This month we would like to share with you a story about a very dear brother in Guatemala. His name is Santiago Batz. Like so many other young men he went to the U.S. to earn money to support his family. There are many who are able to make it to the U.S. and who use those earnings to do things like build homes of concrete and start small businesses.
Santiago went with high hopes only to be confronted with tragedy when he suffered a serious accident. Two of his friends were killed and he was left with a serious back injury that left him in a wheelchair. Not only was he not able to build his house, he is incapable of physical labor. But as you can see from the smile on his face God used tragedy for good.
Santiago returned to Guatemala and has dedicated his life to serving God becoming one of the key leaders of the local church. Santiago has joined our Biblical Leadership program and travels a distance to join the training. His life is simple and he relies on God to provide everything from a wheelchair to his basic needs. Santiago is the most joyful student in the class and has risen from tragedy to being an example of the joy of the Lord. Our lead teacher Neri wrote, “we are continually surprised at the resolve of these types of students.”
Please pray for Santiago and his fellow students as they study God’s Word and lead the local church. Pray that God will give us the resources and wisdom to bring the resources and support that our students needs to minister in their own communities. And as always we praise God for all of our faithful supporters.
But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.
We often share with you updates about the progress of the ministry and we are excited that there is always more to share than we have space to write. But we do not often take the time to share with you about those who quietly serve behind the scenes providing leadership and accountability for the ministry. One of those people in Guatemala has been a man of God by the name of Mario Guillen.
Mario is a successful Guatemalan businessman who has a passion for sharing the Gospel of Christ. He and his wife Tere have been vital members of our volunteer team. Tere taught for many years with Deb in guiding teachers how to teach children in the church. Mario has served in numerous roles teaching, supporting special projects, and as a key member of our national board of directors.
Last November, Mario was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. From day one he expressed complete confidence in Christ. He went through treatment thanking God for each day to serve. Recently, after his last operation the Lord worked beyond our expectations and those of the doctors and Mario is 100% cancer free!
We thank God for Mario and his incredible spirit to serve. Whenever we’ve mentioned a new project or idea, his response is always, “Let’s go!” We are in awe of God’s healing power as these past months have weighed heavy on Mario’s family and our team. Thank you for your faithful prayers that sustain us through all the challenges and joys of ministry!
I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. Ecclesiastes 3:12
Why would a father send his 15 year old son from Guatemala through Mexico to cross the unknown border of the U.S. to look for work? What should the response be for those from the U.S. who want to help? These were questions posed to me by a recent short term missions team to Chel, Guatemala and questions our national team in Guatemala struggles to address on a regular basis.
Parents in Guatemala struggle with the same issues as parents in the U.S., just within a different context. Our first response is to look at our own priorities and life choices. How do we seek Biblical happiness and live a life of doing good? Before we can encourage our brothers and sisters in Central America to make different choices, they need to see that we make the same choices in our lives.
We also need to partner with them to find solutions in their communities. We do not have all of the answers to a complicated context. But we do have resources to help find those answers. Through Biblical teaching, we explore with the church leaders how they can achieve Biblical happiness and do good in their communities. Together, we can help educate their children so that they will have the opportunities and skills to affect the change they are seeking.
You can pray and support. Pray for the churches in rural Guatemala that they will teach seeking Biblical happiness and doing good. Pray for our Guatemalan brothers and sisters that they can implement the truth of God’s Word to affect change in their communities. We also ask that you pray and consider how you might use your skills to partner with us to provide Biblical, scholastic and medical education.
Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.
From time to time well intentioned people will express their desire to me to reach the “poorest of the poor.” This statement highlights the tension that often occurs when ministering in a third world country balancing preaching the gospel with addressing the physical needs created by poverty. Is the objective of ministry to eliminate poverty or to address the elements that cause that poverty? A society based on non Biblical principles will promote self advancement instead of community advancement.
Peter Wehner wrote, “A culture lives or dies based on its allegiance to unwritten rules of conduct and unstated norms, on the signals sent about what kind of conduct constitutes good character and honor and what kind of conduct constitutes dishonor and corruption.”Biblical character is what needs to happen in every community. The cycle of poverty will only be broken when we work in partnership with Biblical leaders who source their allegiance toBiblical integrity and not commercialism. Our goal is not to simply provide relief but to be Biblical partners with the local church.
One key part of our ministry that many of you directly support is Run:Hope. For just $1.50 a day 220 young people are learning principles and skills that will transform their community. They will have the hope to stay and serve their communities instead of leaving to seek work in another country. A part of that 1.50 per day is used to improve their education by providing a scholarship for 28 teachers to attend college to earn a teaching degree. The team at HBM deeply appreciates your support for this ministry. You may not supportRun:Hope. But you are supporting a ministry that believes in Biblical leadership and the local church transforming the community through Biblical teaching, educational opportunity and medical care.
Providing a meal is important, but only lasts for one meal. Partnership to walk in Biblical integrity changes the life of a community.
Acts 17:11b; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
“I remember that when I was a kid we used to walk 10 miles through the snow to school...” Do you remember those claims from the old-timers? I do remember walking a couple of miles to school when we missed our ride. My main motivation was fear of punishment if I missed school, so I trudged on. What has amazed our teachers in the Bible programs in Guatemala is that there are actually men and women walking two to three hours just to study the Bible! What drives them? It is a passionate desire to understand the Word of God!
This dedication made a deep impact on the last two short-term mission teams that we had working with us in Chel, Guatemala this past January and February. In January’s Bible Program training the students learned from Pastor Rocky of Oversea Chinese Mission the historical reliability of the Word of God. They were challenged in February by Pastor Ro of Living Faith Community Church of Queens, New York as he taught the the truth about sexuality. The training from both these partnering/supporting churches was well received. We are thrilled that these two pastors took the time out of their busy ministries to strengthen their brothers and sisters in Guatemala, and at the same time, found themselves strengthened and encouraged.
Please pray for the students in our current sessions of the Bible training program. We thank you for your continued support and prayers that uphold this ministry of strengthening the local church and communities of rural Guatemala.
Pictured below are Pastor Rocky from Oversea Chinese Mission and Pastor Ro from Living Faith Community Church Teaching and Preaching.
Biblical education is the foundation of all aspects of our ministry in Guatemala. God’s Word is the light that guides us down the path of life. We need God’s Word to give us context to all other knowledge and decisions. Medical education enables first responders from the local church to address the immediate physical suffering of the community supported by regular visits of volunteer professionals. School Education prepares the future generation by giving young people the opportunity to complete their education. Regular training for pastors and leaders strengthens the the church and builds community.
We have achieved a significant milestone toward addressing these opportunities with the mountain community of Chel and towns within a three hour walk. We have begun construction on the “Viala Training Center” dedicated to Biblical education, medical care and training, and the Run:Hope education initiative. With the help of two teams from the U.S., the perimeter walls have been built and the medical clinic portion has begun.
Following are some pictures starting off the school year in the education program. Please keep our teachers and students in prayer.
The future of any community is found in the young. In Guatemala we have Biblical programs to teach the leaders and we have Biblical programs to prepare adults to teach children. In addition we have youth ministry to train the future leaders of the communities. These youth have accepted Christ and have the desire to serve God in their church and their community. These young people are the future leaders who armed with Biblical principals will be the foundation of change. We are privileged to be serving them and their churches providing Biblical teaching and discipleship. Pray for these young people!
This past weekend we were privileged to have Pastor Rocky Chan of Oversea Chinese Mission in New York City serving with our team in Guatemala. The purpose of the trip was to learn more about the ministry and to participate in the Bible programs in two rural communities.
It was a memorable few days of ministry. After 10 hours of travel by pickup truck they arrived at Chiguatal. During the trip they learned that the wife of our host pastor had gone to be with the Lord and so Pastor Rocky was asked to share at her funeral. The next day they traveled to La Taña in Zona Reina where Pastor Rocky taught from the book of Genesis on Creation. That evening he spoke again in the local church.
Partnership with our supporting churches is a key part of the HBM ministry. Having Pastor Rocky participate firsthand in the Bible training program and to share personally in the life of one of our pastors deepens and strengthens both our ministry in Guatemala and our supporting church. Those who attended the teaching and the services were deeply appreciative and encouraged and, in turn, Pastor Rocky was enriched in his understanding of the work and in his vision of ministry partnerships.
We thank God for Pastor Rocky’s heart for missions and for all our supporting churches who faithfuly uphold this ministry by your prayers and support. Please pray as another supporting church sends a team later this month to the town of Chel for help in building a training center in this central community and uses some experienced bilingual teachers to encourage the English classes in the local school.
The HBM Team
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Once a month, this 60 year old pastor, accompanied by his two children walks approximately 10 km from his village to the center of Playa Grande, Ixcan, Quiche. His name is Pedro Pù Chic and he is the pastor of the church "Evangelical mission, Prince of Peace" of the Virginia village. This village is located in one of the largest and hottest of the municipalities of Quiche.
Pastor Pedro holds the study of the Bible in great esteem. God has put in his heart that he must study more so that he can more effectivley teach his congregation. As you can imagine, living in the rural areas of Guatemala does not make this easy.
The daily life of Pastor Pedro includes working daily in the fields to earn enough money to support his family. But though he is getting older it has not stopped Pastor Pedro from continuing his theological preparation. He attends the Biblical Leadership program with AGAPE (partner of H.O.P.E.) once a month. Pastor Pedro and his children sleep on the floor of the host church so that he can save money and be able to attend both days of the training. To travel back each day is not feasible because of time, safety and expense.
Because of the war Pastor Pedro has had few opportunities for a formal education. Since his native language is Ixil he will ask his children to assist him when he does not undertsand some of the Spanish teaching. They also assist him with his notebook so that he does miss any details. .
We are honored to partner with this man who has pastored his church for more than 15 years. Pastor Pedro is an example of the passion to learn more of God’s Word. We are thilled to be able to teach the Word to him and other leaders. Please keep Pastor Pedro and the village of Virginia in prayer this week.
This is our first customer!
Last week our team in Guatemala got together and held a two day yard sale with all of the proceeds going toward our Run:Hope teacher conference this coming June. It was exciting to see the team come together with a unified focus so that we can help provide a quality education to places far outside the reach of government middle and high school education. This conference is integral to our strategy for improving education and building a partnership among teachers for three large rural communities.
As we were preparing for the yard sale we had to sort through items that had been sitting around our house and offices for a number of years. Many of these were connected with special memories, but reminders of God’s faithfulness and provision each step of the way! We were able to reorganize, raise some funds for our conference, and work together as a team to be wise stewards of all the resources God has provided.
The ministry in the rural areas of Guatemala can be difficult. We need your continued prayers and support! We are committed to do what it takes to bring Biblical, medical and middle school education to our partner communities so that they can reach their own neightbors and students with hope based on the foundation Jesus Christ.
Thank you for your prayers and partnership.
The HBM Team