Hope Alive Foundation helps orphans, distressed, abandoned, and poor tribal children by providing a place to stay for the children from remote villages who have no access to education. We want to promote their standard of living through education, not only literacy but practical skills that they can use in their villages to improve their lives. To contribute to the reduction of victimization of minors at risk of being- or who have already been trafficked into sexual exploitation. It is our desire to preach the gospel to the unreached tribal people in Northern Thailand tribal outreach.
-Jephte & Apple Garcia, Founders of Hope Alive Foundation
Apple is the eldest of the four children of Nacio and Mina Poja who were missionaries among the Mangyans of Mindoro (Philippines) many years back. She was twelve when she received Jesus Christ into her heart in a Sunday school class. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1991. In spite of the hectic schedule in secular studies, she also did Bible studies through Seminary Education by Extension, as well as teaching a Sunday School and a Bible study. Once she graduated, she became a member of the Seed of Life Medical Mission while working in Medical Towers Makati and HealthKard. She was in her 5th year of work when she resigned to undergo cross-cultural mission training at Asian Center for Missions.
February 05, 1997 – three months after her graduation at A.C.M., she left for Thailand to live with the Karen tribe in the north of Thailand, Chiang Mai. A city girl living in the mountains, she lived without electricity, potable water, or soft bed. She suffered mosquito bites, strange foods, and risked her own life many times. For more than a year, she traveled to different villages giving vaccinations to children, teaching basic healthcare to adults and encouraged young tribal teachers by sharing with them effective ways of handling Daycare Centers in spite of the language barrier.
She also managed a hostel with 20 high school students where she handled their daily evening devotions. She was like a young mother to them, as well as being a teacher and a friend.
In 1999, after two and a half years of serving God on the mountain, she decided to leave and join the Filipino missionaries in the city who taught English as a way of outreach. Also, because of her nursing abilities, she joined the ministry of the local church in their Home Care ministry that reached out to people with A.I.D.S.
Jeph, the second youngest, was brought up in a Christian family. Because of that, he was exposed to the need of sharing the love of God with others. In his younger years, he served as a youth mobilizer and was involved in full-time ministry. He then decided to take Bachelor of Christian Ministry in Biblical Studies at Bethel Bible College and graduated in 1992. He pastored a church in Olongapo for six years and yet he felt that something was still missing in his life. Deep in his heart, he longed to serve God in a more meaningful way, so he began searching for something.
Jeph and Apple came to know each other through a common work in Chiang Mai. Both being missionaries, they did tribal outreach together. Having the common vision of reaching the Thais for Christ and they prayerfully considered partners in mission and in life. They married on March 31, 2001.
As a couple, it is their vision to work with the Hill Tribe people and the local Thais as well. There are over half a million tribal people in Northern Thailand who have chosen to establish their communities in relative isolation on the lowland. They practice Buddhism and Animism and are waiting to hear the Gospel.