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Jul
22
2015

Michelle Alcaraz

Michelle 

When I signed up for IMPACT195 School of Ministry, I had no idea what I had just gotten myself into. All I knew is that God had said, “Go,” and I planned to be obedient. The year leading up to that moment had shaken my faith to the core and I no longer trusted myself or God, but I was all in – no turning back.

 

As a mother, raising three children on my own, I didn’t know how I was going to pay tuition, support my family, and juggle the added commitment, but I knew that whatever God had planned was way better than anything I could come up with. I also knew that in order for this to work God was going to have to show up big time. I was both nervous and excited to be on this new adventure.

 

My little family has endured so many trials over this past year, but through it all I found myself thanking God for Impact every morning. It turns out that Impact was an answer to so many of my prayers. Looking back through my journal entries in the months leading up to being introduced to Impact, I kept asking God to take me deeper, strengthen my faith, increase my understanding of Him, surround us with a community of believers on fire for Him, and deliver my teen daughter from the enemy. This season of studying at IMAPCT195 School of Ministry has done all five of those things and so much more!

 

One of the highlights of this year was witnessing my 14-year-old daughter, Yza, accept Jesus as her Lord and Savior. After two years of attacks from the enemy on her life; multiple hospitalizations, depression, cutting, and a PTSD diagnosis, my baby girl is free! She is free from the bondage that was enslaving her; the darkness that once surrounded her has lifted and her smiling face radiates with the light of the Lord. She credits the School of Ministry with enlightening her to the truth. You see, although I was the student, Yza’s condition prevented her from attending traditional school and IMPACT195 was kind enough to allow Yza to stay by my side. She now looks forward to attending the School of Ministry herself when she is old enough and wants to be a missionary to bring that same deliverance to others that she has received through Christ.

 

God used this season at IMPACT195 School of Ministry to transform not only my life, but also the lives of my children. It has been such a joy to share what I am learning with all three of them. Our faith and understanding of God has grown tremendously and we are excited to move forward fully trusting God and living out our faith radically. My 11-year-old son, Christian, has had a desire to be a “traveling pastor” for several years, but wasn't sure how having autism and a speech impediment would effect that goal. Every Sunday, he got to live out a piece of that dream by serving along side me at an Even Here Movement MicroSite. He now sees his autism diagnosis as a blessing and plans to open a special needs orphanage when he grows up so he
can be a father to the fatherless.

 

Every night, my 9-year-old, Diego, used to cry that he wanted a dad. My heart broke for him as his own father, whom he had only met once, died last year. This season has taught Diego that he has a Loving Father in Heaven that cares for him and that he can trust to never leave him or forsake him. As an added bonus, God provided Diego with many positive male role models and big brothers through the IMPACT195 School of Ministry community.

 

As for me, I no longer see God as a punishing father, but know and trust Him as my provider and protector. So many of the trials I have seen as punishments, I now understand to be blessings. Living a life of radical faith is not always easy, but oh boy, is it exhilarating. I have no idea what God has planned next for me on this journey, but I know that that's a good place to be – living completely surrendered to faith in Jesus.

 

Where He calls, I will follow.