When I showed this before and after picture of Marlon to his mama, I asked her what she thought of it.
She looked at me and burst out laughing. I expected her to be happy, but I was a little surprised that laughter was her response. Did she not see the remarkable change?! “His color is better, he is not longer malnourished or dehydrated, his pneumonia is gone and he can breathe easily, he’s grown so much!” I thought to myself. “He posed with his pinky fingers up in both pictures.”
And while she stood there and giggled, enamored by her beautiful son, I was moved by the smile and the joy of a mother who a few short weeks ago was stoic and hardened by her situation.
When we arrived to their small one room house, smoke billowed out of the thatch roof. Inside, a frail 94 year old abuela cooked over an open fire as Marlon laid coughing and choking from the thickened, smokey air. His mama sat by his side, angry and refusing to look at me. She argued with me that she did not want to come to Hope of Life and receive help and that her dying baby would be just fine. “Whatever happens is in God’s hands,” she said, ambivalent to the situation. I explained to her that baby Marlon was in respiratory distress and was severely malnourished and dehydrated. Without treatment, he wouldn’t survive much longer. She sat on her wooden cot, unphased by what I had said. She was worried to leave her blind elderly grandmother alone with the drunken grandfather. With her grandmother’s persuasion, we eventually convinced her to come with us.
While the before and after picture of Marlon’s physical transformation is moving, I am even more moved by the emotional and spiritual transformation of his mama. We eventually built a very sweet friendship and day by day, I watched her walls come down. She eventually stopped looking the opposite direction when we talked and built up the courage to look at me. She shared her difficult upbringing with me and would eventually smile when she saw me walking into work. One day after a few days off, she was yelling my name out of a hospital window and waving at me as I got out of my car. Could this even be the same mama from before?! Marlon found help while he was admitted into our care, and she found healing here. The day we rescued Marlon, we also rescued her. No longer captive by her past of hurt and hardship, she was now captivated by a picture of her healthy son’s two little pinky fingers, I was even more so captivated by her. Her joy, her bravery, and her story of healing.💛 Thank you Lord for letting your light shine in the darkest and most hopeless areas of Guatemala.
Isaiah 61:3 The Lord will provide for those who grieve– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.