I just wanted to say thank you so much for a tremendous year in 2014! I know I wished you Happy New Year in the last newsletter but I just wanted to say thank you for such a great year of support. Thank you to our volunteers, partners who supported us and those who prayed for our Christmas toy giveaways in Delano and Oildale. Here is one of the many “God Moments” we encountered during the Christmas season. One of our mentees, Damien, was volunteering with his One-on-One mentor at the Delano Toy Giveaway. Recently, his bike was stolen. This meant that Damien had to walk to school and back home. After the event, I asked one of the staff to grab the blue bike, the last one that was left on the stage and handed the bike to Damien. I had no idea Damien wanted a bike for Christmas. Damien was shocked and said, “Is this really mine? Are you serious?” God knows your every need and desire.
Reflecting on 2014, I think about the scripture that says in Psalms 66:13, “I will go into Your house with burnt offerings, I will pay You my vows which my lips have uttered and my mouth has spoken when I was in trouble.” When we make promises to God, do we keep them? You know there are times that we ask God to do things when we’re in trouble and need but we forget about our commitment. Have you been there before? I have. When you knew you could have done more but complacency set in? I believe in this year, in 2015 that you have an opportunity to make a difference. Where the Bible talks about in the book of Philippians, “forgetting those things which are behind and pressing to that high mark, which is Christ Jesus” and that you’re able to press forward through that wall that was holding you back. As I see this scripture in Psalms 66:13, I think that in that time when we speak, that we have to stay committed to what we say and what we’re going to do. There’s a scripture in the Bible that talks about Peter. Peter has challenges in his life when he’s dealing with commitment but when the Spirit of God came upon him, everything changed. I really believe and am asking God to move in your life and do great things in 2015 for you and in your families’ lives. I pray that you have an awesome 2015.
We celebrate National Mentoring Month this month in January. We are celebrating my birthday as well. I wanted to say thank you for partnering with us all these years. January 20th will be 25 years of ministry and on January 12th, I will be 50 years old. To God be the glory! I thank God for my beautiful wife because of her commitment to the Lord and also to me. I say that humbly because she’s the one who helped me through the most devastating time in my life, 2008. It was a period where I was very sick and they put me on dialysis. I was on dialysis for 5 ½ years and through all that hurt and pain and suffering God stood with me and I kept standing on the scriptures saying that God is faithful to His promises, as scripture says in 1 Corinthians 1:9. I am so grateful to her because she was my life-giver because she gave me a kidney. To hear the match was perfect and to hear things only God could do was such a blessing from the Lord and because of her I really believe that’s why I am still here and what the Lord is doing as well. This is the first time I’ve shared this with any of our partners. Thank you for praying for us. God is so good and gracious to us and I thank God for what He has done for me on Calvary.
I want to challenge you this year, to pray about it: If you would help us give a one-time gift or if you want to support us every month and God will use you in a mighty way. You know, it takes partnership. All the outreaches that we did last year were because of partnership. The Christmas rallies that we did were because of partnership. Thanksgiving, One by One, school assemblies, back to school rallies and Easter Blast take place because of partnership. As I went back through these events, I realize this has been a period of time where God has taken me back to start over again. What I mean by that is we think there are times where we miss out on things but God keeps us. I am so grateful and thankful because of God’s love and what He has done in my life. Partner, I want to say thank you for praying for us and believing God with us in 2015. I pray that your vision is bigger than your excuses. There’s a statement that says if your vision doesn’t scare you, that your vision isn’t big enough. I really believe that as Liz and I walk through 2015, we know that you are walking with us spiritually. So Partner, please pray for the ministry as we reach into the concrete jungles of America with a message of hope.
God bless you abundantly and we’ll see you at the top,
Manuel Carrizalez, Founder & Director
Stay Focused & Reach 4 Greatness Mentoring
Thank you to our 130 volunteers, generous donors and faithful partners.Together, we reached 2654 individuals with a message of hope and toys for those in need in Oildale (L) and Delano (R) for Christmas 2014.