Witnessing Poverty Firsthand
Recently, Missy and I have come to know two families that live near the church we serve in Linda Vista. We learned of them by one of the leaders in the church who has been working with Missy to do prayer visits every week. She tries to find people in need and without hope to visit and encourage. Over the past couple weeks, we have gotten to know a single father and a single mother. Ok, well they really aren’t single, but right now they are alone. Part of my reason for sharing the following story is because in our mostly middle to upper class suburban America, we think that poverty is a result of laziness, lack of education, or something else that leads us to think one’s poverty is a result of their own doing. What we have come to learn over the past 2.5 years is that poverty is actually a result of one’s environment failing them. Whether it is the government, social programs, neighbors, the church, or even one’s family, we have discovered that there is always an outside influence to one’s poverty.
Fredy and Maria
Fredy is a young man (24) trying to care for his 7 month old daughter while his wife, Maria (28), is stuck in the hospital. She has been there for 6 months. Notice the correlation between the baby’s age and the wife’s tenure in a hospital? Right after she gave birth, Maria began having medical issues and has had to stay in the hospital since. Because babies are susceptible to many germs and infections, they are not allowed to visit in the hospital. Maria has not only been sick with a still unknown diagnosis, which doctors think might be cancer, but has yet to actually see her baby since she entered the hospital! She got to spend some time with her right after the birth but Maria went into the hospital when her baby was 1 month old. Missy had taken some pictures of the baby on her phone so when we went to pray for Maria, Missy was able to show her pictures. “If I’m going to die, I’d rather do it at home with my family instead of here in a bed,” Maria cried to us.
While Maria is in a public hospital which means her care is free, her tests are not so she has been lying a hospital be for 6 months waiting for her chance to have the tests for free. This is just one of the horrors of the socialized medical system here in Guatemala. Fredy lost his job because he was spending so much time visiting Maria during the first few months of this ordeal and because he could not find anyone to take care of the baby on a regular basis. He began selling the items from their home which he says used to be beautifully decorated and full of stuff so that he could pay for Maria’s doctor exams and feed himself and the baby. The baby has not had its mother’s milk for this whole time. We were actually quite impressed to see how well the baby is doing. She is healthy, very responsive, and by spending some time with her, you would never guess that the family is in such dire straits.
After visiting Maria in the hospital and praying over her for healing, the church has decided to try to step up and help this family in need. The woman who discovered the plight of this family is going to help them arrange paperwork to try to get the baby to visit. It is a bunch of red tape that will result in a 5 minute meeting with Maria but it is worth it. We just can’t imagine being in her position! She is crammed into a hospital room with just enough space for 3 beds, 3 end tables, and a couple chairs for visitors. At least the room has its own bathroom. The male leaders of the church plan to start visiting Fredy on a regular basis to see how they can help the family and to encourage him. Please join us in prayer for God’s provision, providence, and healing over this family.
Stay tuned to hear about the second of these 2 families, Sandra, and how she is struggling to raise her three children on her own and how the church is planning on helping them!