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It was the end of a long day. I just had parent teacher conferences for my boys…all 36 of them. Just 8 boys from the academy were passing all their classes! I didn’t get it. But as I met with the teachers I began to see the mountain I was up against. In the villages of Guatemala, 30% of the students will not pass the 6th grade and my boys were no different. Not yet.

Meet Meybelin. I walk by her home to visit a single mom that we help. Today, as I walked by her house, she ran up and gave me a hug and asked me how I was doing. I mustered up the best smile I could and said, “I’m good Meybelin.” I lied. I was frustrated and my heart was broken for my boys.

I don’t know why, but I asked her if she had gotten her report card. I knew she had. I think it was instinct since I had been asking my boys about their grades all week.

“Yes.” She said with a big smile. And that was it. She didn’t offer how she had done and I was too beat up to ask. Statistics show that even fewer girls than boys graduate from 6th grade. I know Meybelin’s mom and I know she can’t read or write and honestly, selfishly, I didn’t have it in me to see her grades.

Maria, a neighbor who was listening, stepped in, “Go get your report card and show him mija!”

And off she ran.

When she got back I put my arm around her as I looked at her grades. My eyes welled up. They’re welling up as I type this. Meybelin was quietly and humbly beating the odds. She was not only passing all her classes but she had mostly 80’s and 90’s. I stared at her report card and couldn’t believe it.

I told her that I was so proud of her. I knelt down and hugged her. I didn’t want to let her go. To me she represented hope. Not just for my boys but for all the kids in El Rosario.

I asked her mom if Vonda and I could take them to breakfast on Saturday. I told her that I wanted to reward her daughter for her incredible effort. Meybelin looked up at her mom with a hopeful smile. I’d say she had a bigger smile than usual but she always has a big smile. It’s just who she is. And so, this Saturday, Vonda and I get to have breakfast with the future of Guatemala. With Hope.

As I was walking up the trail from Meybelin’s house, she yelled to me as she almost always does, “Bye George! May God bless you and keep you safe in your travels!”

Today, God spoke to me through a little 3rd grader named Meybelin.

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7

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