Guatemala: Baby Rescue Mission-Day 4

Today was our last full day in Guatemala. And it was full.

It began with our trip out to a village to dedicate a well. This village is next to a river that dried up two years ago. Here’s a video to quickly recap this morning:

IMG_6032This is a photo of where the river used to be. Along the river banks is garbage from all the surrounding villages. The stench was incredible. There was even a large pig rummaging through. Imagine the quality of water they had here even when there WAS a river flowing through here.IMG_6036

Clean water and wells are important to these villages… but Rescuing Babies are what we at Leading and Loving It are choosing to focus on right now because in the beginning, when we asked World Help what they needed most from us, they said “Help us rescue babies.” Which leads me to the rest of our day…

I had the privilege of experiencing my very first baby rescue. They put 6 of us (Noel Yeatts, Lori Wilhite, Lisa Hughes, Mardia Lira, Kimberly Scott and myself) on a boat to cross the river. On the other side, we met two young mothers and their sick babies.

Baby Rescue w/ World Help

Jobelin (pictured above in my arms) is 7 months old. Her mother only 18. Though she weighed in at the hospital at 9 lbs. 12 oz., she’s barely the size of a one-month old. Her head was a bit swollen under her skull… someone mentioned she may need drainage. As I held her, walking quickly to the boat to cross back over, all I could think was “Don’t trip! Don’t trip!

I didn’t.

The other baby, Kevin, is 2.5 years old. His mother is only 20. On top of being sick and scared, he didn’t like being held by strangers (understandably). He cried the majority of the time. His mother was overwhelmed and afraid as well. We later found out though he’s 2.5, his only source of nourishment was his mothers breast milk. I don’t know if it’s because they don’t have access to enough food or if he just won’t eat.

We rushed them to the hospital and the organized chaos began. As I carried Jobelin into triage and put her on a bed, doctors and nurses swarmed in to begin taking vitals. Their little clothes their mothers had so carefully put them in (they knew we would be there and wanted to present their beautiful babies to us. And why wouldn’t they?) were quickly, yet carefully pulled off. They knew exactly what to do and were quick. The chaotic part was just hearing the babies crying. All we could do was pray. So we did.

After all was recorded and the initial chaos calmed, I saw Jobelin’s mother nursing quietly in an abandoned triage room. I asked Mardia if she would translate for me. And all I could say to Jobelin’s mother was this:

“I think you are extremely brave to choose this unknown journey to help your daughter get well. I know they will take care of you both the best they can here but I also know you must be afraid. Your choice wasn’t easy… and I want you to know your courage humbles me. You made the right choice on your daughters’ behalf.”

The smile she gave me with a quiet “gracias” will never be forgotten.

We got to be a part of two rescues yesterday. Our goal is to raise funds for 200 Baby Rescues by November. Mother Theresa said:

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, feed just one.”

200 is a big number, so don’t focus on that. Would you consider helping us rescue ONE?

Help us rescue ONE child.

CLICK HERE to find out how.

To read the previous days of our Baby Rescue Mission, please click on the links below:
Guatemala: The Dump
Guatemala: Baby Rescue Mission- Day 3
Guatemala: Baby Rescue Mission- Day 2
Guatemala: Baby Rescue Mission- Day 1

Guatemala: The Dump

I already wrote about Day 3 this morning… but here was a video that captured some of what happened yesterday.

Please take a minute to watch it.

Guatemala | #LALIRescue15 from World Help on Vimeo.

If you feel a tug to help, please CLICK HERE to find out how.

To catch up on the previous days, click on the appropriate links below:
Guatemala: Baby Rescue Mission – Day Two
Guatemala: Baby Rescue Mission – Day One

Guatemala: Baby Rescue Mission- Day 3

This morning is hazy and overcast. The sun is nowhere to be seen, yet I still feel its presence in the warmth of the air and humidity that I’m breathing.

IMG_6027This is a good reminder for me that just because I may not see God in the way I expect to see Him in life, it doesn’t mean He isn’t present.

Yesterday, we went back to the hospital to lead a bible study for the mothers currently living there with their sick children. Joyce and Mardia (our fluent in Spanish team members) shared their stories and lead the study. They were brilliant.

The best part was when Mardia said, “Let’s pray!” An eruption of prayer filled the room. Mothers who were nursing their babies, stood with baby still at breast, and called out their prayers to God in a mess of unison. It was a beautiful chaos. I didn’t understand the majority of their hearts cry, but I know God hears every desperate call they gave.

IMG_5944Here, Chelsea is standing with Orpha. Chelsea is 20 and Orpha is 18. Orpha came into the hospital 20 days ago due to extreme malnourishment. Her mother (who brought her down along with her 3 other siblings) said she was so thankful for Hope of Life because just 21 days ago, Orpha just laid in bed and never wanted to get up. She thought she was going to lose her. But today, 20 days later, she’s up and about. Walking around and giving hugs freely.

There is obvious irreparable damage to sweet Orpha due to extended sickness. But Hope of Life has given her and her family hope beyond what they had ever expected. Just seeing Orpha’s little sister made me smile. She’s 3 years old… and looks like a healthy 3 year old.

IMG_5959 IMG_5968BABIES!!! Of course we got to hold babies again.

I got to feed this 2 month old that looks like a newborn. She’s a twin. Her mother is still up at her village with her other twin who isn’t sick.

And of course, I had to spend some cuddle time with sweet Katy. She was mid-bath when I saw her. I got a clean baby… which as you all know, is just so much more delicious for smooching.

After an early lunch, we headed down to the dump to serve a hot lunch to a village of people. This village is an example of where some rescues come from. Hope of Life gathered enough support to feed this village a hot lunch every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Word spread quickly.

IMG_5987 IMG_5990People walk over 3 hours one way to get this meal for their families.

Families lined up and put every plastic container they had in front of us. Some containers were obviously collected from the dump, but it was useful as a container. And down the line they went: Two scoops of hot food out of a large cooler. One small tortilla. 3/4 of their bottles filled with juice.

Each family member coming through with 4-7 containers each, stacking them up. It was obviously they were saving it for the in-between day that Hope of Life wouldn’t be coming down.

IMG_6018 IMG_6022There were homes strung together at the dump. Whatever they could scavenge became a wall or roof. And some were scavenging even post-garbage burn.

Life isn’t fair. But you can help. If this is nudging you in some way, shape or form, I want to encourage you to CLICK HERE to read more about HOW you can help. It won’t take as much as you think.

Help me DO something about this!

Guatemala: Baby Rescue Mission- Day 2

BabyRescue

The roosters are crowing nearby as I sit watching the sunrise with a cup of strong Guatemalan coffee. It’s not hard in these moments to trust that God is good and in control.

Yesterday, we got to tour most of the Hope of Life property. To say “they are amazing here!” would be an understatement. It is clear that God has given Carlos Vargas (Founder of Hope of Life) His own vision for the least of these. Carlos and his team have found a way to house abandoned lives in every age group here… from the youngest special needs child to the forgotten elderly, lucid as well as those struggling with dementia.

But L&LI is on a Baby Rescue Operation this time around so I’ll share what I saw at the hospital…

To read the rest of my post, CLICK HERE

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To read from the beginning of this trip:
Day One

Guatemala: Baby Rescue Mission – Day 1

BabyRescue

Our team from all over the United States flew into Guatemala together yesterday. Together, we are the Leading & Loving It for WorldHelp Team (#LALIrescue15 is our Instagram hashtag if you’re interested in following us). Some of us flew the red-eye flight… I was fortunate to have a long enough layover in Houston, TX to get a somewhat full nights rest in a hotel bed.

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Upon arrival at around 1pm CST, our guides, guards (who are all packing heat, so don’t you worry, Sue George!) and drivers stacked our suitcases up on top of our two buses, roped them down and we loaded in. It’s actually a small miracle that ALL our stuff made it. In almost all the mission trips I’ve been on, it seems someone’s belongings get hung up somewhere. This was awesome.

We grabbed a quick lunch in Guatemala City, then headed to Zacapa. Zacapa is about 3 hours east of Guatemala City. Noel (pictured above in the WorldHelp button) and I get extremely car sick and as the roads are somewhat windy here, there were times we just faced forward and didn’t talk to anyone. The rest of the bus was filled with chatter and excitement.

Around 5:45pm, we pulled into our new home-for-the-week here at Hope of Life. Well… our drivers did. They pulled in, but due to the turn of the road, they had to actually back up towards the house. Our house is set on the side of a substantial hill that I’d like to call a mountain. One side of the bus saw a wall of mountain. The other side of the bus saw a beautiful view… and a LOOOOOONG drop off. Good news… we didn’t hit the mountain OR fall off the mountain while in reverse. That is some skillful driving.

We unloaded our stuff, took a couple of minutes to settle into our rooms and freshen up, and headed down the hill for dinner.

The food here is amazing. Delicious! Flavorful and truly better than I would ever have expected on a “mission trip”. I honestly feel a bit like I’m on vacation… but yesterday was just our full travel day. After dinner, we got to settle in a bit more. Some of us took our first showers in over 24 hours. We sat on our giant patio area (thankful for the breeze that kept mosquitos away) in our pajamas sharing stories and just was present with each other. I’m not sure any of us know exactly what we are going to see today and tomorrow, but we’re ready to do this together.

Yesterday was basically a travel day. Today is when we start to see why we’re actually here.

For those of you tuning in for the first time… here’s a video on why 35 women from all over the U.S. flew down here to Guatemala this week.

Operation Baby Rescue Story from World Help on Vimeo.

I’m not sure there’s much we can do in this short week we are here… but I’m positive some amazing change can happen with possible partnerships and connections. A lot of work is to be done. Please help me pray for pathways for this to be made.

Thanks for reading. If you’d like to help us, CLICK HERE to find out how.

I’ll keep you updated.

2015

It’s been a while since I’ve written.

I miss writing. For me. I’ve stopped writing and posting publicly because of a handful of different reasons, but I don’t really want those reasons to matter anymore. So, I’m gonna write.

It’s a new year. And a new year brings new opportunities. A new journey. And second chances.

2014 was a hard year.

Despite the lack of tension and drama within myself, my family or closest friends… tension and drama seemed to always find a way to knock on my door. I’m not one to run or hide from conflict… but unnecessary drama and tension makes me tired.

People I love are getting sick. Like, REALLY sick. People I love fiercely have buried people they love. And I know this will happen more and more because I’m not 16… I’m 36. Age and life happens to all of us.

But I want more for 2015.

More health. More life. More love. More forgiveness. More time. More money. More joy. More moments. Just more.

That might sound selfish. I’m ok with that. I also know that this will take work on my part. Intentional work and intentional time with my Creator. And I want that too.

So, I’m ready. I’m ready for 2015. I’m ready to choose more.

How about you?

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