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Hope to the Hopeless

One of the ministries I’ve been able to be a part of since returning to Guatemala has been with some of the local shoe shine boys.


In Antigua, there are groups of youth who make their living by shining shoes of passers-by. These guys pool their earnings together to survive. Often as many as 4-5 live in a one bedroom house. With hands that appear permanently stained with shoe cleaning product, these guys work 7 days a week, scratching to survive on a daily basis.




While being out of town, some of the missionaries at the base started relationships with groups of the shoe shine boys. They have invited over for Easter, played soccer in the market, and given them bibles to read.


I would like to highlight one of them. His name is Ovidio.

 Photo: The Shoe Shine Boys take the championship! First time invited and first time to get a trophy. Ryan Otto in the gray shirt/green shorts is one of our leaders.

                         Ovidio is the second from the left. Four shoe shine boys are in this picture.


Ovidio is 18 years old.


I took Ovidio out to lunch last Thursday to his favorite place, Pollo Campero (Guatemalan knock-off of KFC).


Ovidio is from a town called Huehuetenango, appx 6 hours away by bus. He has not seen his family in years.


At an early age, Ovidio worked the fields, chopping and selling wood to help provide income for his family.


                   Common way wood is transported for local use


Ovidio has only completed 2 years of school.


I shared the gospel with Ovidio at Pollo Campero. He told me that he is considering accepting Christ, but he didn’t want to just jump into it.

I spoke life over him, speaking into his future. The Lord has great plans for him.


As I spoke over him, there was a change in his expression.


Like a tire with a puncture, his hope for the future had been leaking with the everyday grind of shining shoes. That shining shoes is as good as it will ever be. That he has no future.


The Lord, however, says otherwise.


For the first time in a long time, hope of the future was being renewed in Ovidio. A smile creeped along his stain-covered face.


Ovidio said those words were nice, filled with love.


I asked him how he felt about everything I shared.


He said, “Really good. All of a sudden I have this warmth in my heart that wasn’t there before.”

I said, “Dude, that’s the Holy Spirit. You are a believer, man.”


Keep praying for Ovidio. We are planning on meeting every Thursday. He has a bible and can read but he doesn’t comprehend much in Spanish, so we will be studying the bible together.


The Lord has his eyes on these boys that are so often over-looked. Ovidio is just one. More will come.

In Jesus name.


  1. Gabe – tell Ovidio that I first began to understand God’s heart for the world in his hometown of Huehuetenango when I was his age. God spoke to me and gave me a destiny there.

    God is speaking to him in the same way and he has a destiny. I hope to meet him one day, but until I do, thanks for being there in my stead, Gabe. As you father him, you have the privilege of calling out greatness in Ovidio.

  2. Gabe, great to come across your post today. Keep going to the poor and broken. Love your heart man!

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