Stories

every disciple has a story

For years, our team has heard about the incredible things God is doing in the lives of our students, staff, and supporters – tales of redemption, victory, and salvation.

Now we want to share these stories with you.

Each story is a subplot of God’s grand narrative where he turns sinners into his children. We all have a story like this, and we hope hearing these will inspire you to share yours with the rest of the world.

 
 

Aldo

See the Story

Wes

See the Story

Scott

See the Story

Scott

the penny principle

Milagros Foundation
It’s not a big deal.

But imagine if one of those pennies was special, and everyday it doubled on itself. After 30 days, you would have 10 million dollars. This is what investors call compounding interest, and it works in the kingdom of God just like it does in economics.

Jesus even used compounding interest as part of his discipleship ministry during his time earth. He didn’t travel around speaking to big crowds all the time. Sure it happened on occasion, but his standard strategy, his MO, was focusing on a small group of followers: his disciples.

He changed their lives, and they changed other people. Eventually, they even started a global church. Christ’s work compounded, so we follow that same model here at Milagros. Our leaders get deeply invested in the lives of their students. We walk shoulder to shoulder and knee and knee with them because we believe discipleship will change the world.

It starts with one person at a time, but it spreads throughout the entire globe. I’ve seen this play out in my own life. When I was in high school, I played soccer, and a Wake Forest University student, Jim, began coming to our games and pursuing me and my brother as friends. His goal was to share his life with us and communicate Jesus’ love for us.

I was a difficult kid, but that didn’t deter Jim. He was steady and committed to consistently being an encouraging voice in my life.

One summer, he invited me to a Christian camp put on by Young Life. I had some other friends going, so I figured I would join them. I got on the bus with 5 bottles of whisky in my suitcase on the way.

While I was there, I heard the story of Jesus for the first time, but I did not receive it well. I made sure to let Jim know, too. The whole sin and redemption thing really didn’t work for me, and I took my anger out on Jim.

After we returned from the camp, Jim reached out a few more times, but then he graduated and moved on from Wake Forest. The next year, I was reading the Gospel of Mark and gave my life to Jesus. I doubt Jim felt like his penny doubled very much with me, and that’s one of the challenges with discipleship. The process is so simple and mundane that most of the time, it doesn’t feel like you’re doing anything.

The same thing is true with the penny. After 7 doubles, the penny is only worth $1.28. At midway, the penny only grows to $327.68, far shy of $10 million. Jim experienced that same struggle with me. He gave a little of his life to me and didn’t see immediate results. It probably felt like a waste of time, but it wasn’t.

In college, I followed his example and became a leader that reached out to other high school students. Later, I moved to the Dominican Republic and helped start a mission there and Haiti. I’ve seen 12,000 high school students on that island attend meetings every week.

Since starting Milagros, I’ve seen hundreds of college students in over 35 countries receive a college education and 2-4 year of solid discipleship. Despite Jim spending 2 long years with me with little return, the compounding interest proved otherwise. His efforts spread further than even he thought they would.

Everyone can disciple. It is not some super spiritual exercise. It is having dinner, building trust to levels where you can speak truth in someone’s life. It is being generous when people don’t deserve it. It’s being prayerful.

This little, unimpressive work builds upon itself and will eventually change the world.

Wes

mission trip turned into a life on mission

Wes and Scott in Haiti - Milagros Foundation
Wes Perry had reached the heights of business success but still felt something lacking in his career. He wanted to make a difference in the world and thought the only way to do that was to become a missionary. He moved his family to Costa Rica for a summer to try to live out what he thought the Lord was calling him to, but in that process he discovered that God could use him as a businessman.

Wes was sitting at a pizza restaurant with a friend when he felt God ask him an important question: Do you think you got to where you are on your own? The experience humbled Wes as he looked back on how God orchestrated all the events that led to his success. He realized that he had a poor understanding of contributing to God’s kingdom. Missionary work wasn’t the only way to serve God. He could do that in his office, too, so that’s what he started to do. He looked for ways to do excellent, meaningful business back home while resourcing, supporting, and encouraging missionaries across the world. He even helped start the Milagros and continues to play an important role in the foundation – from doing on-the-ground work at our mission’s sites to serving as the president of our board. He never became a missionary, but he lives on mission for the gospel every day, using the gifts God gave him to run great businesses with great kingdom impacts.

Aldo

discipleship’s chain reaction

Wes and Aldo - Milagros Foundation
At 19 years old, Aldo Felix found himself in an unexpected situation.

He had just moved to Nibaje, a suburb of the second largest city in the Dominican Republic, Aldo’s home country. The plan was to start a youth ministry there called Young Life. Aldo had started a relationship with Jesus a few years earlier at a Young Life camp and felt a call to share that love with others. Through a Milagros scholarship, Aldo was able to go to college in the DR, experience true discipleship, and begin to live out his call in Nibaje.

But there was a catch.

Nibaje was a dangerous neighborhood, forcing many teenagers to turn to crime for survival. God meant nothing to them, and doing ministry there involved great risk. Aldo found himself in dangerous situations on many occasions, but he never gave up on those kids.

One day he asked a group of guys to go camping with him. Many of the kids had never left the city, and Aldo had never gone true camping himself – Young Life camps involve cabins and nice facilities, a way different experience than the tent and sleeping bags they were planning on. Their inexperience didn’t stop them, though. They all loaded up the car with limited supplies, minimal water, and no plan.

It did not go well.

Rain poured on them all night. No one could build a fire. They didn’t bring enough food. Everything that could go wrong did, but the experience brought all of them closer. The next year, Aldo brought some of those kids with him to a Young Life camp, the same one where he encountered Christ just a few years earlier.

One night towards the end of the trip, they asked him why he never gave up on them, and he was able to share his testimony and the gospel, a life-changing moment for those students and himself.

Aldo has worked for Young Life ever since, helping make disciples in multiple nations with his wife Katie and their two daughters. They’ve spent time in a variety of Latin American communities and now serve in Rochester, MN. No matter their location, they remain open to unique and unexpected opportunities to share the love of Christ with all people.

Aldo

See the Story

Aldo

discipleship’s chain reaction

Wes and Aldo - Milagros Foundation
At 19 years old, Aldo Felix found himself in an unexpected situation.

He had just moved to Nibaje, a suburb of the second largest city in the Dominican Republic, Aldo’s home country. The plan was to start a youth ministry there called Young Life. Aldo had started a relationship with Jesus a few years earlier at a Young Life camp and felt a call to share that love with others. Through a Milagros scholarship, Aldo was able to go to college in the DR, experience true discipleship, and begin to live out his call in Nibaje.

But there was a catch.

Nibaje was a dangerous neighborhood, forcing many teenagers to turn to crime for survival. God meant nothing to them, and doing ministry there involved great risk. Aldo found himself in dangerous situations on many occasions, but he never gave up on those kids.

One day he asked a group of guys to go camping with him. Many of the kids had never left the city, and Aldo had never gone true camping himself – Young Life camps involve cabins and nice facilities, a way different experience than the tent and sleeping bags they were planning on. Their inexperience didn’t stop them, though. They all loaded up the car with limited supplies, minimal water, and no plan.

It did not go well.

Rain poured on them all night. No one could build a fire. They didn’t bring enough food. Everything that could go wrong did, but the experience brought all of them closer. The next year, Aldo brought some of those kids with him to a Young Life camp, the same one where he encountered Christ just a few years earlier.

One night towards the end of the trip, they asked him why he never gave up on them, and he was able to share his testimony and the gospel, a life-changing moment for those students and himself.

Aldo has worked for Young Life ever since, helping make disciples in multiple nations with his wife Katie and their two daughters. They’ve spent time in a variety of Latin American communities and now serve in Rochester, MN. No matter their location, they remain open to unique and unexpected opportunities to share the love of Christ with all people.

Wes

See the Story

Wes

mission trip turned into a life on mission

Wes and Scott in Haiti - Milagros Foundation
Wes Perry had reached the heights of business success but still felt something lacking in his career. He wanted to make a difference in the world and thought the only way to do that was to become a missionary. He moved his family to Costa Rica for a summer to try to live out what he thought the Lord was calling him to, but in that process he discovered that God could use him as a businessman.

Wes was sitting at a pizza restaurant with a friend when he felt God ask him an important question: Do you think you got to where you are on your own? The experience humbled Wes as he looked back on how God orchestrated all the events that led to his success. He realized that he had a poor understanding of contributing to God’s kingdom. Missionary work wasn’t the only way to serve God. He could do that in his office, too, so that’s what he started to do. He looked for ways to do excellent, meaningful business back home while resourcing, supporting, and encouraging missionaries across the world. He even helped start the Milagros and continues to play an important role in the foundation – from doing on-the-ground work at our mission’s sites to serving as the president of our board. He never became a missionary, but he lives on mission for the gospel every day, using the gifts God gave him to run great businesses with great kingdom impacts.

Scott

See the Story

Scott

the penny principle

Milagros Foundation
It’s not a big deal.

But imagine if one of those pennies was special, and everyday it doubled on itself. After 30 days, you would have 10 million dollars. This is what investors call compounding interest, and it works in the kingdom of God just like it does in economics.

Jesus even used compounding interest as part of his discipleship ministry during his time earth. He didn’t travel around speaking to big crowds all the time. Sure it happened on occasion, but his standard strategy, his MO, was focusing on a small group of followers: his disciples.

He changed their lives, and they changed other people. Eventually, they even started a global church. Christ’s work compounded, so we follow that same model here at Milagros. Our leaders get deeply invested in the lives of their students. We walk shoulder to shoulder and knee and knee with them because we believe discipleship will change the world.

It starts with one person at a time, but it spreads throughout the entire globe. I’ve seen this play out in my own life. When I was in high school, I played soccer, and a Wake Forest University student, Jim, began coming to our games and pursuing me and my brother as friends. His goal was to share his life with us and communicate Jesus’ love for us.

I was a difficult kid, but that didn’t deter Jim. He was steady and committed to consistently being an encouraging voice in my life.

One summer, he invited me to a Christian camp put on by Young Life. I had some other friends going, so I figured I would join them. I got on the bus with 5 bottles of whisky in my suitcase on the way.

While I was there, I heard the story of Jesus for the first time, but I did not receive it well. I made sure to let Jim know, too. The whole sin and redemption thing really didn’t work for me, and I took my anger out on Jim.

After we returned from the camp, Jim reached out a few more times, but then he graduated and moved on from Wake Forest. The next year, I was reading the Gospel of Mark and gave my life to Jesus. I doubt Jim felt like his penny doubled very much with me, and that’s one of the challenges with discipleship. The process is so simple and mundane that most of the time, it doesn’t feel like you’re doing anything.

The same thing is true with the penny. After 7 doubles, the penny is only worth $1.28. At midway, the penny only grows to $327.68, far shy of $10 million. Jim experienced that same struggle with me. He gave a little of his life to me and didn’t see immediate results. It probably felt like a waste of time, but it wasn’t.

In college, I followed his example and became a leader that reached out to other high school students. Later, I moved to the Dominican Republic and helped start a mission there and Haiti. I’ve seen 12,000 high school students on that island attend meetings every week.

Since starting Milagros, I’ve seen hundreds of college students in over 35 countries receive a college education and 2-4 year of solid discipleship. Despite Jim spending 2 long years with me with little return, the compounding interest proved otherwise. His efforts spread further than even he thought they would.

Everyone can disciple. It is not some super spiritual exercise. It is having dinner, building trust to levels where you can speak truth in someone’s life. It is being generous when people don’t deserve it. It’s being prayerful.

This little, unimpressive work builds upon itself and will eventually change the world.