Jake '99 and Becky '00 Hjemvick from Wexford to El Salvador

Jake and Becky Hjemvick

"We Stepped Forward."

Jake '99 and Becky '00

Shining God's Light in El Salvador

Faithfully serving the Lord can sometimes mean giving up something that is extremely important.  For Jake and Becky Hjemvick, following God’s call meant giving up secure jobs and a comfortable life in Wexford, PA to serve in the mission field in Antiguo Cuscatlán, El Salvador.

Along with a few worldly possessions, Jake and Becky carried their six-year-old son, Adam, and four-year-old daughter, Abby, thousands of miles from home to serve as base directors for Christ for the City International (CFCI).  CFCI is a global mission organization that aims to transform the lives of communities in 15 different countries and develop leaders for Christ.  This is a calling to which they previously could not have imagined responding in a place for which they were once not at all prepared. 

Jake graduated from Geneva in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in engineering and Becky graduated in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in business.  He secured a job at Eaton Corporation.  At that time, Jake had no idea he would be giving up his nice savings account and 401k to live a life of continual dependence on God in a country he barely knew.

Jake and Becky’s call to the mission field began in 2008 after Jake returned from El Salvador with an evangelizing team.  Although this trip had a real impact on his life and faith, he did not immediately feel called by God to serve in El Salvador.  After Jake’s trip, Becky decided to follow in his footsteps in 2009 and plunged into the mission to help those in great need. 

During her trip, Becky’s heart broke for the country.  To prepare for future trips, Becky acquired the book, “Spanish for Dummies,” and began planning.  Over the next couple of years, Jake and Becky visited El Salvador approximately 12 times, and God challenged them with the feeling that there was more He wanted from them.  Becky reflects, “God gave me a passion for the country and people of El Salvador and a feeling of strong calling to serve the people here.” 

Although Becky’s heart was ignited from the very beginning, a heat of greater proportions was required to set Jake’s heart on fire for the people of El Salvador.  Resisting God’s call, Jake presented excuses concerning safety, education, and family, but God’s call was ever present.  Through every sermon, radio station, and book, God was commanding him to go.  God wanted Jake, and He wanted all of him.  

In 2011, Jake and Becky submitted their lives to God’s will and moved with their children to this new country to serve as missionaries for CFCI.  Jake recalls, “I realized that if I was going to keep saying I had faith in God, it was going to have to be more than just words.   I would have to live it out.  It was the scariest, most nonsensical thing I have ever done, but I have never once regretted it.”

Although wondrous and fulfilling, a life in tune with God’s plan comes with hardships and difficulties.  For Becky, the hardest challenge during their time of transition to El Salvador grew around her great love for her children.  Due to Adam and Abby’s lack of knowledge in Spanish and a new school environment, Becky was concerned that their strange, new home would not be a place where they could fit in.  By God’s grace, they quickly made friends, rarely complained about anything, and readily learned the new language with apparent ease.  Through everything, Becky and Jake were reminded that Adam and Abby are the Lord’s children, and He is in control.

Throughout the years, Jake and Becky have encountered various obstacles in their ministry such as language barriers and cultural differences, but God’s presence and provision have never left their side.  “I have found that when you yield your life to Him, He begins to reveal Himself everywhere...I have seen God’s hand clearly in so many things,” Jake attests.  Whether God’s provision was through an unexpected financial gift, an igniting passion from His Word, or the turned heart of a stubborn, tattooed, incarcerated MS-13 gang member, experiencing God’s way has been thrilling for Jake and Becky, utterly surpassing any perfectly executed strategic plan.

Reflecting back on his time at Geneva College, Jake clearly sees the Lord’s preparation for his current mission.  One of the greatest impacts of his Christian education at Geneva was the focus on student leadership.  As a foreign missionary and base director now leading a team of nationals, Jake realized that that there is no other way to lead but to follow the perfect example of Jesus Christ in servant leadership.

Service comes in innumerable forms for Jake and Becky.  Whether they are coaching volleyball, making crafts, teaching English, leading devotionals, or working with children, God’s light is being shared.  Becky also ministers to incarcerated women and their children in the prison.

For those considering the mission field, Jake advises to live and keep in step with the Spirit.  Living in the Spirit has had enormous effects on his life.  “I have known God so much more, and He has changed me as I have yielded my life to Him and His Spirit…I have found God leading me places I never would have gone on my own.  There is clearly no better way to live life,” he concludes.

Daily, Jake and Becky lean on God for enlightenment and support in their ministry.  Keep them in prayer as they shine God’s light in El Salvador living in step with the Spirit.

For more information about Jake and Becky as well as CFCI, visit: cfci.org/fundraiser/jake-becky-hjemvick