An Eye-Opening Afternoon...
Written by Roberta Keenan
If you ever get to a point in your life where you’re feeling sorry for yourself because you don’t have the best house or best car, I encourage you to take a trip to a third world country. Today we had the opportunity to visit six impoverished families. The moms in these families are part of Lisa Camarena’s weekly women’s Bible study. The team was blessed with generous donations of gifts and money from you, our supporters, which allowed us to shower each of these families with provisions to feed their flock, including 10 lbs. of rice; 10 lbs. of black beans; 10 lbs. of sugar, oil, and some nutrition drinks. Through donations, we had socks, shoes, toys, and toiletries to give each family. When you enter a home with a dirt floor, tin sides, and see wood burning in the corner of the main room, which acts as their cooking surface, you realize what you’ve given them is a tremendous gift.
This was the condition of our first stop, Maria’s family. The gift they gave us in return was their extreme gratitude, their freely given hugs and their words of faith, purpose and encouragement. Their faith is deep, and they are truly thankful for what they have.
Our next stop was to the home of Esparanza and Francisco. A little step up in their living conditions, but not by much. The Bible study group had been praying for Francisco for the last three years. He had fallen away from his faith and belief in God. The visit from our group and the encouraging words from our host, Art Camarena, led Francisco to confess that he had fallen away and wanted to become reunited with the Lord. What followed was a sweet time of prayer and anointing as Francisco rejoined the family of God. We were all humbled as Francisco fell to his knees and cried out to God. Tears flowed from his precious wife and children, and there was not a dry eye in the team.
We then came to the home of Julia and her single-mom daughter, Marta. This family has suffered the tremendous loss of two children, but their faith is vibrant. Again, we showered them with provisions. Marta is struggling to keep strong with her three children, since her husband abandoned them and is now on the streets in the city. She struggles to keep food on the table, and to get the supplies she needs to get her children into school. Her faith in the Lord is strong and she knows that His love sustains her and her family.
Pastor Zacheus and his wife Ireni were next on our route. He pastors a small church, and is in the midst of building a home on the roof, making a second floor. Their living conditions are currently make-shift. The stairs up were steep, uneven, with nothing to hold on to. Coming down was even scarier. Ireni struggles with these steps since she’s recovering from a broken foot (as a result of falling down the steps, which would never pass code in the USA), and has two pins in her foot.
Their oldest daughter, Dana, is 20 and suffers from severe medical conditions. They also have four other children. Ireni spoke words of encouragement to me, since my dear Ben recently passed away. The team surrounded them with prayer for healing and to bless their ministry. At the end, their precious son, Ephraim, presented each woman on the team with two long stem red roses, a purchase that was a real sacrifice for them, I’m sure.
Our last stop was to the lovely home of Christina, her husband and family. They recently moved into a new, modest home that they were able to purchase as a result of the sale of another property. Christina, only 27, has five children and suffers with a heart condition. Their youngest child is 4 months old and the doctor told her she can’t carry her child around due to her poor heart. One of the dear ladies on our team felt led by the Lord to buy a stroller for her. Art went to the local WalMart (yes, they have several down here) and purchased a sturdy stroller so it could be presented to her this afternoon. She was overwhelmed to the point of tears. We also had the privilege to pray over their new home.
This is my 4th trip to beautiful Guatemala, and it always amazes me … we think we’re coming to be a blessing, but it is always us that are blessed.