by Mike Douris Posted on Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Guatemala is going through a change having put their former President and Vice President in jail for corruption - young and old, rich and poor took to the streets and said enough is enough! And they elected a comedic actor Jimmy Morales who has no political experience who graduated from SETECA seminary and promised an administration that would clean up corruption and restore hope for a new future.Last week while I was in Guatemala preparing for our 2016 ministry plans we received a unique opportunity to meet with the First Lady, Second Lady and the new Sub-Secretary of Bienastar Social just a week into their administration. Karla Molina who works for Orphan Outreach also previously served as Sub-Secretary and leads our efforts on addressing public initiatives coordinated these series of meetings.We had a time for substantive discussions on ways the new administration can access the power of the private sector and the church in particular to address the needs of children. The government has a huge weight of problems in caring for thousands of orphan and vulnerable children but has no money to fund new initiatives or even address major problems with inadequate current services.The one moment that was the most meaningful to me was - as we had finished about a two-hour discussion with the Second Lady - I told her that I had brought her a gift. Just a few days before a girl with whom I have developed a friendship in one of the homes we support had given me one of her paintings.I set the painting on the table in front of the table and pointed to her name and told her story of abuse – how family members had sexually assaulted her knowing she could not say anything because she could not talk due to her being deaf. And that a judge wanted to place her with an uncle – but she was able to communicate that she did not want to go with him because he was one of the perpetrators.I told the second Lady she has now found a way to express herself through her art work and though she had given me the painting – I wanted her to have it to remind her and her staff that as they work to improve the system of care in their administration to never forget the work they do is for all the children like this very special girl. Many of the people in the meeting began to cry and her chief assistant said, “The Lord is in this room and he arranged this meeting!”It is easy to get caught in public policy, procedures, legal issues, politics and the like but if our work does not help the child who is in an orphanage or in a home that is abusive and provide healing, hope and love – one could argue we have lost our way and drifted off the road named “Making a Real Difference”.