Megan and Abigail met Calixto at 18 months old through a referral from a missionary in Santa Maria de Jesus. Born cross-eyed, he was unable to see at birth and had spent a lot of time on his back. The mission organization funded a neurology appointment for him and GOT began serving him and his family through occupational therapy. His vision is improving, as well as his potential for development. He likes bright lights and began reaching out and kicking more!
Today we celebrate because Calixto is WALKING!!!
After just a few months of therapy and encouragement for his family, Calixto is developing and leaning into his potential. Excited about Calixto's potential, his mom implements therapy techniques learned in his sessions with Abigail in the home! Calixto began walking and is moving forward in his development. The smile on his mom's face reminds us of the reason we serve these families. We love to see hope shine through. GOT Ministries is so excited for this little boy and his family!!
Thank you so much to all of our supporters!!
YOU make this work possible and YOU make a difference in the lives of the children and families in Guatemala!! Please join us in empowering and serving children with disabilities in Guatemala by becoming a therapy sponsor today!!
Megan and Abigail met Chulo through a referral from a current GOT family. Born unable to move his head and neck, his mother was told he would not grow up well. Because of this discouragement, she struggled to have hope in her child's future and hid him from his family and friends for the first four months of his life. She was unable to name him, so we called him Chulo, which means sweetie or cutie in Guatemalan Spanish. Chulo spent much of his first four months on his back, hampering his development and growth. He and his mom struggled to bond because the situation appeared hopeless.
Today we celebrate! Chulo has a name!! We would like you to meet Gerson Alexander!!
Megan and Abigail support this family through occupational therapy, allowing Gerson to now be able to move his head and experience developmental growth! Gerson and his mom know his potential for growth is great. More importantly, the family knows they are loved and supported and empowered in the journey of Gerson’s growth and development. Gerson and his momma are able to bond and spend quality time together. We are so excited to continue in this journey with Gerson and are currently encouraging his momma to register his birth so he is officially recognized by the government.
Thank you for your support of GOT Ministries!!
YOU make this work possible and we are so very grateful for YOU.
Become a therapy sponsor and empower and serve a child like Gerson today!!!
Guest Post by Jean Wetherilt
In occupational therapy we often refer to the adaptive response, described as the interaction between an individual and the environment in which the individual meets the demands of the task. The “Adaptive response” took on new meaning both personally and professionally as I walked the cobblestone streets of Antigua and Santa Maria de Jesus, Guatemala. I learned from the wonderful people in those communities including the children and families, the staff and volunteers of New Life School and the best teacher and translator ever, Megan Lewis!
Experiencing the daily life of Guatemalan children gave me a different perspective of pediatric occupational therapy. Many years of working with children have been focused on my Americanized views of the occupations of children: to develop independence, to learn through play and an education, and to be social beings. In Guatemala, where living conditions are significantly different than in the U.S., these occupations are similar but also uniquely different. For example, play looks different. In the market, I watched siblings wrestle behind their mama’s table, while another little girl gathered up her pile of plastic spoons to pretend to sell them, using what she saw her mother do daily as a model of this play task. In the therapy room at New Life School, I watched a boy build his version of Antigua, a nearby town that he has heard of but may never visit, with wooden blocks. On rooftops little girls played house as they did the real household chores of hanging laundry on lines with their stuffed bunny wrapped on their back like their mothers care for their babies.
In Santa Maria de Jesus, the school day ends at noon because children are needed at home, in the fields and in the market to help their families make money and survive. The family unit is the priority in this culture, different from the U.S., which means children and adults collaborate together to ensure survival. Unfortunately, the important daily activities rarely include play like we may expect it to look here in the U.S. I saw situations children needing to grow up fast in order to take care of their siblings at a young age, do all household chores, and manage adult activities and responsibilities. Most of the children we worked with have not had a chance to have a carefree childhood that we, in the US, might hope for all children. One night while walking through a market I saw a toddler of about 2 years of age, propped against a fence asleep while his mom sold her wares. Some extremely unfortunate and dire situations lead to children being taught to not only beg but also steal from tourists.
In order to be culturally relative, Megan’s school-based and community-based occupational therapy services have had to adapt. Activity analysis is something occupational therapists use to determine the developmental milestones and necessary skills needed for a child’s daily life and occupations. In this culture the therapist’s mindset is focused on examining tool use in their homes and fields, household tasks including gathering water and food, sweeping the dirt floor, learning to tie knots in rope to go around bundles of wood, carrying large baskets to the market and taking care of younger siblings. Education becomes a second priority and seen as a luxury when survival is on the mind of children and parents. Learning to read and being educated is slowly becoming a cultural value and occupation of children. One of my favorite memories from my trip was watching 3 children in a social skills group learn to jump rope together! It was sweet because none of them have had the fun opportunity to play in such a way, a new occupation for sure!
On these cobblestone streets, the reality for children is harsh, the demands of the tasks they perform every day are great but the children are adapting, learning, and growing! GOT ministries is adapting as well, continuing to be intentional regarding cultural expectations and determining best practice for serving and investing in the children and families they serve. Please pray for the therapists, the staff, occupational therapy interns and most of all the children. May they learn the steadfast love of a heavenly Father who created us all to work, play and love one another.
Fidel is a 31-year-old man who lives in San Pedro Las Huertas, Guatemala. Fidel lived in an institution specifically for children with disabilities for most of his life up until 5 years ago when he moved into the home of Pat Duff who began the ministry called Reason to Hope. Pat has welcomed 4 young men with complex disabilities who use wheelchairs for mobility into her home. Fidel is the leader and the oldest of these men and has begun a business collecting recycling materials from homes around his community for money. Fidel has cerebral palsy that effects his use of his hands as well as making speech difficult. His neighbors are not able to understand his speech, which makes his business difficult in the community. GOT Ministries was able to partner with Andrew Lewis and provide a state of the art communication device for Fidel. Andrew provided valuable services while in Guatemala at the end of February, to mount the communication device and a mouse pad onto Fidel’s wheelchair, as well as teach Fidel how to use this amazing resource. Fidel, because of his limited use of his hands, excels with the use of his toes and feet for everything he does, including accessing his laptop computer and cell phone. Andrew and Megan mounted a mouse pad onto his foot rest so that he could navigate the options on the communication device screen with the use of his toes! Now Fidel is able to use the communication device to tell a girl he likes that she is pretty, to ask for recycling from neighbors to continue running his business, and expand verbal vocabulary to truly share his vast intelligence and knowledge with others. We are thankful for the donation of Fidel’s communication device and the support of individuals to financially make this trip possible for Andrew to serve Fidel.
Why do we work? What is its value?
How does it give us purpose in our families, community, and personal lives?
Work occurs inside the home and outside the home, some earn money and some do not for their hard work. All work is purposeful, valuable and is needed to keep the world moving forward.
We are teaching 5 typical Mayan community jobs to our kiddos with special needs we serve.
WORKING IN THE FIELDS
SWEEPING AND MOPPING
We love our kiddos and want to support them to achieve their potential in life. Admeth, our Doctorate Occupational Therapy student is creating the job skills program that includes one weekly job skills workshop, and an individual visit with each child to support their success even further. Check out our newsletter for more pictures and stories.
Love is a funny thing and it is demonstrated and shared differently depending on what country we are from. With Valentine's Day this week, or Dia de Carino as they call it here in Guatemala, I felt like it is an appropriate topic. Carino in Spanish means: affection, dear one, care and caress..... What a beautiful word that expands beyond a wife or boyfriend relationship. Care for others.....Let's make a difference by caring and showing kindred affection for others.
My student and I have discussed LOVE multiple times since our arrival a week and half ago; we discussed the need for loving on these amazing children we serve. We are serving a need, a functional need, and a need that deserves addressing- the achievement of potential and independence through therapy services. However, one of my more important purposes while we are here is to be a presence of love, to be a source of unconditional joy and love for these sweet, sweet children of our Lord.
The children we serve have many sad stories; most have been abused both physically and/or sexually, some have lost their parents to extortion and murder, most are seen to have no value or purpose in life, and all are trying to find their value in the people around them. We all do this I think, try to find our value through what is spoken over us and how we are perceived by our families and communities. This is not right, we need to be seeking our value through the abundant and generous and gracious Lord. We are all His creation and loved by Him. For most of us, this is a hard discipline and we need amazing people in our lives to teach us how to receive love and to love others. Love prevails, it always does and always will. GOT Ministries was created to be the people who teach love and joy and acceptance; we can do this through this beautiful thing called occupational therapy.
We are here, in Guatemala, for these three purposes: TO LOVE THESE CHILDREN, TO SEE THESE CHILDREN THROUGH GOD'S EYES, AND TO BE A POSITIVE, ENCOURAGING, AND EMPOWERING PRESENCE FOR EACH CHILD AND THEIR FAMILIES.
Thank you for your love for us and your love for those we serve. We couldn't do this without you!
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY or FELIZ DIA DE CARINO!!!
It is hard to explain how beautifully the Lord works during our time in Guatemala. We have been to the school only twice so far and WOW! We received the most graceful, grateful, joyful welcome from the kiddos and faculty alike. To be welcomed here is such a privilege and such a blessing. We have worked hard to be a part of the community and serve the people in ways they desire and need. After 6 years of continued prayer, relationship building, and God's provision, we have become a part of the New Life team and the community of Santa Maria de Jesus.
We were welcomed before we even arrived at the school! Damaris is a beautiful child of God who we have had the pleasure of working with since Megan's first trip. On our way to school the first day up the mountain, Damaris saw us in the streets of Santa Maria outside of the market. She came to us with the biggest most amazing smile, full of joy, and of course the warmest of hugs. It is such a blessing to be here; it is OVERWHELMING. Melanie also got to experience the outpouring of love these children share from their abundance the Lord offers them. The little girls of the school were so excited to touch her face, love on her, and know more about her!
It is so strange how we come with the desire to love and serve these children, but in reality, God pours out His love for us through them more than we can imagine! We have 5 children on our outpatient schedule already-the parents have been showing up at our door asking for therapy for their kiddos wanting to get on our schedules!
What a blessing to be a part of this amazing community of God's people. Our God is so good, so faithful, and so OVERWHELMING with his love.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” - Revelations 3:20
We are not Jesus, but we desire to be Jesus' hands and feet every day. We came to Guatemala waiting for an opportunity to serve. The Guatemalan people are opening the door, giving us the beautiful opportunity to sit and eat with them. Through this, we can love and serve the people of Santa Maria by providing therapy services.
Thank you to our partners for supporting us in the GIFT that is GOT Ministries.