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Planned Giving Testimonials

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Martin berndt’s testimonial

“Dad would be proud to know that his estate gift to Hope Horizon East Palo Alto (Hope Horizon EPA) helped to launch the program,” said Esther Berndt, daughter of Martin Marcus Berndt. “He cared deeply about the gospel, East Palo Alto and children in general. He especially loved programs that combined children, the good news of Jesus Christ and God’s beautiful creation of the outdoors.”

Martin supported Hope Horizon East Palo Alto (formerly Bayshore Christian Ministries) for many, many years and continued to do so even after he passed away on July 17, 2021 at age 88.


In lieu of flowers, Martin’s family included Hope Horizon EPA as one of three charitable organization to which gifts could be given in Martin’s honor. In addition, Hope Horizon EPA was included in Martin’s will. Despite the fact that Martin gave to many organizations during his lifetime, only three were named in his end-of-life planning.


Martin was born in 1933 in Argentina as the child of a pastor. The fifth of ten children, he told stories of tutoring younger siblings, slaughtering chickens for dinner, playing soccer with a pig bladder for a ball, and hearing tango music wafting through the night. Though his older brothers followed their father into the ministry, Martin was encouraged to pursue his interests in mechanical things, eventually leading to a career in engineering.


When Martin was 16, his father and most of his family immigrated to the US. After earning an engineering degree, Martin and his new and growing family moved to California where Martin began his 30 year-plus career as an electrical engineer at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). Martin and his family lived for many years in Palo Alto, attending Trinity Lutheran Church. 
 

Martin was known for his commitment to his faith and to those he loved, his lust for adventure, and his enthusiasm for life. He never lost touch with his South American roots, maintaining close relationships with the Berndt Argentine contingent, following international soccer, enjoying an occasional mate, and speaking Spanish whenever possible. With characteristic dedication, Martin supported their son to live as independently as possible in spite of developmental challenges. Always up for a good debate about current events, he enjoyed outings and mountain trips with his daughters and SLAC buddies, had regular season tickets to the symphony, and supported countless charitable organizations. He celebrated his 75th birthday while cycling across the US and had a passion for repairing and rebuilding bicycles. 
 

Please consider joining Martin by including Hope Horizon EPA in your will or trust. Join Martin in ensuring that east-of-Bayshore youth continue to be equipped to grow spiritually, gain life skills and develop as leaders so they have hope and a future.

Byron and marcella "gayle" chan

“Where I want to see the most change made in the world is right here.  Right in my own backyard -- the San Francisco Bay Area,” says Byron.  “Hope Horizon EPA is replacing the darkness and suffering in the lives of East Palo Alto youth with peace and goodwill, and the hopeful message of the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ.  May what God has given Marcella and I equip Hope Horizon EPA to continue its mission.”

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Byron and Marcella “Gayle” Chan care about young people. 

 

Byron’s life is the storyline of a man who gave sacrificially to encourage, disciple, challenge and build up the youth in his sphere of influence.  For over 35 years he professionally taught and counseled youth in Daly City high schools.  And, during his off hours, he served as teacher and youth advisor, and on many boards and committees at San Francisco’s First Chinese Baptist Church. 

 

Marcella has been a youth worker since high school – Girl Scout leader, church youth teacher and advisor, summer camp director, and middle school home economics teacher. Her gregarious personality has always created a welcome space for youth and children. 

 

To ensure that their legacy of caring for youth continues, Byron and Marcella updated their wills to include a bequest to Hope Horizon East Palo Alto.  “Accumulation is not life’s goal or success's measure,” Byron explains. “Being of service to others is the ultimate goal. Jesus came into this world to serve, not to be served.  We should do no less with our time, talent, and treasure. 

 

Hope Horizon EPA was a charity of choice for Byron and Marcella. “Where I want to see the most change made in the world is right here.  Right in my own backyard -- the San Francisco Bay Area,” says Byron.  “Hope Horizon EPA is replacing the darkness and suffering in the lives of East Palo Alto youth with peace and goodwill, and the hopeful message of the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ.  May what God has given Marcella and I equip Hope Horizon EPA to continue its mission.”

Byron and Marcella did not want their legacy gifts to ONLY meet basic needs like food and shelter, but also the feeding of the soul with compassion, kindness, approval, hope, faith and encouragement. The couple wants to be remembered for "making, in some ways, the world a bit better.”  They hope to “reach the Gates of Heaven, meet the Lord, and hear those words, ‘Come, my good and faithful servants.’”