On January 7, 2020, an earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale shook the southern region of Puerto Rico in the early morning hours and caused massive devastation to the area.
In response to the disaster, Pastor Harold Espinosa, Alycia Hildebrand, Anita Rudi, and Kayleigh Peters travelled to the island in February. Working in partnership with their Pastor Rosendo, they visited the devastated areas, and distributed hygiene products, other necessities and toys for children.
This experience inspired Pastor Espinosa and Anita Rudi to create an organization that would work in partnership with local missionaries, organizations and churches, locally and abroad to reach the marginalized of our world for Christ.
Sixteen13 Ministry was born.
The Winkler-based ministry’s mission is to partner with and support local churches internationally to create ministries and organizations to reach the marginalized within the local communities and improve personal, social and economic development.
The ministry wants to provide and develop ministries that exist to support children in other countries, to support missionaries, to provide humanitarian relief and alleviate poverty. They also want to establish ministries, develop strong strong partnerships with the indigenous church and empower them, and provide effective training and discipleship.
This is all part of their ministry's purpose, also hoping to exemplify good stewardship of resources, build strong relationships with supporters, lead by serving, provide and operate housing, drop-in centres and schools, and to create jobs and improve and support communities in other countries.
“We’re very new, but we are excited to just serve,” said Pastor Espinosa. “It’s unique ... we actually have to go to an organization, send that organization funds and then that gets filtered to some missionaries. We equip our missionaries, we walk with our missionaries and we pray with our missionaries.”
The goal of the ministry is to support organizations, not just financially, but also in a practical and spiritual way by sending teams of volunteers from the Pembina Valley, medical supplies and aide, school supplies, Bibles, sponsoring children, building drop-in centres and other forms of assistance to regions in need.
“We are also working with the hearing impaired which is missionaries that have hearing-impaired christian schools reaching people,” said Espinosa.
“We’ll also be doing child sponsorship where kids can be sponsored from different countries with the hearing impaired, and the one’s that are not hearing impaired that can hear, all different types of kids.”
The organization will work with the Bunker ministry in Puerto Rico and look for a local ministry to take over their work, who they will equip.
Currently, the ministry is focusing on Uganda, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, Israel, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The ministry also wants to give back to the local community of Winkler and the surrounding area by working in partnership with local ministries such as the Bunker and Children’s Camps International.
“We’re going to walk with the Bunker, walk with Children’s Camps International, and other organizations that need help.” says Espinosa.
This includes looking for volunteers for local events.
“We’re going to get back to doing that and finding all those people in this community with their gifts, with their talents because not everybody has the same gift.
“We’re going to be working locally, and doing a lot of local helping to get things going in ministries.”