At 6 this morning, we gathered with our hot coffee on the veranda to sing praise to God and listen to Pastor Donald's words. He shared with us the revelation he had while praying. Yesterday, little Juan's baptism was the highlight of the day. Perhaps an aspect of the story we overlook is his mother's faith. She brought him to be baptized to thirteen different churches. Not "more than ten" or "several." They went to thirteen different churches and Juan's mother counted each and every one as they were turned away. However, she persisted and never gave up, just as the Lord never gives up on us. Many of the wheelchair clinic patients wore colorful typical dresses and spoke in the sharp tones of the Mayan language, Quiché. Family members interpreted their words to Spanish for our team interpreters to relay in English for the doctors and occupational therapists. As people talked about their physical disabilities, we learned of other difficulties at home.
We spoke to a 93-year-old woman with mobility and memory challenges who lives alone; the neighbor who accompanied her was grateful for the wheelchair that reduces the risk of her falling again. We saw mothers who care for children with special needs alone because their husbands walked out and never came back; their faces smoothed out with relief as they were able to stop carrying the weight of their beloved children and settle them into wheelchairs. We ached because we couldn't fix loneliness, ease grief for deceased loved ones, or accompany people longer in their walk. But, we could allow God to work through us to address that for which we are equipped. We also saw one of the wheelchair clinic patients in surgery.
Marta, an elderly deaf woman, not only needed a wheelchair, but also had serious gynecological challenges. Dr. Coronado performed a successful surgery to alleviate her discomfort. Kristal, one of the local volunteers, patiently worked out a communication system with Marta. Between gesturing, using some Guatemalan sign language, and carefully mouthing key words in Spanish, Kristal formed a bondwith her. She made sure Marta was comfortable and knew what was going to happen when doctors and nurses connected monitors and put her under anesthesia.
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:1-6
Pastor Donald's words called us to action this morning. He told us as we have received new life through Christ, we've also been called--and our team prepared in advance--to help give new life to the Guatemalans whose lives we have the opportunity to touch. Many of the Guatemalans thank us and tell us, "Qué Dios les bendiga," or "May God bless you" for the work we do. Here, it's easier to see how the God who is over all and through all and in all blesses us every day, in every interaction. Now, we prepare for our last day in Retalhuleu.