Hope of Life Guatemala
Hope of Life Guatemala
This past Sunday, Wellspring was honored to welcome Julio Castaneda from Hope of Life (HOL) to present at our church services. He wanted to thank Wellspring for over a decade of service to HOL, first with our youth and more recently with our adult/family trips. He also discussed how our involvement in the transformation of the dump village El Remolino has impacted the people who live there. As he stated, the gift of water filters we provided for clean, safe drinking water was wonderful, but the gift of living water through Jesus Christ that we bring with our love and prayers is what they look forward to year after year.
Julio also wanted to bring to our attention a current need at HOL concerning the elderly services they provide. Many people don’t realize that the original mission of HOL was to provide elder services. Long before the orphanage, hospital, or Kelly’s House for the disabled existed, HOL had a small community of elderly folks they cared for. In Guatemala there are no social services for the elderly who can no longer care for themselves. They are often left abandoned to perish. Three years ago, after the closing of a mental health hospital in Guatemala City, HOL was asked by the Guatemalan government to take in 50 additional elderly residents. CNN had investigated the facility and broke the news of the abuse and torture of the individuals there, comparing it to Auschwitz in terms of the treatment of those living there.
One story I would like to relay is of the individual feature in the video who is holding onto a baby doll. It was explained to us on a tour of HOL that when she first arrived, she could only stay calm if she held onto that doll; without the doll she would become increasingly distraught. HOL was told that she had been impregnated multiple times while living at the facility in Guatemala City and that when she gave birth, the child would be immediately taken from her. What happened to these newborn infants it still unknown. Clinging to the doll was this woman’s way of coping with the incredible abuse she had suffered. Though heartbreaking, this is only one of the many difficult stories associated with these residents.
As you can imagine, the cost to treat these elders is extensive. They require psychiatric counselling, physical therapy, occupational therapy, nursing services, many medications, as well as total care to meet their daily physical needs. The Guatemalan government had promised financial support to help care for them but to this day no funds have been forthcoming. The care of these elderly patients is a massive drain on HOL’s resources, and recently they had thought of closing the center. But after prayer they knew that God was telling them not to abandon these people.
If God is moving your heart to come alongside HOL to care for these elderly residents, you can become involved in a few ways. If you would like to make a one-time or recurring donation to the elder care you can go on their web site www.hopeoflifeintl.org/elderly or contact them at 401-421-9078, they would love to answer any questions. If you would like to look into sponsorship of an elder on a monthly basis you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, 860-841-2738, or grab me at church so I can get you profile information to select an elder to sponsor.
We will be returning to HOL for another trip June 23rd- June 30th (this is a different time frame then what was expressed on Sunday due to a complication at HOL for the previous dates). Our focus this year is to see if we can impact a family by building a home in El Remolino.
More details will follow in January!