Joe and Marilyn Kuepfer family

Joe Kuepfer

Executive Director

Joe serves as the Executive Director. He and his wife Marilyn and their family live in Detroit, Michigan. Joe previously served as the East Africa Regional Director from 2015 - 2020 while based in Nakuru, Kenya. Joe transitioned into the leadership role at Open Hands upon Merle's retirement in 2022. Joe began with Open Hands in 2014.

Michael Weaver

Director of Operations

Mike and his wife Amber reside in Lebanon, PA. Mike began with Open Hands providing leadership for the Colomiba and Venezuela programs. In May of 2024, Mike is beginning his new role as Director of Operations. In this role, Mike supports the Open Hands programs. Mike, along with Lyndon and Joe, serve on the Executive Leadership Team. Mike comes from a background of business, as well as field experience in Colombia where he and his wife Amber served with Plain Compassion.

Lyndon Swarey

Lyndon Swarey

Director of Monitoring and Evaluation

Lyndon serves the organization by managing systems and platforms to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of our work, and the effectiveness of the self-run savings and credit groups. Lyndon also serves on the Executive Leadership Team. He mostly works remotely from where he is based in Virginia and makes field visits from time to time. Lyndon began serving with Open Hands at its inception in 2009. He took a break in 2018 order to pursue his degree in statistics and then rejoined in 2021.

Merle and Edith Burkholder, staff pastor

Merle Burkholder

Founder & Staff Pastor

Merle is the founder of Open Hands. He currently provides pastoral care for the Open Hands team. Merle transitioned into this role after his retirement from leading the organization as the Administrator for 13 years. Merle and his wife Edith live in Sioux Lookout, ON, Canada.

Paul and Dorcas Smucker

Paul Smucker

Director of Partner Development

Paul serves as a link between Open Hands and our partners for the western half of the United States. If you are from this region, Paul is available to give presentations about Open Hands to your church, community, or youth group. If you wish to schedule an Open Hands presentation, you may contact Paul at [email protected] or 541-520-5815. Paul also identifies and communicates with missions and churches interested in beginning an Open Hands program.

Verlin Torkelson

East Africa Regional Director

Verlin and his wife Bethany and their family are based in Nakuru, Kenya. Verlin oversees the work in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Ethiopia. Verlin began serving with Open Hands in 2022.

Gloria Stoltzfus


Gloria, along with her husband Johnny and their family, resides in Mill Hall, PA. As the Open Hands secretary, she maintains the bookkeeping and banking, bringing a wealth of experience in these areas from her work with other missions and businesses. Her meticulous bookkeeping practices ensure the organization's financial health, making her a great support to Open Hands.

Walcus and Deb Vital family

Walcus Vital

Haiti Country Director

Walcus and his wife Deb and their family are based in Cadiac, Haiti. Walcus oversees the work in Haiti. Walcus previously served as a facilitator in Haiti, and took his current position in 2019.

Delvin Zimmerman

Asia Regional Director

Delvin is based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Delvin oversees the work in Nepal and Thailand. In 2017, Delvin began with Open Hands as a Program Liaison in Nakuru Kenya, while simultaneously launching a program in Nepal. Delvin transitioned to being based in Thailand in 2021.

Dietrich Miller

Mexico Program Manager

Dietrich resides in Choix, Mexico. He grew up in Choix where his parents served for many years with DestiNations. Dietrich works part-time with Open Hands overseeing the Mexico program.

Jason Croutch

Director of Public Relations

Jason serves as a link between Open Hands and our partners. Jason also serves on the Executive Leadership Team. Jason maintains the head office accounting and office work. Jason is available to give presentations about Open Hands to your church, community, or youth group. If you wish to schedule an Open Hands presentation, you may contact Jason at [email protected] or 570-863-9080.

Nick Suarez

El-Salvador/Guatemala Program Manager

Nick Suarez resides in Mixcolaj√°, Guatemala where he serves with Mennonite Air Missions. Nick works with Open Hands part-time to oversee the Guatemala and El Salvador programs.

Raquelle Yoder

Communications Assistant

Raquelle, who joined Open Hands in March 2024, brings a passion for learning and a strong ability to grasp new concepts quickly. Her upbringing in a missionary family in Puerto Rico instilled in her a deep commitment to service. She enjoys music, as well as learning new languages. As communications assistant, she provides support to the head office for events and marketing projects.

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