Go to the lost, confused people … touch the untouchables. You have been treated generously, so live generously (Matthew 10:5, The Message).
Here are a few snapshots of people that come to clinic. These people keep coming to my mind to pray over, to pray for their communities. To pray that they may come to know truth and hope….
As I listened to a young girl at the age of 20 tell her story, I looked at how clean and neat she appeared. Her smile was shy and her eyes were bright and her face was very attractive. She appeared healthy and bright. She came to us because she had been having seizures for 3 ½ years. She had been taking medicine that was able to control the seizures, but if she missed a day, the seizures returned. When asked about a husband or family, she shook her head. From her bag she pulled out a packet of medicine. Leslie explained to her that the medicine that she was taking would eliminate her seizures, but at the same time it would prevent her from having children. I could see the fear creep into her eyes as she thought about what would be worse, to have seizures and have children, or not have seizures, but not have children.
After Leslie finished explaining, the gratitude that flowed from her lips was so genuine that it stood out to me throughout the day. Often times we are told thank you, but this was different. She had been taking this medicine for some time and no one ever shown concern about her or her future. The smile returned to her face when Leslie gave her a different medicine that would control her seizures and allow her to still have children in the future. Only one question remained, where was this money coming from that bought her medicine – 250 quatzales a week (which in the American economy is about 250 dollars a week). She explained that she was in the church and they took up an offering for her so that she could continue to buy the medicine. With these words I was encouraged, that the body of Christ is living and active. That she is finding hope and peace in knowing that her needs are taken care of and she has others around her that will walk this path with her. And so we pray…..
The same day a father brought his 18 month old daughter in. At first glance she appeared normal, but there was a stare to her eyes that said something was really wrong with her. She has been admitted to the hospital and put in intensive care for 30 days and then in the pediatric ward for 60 days. Since she was released, her father said she is unable to swallow or see. When asked why she was in the hospital, he said that there were so many people there, no one ever told him. But the concern in his eyes showed that he realized his daughter was not the same. He had heard that we could help babies like her so he brought her to us, a five hour walk up and down mountains. And so we asked about his support network, if he had a pastor and church. He explained that yes he knew Jesus could heal and that his pastor was praying for his daughter and family. After explaining to him what had probably happened to his daughter and that she might not ever develop further, he welcomed prayer and was grateful to finally have answers as to why his daughter never healed. Although there was no medical care we could offer, he left with the understanding that Jesus was the only one who could heal. And so we pray….
We pray for the hearts of those that come seeking as well….. as I listened and talked with a girl that was 23 and had been with her husband 8 years and had had no children. She came seeking a fix to this problem. Her husband was beating her and abusing her and blaming the fact that they were childless on her. Knowledge about pregnancy is pretty limited and although she had hoped we had an answer for her, this was not the case. Armando (a pastor who has a heart for these people) explained all of the issues that could cause infertility and especially that it was not her fault and she was not cursed. He spent a long time talking to her about her life, her husband, and how to approach the next steps. Here in Guatemala there are few options for infertility and it is almost like a curse. Children are needed to help around the house, to care for you in your later age, to work in the fields. Without children, it is like having no retirement plan. And so those who never have children are often some of the most sorrowful people that we meet as their hearts yearn to have children…. And so we pray……