Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling." Psalm 68:5 The amplified version says that he is a judge and a protector to the widows. I like that. For some reason, there are so many widows in Chiminisijuan. And now, at this time of year, when crops have been planted but last year's harvest is gone, is when they begin to come. They are out of food for their children. And there is no way for them to earn money to buy corn....or anything else. Lucia came yesterday, heavy in her last month of pregnancy(see my last post). She asked to borrow Q100 (about $12) so that she could buy soap and a little corn. She brought all of her children so that they could help her carry the food that we loaded her up with. Maria's midwife came later. Maria gave birth about 3 weeks ago to a baby girl. Her husband died when she was in her 4th month of pregnancy, leaving her with 5 - and now 6 - young children to feed. She has no family to help her so her midwife fights for her - and we sent food for them as well. Rojelia came later in the day with 3 of her 5 children. Her husband died 5 years ago. Her oldest son is 12 and some days he works earning Q25/day (about $3) carrying loads of firewood for her neighbors. She buys corn daily to make tortillas for her children  - using all of the money that he earns just for corn. All of these women will pack up their families in the fall and take them to the coast where they will work, cooking for the men who cut sugarcane. They will earn a little money to sustain them for a few months. Their children will not be able to go to school and so the cycle of poverty continues.

But we know that there is hope in the God who defends and protects widows. He has placed such a burden upon us -and hopefully you - to pray each day for them. We  pray that He will provide for all of their needs - not just the physical but the spiritual and emotional needs as well. We do the very small part that we can but we trust that He will send help in their time of great need. And we know that He is a faithful God!  

Friday, June 1, 2012

Lucia is a woman who we have helped for several years. She is a widow with 4 young children. Her husband died about 4 years ago followed by her infant daughter of about 8 months. She fought for her daughter's life - as hard as one can who has no money, and no one to help with her other children, and without speaking the national language. And she was broken hearted when her daughter died.

We have helped her with food and medicine when she comes. She lives about a three hour walk from our clinic in Chiminisijuan. She goes to the coast to pick coffee when she can, taking her children with her. So we might not see her for several months at a time. She came about three months ago and we had not seen her for a while. She was obviously pregnant and I thought, "Well good, maybe she had found someone to help her." But when I did her ultrasound and told her that she was 7 months pregnant, she began to weep - huge gulping sobs. We have seen her in times of hardship but I have never seen her cry like this. She began to tell us about being "obligated" to have sex with a man on the coast. She has been rejected by the other women in her village as unclean and banned from her church who brands her as a sinner. She has no way to support her other children now and there is no food in the house. We talked about putting this child up for adoption (which is not really possible now in this country), about the orphanage where we knew that they would care for this new life. We loaded her up with as much food as she could carry and then delivered corn to her later in the week. She has come regularly now for her prenatal care. Tuesday when she came, I told her that she was about 6 weeks from delivery and asked what she would do when she went into labor. She told us that no one in her village would help her with the delivery so she plans to go to the local hospital. This is not common practice - almost all babies are still born at home. I have an idea that her 11 year old daughter will help her when the time comes. She then told me that she has decided to care for this baby girl herself.

Once again, I was amazed at the inner strength of this woman who has suffered so much injustice. And how, in spite of the treatment she has received from "her brothers and sisters in Christ" her faith has remained strong - her trust being in the unseen God.  I wonder what my faith would look like if I were walking her "her shoes". I am so afraid that I might be offended with God...  Pray for Lucia in these coming days - that God "out of his glorious riches , that he would strengthen her with power through his Spirit in her inner being..." (Ephesians 3:16 - my paraphrase)