Over the weekend of September 21-23, 2012, Dr. Anne Ruch and I visited the Peten for a grand total of 36 hours. It was a whirlwind visit which moved multiple goals and projects one more step forward. Most importantly, however, were the visits to friends and the hope that these visits carried.
We took time to have lengthy discussions with Ismael and Orfe, our Guatemalan SewHope team members, about how their desired future for their family intertwines with the unfolding projects of SewHope. The plan is that I will be living with this family in about a month. What changes need to be made to allow this to happen? SewHope has architectural drawings for a community center that we wish to build in this area. Would Ismael and Orfe prefer to live in their current two room home or plan to live on the community center grounds? Our combined future is built on hope.
We took an afternoon to travel to visit the families of the poor village of Pueblo Nuevo. SewHope spent over two years working with the community on various projects in this village, but due to increased danger in the area, decided that we could no longer assist in the same way. But many friends live in Pueblo Nuevo, and their surprise to see the van with familiar faces was an incarnation of hope.
Several persons stopped the van as we attempted to leave Pueblo Nuevo. One woman wanted Anne to look at her 6-month old baby who has severely crossed eyes. Anne knew the woman who had named her oldest son after Anne's husband, Randy. Anne could speak words of hope to this mother that her child would be able to see.
I was able to visit the principal and one of the teachers in the school in Purcilla. I met them for the first time in March 2012. When we met for the second time on Sunday you would have thought that we had been the best of friends for unending years. What binds us is hope.
Anne was able to visit Daniel in his home. About two years ago, at the age of 14, Daniel was in an accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Our friendship has been and continues to be a long and hope-filled journey.
Rudy came to visit with us in Flores. Rudy is a Guatemalan man who is helping SewHope to plan and carry out the surgery week scheduled to take place in his home town of San Cristobal, Guatemala. I was so touched by the faith and passion of this young man and the hope that he has for his people that twice during the meal I reached over to touch his hand to make sure that he was real.
Several of you have also shared hope. Thank you for the new dresses and baby blankets. We are not always able to bring everything we would wish to share, but these items were perfect.
Hope is an action word. Great hope is shared in a simple word or gesture.
Bruce Wilkinson in his book The Prayer of Jabez shares: "Of course, what you know about this or any other prayer won't get you anything....It's only what you believe will happen and therefore do next that will release God's power for you and bring about a life change." The italics are his. They challenge us to make hope real by taking the next step. What do you hope for? What is your next step?
Sr. Pam Buganski
Sr. Pam joined SewHope as our first American Project Coordinator in 2012