As I move into my new role with VisionTrust my prayers to those who support me were simple; I pray God will give me the skills to tell the children’s stories and the stories of the faithful people that love and serve them every day. I pray God will give me the wisdom to know how to best guide our health efforts and bring together a strong team to serve projects across the world. Finally, I pray that God will help me to be courageous in reaching out to ask you to help.
As a commitment to these prayers I start my blogging to all of you to tell the story of those who inspire me. My first story is about our leader in Guatemala. Rut is a young, beautiful woman of God. She has been truly gifted at a young age with wisdom, a strong faith and a presence among the mothers of Cruz Blanca that must be God inspired. During our trip to work with her team this summer, we spent a day in the village which included 90 informative minutes with several mothers from the village and a chance to walk the village and make a few house calls.
Our time together was very informative, we learned a great deal about health beliefs and health practices. We found mothers who were doing the best they could for their children facing some of the same challenges that all mothers face (picky eaters, too many things to do, etc). Of course for these mothers the issues take on a much more life threatening reality when the water is not clean, healthy food is difficult to obtain and basic health provisions are out of reach.
Our day in the village was a great success thanks to Rut’s leadership. Her poise and commitment to the school has provided a trusted space for the mothers to share both their expertise and their time. Unbeknownst to us, our time in the village was such a success that the traditional medicine people became quite threatened. The threat led to many evil acts toward the school and the staff. Rats were released, people were hurt from “bobby-trapped” metal, and the list went on and on. Of course this left Rut and her team afraid and unsure how to overcome the unleashing of evil upon the school. Many prayed with Rut, we prayed through the song The Great I Am. Through the prayer reminding Rut that
…the mountains shake before Him, the Demons run and flee, at the mention of the name King of Majesty, there is no power in hell, or any who can stand, before the power and the presence of the Great I Am….
Why share this story as I try to write about health? I share it to remind myself and all of us that being healthy is tightly wrapped up in our beliefs. Not only does poverty create health challenges, but traditional health practices (driven by traditional medicine men, shaman, whatever the name) influence much of how even believers may approach health issues. As we move to engage each VisionTrust project in a very purposeful approach to health promotion and disease prevention we may not forget that in each encounter we must lean on our heavenly Father since we are moving on longstanding, deep rooted beliefs and customs.
Pray for our efforts, consider supporting Guatemala’s efforts to bring water filters to the village, immunizations and deworming to all the children. Or consider supporting our efforts as we move from the Americas to Asia on our third pilot in India this February.