IHS Ministries is a nonprofit faith-based organization started by the participants of the In His Steps Sunday school class at Southland Christian Church in Nicholasville, Ky. It is our vision to help children who have been living in poverty, have been left homeless, or who have suffered from a national disaster.
Our initial participation in helping disadvantaged children began in 2014 by helping with a local elementary school, where IHS Ministries participated in a backpack program providing meals for students living in poverty.
Since then, IHS Ministries has expanded their ministry; through God's work, our reach extends now beyond the borders of our home state of Kentucky to countries like Malawi, Mexico, and Peru.
WHERE WE MINISTER
Our initial participation in helping disadvantaged children began in 2014 by helping with a local elementary school, where IHS Ministries participated in a backpack program for students living in poverty. The students who qualified for the program are given backpacks to take home, containing food that provides a meal for when school is not in session.
Since then, IHS Ministries has expanded their ministry; besides the above-mentioned Backpack Ministry, programs include participating in a School Mentoring Program, which helps students discuss difficulties they may be facing in or out of the school environment on a one-on-one small group setting. From cooking burgers and hot dogs on the grill to blowing up water balloons, IHS Ministries extends the love of Jesus to students of all ages, including college students at the University of Kentucky.
IHS Ministries local efforts also include preparing home-cooked meals for the residents of the Jessamine County Homeless Shelter, the homeless in the community of Nicholasville, KY, and the residents of The Room in the Inn Ministry, which is sponsored by Southland Christian Church and provides a winter home for 12 men during the months of November through March. In addition, we are involved in street-type ministries helping women who have been or are involved in the sex industry or who are experiencing feelings of aloneness, discouragement and depression due to increased isolation. IHS Ministries provides sack meals, resources, and care to women who are housed at a local center as well as some who are living on the streets.
Where one out of every four students face hunger, IHS Ministries' backpack program helps feed local hungry children.
In Malawi, it began with a young man named Promise Mchenga, who worked as an intern with IHS President, Robert Stanko. Promise was brought to the US by a young gentleman from Texas, who had traveled to Malawi and met Promise and his wife Nellie. Nellie had the vision to help children who have never owned a store-bought toy, or who constantly go through 12- to 16-hour work days. Many of these children face a life of endless toil, cleaning houses, cutting firewood, and caring for their younger siblings. Although school attendance is required, few Malawi families can afford the expense or letting their home fields go neglected; many children may starve as a result.
It was Promise’s hope that he could gain knowledge in the area of leadership so he could assist in establishing libraries and schools that would expand into the quiet remote villages. Nellie’s background was medicine, and her dream is to return to Malawi to help establish medical facilities where supplies are badly needed, and staff that can be trained to handle the load.
IHS hopes to continue work in helping Promise and Nellie’s dreams be met, by providing books, computers, medicine, and finances to educate those lucky enough to attend a school of higher learning.
Food, clothing, and educational needs are the top necessities in Malawi.
Juarez, Mexico was another place where God introduced IHS President and CEO, Robert Stanko, to a pastor named Jorge who had a vision to introduce the gospel message to a group of afflicted people in the Sierra Tarahumara.
The people in the Sierra live in very poor conditions. They lack clean water, and homes that provide a safe environment in the winter. If they can afford a wooden home, it lacks heat, and an entire family of 15-20 people will bunk together. Children sleep on straw cots, and bathrooms are unheard of. Those who cannot afford a home live in caves built into the hillsides that lack basic protection from harsh winters. Families eventually run out of firewood, and are then unable to get out for additional fuel because the snowfall accumulation is several feet tall each winter. In addition to the harsh winters, drought has afflicted the Sierra Tarahumara form the past several years. The Tarahumara people rely almost exclusively on their crops for food. The lack of timely rain and the heavy snow falls has destroyed the corn, beans, squash, and potato crops causing great hunger and malnutrition to both adults and children.
Over the past ten years, Pastor Jorge has recruited doctors and U.S. mission teams to travel to the Sierra to preform medical and dental needs for the adults and children. On the average, at least three teams of doctors and dentists make the journey with Jorge each year. Medicines are always needed, along with blankets, shoes, eye glasses, winter clothing, and food supplies. Pastor Jorge has also worked closely with the few local teachers to keep journals on the medical needs of adults and children.
The copper canyon area of the Sierra is a beauty, showing God’s creation unlike any area in the U.S. If you are up for a challenge, put aside one week and travel to the Sierra with Jorge and his friends. We guarantee it is a week you will never forget!
Children in the Sierra are in desperate need of clothing, an education, medical attention and food. Many work on the streets selling hand made baskets for money that allows them to purchase food for their family.
Our last area of ministry presently is Peru, where God introduced IHS Ministries to two incredible servants. The first one is Gerardo Guzman from Chincha, Peru; Pastor of The Missionary Church in Vina Del Rey, and also the principal of the local school, the George Washington Carver Academy.
For the Guzman family it all started in 2007, after a large earth quake destroyed much of the city of Chincha. Over 500 people were killed, over 1300 injured, and more than 50,000 homes were destroyed. HIS Ministries sent construction teams to Chincha where four teams worked to rebuild the church in Del Rey, and the home of the Guzmans. After that, teams have been returning to Chincha on a regular basis to help the Guzmans grow the vision God has laid on their hearts, by teaching skills to the school’s teachers, providing computer and biology labs, and establishing weekend retreats for the staff of the school.
Because of the poverty in the area, less than half of the students can afford the monthly $25.00 tuition; the average student pays only $5.00 per month, causing teachers to be underpaid and unable to purchase resources they need to grow their students in mind, body, and soul. However, the school keeps providing education for children grades 1-12, and has become one of the top athletic and academic educational centers in Peru
Our other incredible Peru-based servant is Wilma Grandez, overseer of a feeding ministry and school located in one of the most impoverished areas of Lima, about two and a half hours north of Chincha.
Abandoned when she was just 4 years old, Pastor Wilma faced the despair, loneliness and anger that a child who is left alone experiences. Through her own life, she learned about the suffering and challenges that street children face day by day. After Wilma found God's love, support and encouragement in a Christian shelter, she faces the cruel reality that many other children struggled in her own neighborhood to survive. Wilma's love and compassion for these children grew; she began ministering 10 street children, and now she ministers to more than 340 of them in four different locations in Lima.
A lack of hope surrounds these poverty-stricken areas. There is no running water, electricity or pavement. Alcoholism, drugs, a lack of education and jobs, abuse, hunger and malnutrition are part of everyday life. Pastor Wilma offers children the love they yearns for, the teachings of the Bible, and a hot breakfast on Saturday morning.
Children living in the mountains above Chincha descend to town to receive a cup of milk and a slice of bread; often the only food they will have that day.