Thursday, August 27, 2009

I have not posted for a while. We have had lots happening...most of it good, some of it sad. Two weeks ago we hosted a group of young people from Washington for a week. They were a great group. We went out to several different schools and we taught about creation and how important each one is in the plan of our Creator. We still have the freedom here to talk about God without intimidation. The teachers were all grateful for the encouragement that the team brought and each one said that they would continue to reinforce what we taught the children. My favorite school was in a village called Pajopop. It was a very long hard walk down to the school after a 45 minute drive. The teachers work with books, very few pencils, no crayons. Most of the teaching is done by oral repetition with very little room for creativity. And because all of the children enter 1st grade not knowing any Spanish, there is a huge language barrier which stands in the way of much learning - outside of learning Spanish - which is important. As we began our long walk up the hill from the school, Duane called me...a little frantically...saying that the social worker, child psychologist, and the pediatrician working on Abi's adoption would be arriving within the hour. We raced up the hill and arrived before they did. The visit went well and was another step closer to finalization of Abi's adoption.

Typically on the last day of a team's visit here we take them to do a little shopping in either Panajachel or Antigua. As we finished our day in Pana, we received a call from the retirement center where my aunt and uncle have lived for the last several years. They have been like grandparents to our family and their health has been deteriorating for the last year. My Aunt Verna had been admitted into the ICU. We made arrangements for me to leave the next day with the team. Unfortunately Aunt Verna died Sunday morning but we have the confidence that she is with Jesus. She died quietly, without suffering and I am grateful to have had the last days of her life at her bedside. I also got to spend some time with Ryan, Katie and Jacob, as well as my two sisters - a tremendous blessing and joy for me.

While I was gone, Katie and Craig kept the clinics going and even made a trip out to San Pedro with Heidi and Chris - another doctor who came to help. They were overwhelmed with patients and the heat but were able to make it back by evening as Heidi and Chris had early morning flights out of Guatemala. It was a tremendous amount of work for them to do and I am so grateful that they were willing to do it!

I returned from the US Tuesday afternoon, completely exhausted. Fortunately, Wednesday continues to be our day of that is exactly what we did. In the afternoon we flew out to a village called Mixcoloja to visit with a woman whom we have helped in the clinics for several years. She is 8 months pregnant, has 6 other children and a husband who is unfaithful and regularly beats her. He recently lost their home and they have been living under a piece of plastic in the middle of nowhere, eating some days, and some days they have no food. We wanted to see her situation first hand and find out in what way we could help her. In the end we decided that we will pay the debt owed on her house and put the title in her hands and not those of her husband. We left her with food, prayer and the promise to work toward a solution to her situation. She sobbed great sobs as we prayed for her, and her children surrounded her in an effort to console her. She broke our hearts. Pray for her when you can...her name is Candalaria. She is a Christian but has been put in "discipline" (she is not allowed to go to church) by her pastor until she apologizes to the woman her husband is living with. Apparently Candalaria hit her...go figure.

And today, our friend Victor (who runs the drug and alcohol rehab center about 2 hours from here) invited us to a service at his center. We had a great time of worship, testimonies from the men, and prayer followed by a lunch which Victor had very thoughtfully prepared for us "gringos." He is doing an amazing job of loving and caring for men who are rejected by everyone else. Many days he collects them up out of the street in drunken stupors, brings them back to the home, detoxifies them and shares Jesus with them. What better way to learn of His love.

"I tell you that whenever you did these things for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it for me!"Matthew 25:40