My name is Hope R. Shukers, and my given name is Esperanza Rodriguez. I was born in Fort Worth, Texas. I am a first generation U.S. citizen, and my parents were from Mexico. I am the middle child of a family of five children. I have two brothers and two sisters. The oldest brother’s name is Angelo, the oldest sister is Martha, my youngest sister is Juliana, and our baby brother is Freddie. My daddy’s name was Angelo Rodriguez. He was very proud that he had served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He worked for The Mexican Inn where he started out as a waiter, promoted to manager of the downtown location, and before he died he was the general manager over all three Mexican Inn restaurants in Fort Worth. My mother’s name was Elidia, but everyone called her Lilly. She was a full-time mother and had her hands full raising five children. Growing up we were very poor, but I never really knew that as a child. We didn’t have our own rooms, clothes, or toys. Everything we had we shared. My family was very close to all our uncles and aunts. We spent Sundays at church and celebrated holidays and special occasions together. Family was very important and still is to this day.
I became a Christian during a Vacation Bible School in l961, the year I turned twelve, and was baptized soon after. I attended our neighborhood Baptist Church. I remember looking up to all the Christian women who lovingly taught me about how much Jesus loved me. I feel that was the beginning of my desire to serve and share with others about how much God loves us.
After graduating from Trimble Tech High School, I attended North Texas State University for a year. I had hoped to become a social worker, but I was young and in love and decided to get married in l968. I married my high school sweetheart, Bill E. Shukers. We have three wonderful children. My oldest son is Michael Angelo, our middle child is Stephen Edward, and my beautiful daughter is Angela Rene. We have been blessed with 4 grandchildren—Nicholas, Garrett, Lily, and Milo.
I always knew God wanted me to work with people, so He opened the doors and I spent 25 years as a human resource manager. After my time spent in human resource, the Lord led me to work with Crowley ISD as a school secretary.
After marrying, we moved to the north side of Fort Worth and bought a small frame home. I found a new church home, North Fort Worth Baptist Church. It was a great place to grow in the Lord. After about a year I started to volunteer in the nursery. I loved working with the toddlers and soon was asked if I would take over teaching the 4-year-old class. I prayed about it and felt led to teach the class, and for the next 9 years, I was blessed by those little ones. We moved to The Edgecliff Village, and again I started to seek where God would lead me and my family to a church home. God led us to Southcliff, and I have been a member here for 36 years. My first year I attended Bible study, but soon I felt led to work with the preschoolers again, so for the next 13 years, I taught 4 and 5-year-olds. God has always given me a heart for children. I returned to a ladies ’class several times, but I went back to be with the children’s group for about 15 years. I currently am attending a ladies’ class that has been such a blessing to me.
During the time Southcliff was remodeling, services were being held in a tent outside. One Sunday morning an announcement was made about the ESL outreach program that they needed volunteers to teach. God spoke to me and told me that I needed to volunteer. I had never taught adults, but I had no doubt that this was what God wanted from me and that He would take care of all the details. I continued to pray about every step. I attended the training classes, and, with God’s grace, I taught my first class. I only had six students, but it was such a blessing every time I looked into their eyes, and I knew they had just learned a new word or phrase. It has always been such a joy to know that I am doing exactly what God wants and to see Him be faithful year after year bringing the students, teachers, and other volunteers that are needed to serve these students.
In the last few years I had some physical challenges and had to give up my class, but again God was faithful and I was able to return to teaching the BB class. I just loved how eager my students were to learn English. I still feel blessed when one of my students understands a new word or phrase.
I have always enjoyed working with children, so when I had to have knee replacement and was unable to climb the two flights of stairs to the loft to the ESL classes, God opened a new opportunity to serve ESL. I was able to teach the children of our ESL students, a kindergarten class. It was so much fun, but it was also very challenging because many of these children did not understand much English. We played games, did crafts, sang songs, and worked on basics like the alphabet and numbers. This past year God called me to do something different again. I worked with the babies, making it possible for their parents to attend ESL class. I had some rough nights because some of these babies had never been separated from their mothers, so bless their hearts, they might cry for an hour or more before they fell asleep or calmed down enough to start playing. I enjoyed playing with them or just rocking them to sleep. I have a new understanding of how important these workers are to the ESL program.
After caring for the babies, I decided to teach adults again, and I returned to work with BB level students. After one year I moved to helping teach level B students. I have been blessed to teach these students who need and want to learn English.
The summer of 2017 God allowed me to join Him on the mission field. I was so blessed to be able to go on what I hope will be my first mission trip. We went to Spain to work with our missionaries in Spain. We joined them to give out Chinese Bible to Chinese vacationers and Chinese-owned businesses in Madrid and Barcelona. I learned a few phrases in Mandarin Chinese in order to start a conversation with them; then we would hand it over to our Chinese interpreters. The missionary family we worked with was so excited about sharing God’s Word. They were an example and testimony to God. The church we partnered with was so happy that we had come to help them. We gave out 1,600 Bibles during our trip. I can say my life was changed by the trip.
My life has been a journey, and I am so happy God has led me to do all these things I’ve been part of.
|"Happy Birthday, Jesus" Party||Baby Shower for Two Students|
|Some of the Students Whose Lives Hope Has Touched over the Years|
|Southcliff Mission Trip to Madrid, Spain in 2017|