Our team in Guatemala and our Run:Hope students and teachers know a lot about pressing on! In this update we share the excitement of youth races in each of our three Run:Hope communities, the anniversary celebration of 19 years of Light and Life School, and a special graduation for the Bible Leadership program. We also share the sadness we feel at the unexpected passing away of Miguel Chel, the director of the middle school program in La Perla/Xemac. Please read on to see how our national team, students, and teachers are pressing on in times of joy and in times of sadness.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
Run:Hope Middle School Race Days
The month of May brought middle school youth race days to our Run:Hope schools in three different mountain communities. Although it was a rainy start in La Perla/Xemac, the race days in Ilom and Salquil Grande were beautiful, sunny days! There were races for girls and boys for each level of middle school. Race days are held to encourage the students to press on! Our team gave a challenge from the book of Philippians on preparation, perseverance, and perspective. Our Run:Hope education initiative is all about persevering and doing one’s best, but it’s much more that we want for these students, teachers and communities! We want each student to press on and take hold of the eternal perspective they can have because of who they are in God's eyes!
A Special Anniversary and Graduation
Director Carlos and teacher Xhun pictured above with student runners, were the founding director and first teacher of Light and Life school in Salquil Grande. They began with just one class and added a class each year. They have pressed on during tough, lean years and just celebrated the 19th anniversary of the school this May, thanking God for his great faithfulness as they now have students from pre-k to high school. The celebration included a drama with the students in typical handwoven dress distinct in Salquil. Parents and friends enjoyed the celebration in the recreation area that now has a new roof, thanks to generous supporters.
In April the Bible Leadership and Training program had a graduation for 17 students, pastors, and leaders from the community of Estanzuela, Quiché. This program is a small “traveling seminary” as it provides a three-year curriculum of Bible and leadership training in rural communities of difficult access for men and women.
In loving memory
We remember two beloved H.O.P.E. partners. One, Miguel Chel, was director of our Run:Hope middle school program in La Perla/Xemac. He is pictured below in the middle of our other Run:Hope school directors. Miguel road his motorcycle faithfully on the rough dirt roads from Chajul to La Perla for over ten years to get to school. In April he was driving a truck from Sacapulas up the mountain when a truck coming down lost control, killing Miguel. He leaves his wife Lourdes and three children, Tomas, Rosa and baby Ana. Team member Walter Machado visited the family shortly after the accident to encourage and pray with them. Gifts received for the "family of Miguel Chel" will be designated for his children's education. Please pray for his family and for his students and co-teachers who feel his loss deeply.
In March, long-time friend and supporter of H.O.P.E. Bible Mission, Russell Stark, went home to be with the Lord. Russ and his wife Linda, formerly lived in New Jersey close to H.O.P.E. headquarters. Russ and Linda opened their hearts and home often for our founder Ivy Hone, and staff members Blanche Harkinson, and Tom Hawkins. Russell served as H.O.P.E.'s bookkeeper during some transition years and served as sound technician for a music team that went with H.O.P.E. to Spain. They continued as supporters of the mission after they moved to Seattle.The family has requested that gifts in memory of Russ be given to H.O.P.E. https://www.hopebiblemission.org/russell-stark.html
Although we will miss Miguel and Russell, we know that they invested their lives in service to others and their legacies will live on. We also know that they were welcomed by their heavenly father as they crossed the finish line of this life. That fills us with comfort and hope.
We are challenged to keep pressing on with good preparation, with perseverance, and with an eternal perspective always on our minds!
Our next update will come soon and highlight the upcoming Run:Hope events for fall. Thank you for your continued prayers and support that sustain the work of H.O.P.E.