In the Fall of 2010, a mission team from Lakeside Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama excitedly boarded a plane headed to Guatemala. Nerves were overcome with excitement and a knowledge of God's calling to be a part of the ministry to the people of Guatemala. Every team member went with a challenge to let God do an amazing work in and through them. Hope White, a member of that team, had no idea how big the work was that God was about to do in and through her in Guatemala.
The team arrived in Guatemala and began to work in a local community building houses, providing medical attention, and sharing the Gospel of Christ. One evening the team had an opportunity to minister with a local church in El Tejar, just down the hill from the mission house. As Hope began to play with the children and share the love of Christ, one five year old child tugged not only at her hands but also at her heart. She looked down in to the broken and sad eyes of Cristina and in that moment their hearts became connected in a bond that would overcome language and distance barriers. Hope later reflected, "Cristina and I had an instant connection. I could not pinpoint why we instantly connected beyond my understanding. The only explanation was a God ordained connection for His bigger purpose." Cristina's Hope was birthed in that moment.
Cristina's story up until that moment was one of misery, lostness, and hopelessness. God had brought Hope to Cristina. And God had brought Cristina to Hope.
Over the next several years, Hope or her husband, Craig, and their sons would return to Guatemala a number of times. Their friend, Breck Ladd moved to a church in Columbus, Mississippi and continued to lead teams to Guatemala. When they could not be a part of the teams, Breck would always go by and check on Cristina and her family at least twice a year. Hope always sent messages and "goodies" to Cristina and her family. Each visit brought back a testimony of how Cristina was growing both physically and spiritually.
In 2015 a team partnered with the local church where Cristina lived to build additional gathering space. Hayes Rector was asked to help assist with the church building. He formed a special bond with a young boy there named Freddy. From the first moment they met, Freddy had been right in the middle of the men as they worked. He was full of life and smiles. By the end of the week Freddy had left his mark upon the heart of every man that served on the sight. Toward the end of the week something amazing revealed itself. When introduced to Freddy, his face was familiar to Breck. Freddy had the same eyes and sweet smile of his older sister, Cristina. God was continuing to bring this family in to the path of people who had a heart for the people of Guatemala.
In the Fall of 2017, Breck and Hayes were on a team headed back to Guatemala. The team had a last minute opening and Breck reached out to his friend, Craig, to join the team. Breck, Hayes, and Craig arrived in Guatemala a few weeks later and made their regular trip to check on Cristina, Freddy and their family. From the beginning it was an incredible connection as these two men began to share their stories of Cristina and Freddy. Upon arrival in El Tejar, they learned that Cristina, at twelve years old had graduated from her last year of public school and would now go to work full-time. Tuition for continuing her education was an impossible feat for her family. Hayes, led by the Lord, began to investigate what it would require to send Cristina to school instead of work. Before the week concluded, the support had been raised and Cristina was registered for the 2018 school year. Again, it was clear that God was at work. Once again, God had brought Hope to Cristina.
The teams had developed a relationship not only with this special family but also their church family. Through conversations with Max, the pastor in El Tejar, Hayes, Breck and Craig began to consider a ministry that would allow people in America to sponsor children in Guatemala. And the name, Cristina's Hope, was obvious. This partnership would allow sponsors to provide monthly support to cover the costs of a child's education and basic necessities.
We pray you will become a part of the Cristina's Hope family and bring Hope to Guatemala by sponsoring a child.