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The Real Church
On day two of our Guatemalan adventure we went on house visits. Out of the 23 of us we were divided into 4 groups so we didn’t over whelm the families we were visiting. My group first went to a little yellow house at the top of the hill. Upon knocking on the door we met Maria Rosa Luna and her two sons, Jefferson and Jorge Manuel. We walked in and she immediately asked us to sit down. We could tell she had something on her heart that she wanted to share but we started with small talk about what sports they played. Then we asked how long she lived in the house she currently lived in and she immediately began diving into a long story. Our translator and group leader Kara listened so she could translate back to us. The story Maria was telling was very powerful and we couldn’t tell from her words but we could tell from her emotions and the look on Kara’s face of just raw emotion that we were about to experience a true hardship.
After telling most of the story Kara began to translate and she said “ Maria is a woman of true faith and she had a vision a while back that she needed to help start up a church that her husbands brother would be the pastor of.’’ He asked her if she would mortgage her home to help pay to start up this church. She agreed willingly because she was willing to give it all to God. Time went by when she received a notice from the bank saying that she had 3 days to evacuate her house and leave everything behind because the church hadn’t been paying the mortgage. The house had been in her family and was her mother’s house, she had planned to live there and raise her children there, and it broke her heart. So she left the house with nothing but her family. At the time she was 5 months pregnant and lost the baby. She viewed this as a blessing because she couldn’t raise the child and knew it would have a very hard life. She asked the church for money many times to help pay her back but they refused her every time. Her two sons went to school where they had to pay for school supplies and uniforms to be able to go. She had lost everything though so they weren’t able to go anymore, she was forced to send them on the streets to sell because they had no money, some nights not even enough to provide dinner. Her husband worked but didn’t make a lot of money. Each day Maria had to walk past her old house to visit her mother who lived a few houses down from it and every day she was reminded of how the church had failed her. While all this was going on her older son Jorge Manuel had a bump on his head that had been growing his whole life. Maria said that he was born with it and the doctors had said it was bad and could become life threatening (when he was born). They didn’t have the money to even get an exam to figure out exactly what it was or figure out how much surgery to remove it would even be.”
Taking all this in was heartbreaking, God truly broke our hearts for what breaks His. We asked if we could pray over the family and they agreed letting each of us go one by one. After we prayed she thanked us and said that no one had prayed for her like this in such a long time. We left the house and all fell to the ground sobbing with hearts broken and wandering minds. We were all trying to think of ways that we could help because we knew that we wanted to do something to help. The next morning Kara asked to talk to the group from the day before. So we went on a walk and she instantly began spilling about how Doris (One of the woman who helped with dinner and our contact for the house visits) had come to her with strong faith that we would be willing to help Maria. She told Kara that she had set up a doctors appointment for that day at 12:30 to go and see what was wrong and how much the surgery would be. Doris would accompany them to make sure all went well and be able to come back and tell us that night at dinner what had happened. We all loved the idea and chipped in to donate the $148 to pay for his exam.
That night at dinner Doris came back and reported that they could remove the brain tumor and the surgery would cost $435. We were amazed, this is something we had a chance at accomplishing. That night we discussed what we should do next. The final decision was that the next morning at breakfast we would ask everyone if they would be willing to donate to the cause. We thought that a little joy and less stress would really help. If we could show this incredibly faithful women that the church stood behind her then she could have so much more peace in her heart. So the next morning at breakfast we talked to everyone setting out a jar asking for donations but saying no one has to give anything if they didn’t wish. By 7:30 when we had to leave we had raised enough money and more for the surgery. This was going to happen! The day went on and that night Doris came back with the amazing news that the tumor had been removed and Jorge Manuel was back home and resting. In 8 days we would know if the tumor was cancer but in the mean time he was fine and the extra money would cover the pain medicine he needed. The experience was incredible and it was so cool to see a women’s faith in the church restored. We longed to be the hands and feet of Jesus and He gave us the opportunity to serve one of His faithful servants. It was truly life changing and something we will never forget for the rest of our lives.