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Pastors, Leaders in Guatemala Experience Unspeakable Joy, Heartbreaking Sorrow

When presented with a FireBible, the ministers' joy overflowed; coming to realize how important it was to reach children with the gospel left many weeping.
David and Mary Boyd, newly appointed FireBible ambassadors for Life Publishers, knew the Guatemalan pastors and leaders they were going to be training would appreciate the gift of a FireBible, but they weren’t quite expecting this!

“Pastors were breaking out in tears, some dropped to their knees, others were filled with unspeakable joy when we presented them with a FireBible (formerly known as the Full Life Study Bible),” states David Boyd. “You have to understand, for many of these leaders, it’s been a lifelong dream to have a study Bible, let alone a Pentecostal study Bible! Their reactions were amazing!”

Boyd explains that in developing countries, such as Guatemala, many times the pastor of a church has little if any formal Bible training. Some are simply the first person to be saved in a community and become the pastor by default.

The FireBible (the Spanish translation is called Vida Plena) Boyd says, is basically Bible school for the pastors.

“Many of the pastors live too far away from or can’t afford to attend Bible school,” David Boyd says. “The FireBible comes with 77 essays, that often include dozens of Scripture references, on topics such as Communion, the Holy Spirit, the Second Coming, angels, demons – all the major themes of the Bible; really what a professor might teach in Bible school. So, for these pastors, the FireBible becomes like their Bible school — it’s in an invaluable resource.”

Dave Amsler and his wife, Debbie, have been serving as missionaries in Guatemala since 2008. He says that the cost of a study Bible is beyond the means of most of the ministers and leaders he works with – some have been saving for years in hopes of one day purchasing a study Bible.

“If we held a $50 workshop in the United States, that same $50 fee would be equivalent to charging about $500 in Guatemala due to the vast difference in economies,” Amsler explains (according to WageCentre.com, the average salary in Guatemala is roughly $133 per week — less than $7,000 a year). “However, for this workshop, we have been able to provide scholarships for pastors and leaders to attend.”


The Boyds were in Guatemala to conduct six training workshops over a 10-day period by invitation of the Amslers. The Amslers, whose ministry focus is reaching children and young teens with the gospel, take a very rounded approach to that ministry.

Dave Amsler explains that their focus is on the 4-14 window – children ages 4 to 14 — as it’s been determined that is the most effective time to reach the future of Guatemala with the gospel message. However, even though they have ministered to tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of children (already more than 5,000 students in assemblies this year), the Amslers understand the shortcoming of seeing students accept Christ, but then not having a church ready with trained leaders, resources, or sometimes even the physical space to disciple them.

And that’s where the Boyds come in.

The Boyds, who spent two decades leading the national Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge (BGMC) office, working with countless children’s pastors, ministering to kids, and training leaders throughout the U.S. and around the world, recently transitioned to Life Publishers as FireBible ambassadors.

The Boyds were able to pack 25 Spanish FireBibles — 100 pounds of Bibles — into their luggage to give to lead ministers of the churches hosting the seminars as well as to use in drawings for leaders attending the seminar.

One of the pastors who received a FireBible, was a new pastor, who’d never been to Bible school because he was an ex-gang member, and at age 14 had gone to prison for 10 years. In prison, he became a Christian. When he got out of prison, he told the gang he was quitting to become a pastor — they attempted to murder him several times.

“Eventually they saw he was the real deal — he was becoming a pastor — and they stopped trying to kill him for leaving the gang,” Boyd said. “But his body is covered with tattoos, and he felt like he didn’t fit into the Bible school, so when his name was drawn and he was presented his own FireBible, he was just floored that God had chosen him to receive this gift.”

“Although the Bibles were given away, they weren’t free,” Dave Amsler notes. “The seminar, the Bibles, the resources that we distribute are all very valuable. Many people have sacrificed and given through Light for the Lost and World Missions to provide these resources, for which we — and the Guatemalan leaders — are so thankful.”

In addition, David Boyd recently wrote and published a book, Strong Enough to Last. An inspirational training resource, the book shares on how to minister to children, while also encouraging children’s ministers to consider God’s calling to children’s ministry a potential lifelong calling.

“And thanks to BGMC, the Amslers were able to have my book translated and then they printed 2,000 copies in Spanish and 1,000 in Kekchi (also Qʼeqchiʼ), another language subgroup,” Boyd says. “It makes a real difference to have a resource available in a person’s mother tongue as it allows for a much deeper understanding.” Boyd says he was told his book was the very first AG resource ever translated in Kekchi.

The combination of the FireBible and children’s ministries expertise made the Boyds the perfect fit for what the Amslers were working to accomplish through the series of seminars — trained leaders not only inspired to disciple children, but with the knowledge on how to disciple children effectively.


To the surprise of everyone, including the Amslers, the seminars were packed as more than 700 ministers and leaders — often coming from hours away by bus or foot — attended one of the training sessions.

“There is not much emphasis on reaching kids (by the national church) in Latin America,” Boyd says, “so, I started sessions by pointing out how the Bible says how important children are, then the things Scripture says about why we’re supposed to be teaching children, and then I’d explain how to do that.”

The response by ministers and leaders was surprising in its depth and sincerity.

“In every presentation,” Boyd says, “leaders seemed to breakdown before we were done, under the Holy Spirit’s conviction. They came to realize, as we shared our hearts and God’s Word, how critically important children are.”


In the Guatemalan Assemblies of God, there may be no person more well-known or revered than John Franklin — the U.S. missionary who was chosen to be the first superintendent of the AG in Guatemala.

In 1941, Franklin began holding services every day at a church he founded that year in Guatemala City. These services led to a revival, which led to a large evangelistic center being established in the city and helping to firmly establish the Assemblies of God in Guatemala.

An article appeared in the April 11, 1942, Pentecostal Evangel, sharing about the Franklins' ministry.

What does a long-sense-forgotten 82-year-old article have to do with the Amslers, Boyds, and workshops held in 2024?

Let’s call it a God thing; for that particular article from that particular 82-year-old Pentecostal Evangel was the article Darrin Rodgers, director of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center, happened to choose to appear in AG News while the Boyds happened to be ministering in Guatemala.

The “home run” is that within the article, it is revealed that the people attending Franklin’s daily services in Guatemala City were mostly children! Franklin, a hero of the Pentecostal faith in Guatemala, in essence launched the Assemblies of God in Guatemala through ministry to children!

“Mary saw the story online on AG News and it became a part of our presentation,” David Boyd says. “A coincidence? That was no coincidence! It really made an impact on the pastors and leaders.”

“It reminded them that our Movement started with children,” Dave Amsler states. “Of course, we don’t ignore adults in the least — we must have ministry to both . . . but that message, with that reminder, really resonated with the leaders, with many openly weeping, and one pastor coming up to me and whispering, ‘I’ve got to change.’”


Although the Boyds’ ministry was considered an overwhelming success, the Amslers have their work cut out for them.

“Every one of our national and regional leaders already want us to come back and continue with the training,” Dave Amsler says. “And I’ve already been asked to present the workshop in at least 30 more locations, including in the areas where 92% of the churches speak Kekchi.”

Also, as they continue to partner with local churches to do assemblies in public and private schools, the Amslers are continuing to encourage churches to expand their children’s areas.

“Often, following an assembly, the next Sunday the local church has a lot of new kids showing up,” Dave Amsler says. “One pastor had 100 kids show up after our assembly — he had to enlarge his church . . . when kids hear the gospel in an age-appropriate way here in Guatemala, it’s clearly evident that their hearts are ripe for the harvest.”

For more information about the Amslers’ ministry, click here. To learn more about the Boyds ministry, see David’s Facebook page.

Dan Van Veen

Dan Van Veen is news editor of AG News. Prior to transitioning to AG News in 2001, Van Veen served as managing editor of AG U.S. Missions American Horizon magazine for five years. He attends Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, where he and his wife, Lori, teach preschool Sunday School and 4- and 5-year-old Rainbows boys and girls on Wednesdays.