If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.
This motto has guided Bill and Linda throughout life, initially to have travel adventures around the globe, and ultimately, to embark on the spiritual adventure of seeking to help others by following what they sensed was God’s direction. Through many twists and turns, ups and downs, they landed with the Mayan Pokomchí of Guatemala.
In 1999, Bill and Linda traveled to San Cristobal, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, to live and work with the Mayan Pokomchí tribal group living in the mountains of that area. They have been there ever since, first with Food for the Hungry and then with Helps International. In 2004, God, through amazing and at times painful events, led them to form their own organization, Hope of the Pokomchí, known locally by its Spanish acronym, ASOSAP.
“ASOSAP has been the source of HOPE to accomplish a goal which is to help others as Jesus commanded us to do in His Word. To be able to help others and to BE helped by others has been an fundamental part of my life. ASOSAP has also enabled me, as a woman, to be an example for other Pokomchís, encouraging them to strive to achieve their dreams.”
Glenda’s responsibilities include oversight of Community Education, Health, and Scholarships, and all other ASOSAP programs. She is also the Internal Accountant and a Driver for ASOSAP.
Glenda was hired in 1999 as a Spanish/Pokomchí translator, secretary, and community educator. Her formal education was sixth grade primary. Through ASOSAP scholarships, she continued her schooling which was Middle School, Basic English, Computer, and Accounting. Glenda is currently studying Social Work on Saturdays, without a scholarship.
Date and Place of Birth: August 1, 1983 in San Cristobal, Alta Verapaz
She is married with one daughter; she is the oldest of 1 brother and 4 sisters; her Father works on a casual basis as a mason; her Mother is a housewife and takes in sewing in her home. She and her extended family reside near San Cristobal in the village of Nisnic.
Prior to coming to ASOSAP, Glenda taught literacy classes for 9 months, then made and sold paper from the maguey plant. Glenda speaks English, Spanish, and Pokomchí.
“ASOSAP has given me the opportunity to learn and improve on construction techniques and skills. I have also learned to love God and depend on Him. Finally, I have learned to feel responsible to help others and show them how to love God.”
Sebastian was hired in June 2010 as an assistant in Construction. Prior to coming to ASOSAP he obtained a degree as an accountant, worked in his father’s leather goods store, and owned his own small dry goods store.
Date and Place of Birth: January 20, 1985 in San Cristobal, Alta Verapaz
He is married with one daughter. He is the youngest son of 3 brothers and 2 sisters. His Father owns a shop which sells shoes and other leather goods; his Mother is a housewife. His family resides in San Cristobal; he resides with his wife and daughter in the nearby village of Nisnic.
Sebastian speaks Spanish and Pokomchi.
“ASOSAP has been positive for me in the following ways – I am now a Professional Nurse, I have gained much work experience, and I have been able to help the neediest people in Pokomchi communities. Personally, I feel very content and thankful to God for all the opportunities that working with ASOSAP has given me. I am happy to be able to apply my knowledge and experience to help my people and to show them the love of God in my life as we of ASOSAP interact with the people in the rural communities.”
Conzuelo’s role in ASOSAP is Coordinator of the Health Program, which includes the Chronic Patient Program, 3 rural Health Posts, 3 rural nurses, and 2 scholarship nursing students. She is also Coordinator of the Community Education Program, which involves preparing schedules, curriculum, and teaching bi-monthly educational sessions in each partner village.
Conzuelo was hired in May 2009 as an assistant in the Community Education Program. At the time, she was married with 2 children and was finishing the third year of middle school, supported by her husband. While working for ASOSAP and through an ASOSAP scholarship, she studied professional nursing for 4 years, graduating as a professional nurse in December 2014.
Date and Place of Birth: June 27, 1982 in San Cristobal, Alta Verapaz
She is married with one daughter (her son is now deceased), and she is the fifth of 1 brother and 9 sisters. Her Father, now retired, worked for the local hydro-electric plant, and her Mother (deceased) was a housewife. Her growing up years were not stable or of good quality because, at the time, her father did not know God. She and her family reside in a multi-family home in San Cristobal.
Prior to coming to ASOSAP, she taught literacy classes. She speaks Spanish and Pokomchi.
Thanks to the income and flexibility that ASOSAP has given me, I have been able to continue studying. Also, I am able to be with my family and do not have to leave them for long periods of time to work. I feel very blessed to be part of ASOSAP because my desire has been to serve my people and I give thanks to God that in ASOSAP I am able to do this. In ASOSAP I feel that it is my ‘family’. I have learned how to love my neighbor, and have grown in my spiritual life.
Alvaro’s responsibilities also include assisting in construction as needed and being in charge of the audio-visual equipment. He also meets all international teams at the airport in Guatemala City.
Alvaro was hired in 2011. After joining ASOSAP he completed Middle School and is now studying for a Bachelor in Sciences, with no scholarships.
Date and Place of Birth: June 27, 1981 in San Cristobal, Alta Verapaz
He is married with one daughter; he is the fourth of 4 sisters and 3 brothers; his Father, who is deceased, was a healer and seller of natural medicines in rural communities; his Mother is a housewife. All the siblings help their mother economically.
Prior to coming to ASOSAP, Alvaro finished sixth grade primary, traveled and worked extensively around Guatemala in different jobs, with different companies as a surveyor’s assistant and driver. His big regret is that this work took him away from his wife and 2 (one deceased now) children; he feels that he didn’t love or care for his family as he should have and that he didn’t get to be there as his children were growing up. Alvaro speaks Spanish and Pokomchi.
“ASOSAP is an organization formed by 2 people who have great hearts to serve others – William and Linda Brierly. I do not have sufficient words to describe these 2 people, except to say that they are great “parents” who have a lot of love for their “children”. Also, for me, ASOSAP is like my family who guides me to be a person of goodness and positive change and to seek to follow God’s path for my life.”
Sonia was hired in January 2014.
Prior to coming to ASOSAP, Sonia lived and studied for 4 years in a boarding school in Guatemala City through a scholarship from the Catholic Church. There she completed middle school and one year of high school. After returning to Alta Verapaz, she studied English for 3 years in Coban.
Date and Place of Birth: February 19, 1993 in the village of Sarrax-och, Alta Verapaz
She is single and one of 5 brothers and 4 sisters. Her Father is a farmer and part-time carpenter; her Mother is a housewife and keeps a market garden to help the family income. Her family resides in the village of Sarrax-och. Sonia rents a room near the ASOSAP office and goes home on weekends.
Sonia speaks Spanish, Pokomchi, and English.
I am proud to have the opportunity to work for ASOSAP because I am learning how to help others. It also gives me the opportunity to enroll in middle school to restart my education, and to seek God so that I can be a better person and be a good example for my family.
Mario started working with Hope of the Pokomchi/ASOSAP in May of 2015. The second of 8 sons of his subsistence farmer father and housewife mother, Mario also has 3 sisters. Mario received the standard Pokomchi primary school education through sixth grade. At the age of 17, Mario left home and apprenticed for 2 years as a mason/builder. He then worked as a builder in a sawmill that makes wooden platforms.
Rebekah was first connected with ASOSAP when she went on a missions trip with them in March 2015. Before leaving for Guatemala, God was working and changing things in her life in preparation for serving in Guatemala full time. During the trip, God called her to work in a children´s home in San Cristobal, through an introduction by Bill and Linda. Rebekah has been in Guatemala since January 2016. Rebekah knew very little Spanish before coming to Guatemala and learned through immersion at the children´s home, Spanish lessons in San Cristobal, and Spanish school in Antigua. When the work with the children´s home finished, Rebekah was lead to work with ASOSAP and has been working with them since November 2016. She is continually amazed at God´s faithfulness and provision in bringing this all together. Rebekah is supported as a missionary by Commission To Every Nation (CTEN) and is working as a long term volunteer with ASOSAP.
Before Guatemala, Rebekah worked in Canada (In Victoria and Salt Spring Island, BC) as a Registered Nurse, supervising home support.
Date and Place of birth:
April.30th, 1985 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
She is single and has 2 younger sisters. Her parents live in Sooke (her hometown) and work full time in Victoria. Her sisters live in Sooke and Victoria. Rebekah speaks English and Spanish.
Michael and Annie took their first trip to Guatemala in March, 2000. On this trip, they were introduced them to Bill and Linda as well as the wonderful people of Guatemala, and a friendship began that has grown over the years. Since then, Michael and Annie have returned to Guatemala many times supporting ASOSAP on short-term mission teams doing construction projects, education and children’s programs. Michael has also participated in the Bible seminars with many of the Pokomchí pastors.
In 2013, Michael and Annie were asked to join the ASOSAP team in a more official capacity. After a season of prayer, it was agreed that they would serve as Regional Coordinators acting as liaisons between the Pokomchí people and their partners in North America. Michael and Annie will also be working in partnership with Bill and Linda providing spiritual direction and oversight to the team in Guatemala as well as serving on the Board. The long range plan is to eventually fill Bill and Linda’s shoes as they move into retirement.
Michael and Annie have been married since October 2000, and they have three children – Cole, Claire, and Cate. Michael received a bachelor’s degree from Wayland Baptist University and a master’s from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He currently pastors a local church in Haslet, TX. Annie completed a bachelor’s in business from Texas Tech University and later earned a teaching degree from the University of Texas at Dallas. Annie has spent the last 10 years as a stay at home mom serving alongside Michael in the church but recently has taken the position of Minister to Children.
Hope of the Pokomchí, Inc. – is a registered, 501(c)(3) non-profit in the USA established in 2009. In Canada, Hope of the Pokomchí is a non-profit under the auspices of Clearwater Christian Church. Hope of the Pokomchí in the USA and Canada exist to partner with, support, and empower ASOSAP.
Asociacion Sakombal Pokon (ASOSAP) – is a registered, national non-profit in Guatemala established in 2004. The name is in the Pokomchi language and means “Light of the Pokomchí”. ASOSAP is run by Pokomchí with International Coordinators in the role of facilitators and consultants.