Facing Poverty, Ignorance and Violence in Rural Guatemala
Maria S. is 40 years old and has been faithfully attending La Casa de La Paz meetings for three years. In Maria’s story of growing up both of her parents were chronic alcoholics and the family was very poor with all its members doing field work on local farms. Maria has never attended school nor has she ever been to a doctor. She started to do field work as soon as she was physically strong enough to qualify for a salary. Of the fourteen children, nine were girls and five were boys. The father was very macho with an anger and special cruelty towards the girls. Presently one of the boys has since died and 4 of the girls have also died leaving nine surviving children. At one time when there was no food at home, the father (so called) took 4 of the young girls up into the mountains “to do the work of men” as Maria describes it. They all died from being over worked and not having enough to eat. During this time of chronic food depravation, Maria was told by her parents that she must get married, and so a marriage was arranged for her at the age of 16. She knew nothing of the man, they had never met before, he was 25 years old and (also like Maria’s father) was a chronic alcoholic and physically abusive.
All of her other sisters were also forced into arranged marriages, all to alcoholics, but one of the five husbands has now given up drink and is a Christ centered father, faithfully providing for his wife and children. Please pray for the other families. A year ago, all of the sisters decided to join Maria and attend La Casa de La Paz meetings. At that point none of them had any contact with their mom for many years-the father is now dead. Today, a year later all the sisters are now reconciled with their mom who is now sober. Thank you lord for the ministry of forgiveness and reconciliation. They even got their mother to attend a House of Peace meeting but she didn’t like it, lives alone, is very old and and remains bitter and hard hearted not wanting to have anything to do with anyone. We pray and believe with our sisters that the love of God is greater and warmer than this woman’s cold dark heart.
Maria attends meetings at the house of peace in Christ because she says she experiences a serenity she cannot find anywhere else. The central organizing principle of our meetings is the living presence of our Lord Jesus Christ ministering in us and through us. We remember His words, “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, so am I in the midst of them”. The words of Jesus Christ are filled with the Holy Spirit and in His healing presence we gather. We believe as we meditate, live and minister Jesus words, there is no wound or problem too great for our Heavenly Father to either heal or solve. We strongly emphasize the 11th step of our program, “Through prayer and meditation on the words of Jesus, we enter into a greater intimacy with God, more clearly knowing the will of God and having the power to carry it out.
Here is how you can help our dear sister Maria. Please pray for her on every level, especially for her physical protection and mental, spiritual help. She lives with three alcoholic men, who are abusive to her, her husband, her son and son in law. She is the sole support of her family which is composed of all alcoholic men. Since Maria does quality weaving, if you would like to support her, she makes beautiful napkins as well as beautiful indigenous blouses we can send you state side. We’re enclosing some photos of her work and prices. Maria works alone in the mountains, where she earns only three dollars a day, that is when work is available. She does quality piece work but the numbers she is required to produce every two weeks are considerable. This puts a lot of stress on her, especially with all the chaos at home. It all amounts to sweat shop labor, it’s just country style. Even though she works alone, unlike the big sweat shops in urban areas it is just as demanding.
Also our food distribution budget was cut in half a year ago and many of our newer communities get no food support at all. If you have a heart for our food ministry we invite you to allocate your donation towards this needy part of our ministry.