Since Dec 18th we have been blessed with family, friends and teams visiting and serving with us in Guatemala. It has been great to share this experience with so many people. In the midst of this busyness we had to find a new house to live in because we are getting closer to opening the baby house!
Last week we had an awesome team from Foundations Church in Loveland, CO here to serve with us. One of the things we did was go to the city and serve at a feeding center that we have done some work at and is run by Pastor Araceli. The feeding center is a place that provides one meal a day to people in the community. For the majority of the people that come here, this is their only meal of the day. So the long distance they walk to get there is not a problem for them.
Every time we go to the feeding center we meet new people and hear new heart breaking stories. This time was different………….
We were at the feeding center with the Foundations team and we say these two women walk in with a young girl and a baby boy that appeared to be a new born. Of course this precious baby boy caught the eye of most of us there. As a group formed around these ladies to see this baby, their story started to be revealed to us. The older woman carrying the baby was the baby’s grandmother. The other lady that appeared to be in her late twenties was the baby’s aunt. The young girl (who looked to be 10) was 13 and she was the baby’s mom. As soon as I heard this part of the story I felt my body almost crumble.
The Grandmother of the baby boy shared the story with us. Her 13 year old daughter had been raped. They do not know the man that did it. While hearing this story I watched the young girl with emptiness in her eyes and a blank stare on her face.
We noticed that they were feeding the baby a bottle of sugar water and found out that is all that they had been giving him for 40 days (that’s how old he was) because they could not afford formula and the mother was having problems nursing him. One of the ladies on the team was a nurse and was able to explain that this was not good for the baby and tried to help the mom and grandma understand what they needed to do for him.
I couldn’t take my eyes off the 13 year old girl. She had the look of someone who was in shock or walking in a daze. She looked at me for a moment and I motioned her to come sit beside me. She walked over and sat down. I then placed my arm around her and slowly pulled her against me. My eyes swelled up with tears. I closed my eyes and pictured our daughter Alyssa who is 13 years old.
I could not imagine her going through what this girl was. How could this be? She is still a child/teen. What does her future hold for her and her baby boy? It took everything in me to hold it together that day.
Yesterday we met another amazing servant here in Guatemala! He is a Guatemalan man that runs a ministry to serve people on the streets or living in the dump. As he shared his testimony with us, he made a statement that keeps replaying in my head. He said, “everything we go through in life, is like training for the next job God has for us”. Over the last few months here, I have seen that come full circle for me. Some of the hardest things I have been through in my past, I am now being faced with people going through a similar situation. I was not able to help that young girl. I was able to hold her in my arms, hurt for her and know a small piece of the fear and pain she might be feeling that comes along with being a young mother.