Hola friends! Whether you are a long-time supporter of H.O.P.E. Bible Mission or just recently joined one of our Run:Hope events this past summer and fall, we want to update you as we begin a new year.
Our hearts are filled with gratitude for the ways that God sustained our team and work in the past challenging year. Although our new year begins with some plans having to be altered yet again, we can’t help but realize that God is for us and working in amazing ways! As we keep our focus, stand firm, and continue to give our best, our labor is not in vain.
Highlights of 2021
Although the year on the ground in Guatemala looked very different again this past year, we are thankful for a sense of unity and incredible camaraderie in our joint HOPE/Agape team who worked together tirelessly to do what was needed to get the job done.
Some of our regular teachers in the pastoral Bible program worked together to deliver a large donation of desks for one of our Run:Hope partner schools to be able to start a new school year this January, as back to back hurricanes in November 2020 damaged homes, crops and school resources. Thank you to our partners at Ridgeway Alliance Church in White Plains, NY for a vital donation of desks and computers.
Our team worked together to prepare and deliver resources to each of our three Run:Hope partner schools, offering them encouragement and an opportunity to discuss the challenges they have been facing. They also presented an introduction to Fundamentos Firmes, a creation to Christ training program for teachers of children in the local churches in Salquil Grande, where Run:Hope partner school, Light and Life is located. There will be 15 students joining this program in 2022.
Although the pastoral Bible training program had fewer students last year, there were 37 pastors and leaders who continued. We are grateful that our team was creative using phones and social media to teach and stay in touch.
AGAPE, led by director and pilot Eri Alas, was able to complete 80% of their planned work, making adjustments with the restrictions given by the central government due to the pandemic. Emergency medical flights, transport of vaccines, and bringing people safely to remote parts of Guatemala were all part of their work this past year.
MAF (Missionary Aviation Fellowship) donated a plane to the work in Guatemala, so now there are two small airplanes available to access remote regions. God also provided a new pilot, German Ortiz, who has been a great asset to the aviation team of Eri, Juan Carlos, and Juan Antonio, airplane dispatcher. We are so blessed to have these incredible resources in equipment and personnel!
A Great Big Thanks for a Run:Hope Goal Accomplished!
This past summer and fall, we had three Run:Hope events stateside to raise awareness and support for approximately 250 students and 28 teachers for the 2022 school year. We were thrilled with the outpouring of support and met our goal of $50,000. which covers the entire budget for the program for 2022. One partner church, Maryland Community Church in Indiana, went above and beyond in sponsoring 67 students! We are incredibly grateful for their outpouring of love and for all the amazing support for everyone who participated.
2022 Plans and Prayers
Our annual conference for our Run:Hope teachers will have the theme: Creation Speaks | Exploring Science. Although the plan was to host this conference in January, it will be postponed until our team and teachers decide it is safe to do so. All the sessions and materials have been prepared. The conference provides an avenue for shared resources, training and dialogue for our Run:Hope teachers. We have 28 signed up for this new year. Please pray for these teachers as they begin the new school year January 15th.
The Bible training program for pastors and leaders will begin at the end of January. Our team travels to specific areas in Quiché and the classes will be safely conducted with distancing and masks. Most communities do not have the medical support or infrastructure to care for health emergencies. Please pray for the health and safety of all, and for the training to equip and encourage these leaders.
The program, Fundamentos Firmes, is set to begin this year in Salquil Grande. One of our Run:Hope sponsored teachers, Xhun, who is finishing his seminary degree this year, will be one of the main teachers/facilitators. We are thrilled that his hard work and sponsorship, has led to this opportunity to use his training in the area churches of his community. Pray for Xhun as he finishes his thesis and prepares for the Firm Foundations program.
Please pray for safety and wisdom for the AGAPE aviation team. They are well trained and take the utmost care for airplane maintenance and abide by the highest standards of flight safety, however, there are many challenges of flying in Guatemala, especially during this pandemic time. They are brothers in Christ who use their flying skills to help edify and care for those in difficult areas of access.
On the home office front, as many of you know, our stateside office is now in Frostburg, Maryland. Deb has returned full-time to work with our Run:Hope program and will oversee the upcoming Fundamentos Firmes program for teachers of children. Rick and Deb were able to be in Guatemala last June – July. Plans to be in Guatemala this January had to be postponed, however, bags are packed and ready to go whenever we have a new date for our Run:Hope teacher conference. Pray for wisdom in all decision making and wise stewardship and care for our team and all the resources God has entrusted to us.
Our 2022 prayer for our team is to remain strong in the faith, to keep standing firm, and giving our best, knowing that our work and the outcomes are in God’s hands. Praying that for all of you as well!
We encourage you to follow us for the latest happenings on Instagram, Facebook, and our website.
Rick and Deb