December was an awesome month as we celebrated Christmas with all of our Embrace families. Due to the generosity of our sponsors, EVERYONE went home with complete food bags and also with some Christmas gifts in hand. Everyone had a coupon to use at the clinic store and enjoyed being able to pick out things. We put some special “Christmas items” in our December food bags; including a bag of marshmallows, a box of Christmas cookies and some coffee and chocolate to make chocolate coffee which is a Guatemalan Christmas tradition. A lot of work goes into preparing for all of our Christmas giving but seeing the children’s faces light up as they are given their gifts makes it all very worthwhile. Doug and Sandi were with us for an extended visit and so they were able to help with the preparation, participate in 4 of the 5 meetings to hand out things and to experience this outreach of Embrace for the first time. We are so grateful to our sponsors for making this be a very special celebration of Christmas for the Embrace families!
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!