What a powerful moment I had in the clinic while the doctor was ministering to one of our patients, a middle-aged woman named Carolina. She came to the clinic because she was suffering from a lot of pain in her head, neck and shoulders: symptoms of tension and anxiety. Dra. Sara always spends plenty of time with our patients and ministers to their deeper needs, beyond physical health. We learned that Carolina was abused by her father as a kid. She was abandoned to the streets at age 17, was homeless, and raped. She eventually got married, had 5 children and six miscarriages and was sexually abused before she left her husband. She still carries all of those scars with her today. All of that pent up anger and bitterness in her heart have been haunting her for years and causing her to suffer. The doctor spent a long time with her, counseling her, consoling her and bringing her hope. This is one of the scriptures that she shared with her:

Isaiah 54:4-8

4 “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame.
Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
You will forget the shame of your youth
and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.
5 For your Maker is your husband—
the LORD Almighty is his name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
he is called the God of all the earth.
6 The LORD will call you back
as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—
a wife who married young,
only to be rejected,” says your God.
7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with deep compassion I will bring you back.
8 In a surge of anger
I hid my face from you for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness
I will have compassion on you,”
says the LORD your Redeemer.

What a beautiful and applicable testament of redemption for Carolina. This life that she has suffered through can be redeemed! She no longer has to be captive of her past. She can experience God’s full forgiveness when she cleans her heart of resentment. (Matthew 6:14) It was so powerful to experience this liberation with her as we cried and prayed together. I am so inspired by Dra. Sara’s ability to speak truth into the lives of her patients. She sees to their physical needs and provides the medicines they need to heal their bodies. But also leads them to the spiritual healing they need. The verses that she shares with them are so appropriate and life-giving.

Joshua 1:9

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

I have had many experiences these past couple of weeks that have made me reflect on God’s redemptive work in our lives. Many people in the communities of Magdalena, El Gorrión, Buena Vista, and San Miguel suffer from similar problems: alcoholism, abuse, promiscuity, poverty, prejudice… But God has been transforming these communities by redeeming these broken lives and restoring value. It is so humbling to be a part of this process with them. We have gone through the same process with many patients in the clinic besides Carolina. These problems are so prevalent in these communities, but God is restoring their lives. One boy even accepted Christ for the first time in our clinic!

The SI staff (Guatemalan and North American) also share their testimonies with the student groups that come down, and many of them these past couple of weeks have brought me back to meditate on this same theme of redemption. It is so incredible to hear about where some of them have come from and to see how God has redeemed their life and brought them to where they are today! It makes me so thankful for my family and the blessing that I had to grow up in a stable environment. I am so inspired by the testimonies that I have heard from many people in how they have overcome very damaging pasts. It encourages me to continue on in helping others to discover this redemptive value of the gospel so that they can have hope for their future.

Teaching Sylvia sign language in the Asilo with nurse Francisca

Julio: He is the cutest guy in Asilo! Especially when he starts dancing with you!

This is the road that we walk from Magdalena to the clinic in El Gorrión.

Students in the clinic

We also started a vitamin program for the students in the two schools where we have sponsored children. It is so incredible that we are able to provide vitamins not only for the children who are sponsored, but all of the kids in the two schools! To start this program, we took our students to the schools to weigh and measure all of the kids to get a baseline.  We will keep track of the children’s growth to see how effective the vitamins are. We also were able to visit the preschool and do general health checks on the kids. Our students did all of the checking, and let the doctor know if they detected anything abnormal. It was          cool for me to see the students being able to check the lungs, throats, ears, and hearts all on their own after having learned from the doctor in the clinic the week before. It was so encouraging to see how far they’ve come in two weeks!

This is a picture that captures the essence of the hardworking women in town.

Thank you for your support and prayers. The biggest thing coming up that I need you to pray for is the diagnosis of a boy in Magdalena named Rudy. His grandmother came to Telma asking her if there was anything that SI could do for her son, and Telma brought the case to me, because I work in the clinic. She knows how we do physical therapy with Bryan and Luis in the afternoons and thought we could do something similar for Rudy. But Rudy is highly functional. It is more a speech impediment than anything, I think. I believe there is also something mental going on. But we want to get him diagnosed so that we can help him appropriately. He was kicked out of school at age 8 because of his special needs. So I have been trying  to get him set up with an appointment at the centro neurologico in Sumpango, but the logistics of getting there and bringing students with us is a bit complicated. They also have an orphanage that we want to check out to see if there is a possibility of partnering with them in the future. Please pray that we get this appointment set up for Rudy so that we can help him as soon as possible. Also, as we were visiting with the family, Telma was talking with Rudy’s mom about how important it is that we love our children and see them as a blessing. Rudy’s mom is very angry and resentful towards her son because of his disability. I just pray that there can be healing in this situation as well.

TWO WEEKS UNTIL THE BIG RACE IN MAGDALENA! This past week we had the girl’s cross country team from Taylor University working with us and doing an awesome running ministry in El Gorrión. It was great for me too, because it kept me disciplined to run each day!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Home is Where the Heart Is – Britney Villhauer Serving in Guatemala | Eric's Random Thoughts

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