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From the Field: When the Odds Are Against Us

Vernon Brewer
Jul 18, 2014

Our team has stayed extremely busy these past few days in Guatemala.

This week alone, 15 children were rescued from surrounding mountain villages on the border of Honduras, all the way up to the Belizean border in the northeast.

Several were clinging to life, emaciated by malnutrition, disease, and the harsh realities of poverty. By the end of this week, we expect to have 36 new children and their families in our care.

Josh Brewer - World Help

Day by day, the cases have grown more and more severe.

Several one-year-olds we rescued weighed less than 14 pounds each.

A nine-year-old girl had shriveled to less than 30 pounds.

An 18-year-old boy weighed 40 pounds.

We even served a grown man in his twenties who was nothing more than skin and bones. He looked like he was no older than 12 years old.

Operation Baby Rescue - World Help

It’s important to understand that the people of Guatemala are severed by extreme inequality. Indigenous people—those of Mayan decent—are excluded from the social, economic, and political mainstream. Seven out of 10 people from native backgrounds are severely impoverished.

They are chased out of towns and cities—relegated to the heights of inaccessible mountain communities. They have no farm land, no job opportunities, no access to medical care, no education for their children . . . and, worst of all, no hope for the future.

Droughts, insufficient water sources, natural disasters, and rampant food insecurity mean that survival is a constant, everyday struggle.  As a result, most of these children survive from some form of ground corn and sugar water.

Baby Rescue

When our rescue teams arrive, we are sometimes met with a great deal of hesitation. After hundreds of years of discrimination and sorrow, the villagers here don’t trust strangers easily—and for good reason.

Disadvantaged children are often the target of kidnapping, exploitation, and human trafficking. The parents here are far too familiar with the horror stories that echo through these mountains . . . stories of children being taken in the night to be bought and sold like cattle. This is one of the main reasons that foreign adoption is closed in Guatemala.

Despite all these obstacles, we serve a God who is never intimidated by the odds. This is why we will continue to go where no one else is willing to go to serve those in need.

Nothing is too hard for Him.  

As part of our strategic response, we are committed to ministering to the families of each and every child we rescue. They too are cared for by our incredible staff at St. Luke’s Hospital—given food, water, clothing, and medical attention. Here, parents are taught about hygiene, nutrition, and other life-saving resources needed to care for their children.

Operation Baby Rescue - World Help

This is how the love of God is introduced . . . through purposeful, holistic development and intentional relationship-building. It’s a strategy that’s changing thousands of lives every year.

We saw this pattern of success again in the village of El Rincon, one of many communities in the region of Los Limones that are occupied by people who relocated there after their homes were completely destroyed by a massive earthquake.

A few years ago, we stumbled upon a people who literally had nothing. Their history, their homes, their livelihoods—everything—were destroyed by the quake.

Day by day, project by project, the landscape of this community is rapidly changing.

One of the first projects we did here was provide clean water through causelife. Thanks to the generosity of Sally Flynn—who has funded two wells in Guatemala, including one in Los Encuentros that we dedicated yesterday—the wellbeing of each citizen of El Rincon has been totally revolutionized.

Sally Flynn - causelife

The children here no longer have to fetch water from a dry, polluted river bed. They no longer have sores on their skin from drinking dirty water. They are visibly happier, healthier, and eager to pursue their education.

Clean water was just the beginning of this radical change. Sponsorship, feeding programs, and church support soon followed. Today our team worked out of a local church to deliver food bags to families in the community. This is where 60 families regularly worship, attend Sunday school, and send their children to ongoing Bible school programs.

Los Encuentros - causelife

God has done the impossible here—transforming the lives of hundreds of people with help for today and hope for tomorrow. The individual impact of each project pours into a greater vision: to give people sustainable ways to live now and flourish into the future, confident in the God who has moved mountains on their behalf.

Baby Rescue - World Help

Today, as our team wraps up an extraordinary week of ministry, I ask you to pray with us for the future of our work in Guatemala.

  • Pray that God would provide the resources to continue meeting the urgent needs of children and families.
  • Pray that individuals would be inspired to give, go, and support.
  • Pray for our teams working day in and day out to serve the needs of people.

These are our neighbors, our brothers and sisters, our friends. Let us continue to serve the least of these in our world with the love and compassion of Jesus Himself . . . no matter the situation, despite all the odds.


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