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Life After the Bell Rings
by Ronne Rock
Posted on Monday, November 10, 2014
Julia Oseida, Orphan Outreach Guatemalan Missions Coordinator, works with national ministry partners each week. But even she wasn’t fully prepared for what she and the late summer WOW team found when they traveled to neighborhoods unseen by most who visit her country and the Ravine School in the town of Chimaltenango. “It’s always easy to fall in love with the students who attend the school. You immediately adore their spirit, joy, and the smiles they so willingly share. But what you don’t always see is the life they live when the bell rings at the end of the day. For Gerson, Selina, Fredy, and Marvin, that life is far harder than I could have imagined. Their willingness to welcome us in to their home was both humbling and full of hope.”

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The only light in the home filtered in through the doorless front entry. Spider eggs hung from the damaged and leaking roof above the two small beds where the parents and seven children slept each night. There was no electricity, no running water, no quiet corner where a sick and pregnant mom might find respite. For Tiffany Taylor Wines, Orphan Outreach Marketing Director, the conditions were hard to comprehend. “I’ve seen poverty, but this was overwhelming. They had NO food. The children were all sick. It was hard to reconcile the children I have met at the school with the home I was standing in.”

Gerson and his family fight seemingly insurmountable odds, and survive day to day with what their father can provide working long hours at the ravine.  Each day is greeted with the prayer to have just one meal on their table so the hunger pangs will cease for a moment. “And yet, in the midst of the pain, Gerson and his family have joy because they know God is with them. His mercy and His company will never abandon them, no matter what the circumstances are,” shares Julia. 

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Joining forces with HELP International and the Ravine School, Tiffany and a small WOW team provided a clean stove to the family. “The thick smoke and soot from cooking with an open pit fire in their home kept Gerson and his siblings sick throughout the year. I’m thankful we were able to do something to help.” Team members then provided desperately needed groceries, medicine and supplies. “We wanted to do even more, but knew that the home itself needed to be repaired. Our in-country staff went to work to evaluate everything that needed to be done, and to meet with the family to see how we might walk alongside them and offer spiritual and emotional support as well.”

“God is doing amazing things here,” Julia says with a smile.” I get to witness the impact we can have in such a short time when we work together to help - and I get to see what happens down the road too. Now when I see Gerson smile and sing so loudly at the Ravine School, I’ll know it’s because he has great joy. And getting to care for his family is letting me understand that joy too."

Work with families at the Ravine continues through the support of faithful donors like you. If you'd like to know more about supporting children and their families through sponsorship, contact Beth Galway.

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