Project Isaiah 61

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Phoebe's Bio

In the 1920’s, Sherwood Liles Miller and his wife Mary Elizabeth Miller were enrolled at a Baptist theological seminary, in Louisville, Kentucky. It was there that they received the call from the Lord to go to China as missionaries.  When the time came for their departure, to their greatest disappointment, the monies designated to launch this endeavor had been used to fund a school dance.  Even though they were broken hearted, they were able to make adjustments by redefining their mission.  They became pastors in many local churches throughout the state of South Carolina.  Their love for missions and the church continued to Phoebe Millerpropel them to fervently pray for the salvation of many and especially their children and grandchildren.  Their descendants to the fourth generation are fulfilling their dreams by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with those who live in America and in many other nations.  Today, their direct descendants are participating in long and short term missions.

As you have already guessed, I am one of their granddaughters.  The example of their daily lives and their continual prayer covering greatly influenced my life.  At age 15, I realized I wanted to begin reaching others for Jesus, especially in the area of discipleship. As I grew older the tug on my heart continued to build.  When I was 18, I recognized this calling was not only to the local church but also to participate in foreign missions.  My mind became filled with the concerns of how I could do missions. Was I really called to do missions? Should I follow in the traditional footsteps of my grandparents? How do begin?   Over the next four years, I faithfully ministered to youth in local churches. Meanwhile the urgency to move towards missions kept mounting until it consumed my ability to focus on anything else.    I continued to ask the Lord, “What am I supposed to do?  I can’t survive under this pressure anymore!”   

Finally one day, out of the blue, a lady from another church invited my youth group to a “Night of Missions” led by a mission organization group called “Youth with a Mission”, also known as “YWAM”.  As the details of this gathering began to unfold, my heart began to race and I broke into great sobs of relief and joy.  I knew this was going to be my first step.  My first training school with YWAM was in Denver Colorado in the spring of 1988 with a 6 week outreach in the south western States. My second YWAM school was in 1991 in Honolulu Hawaii with a ten week outreach in India.

At the end of my second school, I approached another difficult crossroads in my life.  The question then became whether I was to continue with missions or seek a career?  Determining the correct path was very difficult until the day the Lord clearly spoke to me that I should move to Myrtle Beach, SC, take a job in my field (construction) and go to a church then called Living Faith.  In March of 1992, the doors of opportunity opened supernaturally for this move.   The next 14 years seemed to be a more steady and normal path of developing my career and serving in churches by discipling many followers of Jesus.  The question had been answered but my heart still wrestled with the call to foreign soil.   

Everything changed in the summer of 2005.  I knew something was going wrong with my health.  In 2006, I became extremely weak and the doctors had no idea what was wrong.  After a very long battle, I was diagnosed with an extremely rare birth defect within my heart.  The doctors said, “You should have never lived.   You should have died in your twenties.”  Open heart surgery was not a debatable option.  At the ending of a very long recovery, the housing crash of 2008 exploded.  My construction related career began a serious downward spiral.   I lost 40% of my income and in 2011, I was layed off from a wonderful job I had held for 15.5 years.    Trying to find work in a world with very little opportunity in the construction field proved impossible.  Previous doors of advancement were now closed one after another. 

The afternoon of April 22, 2012, frustrated and exhausted my own efforts to find work, I fell asleep on my living room floor.  As I awoke, the Lord visited me in a very real and tangible way asking me one direct question, “Will you give me your life?”  I knew without any doubts that His desire was my obedience by serving in missions.  After giving my ”yes” response, I immediately started the next day  to make preparations to leave without any knowledge of where or how I was to go?   The full path has never been laid out before me, even to this day, and but I have never been left without knowing the next step. 

Again, I faced great internal questions with no complete answers.  I prayed earnestly to know my destination.  I thought I was ready.  I was anxious and stressed, but I remained focused.  After many weeks, the Lord clearly dropped the word “Barbados” into my heart.   I had no knowledge of this nation except for a faint memory from a mentioning by a student in my first YWAM school.   So - I did the logical thing and Googled Barbados.   To my delight, I discovered this beautiful tiny island in the Caribbean.  I clearly remember falling on my knees and saying out loud “Thank you God!”  My first trip to Barbados was in March of 2013.  By March of 2015, I was functioning as full time volunteer staff with YWAM- Barbados with my first assignment being to help rebuild and prepare the YWAM base facilities for those who were to join as team or future staff.

In the beginning of 2016, the vision continued to unfold.  My mission support team based out of South Carolina and I realized that the purpose was no longer to just be Phoebe the ‘missionary,’ but we were to become a non-profit ministry modeled after what is viewed as Jesus’s very own mission statement written by the prophet Isaiah so many years before he was born.  This scripture initiated the formation of our new ministry named “Project Isaiah 61.”  
(Paraphrased from Luke 4:16 – 19) When Jesus walked into the synagogue in Nazareth, stood up to read and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him from which he read Isaiah 61:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim
good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

... and then returning the scroll, he said, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 

The primary purpose of Project Isaiah 61 is to follow Jesus by doing the same things he did and to help release both young and the mature believers to participate in serving the groups of missionaries already committed in long-term missions.  The development of teams - whether of families, professionals, or ministry leaders that are skilled or unskilled - are invited to provide both physical and spiritual support to the front line efforts in discipleship.

Looking forward, I believe Barbados is a “key island” that will produce leaders who serve to raise up others to do the Lord’s work in the Caribbean and surrounding nations.  Please explore our website and stay in touch as the vision continues to expand.    Thank you for your love, prayers and financial support in the continual unveiling of this amazing opportunity to partner with the Lord in His end time harvest.