Our residency was approved! After almost a year and a half, roadblock after roadblock, we have been granted permanent residency in Guatemala.
Why residency? First, it will be easier to travel to and from the United States. Second, we won’t have to get our passports renewed every 3 months and we won’t have to leave the country every 6 months. Third, I think it says a lot to the people we love and serve. It says, “We’re here to stay.” 🙂 And finally, as residents we will be eligible to adopt if God puts that on our hearts.
While visiting the local school a few weeks ago, I stopped to talk to Venancia. She’s the school cook, the school janitor and she’s grandmother to Bryan, one of my boys at the Academy. She works hard…six days a week, and earns about $50 a month. She is small and frail normally but on this day, she looked different. I could tell something was wrong. As we talked she said she couldn’t eat with out vomiting and couldn’t hold any kind of liquid down. This has been going on for 5 or 6 days! She said she had been to the National Hospital but in 4 visits, they had not given her any kind of diagnosis or medication.
Venancia has had 3 premature births and one miscarriage. Of five births, one survived. She said her husband died a while ago. “He drank all the time. He used to hit me.” She now lives with her only son and his wife and her seven grandkids. The family of 10 survives on her son’s wages working in the fields as a day worker ($140 a month) and the $50 she makes at the school. It’s not enough.
Venancia is in the middle waiting to see the Doctor!
A few days later I was able to take her to our doctor who was very concerned. Too many days without food and water. She referred us to a gastric specialist and we made an appointment for the very next day. It all happened so fast. After the specialists examination he recommended an endoscopy. He said it normally costs Q1500 but he would do it for Q800. To you and I, that’s $100. To them, it’s impossible.
I talked with the doctor privately and he said he has diagnosed stomach cancer many times and most likely, that’s what she had. All of her symptoms pointed to it. My heart was broken. Venancia is 57 years old. She’s lived a hard life. And I could see it in her eyes…she’s not done. All I could do was hug her and pray.
Early the next morning I drove Venancia to the hospital. The truth is, I had prayed but with very little expectation. As a missionary, that’s embarrassing to admit. I’m human. This kind of cancer can spread quickly. It would be very hard to treat.
Just before we entered the hospital I prayed, “Today God, I’m asking for a miracle. Please heal her. In front of hundreds of students and teachers, in front of an entire community, please heal her Father. To You be all the glory.”
An hour later I was meeting with the doctor, braced for the bad news. I thought about Bryan and the rest of her grandchildren. I thought about what this still young, strong woman, means to this community. She is loved by so many. And then the doctor’s words just echoed in the tiny room.
“She does not have cancer.”
I couldn’t believe it. My head dropped into my hands. “Thank you God. Thank you God. Thank you God.”
I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to having a front row seat to God’s miracles. Is this how the disciples felt? Did they just watch in disbelief? In absolute amazement? Time after time?
Venancia spent the next three days in a private hospital where she was able to regain her strength and begin eating again. I visited her every day and every day she looked stronger.
Today, as she gets on a bus with family to go home where she can rest and recover, I’ll be boarding a plane to Colorado to be with family too. Venancia has stolen my heart and although I’ll be thousands of miles away, she’ll be on my mind.
Our God reigns.
RAINY SEASON is here! And right now Guatemala is under a Tropical Depression, whatever that means. To me, it means A LOT OF THICK RAIN. On Friday my boys at the academy took the day off, after a long week of test taking and we played soccer!
“Rain? We don’t care about no stinkin’ rain!”
If you would like to support the work God is doing through Vencedor Ministries CLICK HERE. 100% of your support goes directly to The Vencedor Boys Academy.
To support Vonda and I personally, CLICK HERE. We could not do this without a few faithful people who believe in the work God is doing through us.
George and Vonda
Ordinary Missionaries serving our Lord in Guatemala
(Click here to go to our FB page! Then make sure to click “LIKE”)
PS – What is ONE question you would like to ask us? About our ministry. About our family. About Guatemala. Anything.