Posted by Brad
I am finding it hard to know where to begin. So many wonderful things happened today. All I can say is, “My heart is full”.
It is always bittersweet on the next to last day in Guatemala. You know that “this is it”. The next day is all travel. These would be the last projects, places and people. We drove to Chimaltenango to host our wheelchair distribution. Our plan was to give 30 wheelchairs. Bethel had already selected the people. We fundraised to supply a chair to each person. For many, this was their first wheelchair. For some, it may very well be their last. Many were old and physically fragile. I was excited to meet all of the people we had pictures of. I recognized so many faces. The distribution was about 100 feet from Bethel’s wheelchair shop. We immediately began preparing the chairs for the people. Many were there before us. They were excited!
As the four of us walked up, Chris Mooney was carrying a sweet woman in his arms. He was carrying her because she literally had no legs. She had the biggest smile on her face. I hoped that I would get to be the one to fit her for her chair. Chris opened the distribution with an explanation of the process and a prayer. We then jumped right into fitting the people. Each person is given a chair that fits their needs. The right size chair is critical. We would also put leg supports behind to make sure their legs were supported. Also, we put seat belts on many to prevent them from falling out. I can say one thing confidently, each person was grateful beyond imagination. Yes, grateful for us being there. More importantly, grateful to God for His gift! Without fail, all of the people I worked with praised God the entire time.
Dan and I worked together at one station, while Gale and Rick worked at another. My prayer was answered…Dan and I got to work with the woman who Chris was carrying up to the distribution. She was sitting in a chair. We pulled the chair right next to her. I bent over to pick her up. She was so light. She was probably 30 years old. Her young son was watching everything, taking it all in. We found the perfect chair for her. She had the best smile. She was so excited! We ended up giving 31 wheelchairs (Chris says that there is always someone extra that shows up). I had the chance to visit with Tulio. He is the young man the Henderson family is sponsoring in aircraft mechanic school. He is doing very well and is learning English. After we packed up and cleaned the church, we walked back to the wheelchair shop. I looked up the street and saw the most heartwarming sight. The young son was pushing his mother with no legs up the street in her brand new wheelchair. Wow!
We then drove to see Juana. For all of those who have been either able to meet Juana or hear her story, you will know that much prayer has been lifted over her situation. Chris was able to contact her to make sure she was there. As we pulled up, Jackie and RosaLi ran out to greet us. They have grown up so much. We went inside and shared the gifts that the Shutt family sent. Chris read their letters and cards. We were able to talk to Juana about her life situation. It was a great conversation and there is much hope for her future. It was so good to see her again. I missed her so much. Her 15 year old daughter Diana was there as well. She got married many months ago. She says that her husband is good to her. He does have a job. They are living with his family. She is pregnant. That’s right…she is two months pregnant. Just as with Blanca’s girls, I am sad that a girl so young is in the position of having children at a time they should be enjoying her teenage years. But, I hugged her a lot, and told her that we all love her. She smiled a lot, and looked very good. Juana’s eye was doing very well. She had recently run out of drops, so there was discomfort and redness. In addition, the sun is very bright. But, the Shutt family sent more drops. She said her vision is still very good in the eye she had the procedure done while in the USA. It was difficult to leave. I do miss Juana and her kids. I know I will see them again.
We then drove to Antigua. I typically do not go to Antigua on my trips. We are there to work, and I don’t really like to spend time shopping. But, Antigua is a special town, and since we were so close, Chris and I wanted them to see it. We had a delicious lunch, and we finally had the chance to have wifi…praise God! We walked around town and did some shopping. We drank some delicious coffee (and purchased some to bring home…I got some for you Scott…HueHue).
The time was getting late, but we did have one more stop to make, and that was to see Luki and Johanna. We have been supporting Luki and her family for many years. Chris has known the kids since they were very little children. When we arrived, only Johanna was home. She was so happy to see us. Her mom Luki was run over many years ago. The thought she was dead. In fact, they had a sheet over her waiting for the coroner to come. Before he arrived, they saw her fingers moving. They said, “Look, she’s alive”. That should tell you something of how tough Luki is. She has been having problems again with her leg for the last eight months. Her 19 year old daughter Johanna has been carrying all of the burden of caring for her mom. Luki has not been able to work. Johanna has been going to school, cooking for her mom, caring for her brother. It was a huge burden. In fact, she failed last year in school. But, to show how determined she is, she went to summer school. Not only did she pass, she did it with flying colors. She is now in her last year of High School. She plans to go on to college to become a lawyer. As her education sponsor, I am so proud to hear her dream of great things. She is truly excited about her future. Now that Luki’s leg is doing better and she is working part time again, Johanna can put all her focus on school.
We then headed back to Tecpan to have our final night at Juan’s church. It is always a very special night. It is a regular church service, with music and a sermon. But, they always have a celebration at the end for our team. When we arrived, my heart was completely overwhelmed with joy. Our prayer is always to not just meet people’s physical needs, but also their spiritual needs. We want to show them God’s love and encourage them in life. We always invite them to Juan’s church. Some of them have no relationship with God. Others have drifted very far away due to various circumstances. Some attend other churches. I was not prepared for what we saw. With the exception of one family (who lives very far away), all of the people we worked with this week came to church. They, and their extended families, were all sitting in the church waiting…everyone from Etelvina and her two kids, to Reina and her mute sisters. My heart was overwhelmed. It still is. Thank you God!!! This is why we come to Guatemala. This is the most encouraging thing to my heart, and the hearts of all the men on the team. After a great service, Juan and his wife Anna presented us with gifts. We each had the chance to speak. Gale read Revelation 7 to the church. He said that while he does not know if he will ever see them in Guatemala again, he looks forward to seeing them in Heaven, where there will be people from every tribe and tongue.
We then took a group photo. I wanted to make sure we captured the moment we were cherishing. All four of us were overwhelmed with the hugs we received. These were not light hugs. These were hugs of love. These people were now family to us. It was an incredible moment, and I did not want it to end. I was also able to get a picture of the children with the origami that Andrew sent from Kentucky. We were able to share that with many children over the week. Thank you Andrew!!!
It is around midnight, and we are waking up at 2:45 to drive to Guatemala City. God willing, we will be home tomorrow night with our families. Everyone is healthy. We are thankful for a week of praising God, and bringing glory to His Name. What a trip. My heart is truly full!!!
Dios te Bendiga,