The Impossible Decision


Imagine having two children that are dying. Now imagine having the ability to save one, but not the other.  Which would you choose?  What would you do? It’s every parent’s nightmare.  It’s a lose-lose situation that no parent should have to make. But in this story it was a reality.  A real-life nightmare.

One of the most powerful parts of our ministry is serving widows and children in our community.  Our ministry is not limited to the children we serve inside the walls of our property.  We also reach out to those in need in the local community.  On a regular basis we deliver baskets of food to the “least of these”.  This is how we were introduced to the mom who couldn’t decide.

This mom is a good mom.  She loves and takes care of her children. She would do anything for them, but not make the decision.  And who could blame her?  Both children suffered from kidney failure.  She was a match for both, but only her.  Nobody else could help.  There were no other matches.  She was faced with the decision to save one - only one.  And she couldn’t do it.

Who could?  Who could look at the children they love and say, “I will save your life, but not yours”?  She held the power of life and death in her own body, but couldn’t say which child would live and which child would die.  So she decided not to decide.  She chose not to choose.  And it was the best thing she could do.

Like all of us, she couldn’t choose one over the other. It’s not in a parent’s nature to do so.  We love our children equally, just as she does.  All she could do was pray and wait. There isn’t the opportunity or resources to find another donor.  It’s just not a real possibility here in Guatemala.  So she loved and cared for her kids the best she could for as long as she could. Equally.

Unfortunately the day came when she didn’t have to decide anymore.  One of the children passed away from the disease that destroyed her body.  The burden of having to choose between your children has now been replaced by the burden of moving forward without your child.  Perhaps it’s an easier burden to bear.  I can't speak for the mother, but I can imagine the relief of not having to choose anymore.

I don’t know exactly how she is processing the loss of her child.  I assume she is questioning her decision to not decide.  That would be normal.  But I do know that she is trusting God with it.  And having lost a child of my own, I know that’s all we can do.  Trust Him. 

Not an Animal


She was given away by her mother at the age of five.  The details for this decision are unclear.  Desperate people in desperate situations do desperate things.  This is almost understandable.  The thinking could have been, “I don’t have the resources to take care of my child, so someone else may be better able to take care of her”.  If this was the case, then it’s almost understandable.  At least there is reasonable logic behind it.  But it’s what happened next that is unconscionable.

Posing as a family who could take care of the little girl with curly hair, was easy.  Anyone can lie and manipulate.  We all do to some extent.  Unfortunately, the desperate mother was too easily deceived.  The family too deceptive.  And because of their deception, the mother released the curly headed girl into the (un)care of the deceivers.

The mother never returned to the home of the family to check on her daughter.  For whatever reason she simply disappeared.  It’s unknown if the family had anything to do with the disappearance.  But it is definitely known they had everything to do with what was to happen next to the girl.  She in fact did not become a part of the family - at least not in the proper way.

She did live with them, but not “with” them.  She lived on their property, but not in the house.  Instead of the people becoming her family, the animals did. To be specific, the hogs.  She, in their eyes, was an animal.  Another pig perhaps.  Perhaps not even on the level of a pig.  Because pigs are fed and fattened, for a purpose.  But her only purpose was to satisfy the men of the house.  A toy.  A plaything.  An object.

No one can imagine what this girl truly went through. No one!  And as you can imagine, she still suffers from the effects of sleeping with the pigs, chickens, and dogs.  As time passed she began to see herself as one of them.  Unworthy of love.  Unworthy of respect and decency.  When you have to fight over table scraps with animals that are your equals, the damage it does to you lasts a lifetime.  Unless.

Unless one encounters the God who restores, the Godless actions of others is forever damaging.  Unless one meets the God who loves, the loveless will be the god of your life.  Unless one surrenders to the God who saves, one must surrender to the god that destroys.

Fortunately for the girl who lived with pigs, she has met the One and Only God that restores, loves, and saves.

She has come a very long way in her road of recovery, but you can still see the pain and fear.  She doesn’t trust easily, how could she? She doesn’t love recklessly, who could blame her?  She doesn’t socialize comfortably, why would she? She keeps her distance and guards herself.  But she also smiles, then gets embarrassed.  She hugs, then runs away.  She engages, then gives space.  Little by little she has changed.  And it’s a beautiful thing. 


12 and Pregnant

*The children in the photo are not necessarily the children in the story.

Being 12 years old and pregnant is probably one of the worst things you could imagine for a young girl.  No more hope. No more future.  No more innocence.  This girl’s opportunities for a successful life were taken away.  Her chances of a completed education are slim.  Her chances of living above the poverty line are no more. The possibility of finding a husband who will accept her baby is not likely.  But unfortunately, being pregnant at 12 is not the deplorable part of this story.  The horrifying part is who the father of the baby is.  

Unbelievably, this story gets worse.  You see, the pregnant girl is one of three daughters that could have been impregnated by their father.  The one who happened to get pregnant is a twin.  The other sister is 11.  So in reality, any of the three could be carrying their father’s baby.  All three were at risk of doing so in the future.  Because all three were being raped by the man who is supposed to be their protecter.

The good news is the three girls were rescued.  The bad news is only two came to Shadow.  The new mother is still in the hospital with her baby/sister.  She will not be joining her sisters at Shadow, but instead will be taken to another home.  This is heartbreaking to say the least, but also necessary.  We pray the sisters will be reunited as some point, but we don’t know when or where.  We also pray that Shadow will be able to accommodate young pregnant teens in the future.  In fact, it’s something we must do.  The need is too great.  The delay too long.

The words “no hope” and “no future” used above, only apply to the physical life of this victim.  There is “a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11) in the spiritual life of this child, if she gives her life to the Lord.  We can only pray she does.  This is why we must pray for the resources to support young girls who find themselves in similar situations.  The calls to accept pregnant teens at Shadow come frequently.  And the answer is always a very painful “no”.  

The dream is there.  The call is there.  The desire is there.  But the resources are not.  A new home must be built.  It will be named Casa Maria (Mary) after another unwed pregnant teen you may have heard of. House grandparents must be found.  They will help these young mothers raise their child, show them how to parent in a Godly manner, and teach them the love and patience of Jesus.  Generations will be altered for the better and futures will be changed forever.  Physically and spiritually.