Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?
...Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
James 2:15-16, 18
Hope of the Pokomchí is a non-profit organization dedicated to partnering with the indigenous Mayan Pokomchí people of Guatemala as they endeavor to reach their God-given potential. Motivated by Christ’s love, we labor on roads and trails less traveled, coming along side them offering Biblical and health education and infrastructure projects.
The staff gave a presentation about the work of ASOSAP, and when they got to the part about the Shekinah Center, they said the name meant “the glory of God dwells here.” But in that moment, I realized that the glory of God does not (just) dwell in the property, or the building. The glory of God really dwells in those six Pokomchí leaders of this ministry. When I think back to my first few visits to Guatemala, I remember that it was my 3rd visit before Glenda would even have a conversation with me. I compare this to the person that she is now, a person of grace and confidence, who leads this ministry in a way that I could never have imagined. She, and the rest of the team, are really where the glory of God dwells. Sebastian, Alvaro, Consuelo, Sonia, and Mario are effective in their ministries.
She had 10 children because she knew nothing about family planning. Now she says, her adult children are aware of it and have access to it and she urges them to use family planning. She also urges her adult children to build their own homes instead of multiple families living under one roof.
When ASOSAP did the first home visit of this lady 3 years ago, 5 adult children and their families were living with her. Now there are only 2 small children at home. Her home was clean and tidy.
He states that there have been many changes in the community since ASOSAP arrived. There is now harmony between Catholics and Evangelicals instead of dissension. He says that ASOSAP has been the source of positive change for both families and leaders. The leaders whole-heartedly support ASOSAP and hope that we will stay promoting positive development and harmony.
This is the third time that I have come to Guatemala to work with ASOSAP. This time I brought a group of students. My goal is to expose each student to the great need that exists here in Guatemala so they can see firsthand the reality of the life of the Pokomchí. I believe God spoke to me while I was here saying, “He is the hope of the nation. He is the one who works in Guatemala and in other places”. I can say that I am very happy to be part of this group and happy to bring my people here, leaders and students from my town.
Life gives us profound opportunities if we pay attention. In February when I was in the Dominican Republic I mentioned to two new friends, Patti and Rudy Churner that I wanted to go to Guatemala to study Spanish. Patti said she had been going to Guatemala for 15 years as a volunteer and she told me about ASOSAP. My ears perked up and I signed on as a team member to go and help “others”. You may ask why “others” is in commas. The reason is because it doesn’t matter how much we think we are helping others, the gain that WE receive is much more! My heart was so full that it kept running out of my eyes! I learned so much about gratitude and grace from the community, the team, and ASOSAP. Thanks to all of you! Really it was a week to construct a life.
I am 57 years-old and I have been in very difficult situations. I have hypertension, a disease that drastically changed my life. I felt like I was at the point of dying, but I thank God that He sent ASOSAP to my village. I have been a member of ASOSAP’s Chronic Patient Program for 5 years now and this has given me hope to keep on living. I receive free medicines every month. I have to walk 3 ½ hours to get to the monthly clinic but I make the effort because no one else can give me what they do, with love and kindness.
Quixalito is a 1 ½ walk through the mountains to arrive at a vehicle road, then 20 minutes by vehicle to the Health Post. A woman who had been in labor for 2 days was carried out on a makeshift stretcher by men from the community. The woman was unconscious. Nurse Miguel, on evaluating the woman, immediately started an IV and called for an ambulance which transferred her to the big hospital in Coban. Both mother and newborn survived.
A 50-year-old man while cutting trees, slipped and fell when he was carrying a big log on his back. He sustained serious wounds and cuts to his face and head. Fellow workers carried him to the Health Post on an improvised stretcher. Nurse Miguel, on evaluating the patient saw that he was losing blood so he started an IV. He then proceeded to clean and suture the wounds. There were 13 wounds and cuts. Once the patient was stabilized, he was referred to hospital for evaluation of cerebral trauma. One month later the man was fine with no adverse effects from the accident.
Some women have commented that before treatment they couldn’t work or help in the house because they felt sick and weak all the time. Now with the treatment they have energy, can work and even go out to the fields to help their husbands with the crops.
A 22-year-old woman, even with maximum doses of the medication, continued to have up to 10 seizures per month. She could not help her mother around the house due to the frequent seizures. On some occasions she had to have sutures in her face and head due to falling from the seizures. Dr. Michael investigated alternative treatments for her and in July of this year brought down another seizure medication to try. It was successful! The patient now has only 1 or 2 seizures per month. She now helps her mother with the house work and she comes to the monthly clinics on her own.
I participated for 3 years in ASOSAP’s education sessions. This has helped me to know the love of Jesus and also to improve the condition of health in my home. At the beginning I was not very interested because my house is the farthest away. However, I soon realized that what they taught was very important.
An 18-year-old boy was detected 3 years ago with severe chronic asthma. It was so severe that he had to stop going to school because he couldn’t tolerate the one-hour walk to school. Once he was started on treatment, the asthma was controlled so well that he started classes again and this year graduated from 6th grade. Next year he plans to study middle school. He is very happy and thankful to ASOSAP. He says without ASOSAP he would probably be dead now.
A 74-year-old man was detected 3 years ago with prostatitis. Before treatment he was prostrate in bed with an enlarged abdomen and legs. He could not talk and his family was just waiting for him to die. Once on treatment the patient recovered and has remained stable. He attends the clinics punctually every month and is very happy and thankful to God and to ASOSAP for giving him another chance at life.
I found the teaching very important. It strengthened the foundation of my marriage, encouraging more confidence and more communication between us.
It also helped my husband to change his attitude. Now we communicate with each other with more trust and confidence.
The topic of the relationship between spouses was very important and helped us a lot. Our communication has improved. Now when we have a problem we talk about it and try to find a solution
In order to have water to drink, cook with, or wash with I had to walk 2 hours through the mountains, one way. I could only carry a small container of water on my head each time. There were moments on the trail when my heart started pounding and I felt a pressure in my chest and would have to stop and rest. This made the trip much longer.
Now I thank God that He sent people and the funds, through ASOSAP to build my own water tank. Now I know that God does do miracles and gives us the desires of our heart. He does this through people who love their neighbor even though they are from a different country and culture.
“Before the project, I didn’t have any way to make any money. For that reason, I couldn’t continue with my studies and only finished 6th grade. Now I can say that my life has changed with the help of ASOSAP. They have involved me in their program and I now have a way to afford a plate of food for me and for my daughter.”