We know it’s not possible for each of you to meet Rut Chamale, our National Director in Guatemala, but you’re missing out. So, we thought we’d introduce you via the world wide web…
I first started working in San Juan Sacatepéquez eleven years ago translating for medical teams with Campus Crusade. We would work with the different communities that surround San Juan. In 2007, the local governor talked about needing a program that could help the children in the surrounding communities since they were facing many difficulties due to their extreme poverty living conditions.
During this time, I took my first visit to the village of Cruz Blanca. As I walked around this village, I talked to different children that were playing in the streets. When I asked them about what they wanted to be when they grow up, some of them just stared at me and others told me about how they wanted to work making tortillas or on agriculture fields. This was really hard for me to understand. I was working as a preschool teacher in a private school in Guatemala City, so I was used to get responses like “I want to be a doctor, a lawyer, teacher, etc.”
This was my first encounter facing the limitations for many Guatemalan children. I’ve always considered myself a dreamer, so when I realized that these children didn’t have any dreams about their future it broke my heart. I knew they had no dreams because they never had a chance to see something different to the reality they were living and therefore, no opportunity was available for them to believe that there was something more they could become.
When I got back from the village I continued to think about the children and the big need they had. During the following weeks I signed up for a project design class that was focused on community development. One of my assignments was to create a program that could meet the needs of Guatemalan children living in extreme poverty. This was a great opportunity for me to start writing about something that could be done with the children in Cruz Blanca. My two best friends decided to join this project with the hope we could design a program that could actually be used in the village. Throughout the semester I went to Cruz Blanca to study the village needs and background, knowing at the same time about VisionTrust and their desire to conduct research to developing projects in Guatemala.
I met with Matt Storer, VisionTrust’s President, and Nelson Paulino, VisionTrust Dominicana’s National Director, and took them to Cruz Blanca so they could see the village and the need of these children. After discussing the village needs and project ideas, we decided to pray and wait for God to direct us in the best decision.
Helping Cruz Blanca was already my dream and in God’s perfect timing, I was working on designing the project for school, but then I was suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumor and was told I had little chances of having a successful surgery. I was really upset and began asking God many questions. I couldn’t understand why, when it seemed like my dreams were coming true and I was about to begin serving needy children, that God could allow something like this to happen. I was confused and started focusing inward, which led to a loss of joy and the excitement I had.
A couple of months later I received VisionTrust´s response saying that we had their support to start a program with Cruz Blanca. This program became the first class project that was implemented from student design. For this reason, the school decided to support us by allowing our program to be on the list of approved projects for students to conduct their research through and create new proposals for.
I was still dealing with my health problems and I finally started praying about it with a better attitude. God confronted me with the realization that I was focused on myself and I had stopped thinking about what God wanted to do. Finally I understood that it was not about me, not about my health or what I wanted or my dreams, but rather it was about God’s plan and His dreams not only for me, but for the community.
I decided to stop thinking about myself because God was in control. I started working with the community and began learning that even when the villagers resisted to the idea of opening their lives to strangers, God would slowly soften their hearts and allow me to learn about their families and the way they lived. I became sicker in the following months.
The specialists said that the tumor was probably growing and it was time to take the risk of surgery. I was scared even when I knew God was in control. I started receiving emails from all over world from people letting me know that they were praying for a miracle. However, when I prayed I didn’t know what to ask for. God showed me that all He wanted to hear was a thankful prayer. This was confusing because I was not thankful at all. After several days, while I was driving I began crying and thanking God. After that prayer, I knew it didn’t matter what could happen to me and I truly was grateful for what God had already done in my life.
I had one more brain scan to locate the tumor before setting the date for surgery. Two days later, I got the results back saying the tumor was gone and all the blood work I had came out normal. I knew this was God’s chance for me to understand that it will never be about me; it will always be about Him.