Last week I had the privilege of going on a visit with Carlos and Telma to the home of a student in the Art School. Carlos had prepared me a few days in advance with the forewarning that this would be a hard visit for me to experience because, “The family literally has nothing.” I thought I understood what this meant, but as usual I had no idea what to expect.
We brought lunch to share with the family while we visited. When we got to the home, we entered with the food and table settings to find three chairs and a very small table. In the other room I glimpsed a bed with a blanket or two on it. Besides these few things, there was nothing else in the house. Not plates, cups, silverware, or serving utensils. The student, I’ll call her Maria, had just finished mopping the floor while preparing for our visit. No one else was home and so we quickly returned to Love Guatemala’s building and brought back a table and chairs for the meal.
We set the table and made small talk with Maria while waiting for the arrival of her father and three younger sisters. I learned that Maria is 14 and became the primary provider for her family when her mother left a few years ago. Her father is very hard of hearing and finds employment difficult to obtain. Because of this situation, Maria was forced to drop out of school and leave her dream of becoming a doctor. Thankfully, she is able to attend the morning Art School now and pursue her other passion of painting. We pray that when she graduates, she will be able to provide for her family and herself in a more constant and reliable way. I can also tell through the way Telma talked to and cared for Maria that Love Guatemala wants to see this through in all of our students. Vocational training with the love of Jesus can truly change the world.
Lunch with the family was amiable and insightful. Instead of being overwhelmed by the lack of material objects in the room, I was comforted and found peace through the presence of God in this home. It was apparent that there was a resiliency in this family and a unity that only Jesus can provide. I left with a better understanding of what wealth is because of that simple Guatemalan meal shared with new friends. Wealth is just that, relationship with Jesus and with others.
-Caleb the Intern