We became acquainted with Bro. and Sis. DiZazzo and their church in 1999 while we were pastoring a church in Wichita, Kansas. They have all become very dear friends to us through the years. While there in revival early this summer we toured the building God has provided for them recently. As we did they shared again with us their vision to provide hope and healing for hurting people . Even while they spake I knew I wanted to have a part in supporting their ministry and tell others so that they might have a chance to be a part of it as well.
I asked Pastor John DiZazzo to write the following letter to introduce their ministry to you. If you would read and post this letter I would appreciate it. If you would carefully pray for them I would appreciate that too. It may be that the prayers and support of our friends across the country may be a great blessing to our friends in Wichita, Kansas and to many, many broken lives.
From Pastor John DiZazzo:
I would like to share with you the vision that God has placed in our hearts and how He has been miraculously working to bring this vision to fruition. It is my desire that God would use this letter to raise up prayer warriors and intercessors, all across the country, who will join us in prayer for this ministry.
First, I would like to give some background. Growing up as a preacher’s kid in the inner city, my wife, Judy, saw firsthand the effect that poverty, abuse and broken families had on individuals’ lives. Finding no way out, many turned to drugs and alcohol. Crime and prostitution became a way of life as people sought for the means to support their habits. Anger and hatred boiled over into the streets, leaving hurt and broken lives in its aftermath.
As a child, Judy would often accompany members of her father's church into the housing projects and alleyways of inner-city Boston, where they would share the gospel of Jesus Christ. The lives of drug addicts, alcoholics and prostitutes were miraculously transformed by the power of God. When Judy was very young, God placed in her heart a love and compassion for those who hurt and struggle with life-controlling problems.
I was saved at Judy’s parents' church in 1980. In May 1984, my wife and I were married, and in November 1985, God sent us to pioneer a work in Wichita, Kansas. Together Judy and I share a tremendous burden for those who are bruised, broken and hurting. And God has placed a burden and vision deep in our hearts for a Christ-centered, residential discipleship program that would bring hope to hurting people. It will be called “Hope for the Hurting.”
Many of our church members are actively involved in street and jail ministry. We are thankful that God has blessed us with people who share this vision and are committed to praying it through to fruition. We are compelled to action by an overwhelming desire to be God’s hand extended to those in need.
The vision has gradually unfolded over the years as we have earnestly sought God’s direction. The turning point came in June 2010, when Brother Davy Boggs preached a message entitled, “It Is Time to Paint the Nursery.” The message was about God’s promise to give Abraham and Sarah a child. After many years, the time came for Abraham and Sarah to "paint the nursery" (i.e. get prepared, because God was ready to fulfill the promise). Brother Boggs exhorted that there is a time when we need to step out in faith and prepare to receive what God has promised. That message really spoke to our church and into my heart. That night God spoke through prophecy and told us it was time for us to move forward in faith because "it was time to paint the nursery.” And He said He would show us what to do as we sought Him.
At the time I really had no idea what the Lord was referring to, but as we prayed it became clear that God was saying it was time to launch out in faith and begin to prepare for the Hope for the Hurting ministry. We shared in a message at church what God was doing and the vision that was in our hearts. God spoke through prophecy that night and instructed us to pursue the Hope for the Hurting ministry aggressively. Soon $90,000 in combined donations miraculously came into our possession. Shortly thereafter we received another donation from outside our church for $15,000. We have not conducted fund-raisers or asked anyone for financial support. It has been the hand of God that has moved on our behalf.
We then began to look for a building that would suit our purposes. We looked at several but never felt any leading to attempt to purchase any of them. God eventually led us to a 15,000 sq. ft. church building located in the heart of the neighborhood we have been called to and on the main street that passes through this end of town. When my wife and I looked at it, we were amazed at the potential for housing on the second floor of this facility. In addition, the rest of the building could accommodate our church's needs for many years to come.
Some of the building had been water-damaged, so they were asking only $125,000 as is. After much prayer, we saw God move miraculously, enabling us to purchase the building for $120,000, which was all we had.
Now we owned the building but had no money to renovate. We began to pray, and God has provided another $125,000 in anonymous donations, some from our congregation, and some from far and wide. Talk about a miracle! To date we owe nothing; however, the work is not completed.
As I write this, we are about halfway through the renovations. We are lacking $40,000 to finish the housing for the residential program (which is our primary objective) and another $85,000 to be able to move our congregation into the new church.
We are working almost weekly with potential Hope for the Hurting candidates, and it breaks our hearts that we are not ready to offer them the program. However, we are confident that the God who has provided to this point is the same God who will move once again.
We are presently putting together our staff (all volunteers from our congregation), and we are putting the final touches on the program and volunteer manuals. My wife will direct the program and we will soon begin training staff and other volunteers from our congregation who want to work for God.
Once construction is completed, we will be able to house up to 16 residents and four staff members. However, we intend to start off small (with about four residents) and gradually grow to full capacity. The program will be a minimum of one year and is designed for individuals who show a true desire for Christ and for permanent life change. The program will be strict and well-structured with a full schedule of Bible and life skill classes, counseling and activities. We will instruct residents in all aspects of Christian living and assist them in all phases of integration into independent living. They will not graduate from the program until they have obtained employment and an independent residence. Then we will continue to work with them to assure that they become stable Christians and productive members of society.
We are asking for individuals and churches to join us in prayer as we embark on this faith journey. We know that when God’s people unite in prayer, great things happen. This is God’s work and He will respond to our prayer of faith.
If you would like to know more about this ministry or would like to receive our monthly Hope for the Hurting news-letter, please let us know. We would be glad to keep you updated on our progress now and once the program begins.
Pastor John DiZazzo
Judy DiZazzo (Program Director)
In His Service,
Pastor John DiZazzo