It was late in the afternoon and our group was preparing to clean up AMG’s Nim Jay Yalú Bible and Feeding Center before heading back to Guatemala City after another long and fruitful day of ministry. As Bob Yeater, founder of Suffer the Children – Guatemala was instructing his group of volunteers how best to finish up their work, a few team members remained in the village passing out Gospel tracts along with bags of food to families in need.
In the middle of their cleaning, two team members came sprinting into the center, out of breath and clearly distressed. “Mr. Yeater,” they cried frantically, “There are two ladies face down in the dirt road in front of Nim Jay moaning and weeping!” Bob looked at the pastor in the group and immediately felt the Holy Spirit calling them to go out to the scene, knowing in his heart that this was going to be a difficult situation.
As they approached the women, who remained prostrate and weeping, the men tried to calm them down enough to understand what had happened. Just then, one of the ladies cried out, “The child is dead! … the child is dead!” In the midst of their cries they pointed to a home less than 60 feet from the entrance to the AMG center.
Bibles in hand, they climbed the crumbling dirt steps carved out of the hillside leading up to a small concrete block home with a rusty metal roof. This wasn’t just any dwelling, though, this was the home of a family from our center.
The pastor, Bob and his wife, Tessa, entered the home to the cries of a young mother in a room packed with about 30 family members. The team didn’t say a word, being stunned at where the Lord had placed them. The far end of the house was made of adobe brick, and had a single window that was actually just a big hole in the wall. Sunlight beamed through the opening, oblivious to the heartache it shone upon. And then they saw her – the child who had driven those two ladies to their knees in anguish.
On a small piece of rough-cut wood placed upon concrete blocks was the tiny body of a sweet four-year-old girl, clearly too young to have been taken from this life. As they looked upon her through their tears, they noticed her eyes were still open. Flies surrounded her and nobody seemed to notice. The family was preoccupied with new worries such as where will the little girl be buried? How will they afford the $5 to purchase the wood to make a humble casket? What about the visitors? How will they afford to make a customary meal for so many?
The pastor and Bob spent the next several minutes comforting the family with God’s promises. They shared the hope of salvation with them and helped them purchase some wood and food for the family.
As they left, Bob felt compelled to broach the subject with the child’s father, “How did your daughter die? What could have taken her life?” The father replied, “She had parasites. Our sweet daughter showed signs of weakness, and we had to leave her with my mother while I worked the fields.” The family had no money available beyond what it took to feed the rest of the children, and even if they did, there was no doctor in the community. “And, if we did have a doctor in town, we did not have the few dollars needed to buy medicine. My daughter became dehydrated and was bleeding. There was nothing we could do… we were helpless and now she’s gone.”
Bob hugged the young parents as a million thoughts raced through his mind. In the midst of feelings of helplessness, one thought hit him at the core of his being: “This could have been prevented. This sweet girl didn’t have to go yet. If only our clinic had been up and running in time.”
Each year Bob and Tessa bring multiple teams from the United States to Yalú to host Bible clubs at Nim Jay, while filling other important needs at the center and in the community. AMG International’s mission is to meet people’s deepest needs in Jesus’ name. Bob and his wife identified the need for immediate medical care, and were able to spearhead the remodeling of a casita (small house) next to AMG’s Nim Jay Bible and Feeding Center into a building suitable to house a medical clinic.
AMG’s Nim Jay Center in Yalú is one of our newest child and youth development centers. It is located in a very rural and poor community that feels almost forgotten in many ways. Nearly 98 percent of the population in Yalú is Catholic or syncretistic, and more than anything else they need to know Jesus as their Savior. Our center currently offers a daily hot meal, vitamins, Christian education and meets many other basic needs of the children. It is currently unable to provide any medical support to the community, despite having a building ready to be set up as a clinic. We lack only the resources to equip the clinic with medical instruments, examination tables, furnishings and medicines. Wonderful friends of AMG have offered to pay the monthly salary of a doctor to lead the clinic. The remaining costs amount to $27,500, which will also fund a modest operating budget.
Would you be interested in helping to provide children and families in Yalú with medical care? We are compelled to bring hope to the hopeless. And, together, we can make sure no other child in Yalú loses his or her life for lack of medicine and medical care. Thank you for your prayerful consideration.