"Life Changer" is a term used by Rudy. In his usage, it means an event that makes a difference in the life of a person. I believe that it also applies to people who make a choice to make a difference in the life of a person.
The stories below have all come to pass in the three days that Dr. Coral and Dr. Gary's team have been in the Peten. I continue to be mystified as to how does this. How do you do this, God? Thank you for touching the hearts of so many persons to give as they can, to come as they can, to do what they can. Your presence and hope is known here in the Peten through the love of your people.
Rudy is the director of the organization Living to Serve www.livingtoserve.org. Rudy's organization helped Dr. Anne Ruch and team to do a surgery trip in San Cristobal. Rudy arranged for additional Guatemalan doctors, nurses and translators to join our American team. He also arranged for licenses for the American doctors and made the connection with the hosptial and other area organizations who advertised about our presence. Being Guatemalan, Rudy adds a level of understanding of the culture and the people. Since meeting Rudy, he has also made the five hour trip from San Cristobal to the Peten to join each of our clinic teams. He serves as a translator and is also on the look out for persons in the villages who can benefit from the other surgical teams that he works with in Guatemala. Rudy is a Life Changer.
Two months ago, Rudy accompanied Dr. Anne and team to the village of Purushila for a clinic. There he encountered an eleven-year old girl with a cleft pallet. The young girl had had a repair of her cleft lip, but the family simply did not have enough money to ever have the internal cavity repaired. Rudy was aware of another team that was coming to perform this type of surgery. Rudy arranged for the transportation and also found donors to pay for the costs of the surgery. Two months later, at our clinic yesterday in Purushila, Rudy once again met this little girl and her mother. The girl had had successful surgery and both mother and daughter were back to give thanks. Below is a picture of Rudy working with Dr. Nate and a picture of a little girl who experienced a life changer because of the googness of God and the collaboration of the two groups SewHope and Living to Serve.
Then we have Alex and Lindsay Matus, the twin ninth-grade daughters of Dr. Coral Matus. Alex and Lindsay have made many trips with their mother to serve in the Peten. On this trip they are assisting with some of the lab tests. But their work for the young people in Guatemala continues even when they are home in Millbury. Together the girls started a sponsorship program for students who need monetary support to continue their education. The girls have two projects to this end at present. First a group of 14 adults have donated $200 each to sponsor a particular student attending grade 7 or beyond. Lindsay and Alex were able to meet the students that are being sponsred in Purushila and share with them a letter from their sponsor. Tthe letter was written in English and the two girls translated the message to Spanish. The girls also received letters written in Spanish which they will translate to English to bring back to the sponsors in the Toledo area. In addition, their former school Lake Middle School (the one that was demolished by the tornado a few years ago....actually the two girls were in Guatemala with their mother when the storm hit) is having a fundraiser for SewHope. The goal is to raise $2000 with the intent to give 20 $100 scholarships to students. Our hope is that soon Purushila will have access to the internet (God willing! and we need prayers for this project tomorrow!) and that the youth and their sponsors will be able to communciate by email and Skype. Below are some pictures of Lindsay, Alex and some of the scholarship recipients in Purushila. Thank you to LIndsay and Alex for being Life Changers.
Through God's grace, Daryl joined our team for just one day. He drove for 10 hours to get here and then drove 10 hours back. God's children were worth it to him. Daryl, himself is a testimony to life changers, after experiencing much adversity in his youth, turned to gangs and drugs and spoke about God with disdain. On one particularly dismal evening, he was about to take his life when God sent the most beautiful sunset that Daryl had ever seen. This beauty made Daryl think twice. He made a deal with God: I'll give you two months to show me that You exist or I will be right back here. Darly went home and marked his calendar. Within two weeks, Daryl had met two teenagers who witnessed to God's love, something that Daryl had never experienced. After giving his life to God, Daryl felt called to the ministry. But Daryl's whole life is dedicated to the ministry. He and his wife have 10 children. As Daryl says, they are all my children; five of them are adopted. Of these five, one is from China, one from Korea and one from Guatemala. Of the five three have disabilities. Daryl is the director of Hope for Home Ministries http://hopeforhome.blogspot. Daryl and his family moved to Guatemala two years ago to extend this ministry of providing wheelchairs and other medical supplies and services to those without access.
Ismael, Daryl and I visited disabled children and adults in their homes in El Chal and in Purushila. Daryl was very caring and took measurements when a piece of equipment seemed necessary. When therapy seemed the better help, Darly will seek money for the therapy if we can find the occupational therapist. For the worman in the top right picture, Daryl believes that he will be able to arrange surgery for the knee. Daryl will ask his donors to assist those in need here in the Peten. Daryl hopes to return with the equipment in about two months. God bless you, Daryl. Thank you for being a Life Changer.
(Since I already have a long blog, I have to tell you more about the man below. He is paralyzed from the waist down. He was injured by another vehicle when he stopped to help a person whose vehicle was stopped at the side of the road. He is a young man with a family. Each day he has help to load his wheelchair into a vehicle where he is driven to work in the fields with his two boys. In the afternoons, the boys attend school. Ismael hopes to be able to assist Lindsay and Alex to enroll these two boys in their scholarship program.)
There has been tremendous progress on the Birthing Center in El Chal. Yesterday about 30 men of the village came to help pour the concrete floor and to continue to dig the cistern. The Birthing Center is the dream of Dr. Coral Matus. Dr. Coral and her family and other friends of SewHope have raised the funds to raise the community to raise the building. Local masons and others came together under the direction of Stephen the Menonite who has a cement mixer and other simple equipment. Catalina, the midwife, and some women from the village came at noon with a lunch of chicken, rice and tortillas. Truly this building is a Life Changer.
Sr. Pam Buganski
Sr. Pam joined SewHope as our first American Project Coordinator in 2012