Jesse was the father of David whom the prophet Samuel anointed as the future king of Israel, liberator of a country and its peoples, the messianic king. The reign of this youngest son of Jesse was said to “stand as a sign to the peoples” that the disorder of nature would be restored to its pristine harmony, that paradise would be regained. In Romans, Paul writes of the gospel for Jews and Christians alike, and quotes Isaiah: ‘The root of Jesse shall come, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him (they) shall hope.’ Thus Jesse’s child, the ‘shoot from the stump of Jesse,’ symbolizes the messianic prophecy of Christ and serves to remind us that we are all children of God.
Jesse’s Children is a ministry to and for children in the Third World. Dr. Jim and Deacon Pat McIlwain began this ministry in 1988 after meeting in Santo Domingo with Episcopal Bishop Telésforo Isaac and Roman Catholic Bishop Príamo Tejeda of Baní. This ministry has grown to include a broad ecumenical base of health care and educational professionals who travel at their own expense to contribute their time and talent to heal, build, educate and demonstrate the love of Christ to children in some of the poorest barrios, mountain enclaves and batés of the Baní province in the Dominican Republic.
Jesse’s Children depends solely upon God’s grace. We have no major source of funding. All contributions go directly to support projects for the children. There are no administrative expenses; team members pay their own airfare, room and board, as well as donate their time and talent.
The McIlwains have taken more than 40 teams of physicians, dentists, nurses, dental assistants, educators, technicians, youth, builders, trades, crafts and construction persons to the Dominican Republic since 1988 to provide a ministry of love and service.