Monday, October 30, 2017


"God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean." -Words of the apostle Peter
 Acts 10:28b

Yesterday was a "crowded" and "common" Sunday.
I struggled to keep things going in the midst of the "mess." Toddlers, children, teens and adults scattered across our little community room and in the back yard for food, worship, prayer, a teaching about the Holy Spirit and free time. There were pumpkin drawings, candy bags, UNO games. There was also backtalk, kids roaming and climbing and hiding where they shouldn't be, disrespect, vandalism, screaming and physical aggression. There were brand new kids and kids I have seen a million times. And lately? LICE. Yep. (Ever had to make lice-checks and tea-tree oil a part of the check-in process at your church?) Our homes have bugs, rodents, frequent "blackouts" for days at a time...(a cut-off of electricity and/or water) The smells of "dirty" children wearing dirty clothes with holes in them flood into our door along with all of the stories and hurts that drag in with them. They timidly ask me for food to take home on Sundays and I look over at already-emptied shelves and fight off irritation at the asking. "Mama J!" "Yes?" I fill candy bags while kids hover over the counter and a little girl signs names on our giant pumpkin with a sharpie. "Ms. Jessie!" "Pastor Jessie? ""Yes..?" "What?" "Uh-Huh..." "Hold on..." "Can I talk to you about something in private?" "Let me finish this first..." With so many things to do and so many kids and so much need, sometimes I get numb. I get through the day and fight to find the "stop for the one" moments. Like when little "B" (She is 4 or 5 years old, and one of the most neglected, misunderstood but precious little girls I have ever met!) looks at me sitting on the sidewalk with chalk and says "I'm-uh draw you next. What color is you?" I look at her beautiful smile and pass her the yellow chalk. (This is closer to my color than the blue or green alternatives.) Her smile could light up a whole room, but most people will never see it.
  But then a volunteer sends me this picture. (Above) This little boy was not "supposed" to be at church without a parent because of his age. He stayed anyway and may have been parented more yesterday than he has been in months. He was held lovingly, prayed over and given a safe lap to sleep on for as long as he needed. (And it was a long time.)
  When I opened the word of God this morning, to the book of Acts, it led me to the words of Peter, when God showed him that no one was "common" or "unclean" if they were a follower of Jesus.
Every single son or daughter of God is unique, valuable and CLEAN in the sight of God. We cannot get so busy or so turned off by behaviors or germs or anything else that we miss the most important thing; This is a person that Jesus loves. We are the same in His sight. "You are seen and You are loved" is a phrase our ministry has adopted. We speak it over people, we send it in text messages, we write it on the walls. But sometimes we forget to really believe it. It becomes, like the people we repeat it to, Common. 
  I am thankful for God's constant reminders to me that it really is so simple. As Mama Heidi Baker has taught us, "Just Love the One in Front of You." First Jesus, then others-one at a time. No face is the same. No story identical. No child un-important.
  As you consider praying for us or donating to Village of Hope today, think of Matthew 25, that "as you do it unto the least of these, you do it unto Jesus." Maybe like me, it helps you to think of just one little face or one particular need. We are not a "big organization" but the needs are great for the people we get to love, feed, clothe and disciple. This is not "common" work we do, but precious and important in the eyes of God. Maybe God will ask you to just hold one child or feed one person today, wherever you are, or maybe through giving. Obey with joy. It matters. It matters a lot. That's the beauty of the body of Christ. I may see someone you don't or you may hold a child I never noticed. But when we all love the one together, no one is left behind.
  Thank you to all of the quiet heroes who are a part of our ministry in any way. THANK YOU! I want to stop for You. I want to say to all of you who volunteer, donate or pray for us: "You are seen and You are loved." 


Thursday, October 19, 2017

What's New??




   It has "been a minute" since my latest blog and I wanted to update everyone on some basic highlights of our current ministry season! In the Summer (2017) we hosted an open house Missions Week called "Follow Me," where 30-40 people teamed up to worship, pray, share meals, hit the streets with food, water and God's love and of course love on our Village of Hope base community. It was amazing!! We were also able to host a summer book club and feed consistent meals and hold church services for our Carver Kiddos. During the summer, something else happened that I am still processing and realizing. A dream-door that God allowed to open, for Village of Hope to join the IRIS Global Missions family! We love Rolland and Heidi Baker and the ministry they pioneered, Iris Global, that has impacted my life and so many lives for the gospel in a radical way. We are now Village of Hope Ministries and IRIS BARTOW." What a thrill to have the privilege of pioneering (along with my incredible team!) the very FIRST Iris Base in Florida! Come on! That is a gift from Jesus, and we do not take it lightly. Thank you, Iris Global and Heidi Baker, Will Hart, Joy, Herbert and Jason Lee and Regina Jones for believing in the call of God on my life and the dream of God over Bartow and Lakeland! To find out more about this beautiful organization that we get to partner with, go to
 Lastly, we are midway through out first semester of our inaugural year of "Village of Hope School of Missions" (VHSM) and there has been an open Heaven over the students and the staff so far! What a year we are having! The Lord is even providing some missions housing, slowly but surely, as our school begins to find it's wings and continue to grow in every way. We challenge you to pray about joining this life-changing 7-month journey next school year! In the meantime, schedule a visit or a time to come and volunteer or just worship and pray with us and catch the wind of what God is stirring up in the midst of his people here!
     Lastly, be on the lookout for the documentary film, "Hope Has A Name," which will feature several courageous and inspiring women-missionaries and ministry locations throughout the world! I am honored to have been a small part of this project! Set to premier in November, you can find out more at
   Thank you for reading, sharing and taking these things to heart. We need your prayers and financial support more than ever. We are jumping into some brand new territory and taking on some new projects that require more funds to be raised before we can move forward. Our greatest need to meet our budget is for as many people or groups who can, to sign up as a monthly HOPE Partner. You can give any amount as a recurring month gift, easily and securely online at on our DONATE page. BLESSINGS UPON BLESSINGS!!

Love, Jessica Goodman and VHM/IRIS BARTOW

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

To the Line.

We have to beat the negativity to the line. We are in a race against traffickers, abusers, poverty, illiteracy, low-self worth, hopelessness, hunger...We have to out-run them. Plain and simple.
But "Though we may be out-numbered we are never over-powered!" The power of real love- God's love, has no match!
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed or just down-right tired, but as I have learned from running races, you have to run through the thoughts and feelings, even the pain sometimes, and focus on the finish. Things affect me. But I have to keep running. I have to keep helping. I have to keep praying. What if the pimps get to her first? What if that child's only positive feedback is what he hears from us? What if we wouldn't have been here today when that little one got hurt? What if this were MY son? Has anyone ever rocked this baby? What is this man's story? ...This man going through the physical effects of drugs, convulsing on the curb, unable to speak to me while I hold his shaking hand and sing over him? I see tears coming down his cheeks but no words are forming. What would he tell me if he could? What if...

  20 years ago I was just getting my feet wet in street ministry; feeding the poor, stopping for the one...telling people about Jesus "off-stage." I grew up singing and playing music. I was a "performer," aiming to be a recording artist and full-time touring singer/songwriter. I loved God and people, but from a distance and with eyes half-open. Then I saw Him. HIM. Jesus opened my eyes and I fell in love and became just as addicted as anyone else. But not to heroin or crack,  sex or porn. I became addicted to knowing God and helping the helpless. He opened my eyes. It felt like the first time I ever got glasses. "Wow...This is what I should have been seeing all along? I never knew! WOW! It's all so clear now!" And once we see, we are accountable. Sometimes, for a split second, I try to convince myself that I have an option. That I don't have to care this much or get so "involved." But then I remember. And I keep running. I keep going because that's what God the Father did for me. He kept loving me, pursuing me, waiting for me to fully awaken to the purpose and the need all around me. That same relentless love that He poured into me, I now carry for those who need it the most. They are not "them," they are me. And what if He had opted out of loving me? 
 What if, just short of the cross, just short of the "finish line," He would have said "It's too much. The burden is too heavy..." All hope would be lost. But He didn't. For the JOY set before Him, He endured...
  I can honestly report to you that for every tear, pain, burden, challenge, sacrifice or inconvenience, the JOY set before me is worth it all. The ones who cannot see or refuse to see? They are the ones missing out and missing the opportunities of a lifetime. They are missing out on some serious JOY!
  Someone, right now, needs you to join the race. Some child, homeless mom, lonely widow, lost co-worker...someone needs YOU to see. Someone needs you to care. Really care. Really SEE.
The statistics are staggering for human trafficking, orphans, hunger, disease...But remember: "Though we may be outnumbered, we are never over-powered!" God's love is bigger than all the numbers combined. We can out-run these problems, one life at a time, one step at a time. Every step matters. Every life is precious. Open your eyes. Pray for compassion. To the line. Who's with me?

-Jessica Goodman, Founding Pastor, Village of Hope Ministries

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A glimpse of today

"I bleed for the Middle East! I bleed for the Middle East! Blow the trumpet in Zion! Who will go? Who will go?" God cries out through prophetic voice. Voices are lifted in intercession. Songs of surrender and pilgrimage ring out. We pray for China, Harlem NY, Florida...A young boy dances and flips on the floor, no shoes, dirty feet...pure joy erupting from somewhere deep inside. A staff member boldly proclaims the heart of God on the open mic. She leaves for Africa, indefinitely, in 2 months. Prayers and tears and worship flow freely. Incense rising up from an unlikely place.

"Guess what Miss Jessie?"
"You're pregnant." 
 "Was it consensual?" 
...I hold close and cry deep. Then I hold a small child who glues to my shoulder.

Food goes out by the bags and bags. The gospel is preached. Prayers for healing are answered. Spirits are stirred up as the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth confronts counterfeit spirits. Coffee pours, hugs are exchanged, clothing is given away and diapers and wipes. Free hot meals are served and Hope shows up. Again. Jesus is here in every single moment.

We walk through the heat, carrying children and groceries, alongside a neighbor who is pregnant for the first time. We pray, walk, say hello and dream. We see Him here. Him. Jesus. The hope of the World. We are tired but we are in love. We will be back. He will be waiting.