October is our month to finalize all of our annual family interviews. We review all of the info that we have on file and see if there have been any changes to the family’s circumstances. We also de the weighing, measuring heights and evaluations of their nutritional levels to include in the new Family History Sheets that are sponsors will be receiving for 2020. Their school year is coming to an end. In November, the families will bring their last report card to reflect what grade they will be entering next year, to include that info for the sponsors as well.
I want to give a huge thank you to all of the sponsors who sent in money for our Christmas Blessing outreach! We had a very good participation this year and we should be able to cover every family, even those without sponsors. Every child will receive a full food bag in December! We have to do some calculations but I believe we will also be able to make sure that “every” child receives something extra for Christmas. The sponsors who sent in their Extra Blessing funds are helping us to reach out to those children who did not receive something directly from their sponsors and we are soooooooo appreciative of you going the extra mile. While our main goal is to make sure that the Embrace children receive their normal monthly benefits; it is nice to be able to provide something extra at Christmas time.
IF you didn’t get on board for doing something for Christmas, you can still send in money to provide a coupon for your sponsor child….up to $100. They can take that to the clinic store and do their own shopping and select what they want. We can receive funds for “coupons only” through the month of November; anything after that will go into the Extra Blessing fund to reach out to children who do not have a sponsor or were not designated something for Christmas by their sponsor.
Abner shared both a devotional and a teaching on “Rights and Responsibilities” to the families at our October meetings. An example, the children have a right to an education and it is the responsibility of the parents to provide it. It is also the responsibility of the children to attend and to do their assignments/homework. Education is just one area that we have seen such a change in over the years. When we began the Embrace program in 2000, there was a very low percentage of children who actually attended school. The government has added some incentives but I would like to believe that our encouragement to the families has also contributed in so many more children going to school.
We will be starting to do your “Christmas shopping” for what you requested for your Embrace children. It is a lot of work but it is a lot of fun as well; as we anticipate the children’s responses to receiving all of it in December.
We want to give you a better look at just what the Embrace program can do to change the life of a child. We found Sergio in December 2018; he was brought to our registration to find new children to sign up for the Embrace program. Sergio has 6 other siblings in his family; he is also a special need child. Sergio’s biggest issue was that he was emaciated; he was six years old and he weighed 15.6 lbs! That is the weight of a child less than a year old, even here in Guatemala! He was truly nothing more than skin and bones. The mom allowed us to take some pictures, away from the view of others, without his shirt; to see his true condition. As much as the Embrace program provides; we knew that this was a special case where MORE was required! Thanks to a sponsor who took Sergio on and was willing to send extra; we were able to put Sergio on Pediasure milk and also on a product, called Plumpy Nut; that we make from peanut butter, oil, powdered sugar and powdered milk. Sergio had never walked in his 6 years; strictly due to the fact that he had no strength or muscle development to allow him to do so. After only 19 days of being on the “extra assistance” that we gave him; Sergio took his first “assisted steps”, with his mother holding his hands. In just six months, Sergio has more than doubled his body weight! On the nutritional chart that we use to evaluate the children; he went from extreme dark red (which is critical malnourishment) to coming into green (which is a healthy level of nutrition for a child in proportion to their height and weight)! Sergio is building his confidence to begin to walk on his own and strengthen the muscles that are finally developing for him; due to the proper nutrition and assistance that he has received! It has been a pure joy to see the transformation of this child and to realize the difference that can be made; as we give that child their needed nutrition. It is a testimony to the Embrace program and to 100s of sponsors that we have that make that change available to the children that they are helping. We praise God for the change that we have seen in Sergio and hope that it has impacted you as well. Help us to find more sponsors to begin to make that difference in the life of other children! The children are “out there”; we just need people who want to reach out to them and see that transformation happen!