Tuesday, July 31, 2012

An Invitation to Guatemala from Eduardo Ramos

Hello to all who visit this blog. My name is Eduardo Ramos I am from Guatemala City and this time my friend Tiffany gave me the opportunity to share with you in the blog.

I want to tell you about my country is a very nice place with big mountains and volcanoes, plains, lakes, rivers, pleasant weather is called "The Land of Eternal Spring". The people are very friendly and somewhat dare I say "happy." But there is something called poverty is a disease that affects my country and in most cases the children die for lack of food. Actually not only poverty is the country that attacks so is the lack of education, health and safety, these being the most relevant points. That's why with your help and God will make a big change, not that I mean you end up with all the bad but we will impact many lives and share the love of Christ.

We are beginning to work in an area called Cerro Alto, Chimaltengo. In it we are building houses (since most live in houses made of cane and metal roof where in winter the water is filtered making this an unsuitable place to live), installing wood-saving stoves (in this place cooked over an open fire using wood and smoke affects people), cages for chickens (do this for people to have an income because they need to care for the chickens, feed them and when they sell a healthy weight buy more and so on, almost business) and share with the children at school.

By this I invite you to come and share with people how much Christ loves us and He is so great that we never imagined traveling hundreds of miles to change the lives of many people. I thank you for taking the time to read this and tell them they are always welcome.

With love, God bless you always.

John 3:16
 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Quick update on Kelly

Thursday morning we got up early to take Kelly to the Dr. You aren't able to make an appointment so we had to get there and get a number. We arrived and sat in a big waiting room that already had a lot of kids waiting. it didn't take as long as i had expected and they called Kelly back. I went back with her, her Mom, her Dad and our translator Eduardo. the Dr asked them to take her clothes off her and set her on the table. My heart sunk as I looked at this beautiful little 5 year old girl that appeared to be the size of maybe a two year old. You didn't have to be a Dr to know something wasn't right. I had noticed she was tiny but her baggy clothes hid how fragile she really was. I turned to look away as I felt tears swell up in my eyes. She was already upset about having to take her clothes off, there was no way I could let her see my tears.

The Dr began too look her over and started to speak to the parents......... Eduardo (my translator) didn't say a word but I knew why. I was able to pick up enough Spanish to hear the Dr say that Kelly was severely malnourished. the Dr then asked the parents how many other children they had and they told her 10 more. The Dr firmly but nicely told them that was a problem. She said it is very expensive to care for one kid well, let alone 11 kids total. She told them to tell all their friends and family the same. The room was silent.

The Dr said that her scabies were gone, she saw the scars from them. What is left on her and still causing her discomfort is mainly due to malnutrition and too much sun. Se asked the family to bring Kelly back next Friday to meet with a nutritionist. she also told them it is necessary for them to put sun block on her 3 times a day.

This is hard thing and you see it here a lot, families with a lot of children. Life is hard and it is hard to properly care for all your kids when you have so many. I think some of it is due to a lack of education. Please hear my heart on this, they are very good people, they work very hard for their family. The dad works all the time and the Mom gets up at 3:30am every day to make tortillas to sell. All this to make ends meet and provide as much as they can for their family.  I can tell they love their children very much.

Please continue to pray for this family. Pray that they will bring her back next Friday to see the nutritionist.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A post from Sean, written last night

Tonight there is an unsettled feeling about us and a stark reminder that we have an adversary who desperately wants to distract us from slowing down to love the people of Guatemala.   I’m not one to look for Satan “under every rock,” but tonight, after a series of frustrations, distractions and strange issues to deal with I know we need the prayer and support of those back home who are in the all-important role of covering us in prayer.

I’ve been learning about “loving one another” at our Sunday night church, as well as in reading John’s gospel and letters.  God tells us bluntly if we want to be a disciple, then love one another.  Today I both struggled to do that and excelled at that.  I failed in loving my wife very well today, was distracted by issues with my business at home and a plethora of appliances etc breaking here and at our house in Colorado today, and thrown into a difficult situation by the abrupt firing of our Guatemalan maid by our landlord.

All this is taking place while we’re trying to focus on a very poor family from a village we chose to love by inviting them into our home and to needed medical care out of reach for their beautiful scabie-ridden daughter.  

We have spoken of 5 year old Kelly before.  She has been plagued by a chronic and severe case of scabies (we know all about scabies after Tiffany got them at an orphanage in Haiti).  We have provided medicine at a cost less than most of us spent out at lunch today, but with no clean water or change of clothes at her dirt-floor house there’s little hope of beating the scabies.

So we brought her family to our home today… shared a meal and as much conversation as we could.  They are very appreciative.  In the morning we will take them to get medical care for their girl, some new scabie-free clothes and hopefully some education on how to fend off these aggravating bugs.

As I tried tonight to focus on showing God’s love to this family I found my mind and my feet pulled in so many directions.  I know God’s enemy doesn’t like when His disciples do the simplistic thing of slowing down to look the “least of these” level in the eye and meet a basic need.  Imagine if I and all the others I “share a pew” with did this on a regular basis?  Satan would be quite unsettled. 

Tonight,  l’m thankful for those of  you keeping us in prayer, those of you looking level into the eyes of someone in your “village,” and one or two of you that might pray that Kelly can beat these scabies very soon.

Learning to Love,


“… let us love one another, for love comes from God.”  1 Jn 4:7

Saturday, July 14, 2012

"Just Jump"

On Friday we went Zip Lining through the jungle near lake Atitlan. This was my first time going zip lining so Thursday night leading up to this adventure I was a bit nervous. I had crazy dreams that night about it and woke up thinking, this is crazy, we should not do this in another country.

Once we got there we had a 20 min hike up the mountain. It was beautiful! We saw a monkey and water falls, it was amazing! This helped keep my mind off what we were about to do. We make it to the top and there is a line of people waiting to get hooked to the cable. As I am standing in line I am thinking, this is crazy... I need to just hike back down this mountain and call it good. The line was moving quickly and soon it was my turn. The guide calls me up. I stepped up and I completely froze. The guide hooked me up and said, "Go" I couldn't move..... He said , "just jump".... JUST JUMP?!?!?!?!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!? If the equipment fails me I will be jumping to my death.
At this point, with the encouragement of my husband and some friends,  I realized I had to just jump, there was no turning around. So I jumped, I held my breathe and closed my eyes and jumped. two seconds in, I opened my eyes to see if i was still alive, I was, and it was AMAZING!!! It was like flying through the jungle! I loved it (good thing because we had to do it 7 more times to make it to the bottom)!
This is a lot like life. I was so scared to do something I had never done before but the reward of doing it was so great! Sometimes you have to"just jump". So we are going to jump. We are going to move forward with starting a baby home here. It won't be easy, and I am scared because I don't know how we will make it happen. We don't have an extra $4000 a month for all the expenses, but we are going to jump knowing that God's does not fail us and His word is our encouragement.

James 1:27

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Matthew 25:34-40
"Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Monday, July 9, 2012

Baby Home

First I want to update you on Kelly. We were able to visit Kelly in the Village on Saturday. She looked much better!! Her face was almost completely healed from the scabies. Her arms and legs were still covered in the scabies and she said they were still very itchy. We went today to talk to the pharmacist and he recommended she do one more round of the medicine but still the issue is that she needs to be able to shower a couple times a day along with taking the medicine and always have clean clothes on. This is not as easy as it sounds. Please continue to pray for her, for complete healing. Through Him, all things are possible!!

Here is a picture of another precious child we met. This is Angel, he is approx 20 days old and was abandoned at the hospital by his mother who said she could not care for him. This story is very common here.

In 2008 International Adoptions from Guatemala shut down and still have not opened back up. This has caused a huge problem in Guatemala. Most orphanages are full with not enough staff. The number of children being placed in homes has not gone down, yet they are no longer being adopted out. There has been a rise in babies being abandoned all over the place. Whether it be on the side of the road or in the hospital, the number of babies needing care has gone up. When you visit a babies home here there are a lot of babies with only a few staff. These women work so hard without vacation days yet it is impossible for every baby to get the attention they need on a daily basis.

Dr. Karyn Purvis is the Director of the Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University (TCU), she states,” As revealed in Scripture and confirmed by science, all humans are designed as relational beings. Yet ‘children from hard places’ miss out on so much of the nurture and development that is ideal and serves to build a strong foundation of trust early in life.” She also talks about how Through play, children learn to develop the social and emotional skills they need to succeed in life. She talks about touch and how touch is a universal language - more dynamic and powerful than any other form of communication. More than an integral part of everyday life. Touch is essential to our very existence.

I could keep going but I think you get the picture.

We have been asked by the Greene family/Catalyst Resources International http://www.catalystresources.net/mimishouse.html to partner with them in opening a babies home.

We first met the Greene’s when we adopted Aubryella 5 years ago.  They are well established missionaries here and have been running a ministry called Mimi’s House. The girls at Mimi’s House have come to them from difficult family circumstances. Mimi's House provides a positive Christian atmosphere in a family-style environment. The girls of Mimi's House are able to prosper in ways that would never have been possible in the world of extreme poverty in which they lived. It is their desire to see these girls receive a Christian bilingual education that will position them for a better life!

Mimi’s House has seen a need and through much prayer has decided to move forward in opening up a babies home. This will be a Christian home with a family-style environment where Guatemalans will be hired to care for approx 4 babies. The house parents/staff will be trained on the importance of holding the child, nurturing the child and also providing proper nutrition and education for the children as they grow. They hope to open their first home within the year but then to be able to duplicate this model all over Guatemala.

Please join us in prayer as we partner with the Greene’s in opening the first baby home. Please also pray about how you can be a part of this with us.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Our first week here and sweet Kelly

We made it through our first week. It's amazing how everyday gets a little easier. Last Sunday when we arrived, I couldn't imagine ever feeling comfortable in this new house. The smells are different, the noise is different, the humidity is different. As I sit here tonight writing this post, I realize the smells have become normal (at least most of them), the noises have faded to the background and I am figuring out ways to get use to all the things that humidity causes like smelly towels, sticky tile floors, stretched out clothes etc. What seemed impossible a week ago, seems much smaller today. I hope I can apply this to everything we come across in this journey, the impossible is possible and the light is always there. It may take time to see it but it is there.

This first week was packed with visiting a babies home, visiting a village, serving at a feeding center, going to a quinceanera for one of the orphans turning 15, teaching songs to children at another children's home and so much more. Each day packed with a lot of stories to share.

One thing that is standing out in my mind is a story of a little girl named Kelly that we met in the village. Kelly is a 5 year old beautiful girl (the size of a three year old). We met a lot of kids in the village that day but Kelly stood out because she was covered in scabies. She had them all over her face, her lips, all around her eyes. They covered her arms and legs. For those that aren't sure what scabies are, it is a little bug that burrows under your skin and causes major discomfort and makes you very itchy. I can say this speaking from experience. The children at the orphanage in Haiti all were covered in scabies. On one of our trips to Haiti, I got scabies. I had to lather in a cream every night before I went to bed. I had a pill I would take every day. I had to wash my sheets every morning and wash my towels after one use. As soon as I changed my clothes I had to throw them in the wash. I showered often. This was the only way to get rid of them. Mine never got even close to as bad as the children in Haiti or Kelly's.

This day in the village, Kelly clung to our daughter Alyssa but you could tell as happy as she was to have a new friend, she was very itchy and uncomfortable. Through a translator I asked her if she had any medicine for the scabies and she said yes, she had a cream but it wasn't helping. We asked if she could take us to meet her mom so we could see if we could help her. She gladly took us to her home. Her home was three walls with a tin roof. The floor was the dirt on the ground. We asked her mother if it would be ok for us to go to a pharmacy and see if they had any other medicine that would help her. She agreed and was happy that we offered. The pharmacist gave us a medicine that is stronger then the cream and would hopefully help but she really needed to have hot showers and wash her bedding and clothes in hot water often. Unfortunately, they don't have the access to hot water like we do in the states.

I am sure glad I had scabies because now I know what Kelly.
I pray that the medicine is helping her and her scabies are gone. Please join us in praying for sweet little Kelly and her family. We will check on her soon to see if the medicine is working.