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!!!
Junior and his family are a blessing
Little Junior is 3 years old and one of the most adorable tiny humans GOT Ministries gets to work with.
We invite you to
IMAGINE THE IMPACT
we could have in this family
He has cerebral palsy, and crosses his legs and extends his whole body when trying to engage with his environment, because it's the only part of his body that he can somewhat control. We work with Junior to provide an opportunity for his body to experience different positions and engage with his environment. We do this through stretches, as well as activities for supporting weight on his hands/elbows and knees to prepare him for future crawling. Even though this is hard work for Junior by the end of the visits, he makes gurgling noises and cuddles into our side.
We are intentional about communicating with the mom regarding what we are doing, why, and the importance of integrating the therapy in the home. This is important so that Junior can experience other positions daily, which are important for eating, crawling and hopefully someday walking. Through occupational therapy, Junior and so many other kiddos can experience and participate in the world with a higher level of independence.
Junior has shown some significant gains since we began working with him in May of 2017. His mother has been so great to work with, and thankful for the opportunity to learn more about how to help her son engage with his environment.
**In order to have the impact that we desire in this family, we want....
-to encourage Junior's mother, Marta Lidia, in ways to help her son
-to support the family system and educate on the value that Junior has with his different abilities
-to teach the family about Junior's seizures, and how to respond appropriately, as well as the importance of medical care
-to help Junior grow and develop his potential
We seek to provide consistent therapy services for Junior and his family, in order to share hope and love for them, and to support Juniors growth and independence in the future.
Please consider partnering with us to serve little blessings like Junior.
If you would like to sponsor therapy services for Junior, click below to be a THERAPY SPONSOR.
What is occupational therapy?
The definition of occupational therapy according to Webster is:
Therapy based on engagement in meaningful activities of daily life (such as self-care skills, education, work, or social interaction), especially to enable or encourage participation in such activities despite impairments or limitations in physical or mental functioning.
Occupational therapy can be so many things depending on where the services are being provided. While Webster's definition is thorough, our main priorities are: ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING and INDEPENDENCE. The examples above: self-care, education, work and social interactions are things we evaluate. We determine how a disability impacts a child’s ability to participate in everyday activities. When working with children in Guatemala, we use play, games and activities to strengthen their abilities to complete different steps of activities. Therefore, slowly but surely, they develop INDEPENDENCE in their ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING.
For example, we can use a simple puzzle to help the child work on their hand coordination, problem solving, communication, core balance when sitting, ability to follow directions and so much more! These aspects of the puzzle activity are important in normal development and are things we get the privilege to teach our kiddos. Clear as mud?!?! :)
Why would YOU care about the definition of occupational therapy?
Well, GOT Ministries is using occupational therapy services to serve the children with special needs and the community of Santa Maria de Jesus. We desire to spread the love of our Lord Jesus to our kiddos and the community we serve with therapy services, to assist them in achieving independence.
We want our supporters to know how their support of finances, prayers, and encouragement directly impact the community they serve through GOT Ministries. Our partners and supporters are a huge part of our therapy services and are serving the community of Santa Maria de Jesus alongside us through their contributions.
YOU are helping the children we serve to develop life skills in daily living, as well as educating the community of Santa Maria on the value of our beautiful loved ones with special needs. Together we can make an impact and a difference in the lives of those we serve through independence, self-esteem, positive social interactions and success in school. Therefore, their futures are opened to so many more possibilities!
It is hard to think of not being able to communicate our wants and needs to others. That when we speak, others may not understand our language. For some of us, to communicate verbally is how we process what is going on in our lives. There are so many kinds of communication that belong under the large umbrella terms of non-verbal and verbal communication. Communication has been and is a big part of our work here in Guatemala. How so, you ask? Why, I would love to share :) Here are the 4 ways we have been working through communication.
We continue to work on our Spanish language skills with weekly classes, and learn a word here and there of Kaqchikel, the Mayan language of Santa Maria de Jesus. We learn so much of the culture when we learn the language of others. Kaqchikel is actually the primary language of the kiddos we serve in Santa Maria; Spanish is their second language and the language we use when serving them in therapy. So both the GOT Ministries OT providers and the kiddo we serve, get the beautiful opportunity to speak in our SECOND languages :) Check out the map above of all the Mayan languages in Guatemala. Kaqchikel is spoken in the south central region of Guatemala, where we work.
Quite a few of the kiddos we get the pleasure of working with struggle with verbal communication. Some of the kiddos with challenges in this area are the most effective non-verbal communicators. We are not speech therapists and do not pretend to be, because each therapy discipline has such a valuable perspective and role in serving people with different abilities. However, as occupational therapists, we do have the opportunity to work with kiddos on communication. What is the difference?--- SPEECH AND COMMUNICATION are not always the same thing, think about it. Speech therapy and occupational therapy overlap here, but we still look at communication from unique perspectives.
So, this last week, we introduced a communication device to a young girl with cerebral palsy we have served for years. She struggles with verbally communicating when out in the community and when she is nervous, like talking to the boy she likes in her classroom! Oh, man, can I identify and feel for her there! When we gave her her first opportunity ever to use a tablet and keyboard to help with communicating in those challenging environments, she painstakingly typed, "te quiero," which means I LOVE YOU! Be still my heart. Communication is beautiful and so powerful.
Communication among professionals is pivotal to serve the children we work with effectively. This is an opportunity that GOT Ministries has had the privilege to initiate with the amazing team at New Life School. We love to get people together to understand what the team is doing, and how we can come alongside the great professionals who are serving the kiddos every day. GOT has been able to meet with the school psychologist, the special education teacher, the administrator, the principal, and coordinated meetings for everyone to gather in order to increase communication among us. We also want to increase awareness between team members of each of our roles and purposes. To come together and unite in our purpose will allow us to truly provide holistic and comprehensive care to our kiddos.
Who knows what occupational therapy is? If you ask an occupational therapist, he/she would say that no one knows what we do! :) It is a complex and unique job, that gets compared to physical therapy more often than I would like to say. We love our PTs, but OT has a very important role on the team of professionals that needs to be understood better. We, as a profession, have been around for 100 years, celebrating this big milestone this year! Well, you can assume that occupational therapy is even more misunderstood in Guatemala. This specific purpose has been a great opportunity for us to share with the school, and the parents this trip. What in the 'wild, wild world of sports' (as my grandpa would say) is OT?!?! Well, we have been working on communicating this clearly at New Life and have had a teacher in-service to speak into this, as well as a greatly attended parent meeting! What a blessing. If you were perusing around New Life in your spare time, you would also find some great signage outside of our OT room about all the cool things we do!
Look for the next post to answer the daunting question of: WHAT IS OT?
COMMUNICATION IS A BLESSING
COMMUNICATION IS A CHALLENGE
COMMUNICATION IS EVERYWHERE
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
GOT Ministries for Independence
Independence is the goal of so many and absolutely at the center of Occupational Therapy.
On Friday, September 15th, Guatemala celebrated their independence from Spain that occurred in 1821. Unfortunately, it was met with further government-directed denial of rights. The Guatemalan people were told they could not celebrate Independence Day with parades or raising of the flag due to major political unrest. The people persevered and celebrated their national holiday with music, pride and a deep love for their country. It was a beautiful day to be a part of!
I cannot help but think about the INDEPENDENCE of the children we serve as I watched Guatemala celebrate this week. As Occupational Therapists, the independence, quality of life and accomplishment of goals are the center of everything we do. As Guatemala celebrated their INDEPENDENCE, I wanted to celebrate the INDEPENDENCE that we support and facilitate in the children we love and serve. In Occupational Therapy many people struggle with INDEPENDENCE.
Sometimes like the Guatemalans during their Independence Day, people with disabilities are denied their rights, and told that they cannot celebrate or value their accomplishments. Children with special needs here in Santa Maria de Jesus, Guatemala are seen to have no value and no possibility of INDEPENDENCE. Due to the culture, regarding people with special needs, Occupational Therapy services are even more important to assist individuals participating in meaningful activities. We have a unique skill set and position to not only make a difference in the education of these children, but in their daily lives. We, as Occupational Therapists, help modify tasks and teach adaptive techniques to support our clients to accomplish their goals, dreams and especially their INDEPENDENCE!
We at GOT Ministries strive to love, serve and help the children at New Life School daily. We assist our students to move one step closer to finally have a chance to say THIS IS MY INDEPENDENCE DAY, I am INDEPENDENT and I want to CELEBRATE the obstacles I have overcome!
'I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.'
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.
Admeth, from Northern Arizona University,
will be partnering with GOT Ministries to serve our kiddos in February.
He needs your help!
My name is Admeth Vargas; I was born and raised in Fresno California. I was drawn into health care from an early age, born into a family of migrant agriculture laborers; the rehabilitation field was both respected and profoundly feared. I witnessed fear within my community and wanted to understand the body so as to dispel the irrational trepidation. As a therapist, I hope to improve the community perception of occupational therapy and utilize my training to help the quality of life of others. My studies of the human body have challenged me in such a way that no other field could offer, and yielded rewards even greater as I have the opportunity to have a lasting impact on the people I encounter on my journey. My experiences have taught me that this remarkable profession of Occupational Therapy goes far beyond the bounds of diagnosis and treatment: it is devotion to a life of teaching, continuous learning, and sacrifice, but most important of all, service is a commitment I have accepted. I anxiously await the day I may immerse myself in the study of therapy and patient care among like-minded and compassionate peers.
Click below and CLICK THE SCHOLARSHIP FUND to give and help Admeth in serving our children with special needs in Guatemala.
Melanie will be serving with GOT Ministries starting next week, 9/6/17, for 12 weeks at the New Life School. We are so excited to have her; her passion for others and the Lord will serve our kiddos well. She is a lovely addition to the GOT Ministries OT team from Maryville University. Welcome, Melanie! Stay tuned for stories of her adventures and work with GOT Ministries!
Read more about her and her passions below!