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Do you pray?  This little miracle could use your prayers.

I have one constant prayer that I start my day with, “Lord, please put the people in my path that you want me to see today. Open my eyes.  Make it clear.  Please don’t let them pass by.”

We’ve had a lot of growth in the last 4 years. With growth come challenges.

2020 will be our busiest year on campus. Beginning on January 30th, we’ll have almost 80 boys from the elementary school throughout the week. We’ll have 17 middle school boys from 8:30am-3:30pm, every day. And we’ll have 12 girls on scholarship who come for tutoring 4 days a week. BUSY.

For the last 3 years we’ve offered scholarships to kids who want to keep studying but don’t qualify for our school; mostly girls and older students who want to go back to middle school, some as old as 21.

We decided to pause that program for one year so we could focus on the interview process and figure out how to give opportunity to those who would take it seriously. We had 7 students fail out of the program last year. It was frustrating. Pausing for a year will also give me time to analyze and get better at everything else we do.

I’ve been transferring some of the administrative work to Adalis who’s been with me for more than SEVEN years. She’s my right hand, my left and sometimes my brain.

Adalis texted me recently, “There’s a girl from another village who’s here to see if we can help her with school, if we could offer her a scholarship.”

I have to admit, I was a little frustrated. “Adalis, we’re not giving scholarships this year. Ask them to come back next year to apply.”

“I told them, but they said they want to talk to you. Just for a minute.”

I don’t know what I was in the middle of but I was “busy”.  And that makes me sad. Not my best missionary moment. “Tell them I’ll be out in 5 minutes.”

Esmeralda and her mother were sitting on a bench, waiting in the sun, both smiling.

I walked over and asked how I could help.

I learned that Esmeralda is 13 years old and lives in the small, nearby town, of Durazno. Her mother explained that her husband is a farmer and they can’t afford to send Esmeralda to middle school. “She’s smart.  She just needs a chance.  We heard you help girls go to school.”

With my guard mostly down, I explained “We’re not giving scholarships this year, but if you come back next year, I’ll put you at the top of the list.  When you come back, just bring a copy of her report cards.”

Esmeralda finally spoke up, “I have my grades if you want to see them.” She immediately started digging through her bag.

When she stood up to hand them to me, there was an obvious hunch in her back.

I looked over her grades. She had report cards from kindergarten through 6th grade. Esmeralda is wicked smart. Her grades were proof.

Her obviously proud momma explained that Esmeralda didn’t just have the best grades in her class but for the last two years she’s had the best grades in the entire school.  I was impressed.

As I looked over her report cards I asked, “Tell me about your back.”

Her mom told me about how Esmeralda was born with severe scoliosis and that she struggles to breathe. I later learned that Scoliosis decreases the chest wall and affects the lungs indirectly, which makes it hard to breathe. Esmeralda will require a back fusion or her left lung may collapse.

I don’t think I’ve ever met a more motivated, ambitious 13-year-old. She’s a fighter.

“Esmeralda, we’re going to give you the one and only scholarship to study this year. You won’t have to pay for anything. We’ll pay for tuition, books, school supplies, transportation, everything.”

We’ve awarded a few hundred scholarships over the years but most kids hide their excitement. They’re gracious. They smile. They thank us. But they hide their excitement. Esmeralda looked at her mom, and COULD NOT CONTAIN IT! They just hugged each other.

We’re working quickly to find a doctor who will provide an operation for Esmeralda. Today we registered her with Hermano Pedro, a hospital in nearby Antigua, where doctors from all over the world come to perform much needed surgeries, pro bono. It can be a long wait, as in years, so we’re also looking into the possibility of flying her to the United States on a medical visa.

Do you pray?  This little miracle could use your prayers.

“Thank you for putting Esmeralda in my path today Lord.  Thank you for opening my eyes and my heart.  Thank you for not letting her pass by.”   ❤️❤️❤️

If you’d like to share Esmeralda’s story, just click on one of the buttons below.

Gracias.  Abrazos.

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  1. What a MOVING newsletter!! I’m already praying for Esmeralda!! I’m glad the Lord placed her in your path that day and although you were “BUSY”, you found the time to meet with her and her Mama!! Love you Bro!!

    1. Thank you bro. I’m so glad you’re in this ministry with me. See you soon in Guatemala soon!

  2. Sending healing prayers and energy for complete healing for this amazing young girl.

  3. Hi Vonda and George, I have been trying to contact you. Dick and I plan to visit Pastor Araceli’s orphanage with our granddaughter in mid to later June this year. We are hoping to spend some time with you as well. Britton is 17 and fluent in Spanish. Hoping that would work out. Nancy DeCook

    1. Hi Nancy, YES. I’ve replied multiple times. I’ll see if I have a phone number to connect. We would love to see you and your granddaughter here in Guatemala. ❤️

  4. I am in Guatemala again till the 12 of February . I have been getting your emails for years now but we have never met . Was wondering if it is possible to come and visit your ministry before we return to the states .

  5. Hi George,
    It’s always amazing to me how God talks to us and so thankful He puts things on our hearts to say, do or pray. Thank you for sharing about Esmeralda and I will be praying for her, her family and you guys.
    I would like to offer my guest room for Esmeralda and her mother if they need to come to the US. I do have a cat and a couple of dogs is Allergies could be a issue, but I have plenty of free time to drive them anywhere they need to go and offer all food and housing.
    I’m hoping to get down there sometime to see all of you. Foundations hasn’t gotten a mission group together yet, hoping soon.
    Love you guys and praying for all of you,

    1. Lori, THANK YOU! We’ll keep that in mind and keep you updated. Right now it’s looking like she may be able to have surgery in Guatemala, done by American doctors. We hope to update everyone soon. ❤️

  6. Would you please keep me updated on Esmeralda?

    1. Beverly, ABSOLUTELY. We hope to update you with good news soon!

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