Posted by Brad on 2/3/13
I wanted to ask for your prayers for our friend Juana.
For those who may not know about her, we met Juana several years ago while I was on a men’s mission trip. We were visiting several families and handing out shoes to children. Juana’s kids were some of the most adorable that we met. They had truly sweet personalities. When we met Juana, her eyes concerned us. They appeared to have been scarred by years of smoke exposure. As I was leaving, I thought I would take a picture so that I could go back home to the US to tell people about the dangers of smoke exposure. I am so glad to have taken that photo.
After going home, I began to show the picture to everyone I could. One of our friends, the Shutt family, was interested in revisiting Guatemala, as they were blessed with adopted children as we have been. We had the opportunity to travel with Carol and her girls in April 2011. While on the trip, they had the chance to meet Juana. They immediately fell in love with Juana and her girls. Carol began sponsoring their education and came home inspired to advocate to have Juana’s surgery accomplished in America.
I want to tell you at this point that the odds of all these next steps occurring are simply astronomical. Maybe better to just go out and buy a lottery ticket. It would literally take a miracle. Fortunately, we serve the God who specializes in miracles!
The first hurdle was finding a eye doctor who would help. Carol was working on decorating a eye doctor’s home in Louisville. She took the photos to him and asked if he could help. In the end, and yet many miracles, they found an eye surgeon who would donate his time for free if Juana could come to America. A long series of paperwork trials began, with the help of Chris and Donna Mooney of Bethel Ministries International in Chimaltenango. Chris is the one who introduced us to Juana. Working from both countries, the paperwork was completed, doctor letters written and prayer all along the way. The US Government eventually granted Juana a medical visa, and she arrived in October.
After being escorted by Donna Mooney to the US, she has been staying with the Shutt family. Their family has been a huge blessing, showering her with love and care. Juana has met so many people while here, and has blessed everyone who has gotten to know her. She is a warm, caring woman who is easy to be around.
Beyond having the chance to become well rested and good nutrition, she has been able to focus on her spiritual life as well. Juana gave her life to Christ in December. Since that time, she has been able to attend a Bible study for moms here in Louisville and grow in her faith and relationship with Jesus Christ. It has been a wonderful time of blessing.
After having her examined by the eye specialists in America, we have discovered that there is so much more involved with Juana’s eye condition than first thought. The procedure they will be performing will attempt to correct a cell deficiency within the eye itself. There are only a few doctors in the world who can perform this procedure, and one happens to be one hour away in Cincinnati. Miracle? You bet, but not surprising when you look at how God makes all things work together for His purposes!
Her surgery date had been scheduled for early February, and I was scheduled to travel to Guatemala at the end of January. She had special stuffed animals she wanted me to deliver to her daughters. Juana spent several hours recording these special 30-second messages for the build-a-bears. I delivered them and the girls loved them. As I was leaving, her youngest daughter gave me a stuffed animal to give her mom when I came home. You should have seen Juana’s face when she got that bear on Sunday night.
Well, I am home now from Guatemala, and Juana has her surgery in the morning (Monday). Several families met tonight at the Shutt family home to pray over Juana. It was a time of pouring our hearts out to God, asking for His love, protection and comfort for Juana. Praising Him for being the caring Father He is, and praising Him for the chance to get to know Juana.
Her surgery is scheduled for Monday morning in Cincinnati. Carol drove up tonight with Juana and a wonderful new friend Leah who will be interpreting.
I will try to keep the blog updated on Juana’s status tomorrow.
We need your prayers. God does want us to pray for one another. He loves for us to be of one heart.
Dios te Bendiga,