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Celebrate Good Times

One of my favorite songs growing up was Kool and the Gangs "Celebration". It is a fun song that really helps get you in the mood to celebrate. Today I am singing that song in my head as I get ready to drive from Guatemala City to Antigua. Today is a big day for Clubhouse and even bigger day for one of our kids. It is Graduation Celebration!!!!!!!

One of our very first children in our Programs was a little girl named Maria.Maria grew up in San Mateo. Maria was very shy, and never wanted to speak or even smile as I would try to practice my horrible Spanish with her. Over the first year I would give Maria a hard time and this eventually led to her smiling and laughing at me. Soon after she entered the program Maria was sponsored by some awesome folks in Knoxville. I will never forget her first sponsor visit as we took her shopping in Antigua. After buying her somethings for her and her sisters we went to Pollo Campero to eat. (If you haven't been here that is the Guatemala KFC.) We quickly realized that Maria had never been to a restaurant to eat. Her eyes were huge as as he looked at the menu. She ordered and we all ate and had a great time. After lunch I noticed that Maria had boxed up part of her food to take back and share with her family because they had never had it before.

A couple of years later I received a call that Maria had went through a situation that no young lady should ever have to go through. I will not go into the details, but know that it was horrific and life altering. Our staff quickly rushed into to love Maria and to work with her and her family. Her step-father left and her mom became the only source of income for the family. Her sponsor stepped in and ministered to Maria through sending cards, gifts and extra support to show her how much God loves her. Through the letters and visits we made, it encouraged Maria to continue her studies. She ultimately had to get a job cleaning homes to help her family. While working she continued to go to school and persevered through many struggles.

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Today is the day that we celebrate together. I write this post in tears as I have seen God transform a scared little girl into young woman that is ready to take on the world. This was only possible through God delivering her from evil and through people that gave of themselves to show her God's love when she didn't think she could even love herself anymore. Last year standing in her home, Maria shared with me that she had never prayed to receive Christ and did not think that God could love her because of the bad things that had happened in her life. I shared with her that not only does God love her but that He wants to heal her completely. In that small little house we prayed together and she then prayed and ask Jesus to be the Lord of her life.

So today we Celebrate the awesome power of God, we celebrate graduation, we celebrate sponsorship, and most of all we celebrate the life of Maria, as she gets ready to take on the World! Thank you to all that sponsor children, help fund our ministry, and come to Guatemala. We all celebrate this victory together. We may not have 5 million people celebrating here like the Cubs but I know in Heaven they have to be Celebrating with us!

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