Deep in the verdant mountains of Quiche country, along a winding dirt road, is the village of Mixcolaja and a MAM church pastored by Humberto Mux. In a humble, well-cared-for, wooden house with beautiful flowers gracing the exterior, lives Yari Lancerio with her parents, Gladis and Axel, and brothers Trinis and Jesus.
We first met bright-eyed, black-haired, six year old Yari and her parents when they came to Guatemala City for medical help at the end of April 2013. Her left leg was screwed to an awkward metal framework, and she was carried about by her parents. Her upper leg had been broken several months previously and had been cared for in Quiche. It had not healed properly, and in time a tumor had been detected and diagnosed as cancer. The cancer had been there first, making the leg vulnerable to breaking.
Roy and I had the privilege of accompanying the Lancerios to the modern children’s hospital UNOP, through a long and wearing day. This was followed by more hospital visits and testing for Yari. She was eventually diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her upper left leg. The Lancerio family soon learned to maneuver in the hospital themselves.
On one of the early visits to the hospital, I remember seeing a child with a leg amputation moving around on her crutches, and the painful, mingled emotion on Gladis’s face as she glanced at me. What was ahead for this family?
It was decided that Yari would need surgery, meaning an amputation and eight cycles of chemotherapy. Surgery day came and Yari lost her entire left leg. Chemotherapy was started. Yari rallied. Her parents took turns staying at the hospital with her.
A room was arranged at headquarters for Yari’s family that became their home away from home. Yari returned to the mission until she was well enough to return home to Mixcolaja. Over the next half year Yari and her parents alternated between living in the city and at home. Not only did Yari lose her leg but also her beautiful black braids. True to her cheerful personality, she accepted her nice bald head.
Spunky, sparkly Yari has worked her way into many hearts. She has been fitted with a prosthesis but often doesn’t use it. She zooms around on her crutches and sometimes even hops on one leg! She likes to help Laresa bake at the mission and has tried her hand successfully at the sewing machine.
In mid-November Yari completed her chemotherapy and, so far, test results have been good. This is one miracle. She will continue to have follow-up care for some time.
But there is more. Though Axel and Gladis had become Christians earlier, they hadn’t kept on. After Yari’s trouble started they returned to God and the church and began instruction class. The application of grace and salvation is another miracle.
Sunday, Nov. 24, was a special day at the church in Mixcolaja. Axel and Gladis, along with two young ladies, Corina Reyes and Arceli Natareno, were baptized. Brother Jerlin Lopez preached the message and Brother Harold Kauffman baptized the candidates. The church house was full.
This day was also special in that it was Yari’s seventh birthday. It was also special in that Yari had recently completed her chemo treatments and was doing well. In the service a special prayer was given for Yari as she joined her parents at the front of the church.
Many came to Mixcolaja that day: neighbors, relatives, folks from the San Andres and San Bartolomé congregations, and some of us from the city.
After the service a wonderful Guatemalan chicken dinner was served on the grounds, with good opportunity to fellowship. Yari enjoyed it immensely as she hopped around on her crutches visiting with friends.
I look forward to seeing more of Yari and hope to soon see her beautiful black hair again. I also look forward to seeing her beautiful Christian family continue to grow in the Lord.
Pray with us for this family.
– Miriam Biehn
“And when you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins.” – (Colossians 2:13 NIV)
Have you ever found a treasure in an unlikely spot? Maybe it was that quality item at a garage sale priced at fifty cents, or an antique worth thousands of dollars that your grandfather left in the corner of the basement and everyone else had forgotten about. Much more common is to come across a tool, an old trailer, or piece of furniture that is useful to you but in the way for your friend.
I have found many treasures in Guatemala. They can be found in almost every town. No one wants them. You see, they take a lot of work, they don’t look very nice when you look deep inside, they respond slowly, and even after you’ve invested your two greatest resources—time and love—there is no guarantee that you can keep them. I have been blessed in many ways in our calling to work with Guatemala’s unwanted boys.
Like a teacher at the end of a school term, I wonder, who has learned more in ten years, me or them? I hear God reminding me gently almost daily, “You know, you act just like your boys.” Often I have had to cry out to God for His forgiveness for my failings before I feel peace in punishing one of my boys for his wrongdoings. His sin is just too similar to mine.
My boys have taught me the Guatemalan culture, the value of things, and about my relationship with my Father. I understand a little more how God must feel when I don’t have time to talk to Him. I love when one of my boys just comes and sits next to me. We don’t have to talk, but we sure communicate.
I know my Father likes that too! Why don’t I take more time to sit with Him? I love when a little boy comes to tell me honestly about a problem he has, or brings a toy to be fixed, or a need to be filled. I love to look in their eyes when they have gotten what they needed. I love to help them along their way. In all of this, there is one big difference. My Father is perfect; theirs isn’t. My Father has unlimited resources and perfect solutions; theirs doesn’t.
As my boys grow, they become God’s boys, accountable to Him and directed by Him. I really only have them on loan for a few short years. Everything I do teaches them about the perfect heavenly Father, either in a positive or a negative way. That’s what we call living testimony. I really wish I were perfect. I try to be, and that is all my Father asks from me.
I also understand a little how our Father must feel when we behave only when we think we will get what we want. When He comes through with ways far better than we could have ever imagined, we often walk away with not so much as a “thank you.” We revel in His blessing and love and often rebel at His discipline.
Take a minute to think of what God has done for you and how much you deserve. What are you giving in return for all He gave for you? How are you turning out, as one of “God’s boys”?
“Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” John 6:68
– Stephan Gingerich
Tiana Kennedy has returned to her home in Pennsylvania after serving a two-year term as nurse at the clinic in El Chal. Thank you for the investment you made here in Guatemala, and God bless you as you continue serving Him.
Sara Breneman, from Manheim, Pennsylvania, arrived in November. She will be working in El Chal along with Lydia Zook in children’s ministry and youth girls’ classes.
Galen Miller, from Milford, Nebraska, is the new single worker at headquarters in Guatemala City. His friendly ways and eager hands are already appreciated here.
We are in serious need of a former missionary family or a Spanish-speaking couple to volunteer for a year of service in the El Naranjo/Santa Rosita church. The unit leaders are soon taking a sabbatical, and unless someone can fill in for them, the single nursing staff will also need to leave.
We are urgently seeking willing missionary families with or without Spanish to fill outreach church needs.
We also need someone willing to serve as business administrator. Our current administrator’s term expires in June.
If you know of someone who could fill these needs, please contact Wesley King in the U.S. or Mervin Kuepfer in Canada. See the newsletter fine print, bottom of page, for contact details.
Because You Prayed
Because you prayed for me,
I found the strength I needed for my task,
The courage I lacked before, the faith to see
Beyond my narrow world; new joy for pain
I found, and zeal
To press on forward strong of heart again—
Because you prayed.
Because you prayed today
I found it was not hard to face the dawn,
Take up again the work I laid away
But yesterday, and shoulder it, and dare
To smile a bit,
And find a blessing I’d not dreamed was there—
Because you prayed.
Because you prayed for me
Tonight, I seemed to reach and find your hand
Close by as I had known it would be,
And somehow toil and turmoil needs must cease—
It was as though
God to our hearts had softly whispered, “Peace”—
Because you prayed.
– Ruth Margaret Gibbs
Financial Statement for MAM
January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013
Beginning Balance – 82,437.94
Income – 501,163.23
Actual Operating Income – 583,601.17
Loan Income – 0.00
Total Income – 583,601.17
Literature – 1,669.00
Newsletter – 9,801.50
Travel – 14,200.84
Retirement and Medical – 13,441.00
Worker allowances block – 188,743.50
Bank & miscellaneous charges – 691.28
Farm & Conference property – 2,955.37
Transfer to field – 244,401.51
Supplies – 584.95
U.S. checks for Guatemala funds – 4,000.00
Actual Operating Disbursements – 480,488.95
Ending Checkbook Balance – $103,112.22
We appreciate each of our supporters, and we thank you for your faithful giving again in 2013. God Bless You!
::Note:: Almost all of the text from the newsletter is included here. However if you would like to download a PDF of the Newsletter for these two months simply click the link below!