My name is Marissa, and I am 23 years old. In January of 2016, I felt God place on my heart to take in my 16 year old cousin Vanessa. She was raised by my Grandmother, and after she passed away in 2014, I began to pray about taking Vanessa in. Through much prayer, in 2016, I decided to move home from the overseas mission field and start the life of a missionary here being a mother to Vanessa. Taking custody of Vanessa came with a lot of responsibility.
Vanessa is a joyful, exuberant, lovely 19 year old young lady. She was diagnosed with an intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder as well as a delusional/ OCD disorder. Raising her has had its fair share of challenges from working with her psychiatrist to stabilize her medications, managing developing behaviors, and working to get her from a place of surviving to thriving. God has been so gracious in bringing Vanessa gradual freedom as we continue down this path, as well as bringing freedom to myself in learning to selflessly love and care for her. I consider myself blessed to know her. She has changed my view of life in ways I cannot even begin to express, and it is a joy to see her gifts and talents shine.
God has blessed me with a partner in this journey of life with Vanessa. The Lord brought Sean into our lives at a perfect time. He jumped right on board in not just being my support and partner in this, but also as a great role model for Vanessa. His love for her is incredible to watch, and we are blessed to have him along for this journey. Together, Sean and I have sought out much wisdom and support in care for Vanessa. God has blessed Sean and I with a beautiful baby girl. Eliana entered the world November of 2018, and is already a living testimony of the faithfulness of God. The meaning of her name is “God has heard me; God has answered me.” The Lord has used her as a reminder to us of His heart for us and the fact that His ear is always inclined our way.
Through this journey with Vanessa, we have come to find that it truly does take a village to raise a child. We decided to start a mission that would be a village of people willing to serve the one God placed in front of us, and to invest in the lives of those we meet along this journey. We focus on leading people to the love of Christ, to grow in their relationship with Him, and to support them in any way they need. We are a Village that is raising up children of God to KNOW their Papa, KNOW their identity, and KNOW their call.