- Below poverty line 59.3% 59.3%
- Roman Catholic 45% 45%
- Protestant 42% 42%
- Atheist/None 11% 11%
- Other 2% 2%
EFM’s work in Guatemala first began in the 1960’s. Now from big cities to muddy, mountain ridges, Emanuel churches grace this beautiful country and spread the gospel far and wide, including into the neighboring country of Belize.
In the late 1970’s the church was fully turned over to the Guatemalan nationals. There are currently over 100 Emanuel churches throughout Guatemala, and the church is still growing.
Recently, the church purchased twenty-five acres of land just outside of the city of Jalapa for a campground. This will be a place for the national ladies’ retreats, national youth retreats, and the general assembly of pastors.
Another important ministry has been a Bible institute to train pastors and Christian workers. Hundreds of men and women have attended, and God has blessed that work abundantly. The institute is now operated completely by the nationals. The institute has extension sites in San Jose Pinula and Guatemala City. Eighty students are enrolled at the three sites this year. Many are going out each year better equipped to serve the Lord and their communities.
Hope Evangelical Bilingual Academy was started in January of 2008 with English curriculum. In late 2016, God opened the door for the school to use some of the extra rooms the Bible Institute had that were once a part of the residency program. This was a huge step in working more closely with the Emanuel church.
Missionary Keith Schaper led a change in the curriculum for the 2018 school year to all Spanish. This will allow more students to enroll because the cost would be much less and the children would be taught in their native language. The administrative committee agreed with the plan, and paperwork was completed to legally change the curriculum from English to Spanish.
We have 82 students enrolled grades PreK through 6th grade. As the Lord leads, we will open grades 7-9 next year and continue growing as God provides.
As we look into the future our goal is to get the school self-supporting, directed by the national people, and able to duplicate its success all over Guatemala. Several churches are asking for help to start a school in their community. Curriculum printed in Guatemala will be a huge help to these small churches with the lower cost and easier access.
Keith & Crystal Schaper
The Schaper family are currently serving as missionaries with EFM in Jalapa, Guatemala. They oversee Hope Evangelical Bilingual Academy with 82 students enrolled grades PreK through 6th grade.
They currently have five children: Kristyn, Owen, Megan, Jeren, and Ashlyn.
Caila Rice is currently serving as an English teacher and missionary wtih EFM in Jalapa, Guatemala.
At 12 years old, she sensed the Lord asking her if she would be his missionary. “I never had a specific calling to a particular place,” she says, “but have discovered through life's journey that my calling is wherever God leads me. I serve the people God allows my path to cross no matter if it is in the USA or abroad. I find it a great privilege and adventure to be in the work of the Lord!”
The Maya civilization flourished in Guatemala and surrounding regions during the first millennium A.D. After almost three centuries as a Spanish colony, Guatemala won its independence in 1821. During the second half of the 20th century, it experienced a variety of military and civilian governments, as well as a 36-year guerrilla war. In 1996, the government signed a peace agreement formally ending the internal conflict, which had left more than 200,000 people dead and had created, by some estimates, about 1 million refugees.
Guatemala is a predominantly poor country that struggles in several areas of health and development, including infant, child, and maternal mortality, malnutrition, and literacy. Guatemala has the highest population growth rate in Latin America, which is likely to continue because of its large reproductive-age population and high birth rate. Almost half of Guatemala’s population is under age 19, making it the youngest population in Latin America.
Guatemalans have a history of emigrating legally and illegally to Mexico, the United States, and Canada because of a lack of economic opportunity, political instability, and natural disasters. Emigration, primarily to the United States, escalated during the 1960 to 1996 civil war and accelerated after a peace agreement was signed. Thousands of Guatemalans who fled to Mexico returned after the war, but labor migration to southern Mexico continues.
– Information provided by CIA World Factbook