It is a great honor to share with you the story of a lady I respect and admire: Judy Hernandez. Over the past four-plus decades the Lord has worked in her life and ministry in powerful ways. The result is thousands of souls saved.
Judy met her husband, German Ubico, in Washington D.C. German was from Guatemala and was attending IBM computer training. Judy was working in a dental clinic. Neither of them had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior at that time.
They were married in 1962 and moved to Guatemala City a few years later. Judy had three young girls ages 6, 5, and 3 and did not speak a word of Spanish. However, through God’s divine providence the family moved close to American missionaries Tim and Roberta Rovenstine.
Tim and Roberta took them under their wings and invited them to a small prayer group held in their home. Judy accepted the invitation because they were the only people with whom she could communicate in English. Little did Judy know that Roberta and Tim would become lifelong friends.
Judy visited Roberta every afternoon and learned more about Jesus Christ. Over a nine-month period of time, the Holy Spirit moved in Judy’s heart. During that time, Judy lost a baby shortly after she was born. Roberta was by her side every step of the way, supporting her and demonstrating the love of Christ.
During this time of soul searching, Judy remembers hearing the song Amazing Grace for the first time. The words filled her heart with joy and hope and still do to this day:
Amazing grace, How Sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found.
T'was blind but now I see.
At age 30, Judy accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior and her life completely changed. It was fitting that her dear friend Roberta was the one who lead her in the prayer of commitment, insuring that she will spend eternity in Heaven with Christ and her loved ones who had also accepted Christ.
Once Judy accepted Christ she immediately started exhibiting the fruit of the spirit as stated on Galatians 5:22-23:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control...
At the same time, Judy began praying that her husband, German, would accept the Lord.
Through the calling of the Holy Spirit, Judy’s witness, and Tim’s friendship German accepted the Lord shortly thereafter. They bought a farm in a very arid and hot part of Guatemala. They had no running water or light. God used the four years in the desert to shape them for the ministries that He had planned for them. It was during this time that they decided to become missionaries and serve the Lord full time.
In 1973, German began attending Liberty Bible College in Pensacola, FL. During the three years German attended Liberty, Judy worked to support the family of seven. These were lean and challenging times for the family, but the Lord provided all they needed.
In 1976, the family returned to Guatemala as missionaries with Global Missionary International?. They were sent to San Juan Ostuncalco by their sponsor church El Calvario. German immediately started planting churches in the town and outlying villages. Judy took care of the children and household and supported German through encouragement and prayer.
Sadly, a terrible tragedy struck the family in May of 1982. While returning from a mission conference in the U.S., German was involved in an accident in Mexico and was killed. At this point, Judy had a difficult decision to make. Did she accept the offer of Liberty churches to help her move back to the U.S. and get resettled or did she stay in Guatemala and continue to serve the Lord as a missionary with Global Missionary International??
After much prayer, conversations with her children, and counsel from mature Christian friends she decided to stay in Guatemala. During her prayers, the Holy Spirit clearly spoke to her, assuring her not to be afraid because He would be with her every step of the way. As always, He was faithful to that promise.
In 1983, Judy opened Alpha & Omega Christian School with 65 students. Today the school has a student enrollment of over 900 students. The school teaches students who are pre-kindergarten through grade 12. In addition, the school provides training to prepare students for additional study in computers, dental care, medical care, graphic design, and music.
Over the past 34 years, the Lord has been faithful to provide the funds the school needed to add classrooms and workspace for such a large enrollment. Two years ago they added a second floor that allowed them to enroll an additional 100 students. At the end of last year they demolished part of the school and built a new kitchen, bathrooms, and classrooms that allowed them to enroll an additional 100 students. This makes them the largest school in San Juan Ostuncalco.
Three years ago as Judy and I discussed different ways of spreading the Gospel. We discovered that we both had a desire to share the Gospel through a dental clinic. Over the next year, God provided the resources we needed to remodel a section of the school to house the dental clinic and to equip it with state of the art dental equipment. The clinic is used to train students to be dental assistants, to provide dental treatment for the students, and to share the Gospel with the community through dental outreach events.
Judy is looking forward to opening a medical clinic to provide basic medical care to the children and the community. The dental and medical clinics are a wonderful way to share the love of Jesus and the Good News while improving the quality of life for those who receive treatment.
I have learned many things from my friend Judy: how to sacrifice personal comfort to serve the Lord, how to persevere in the face of adversity, how to risk asking God for big things, how to step out in faith, and how to be patient.
Thank you, Judy, for your service to the town of San Juan Ostuncalco and the Kingdom of God.