Miracles happen every day at Isaiah 11 Ministry, Warsaw. On Monday, it was the birth of four kittens whose mother did not know how to care for them. Humans intervened and saved the kittens lives.
On a daily basis, there are young children – victims of sexual abuse or trauma – who are brought to this unique ministry where they learn self esteem and how to find inner peace by becoming part of the animal rescue process. “It’s bridging gaps for people who otherwise wouldn’t be helped,” explained Isaiah 11 board president Keith Sampson. By interacting with the animals “walls come down. Animal people get it! There’s something about helping animals that maybe catches people off guard and they open up and learn to heal.”
Recently, Isaiah 11 Ministry received a grant from the Kosciusko County Community Foundation that will allow counselor Linda Ozier to continue her valuable service to heal children and adults with attachment disorders and those who are trying to overcome traumatic events, and to provide comfort and purpose for those with special needs.
In more cases than not, those who come to Isaiah 11 Ministry searching for hope and understanding find themselves learning so much about healing and self-esteem through something as simple as brushing a dog, bottle feeding a kitten, gathering eggs in the hen house, petting the horses or even feeding grass to the goats. “It’s satisfaction that they need to gain back their self respect,” said Ozier.
This one of a kind faith-based ministry in Warsaw is a 501c(3) nonprofit that relies on grants and donations to operate. While the bulk of the financial donations are needed for the animals, Ozier and Sampson agree that donations of food and money for the animals is an integral part of helping the humans who come to seek comfort of their own.
“Animal people get it, people people don’t,” said Sampson. “This is not just an office on the corner. This is free counseling for people who couldn’t otherwise afford to pay. The expenses we have are for the care of the animals, which ultimately heals the people who come for hope and healing. This is not just a rescue, this is a passion.”
Ozier explained, “Animals are the appeal to children and even adults. They are often the catalyst that knocks down the walls of the person who needs that kind of help to open up and learn to live stronger. With kids, the focus of their treatment is not on the trauma that happened to them, but instead, we show them how to survive and overcome it by building their self esteem, which comes when they help with the animals. It shows them there is a world beyond victimization.”
Holding a master’s degree in counseling, Ozier chose not to add a state license to her list of credentials for one simple fact: a license would not allow her to fulfill the entire scope of the ministry.
For instance, the Indiana licensing board would not allow for bartering. “In this ministry, if someone can’t pay for the counseling, we may ask them to clean a horse stall in exchange,” said Ozier. “A license wouldn’t allow us to take clients to church if they asked us to. We feed people who are hungry. Those are against licensing standards. We had a woman from Michigan in here and she overheard one of students talking about a series of books she couldn’t afford. The woman actually went and bought every book in the series and sent them here for that little girl. Things like that happen every day out here. We want to help everyone and the animals, but a licensed counselor can’t do that. I have a master’s degree in counseling and know the benefits of everything we do here.”
Clients of Isaiah 11 Ministry are from The Beaman Home, they are referred from Victims Assistance departments, they are children of abuse, and they are adult children of adoption who deal with attachment disorders. “We’re helping people here, but due to confidentiality we aren’t able to tell our success stories,” said Ozier. “We rely so much on donations and support from the community, and it’s so important to have reliable donations each month so we can continue to help people.”
In recent months, the animal rescue part of Isaiah 11 Ministry has become a huge undertaking. For the purpose of allowing Ozier more time to work with the human clients, work days have been set for Friday and Saturday of this week. The goal is to clean the interior where Ozier meets with her clients, and to clean animal pens, perform general housekeeping and landscaping tasks outside and improve walkways between pens to help clients in wheelchairs better access the animals.
But the needs are still great. For $1,500 Isaiah 11 Ministry could receive two sheds that are greatly needed for storage and organization. Ozier also wishes to build kennels for the dogs that are rescued so they have a safe place to be house outside of the residence on the property. “But we don’t have the $1,500 and unless someone donates materials for us to build the kennels, that is not going to get done anytime soon,” she said.
The immediate needs of the ministry are to encourage monetary donations to allow continued success, and to build a reliable base of volunteers who can help at least weekly. Food donations for the rescue animals are also inconsistent and anyone who can help provide food each month would be another huge benefit to the ministry.
“When you pay for pet food or buy a bale of hay for the horses, you’re actually helping a little girl who has been sexually abused,” explained Ozier. “I have several little girls who went through sexual abuse and the animals are helping them see how to be normal little girls again. They come out here to play with the animals, but what they are gaining is getting to be little girls again without the horror that happened to them.”
Those who can volunteer on either or both Friday and Saturday work days, the hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Volunteers are asked to email Sampson, who is organizing the clean up event. Come dressed in work clothes and register at [email protected].
Those who can support Isaiah 11 Ministry on a consistent basis with even small donations are encouraged to do so online at www.Isaiah11.org.