| Though a bit delayed in doing so, below we are including the 2022 Year-End report we received from Jesse Rivers, Abogar’s CEO. We hope that this document sheds some light on ways we are focused as a ministry, and ways God is working to use our ministry to touch and impact the lives of many children and families in Guatemala.
2022 CEO’S YEAR END REPORT
As 2023 is soon upon us, I reflect upon the year of 2022, and herein report of our progress and movement in 2022. In a time of reflection, I give thanks and praise to God for continuing to carry us forward, and for helping us to build up. There may be a difference in desired timing and results, but He does sit on His throne and know what we need, and exactly when we need it. May this report give Him the adequate praise and glory He alone deserves. Looking back over this past year, I am filled with contentment and gratefulness. It is with great praise to God that I, Jesse Rivers, submit this 2022 Abogar CEO’s Year End Report.
2022 has been quite the blessed year, while also presenting challenges and obstacles, though not unsurmountable. As with each year, for Abogar International Ministries, this year began with Abogar’s annual board of directors’ retreat in San Diego, CA. Due to politics in Guatemala, I needed to cancel my flight, and attended the retreat virtually. Julie Heisey, Abogar’s board of directors’ President, did a great job of leading the retreat, and it was effective and productive. It was determined, in the retreat, that our theme for 2022 would be Building Up. We have worked hard to build up this year, and God will bless our perseverance and faithfulness in this call.
On February 14th I hired Crystal Cox as Abogar’s Social Media Specialist. Fortunately, she has been doing a wonderful job! Since last fall, I was working with a volunteer, and then including Crystal, for us to do a reveal of our new website, on our 10th year ‘birthday’… 03/01/2022. Crystal and the volunteer worked well together, and our revealing of the new website went very well. Crystal has been on top of keeping our social media outputs (Facebook, LinkedIn, & Twitter) updated, which has been a great help this year!
As we’ve focused on building up this ministry, there have been challenges to our forward movement. 2022 began with Guatemala still having lots of imposed restrictions on activities, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Fortunately, on June 25th, AboGua officially re-launched our Vidas Nuevas weekly ministry time with the children of the Colonia Felicidad in Villa Nueva, Guatemala! We have watched a good team of volunteers form together! Praise God! On December 18th we held our year-end event for Vidas Nuevas and took 21 children/youth to a lakefront chalet, and there we enjoyed the pool, World Cup, soccer, good food, games, and crafts together! It went very well. We praise God, and thank the good team of volunteers!
From our team of volunteers, some of the young men have asked for me to do some leadership training with them. Abogar bought some John Maxwell books in Spanish… Attitude 101… that I brought back here to Guatemala with me. We have only been able to meet up as a group a few times, due to sickness, holidays, and scheduling conflicts, but I am very hopeful to see this group grow and meet regularly, starting in late January 2023. Pray for this Leadership Development Group, that we can each grow to be more like Jesus in leadership and interactions with others.
In 2022 we have also maintained our partnership with, and support for, Special Kids School, though regular visits were not allowed again this year. Due to some changes, Sonia, the co-founder of Special Kids School, was not sure what 2023 would look like, without a ministry covering. However, Guatemala’s government did make a one-year exception for Special Kids School, and they will be able to give classes in person in 2023! Praise God! Fortunately, we also were able to do a special year-end program with Special Kids School on December 17th. Irene and I were accompanied by Elmer (AboGua board vice-president) and his son, David, to distribute lots of food and house supplies for 23 families of the students. We also were blessed to have ~30 children in attendance, and we played games, taught the significance and importance of Christ in the Christmas story, and shared the gospel message. It was such an amazing event and opportunity to reconnect with the children and families, and to continue encouraging and blessing the staff! Personally, I am very thankful to Abogar’s board for our recent vote to continue supporting Special Kids School in 2023! Thank you!
On August 20th, we officially celebrated 10 years of ministry (completed 03/01/2022) in Pennsylvania. We had a great turnout and a marvelous time celebrating together on a donated local farm. We had a great slideshow and time of sharing, an amazing catered lunch, tractor rides, dunk tank, games, pool activities, and great fellowship, reminiscing of our first ten years of ministry. Praise God for good weather, great fellowship, and a great new connection with the owners of the space!
Several times in my prayer time recently, I have sensed God confirming that our focus for 2023 should be Steadfast Pursuit. Many may know the song, ‘The Steadfast Love of the Lord’. I think about the word ‘steadfast’ and recall that we are called to longsuffering and endurance. To be ‘steadfast’ is to be unmoving, unwavering, and enduring. It is a long-term calling. A pursuit is something that is active and ongoing. We are in pursuit of strengthening and preserving families; promoting and building lifelong families and lifelong homes. What Abogar has been called to is NOT a momentary call, not a small endeavor, but rather something that requires a steadfast pursuit! However, I want to remind us that the Word tells us that unless the Lord builds the house, we build in vain. Our first and foremost steadfast pursuit needs to be God Himself! Heading into 2023, I would challenge each of us to make an even more marked and intentional steadfast pursuit of God, because, as we do, our unity and forward movement for this ministry will be so much stronger. May 2023 find us steadfast in this pursuit, and may we not grow weary or cold.
2022 was a year of great triumphs and challenges. With grateful hearts for where and how God has led, and is leading us, may we be perseverant and steadfast. May we pursue God’s heart for these precious children and families, and may we listen well amid this pursuit! I anticipate 2023 to be a year of some significant transitions and advances, but no matter what comes our way, if God is the center and focus of our pursuit, we will be right where He wants us.
I also would like to thank each of you for the care, concern, encouragement, and love expressed on behalf of my wife, Irene, and our precious baby boy, Jedidiah. We are truly blessed, and continue trusting God for continued health, growth, and stability for each of us! While 2023 has some big uncertainties for us, we feel secure because God is faithful, and you each have been encouraging and supportive as well! Thank you for caring for me beyond my role as CEO, but as a brother and friend, and for including me and my family in your prayers and concerns!
• 3 New Posts/Pages (-3 posts compared to last year)
• 962 Likes on Abogar’s Facebook (+17 since last year)
• ~15 Speaking (formal) Opportunities (+5 since last year)
• ~ 40 Sharing Opportunities (informal)
• 1 Year-End Ministry Time with Vidas Nuevas children
• 1 Year-End Ministry Time with Special Kids School
• 1 Social Media Specialist added to team (2/14/2022)
• 1 Assistant Director of Vidas Nuevas added to team (9/10/2022)
• 1 10-Year Celebration for Abogar International Ministries (8/10/2022)
• 3 teachers’ salaries paid – Special Kids School
• Several Food/Supplies Distributions to Families of Special Kids Students