Looking back on what God has done with the ministry of HBM in 2019 leaves us thankful and anticipating our next steps in 2020. Many have used the year “2020” to relate to seeing more clearly. We are thankful that God has already given us a clear vision of the work that needs to be done in the rural communities of Guatemala to share and live the Gospel.
This past year we have experienced the blessing of being used by God. We have unique ministry partnerships that we have been able to develop over the last 15 years. Each of these partners in ministry has as the fundamental principle to share the Gospel of Christ. Each of these partners uses education and enablement to build the body of Christ and touch the community.
This ministry started as an aviation ministry to bring relief to the rural communities. HBM has partnered with AGAPE to bring Biblical teaching to these rural areas where there is little or no Biblical training. In the early days the plane was vital to get to these Bible programs. Over the last ten years the roads have improved enough to make going by land a viable option. It can take up to 10 hours but it is significantly less expensive and we can reach more locations.
The plane is still used for medical relief and other medical trips. Income from the plane also supports 20% of the budget for the Bible teaching programs.
This past year the AGAPE team has made more than 30 ministry trips to 3 regions where they have discipled and trained more than 80 pastors and church leaders. This has directly impacted more than 20 churches and multiple communities. In 2019 we fully completed the programs in Ilom and Pombolse. The leaders in these churches are now more prepared to teach correctly the Word of God and to share more effectively the Gospel in their communities.
In 2020 the AGAPE team will be discipling and teaching the Bible in the towns of Samochoch, Chajul, Chiguatal y la Taña. Through a generous gift we were able to add the additional community. We need $5,000 a year to fully support the Bible education program in one community. The AGAPE team will also continue to follow up with the churches of Ilom and Pombolse to provide further help as needed.
In 2020 we will have three short term missions teams that will partner with the local churches of Chel, Ilom, and Pombolse with evangelistic outreaches. This demonstrates a fundamental ministry principle as those who are students become partners in the ministry. There are also former students in the programs who now travel to other communities to teach what they have learned.
One of the greatest challenges facing the rural areas of Guatemala is lack of accessibility to quality education. Less than 25% of the students who complete their elementary education continue on to middle school. A smaller fraction have the opportunity to attend high school Without education most have very few options, especially in this changing world.
Run:Hope addresses this need with a three part program. First is the most basic need of establishing schools in partnership with local leadership and assisting the students to financially attend. The families are heavily invested in this education as well as the leaders of the local churches. The objective is that this school will not be “our” project but that it will be “their” school. When leaders are invested in the school it will be established into the fabric of the community. Our former Bible students are key to this leadership.
The second aspect is improving the education of the schools through the further education of the teachers. The typical teacher has a high school education. The Run:Hope ministry provides for the teachers a scholarship to attend college. It is still a significant sacrifice since they have to travel weekly at least two hours to attend classes. Run:Hope also provides two enrichment conferences focusing on teaching in a Christian context as well as ongoing coaching. We have a team coming later this year from Living Faith Community Church to be a part of this enrichment.
The third part of the ministry is community engagement. Each class is expected to develop a project to positively impact their community. This encourages the students to use what they have learned to support their community.
This past year Run:Hope has provided middle school education for 150 middle school students and elementary education for 90 students. 26 teachers have received a scholarship to attend college and successfully completed their studies for the year. Two community projects were successfully completed by the students in partnership with North Shore Community Church.
In 2020 the plan of Run:Hope is to expand the program into at least one new community. We already have registered 28 teachers for this year. We have also developed a student sponsorship program which makes it easier for donors to participate more personally with their support. We are asking our supporters to consider sponsoring a student for 35 dollars a month which will provide tuition to attend school, a portion of the scholarship for their teacher, materials, and resources for the community service project. These young people are the key to the future of these communities.
Viala Clinic and Training Center
Twelve years ago God put it on the heart of Rick and Dr. Estrada to purchase a piece of land in the Viala neighborhood of Chel. The vision was to develop a clinic and Bible training center to serve Chel and the communities within a two to three hour walk. The resources were not in place at that time and HBM used the land as a coffee mill for a few seasons. The coffee program has continued but we have found it more effective to process the coffee in LaPerla.
Last year God put it on our hearts once again the need for this facility and we have decided to build Viala Clinic and Training Center. This facility will eventually become a small hospital with the dual function of providing a place to train medical first responders, BIblical leaders, and educators. The site is ready for buildings and we will use the drying patio that was donated and built many years ago by our partner church Calvary Bible Church from Lewiston, PA. God always has the bigger plan.
Our first step has been to form an association of pastors from Chel to be a part of the leadership of this project. This ministry is an arm of the local churches and they need to be our partners from the beginning. The church leaders that are participating are participants from the AGAPE Bible programs. The next step is to educate the community about the reason for the existence of the facility. We have a short term missions group coming from Oversea Chinese Mission coming to assist in this step. Later this year we also have a team coming from North Shore Community church. The community needs to be an active participant of this project.
Phase I of the facility will be to build a small clinic that will be operational by June. Our initial budget for Phase I is $30,000 which does not include the equipment for the clinic. Our goal is to have Phase 1 completed by July with equipment when the team from North Shore comes to help us continue to Phase II.
As we begin this year please join us this week as we pray.