In 1994 a young 15 year old boy of Nicaraguan decent by the name of Jonathan Roiz traveled to Escuintla, Guatemala on a mission where he worked in a local feeding center operated by Pastor Neri Flores. This young boy had spent his entire young life helping the abused, mistreated, homeless, and hopeless through various ministries, causes, and personal efforts. As a child he had helped a little girl in his kindergarden class who was being sexually abused by her Mother's boyfriend, worked with the homeless in the ghettos of Baltimore, Maryland, traveled into poor communities conducting street crusades and children's outreach, worked in the mission field in the dangerous streets of Mexico City all before the age of 15.
But something happened to this young boy when he was in Guatemala. In his own words he says "Now that I have seen the children, and held them in my arms, I have made it my mission to keep them safe from harm. For I was a child when I saw a child who longed for a reason to smile, hungry, no shoes, body bruised from years of abuse. She looked into my eyes, the thought of her makes me cry, and in that moment I could see, my destiny calling me." He was walking alone in the streets of Guatemala and no one knew what was taking place in the heart of this young boy. He remembers seeing a soccer court with seats and he thought to himself one day I will return and will sing here and we will do a street crusade that will flood a message of hope throughout the streets (In 2007 he returned and conducted a mission of hope street crusade in a covered soccer court where hundreds came to hear a message of hope fulfilling that childhood dream). He was impacted by the stories of the children, the extreme poverty, and lack of unity among churches and non-profits, and hopelessness that consumed thousands of people around him. He returned to the United States and sat down with his family said these words "I will never be the same again", and as his Father once said, "and He never was". He showed his grandmother who is from Nicaragua, and grew up in extreme poverty the photos of his experiences, and with tears in her eyes she looked at him and said "never forget them, they need you".
Years passed, life happened and he lost communication with his friends in Guatemala. Betty Wright an inspirational woman who took him to Guatemala passed away, and for over 10 years he was sending letters to Guatemala but they never arrived. He describes this moment in time as this "Years have passed and I could not get past the thought of this child. Every day in my thoughts and dreams I hear her voice crying out. Somebody help me, tell them don't beat me, somebody love me, and show me the way, I don't want to continue living this way." Every night he would toss and turn thinking about this call, he felt their pain as if it was happening to him, he heard their cries as if they were there with him, but God was preparing him for a great responsibility.
Life struggles happened to this young boy who is now growing into a young man. He went out on a journey on his own, and financial difficulties happened and he lost everything, ending up living in his car, eating a bag of nachos once a day as nourishment, and eventually moved into a one room apartment in a dangerous neighborhood.
His family divorced, Mother went away, and was devastated by the loss, for all he ever wanted was a happy home. No one saw this young man in his moments of loneliness, never reached out to him, only judged him, but little did they know what God was preparing to do through this young vessel. Many times godly people would say to Jonathan that God see’s him as the new Joshua, and to read Joshua Chapter 1 for this is a message from God. At that moment Jonathan did not understand the depth of that message, but it became clearer as time went on, just as Joshua was called to unite and take over cities, to fight for justice, to be a messenger, and fulfill the vision of God, so Jonathan was to follow in those footsteps in this modern day and age where millions are enslaved, impoverished, hungry, abused, and hopeless. Why would all this happened to a young man who all of his life only wanted to help, serve God, and change the world. Through these difficult times he found that God was allowing him to taste the realities of what it feels like to be poor, to suffer, to be alone, and through these moments beautiful songs were birthed, and a vision of what is needed to transform the world. The world needs a Movement of Hope.
In 2003, Jonathan began the steps to make the Hope Movement an official foundation. He did not even have enough money for the application fee for the tax exemption, but was able to raise the $500 fee, and within months was approved for tax exemption by the United States government. In that same year Jonathan reconnected with an old friend from Costa Rica, Pastor William Obando. Jonathan shared this vision with Pastor William and they began to develop plans to build a center of hope in Costa Rica. Because of broken promises by many people of financial assistance they were unable to start their plans, but they continued believing in the vision, and never gave up hope. The parents of one of Jonathan’s closest friends decided to move to Costa Rica as missionaries to help Pastor William. Jonathan asked them to mail his one last letter to Guatemala from Costa Rica. He said maybe it will get there, this is my last try. They mailed the letter and 2 weeks later he received an email from Pastor Neri Flores saying "We remember a young boy; it is amazing how God keeps special people in your heart. We have a feeding center, but we had to close its doors due to lack of funding, but the center is yours and we will work together to make the vision into a reality to bring hope to the hopeless, and transformation to Guatemala, and the world. The following year Jonathan reconnected with Marta Noguera, a Guatemalan woman who lived in Maryland and traveled with him to Guatemala when he was a child. He shared with her the vision of the Hope Movement and expressed his desire to unite with her to make this vision into a reality. Marta founded a program in the Amazon city of Iquitos, Peru, and connected Jonathan to Pastor Guillermo and Graciela Flores who are the directors of the program in Peru. God opened to the doors for them to unite as one, working together to ignite a Hope Movement in the Amazons.
Jonathan named this vision the Hope Movement because in his years of growing up in church, and his involvement in social outreach, he saw the lack of unity, people trapped in their comfort zone, lack of faith, lack of passion, selfish mentality in the church and non-profit world trying to make it a one man show, and has a vision to see entire cities transformed in Biblical proportions. Since that moment when Jonathan reconnected with those precious friends and developed a plan of action to ignite a Hope Movement there many open doors, and moments struggle, but he never gave up no matter how many obstacles came in our path, no matter how many times he felt alone, and like crazy dreamer, for he knows that this more than organization, ministry, or idea created by man, this is a desire straight from the heart of God. People from all over the world contact Jonathan asking us to come to their country, crying out for hope saying we long for a Hope Movement in our nation, for they understand the need of unity, and hunger for change. There is something happening, something in preparation, and soon we will see a movement breaking out shaking people from their comfort zone, flooding the streets like a mighty river pouring hope into the lives of many.
Jonathan Roiz an imperfect young boy with a sensitive heart who became a young man of God has been called to ignite a Movement of Hope, a revolution of love, to not only transform a life, but break the cycle of selfishness, abuse, spiritual bondage, poverty, shaking the comfort zone to unite, and allow the presence of God to take control. The prayer of the Hope Movement is "Let me be a radiance of your presence, for when they look at me, they don't see me, they see you.
“There much need in the world today that they don’t just need an arm reaching out to them, they need an army.” - Jonathan Roiz