and service:
- Youth Group. I have volunteered to assist Student Ministry Coordinator Jane Winne and the other youth leaders in discipling Middle and High School students at Calvary.
- Community Basketball. Every Tuesday, I’m assisting Tim Meeks in trying to reach out to the people who come and use our gym to play basketball. I am getting to know the regular players by talking to them more. It is slow and intentional work. I pray with them before they start playing. My goal is to be more intentional in sharing Christ with them. Hopefully, we will arrange some basketball tournaments next year. We will try to bring in Filipino Churches to participate in these tournaments.
- Journey Group with the Seniors. Marlene and I have been attending and assisting this group, which is led by Velma and Al Nash. We seek to challenge the members of the group to continue zealously in their individual journeys with God.
- Men’s Group. I’ve talked with Pastor Joshua about helping to disciple the men of Calvary. Our desire is to have more fellowships with the men next year. Currently, I’m thinking of a joint fellowship with the men of Grace Abounds Church (Pastor Dindo Caporal). Since I help with the GAC men already, I would like to challenge men from both churches to have more passion to care for each other’s spiritual growth and maturity so that together we can build God’s Kingdom.
- Pastoral Care and Visitation. Marlene and I have been helping several people at Calvary. We love to express the love of God through pastoral care.
- Prison Ministry. I’m still doing my “first love” every week. Marlene has been my regular partner in prison ministry since her retirement. This work is so fruitful and impactful.
- Bible Study Groups. For many years now, we help different groups as they study God’s Word.
- Fellowship with Asian Pastors. Aside from the monthly Filipino Pastors meetings, I attend also the Baptist Association of Asian Pastors. These meetings help me to be aware of what’s going on among the Asian churches in Greater Houston.
Our focus now is America, and specifically, Houston, Texas. We are in a spiritual battle. I feel that clearly. The spiritual battle also encompasses the political realm. That’s why we are praying constantly and fasting.
May God continue to fill us with more of His love, power, wisdom, and righteousness to do His will in times like these. We cannot do it without Him. And if the Church will NOT move in Christ, WHO WILL?
Thank you for your prayers.
We are lovers and soldiers of Christ,
Daniel and Marlene
PRAYER POINTS FOR OUR THIRD MISSION TRIP TO THE PHILIPPINES
“If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” (James 2:15,16)
As Marlene and I are getting ready for our mission trip (November 12 – January 17), here are some of our prayer requests.
- Pray for HEALING for my niece, Cynthia Pua, as she is going through chemo for anaplastic thyroid cancer. May the Lord HEAL her and PROLONG her life and see her whole family experience the saving power of Christ Jesus. Marlene, as a cancer nurse, will be assisting her medically and, spiritually, mentor her.
- Pray that God will open doors for us to work with people who have the same VISION and MISSION in helping THE POOR COMMUNITY . May we walk in PARTNERSHIP with those who have the same passion to bless the community.
- Pray for GUIDANCE as we try to find the right place and property to build a SCHOOL which will serve also as a FAITH COMMUNITY/CHURCH. May the Lord PROVIDE the needed funds.
- Pray for wisdom, compassion, and strength as we focus in TEACHING THE CHILDREN this time as we continue mentoring the church leaders.
- Pray for PATIENT LOVE and DEEP UNDERSTANDING for these forgotten children whose poverty and parental neglect have left them feeling helpless and hopeless to reach a brighter and better future. May we know how to LISTEN to their hurting hearts.
- Pray for guidance and SAFETY for our children and grandchildren as we leave them behind. Pray for our protection, PREVENTION from sickness and illness and DELIVERANCE from any evil attacks.
- Pray that Marlene and I will be UNITED IN OUR MINISTERIAL EFFORTS as we bless the church and community through prayers, financial help, teaching, evangelistic outreach, and mentoring.
Thank you for prayers and support.
Marlene & Daniel
I’m leaving again for my second mission trip to the Philippines (August 24 – September 26). Again, will be concentrating on a congregation whose poor members are living as squatters (like slum areas).
- Officiating two marriages.
- Training Church leaders.
- Preaching every Sunday.
- Sharing the Gospel to the neighborhood.
- Attending my Alma Mater’s 70th Anniversary and Seminary Alumni Reunion
- Seeking wisdom of continuing the Pre-School which was started 5 years ago.
- Seeking Ministry Partnership with another Ministry Organization..
- Looking for a possibility of finding a place to open a restaurant ministry for the poor (who earns only $1.00-$5.00/day).
- To support another church worker to help in the ministry.
We are trying to raise $4,000 for the one-month mission trip. Please, pray also for protection and guidance for Marlene as she will be left behind. Thank you for your prayers and support.
Three ways to give financially:
2. Mail a check to Calvary Missions, 7550 Cherry Park Drive, Houston, TX, 77095. Be sure to place a note in the envelope letting us know that it is for the Daniel’s Philippine Trip.
3. Use a giving envelope at one of our services: please make out your check to Calvary Missions, mark the envelope for the Daniel’s Philippine Trip, and place the envelope in the offering basket.
If you are interested in knowing what we are doing in prison ministry, you may come and join us in one of the classes that we lead:
1. Monday nights (7:00 – 8:30),Facilitating Prayer & Issues class; Carol Vance Unit (Richmond, TX)
2. Tuesday afternoons (3:00 – 4:00), Mentoring group, IFI, Carol Vance a Unit, (Richmond, TX)
3. Tuesday nights (5:30 – 8:30) Mentoring & Bible Study class, Trusty Camp, Jester 3 Unit (Richmond, TX)
4. Friday mornings (8:00 – 10:00 ), Study of the Gospels, IFI, Carol Vance Unit (Richmond, TX)
And if you want to know more about the 24 hour Pre-Release Christian Program called INNERCHANGE FREEDOM INITIATIVE (IFI), you may register for a 2-hour tour of the facility and introduction of the program. This program tour is given twice a month.
If you have any questions and inquiries, you may call me, 281-352-2894, or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org
A WORD ABOUT MENTORING
Written in my missionary photo business card: ” Helping released prisoners find their way home.” This has been my prison ministry goal: to help prisoners and ex-offenders experience what it means to be part of God’s family.
As Patch Adams says in the movie based on the life of Dr. Hunter Doherty Adams: ” All of life is a coming home…all the restless hearts of the world, all trying to find a way home.”
Our ultimate home is with our Heavenly Father. He made this possible through Christ Jesus’ death and resurrection, and fully experienced through the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said:
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.(John 14:1-3)
I do this in my prison ministry through teaching, counseling and mentoring both inside the prison and outside the prison – follow them up after they are released. Hoping that through discipling and mentoring them in Christ, they will find their way home.
Mentoring has been one of the main keys in helping my students in prison discover genuine relationship that many of them never had in their younger years. Their father-less upbringing ushered them easily to hang out with the wrong crowd and, eventually, to a life of crime.
Giving and assigning them mentors, help them get connected with a mature person who could guide them, slowly, to become better and responsible citizens. Plus the support of a caring church gives them a boost to move forward in spite of the hardships that they go through when they are released.
True mentoring helps them recognize the value of trust, respect, friendship, love, sacrifice, honesty, responsibility and accountability that many of them did not experience while growing up.
To mentor them means acknowledging that we are all in the same boat. We are no better than they. We are all in spiritual bondage. It’s all about Jesus. Saved by God’s grace and continue to mature all by his grace alone. From start to the end.
Genuine transparency, deep humility, enduring compassion and merciful sacrifice are the ingredients of true mentoring. It’s done, at least, for three years. Just like what and how Jesus did for his disciples. I call this “INCARNATIONAL LOVE.”
You give your bread.
You give your pillow.
You give your time.
You give your ears.
You give your heart.
And, if it is ask by God,
You give your life.
Sent from my heart
BEING A MISSIONARY: MY TESTIMONY
A long time ago, I read the Living Bible Version of Galatians 1:1. It says:
“I was not called to be a missionary by any group or agency. My call is from Jesus Christ himself and from God the Father who raised him from the dead.”
I wish I was the original author of that quote, but St. Paul speaks clearly of what I believe to be the source of my calling. I was called by God, our Father, from the beginning, even from His heart, even before I was born. It is a strong conviction that never left my heart.
This calling did not come from anybody, nor from me. I just realized there’s a divine love that never let go of me; an abiding love for me and for other people, and that I would share the love of Jesus through intentional friendships. There is no stranger to Daniel.
And it is overflowing. The only way to live it is to proclaim and live it, loud and clear.
God’s love comes naturally without striving for it. It is the source of my being. It is there and here in my heart. It is moving. It energizes me. It moves me. It’s running my life without me doing anything but following His leading. It is the Spirit inspiring my heart to do His will.
God’s love is working in me as I walk by faith. (Gal. 5:6)
It is Acts 1:8 in action, the Spirit calling, anointing, empowering, equipping, directing me to be His witness – whenever and wherever He wants me to be.
Although I did not have a direct voice encounter with Jesus like Saul on the way to Damascus, which completely changed his heart and also his name to Paul – I have encountered God’s love, personally and intimately. It has changed me from within.
If there is a similar experience that could describe my relationship with Jesus, it is the story of Mary, the sister of Martha (Luke 10:38 – 42). I have found the “ONE THING.” And it has not left me since I fell in love with Jesus.
I am still following Him after inviting Him into my heart and life 49 years ago. His enduring love never fails. And this love is encountered when I join Jesus in what He is doing in activities like these:
His Spirit-driven love gives me fresh insights of what to teach in my weekly teaching at Carol Vance Unit and Trusty Camp, Jester 3 Unit. These teaching lessons give relevance to their present needs.
His Spirit-driven love moves my heart to follow-up on my students after they are released from prison. I do this by way of mentoring, and having them church-connected through Calvary. This connection gives value to living in community with fellow believers.
And through this connection at Calvary they are learning the value of INTIMACY with God, expressing true COMMUNITY, and extending the KINGDOM of God.
I subscribe wholeheartedly to the Church’s vision to be a HOUSE OF PRAYER (IHOP). The power of intimacy is sustained by the regular and constant prayer and intercession of the Church with our HEAVENLY FATHER. Listening to His voice of love and direction and agenda is crucial to our spiritual growth. It is consistent to the love-relationship we have with the Trinity, without which there is no way that intimacy would be developed into oneness with God’s will.
His Spirit-driven love opens up our home for the ex-offenders for fellowship, prayer, and lunch in our bi-weekly get-together after the Sunday Service. This kind of house-fellowship allows us to be transparent with our present issues and tough situations and bring them to the altar of prayer.
His Spirit-driven love gives us passion for unity by way of working with other churches and Mission-CyFair. This is in fulfillment to Christ’s call for “oneness” in order to have greater impact to the world.
His Spirit-driven love encourages me to attend and be part of a Bible study group every Wednesday morning at Panera, composed of people from different churches. This builds up deeper friendship for one another centered on the study of God’s Word.
His Spirit-driven love motivates me to attend and support CELEBRATE RECOVERY session/program every Wednesday evening at Houston First Church of the Nazarene. This program helps people to share voluntarily their hurts, habits, or hang-ups without being judged or condemned. It’s the Christian version of A.A. and much more.
His Spirit-driven love gives me the joy to lead a group of tennis aficionados for a game every Saturday. This is another opportunity for me to share the Gospel to other players there (lately more Chinese and Indians), sharing the booklet, WHAT ON EARTH AM I HERE FOR? (Rick Warren).
His Spirit-driven love moves us intentionally to reach out to our neighbors by visiting them and planning for our own Subdivision party. It’s an open door for evangelism. This gives us opportunity to follow Christ’s second greatest commandment:, “to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.”
Mission Trips. Twice this year I was able to visit a New Jersey Church and teach a series of messages about the Holy Spirit – the often neglected Person of the Trinity. It was a Spirit led invitation to come, knowing that this Church is more “traditional and fundamental” in their beliefs. The fact that they invited me three times was a sign that they were hungry for more of the Spirit.
Twice also I was able to visit my birth-country, the Philippines. This two mission trips were to help the poor churches. Many of them are considered “squatters” by the government, people living in borrowed vacant lands.
Through the help of believers in America, we were able to provide a new rented place for Worship, started a new Youth Center, and God willing, next year we will start a Preschool for the poor kids there. Right now, we are supporting a college student there, providing for her school needs in order to get teaching certification. After her studies, she will be the teacher to these needy kids. In the meantime, we have shipped 13 big boxes of goods to the poor churches there.
Future Mission trips. At this time, we are praying for the victims of the recent disastrous and strongest storm, Haiyan, that ever landed in the Philippines. So far, as recorded, 5200 have died in Tacloban Island. We are coordinating with other churches to have a mission trip next year, probably in June or July. We will bring a team from the U.S. and also from the other islands in the Philippines.
Two things we are going to do is RECONSTRUCTION OF CHURCH BUILDINGS and REBUILDING OF LIVES AND FAITH. We are currently asking people and churches for donations towards this big project. We are asking people to continue to pray for us and the Philippines.
THE MINISTRY CONTINUES: RETIREMENT IS NOT AN OPTION
At 62, I have not lost that passion to share Jesus. We are still praying where the Lord wants us to focus, whether on the streets of Houston, back in N. J., flying in a plane, in prison ministry, or in the poor neighborhoods in Metro Manila. Here in America or in Canada or in the Philippines, wherever He sends me, it’s not about the place. It is all about Jesus, directing us, my wife and me, where to go.
And, in the mean time, we continue to enjoy His presence, living for His pleasure, resting in His purpose, by ministering in His power.
I have only one Message to tell:
The love of God spoken clearly in Christ Jesus, whose death and resurrection changes every heart and every perspective of life;
delivered this TRUTH to the world by the Holy Spirit,
and shared by His beloved Church by following the great COMMISSION: “ to go and make disciples.”
I am Christ’s disciple.
And I am part of His Forever Family, the BODY OF CHRIST, God’s Church.
This has been my MISSION in life: TO LOVE JESUS ABOVE ALL AND TO SHARE GOD’S LOVE TO ALL.
And our heavenly Father gave me that PASSION of Christ to make that MISSION a reality in my heart through His Spirit. And He does it through the Spirit’s love moving in and through me, by making me the person that He wants me to be.
The more I experience God’s love, the more I want to share His love.
By God’s grace, as long as I have breath, I will continue what He has started in me. And I will not stop until He brings me home.
Thank you for your prayers and support.
Daniel and Marlene
Realtors emphasize the importance of LOCATION, LOCATION, AND LOCATION, as the key to buying a property. I say RELATIONSHIP, RELATIONSHIP, AND RELATIONSHIP is the key to knowing people, loving them, and sharing the Gospel with them. Establishing good relationships with people and leading them to Christ to help them become what God has meant them to be is INCARNATIONAL LOVE IN ACTION.
There is no other way.
To establish relationship, one has to learn what it means to be a friend and to be friendly. You can be a good friend, but not necessarily friendly. The Holy Spirit models this kind of relationship by always being there for us, ahead of us, beside us, and in us, 24/7.
Listening to and moving with the Holy Spirit makes a big difference in having a better relationship with people that God leads into your life. Practical compassion, loving boldness, and discerning wisdom are what the Spirit provides to equip us in establishing relationship with people. He makes the impossible possible.
This is our experience this year, 2011.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving this month, allow me to share some things to thank God for this year.
1. TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY IN TEXAS. This month, we celebrate our 10th year of moving here from New Jersey. We thank the Lord for the spiritual disciplines that we have learned through Calvary Community Church. The journey has been great.
2. PRISON MINISTRY EXPANDED. Aside from teaching and counseling at Carol Vance Unit, along with some volunteers from CCC, I have started regularly teaching and mentoring at the Trusty Camp in Jester Unit 3. I have around 60 inmate-students in my classes. Raymond Duran also started teaching at Jester 1. He has 15 -25 students.
3. MISSION CY-FAIR. I thank the Lord for this organization which God is using for churches in the Northwest area to be aware of the real community needs in our own backyard. I thank the Lord for the leadership of Susan Nichols in spear-heading this ministry! (We, the staff, meet once a week). The regular monthly meeting, Community Action Network (CAN) has allowed us to see and hear different ministries that are serving our community. And through the annual FamilyFest at the Berry Center, we see this truth in action through the different ministries and churches which participate in this event. Getting to know these churches and other organizations in one place in one day helps us know what resources we have in our area, and helps our neighbors get to know what churches are serving in our Northwest area.
4. HOLISTIC HEALING. I attended a Waco Conference, led by Jimmy Dorrell of Mission Waco that helped me understand the importance of seeking a better way of helping man completely, spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally. A holistic approach to meeting the needs of our community is a great and effective way of sharing and showing the power of the gospel. This is what we want to happen and experience in our area.
5. TENNIS MINISTRY. We have added 4 new players to our regular Saturday tennis game. Praying for one another has been a vital part of this sport. We would like to thank Mike Phillips, (who moved already to Dallas), for helping us make this ministry a successful ministry through the many good years of leadership. This ministry is a good way to meet new people and our neighbors.
6. THE POWER OF MENTORING. Since I started mentoring more than 9 years ago, I have learned the great importance and power of guiding an ex-offender with how to follow Jesus. Being there for and with them is an effective way in making a big difference in their lives. When you share not only words of the Gospel but good deeds and resources of the Gospel, they catch it and embrace it completely. They catch easily what you lovingly do more than what you clearly say. It means true sacrifice, deeper dedication, and genuine commitment to help the whole man.
7. PROMOTING PRISON MINISTRY. As one of Calvary’s missionaries, I have been able to visit some churches in the Northwest area to share about the desperate needs of ex-offenders and their families. The latest was our two week visit to Vancouver, Canada, and Bremerton and Port Orchard in Washington State. I had the privilege of joining Marlene in celebrating her 34th anniversary reunion of her nursing class in Vancouver. Marlene was able to share the Gospel to two of her former classmates. I used that visit also to share about prison ministry at two churches in Vancouver and two in the state of Washington.
8. 60th BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION. My wife gave me a good party for my 60th birthday, and we used it to share our spiritual journey and promote prison ministry. We had more than 200 people and friends there, and we heard the testimony of our latest mentee, Bobby Long, a former Muslim. Praise Jesus for extending my life. He still has many things for us to do.
We thank the Lord for everything He has done to and in and through our lives. He continues to guide us.
As we have learned to listen to the Spirit’s leading, we do not know where the Lord is leading us. We do not want to “put God in a box,” nor put ourselves in a box. As we moved by faith from New Jersey to Texas, we continue to walk by faith and listen to whatever He is leading us to do. No one owns us. We belong to Jesus alone.
We will always be ambassadors of Jesus, living by faith, always hoping for the best, as it is yet to come, and loving by His Spirit. His story is our story.
The journey and adventure continues. Thank you for your prayers and support.
Daniel and Marlene
“Christ in you, the hope of glory.” – St Paul, (Colossians 1:27)
This coming November, my family will celebrate our ninth year here in Texas. As I look back, I still see the hand of God in our journey. His faithfulness and enduring grace have been so real and great in our lives.
We are still part of Calvary Community Church, and still participating at IFI (InnerChange Freedom Initiative, a prison ministry). And the Calvary team of volunteers still goes to IFI every Monday night.
As a full time missionary, serving our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus, I sense His presence in our involvement in the things and people that God leads us to know and experience. It is because His love prevails in all that we do.
Every year, He brings more insights as I embrace Him and let Him lead the way through His Spirit.
This is the way He does it: He speaks to me in my heart, telling me:
1) Look at people with LOVE and as ONE who needs the Lord. They are not “projects” to accomplish and place in our seasonal trophies. In prison ministry, they are not numbers but souls who are loved by Jesus. They are not just to be taught by words (preaching and classroom teaching), but by example through good deeds that matter for their spiritual new birth and maturity. This is where “the rubber meets the road.” Let us not just invite them to come to church with us, BUT LET’S GO WHERE THEY ARE.
2) When we look at people, they are not just one entity, but a member of a bigger family, PART OF THE COMMUNITY. That’s why we have opened our home to my students’ families to stay for a weekend when they could not afford to stay in a motel in order to visit their husbands or fathers in prison. That’s why I visit and counsel families and bring them in to the fold of Jesus – as part of the solution to the issues that caused one to absorb through years of running away from God. We’re not only helping the individual (inmate), but also the rest of the family. Please read the attached article about my experience with one of the children that my family ministered to “Embrace That I Could Not Forget.”
More than 20% of my 53 students/inmates in my group at IFI have “domestic violence” as their crime. It is a growing problem here in America and around the world.
3) We need to work together, IN UNITY, with people like Mission Houston who are also listening to the heartbeat of God. Our branch here, Mission Cy-Fair, through the good leadership of Bob Newey and Susan Nichols, has found out that there are more things we can do to reach out to our community, our own JERUSALEM. We have an overwhelming need if we just care to open our eyes.
It is time to see our own local problem. We don’t have to go beyond our geographical borders for our mission field. We can start where we are, in our own neighborhood. A month ago, I went for the first time with Covenant Church to reach out to our homeless people in Houston. This is only one of the places that homeless people hang out and there were around 150 homeless people out there that we shared the Gospel and gave them food and drink.
There are many desperate people out there, hurting people, abused kids, sick people who need Jesus – if we just care to take time to pray and do something about it. (in Matthew 25: 31ff, Jesus calls these people “the least of these.”)
There are many opportunities for ministries, if we just care to be available, willing to be involved, and get dirty. He will equip and provide for everyone that He calls to a ministry. He is our leader, provider, and protector. Let us pray about it.
4) There is a war going on and we need to put on God’s full armor (Ephesians 6:10 – 20). As Ambassadors of God, we mean business with Him. Spiritual business must be engaged in spiritually – with the Spirit of God. We must be always on guard because we have ONE ENEMY who is doing his subtle business of stealing our joy, distracting His people, and killing His servants who are following Jesus. Satan knows he has lost already, but he wants to win in some battles with his unholy angels.
One example: One evening course at IFI, where loved ones are able to come and join in the class with their incarcerated husband, and/or boyfriends. Satan used this opportunity to tempt an inmate to ask his loved one to bring drugs into the prison through this class. Although successful for some time, it was eventually discovered. That caused other inmates to be shipped out from the Christian Program. It’s good that the Warden did not stop that class from continuing. God is good!
We need to be more prayerful and be on guard all the time. This is no ordinary ministry. This is God’s ministry. It takes God to RECEIVE it, it takes God to DO it, and it takes God to FINISH it.
5) I must continue to listen to His Spirit (Revelation 2:7) just like Jesus admonished all the 7 churches. This is the reason why I resigned two years ago from IFI, and now am back as a fulltime volunteer. (I’ve been there for 5 months now). God wants me to enjoy the freedom that I have in the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17), the freedom to be who I am in Christ. I belong to Christ, I don’t belong to any Program. I follow the heartbeat of my Father from above. No curriculum can control my obedience to Christ.
One instance of God showing me, through His Spirit, by way of a dream: a good message from Him for my guys in the prison (see “The Dream”)
Whether it be in IFI or not, He will lead me wherever I fit best.
Christ is in us, the hope of glory.
We thank you all for your prayer and support,
Daniel, Marlene, and Joanne
An Unforgettable Embrace
We’ve been opening our home to the families of some IFI guys. Their families couldn’t afford to stay in a hotel for the weekend. When the Johnson family came from Georgia and stayed in our home, there was an incident I could NOT forget.
This is an experience that God is using to continuously touch my heart for the families of my students that I minister to.
John’s wife (Christy) and Billie Joe (John’s mother-in-law) said to me that John’s 2 year old daughter (Jamilee) does not usually come to a stranger (most of all, a Filipino). And yet when they saw that Jamielee just easily came to me as I opened my arms for her to come, they were shocked to see that kind of a response.
As I lifted her up, I felt her strength. She was embracing me so tightly, right away, and I could not help but respond to her. She was holding on to me, as if she didn’t want to let go. As if she wants to stay there forever, and she put her head so close to my neck, so close to my ear (only if she could talk.)
And she stayed in that position for a long time.
And I believe that …
She was holding me as if she wanted her Dad to be there for her.
She was telling me some things …
I felt the longing of a child, left by a father incarcerated because of drugs and alcohol. I felt the deep love of a child that she wanted to share with her Dad who has been in prison since she was only 8 months old. I felt the affection of a whole family shared by a two year old child, who is missing her Dad for so long and so badly that she pretended that I was her Dad.
I will always remember this experience. It was a gift from the Lord Jesus. God is telling me to realize that I have a calling not only for my guys in prison, but also for the families who are left behind.
Souls who are also wounded, unsure about the life that used to have good memories, but tainted now with abuse and self-centeredness; families who are afraid to face the seemingly hopeless future; members of a family who are now bruised (received the brunt of the sins of the fathers.)
Lonely for love that they once knew; feeling alone in a crowded and busy world, left alone, especially from loved ones who judged them unfit for a nice society, or judged for allowing this to continue.
And left also by some believers of Christ because they too have their own “issues” that they have to attend to; or are just too busy to help those for whom Jesus died also.
Children who, mostly, did not do anything; innocent, but received the cruelty in a family broken by sins, done in the flesh, influenced by the lustful world, which were offered through the deception of the Enemy.
Children who lost their innocence by the experiences of parents who did not know how to live the way God meant it to be.
Children who did not have role models from parents who did not also receive the same good example from their own fathers and mothers.
A stubborn curse that has been passed from one generation to another.
I have been thinking about this experience since it happened. And I have never been the same since.
We wonder how this will ever end. How long will families suffer?
Jesus said “Suffer not the little children to come to Me.”
It ends at the cross of Calvary. And its victory is confirmed by an empty tomb.
This is my Calling.
This is my Passion.
This is my Mission.
(Please, pray for me … )
This is the Message of Love …
that He wants me to live …
even with you …
Thank you for listening …
An embrace that I could not forget,
a love from a child that I will always remember,
a prisoner of God’s love,
Daniel (and Marlene)
I had a dream.
It was a vivid picture. It was a very clear dream because I knew the man very well. And I could still remember the dream afterwards. (Usually, if it is not meaningful, I would easily forget.)
(My mentee is a graduate from IFI, Group #20 (2002-2004), who is back in prison after doing well for 3 years).
My mentee was walking somewhere. In his walk, he picks up different parts of a gun. And sometime, along his walk, he was able to pick-up everything – all the parts of a gun. It was complete.
He assembled it, to make what it was purposed to do. And, unfortunately, he used it to shoot himself.
I had this dream Thursday early morning. The following Saturday, I went right away to see my mentee at the Hightower Unit. And I shared with him my dream, that it was him that I saw there, picking up the different parts of a gun. And that he committed suicide.
And he told me that it could not have been him. “I love myself too much,” he said with a big smile on his face. With that answer and understanding of him, I think he was right. It was not him.
So I went home with a joy in my heart, knowing that it was NOT him, and I was glad that I got to visit him again because he is a precious child of God. I know that God has some things for us to do, together, through prison ministry.
But what was that dream all about? I asked the Lord. I asked the Lord that day for an interpretation. He quickly gave it.
The man in my dream represents those whom we minister to – both those who are still inside and outside prison. And the pieces and parts of the gun that he was picking up along the way are the different issues (unresolved situations, problems of life) that man collected along the way, in his life, that he did not throw away (for example, unforgiveness, results to bitter heart, harboring offenses, deep hurts).
Slowly, unknowingly, as he picks them up, they get accumulated and assembled, put together with the rest of his problems – getting bigger and bigger – until he could not handle it anymore. Out of control. (even using drugs/sex to silence such issues in one’s life) that it becomes a weapon (a deadly weapon) that he uses … to kill himself (even to hurt others, in some situations).
A self-inflicted wound. A self-inflicted death.
That’s what sin does to us. The curse of sin.
It does not pertain only about prison ministry. It is a lesson of life for all of us.
For me. And for you.
THINGS TO PRAISE GOD FOR: MY MISSION REPORT
BY DANIEL DEJESUS
1. PRAISE GOD FOR A FULFILLED DREAM. God has reawakened my forgotten dream of travelling alone through a ROAD TRIP here in America.
18 DAYS WITH JESUS! I drove for 4,475.4 miles to 5 States (Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, & Florida), and visited my IFI mentees, former Seminary professors and schoolmates, my son and his family, and close friends of the church that I pastored in New Jersey. Some highlights: my encounter with a STATE PATROLMAN who stopped me for an unclear license plate while driving on a highway in Tennessee. In the process of our conversation, I was able to share my work, as missionary, doing prison ministry. And in so doing, I learned that he is a strong believer of Christ and a member of a Baptist Church. I, therefore, as he’s a police officer, with a good influence, encouraged him to consider mentoring those inside the prison. He autographed my memo book and I took his picture. And I thanked him for stopping me that I was able to share my ministry. And another is: I was able to witness to an Asian man, Mr. Patel, owner of the America’s Best Value Inn. And the most touching moments were seeing my former American Seminary Professors in South Carolina. They were missionaries in the Philippines for many years before retiring. One is 79, and the other, 85 years old. These two men whom God used to help me become a better disciple of Christ. I learned mentoring through their great example!
2. PRAISE GOD FOR 29 YEARS LIVING, LOVING AND SERVING GOD HERE IN AMERICA. I am already 58 years old. God has reminded me that I have spent my other half of my life, 29 years here in America. The first 29 years in the Philippines and then, the next 29 years in America = equals 58. I know that He has a more fulfilling 29 years for me and my family. Whatever His plan for me and my family, I know it is the best for us.
3. PRAISE GOD FOR THE CONTINUED MINISTRY AT IFI. We have a new group of IFI guys that we’re ministering this quarter, September-November. We hope to encourage more people at Calvary to join us in sharing God’s Word, counseling and praying for the 41 inmates that we fellowship with every Monday evening. We praise God for these faithful volunteers, Dennis Green, Gary Lambert and Bob McCharen, who’s hearts are for those inside the WALL. We aim to help these guys not only when they are inside the prison, but follow them up when they are released.
4. PRAISE GOD FOR THE MINISTRY AMONG THE NEIGHBORS. After the hurricane last year, we have had two get-together with our neighbors. We had around 30 people that came in the last gathering. Some of them brought their children to our ARTREACH. We are preparing for another fellowship as we await for a cooler weather.
5. PRAISE GOD FOR OUR DAUGHTER’S GRADUATION AT CHRIST FOR THE NATIONS. Joanne finished her course at CFNI after three years of learning more about FAMILY AND CHILDREN’S MINISTRY. She was able to go to England this summer, along with other CFNI graduates, to help a church there with their Children’s Camp. She is currently enrolled at DALLAS BAPTIST UNIVERSITY, majoring in EDUCATION. She wants to be ready to follow the Lord’s calling even teaching and being a missionary in another country of His choice.
6. PRAISE GOD FOR TENNIS AND PING-PONG SMALL GROUPS MINISTRY. We praise God that we can offer these sports to encourage other CCC members to join us in taking care of our God-given bodies. I praise God for good friends who are with me in this endeavor, Mike Phillips and Doug Meriwether. Tennis is our game, but Jesus is our life!
7. PRAISE GOD FOR THE OPPORTUNITIES TO SPEAK IN DIFFERENT FILIPINO CHURCHES. We try to continue to connect with other congregations to share more about the prison ministry. And we continue to encourage other churches to open their facilities for ex-offenders and their families for discipleship meetings and fellowship through the ministry of HIS FATHER’S HEART MINISTRIES.
8. PRAISE GOD FOR THE CONTINUED GROWTH OF IFI MENTEES. We praise God for some members of our church to help some ex-offenders in finding jobs. Quam Pham, for example, a Vietnamese-American who was seeking for a permanent job, after being rejected three times, was given a chance to work at the company of Martin Jordana. And he has been there working, faithfully, for almost a year now. And we have a regular fellowship/discipleship time with him and his girlfriend. Another is Adrian Guajardo, who was employed by Rick Jones at his company, as a machinist. Rick told me that Adrian is one of the best workers that he ever had in his company. Praise God!
9. PRAISE GOD THAT WE WERE ABLE TO SHARE THE GOSPEL TO SOME CO-WORKERS OF MARLENE’S. God gave an idea to Marlene to invite her co-workers at M.D. Anderson, for the first time, to her b-day party at our house (around 22 people came). We used this opportunity to share God’s Word. As we have opened our house to let ex-offenders and their families stay for some days, when needed – we thought that even parties can be used also to glorify God and make Him known through this kind of celebration. Everything is for Jesus!
10. PRAISE GOD FOR ALLOWING MARLENE’S SISTER, HEIDI, TO COME TO TEXAS AND BE WITH HER FOR TWO WEEKS. While I was out travelling for 18 days, God gave an idea to Marlene to invite her sister to come to Texas. Heidi was so blessed in her stay here that she decided to come back for good after Christmas. I know that this is a God-thing because, after the death of their mother, my mother-in-law, two years ago – this is an opportunity for both of them to be together again and grow in the grace and knowledge of God even here in Texas through CCC’s ministry.
I know that there is so much more to share because of the ever constant faithfulness of God to all of us. But let this report suffice for now. God is good!
We love you all!
Thanks for everything!
Thanks for your financial support and prayers!
Jesus’ travelling missionary,
Daniel (Marlene and Joanne)
GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS AND TOUCHES NEIGHBORS
BY DANIEL DEJESUS – SEPTEMBER 2008
Editor’s Note: Daniel and Marlene DeJesus love people. And, they are intentional about finding ways to show God’s love to others. Here is a testimony from Daniel about an opportunity that took place after Hurricane Ike.
I wanted to share with you about our neighborhood outreach ministry. It is amazing how the Lord redeemed Hurricane Ike and used us in our neighborhood in the aftermath of the storm.
Marlene and I have prayed for our neighbors for many years. We have done this in many ways, including prayer walking around our subdivision. (Actually, Marlene prayer walks more than I, because I’d rather play tennis!)
Before Ike arrived, the Lord led us to pray seven times around our subdivision. After Ike hit, the Lord opened doors for us to touch our neighbors. We helped our neighbors by removing their fallen trees, cleaning up, sharing our generator with a neighbor, and buying gasoline for them. This opened the door for a gift from the Lord. God answered our prayers by giving us the chance to have our first Hurricane Survivors’ dinner and fellowship at our cul-de-sac.
The turnout was amazing. Seven families from our area came. Some strangers showed up. And, some relatives of one neighbor decided to join us. I gave a short talk and prayer before we had our sumptuous dinner. God gave us an amazing take away: We decided to get together like this twice a year, during the fall and spring, when the weather is cooler and nice.
We praise the Lord for the good time and fellowship. Some of the families with kids expressed an interest in attending Calvary ’s Fall Fest. They responded to a simple invitation.
We thank the Lord for the opportunity to share his faithfulness and love with those around us.
Please pray that God will continue to cause his light to shine more brightly in and through us. Thank you for your prayers. Glory be to God!
In Him alone,
MY PERSONAL TESTIMONY: JESUS-CENTERED, GIFT-BASED AND PASSION-DRIVEN LIFE
I, along with my family, Marlene and Joanne, moved by faith from New Jersey to Houston , more than 7 years ago. We obeyed our Father’s call to come to Texas to be part of Calvary Community Church and IFI, a prison ministry under the direction of Prison Fellowship Ministries. Ever since we have come to know Jesus as Savior, Lord, and Friend, we have realized that our purpose in life is based on our personal and intimate walk with God through His beloved Son, Christ Jesus.
OUR CALLING IS FROM GOD
Where He leads us, we follow by faith.
Where He feeds us, we swallow in humility.
What He opens for us, we embrace with gladness in our hearts.
I thank the Lord for the opportunity to work at InnerChange Freedom Initiative (IFI) for more than 5 years. The first 2 years I was an unpaid fulltime volunteer staff, doing counseling, teaching, and mentoring. Many volunteer inmates came to know God through His Son, Christ Jesus, throughout my ministry there at IFI. But because of some policy changes, I resigned as a paid staff, and decided to return as a Missionaryvolunteer to continue what the Lord has called me to do at IFI without restrictions.
WHERE THE SPIRIT IS, THERE IS FREEDOM
Aside from mentoring 6 people there, (and also mentoring those who are already released), I also join the volunteers from Calvary every Monday night as they facilitate a class there at IFI called Prayer & Issues, where they lead worship, pray, and counsel inmates for almost 2 hours. I go there at least twice a week.
Some of the great experiences I have had as a volunteer at IFI, are when I was requested to take over for some staff counselors who could not teach their class because of death in the family or some unavoidable circumstance. I took over for 3 weeks, and used that opportunity to evangelize some of the classes. Many inmates opened their hearts to Jesus.
When I attended some of the afternoon sessions called Community Time, God would often encourage me to preach the Word with love and boldness from His Spirit to the more than 200 inmates enrolled at the IFI Program. Many believers (more so myself) are encouraged every time I preach there. There is joy in serving Jesus.
An unforgettable experience that I had, recently, was to attend a funeral and burial of one IFI inmate who was recently released. Unfortunately, just a few months after his release, he died suddenly because he was stung with bees while working in his backyard. At the cemetery, after the burial of their father, I was able to share the gospel to the whole family, a mother and 3 children. All of them received Jesus into their hearts.
Whenever I visit my daughter, Joanne, at Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas , I also take time to visit my former students. I try to fellowship with our guys, graduates from IFI, who live in that area. Discipling them through constant follow-up, visits, and phone calls, is needed to help them in their spiritual walk with God.
GETTING TO KNOW OUR NEIGHBORS
Because of the recent Hurricane Ike, Marlene and I were able to be a witness to our neighborhood by praying for protection from destruction. The Lord led us to have a “ Jericho prayer-walk.” We decided to walk around our subdivision 7 times while we were praying, singing, and reading God’s Word. We knew that God answered our prayers along with thousands of people who were praying. It could have been worse. The Lord lessened the disastrous impact of that storm!
After the hurricane, due to electric failure, we shared our generator with our neighbor, helped clear, clean, and cut fallen trees in our neighbors’ yards, and bought gasoline for those who needed it for their generators. (And even in looking for a gasoline station, the Lord answered our prayers. Where many gas stations at that time had a long line of people waiting to fill their tanks – the Spirit of God directed us to a station that did not have a long line. Our pick- up truck with a full load of gas containers was easily filled without any problem. (We even took the privilege to pay for the gas as our gift to our neighbors!) The Lord used this calamity to help us get to know our neighbors better so that we can share the love of Jesus Christ with them.
We know that many families and properties were badly affected by this hurricane. Our prayers are with them. We know that Churches, with the government, are presently mobilized to help. But we know also that He has a higher purpose of why He allowed this to happen like 9/11.
HELPING OUR SCHOOLS
We thank the Lord for these opportunities to be a witness to Jesus. Marlene and I have decided also to extend this witness by mentoring young students. We have responded to the call of God through His agency, MISSION HOUSTON, to help mentor students from broken families.
INVOLVED WITH OUR CHURCH FAMILY
We also thank the Lord for the privilege of leading two LIFT Groups at Calvary . I am praying that my passion for tennis (the other LIFT Group), will be used as a tennis ministry also to reach the kids in our neighborhood.
As we look back to what God is doing in our lives, including our 2 children, Jonathan and Joanne, who both love God, and are devoted followers of Christ, we know that what we are doing is really just a natural experience of a child of God. Knowing that our life is from God, that in Christ we find our true IDENTITY AND SECURITY, and that we are truly LOVED UNCONDITIONALLY BY JESUS, then loving Him back is just a natural response on our part. And, therefore, serving Him is a lifestyle for our family.
Whatever we do and wherever we are, we are here to glorify our Father-God by loving Him with all our being and loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.
We know that we don’t deserve His life, but He gave it anyway.
We know that there are times we fail to follow Him, but He forgives anyway.
We know that we struggle in this life, for there’s spiritual warfare, but He is our Commander-in-Chief anyway.
We know that we are sometimes inconsistent in our walk with God, but He is our only message of Truth and Grace, Hope, Faith, and Love anyway.
We praise God for what He has been doing to prepare us for His coming!
If you have any questions about how you can help in the ministry, let me know. Or you may contact Calvary Community Church.