After breakfast it was just a short drive to the Municipal, or "city hall" where we would hold the wheelchair distribution. By the time we arrived, there were already people waiting under the canopy that had been provided by the mayor.
As soon as I walked up, my eyes immediately went to Magdalena, a frail 6 year old, who looked more like a 3 year old. This little one was obviously malnourished. It was like I was taken back to my January trip when I had met Lisvi, a severely malnourished 5 year old. As with Lisvi, I hoped my initial assessment was too harsh. Our little Lisvi had died shortly after Dick and I met her and took her and her parents to Hermano Pedro. They could not bear to leave her there, and she was just not strong enough to survive, though her family loved her much and cared for her well. She was so weak by the time we met her it was doubtful if she would have lived even if she had been left in the malnutrition ward for treatment. I still have not been able to let go of the fact that there was nothing we could do for this precious child except love her and support her parents in their decision to care for her at home.
Dick soon confirmed that my fears for Magdelena were warranted, and when we asked her parents if they would like her to be seen by a doctor, there was not a second's hesitation before the both said yes. So Dick will be returning soon to Champerico, to take them to Hermano Pedro for treatment.
I don't know that I can put into words what holding a starving child does to my heart. It seems to confront me full in the face with my helplessness; boldly demands that I trust God's will for each little one, accepting His soverignty when I'd rather have my own way and see them not suffer. Of all the suffering I see, this is the one that breaks me the most. For I can't help but think of my own grandson, Zach, a three year old who has non-stop energy, more food than he could ever eat, and who wants for nothing. Why does God seem to "play favorites" with children? Why do some have too much, while others have nothing?
challenges in giving a person what they needed, rather than what they may have wanted for a chair, and again I saw the team's confidence grow in this area. I circled the teams and helped with translation, gathering parts, getting water, etc. God had led me to prepare for ministering more to the team on this trip rather than to the Guatemala people directly, and today I clearly knew why. While maybe not as personally fulfilling as having the memory of someone I personally put into a chair, I was able to see that, in supporting my team, I was able to support them in reaching many more people than I could have if I were directly fitting chairs. More and more God is teaching me I must learn to love and serve without consideration of my personal fulfillment, but solely for His glory. One more way I'm starting to learn that it's not about me!
I also received some more confirmation of the need for communication systems as I watched many of the children respond to being spoken to, but only with their eyes since they have no oral language. One of the sweetest moments on this trip was when Dick and Chris were talkingwith a teenage girl who had received a walker, and who they were discussing receiving medical treatment for her misshapened foot. I was talking with a elderly couple, when I heard Dick call out, "Pat, this one's for you!" It felt like a direct affirmation that I have recognized real need, and have something unique to contribute to the ministry in Guatemala. I can't wait to be able to get started with this, and hope someday soon to return to Champerico to give this young woman a system she can use. She is so bright, has never been to school, and is eager to learn. What a privilege if I can help her do this.
There were so many stories of this day, but what I once again realized profoundly is that in providing a wheelchair we minister not only to the individual with a disability but to the entire family, especially the wives and mothers and children who no longer have to carry their loved ones everywhere, or constantly live in fear of them falling. Today, through our team and Bethel, I got to watch Jesus as he set captives free.