Monday, January 30, 2012

A Critical Need

Yesterday we received a call from one of our families in La Gomera. They were calling on behalf of their friends who have a 4 year-old little girl who has some major health problems and needed immediate attention. So this morning we loaded up and headed out on the 1 1/2 hour trip to meet with them.

IMG00350-20120130-1048When we arrived we found a beautiful little girl named Alicia. Her big eyes and affectionate smile captured our hearts right away. But as we spoke with the family, we realized that she was in serious trouble. She has kidney disease and severe anemia. In addition, she has had surgery to by-pass her lower bowels and allow for a direct flush.

The family’s needs are great as the dad works but only makes about Q.1200 each month (about $155.00 US). That would normally be enough for them, but Alicia’s medicine costs more than his salary.

The most expensive of her medications costs Q.116 ($15) per injection and the doctor is recommending she receive three injections a week. Our ministry cannot afford to pay for all of that, as the total would top $200 a month for all of her meds. However, I would like to be able to pay for one injection per week along with the rest of her medications which would total around Q.700 ($90 US). The family has said that they will pay for a second injection each week. The doctor has told them that she will likely not live without these medications.

If you would like to contribute some or all of this need then please e-mail me at We have purchased a two week supply to enable them to begin the treatment, but we cannot sustain the continued purchase of these medications long-term.

I apologize for bringing yet another need before you, but feel that I have no other recourse. Thanks for your prayerful consideration.

Daryl, Wanda and the Crew

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mexico, Jose and Our One Year Anniversary

Please note: There is now a “Follow By E-mail” option at the right of this page. If you enter your e-mail address there and click “Submit” you will receive my blog via e-mail each time I update.

DSCF5277My 4-Runner is still out of commission as Ali makes repairs. So, most of our ministry has been limited to close to home. However, we did load up our van and made our bi-annual trip to Tapachula, Mexico to renew our visas. We will begin the process to become residents soon, making this trip unnecessary. But for now we enjoy this as a family vacation.

DSCF5256Now that I know to ignore our GPS, this trip went far smoother than the last one. We had no death-defying trips down steep mountains in the rain. We did, however, encounter a two-and-a-half hour traffic shut-down due to a multi-vehicle accident that blocked the road. But since we were not in the accident we saw no reason to complain. We spent the time playing games as a family and talking about the last year in Guatemala.

DSCF5246We spent all our time at the motel swimming, playing games, eating and sleeping. In other words, it was the perfect vacation. Food in Tapachula is very expensive, so we saved money by packing our food and a hot plate and eating in our rooms. (But we did make an exception and splurge for Dominos Pizza.) It was wonderful to have a few days with nothing to do but enjoy the family!

EarthquakeMaybe you heard about the offshore earthquake on Saturday. Tapachula was the closest city to the epicenter, so we experienced our first real earthquake. We regularly receive little tremors at our home in San Antonio Aguas Calientes, but you can’t really classify them as true earthquakes. This one was the real thing as I was knocked from my feet when I tried to stand. The side-to-side motion made Wanda motion-sick and scooted items across tables. It was strong enough that it was felt back at our home in Guatemala, over 175 miles away. Thankfully, since it was offshore, no major damages or injures occurred. Yet another first for the Fulp Family.

We returned home on Sunday, enjoyed the end of the playoffs, and then got back to work bright and early on Monday morning. And the work was waiting. To be precise, 55 e-mail messages, 6 Facebook messages, 6 voice mails and a 1 hour meeting was waiting. After Wanda coaxed me from a fetal position and helped me back to my desk I was able to wade through it all.

IMG00317-20120125-1043This morning Gerardo and I went to visit a little guy names Jose Alejandro who lives on the outskirts of Ciudad Vieja. Their house is way up the base of the volcano Aguas where property is cheaper. Jose is four years old and has Cerebral Palsy. At least we think he does. He has never been formally diagnosed. However, his mother had complications at birth and all the symptoms are there as his legs are spastic in tone and scissor when he tries to walk or stand. They are going to a doctor tomorrow for the proper diagnosis.

IMG00319-20120125-1044In the meantime, several doctors have prescribed “helps” for him. One of these “helps” is a pair of “braces” that are actually just a pair of high top shoes with a metal bar between them. The doctor thought that since his legs naturally scissor when he tries to stand and walk that this device would help. As the parent of a daughter who has CP I know that this is one of the worst things that can be done as it prevents independent leg movement which is necessary to ease the spasticity. Fortunately, the family realized that this was not helping and stopped using this torture device some time ago.

There are six people who live in the household. Both the father and the oldest son work in the fields when work is available, but their combined income is about Q.1000.00 each month. That comes to just under $130.00 a month. Imagine trying to feed and clothe a family of six on that amount, plus care for the medical needs of a son with special needs.

We are making arrangements to provide him with a wheelchair. Praise God we already have a sponsor for this. We have also set up an appointment to have him casted for leg braces that will truly help him learn to walk. The cost of these braces is $200.00. We are also in the process of arranging for him to get physical therapy at Hermano Pedro. The cost will be about $17 a month. If you are willing to sponsor Jose for either the one-time expense of the braces or the monthly expense of therapy, please contact me at

Today we celebrate the one-year anniversary of our move to Guatemala. Time has flown, so in some ways it is hard to believe that it has already been a year. However, when we look back and see how far God has brought us and all that He has accomplished, it is amazing that it has only been a year. He is so good and so faithful! All praise and glory to Him!

That is all for now. Blessings from Guatemala!

Daryl, Wanda and the Crew

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

2011 Year End Report

I have recently completed the 2011Year End Report for Hope for Home Ministries. Out of a desire to make this report accessible to as many people as possible, I am posting it here. Hopefully it will not be as dry and boring as many of the reports I have been forced to read through the years. So, pop some popcorn, put on your jammies and snuggled up for a good read!

Hope for Home Ministries - Year End Report – 2011

As I look back on 2011, I see it as a year of huge transitions and rapid growth. That is true for our ministry and our family. God has brought us so far in the last 12 months, and we are excited about where he will take us in 2012. As we begin a new year, I want to take a moment to look back and inform you of what God has done and then look ahead to our goals for the coming year.

Our biggest transition has occurred as we have now began our ministry in Guatemala. On January 25th my family and I landed in Guatemala City and moved into our new headquarters/home in San Antonio Aguas Calientes. This 6000 square foot facility houses our family and group home for children with special needs on the first floor and hosts our visiting ministry teams on the second floor. Since our work in Guatemala has three areas of focus, I will fill you in on each one at a time.

Guatemalan Ministries

1. Hogar de la Esperanza (Hope Home)

clip_image002Our group home for children with special needs, Hogar de la Esperanza, is not yet open. The licensing process is long and extensive, and much of our first year has been spent laying the necessary groundwork to begin that process. Language study has taken much of our time and is still continuing. In addition, we have focused on developing contacts and mentors who have been through the difficult task of licensing and who are willing to help us through it.

We have now received the necessary partnerships to begin that process and will do so early in 2012. We have secured an excellent and honest attorney who was recommended to us by several Christian group homes who have used him in the past. The process involves two steps, becoming a recognized association with the Guatemalan government and receiving our official license as a group home. We have been told that the completion of these two steps will take two to three years and cost around $6000.00.

However, we have plenty of ministry to do during the process. Hogar de la Esperanza is serving as the headquarters for our ministries here and is already seen as a place to seek assistance for people with special needs.

2. Wheels of Hope

clip_image004Our fastest area of ministry growth has occurred in our 4-wheel drive ministry which is called Wheels of Hope. This ministry provides support to Guatemalan families that have family members with special needs. Often disabled individuals in Guatemala end up in institutions as there is no health insurance or government assistance here. As a result, families are overwhelmed by the expenses involved in caring for them. Our rural village ministry involves finding these individuals and providing support by providing wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, medicine, physical therapy, water filters and food so that those with special needs can remain in their home and get the care they need.

We added our first 4-wheel drive vehicle in early May of this year and began our trips into the rural villages. Since that point, it has been difficult to keep up with what God is doing.

As we have found individuals in need of assistance, we have done careful evaluation to determine both the legitimacy and extent of their needs. This is done through interview and analysis of both household income and expenses related to the care of the family member with special needs. Sometimes the only assistance required is the one-time provision of a wheelchair or piece of equipment. Other times we find that more extensive and long-term intervention is required. All of these needs are met through sponsors from the US who respond to the needs as they are posted in my blog at

In the last eight months of 2011 this ministry has assisted 41 families. Of these, we are providing long term support to 27 in the form of food, medical care, therapy or medicine. In addition, we have provided nine wheelchairs, five pairs of AFO braces and 27 doctor visits. But all of this physical support we are providing is not the focus of our ministry.

The real priority is to bring glory to Jesus and draw people into a personal relationship with Him. As a result, during every visit into every home we talk about Jesus and pray with the family. And each time we are thanked for the help we provide, we tell them that the help comes from Jesus. This is a very religious culture in which almost everyone believes in Jesus but very few people know Him personally. Through our work, He is opening doors for us to share the Gospel, and He is working in lives. Here are just a few stories:

  • This afternoon we were invited to the home of one of our sponsored children. His mother just wanted to visit with us for a while. During our time together she asked me again why we were helping her. So, I shared my testimony and how much God loves her and her family. With tears in her eyes she told me that we were the first people who ever cared enough to help her son. And she told me that God was real in our ministry in a way that she had never seen.
  • clip_image006A few weeks ago we received a call from the mother of a four year old for whom we are providing essential medication. She told us that before we came to her village she was desperate. She wanted to believe that God cared about her and her son, but he was so sick and she had no way to help him. One night she wept and prayed that if God was real would he please send help. The next morning we came to her door, brought by a neighbor. She said that she knew at that moment that God was real and that He loved them. They are now attending an evangelical church and are asking more and more questions each visit.
  • In June we found an elderly lady who was anemic, malnourished and dying of pneumonia. We immediately arranged to get her to a doctor who hospitalized her for five days. She has now recovered completely. The family shared with us that 15 minutes before we came to their door they had been praying that God would please send someone to save her life. Now, every time we visit we sit and talk with her, her children and her grandchildren about Jesus.

God is moving and He is being glorified through this ministry. We are hoping that God will provide more manpower and another 4-wheel drive vehicle so we can add a second rural village ministry team in 2012. Both the opportunities and needs are growing significantly and one vehicle and team is just not enough to keep up with this ministry.

Our Board of Directors recently voted to hire a young Guatemalan named Gerardo as my full time assistant. The benefits that Gerardo brings to our work are too numerous to share here, but let me simply say that he is very effectively sharing Jesus while providing some much needed relief to my schedule. In addition, through his connections and bargaining ability he has already saved our ministry enough each month to pay for his salary. I praise God to have this co-worker alongside me in ministry.

3. Encarga Pastor Training

clip_image008On August 15 Pastor Ron Ecklebarger and his family arrived in Guatemala to start and oversee our new Encarga pastor training program. Encarga means “entrust” in Spanish and is based upon 2 Timothy 2:2:

And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.”

The focus of this ministry is to provide both theological and practical training and equipping to rural pastors. Many pastors in rural settings have little or no training and base their ministries on what they have heard from others. This can be dangerous and deceptive. Even good men who love Jesus and want to follow Him have unknowingly embraced false teachings.

Pastor Ron is seeking to develop a comprehensive training program that will enable these men to complete the majority of their studies in the homes with a combination of self-study and regular visits from a coach who will mentor and instruct. In addition, there are plans to provide regular training seminars in a central setting.

Currently Ron is still involved in language studies and is working to develop connections with other ministries that are doing similar work. His desire is not to reinvent the wheel, but to build on existing programs and improve them for our purposes.

Beginning in February he will begin working with his first student, Gerardo, the assistant I mentioned above. This will be a learning process for both teacher and student as Gerardo will be helping Ron learn more about Guatemalan culture and churches while Ron teaches him about ministry.

US Ministries

As I share what God is doing in Guatemala, one area of struggle we are facing is our US Ministries. One of our priorities when Hope for Home was founded was to provide education to American believers and challenge them to adopt hard-to-place children in response to the biblical command to care for orphans. For the first two and a half years of our ministry we were successful in the endeavor and saw 81 children find homes.

When my family and I moved to Guatemala we left this task in the hands of Ron and Melanie Ecklebarger who took over the traveling and speaking ministry. However, since they moved in August, there is no one stateside serving in this vital role. We are currently looking for someone to fill this position, but have not found anyone at present.

The qualifications for this role are as follows:

  1. A Christ-followers whose discipleship is evident in their life
  2. A parent of an adopted, hard-to-place child
  3. Public speaking skills
  4. Management and organizational skills
  5. Effective one-on-one skills in developing contacts and scheduling speaking engagements
  6. A willingness to travel on weekends

While we are not in a financial position to pay a salary, the person would be welcome to raise support to fund their position. Travel expenses would be paid. Would you please pray with us that God will raise up someone to fill this position?

While we are struggling with securing someone to cover our public speaking ministry we are blessed with our wonderful Office Manager, Emily Vance. She has kept our stateside office running smoothly and has provided vital support to us in Guatemala as well as our donors and adoptive families in the US. I don’t know what we would do without her crucial work.

Looking Ahead to 2012

In the coming year there is a lot to do. Would you please pray with us toward these goals:

  1. Secure permanent residency – Currently our family is living in Guatemala under a tourist visa. This means we have to renew our visa in Guatemala City after three months and leave the country by driving to Mexico after six months year after year. While many people do this long term, it is expensive for a family of 11. Early in the new year we will be beginning the time consuming process of become permanent residents of Guatemala.
  2. Receive our association paperwork and begin the licensing of our group home – As stated earlier in this report, this is an expensive and time consuming process. Please pray for honest and responsible representatives in the Guatemalan offices and for the provision of necessary funds.
  3. Add a second 4-wheel drive team – We need another family to move down and work in this vital ministry. In addition, we need a second 4-wheel drive vehicle. Please pray for both of these to be provided sooner rather than later.
  4. Finalize the structure of our pastor training program and have resources and curriculum in place for larger groups of students – This is a tremendously difficult task that has been given to Ron Ecklebarger. He will be working with men who have little education and some who are even unable to read. Developing an educational program that will encompass these needs and effectively equip is a challenge. Please pray for wisdom and direction for Ron.
  5. Become increasingly effective at sharing the gospel in this culture – As stated earlier, this is a very religious culture but many do not know Jesus. The difficulty of sharing Jesus in homes steeped in religion is compounded by many social taboos that are considered offensive. We are only now beginning to really understand the Mayan people and their mindset. But with each new insight, our ability to effective share Jesus increases. Please pray that 2012 will be the year in which we will see many come to true relationship with Jesus.

Thank you for all your prayers, financial support and encouragement in 2011! Without you, we would not be here doing this ministry!

Because of Him!

Daryl I. Fulp

Director of Hope for Home

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gagging and Geysers

I know, great name for a blog. Hang with me and you will understand where that title originates.

income-tax-tomThe beginning of a new year is my least favorite time. While most people are embroiled in the illusion of keeping their New Year’s resolutions, I am up to my neck in reports, paperwork, and government forms that go along with being the Director of a 501c3 charity. And, for those of you who know me, you know how much I just love office work. (I case you can’t pick-up my very subtle use of sarcasm there, let me help you out…THAT WAS SARCASTIC!)

So, for the last 12 days most of my time has been spent in writing reports, filling out forms and pouring over financial reports so that I can actually get back to doing what I love. Yesterday gave me that opportunity as we loaded up the 4-runner and headed to El Progreso to visit with our families there.

IMG00291-20120111-0921We started at Marta’s house, and that is where the gagging part of the title comes into play. We first met Marta about three months ago. She has a nasty circulation sore on her leg that she has had for 20 years. When we first found her she had an infection, and we sent her to a doctor who put her on antibiotics. The infection cleared up quickly, and we stopped in to see her about three weeks later when Dick Rutgers, Gerardo Hernandez, Jeremiah and I were heading up to Peten. Dick has had experience in treating these kinds of sores and brought along special medicated wraps to use. When we visited her in late December her leg was looking much better and healthy tissue was growing, so I expected more of the same on this visit. I realized I was in for a surprise when I sat down next to her and she placed her leg up on a bench for me to unwrap and examine. The smell took my breath away, and I recognized before starting that she was infected again. By the time I had the first layer of wrapping off my eyes were tearing and I was swallowing down my gag reflexes. When I removed the final layer of wrapping it was literally dripping wet from the drainage. There was an angry infection in the midst of the healthy new tissue that had grown.

We arranged for her to go back to the wound specialist on Saturday (the first day he would be back in town) and I treated her with antibiotic ointment and gauze wrap. This was no small task since the wound was weeping so much that I had difficulty keeping it dry enough for the ointment to stick. She was making great progress until this infection. Please pray for Marta that God will quickly heal the infection and that the wound healing can continue.

DSCF8326From there we went to visit Don Jorge. This gentleman is 89 years old and lives with his daughter Romelia. He is desperately in need of a new wheelchair because his current one is falling apart. When we first met him, we were taken to his home by a man name Gregori, who was related to Olga who died back in November. He told us of several people in the area with special needs and asked us to come up and see them. Don Jorge was one of them. During that visit we arranged for Gregori to bring Olga’s wheelchair to Jorge. The following week we called to see if he had done so, but he did not answer and would not return our calls. In December, we stopped in to check to see if the chair had been delivered, but no one was home. When we arrived yesterday his daughter acted distant at first and we wondered why. She proceeded to tell us that she had called Gregori to ask about the chair, but he was hostile toward her. He told her that they had given the chair to someone else and that he didn’t work with “those people.” He also told her not to call him again. As it turns out, he thought we would pay him for finding people with special needs for us to help, and when we didn’t give him money, he got angry.

We took the time to explain to Romelia that we did not, indeed, work with Gregori and that we were very sorry for how she had been treated. We explained that I would return in a few weeks with a chair for him and that if she needed anything for her father that she should call us and not Gregori. She was greatly relieved and very thankful.

It is a good thing that we did not run into Gregori yesterday, because I was ready to lay hands on him in Jesus’ name. There are so many wonderful people here who work hard to help their people, but there is the occasional person who just wants to exploit need for a profit. This man was one of them.

IMG00292-20120111-1015We also checked in on Miguel who receive a wheelchair from us last month. We wanted to see how he was doing and how the chair was working for them. His daughter told us how his grandchildren had been taking him on walks and he was able to get out of the house for the first times since his stroke 8 months ago. It has also saved his two daughters’ backs since they no longer have to carry him from room to room.

We then delivered food to Amilcar and his family. He is an adult man with Down’s Syndrome who is cared for by his sister. They struggle to pay their bills and eat, so our month food delivery is greatly needed.

IMG00293-20120111-1108From there we went to put new wheels an Marian’s wheelchair. Her old tires had gone flat, and I was able to get new ones from Bethel Ministries. The only snag was that the new wheels were wider at the axel and the existing release pins would not work. So, we began the hot and sweaty task of removing the tires from her old wheels and putting the tires from the new wheels onto the old wheels. The best ways to describe this feat is to have you imagine putting 10 cats into a box that is 2 foot cubed and having one of the cats being a mountain lion. However, with three of us working together, we got it done. We then had the pleasure of telling her and her mom that we have a sponsor to provide new leg braces for her. Marian’s face lit up the room when she heard.

DSCF8339We also visited with Britani, a two-year-old little girl in need of surgery for cleft foot and arranged for her to come in to Hermano Pedro for evaluation and to get on the waiting list of the next orthopedic surgery team that is scheduled to come through in March. She has already had two surgeries at the national hospital, but they seem to have done more harm than good. We are hoping that they will be approved to have the surgery when Faith in Practice comes from the States in two months.

IMG00299-20120111-1157We rounded out our visits by delivering a box of Kids Against Hunger packets to Carmen and her two daughters Manuela and Marsela. These packets are literally keeping them alive now as they have no income. They are close to being evicted because they are so far behind on their rent payments, but they are being charged way too much for the shack in which they are living. They are about $440 in arrears, but I hesitate to provide that for them because the “house” is in such horrible shape. I would like to get them out of there into a more suitable home. Please pray that God will give me wisdom to know how to properly help.

We stopped for a quick bite to eat and then headed for home. This is where the geyser comes into the story. We had just made it back through Guatemala City when I started to hear a funny noise coming from the engine. I checked the gages, but they all read normal. After another mile or two I realized something was wrong because I was losing power. I had just decided to pull over when the engine died. I was able to coast to a decent spot to stop and saw smoke coming from under the hood. The engine had overheated badly without ever showing a problem on the gauges. It was then that I realized that my radiator was dry, even though I had checked it and all my fluid levels two days earlier in preparation for this trip.

IMG00305-20120111-1546Fortunately we had a nearly full cooler of drinking water which we were able to use to partially fill the radiator. However, as you can see from the photo, I was impatient and started filling it too soon resulting in our imitation of Old Faithful. The engine eventually cooled down and we were able to drive to another station where we added more water. We decided to drive and pray our way to Chimaltenango so that I could leave the truck with my mechanic, Ali. However, we once again overheated and had to pull over about a mile from his shop. Some very enthusiastically helpful men went and got water and spent the next 45 minutes dumping over and into my radiator to help it cool down. Eventually we were able to start it and drive it the rest of the way to the shop. There we discovered that Ali is out of the country for the next 10 days.

So, my 4-Runner is out of commission for a while. Praise God that Bob Ecklebarger has agreed to use his Nissan XTerra to help us get to a couple of towns early next week that are awaiting our visit.

So, there you go. From gagging to geysers in a single blog!

Blessing from San Antonio Aguas Calientes!

Daryl, Wanda and the Crew

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Message From My Daughter

Last night during family devotions my daughter, Brittney, shared part of a message that she wrote to one of her good friends in the States. I was so impacted by its message that I felt it would be good to share it through this blog.

It tells of her special relationship with a little guy from Hermano Pedro named Leonel. It gives one of the best views and descriptions I have ever seen of the heart of our ministry. But, more importantly, it give one of the best views I have ever seen of the heart of God. Enjoy it…with tissues nearby.

Britt and LeonelWhen I hold little Leonel in my arms, I care nothing about the fact that he cannot speak to me or wrap his arms around me. I care nothing about the fact that he cannot lift his bottle or a spoon to his mouth, wipe his drool, change his dirty diaper, or do anything to care for himself. On the contrary, I LOVE to sit by his side or cradle him in my arms and do everything that I can make him comfortable and happy and to help him understand how much I love him. And the joy that it brings me when his eyes light up or a smile crosses his lips is far more valuable to me than anything he could bring me through further "capabilities". And it is completely inexplicable!

DSCF5097Leonel has done nothing to "earn" my love. There is nothing that he has given me or offered me to produce this love for him in my heart. In fact, to even imagine such a thing being the cause for my love for him just cheapens it! I despise the thought. No THING or CAUSE could produce this love for him in me. My joy comes from the very act of loving him. The one and only thing that I desire from his returned love. My favorite moments are the ones when I look in his eyes and can see that, although he cannot speak, he knows that I love him and he loves me, too. And cleaning him up, changing his diaper, feeding him mashed potatoes one slow, small bite at a time, cradling his frail body in my arms, re-positioning him for comfort, asking endless numbers of yes-no questions to find out what he wants and needs, and whispering words of love into his ears...are all my favorite uses of my time because they let me show my love to and spend my time with little Leonel.

And one day it hit me. It is as if God is saying, "You know that love that you have for Leonel?...That is just a small glimpse of the love that I have for you. You are weak, frail, and helpless. You are incapable of cleaning yourself up and meeting even the most simple of your needs. There is absolutely nothing that you can do or give me to earn my love. And yet you have a quantity and magnitude so much greater than you could ever imagine.

I DELIGHT in you, and my greatest joy is found in seeing you smile and knowing that you are catching even a small glimpse of the love that I have for you. And there is absolutely nothing that you can offer me...except your love.

You don't know what love means yet. You have a distorted and entirely weak perception of love and what it means to give and receive it. And yet...I delight in your best efforts. You are my little child bringing your best piece of artwork (a wrinkled piece of paper covered with crayon scribbles), and I am your proud daddy hanging it on the fridge for all to see. I don't mind that you aren't a professional. That does not mean a thing to me. I just like to see you try because you know that I love you and you want to love me, too. One day, I will bring you HOME and then I will get to see you paint like an artist. But for now, this wrinkled, scribbled paper is the absolute best thing that you could give me. And I DELIGHT in it, because I DELIGHT in you. You are mine and my greatest joy is found in loving YOU."

That is all for now, and it is enough. Blessings from Guatemala.

Daryl, Wanda and the Crew