The Isaiah Foundation gets its name…
Ministry carries with it both sorrow and joy, often times they are intertwined with one another and share common ground. This was my experience as I had the privilege to get to know Isaiah Reyes.
His mother, Gina was a fellow Officer and we worked together for many years. I vividly remember the day she called and informed me about her son’s illness. At that time I had never met Isaiah, yet had heard countless stories about him and the rest of the family.
I was fortunate to get to know Isaiah throughout his two and a half year battle. I discovered the true definition of courage through his relentless exhibit of faith. I prayed with him in his last days and it became glaringly apparent that he was one of the most spirited, life-filled individuals I had ever encountered.
As I ministered to his family, I referenced the book of Isaiah, which tells the story about the rebuilding of a nation through the restoration of its people. I was specifically drawn to Isaiah 61, which in part says, “ The Spirit of the sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the years of the Lord’s favor… …To comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”
This profound promise gave Isaiah’s mom, Gina, and those who knew him, hope and comfort knowing this passage applied to their hearts and lives as well. Isaiah went home to be with the Lord on November 8, 2008.
The Isaiah Foundation proclaims this promise in the book of Isaiah over the broken hearted, captives, orphans, widows and the poor who are presently suffering from a kaleidoscope of desperate circumstances. Our mission is to be God’s hand and feet as we reach out to people all over the world, beginning with the people of Haiti. We do so, remembering the essence and theme in the Book of Isaiah, which Isaiah Joseph Reyes embodied through his life and death. The bravery he demonstrated and the hope he carried will forever be remembered.
A note from Isaiah’s mother, Gina Reyes
On April 20, 2007, Isaiah Joseph Reyes was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. In just one week my Son went from being a healthy young boy to extremely ill and paralyzed. The weekend that Isaiah became ill, he was attending a church retreat. He came back with a fever, his diagnosis came one week later. As a Mother, I had to helplessly watch my son get sicker and sicker and lose his ability to walk and move his left side, this due to an aneurism brought on by the Leukemia. There was little I could do but watch as my son physically suffered.
Isaiah never complained or questioned why this happened to him. God gave me the bravest son a mother could ask for. Throughout all the chemotherapy and radiation treatments he never complained about pain or discomfort. When we would get home from the many appointments or from one of our lengthy stays at the hospital, Isaiah would simply go back to his routine as a teenager, play video games and watch TV.
He was a boy of few words, yet he was insightful, respectful, brave and had an amazing spirit. Those who met him would often say that he left a deep, emotional impact. At first, many could not articulate with words how merely being in his presence made them feel. However, once the Lord took him home it became clear just what that influence was. An exchange took place between Isaiah and those who spent time with him. He took on their sadness and sorrow and in return gave them hope, strength and acceptance. He taught them how to accept whatever the outcome would be.
Though Isaiah was very quiet, he prayed with me daily and a lot at that. Sometimes I wasn’t sure if he fully understood God and the truth of the Gospel. I realized he completely understood when Stan came over one day and after a lengthy visit said to Isaiah “If God/Jesus were to ask you someday why you should be allowed into Heaven, what would you say?” Isaiah responded, “Because I never stopped believing in you.”
My hopes and prayers were for Isaiah to be fully healed, yet after that encounter I knew that despite what may happen to Isaiah I understood beyond a shadow of doubt that if he were to lose this battle, he would go straight to Heaven. I discovered a fresh hope and a renewed faith in God’s promises.
My son was named after the great Prophet Isaiah because we knew he would do great things. Although his life was cut short, he taught so many of us how to accept what the Lord brings and always wanted to help others in any possible way he could. The following verse defines my son perfectly.
“The Lord gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Gina Reyes, proud mother of Isaiah Joseph Reyes