Posted by Brad
There are those times you come across a group of people you know are amazing. There is something about them that just tells you they are special. We met one such group of women today.
We went to install a stove at the home of a woman whose husband had passed away many years ago from drinking himself to death. When the husband was alive, he pulled her away from her Christian faith. They had a couple of daughters with special needs. He was not supportive. His death brought even more pain as she was now the sole provider for her children. In spite of all the struggles, she did an amazing job of raising her daughters.
The two oldest daughters are mute. They can hear, but cannot speak. Finding a job is hard enough when you are fully physically capable. But, having a disability like this in Guatemala is not good. These two daughters are so sweet, and they have incredible drive. They sew traditional Guatemalan dresses for a living. A woman comes to their home, gives them a picture and some thread and then hires them to sew. There is no pattern, just looking at the picture. I am amazed. The project takes two months, and they get paid 150 Quetzales ($19) each month. They do incredible work. As we were standing there, we decided to hire the girls to make table runners. We wanted to pay to have them buy the thread, and make the runners for Bethel. Chris would then offer them to teams when they come from the USA. As Chris was working out the details, a young girl walked up that changed the entire morning.
Reina is a truly special girl. She is the granddaughter of the mom. She is 14 years old, and wise beyond her years. She confidently jumped in and began negotiating. She was ensuring her cousins were getting paid fairly, and that the thread cost was accounted for. We all just looked at each other and smiled. Dan said it made him think of the woman in Proverbs 31. I will let you read that for yourselves, but Reina is a great business woman, is a blessing to her family, and will one day be a blessing to her husband (which hopefully will be a very long time from now). For all of her confidence, Reina does have some difficulties. She had been attending school. But, because she was born with a cleft lip (now repaired), she has difficulty with certain kinds of speech. She decided to drop out of school to learn to speak better. The problem is, that will never happen. We discovered she also sewed. So, we hired her as well. This is the point where Chris was able to pour into her life. He asked her about her relationship with Christ. You could tell there was so much pain in her life. She seemed very interested in giving her life to Christ. But, she was not as interested in school because of her speech difficulty. She had a sister named Maria who was very interested in education, but seemed much more distant on making a decision for Christ. On top of everything, Reina has a boyfriend. We all made certain that these girls saw their true value should be seen in God’s eyes, not a teenage boy. Chris spoke much wisdom in their lives. We prayed with the girls, and their eyes seemed to be opening spiritually. They will both be able to go to school for free at a local church school program. Next year, they will enroll in public school.
There was also a wonderful older woman standing there who occasionally lives with them. She has the sweetest face, and precious way about her. I found myself taking a million pictures of her. Her face shows the years of difficulty. Her children are not interested in her living with them. She ends up having to bounce from place to place in order not to be a burden. She is 77 years old. Her husband drank himself to death as well about 4 years ago.
I truly loved spending time with this family. The women have so much going for them. They are hard workers and have great hearts. I pray that Chris will be able to purchase many table runners from them over time. I also pray that Reina goes back to school and stays away from those pesky boys for many years.
We then visited a woman who lives in a flood zone. Her house is about 30 feet from a creek bed that always has water running through it. She said the government officially condemned this land many years ago. But, she chose to stay. She has three young children. Sadly, her husband’s life ended abruptly as well due to poor choices he was making. Life is so difficult!
We had the most delicious lunch at Pastor Juan’s house. His wife Anna makes the best Chow Mein. We all felt like we needed a nap afterwards. But, we knew we had much to do.
Our next stop was in some ways the most heart breaking of all; yet, had a happy ending. Maria’s parents were very physically abusive. They were alcoholics. They died when Maria was 11 years old. She and her sisters were scattered apart from each other. She was pregnant by age 12. Twelve years old! Can you imagine that? Children should never have to think about something like that at that age. The man she was with had the exact same family background. His family was abusive and died. He was 16 at the time he got Maria pregnant. They had another child together. Then, their relationship took a difficult turn for some time. Her husband (Odilio) left. In his absence, she had a son with another man. Odilio later returned and their relationship was restored. Odilio forgave Maria. He has accepted and loves the son as his own. They had one more child together. She is now 26 years old. While they have made some poor choices in life, Odilio is now a very fine man. He loves Jesus, is a loving husband and father. Sadly, these are rare qualities in a man here in Guatemala. It makes Odilio shine! We encouraged him to come to our men’s Bible study tonight. Amazingly, he did come. It was so exciting to see him.
We then had our men’s Bible study at night. Rick led this year. We discussed spiritual growth. Picture a tree, where there are branches above the ground, but the real growth happens below the surface. It was a great discussion and time of fellowship. There were 5 Americans and 8 Guatemalans. A picture of what Heaven will be like. People of different nations, tribes and tongues worshiping and glorifying God together. The music leader in the church is Misraim. He has a daughter who is having seizures. It is a difficult time for them. They think it is treatable. But, he will need to go back and forth to the City every 15 days. It is a huge financial burden. We gave some money to help offset the costs. Please help us in praying for their family.
Tomorrow is another busy day. We will host a 30 wheelchair distribution in Chimaltenango, see Juana and Luki, visit Antigua and then come back to Tecpan for church. Time for sleep!!!
Everyone is healthy and happy. It is a great team of men and God is really opening great opportunities for us. Thank you for your continued prayers.
Dios te Bendiga,