The story begins in 1993. Rudi had purchased land on an agreement with a few men that he would personally work off the debt by doing manual farm labor. The check they were given to buy the land didn’t clear and Rudi was left with the debt. The people who committed to following him and help launch the school grew worried and abandoned him for “safer” government jobs. Rudi was left alone with debt on the land, a building that needed to be built, and students ready to start classes.
Thinking back on that trying time Rudi said, “If I didn’t believe God was behind this ministry I would have given up a long time ago, but He has promised his provision, and we will be faithful no matter how long it takes to see the promise fulfilled.”
Instead of giving up, Rudi’s faith grew stronger and his heart softer. He trusted God to do many great works. Today, God has blessed Saber y Gracia with more than 250 students and a dedicated staff of 20 teachers. There is still great work to be done, and many hands are needed to do so.
When Rudi was asked, “What has been one of the best moments you have had as an educator?”, he said, “One of my first students just graduated law school, and she is a woman.” Guatemala is a beautiful country but sadly there has been a great lack of development due to years of violence, poverty, and lack of education. Because of the oppressed behavior in Guatemala, having women graduate any level of school is a victory, let alone law school!
“It has always been on my heart to have a scholarship program for special cases such as families living in extreme poverty and families with multiple children. The last 26 years have been a financial struggle.” – Rudi Pineda
Rudi has never taken a paycheck in 26 years in his teaching career. He farms land in the evenings to earn a living. I will say that part again. He has never taken a paycheck from the school, of which he started. Wow!
Like you, I have had the good fortune of meeting many interesting unique people… some powerful, athletic, smart, rich, poor, and so on… but never have I met a man like Rudi.