Scroll to the bottom to read Yolanda's life story in her own words.
Yolanda Espinoza has been with Believers' Ministry International since 2000 and is an ordained minister with them. She came to BMI during the Fontana "Basement Days" when the fire was in a full burn. It was a season when the homeless, the disenfranchised, the business people, the lawyers, the accountants, and the hungry all joined in the meetings at BMI. At one point, the meetings went over 30 days straight with God performing his signs and wonders as a symbol of his love for all people. It was a lot of work and Yolanda was in the midst of it.
She still is. Today she serves in many capacities as a minister of BMI. She holds Bible studies in homes and half way houses, she works with teh homelss to bring food, clothing and prayer, she travels with a variety of BMI musicians to play the D'Jembe drum and pray while they worship. She will do whatever it takes to bring Jesus to people. She is blind to age, color, gender, culture, addictions, self-righteousness and religion. She loves them all.
In a normal BMI meeting, she is in charge of the alter. She has a ready supply of hugs, tears, Kleenex, kiind words and prayer.
We bless you, Yolanda. Thank you for being our partner all these years. - Jeff and Karie
My name is Yolanda Espinoza. I was raised in Southern California in a large, blended family. It has been quite a journy, but as you will read - Jesus always wins! My mom always made sure we (my siblings and I ) were in church even though she didn’t always go she believed in Jesus and His miracles having been healed by Jesus before receiving Jesus as her savior. I am thankful for that! At the age of 11 a hunger began to grow in me, and I wanted to know more about Jesus. I began reading the Bible and listening to my pastor preach. One day I went up for an alter call and was slain in the spirit and started speaking in tongues.
That year the church sent me to camp and the last day of camp they did an alter call. Girls were laying on the alter, the walkways were full of girls around my age crying out to Jesus. I remember crawling between the girls to lay hands on them and pray for them, never realizing this was what God had called me to do.
Being a teenager, I later got distracted and quite going to church. At one point, I completely denied Jesus. The enemy would lie to me saying the life I was living was the only thing real and I didn’t have to worry about the spiritual side. It was all a lie. I lived my life making a mess of things, at times crying out to God asking, “what did I do to have such a horrible life?” By this time, I had six children and troubles at home. One day my husband and I were fighting. My kids called my mom. She came over and said, “what you need is Jesus in your lives”.
It was that simple. We actually went to church. As soon as I felt Gods presence, I began to run back to Him. The scales were removed from my eyes. I realized why my life was such a mess! I had denied Jesus and He never left me. He was waiting for me to come to Him!
This is why I love the story of the prodigal son - because I am one. I continued to pray, go to church and just allow God to show me the way. I came across a church in a basement in Fontana, CA.; Believers Ministry International with Pastors Jeff and Karie Kirschbaum. There I had the freedom to be myself - the mess that I was! There was so much hurt and pain.
I remember one day getting to church after arguing with my husband all the way there; I felt so defeated walking in and worship had started. All the sudden Pastor Jeff stood up and said, “someone needs a hug and God wants to give you that hug!” That was for me! I walked up there, and that is the day I’ll never forget! It changed my life. The healing I received from that hug, no one can put a price on. Jesus was there.
Pastor Jeff’s hugs were, and are, so anointed for healing! After a while my husband and I stepped into the training of who God had called us to be. Pastor Karie asked my husband to clean the church every Saturday evening and gave him the key to the church.
You see, I had tried to belong to other ministries but wasn’t accepted because my household wasn’t in order. When she gave us the key to the church, it brought more healing and gave us acceptance. We were so happy to clean the church; we were now members, part of the family - even though we hadn’t signed anything or gone to any meeting regarding membership.
I continued to pray for my family, young people, church members, our city and whatever God put in my heart. We had some amazing meetings; Jesus would come in and just heal people. I remember getting on the elevator after an intense service where I had been on my face crying out for our city (Fontana, CA.). It had been a long service. I got on the elevator with Pastor Karie, she looked at me and said, “Yoli you are tore up!” LOL! I got home, looked at myself in the mirror, and laughed. I had little blood spots all over my face from crying and the carpet.
It wasn’t always easy. In fact, it was very hard at times! But I kept praying. I would go to prayer and sometimes come home from prayer and walk into complete chaos happening in my own home. But I kept praying, because I was determined. I believed Jesus would heal my life, my family, and bring me peace. I can report, He has. It didn’t happen overnight, but He removed the chaos and the roller coaster I was on. My six children are amazing and I now have 16 beautiful, creative grandchildren. My life is full!
After some time, God blessed me with a job as a property manager. I feel so blessed to be able to cover my community with prayer. I pray for my residents to have rent to pay; then I started praying they would have all needs met and would know Jesus. It is working!
Today I am completely blessed. My life isn’t perfect, but Jesus is. I may not be qualified but Jesus is. He is real and alive in me.