June was a fun month for the Embrace program. We celebrated the birthdays for 54 children; whose birthdays are during the quarterly months of April, May and June. Every child received a small gift, a coupon to use at the clinic store; we sang to them and prayed over them. Most North Americans don’t understand what a big deal this is; because for most of these children, this is the only recognition that they have of their birthday. Cake and refreshments were served to everyone!
Abner shared a devotional message on “Inner Strength” from 2 Corinthians. He also showed a video and shared about the importance of education and going to school every day. We talked to the families about their “Gardens in a Bag” that they received last month. People are reporting that their seeds are planted and that the plants have sprouted and doing well. We have had quite a bit of rain lately, which is great and makes it easier for the families as they maintain their gardens. I asked the families to bring me some photos for next month; so that we can share how the gardens are progressing.
We sized every child for their shoes that they will receive next month for our Mid-Year Blessing project. At the last minute, we got quite a bit of more support for this and we are happy to say that every child will be receiving a pair of shoes in July; thanks to those sponsors who sent in extra! Not only will the children receive a pair of shoes but the quality of the shoes is so much better this year and I feel much better about providing, not only a pair of shoes, but a sturdy durable pair of shoes for every child. The children were sized and they gave us their preference between school shoes, tennis shoes or sandals for the girls and school shoes, tennis shoes or boots for the boys. Next month will be a fun time to allow the children to actually pick out their shoes! We are so grateful to our sponsors who brighten up the lives of these precious children by doing something a little extra for them.
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!