The Steed Family, Founders
We are Chris & Holly Steed. Thanks for visiting!
We have five children. Jack, Jon, Jed, Angela, and Kendy.
We first visited Guatemala in 2009 and were called to serve our neighbors and share the hope of Jesus Christ. In January 2011 we left our home in Jacksonville, Florida and were sent as missionaries from Emmaus Church of Jacksonville to the people of Magdalena Milpas Altas in Guatemala. Visit our website here to learn more about our family.
The Project For Hope Story
by Chris Steed
Before my wife and I relocated our family from Jacksonville, Florida, to the rural farming community of Magdalena Milpas Altas, we led a relatively normal American life. I had spent the past fifteen years working in sales and account management. Holly cared for our three boys and ran a home-based business. (In 2014 Kendy and Angela joined our family in Guatemala)
In 2008, I participated in a team at our home church that oversaw the formation of the 12x12 Love Project, Inc.. The 12x12 Love Project is a non-profit housing ministry that assists families living in extreme poverty in Magdalena and the surrounding villages. Through visits to Magdalena, our hearts were pulled to Guatemala as we sensed a higher purpose for our lives.
From 2011-2016 we were responsible for daily operations of the 12x12 Love Project. At the end of 2016, the project had constructed over 200 homes and impacted thousands of lives. During this time, we observed the plight of widows and single mothers in the community and identified key themes that keep these families in a generational cycle of poverty:
Lack of primary Education, Lack of access to employment, Lack of access to primary healthcare
These widows and single mothers needed work to become self-sufficient. As we looked more in-depth at the issue, we found that the lack of primary education was only part of the problem. The little work available in the area requires long hours and does not pay a livable wage. It keeps children out of school. It forces moms to look for small jobs such as laundry or sweeping the street to buy only beans, rice, and corn to survive.
At this point, God put an exciting vision in our hearts: A ministry for fatherless families that could assist with employment, healthcare, and education while investing in the lives of children. These boys need Godly examples of men. These girls need to know the love of a father. So we began investigating how to employ widows and single mothers to help them break the cycle of poverty.
In 2015, we began the ministry on an amazing 5-acre campus located in Magdalena. In 2017 we started a leather shop from scratch to create jobs for many families through the production of high-quality hand made leather goods. In 2018 we finalized a contract to purchase the entire campus complete with six buildings. In 2019 we began the sale of beautiful leather items made by the ladies at Esperanza Handmade our leather workshop. Project For Hope currently serves 15 families through high-quality child and adult education, healthcare, a feeding center, and a full training program for single mothers in budgeting, work training, and personal hygiene.
We’ve been asked at times if our work is mainly social or Gospel-centered.
We’ve been called to meet physical needs while at the same time sharing the good news of the Gospel that saves us. Jesus is our example, and while very imperfect, we strive to follow Him and make disciples while caring for the marginalized in our community, bringing glory to His name.