Thank you for taking the time to read our Messenger! This Messenger is full of stories of success and achievement from some of those we are fortunate enough to serve. I wish you had the opportunity to see and understand the way God is working throughout our ministry each day. The challenges are great, but we were created to overcome!

The word believe is defined as one’s acceptance of something as true, correct or real. It could be said that once you believe, you are convinced that you know the truth. Today, we believe all sorts of ideas. We might believe that one brand of automobile is better than another, we might believe that one type of food tastes better than another or we might believe that certain types of music are the best to name a few examples. What then is correct?

What does it really mean to believe? For me, it is difficult to explain what it means to believe without understanding what it means to trust. The idea of trust can be defined as a belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something. In other words, we can’t really believe unless we trust. We have all known people who have broken our trust, that can really hurt! Becoming someone who trusts again after we have experienced hurt can be difficult.

In this Messenger, you will read stories of belief and trust, and how they were vital factors that led to success. Christina’s story is one of great difficulty but also great success. She states that in a moment of great uncertainty, she received a great blessing! We have many “Christinas” in our care now that are struggling to find their purpose and meaning, to find something to truly believe in and trust. God provided what she didn’t know she needed just at the exact moment she needed it, what an inspiration! You will also read a story about Pastor Rudy, one of the most dedicated godly men I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. It would be easy to see his vibrant church in the Dominican Republic now and not realize the challenges he faced throughout his journey. Pastor Rudy’s accomplishments are impressive, but simply put, he loves God, and he loves people.

I see many similarities between Christina’s and Pastor Rudy’s experiences. They both had to believe and trust. They had to believe in God, accept Him as their Savior and trust in His plan. They both faced serious challenges and struggles but they trusted His plan. They knew they were created for a purpose, and they marched forward boldly even in uncertain times. I know I have been challenged and motivated by their stories! While you may never meet Christina or Pastor Rudy, if you support us in any way, you are part of their story.

As we serve throughout our nine ministries, we see a pattern. The first step is healing, hearts and souls need to be healed. We have highly trained staff that the Lord uses but make no mistake the healing comes from Him. The second step is restoration, hearts and souls need to be restored and made new. The final step we see is transformation, hearts and souls need to be transformed. What an amazing privilege it is to be a part of so many stories. You make it possible for us to heal, restore and transform. Please keep the STCH Ministries team, Christina, Pastor Rudy and all those we serve in your thoughts and prayers!

Romans 8:31- What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

Trusting in God’s Plan: A Mother’s Journey of Redemption

IN JULY 2022, KLAVDIA FACED A TOUGH CHOICE to either stay in the life she knew or move to help protect herself and her children. She and her kids ended up at STCH Ministries Homes for Families Marshall Campus in Goliad, Texas, after her friend dropped her off. The circumstances leading to this moment were far from ideal and she was filled with anxiety and worry; Klavdia could not help but wonder if this was a mistake. Little did she know that this challenging journey would turn out to be a life-altering experience filled with growth, faith and unexpected blessings.

Klavdia, a resilient mother of three children, all between the ages of two and five, reflected on the turbulent days when she first arrived at Homes for Families: “In those first four days, I felt like I was being attacked. I felt miserable and nervous about the kids and how they were doing in chapel. There were a lot of anxieties and worries,” she shared.

Due to some insecurities and doubts, Klavdia decided to leave the campus. She packed up her family and asked a friend for a ride to a nearby hotel for the weekend. During their stay, Klavdia turned to her Bible to find an understanding of what God wanted for her and her children. As she began to explore her faith and seek the path forward, there was a conviction growing within her that returning to Homes for Families was a step she needed to take. Klavdia recalled that pivotal moment: “I really felt that God was leading me in that direction, and I needed to be obedient to Him.”

As Klavdia was about to return, her friend’s car broke down. Klavdia saw this as a sign from God that she needed more time to prepare herself mentally and spiritually for the journey ahead. “I felt like God was telling me I wasn’t ready and that I needed another week to submit in order to give my whole, honest self to the ministry,” Klavdia explained. It was a delay that would prove crucial in her transformation.

A week later, Klavdia and her children returned to Marshall Campus. Although she arrived with a newfound determination, her children were reserved and hesitant. Her daughter, Sasha, clung to her pacifier and bottle, a reflection of the challenges they faced before coming to Homes for Families. As they settled into the STCH Ministries community, their hearts slowly began to open as trust was built and transformation began.

For Klavdia, Homes for Families became not only a shelter but a place where her children could finally discover God’s love. Despite prior restrictions before coming to STCH Ministries, Klavdia and her children had secretly explored their faith, watching church services online in the quiet of their bathroom. Because she took a step of obedience, Klavdia’s family could now openly embrace their curiosity about God and His love and embark on a journey of faith.

However, Klavdia’s journey was not without its challenges. In the early days at Homes for Families, Klavdia had simply gone into survival mode as she went through the motions of the program. As her faith deepened, and she began to heal, Klavdia slowly transitioned from surviving to thriving. The Bible lessons, which were once a chore, had become a source of wisdom and strength.

“About five months after arriving, I felt like God was speaking to me. Even with so much going on, He gave me a clear mind. I began craving more of the Word and started applying it to my life,” she recalled.

The timing of the Bible lessons seemed almost divine. Whenever Klavdia faced a personal struggle, the lessons resonated with her and guided her through her trials. She reminisced about their first Christmas at Homes for Families and a lesson she learned in trust. In turn, Klavdia developed trust in God’s plan, and her family was blessed with an amazing trip to Florida over Christmas. “I feel like God answered so quickly because I was obedient in staying at the Homes for Families cottage,” Klavdia said. The trip was a life-changing experience for her and her children. The family they stayed with lived a simple, faith-driven life. Klavdia saw their focus on family, their wise financial decisions and their dedication to God. This experience had a profound impact on her, sparking a vision for her family’s future, offering them a glimpse into a different way of life, filled with faith, love and intentionality.

David, her oldest son, began to understand the significance of their newfound faith and took it upon himself to lead bedtime prayers. Klavdia noticed his incredible progress, not just in his faith but also in overcoming his speech difficulties. A teacher friend remarked that David was well above kindergarten level. “Hearing that was amazing. I didn’t see that before we came to Homes for Families,” Klavdia exclaimed with pride. The transformation has extended beyond David to his siblings as well. Each child has been coming out of their shell and learning about God’s love in a safe space. These days, Klavdia’s smile radiates with a newfound joy and the family’s transformations are a testament to the incredible journey they have been undertaking.

As part of her journey, Klavdia embarked on a path of healing and reconciliation, not just within her immediate family but also with her adoptive parents, rebuilding connections that were strained during her teenage years. Her past struggles have undoubtedly shaped her journey, but they have also given her the strength to confront her past and build a brighter future.

As she continues in the Homes for Families program, Klavdia faces new challenges and temptations. Yet, her commitment to healing and faith remains unwavering. She dreams of a future as a personal trainer or helping STCH Ministries with lawn care, leveraging skills she gained from her past work experiences. She also envisions writing her life story and potentially seeing it turned into a movie. Her past, her struggles and her newfound faith have given her a unique perspective on life – one she hopes to share with the world.

Klavdia’s transformation is not limited to her spiritual growth; it extends to her physical health and financial well-being. She has embraced healthier eating habits for herself and her family, as she has revised her previous tendency to microwave all of their meals. She’s learned to distinguish between needs and wants – a lesson that has impacted her finances drastically. The STCH Ministries Faith & Finances class on campus has further equipped her with valuable financial management skills.

Her message to other moms who may be hesitant about coming to Homes for Families is one of faith, sacrifice and trust: “Scripture says that Satan comes to steal and destroy. I feel like whenever you come to a safe area, Satan attacks you. It will be hard when you can’t see the whole picture so you have to trust that you will overcome the attacks.”

In the process of writing this story, Klavdia made the decision to leave Homes for Families. Shortly after leaving, she came back even stronger in her faith. Klavdia shared, “I am still making mistakes but willing to push forward and correct my mistakes. I am still in the process but willing to continue to walk in God’s will, surrendering completely.”

Klavdia’s story exemplifies that redemption is possible for everyone, regardless of their past. It is a story of faith, resilience and the transformative power of God’s love. Her journey is a testament to the fact that even in the darkest of times, there is a path to light and hope, and it starts with trust in God’s plan.

Ripples of Change: An Impact that Transcends Decades

“Drop a pebble in the water: just a splash, and it is gone;

But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on,

Spreading, spreading from the center, flowing on out to the sea.

And there is no way of telling where the end is going to be.”

– James W Foley

A MOMENT IN TIME, an action by one person can change the trajectory of a life and cause a ripple effect, much like a pebble in the water, with the lasting impact unseen. For Christina, a moment in October 1994 changed her life forever, but the impact would span decades to reach multiple lives, families and generations to come.

From a young age, Christina faced many difficult situations. Child Protective Services separated her and her four younger sisters from their parents. After spending years moving from foster home to foster home, the state legally terminated Christina’s parents’ rights to all of their children. The girls were then given a big decision to make, go to their aunt’s home in Ohio or remain within the foster care system in Texas. Christina, age 16 at the time, asked if she could stay in Texas even if that meant moving to a different home, away from her sisters. After making this difficult decision, Christina was told she would move to STCH Ministries Homes for Children.

While driving out to Boothe Campus in Pettus, Texas, Christina realized how remote the campus was and how it felt like they were putting her in the middle of nowhere to keep her out of trouble. However, as they pulled onto the campus, her thoughts shifted. “I remember pulling up and thinking, ‘Wow! This is beautiful.’ But I was still apprehensive. This was much nicer than any home I ever lived in,” Christina recalled. Upon her arrival, she moved into Faith Cottage with her houseparents, the Thompsons. Christina instantly felt welcome in her new home, but she still had fears and reservations.

Once settled in, Christina started to let her guard down, she recognized no matter what, she was going to remain at Homes for Children. “I realized I could either be happy about being here or I could be grumpy about being here. And if I am grumpy about being here then I am just making everybody’s life really bad,” Christina shared. As time went on, Christina observed as her houseparents handled situations in the cottage with love, and she watched as they prayed before every meal and again in the evenings. She noticed something different about them and wanted to see the difference in herself. After much prayer and conversation, Christina chose to give her life to Christ and was baptized at New Life Church in Beeville. Her life was now marked with new meaning.

After her baptism, Christina considered how she could change herself to reflect Christ but not change herself so much that she became unrecognizable. Sports and friends were important parts of her life and, at that time, priorities. Although finding a balance between her existing life and new faith was a challenge, Christina found a way to juggle both in a way that glorified God and reflected Jesus through her actions. Although she did not engage in personal Bible studies, she cherished the cottage devotionals her houseparents led. As Christina matured, she realized the importance of studying the Bible as a household. Even in the moments when she swayed from God, she found peace in these practices that were instilled in her; she even incorporates these devotional times with her family to this day.

In May 1996, Christina graduated from Pettus High School and started the next chapter of her life. She moved to Corpus Christi and began attending Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. There she studied psychology with plans of opening her own counseling practice to counsel foster youth. While in school, she met her husband, Jerome. Eager to begin their lives together, they were married only a few days after graduation. Christina often reminisces about how important it was to her that her housepop from Homes for Children walked her down the aisle at their wedding; even after leaving Boothe Campus the relationship between Christina and her houseparents continued to deepen.

Shortly after their wedding, Christina and Jerome found out they were expecting! Christina was elated to start a family of her own where she could hand down the love she received while at Homes for Children. It was important to both Christina and Jerome to share with their children not only the love they have for them but also the unconditional love that Christ has for them.

After starting a family, Christina continued her education at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and received her master’s degree in counseling. Soon after finishing her counseling certification hours, Christina realized that counseling was not the path God was calling her down, and in turn, she started working for Lutheran Family Services in Corpus Christi as the director of the Preparation for Adult Living Program for foster youth. A few years later, Christina and her family moved to San Antonio where she started working for Alamo Colleges. This became a great way for her to impact the lives of foster youth in their next stage of life. Through this process, she decided she wanted to further pursue her own higher education and began attending Lamar University. In August 2023, Christina received her doctorate degree in educational leadership.

Today, Christina is the Director of Alamo Colleges District Welcome Center and District-Wide Onboarding. She and Jerome have three beautiful children: a son and two daughters, and faithfully attend and serve at Journey Church in San Antonio. Christina uses her past experiences to speak to children in foster care and those who have aged out of the system. She frequently shares with them that their circumstances do not define who they are or who they will become. She recognizes that much of her success in life is due to the life change she experienced while at Homes for Children and the relationship she built with Christ; she strives to enact the same change within the lives of foster youth that she encounters every day. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without my houseparents. I would say that that came from the Biblical principles which STCH Ministries fostered to create a solid foundation for who I am,” Christina shared.

Christina does not share her story seeking accolades, rather she shares it to bring light to what the impact one pebble dropped in the water can have. In Christina’s own words, “I really want people to understand the impact of what they’ve done to change a life because they didn’t change one life, they changed my husband’s life, they changed my kids’ lives, they’ve changed lives of people I’ve interacted with, and they’re going to continue to change people’s lives. Thank you to the staff at STCH Ministries. Thank you to my houseparents. Thank you to the people that donated to make sure we could function, and we could have the commissary. You didn’t realize the lives that you’ve changed due to that one little pebble that you dropped.”

Throughout her childhood, Christina faced many decisions that could have drastically changed the trajectory of her life. She thanks God for placing her on Boothe Campus because, as she explains, in one of the roughest moments of her life she received the greatest blessing.

Christina is still very close with her houseparents, whom she calls “Mom and Pop,” as well as her Child Protective Services caseworker. Christina thanks the three of them for believing in her, supporting her and pushing her to be the best she can be; she will never stop sharing her story and reminding people that what you do today can impact someone for generations to come.

Clays for a Cause

IN 2022, TXAM PUMPS AND TSI FLOW PRODUCTS approached STCH Ministries about dedicating their annual clay shoot to STCH Ministries. Following some discussions, the annual “Clays for a Cause” event was created. The 1st “Clays for a Cause” event in 2022 was an amazing success and created excitement for the future.

On Saturday, September 16, 2023, in Tuleta, Texas the 2nd Annual “Clays for a Cause” kicked off. 19 teams entered in the shooting clays tournament which consisted of ten stations and 100 opportunities to score. The top three teams were awarded prizes, as was the top shooter, and while the competition was fierce, the main objective of the day was to have fun and support STCH Ministries. Participants were given the opportunity to hear about STCH Ministries and the impact they have on the community.

Students from the Boothe Campus attended the event, receiving instruction on gun safety before enjoying the opportunity to shoot clays once the tournament concluded. For some of them, it was their first time to shoot a gun and they were thankful for the experience.

TXAM Pumps and TSI Flow Products are excited to see how the tournament continues to grow and plans are already underway for the 3rd annual tournament in 2024. With over $32,000 raised this year, everyone is excited to see how the tournament expands in the future.

Faithful to Pursue God’s Vision

IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, north of the capital city of Santo Domingo, over 900 congregants meet at the Quisqueyana Baptist Church each Sunday and celebrate their risen Lord with joyful songs of praise. During the Bible study hour, the hard, wooden benches are circled into individual classes. Although the cacophony of voices would deafen American ears, they have learned to focus on the voices of their teachers. Together, they learn and grow as disciples. Their pastor, Jacinto de la Cruz (Rudy), lives close by in a beautiful two-story home, while additional buildings on the property provide a large kitchen and dining room, plus the Children’s Ministry Building, a three-story educational facility.

It was not always that way. Rudy has known defeat and deprivation, trusting God for daily bread. At one time, he lived with his family of four in one room of a wooden chapel, without water or a bathroom. Surrounded by these difficult circumstances, perhaps ridiculed by peers, he founded the Quisqueyana Baptist Church (IBQ) in 1998.

In 2006, a family connection with pioneer Baptist work which originally began in 1947, led STCH Ministries to this location. Since that time, the ministry of Pastor Rudy, the IBQ church and STCH Ministries have woven their common vision into a heart-tapestry of ministries to give children hope and a future. Motivated by his own life experiences, Pastor Rudy believes that today’s children soon become tomorrow’s young people and the adult leaders of the future.

He was only eight years old, the oldest of eleven children, living near the village of Hato Mayor, when he heard the Good News and accepted Christ, by faith, into his life. The only Christian in his family, he matured quickly and at the age of twelve, began teaching children’s Bible classes. He also took clarinet lessons, foreshadowing the impact of music on his future. By the time he graduated from high school, Rudy knew that God was calling him to full-time service. Leaving behind a future in business, he enrolled in a small Bible school founded by missionaries. In 1974, he was one of six students in his class to graduate. A year later he married Patria, who became his lifelong partner and staunchest ally in the ministry. God blessed them with two sons, Lemuel and Eliel.

After planting Hato Mayor, Rudy went on to develop and establish numerous churches throughout the southeastern part of the island — San Pedro de Macoris, Consuelo, La Romana, Bani and Cerros de Buena Vista, to name a few. With other co-laborers, he also founded the largest Baptist school on the island at that time.

After 14 years of ministry experience, he began the IBQ church with a specific vision:

1. Sharing the Gospel, beginning with children, and completing their families in Christ

2. Discipling believers

3. Preparing both men and women to carry on the work of the Kingdom, to hear and answer the call with, “Here am I. I will go.”

Pastor Rudy reflected, “I believe that my greatest strength is faith. I have been told that I am like Abraham because he obeyed, not knowing the future. I have observed that there are two kinds of faith: active and passive. Active faith takes action even when there is much that cannot be seen and known. Passive faith sits around and says, ‘I have faith,’ but until they can see and hold, they will not move forward.”

Earlier experiences in ministry had left Rudy wounded but still determined to pursue his calling. He began with an active outreach, visiting with people personally, door-to-door, sharing the Gospel. The work was slow and difficult. He held on to the promise, “With God, nothing is impossible.” God honored these faith steps and at this critical juncture, TIME missionaries Zeral and Dorretta Brown returned in 1992 to the Dominican Republic. Brown said, “Come on, let’s get to work.” They purchased undeveloped land on a credit card and joined the ministries of IBQ and TIME in their common calling to spread the Gospel. To this day, TIME continues constructing portable chapels and enabling church plants throughout the country.

Faithful to pursuing God’s vision to prepare men and women to serve, Rudy began the Berean Bible Institute in 1996 with a small class of seven adults, reminiscent of his own seemingly insignificant beginnings. It is an arduous commitment for four years, three hours every Sunday afternoon, before celebrating a graduation ceremony in full-scale regalia. Only then are the next class of students signed up. A total of 132 laborers for the Kingdom have graduated. The majority actively serve God either in IBQ or pastor their own ministries in various locations, as far away as Haiti.

In a recent interview, we asked Pastor Rudy about various aspects of the relationship between STCH Ministries and the IBQ church.

“For me, personally, STCH Ministries is a door that God opened in 2006 to spread the name of Christ and enlarge our ability to meet the needs of our growing congregation and the surrounding community. The benefits we have received are multiple.”

Rudy went on to explain that STCH Ministries methods coincide with the IBQ calling and vision. “They work by faith and seek to identify the needs of the local congregations and assist to find solutions. They use the resources that God has given them to share with the needy. For me, STCH Ministries is an example of love, servanthood and courage, as they leave behind the comforts of home for the purpose of serving Christ.” He continued, “I want to testify that if more groups were like STCH Ministries, we would have greater support to fulfill the Great Commission, spreading the Gospel throughout the world.”

In what specific ways has STCH Ministries amplified the ministry of IBQ church?

“They not only share the Word of God but also demonstrate the heart of Christ for His children in the midst of difficult circumstances, support outreach efforts like VBS classes, provide clothes, food and occasionally even toys, enable ministry to orphans—constructing facilities, providing beds, food and school supplies, as well as repairing and replacing dilapidated housing for families.

They have provided resources for our church like a desperately needed generator, and the construction of the Children’s Ministry Building.

They expand our outreach to the community through medical and dental services for individuals both within and outside of the church body, and beyond to other churches and schools.

Of special importance is the Samuel’s Fund sponsorship of our children, and the university scholarships provided by CLEP (Christian Leadership Educational Program). Hundreds of our children and young people have benefited from la mano amiga (the hand of a friend) to receive an education. Tutoring, ESL classes, teacher workshops and counseling for parents from STCH Ministries partners all assist children to realize God’s dream for their lives.”

On a personal level as a pastor, how does God meet your needs?

“My wife, Patria, is often my motor. God uses her to lift me up and remind me of who God is and His calling on my life.

STCH Ministries mission teams refresh me and my people, like wells in the desert. I remember one group who came in September 2021, towards the end of Covid. We were exhausted and discouraged, as rumors and fears swirled around our whole community. We couldn’t believe that a group would come during this chaotic period! Their example of love and courage lifted and renewed our spirits.

I also find encouragement from many pastors who accompany their groups. They support and renew our vision. They help to increase my faith through their messages. Many also share through the pastors’ conferences that STCH Ministries sponsors. I hear different perspectives and learn from others. We also discuss our common struggles and receive understanding and affirmation from our common bond.”

Pastors John Hall from Field Street Baptist Church in Cleburne, Brian Hill from First Baptist Church in Corpus Christi and Matt Singleton from FBC Kenedy shared their experiences.

“Pastor Rudy has a genuine love for God and for people. He carefully preaches and teaches the Word of God. He has invested himself in the men of his church, intentionally and systematically discipling them to continue the work of ministry within and outside the church. IBQ church experiences vibrant music and worship services on the Lord’s Day. This is a reflection in part of Pastor Rudy’s personality and energy. Pastor Rudy has persevered through some excruciatingly difficult times. It is uncommon for any pastor not to face adversity. Pastor Rudy has walked through a number of those times and remains filled with joy.” – John Hall

“I met Pastor Rudy for the first time in January of 2016. I remember vividly how impressed I was with his humble demeanor combined with a deep sense of calling and vision for God’s movement. That encounter birthed a friendship and brotherhood that has grown through the years. I am blessed to have the opportunity to know him and work with him in ministry.” – Brian Hill

“His warmth overcame any language barrier. God has used him mightily not only to share the gospel but also to disciple men and women for ministry. I am so grateful for the many ways Pastor Rudy has blessed me and my congregation.” – Matt Singleton

When asked what the most challenging part of pastoring people is, Pastor Rudy responded, “The most difficult part of serving God as a pastor, painful personally, is the lack of gratitude from some who abandon the work, lacking appreciation for all of the time invested in them.”

The majority of church members echo Maria Luisa who expressed, “I’m a single mom and he has always loved my son. Pastor Rudy and the IBQ church have changed my entire neighborhood of Los Almendros, who have come to know Christ through his influence and testimony. He never seems to get tired.”

Russell Jerez, deacon and leader at the church shared, “I met Pastor Rudy when I was 17 years old. It became clear to me that I wanted to emulate the kind of leadership Pastor Rudy was showing. He became the father figure I was lacking, mentored me and helped me with anger management. Who I am is due in large part to the influence he has had in my life. When we were going to have our third kid, we needed to move out of our house because of mold. Pastor Rudy helped us for over a year to pay rent for the new place. That is only one example of how caring and loving he has been to me and my family.”

We concluded the interview with the question, “What is your goal for the future?”

“My greatest desire is that God grants me the health to be able to keep on preaching until He calls me Home. And my dream, si Dios lo permite (if God permits), is to leave behind a comfortable auditorium with air conditioning that will reach many more souls for His Kingdom.”

STCH Ministries is forever thankful for the partnership with Pastor Rudy and IBQ. Will you join us in praying for the continued work God is doing in the Dominican Republic? For more information about STCH Ministries International and mission trips to the Dominican Republic and El Salvador visit,

Connecting Needs with God’s Answers

IN 1997, STCH MINISTRIES PARTNERED with Crossbridge Fellowship to bring the light of Hope to a community of transients and homeless individuals in downtown Corpus Christi. Their future was dark and constricted by violence and poverty. Pastor John Contreras recently communicated his perspective on the Faith & Finances and Faith & Work programs: “These classes have been a powerful tool to connect people’s needs with the answers God has for their problems. The world advertises, ‘Buy our services, and our product will change your life.’ STCH Ministries freely invites, ‘Take this class, and God will change your life!’”

Angie Rodela, a new member of Crossbridge, recounted her experience saying, “I was a single mother of five children, and I was just ready to throw in the flag.” Five years ago, she signed up for a STCH Ministries Faith & Finances class and then followed up with the Faith & Work class.

“These classes gave me a biblical aspect on everything in my life. I started believing how the Lord will meet me at the top, not the bottom. I learned how to get out of debt, how to start a savings plan for things like emergencies, how to manage and maintain money and much more. Faith & Work made me stronger in the workforce. I learned how to make a resume, how to look for a job and how to approach an interview head-on with confidence. Now, I am a general manager for Laredo Taco Company, making more than enough. Most importantly, I found my purpose in life.”

The STCH Ministries Faith & Finances classes have provided a critical level of support for Pastor Raul Elizondo’s ministry at New Life at the Cross Church, located in Robstown, Texas. He observed that poverty thinking was generational and endemic to the culture. As a result, Christians and most churches lack faith and a vision of God’s limitless resources.

“Most of our people were in survival mode with their finances. They lacked knowledge of the most basic Biblical principles. No budget—just survive. No understanding of the cost of credit. In 2018 STCH Ministries began to teach the first Faith & Finances class. Originally planned for 10- 15 people, over 70 individuals showed up to take the class. The results in their personal finances and their family relationships continued through several more classes as they lived out their faith through their finances. Instead of selling ourselves out to the limits of generational thinking and cultural norms, Faith & Finances promoted a healthy and joyful view of finances. It empowered our families.”

The principles learned provided a tremendous foundation when they began construction on a new church facility. Soon after, the pandemic struck. Many people lost income and the bank backed out of their loan. The practical faith principles they had learned sustained them through these difficult trials. God was faithful and together with months of all-consuming work, the beautiful, new facility became a reality.

Pastor Raul summed up the experience: “Faith hurts,” he said. “It’s not the ‘Via Easy.’ Following Christ’s steps is often the ‘Via Dolorosa.’ All growth comes from pain, suffering and stress because we don’t grow if we are comfortable. However, the support and knowledge we received through STCH Ministries Faith & Finances classes helped us learn to trust God with our finances. It has brought amazing joy and opportunities for New Life at the Cross.”

San Antonio Hope is one of many non-profits who are strengthened and supported by STCH Ministries on a continuing basis. Key staff have trained and certified SA Hope staff to teach classes and provide curriculum and materials without charge. Faith & Finances staff continue to offer encouragement to SA Hope facilitators as they teach three to four classes each semester and work with individuals overwhelmed by life’s challenges. At graduation, each individual is presented with a STCH Ministries certificate and a gift celebrating their achievement.

“I know what it’s like to fail,” shared facilitator Ruby Ann Sanchez. “God began to change me through the Faith & Finances class. I broke an addiction to bingo. I was sitting there, when I thought, why am I here? I don’t belong here anymore!” Many graduates of Ruby’s classes also shared their stories. Gloria is a grandmother raising her grandchildren. She summarized the impact of the class on her life succinctly. “It’s budgeting mixed with faith! Now, I’m helping my three grandchildren. I opened a small account in our bank for each of them and I’m passing on how to manage their money.”

Strong Foundation, led by Jim and Carolee Gipson, offers housing and a seven-month program that assists families to find a job as they participate in Bible teaching, counseling, marriage, parenting and Faith & Finances classes. Operating by faith without any government funding, Strong Foundation depends heavily on volunteers. STCH Ministries reinforces the mission to homeless families to help achieve financial health, renew faith and hope for the future. In addition, Jim shared, “The Faith & Finances material is relatable and evangelistic. More Jesus, everything else will follow.”

Tyrone and Chimere Davis from One Church, Houston, shared that both had been involved in secular positions of leadership and frequently felt the tension of how to live out their faith in a corporate environment. Faith & Work gave them usable tools to combine their true calling as Christ’s disciples with their vocation. “It took down walls,” they reported. Today Tyrone and Chimere work full-time in their church and STCH Ministries continues to follow up and provide materials annually to train and disciple new leadership.

Meeting the needs of immigrant and refugee populations developed a niche for the Faith & Finances classes. In the Houston area, Blaine Hooper was uniquely prepared by several tours as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan. He felt God’s call over three years ago to begin Refuge Church to reach the large number of immigrants who have resettled in the Houston area. Blaine was motivated to share Christ’s love, to help this population flourish as God’s created ones. Visibly passionate, he asked, “They come to America and literally have never met anyone who follows Jesus. How will they hear? Our goal is to welcome them and empower them to flourish. We want to go beyond alleviating poverty, to help them overcome trauma, address issues with legal aid and access medical help. Faith & Finances courses have been a lifesaver. It has attracted people to church where we use English, Farsi and French to share the Gospel through meeting needs with a kingdom emphasis—a specific call to believe.” STCH Ministries and Refuge church—working together and doing the Gospel well.

In San Antonio, First Baptist Church has fostered an outreach to the refugees from Burma. Faith & Finances taught a class to the leadership of the Burmese churches who meet in four different locations, using four different languages from the hundreds of dialects spoken in Burma. Budgeting and banking were challenging concepts for individuals accustomed to surviving day to day.

Countless personal stories continue to be written every day through these ministries:

“Because of Faith & Finances, I want to use the money I have saved to be a missionary to others.”

“I used to buy impulsively; now I hold back.”

“I learned about living simply and humbly.”

“We have been blessed as a family and now we are thinking about getting a smaller home and using the finances to bless others.”

“Faith & Finances makes you see your resources as God’s money.”

Pastor Ken DeKoning from Waldron Road Baptist Church summarized the responses from many pastors and ministry leaders: “Our people have flourished as a result of these classes. This is a MUST course for your people. People simply don’t know God’s principles.”

Faith & Finances and Faith & Work: sharing the Gospel through meeting needs, working hand-in-hand with churches and community ministries to bring hope for the future and shine light in dark places. If you want more information about Faith & Finances or Faith & Work visit,

Living a Legacy

I hope today finds you well, thank you for taking the time to read through our Messenger! In this Messenger, you will read stories of great success from those we are called to serve. We all have a story and generally speaking, our families are a vital part of that story.

Our roles in our families vary from parent to grandparent, uncle to aunt, brother to sister and cousin to name a few. All these roles are important and should not be overlooked. The way we impact others is actually very simple, through our relationships with them in terms of quality time spent together. One of the stories shared in this Messenger is about Kisha; a mother with four children twelve years old and younger. Kisha had a cousin that went on an international mission trip with us and learned about our Homes for Families ministry. In this program, children and their mothers come into care together and stay together. This cousin then told Kisha and she eventually came into care with her beautiful children.

What if Kisha’s cousin had not gone to the Dominican Republic with us, what if he had not told Kisha about the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get the help she so desperately needed? I cannot answer those questions, but what I do know is that he did. When we are obedient, God provides opportunities where He can help us help ourselves and it all started with a cousin’s obedience. Now, Kisha’s cousin is a vital part of the family legacy that is being created in such a positive way!

Austrian communication guru, Paul Watzlawick is well known for his statement, “you cannot, not communicate”. Simply put, everything we do or do not do communicates something about who we are and what we value. If I say I love my children, but I invest no time or energy into our relationship, my actions indicate something altogether different. This truth will be understood by my children through my actions. I was recently given a book that was written by Trudy Cathy White called “A Legacy that Lasts”. In her book, she details various ways in which we can all build a legacy with our families. One idea she shares pertains to developing your “core values” as a family. In other words, what does my family stand for, what makes us who we are?

A key factor in developing our families and the legacy that we all stand for is understanding our identity and our purpose. I believe God created each one of us with specific gifts, and He allows us to have certain experiences. Exploring, developing and implementing these gifts and understanding the reason for our experiences helps us to understand our purpose. If you are reading this struggling to understand your own purpose, I encourage you to go to a trusted confidant, a pastor, a friend or a family member and begin to have this practical conversation. The Lord uses His people, and He uses His Word to open doors that we might have never dreamed possible.

So many times, the people that are used to bring clarity and connection are members of our family. In Kisha’s case, it was a cousin that had her and her children on his heart and mind. What a blessing! I also want to encourage all of us to understand that we are creating a legacy of some sort in our families. Let us commit to having that legacy built on the one true Rock!

A good name is more desirable than great riches – Proverbs 22:1

Rescue, Redemption and Revival

CHRISTIAN SINGER AND SONGWRITER LAUREN DAIGLE released her Grammy award-winning album, Look Up Child, in 2018. The second song on the album is titled Rescue, which speaks of God being our shelter and rescuer, even in the darkest situations like the one Kisha found herself in.

“In the middle of the darkest night

it’s true, I will rescue you.”

Kisha and her children lived in the chaos and fear of an abusive home for twelve years. Moved to tears, Kisha shared how tough her life was. She was also the only one working in the house and felt she missed out on significant moments in her children’s childhood.

Kisha also recalled that anything relating to God was rejected in their home by her husband. “If I did bring up anything to do with God, it got shot down immediately.” In the end, Kisha never lost her faith in the Lord during those twelve years. On the contrary, Kisha continued to pray for a way to leave their home with her kids in search of better living conditions and a better life.


Kisha knew she was ready to get out. She took the step of faith to leave the abusive relationship with her four children in tow. Though uncertain about what would come next, she did not stop praying for God to provide. Shortly after, her cousin told her about Homes for Families. After doing mission work in the Dominican Republic with their home church through STCH Ministries International, Kisha’s cousin reached out to her and told her about STCH Ministries. As he shared details about Homes for Families, Kisha knew that was exactly the kind of place she and her children needed. She no longer felt helpless or without clarity as to where to go next. “That sounded exactly like what I was looking for to get me back to where I wanted to be, which is with God and for my children to know me better.”

So, when her cousin introduced her to Homes for Families, Kisha did not hesitate to take the necessary steps to get there. “He answered my prayers,” she stated about finding STCH Ministries, and in October of 2022, Kisha and her children arrived at the Homes for Families Bluebonnet Campus.


Not only did God rescue Kisha and her children, but He has also redeemed her relationship with her children by giving them a safe place to bond further and grow together as a family. Kisha is a mom of four, Damien (age 12), Victoria (age 10), Caleb (age 8), and Gabriel (age 6).

“I was angry, very angry, when I first got here,” Kisha admits. However, with the help of staff on campus, she has learned healthy ways to control her anger. Kisha’s children have noticed the change in her as she has noticed a change in them and their relationship with one another as siblings. “STCH Ministries has been a blessing. God has done amazing work.”

The Homes for Families program allows families to remain together during resolution. It is a safe haven in a loving, Christian atmosphere with resources to help transition mothers and their children into independent living. “In coming here, I have seen changes in my kids; I’ve seen changes in myself.”

God has also redeemed Kisha’s time with her children. “I get to spend time with my kids, and I’m learning to be the parent that I didn’t get to be. I enjoy every minute of it.” One of the most significant impacts Homes for Families has had on Kisha and her children is the lessons they have learned while there. More personally, Kisha shared how her time there has taught her to forgive their father. “I’ve learned that me forgiving him is not for his benefit but for my own.”


“Revival begins when you draw a circle around yourself and make sure everything in that circle is right with God.” – Anne Graham Lotz

For months Kisha had been praying that God would speak to her in an intimate way, reminding her of how much He loves her. One Tuesday night in February, during Bible study, Kisha noticed a female cardinal fly down and land in front of the patio door. Soon after, the cardinal moved towards the grass where a male cardinal had just landed. Kisha noticed the two touch beaks. Upon taking a second look, she realized the male cardinal had also provided the female cardinal with a worm. “I knew at that moment that was for me,” Kisha shared. God was reminding her of His love and care for her as she watched the cardinals together. Through that moment, she witnessed the male cardinal providing for the female cardinal the way God had provided for her. She knew God had answered her prayer for reassurance of His love for her that night.

“I have prayed more than ever before,” Kisha shared about her time at Homes for Families and her spiritual growth. She has also reached out to hurting family members and friends, writing to them about her experience and about God. Where God was once a rejected topic in her previous living situation, Kisha now sees revival happening in her home. Her children are experiencing a closeness with God she never witnessed before.

Her older son, Damien, surrendered his life to Christ and got baptized in January of this year. That has led to the rest of his siblings also getting baptized upon learning about God and giving their lives to Jesus. “They all like to pray now. They each take turns. They won’t eat until they have all prayed,” Kisha shared. From dinner time prayers to seeing a change in how her children treat one another and witnessing them now identify as children of God, she thanks God for His work in their lives. “Recently, my oldest, who is in the 5th grade, came home from school one day and told me that he felt God was calling him to minister to kids in his school.” Kisha encouraged him to do what God had called him to, knowing the importance of helping others.


Kisha would like to go back to school to become a counselor in hopes of helping other women who currently find themselves in the same situation she once did. “I want them to know they are not alone and that there is help out there.” Kisha also looks forward to helping point others to Jesus, the only One who can truly rescue us from all darkness and all brokenness.

Without her cousin sharing about STCH Ministries Homes for Families, Kisha would not have experienced the rescue, redemption or revival she has now. “I tell him almost every time I see him, ‘Thank you’,” Kisha shared. “He sees that being here is doing amazing things in our lives, and he tells me often how he is very proud of me.”

If you or a family you know needs help during a time of crisis to transition into a successful, independent future, you can find more information about Homes for Families at

From Desperation to Transformation

“THIS IS YOUR LIFE,” Nidia thought despondently. It was nothing like the life she had dreamed of when she fell in love and committed her life to Raul. Raul had drifted back to the habits of his alcoholic home. He sold chicharrónes (fried pork skins) from their rusted-zinc home and drank up the profits while she went to work for the government. She had to get past trash and empty bottles daily, picking her way around Raul and his drunken friends playing dominoes while their three children ran around unsupervised. Life was never meant to turn out this way.

Nidia could see the children suffering the consequences of their chaotic life. Esaul, their only boy, was especially affected. His father’s negative influence caused him to cling to his mother as his source of identity and support. Tormented as a sissy by friends and neighbors, he grew to hate himself. One day he heard of a neighborhood Bible class and began to attend. He was invited to the IBQ church, and he took his two sisters to escape the turmoil of their home for a few hours. “It seemed like heaven,” Esaul reported. Eagerly, he returned home to tell his mother what he had discovered. To his surprise, Nidia knew all about the IBQ church.

She remembered accepting Christ at the IBQ church in her youth. “I knew we needed God, but I was so ashamed by the mess I had made of my life when I walked away from God.” She recognized that she could not go on exposing her children to this lifestyle. In desperation, she asked a Christian neighbor to accompany her and the children to church. The following Sunday, they were dressed and ready to go.

That Sunday, Nidia re-dedicated her life to Christ, and the older children, Barlin and Esaul, followed her example. They began to attend church faithfully, everyone except for Raul. Their relationship and home life continued to deteriorate until Nidia started taking steps to separate from him.

One Sunday, Pastor Rudy urged all of the wives to turn in their unbelieving husbands’ names and contact information, and he would visit them personally. Nidia reported, “I was too angry and disgusted with Raul, so I refused. But someone else—I don’t know who—gave Raul’s information!” Shortly after, Pastor Rudy showed up at their home. “Good to see you, Sister Nidia, but I have come to visit with Raul.”

After Pastor Rudy left, Raul reflected, “I was already in the middle of another alcoholic binge, but I still heard his words as he shared the power of Christ to change my life. After that, I tried unsuccessfully to drink less. Thanks to God, Pastor Rudy returned to visit me again. This time I made the decision to commit my life to Christ. The change in me was so radical that I mark that day, now eight years ago, as the day a new Raul began!”

The drinking stopped, but friends and family scoffed, “This won’t last more than a few weeks!” In the weeks and months that followed, Raul’s heart transformation was unquestionable, as other aspects of his life gradually began to change. He became active with the men’s group in the church and became an effective witness to others of the changes God can make in a life. More recently, he has accepted a leadership role in the nearby community of La Ceiba, a new church plant from the IBQ church.

Nidia and Raul’s children were chosen for a Samuel’s Fund sponsorship, which they described as, “a blessing fallen straight from heaven.” As a sponsored family, they occasionally received groceries through the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering. In the past, their eating had always been haphazard, anything to fill their stomachs, but little by little, they learned to enjoy healthier food. “Today, we eat completely different than we used to,” Nidia reported.

Through the tutoring and home visits that accompanied the sponsorship, the children began to thrive in their education and in other ways. Esaul continued to struggle with his self-image, feeling empty and criticized by others as “not manly enough.” Gradually, he made new friends with other sponsored children. The staff of STCH Ministries also provided new opportunities for growth, including relationships with mission team members and exposure to English and music lessons.

The children became involved in the music ministry of the church. They joined the children’s choir and began music lessons every Tuesday afternoon. Esaul was drawn to the challenge of playing the violin. He began to play on a borrowed violin named ‘Lulu.’ “I felt happier than ever to be good at something that not everyone can do,” Esaul reported. His proficiency on the violin improved and he began teaching other children to play. One day he was asked to play for a mission team banquet. “I felt totally nervous, but as I felt the sweet melody of the songs, my anxiety disappeared, and I praised God for blessing me.” After five years playing on ‘Lulu,’ Esaul received a new violin provided by his sponsor’s donations. He named his new violin ‘Evangelin.’ “She has a color that is totally beautiful, and I want to show others the work of God through my notes on ‘Evangelin.’”

For those living in the neighborhood that surrounded the Figueroa family, the most radical change that followed their spiritual rebirth occurred through the construction ministry of STCH Ministries International. One day Russell Jerez showed up at their home to deliver a bed for each of the children built by a mission team. He was shocked to see the dilapidated, unsafe condition of their house. He was concerned that it could not survive the next tropical storm. Russell considered how to reinforce the roof, but its deteriorated condition made that impossible.

The STCH Ministries staff and the Figueroa family began to pray. Soon, funds were donated and at least six successive mission teams contributed to rebuilding their home into a beautiful, concrete home. As God continued the greater transformation in their family and individual lives, the rebuilding of the dilapidated wooden hovel into a modern two-story home became the talk of the neighborhood, for which God received all the glory.

Today, Barlin, Esaul’s older sister, has graduated from high school, and through the Christian Leadership Educational Program (CLEP), she is studying photography. Esaul continues his work on the violin, and the youngest sister, Niandra, excels in her schoolwork.

Barlin shared her vision “that the Lord continues to keep us on His paths, that He will be our Day and our Light in the darkness, and that through our lives, others will be guided to our Savior’s feet.”

What happens when, lost in the chaos of life and the results of our willful choices, we desperately grab onto the only sliver of hope that we know? Perhaps only a fuzzy, inaccurate picture of Jesus learned as a child, over the years disobeyed, ignored and disrespected appears in our minds. Yet now, in desperation, we cry, “Help me, Jesus!”

God promises, “If anyone be in Christ, they are a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) The new creation happens instantly when we accept Christ by faith into our lives. But the process of old things passing away, and all things becoming new, involves a sequence of events and the investment of many lives to accomplish.

How many teams and individuals invested in that family? How long did it take? Possibly as many as ten teams, including follow-up visits from the IBQ church and STCH Ministries staff, plus the donations from many more and the sponsors of the children. Is it worth it? Would time not be better spent sharing 500 tracts and testimonies door-to-door? Possibly. How much time and effort did Jesus invest during His short time on earth to disciple only twelve? Jesus healed, taught in the synagogue and fed 5,000 and crowds followed. However, the greater amount of time He invested in those disciples began a multiplication process that continues today.

“Go into all the world,” commanded Jesus just before He returned to His Father. Wait! That’s not the full commandment. What about the rest of His directions? “Make disciples… teaching them to observe all things I have commanded.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

Sharing the Gospel message takes minutes, and it is an essential beginning. Fulfilling all that Jesus commanded is much more complex and expensive in terms of resources and life investment. However, through many teams who return annually, building relationships, and partnering with Dominican ministries, Jesus’ Kingdom-building commandment can be fulfilled.

Week of Hope/Jack Green Counseling Center Open House

Week of Hope

STCH Ministries is very thankful for everyone that made Week of Hope 2023 a success. We had three main goals for Week of Hope, first to raise awareness of who we are and what we do, second to invite new churches, organizations and individuals to partner with us and third to raise $400,000. Not only did we meet and exceed our goal by raising over $455,000, we also built new connections that will continue to grow and help spread the impact of STCH Ministries. We are thankful for God’s provision and cannot wait to see how He continues to use STCH Ministries to heal hearts and share hope.

Jack Green Counseling Center Open House

On Friday, May 5, 2023, STCH Ministries staff members, board members, community members and city officials joined together for an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Jack Green Counseling Center in Victoria. Two years ago, to the day, many of the same people gathered for a dedication of the land where the new building would be constructed. We are thankful to everyone who made this building a reality, including the Petty family, the Velma Lee & John Harvey Robinson Charitable Foundation, Parkway Church Victoria and the Marsha Shanklin Foundation. The building is a refuge for individuals, children and families as they work through difficulties in their lives. We pray that God continues to touch the lives of those entering the building for counseling services.