Our Missionaries


Benjamin Bodden

I was born and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. I was raised in a Christian family that taught me to love the Lord. Even though I attended church and went to a Christian school all my life it wasn't until the age of 16, in chapel, that I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

From that moment the Lord put in my heart to be a willing servant to Him, so I began teaching Sunday School at my local church. In the summer of 2014, a sister in Christ told me about Handfuls of Hope and their need for interpreters. I told her that I would like to serve and she put me in contact with Donald Coords. I served that summer and the summer 2015.

In the summer 2016, the Lord blessed me with the opportunity to serve Him full-time as the Handfuls of Hope National Director to the Dominican Republic, preaching the gospel, developing programs, doing partnership with other ministries and lot of other things. I love missions and I know that is the reason the Lord has me on earth. In 2015 the Lord blessed me with my beloved wife and since then we have been faithfully serving together.

My hobbies are spend time with family and friends, listening to music, cooking and traveling.

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! Psalms 46:10

Contact Benjamin


Henry Alvarez, (aka Kiko)

Kiko has served in ministry in the Dominican Republic for more than 20 years working with various mission groups. He and his wife, Kelly live in San Pedro with their two beautiful daughters. Kiko has a passion for the lost and has wrapped his arms around the core values of Handfuls of Hope. He is not only passionate about the work in the DR but also the eternal impact it could have on those that serve the Lord on mission trips.

Kiko serves as the Director of Partner Development where he creates and maintains relationships with other ministries and churches both in the DR and in North America.

Contact Kiko

Alesha Kollert

I am from Wooster, Ohio. I was raised in a Christian family all my life and I repented and accepted Christ as my Savior when I was 5 years old. Shortly after, I began to feel called to be a missionary as an adult. I first heard about Handfuls of Hope in the spring of 2016 while living and working in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. They were seeking teachers to serve in their summer school program. After speaking with Donald Coords, I fell in love with the mission and vision of Handfuls of Hope and since I was not working in Santo Domingo the next school year, I happily agreed to begin working as a missionary for them.
My position at Handfuls of Hope is the Sponsorship Program Coordinator and also assisting the director and coordinators in the school. My favorite Bible verses are James 1:2-4 and 2 Corinthians 4:7-12. I enjoy working with Handfuls of Hope because I get to see the Lord working through me each day to better the lives of the children and adults of this community. This community has become my home and I love being able to live and serve with my wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ of my church in Catalina. I am passionate about reaching the people of Catalina and beyond with the Gospel of Christ and also with quality education. In the future I would like to become fluent in Spanish and receive more education to better serve in this ministry. My hobbies are singing and listening to Christian music, reading, and spending time with my friends and the children of my neighborhood. 

Contact Alesha:

Erik Yuden

I am from La Romana, Dominican Republic. I became a Christian when I was 16 years old. At the young age of 5, I met a wonderful man named Don Coords who came into my life, ministering to my family and me. Seventeen years later I learned about Handfuls of Hope and began serving alongside their summer mission trips. I began interning with Handfuls of Hope in May, 2016. I work as the security guard for the school, translating and assisting with groups, and whatever else they need me to do. My favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:13. I love working with our Isaiah 58 ministry. While living in Catalina I enjoy being part of the church community in Catalina. I am part of the Pastor’s seminary class and I hope to use the knowledge learned in this to better serve the Lord. I am passionate about serving God through music. My hobbies are listening and singing to Christian music, playing guitar, and exercising.

Contact Erik

Juan Yan Alcantara, (aka Jose)

I am from Catalina, Dominican Republic. I accepted Christ as my Savior March 27, 2006. I first heard about Handfuls of Hope the same year I became a Christian through my church in Catalina. I began helping them every year with the groups and later as a translator. I began interning with Handfuls of Hope during the summer of 2016. My current position is Maintenance for the school and other buildings of Handfuls of Hope. My favorite passage of Scripture is Romans 6:18. I love working for Handfuls of Hope and to be able to meet and serve with my brothers in Christ from the United States. I am passionate about helping the people of my community and I would like to be a dentist to be able to assist in the medical needs of my people. I enjoy playing volleyball, basketball, and baseball in my free time with my friends here in Catalina. 

Contact Juan


Jackie Araneo

I was raised in Union, New Jersey in a Christian family.  While I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior at a young age, I feel that my faith and relationship with God have grown the most in the past few years.  I went on my first short-term mission trip with Handfuls of Hope in August 2017 and spent the following summer helping the organization start its sports ministry for young children.  After this experience, I felt God’s calling to become a full time missionary and now serve as the Director of Sports Ministries.  I have a strong passion for sports and working with children and am excited to be able to use these interests as a way to serve God and share the gospel. 

Contact Jackie