Kris first came to know Copán on a short term mission trip during high school in 2004, and he has looked for every opportunity to return ever since! Having a passion for youth ministry and missions, Kris left rural Vermont to study Biology Education and Spanish at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky. During and after college Kris has served and taught all over including Kentucky, Vermont, Honduras, and China. It wasn’t long before Kris heard the call to return to Honduras, and in 2012, came to Copán to teach at Mayatan Bilingual School. After volunteering a couple hours a week with the UrbanPromise Honduras youth programs during the school year, Kris decided to make it official and launch into full-time work with UPH! After spending time in Camden, NJ as an apprentice in UrbanTrekkers and receiving his Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification, Kris returned to Honduras to start and direct the Copan branch of UrbanTrekkers. He is extremely excited to work with youth to help them grow as servant-leaders who engage their world for Christ.
Luis Ortiz • UrbanTrekkers Assistant Director
Luis comes from a rural community called Sesesmil Segundo near Copán. Since his teenage years he has been involved in farming activities like planting corn, beans and coffee. In 2005 he emigrated to Copán Ruinas to go to high school and study Business Administration at university while working at the same time. In July 2014 he participated in a 5km race which UPH organized and this is how he found out about UPH. Getting to know the program UrbanTrekkers in February 2015 he decided to get involved as a volunteer taking charge of the rooftop garden. In 2016 he was given the opportunity to do something he is passionate about: be Assistant Director of UrbanTrekkers, a space where he can give support to young people from Copán to develop into better leaders for their community. For Luis it is important to remember that we are ambassadors of the Kingdom of God on this earth and that helps have a positive impact on other people. Luis likes sports like middle-distance running (10k, 21k) and cycling, exploring new places, computers, and the typical Honduran food.
Franqui is one of our longest standing volunteers with UrbanTrekkers Honduras. Franqui literally was the one who got Trekkers off the ground back during our pilot program of 2013. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Franqui is known as a local because of his wife and two sons who are from Copan. With one of the most adventurous spirits you will ever meet, Franqui has shared his familiarity with the surrounding Copan mountains to help lead our youth on local day hikes as well as several overnight expeditions throughout the year. If you were to meet Franqui, the first thing you would notice is how gentle, loving, and fun he is to be around. A father and local school teacher by trade at both a local bilingual and public school, Franqui is a pillar of character and an inspiration to all our youth. His faith shines through all he does; he lives out what Jesus said: “I came that they would have life…a fullness of life…”
Having recently moved to Copan from the city of Choloma, Honduras, Jose Miguel and his wife Cynthia became part of our family of staff and volunteers at UPH summer 2014. Ever since his arrival last July, Jose Miguel has jumped at every chance to volunteer and lead with Trekkers. Not only has he become our main driver for local hikes and overnight excursions, Jose Miguel has also become a steady influence for the youth who Trek with us. Our young men need more examples to follow of faithful and loving fathers and husbands like Jose Miguel. His influence extends beyond just a bike coach; he has become a mentor, discipler, and example of patience, persistence, integrity, and commitment to our youth.
Kristen Pierce • Mayatan Teacher & Volunteer
Kristen, another one of our earliest volunteers, has been hiking and biking with UrbanTrekkers Honduras since our pilot program in 2013. Kristen began her time in Honduras volunteering with Casita Copan, a local orphanage and daycare center for single moms. Now, she not only continues her relationships with the kids at Casita, but she teaches full time secondary English & Literature at the local Mayatan Bilingual School, and still somehow finds time to invest in the youth here at UPH! Kristen’s example of compassion, service, and strength has empowered our young women to see all they can accomplish.