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On August 22nd we started treating the children needing therapy at a local church in town, just off the main road. It took some time for families to find the new place and settle in to the new routine, but our staff embraced the change from the start. One commented, “We don’t have all the things we do at our clinic in ASELSI, but we’re making use of the space and the things we were able to bring along. It is like working in the communities or serving in missions.”
With the new location come new visitors. Curious church members coming to pray or work wander in to see what the noise and commotion is about in a normally silent and empty space. We’ve used these opportunities to share with them about the work we do and the importance of serving those with disabilities. We hope we’ve showed them the value and purpose of every human life and opened their eyes to new possibilities for those with disabilities.
The roadwork is done, but it will still be a couple months before our team can return to the clinic at ASELSI. The road is closed until November 7th. In the meantime, we will keep serving, loving, and looking for ways to share God’s love and purpose for those with disability, maybe even changing some perceptions in the process.
A coworker suggested the church would be a great location for an open house. We will see if doors open for us to invite other pastors, church members, and others from the community to know about the work we are doing and establish relationships for future trainings and work.
The therapy area at ASELSI is quiet and empty at ASELSI, but continues with energy, excitement and a full house at the church down the street. Where are the other silent and empty places that one day will be filled with the excitement and joy of serving those with disabilities?
Extensions of ASELSI’s Bible Studies are developing in new locations in Cuba, Columbia and Kenya.
Representatives from current Bible study extension centers converged on ASELSI’s Guatemalan campus for training and introduction to the new extension leaders. There were leaders from Guatemala, Venezuela, Mexico and the United States who met with representatives of new Bible Study centers in Cuba, Kenya, and Colombia.
Fourteen representatives participated in the ASELSI conference and then in training classes to get them ready to start new extensions in their areas.
"Getting to know these new leaders and seeing their excitement for using ASELSI’s Bible training materials was thrilling,” recalled ASELSI Director Emanuel Pérez. “At ASELSI we are seeing God open new opportunities in countries like Venezuela, Mexico, and the United States for training and equipping leaders to build stronger churches where pastors build their lives and teachings on God’s Word. I'm excited to work with the leaders God has connected us with across the globe. Please pray for the great possibilities for ASELSI expand in the near future to Cuba, Kenya and Colombia.“
As a ministry, ASELSI works hard to get the Word of God into to the hearts and hands of students across the globe. Currently there are over 330 students studying the Bible with ASELSI at locations across Guatemala plus locations in three countries outside of Guatemala.
Pictured above: Coordinatores from six nations display their flags during training at ASELSI. Students in Venezuela sit with their classmates at two extension centers there.
For more information about ASELSI’s Bible courses click here.
Consider donating to ASELSI to help us continue training and equipping leaders who impact their communities with the Word of God and click below.
Incubators at the national hospital where Ingrid gave birth.
Her baby had come months earlier than expected and to her surprise, there were two of them.
Born via emergency Cesarean section, the twin sisters fought to live. They were very small because Ingrid had only been pregnant for six months.
At their birth Lindsay was three pounds and Esteisy barely tipped the scales at two pounds. There were days of intensive care, but they slowly both began to gain strength.
For weeks, Ingrid stayed by her premature baby girls as they struggled for life behind the plexiglass cover of their incubators at the national hospital in Santa Cruz del Quiche, Guatemala.
During this time, Ingrid’s husband gave up his drinking as they prayed, hoped, waited, and prayed some more. Ever so slowly they saw their little girls gaining strength.
When they were able to, this young mother carried her babies close to her body in a pouch that helped keep them warm as she encouraged them to grow.
After days and nights of fears and hope, the happy day finally arrived when they were able to go home. Linday and Esteisy were then two months old.
“They are miracles--works of God.” Ingrid said.
About a month after she got the babies home, Ingrid’s husband returned to his drinking habits. There was no money for helping provide for the twins.
Ingrid was not able to produce enough milk to feed both girls, so she knew she would need help with these hungry little ones. That’s when a pastor told her about ASELSI’s clinic and the Milk Program for undernourished babies – a place where she could get help.
With that information, Ingrid left her village of Patzibal and carried her twins to ASELSI. They were placed in the Milk Program that has helped hundreds of babies gain weight in those early years of life so they can develop and thrive.
“ASELSI helped me a lot with what they give,” Ingrid said. “For me [this program] is very important.”
Each month, Ingrid received formula, or milk and cereal to feed her babies.
Although statistics show improvement in the infant mortality rates since 2000, Guatemala still has the sixth highest infant mortality rate for children from birth to one year old in the Western Hemisphere.
That first time Ingrid brought her daughters to ASELSI was three years ago. Now those tiny twins are healthy little girls. Lindsay is 27 pounds and Esteisy is right behind her at 25 pounds.
Ingrid’s fears for her babies have transformed into dreams for their future.
“I thought they would die, but now they are big,” she said. “My dream is that they’ll be students, respectful, not going down the wrong road. That they’ll be Christians following Christ.”
Simple dreams, but big dreams for two twins that only three years ago didn’t have enough milk to grow in to the healthy girls they are today.
I’m happy with my girls,” Ingrid said. “I give thanks to God for the help ASELSI gives me.”
Through the support of donors, ASELSI continues opening the milk program to provide formula, milk, cereals and medical care to undernourished babies. Currently there are 116 children in the ASELSI Milk Program.
By giving to ASELSI you help provide Milk for babies like Lindsay and Esteisy, as well provide medical care, physical therapy to special needs children, and Bible training to pastors and leaders.
Click here to help ASELSI help more women like Ingrid.
Ingrid with her growing daughters, Lindsay and Esteisy, in front of the ASELSI Milk Program Office.
Fourth year medical student, Whitney, checking one of our little patients at the ASELSI clinic.
For years now, a team from the University of Missouri, Columbia, has come to Guatemala to give medical students a chance to serve and care for the people in rural areas by running medical clinics here. This year was another exciting time with this team.
In March a team of 18 doctors and medical students arrived for a week of clinical care.
The team held medical clinics for three days in a village and then two more days at the ASELSI clinic where they saw patient after patient and took time to care for each one.
In total, the team saw 444 patients and helped share the love of Christ with them. By caring for the physical needs of these patients and praying for them, they helped patients and their families both physically and spiritually.
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Donate here to help ASELSI help more patients throughout the year through our medical clinic and physical motor assistance programs.
Interested in bringing a team to Guatemala? Click here.
Young girls were being abused. People walking the rugged trail were being attacked, but one ASELSI Bible Studies graduate wanted to be right in the middle of it all.
In 2015 Pastor Miguel Ángel found just the place he was looking for to take the light of Christ--El Esfuerzo, Suchitepéquez. This little village is tucked in the woods near the Guatemalan Pacific Coast, and is home to 65 families.
In this case, “home” is a relative term since this village provided little love or protection for its inhabitants.
The village was a place of dirt, poverty, fear, abuse, hurt, crime, and limited resources. There is no running water, no electricity, and few jobs for the men. These things are just the physical problems.
The darkness of this village was deeper than their tiny wax candles could illuminate as young girls were sexually abused or even sold themselves to whomever could offer them a mere bottle of soda. Adults were attacked and robbed of the little money they had.
When Pastor Miguel Ángel wanted to visit, leaders from the village warned that if he came, they wouldn't be responsible for his protection. He went anyway.
What he found were families hungry for hope and a different way of living.
Partnering with a local pastor, Miguel Ángel began developing a few projects. He built a stove here, repaired a house there, and invited families to come and learn how God’s Word can transform their lives.
They did come, and the small congregation of about a dozen people grew to 60 (statistically almost one person for every household in the village).
Now Miguel Ángel leaves his hometown and makes the two and a half hour drive to El Esfuerzo every month. He trusts God for protection and takes his own family—including his three daughters—and others who have partnered with him to help fill El Esfuerzo with the love of Christ. They take sugar and a nutrition drink that they distribute to the families who come to a discipleship program along with teachings and activities for the children.
With the help of his wife and daughters, Miguel Ángel started teaching the parents about integrity and about protecting their daughters. They teach the men how they can be men of character and integrity. They also teach the girls about whom they can be in Christ and show them how to play and enjoy their childhood again. They teach them about how to stay safe and how to avoid dangerous or potentially abusive situations.
Since Miguel Ángel began visiting El Esfuerzo, they have seen big changes. The homes are better cared for, the church has blossomed with families joining together every week. Better still, there haven't been any young girls getting pregnant.
"My vision is that the girls live health lives, that the people grow in their love for Christ and that the community prospers spiritually and economically." Pastor Miguel Ángel said.
There is still a big need for help to make this vision come true. A lot of work is to be done. Pastor Miguel Ángel is developing a water project, a solar lighting plan, and an economic development project for the local farmers. He is also taking lots of teachings to help these young hearts grow into a community that shows the love and light of Christ.
ASELSI's Bible students have committed to partner with Pastor Miguel Ángel for 2017 to provide the supplies for the nutrition drink and sugar that are distributed to the families of El Esfuerzo each month. Already some of ASELSI’s students and a team from the U.S. have visited El Esfuerzo to help build and grow the Kingdom of God there.
If you’d like to help ASELSI continue reaching out with projects like this, consider a gift to help us equip more saints like Pastor Miguel Ángel and our students to bring Christ’s Word and love to the nations.
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