Feeding hungry babies: Jose Manuel

Jose ManuelJose Manuel had a tough start at life.

When he was born, Jose’s mother was sick. She had very high blood pressure and went into a coma during his birth. That was four months ago and she still is not awake.

With no mother able to feed him, Jose’s aunt stepped in to help out with this precious little one and make sure he gets the care he needs.

Jose’s aunt brings him to ASELSI’s milk program where she gets formula that she can feed him until he’s big enough to eat solid foods.

With help from her family Jose’s aunt scrapes together enough money to buy some extra milk for him and this little guy is growing!

Jose came to ASELSI in weighing only 6.8 pounds but in four months he’s more than doubled his weight to 14.5 pounds.

Jose is one more baby who is overcoming the odds of high infant mortality in Guatemala thanks to the milk and care they find at ASELSI.

Please pray for Jose Manuel and the 80+ other babies like him who receive care and nutrition at the ASELSI medical clinic.


Michael & Chrisi Shead, missionaries with Reach World Mission, serve with the Guatemalan ministry of ASELSI which includes a Bible training center, medical clinic (including the milk program mentioned above) and outreaches.

 

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ASELSI Christmas Party 2015

One of the three services held with 600 families who came to the ASELSI Christmas party on Dec. 3.

One of the three services held with 600 families who came to the ASELSI Christmas party on Dec. 3.

Every year hundreds of families who have been part of the ASELSI Clinic come back to ASELSI from their communities to be part of the Fiesta Navideña — the big Christmas Party.

A team member sharing a bag of food with one of the mothers at the Christmas Party

A team member sharing a bag of food with one of the mothers at the Christmas Party.

This year over 600 families came with some 1200 kids. With additional family members we estimate that we had over 2500 people at the Christmas party.

While many families camped out on the street overnight, others walked through the morning darkness to arrive in time to get their spot in line arriving around 6 a.m.

This event draws many people not just for the small gift and bag of food they receive but for the special attention the children receive and the message of hope they hear through Jesus Christ.

Praying with those who wanted to accept Christ or needed extra prayer and encouragement.

Praying with those who wanted to accept Christ or needed extra prayer and encouragement.

We’re glad to get to be part of this annual event that helps introduce children and their families to Jesus Christ and the real story of Christmas. This year about 20 people gave their hearts to Christ.

Our own children were impacted by the drama of Christ. Our nearly 3-year-old Jubilee told us over and over again the story of how Jesus died on the cross. With her eyes big and her arms outstretched, she tells us how Jesus died for her.

We’re glad our children and hundreds more are hearing the true story of Christ’s love for them.

~ Michael & Chrisi

 

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Milk Program: Little Walter

Walter

Please pray for a little boy in the ASELSI Milk Program named Walter Alejandro. He is 1 year and 1 month old and only weighs 11 pounds and 12 ounces. He drinks watered down milk and other oatmeal type drinks throughout the day because his mom is trying to stretch the powered milk that ASELSI gives her further.

At ASELSI we give about 33% of the milk that each baby/child needs each month to allow for more children to be in the milk program. The mom told us that she is not buying him any extra milk after what ASELSI gives her runs out because she can’t afford it.

Walter’s mom, Micaela, is 35 years old and has seven children. Both Micaela and her husband have never been to school, which is not uncommon here among the Mayan Indians, who make up 90% of the population of Guatemala. Her husband makes 40 Quetzales a day, which is about $5.19 a day. He works six days a week and it’s common that men like him often have multiple weeks each year without work while they wait for their bosses to need them again.

At ASELSI we just started giving Walter extra milk and will continue to do so in hopes that he will gain weight and survive.

Walter has been in the ASELSI program since he was 1 month old, but without the family supplementing what ASELSI gives him, he is only just surviving, but not thriving like what we want to see happen with these little ones.

On the first of May we should see Little Walter again and be able to evaluate how the extra milk is helping this little one grow and see what more we can do to keep this little boy alive.

~ Chrisi

Tomas and his rubber pants.

Here's Tomas wearing his rugged rubber pants. His wheelchair is being prepared behind him.

Here’s Tomas wearing his rugged rubber pants. His wheelchair is being prepared behind him.

Tomas was born with legs that don’t work.
His legs don’t work, but he does. Ever since he was strong enough to pull himself around on his arms, Tomas has been on the move.

He learned to beg and earned enough to keep himself fed. Using a bicycle horn, he get’s peoples attention and pulls himself through crowded markets with modified sandals protecting his hands from the rough streets.

Now, Tomas is 38 and while he lives in the Guatemalan village of Chiché he is usually in a nearby town literally crawling the streets trying to get money to pay for his food and living expenses. [Read more…]

Milk Program stories: 2 years, 17 pounds

At the ASELSI Milk Program, Chrisi works with many very malnourished babies and children every week. At the clinic, we help provide these young ones with formula or milk, vitamin fortified health drinks, cereals and a months supply of vitamins. We measure and weigh these children every month as well as assess them for any sicknesses or family needs that they may have.

2-year-old Maricio is only 17 pounds here he is a the ASELSI milk program with his 19-year-old mom.

2-year-old Maricio is only 17 pounds here he is at the ASELSI milk program with his 19-year-old mom.

We work hard to educate the mothers in food and bottle sanitation, food preparation, and how much and how often their children should be eating every day. We also do regular “Felt Board” Bible teachings so that these mothers, many whom have never been to school and cannot read or write, can know God’s word. We also want to empower these moms through these stories, to pass them on to their children. We love getting to pray with these mothers and encourage them on their walk with the Lord.

One or our milk program children is Mauricio Gregorio Dominguez Macario. Mauricio will be turning two years old in less than two weeks and only weighs 17 pounds. This means that Mauricio weighs less than our 7 month old daughter, Jubilee. He has only been in the ASELSI Milk Program for four months, but we are grateful to see this little one making progress! He is still very malnourished and we prefer to get children like him in our program when they are only months old, but we are so happy that his mother heard about our program and came to us for help!

Through the ASELSI milk program hundreds of children like Mauricio have been and are being helped to get nutritional boost as they start life in difficult situations.

Milk Program: Gaining Weight, Beating Statistics

Here's Antonio from back in May 2013.

Here’s Antonio from back in May 2013.

Guatemala has one of the highest infant mortality rates in all of the Western hemisphere. Here’s an example of one little guy who is beating those statistics.

In the ASELSI Milk Program where Chrisi serves every week, we see many very malnourished babies and children. One story we would like to share is of an 8 month old baby boy named  Antony  Ramos.

When Antony entered the Milk Program he was 5 months old and weighed only 8 pounds and a quarter. Since then, every month he has been gaining and now weighs almost 13 pounds! He is still too small for his age, but we are praising God for the steady progress he is making! His mom is so proud to see that he is gaining each month.  What a joy it is to see these very humble moms, many of whom have never been to school a day in their lives try to hide the smile on their face when they see that their truly is hope for their babies to live past their first birthday, when so many woman here lose their babies before they ever take their first steps on this beautiful earth where God has placed them.

Here's a much healthier Antonio from August, 2013

Here’s a much healthier Antonio from August, 2013

 

Each month since Antony has been in our program has been a success so far, but unfortunately we cannot say this about all of our Milk Program babies. Read the story of Rogelio here.

Help us help kids like Antonio
If you would like to help us continue reaching out to families and children like Antony, pray for us and give a gift to help us keep serving families in Guatemala.
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Milk Program: a desparate fight

Rogelio is 1 year and 8 months but he weighs only 14 and a quarter pounds. That's less than what a healthy baby of six months should weigh.

Rogelio is 1 year and 8 months but he weighs only 14 and a quarter pounds. That’s less than what a healthy baby of six months should weigh.

We have a little boy named Rogelio Peliz in the ASELSI Milk program. He is 1 year and 8 months old and only weighs 14 pounds and a quarter. He has been in the 14 pound range now for 4 months.

Despite our constant attempts to educate his mom on how many ounces of milk/vitamin fortified drinks he should have each day, how much he should be eating, bottle sanitation and etc., she still insists that her son is content and doing fine only drinking 4 ounces of milk ALL day and only eating a very little bit of food.  That is right…this little boy is only receiving 4 bottles of milk a day with 1 ounce in each bottle.  His mom often puts him to the breast to breastfeed him when he cries, but he almost instantly seems to fall asleep due to the mother having little or no breast milk anymore.  He is being pacified by her attempts to breastfeed and stops crying, but is receiving little or no nutrition the several times a day she gives him the breast instead of the bottle.

This mother of four thinks he is doing fine and says one of her older daughters used to be small like him too and now is just fine. It may be true that her other daughter beat the odds and is now doing ok, but she is relying more on her previous experience with her daughter than on what us nurses and our growth chart is telling her.

Even though I have persistently told her that her son could die if he doesn’t get more to eat and drink, she seems convinced that he is doing fine.

I have a feeling that even though one of her daughters used to be a small baby as well, with the lack of healthcare and charting for children here, she probably has no idea of how much her daughter weighed as a baby compared to how much her very malnourished son currently weights.

Today, I collaborated with the other nurses at the Milk Program to start an intervention with a local governmental health agency here, to assess the situation closer in order to help save the life of this child.

Please pray for Rogelio to gain weight,  for the mother to understand the seriousness of his situation, for wisdom for us here on how to help him further and for God’s blessing over this family.

Help us help kids like Rogelio
If you would like to help us continue reaching out to families and children like Rogelio, pray for us and give a gift to help us keep serving families in Guatemala.
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Surgery Ward Salvations

Screen shot 2013-08-02 at 11.04.32 AMFive salvations during a hospital visit!

We recently visited the national hospital located about 45 minutes away from where we live. We were with a team from Columbia, Missouri. In the men’s surgery ward alone, four people accepted Christ and one rededicated his life to the Lord!

One of the guys who accepted Christ was under police guard, another had been stabbed, and another had been shot. Yeah, it was a rough crowd, but their hearts were ready and soft toward Christ when we arrived!
Seeing them come to Christ, was a great reminder of how important it is to take the opportunities God gives us to clearly present the Gospel and give others the opportunity to respond to God’s message of hope!

When we were at the hospital, we collected the names and locations of those who accepted the Lord and passed them on to pastors from their various home towns so they can be discipled in their new faith.
Being connected with the ASELSI Bible Schools gives us a unique opportunity to not only share the Gospel, but to provide followup through local pastors.

As we minister with teams our goal is not only to come and minister to the people but to connect people with Christ and a church for long term evangelism ad discipleship.

If you would like to help us continue reaching out to our neighbors and ministering, please help us by giving a gift here. There are several options for new giving via Paypal.

‘El Gran Evento’ Evangelism Concert

A crowd of over 400 attended the "Gran Evento" Eangelism outreach.

A crowd of over 400 attended the “Gran Evento” Eangelism outreach.

The culmination of three weeks of training over 60 youth leaders here in Chichicastenango came in the form of an evangelism concert with eight churches, three bands, two former gang members, a dance crew and prizes but most of all, the life-changing Gospel presented to over 400 who attended!

Here’s an update I posted on Facebook while at the concert:

The band at the Gran Evento

“I’m standing here, with earplugs in, yet hearing the evangelism concert quite clearly as tears run down my cheeks. I see youth of our community dancing and shouting praises to our great and mighty God. God is doing something here in Chichi and I’m so glad that I get to be a little part of His great big plan!”

With the hard work and help of eight summer interns from Oral Roberts University, we were helping to train some 60 youth leaders from local churches at ASELSI. (See more on that story here.) After the three weeks of training, we wanted the youth leaders to see how they can reach out to their own community when they work together. Thus, the “GRAN EVENTO” or evangelism concert was born!

Michael with two former gangsters who shared their testimonies at "El Gran Evento"

Michael with two former gangsters who shared their testimonies at “El Gran Evento”

Through contacts at a local church, the local municipal government donated the use of a concert hall and we recruited three bands who could rock out with worship. Chepé the national coordinator for ASELSI’s Bible school, connected us with two former gang members who prior to accepting Christ

would have arch enemies. They turned out to be the perfect fit for sharing how Christ changes lives and demonstrating our theme of unity!

With much prayer and planning we gathered donations from local restaurants and prizes to raffle off to the crowd and the event kicked off at 5:30 on June 8!

After two bands played, the former gang members shared about how their lives had been transformed by the power and about 10 people dedicated their lives to Christ. Nine of them left us their contact information so they can be discipled and grow in their faith.

The final three songs were a combination of the three bands playing together in another demonstration of unity. By about 9:45 p.m. we had to shut the concert down and clean up, but our hearts were full and we left energetic to see how God is changing lives here in Chichicastenango.

 

ORU Summer Interns: CORDS

A youth leader and an ORU student take on the mud challenge during the Cords Rally Day at ASELSI's youth leader training activity.

Sad to say, it’s rare to see churches from different backgrounds working together, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen!

Meeting in the middle at the unity line during Cords.

Meeting in the middle at the unity line during Cords.

This summer, eight different churches in Chichicastenango, Guatemala are stepping outside their own buildings and working together to develop their youth leaders and hold an evangelistic concert that will have an impact on the entire mountain community.

Under the coordination of ASELSI–a ministry that has been in Chichicastenango for nearly 20 years–a team of eight students from Oral Roberts University has been teaching and training the youth leaders of churches across town three times a week.

Entitled “Cords” the youth leader training, is focused on unity along with related concepts such as integrity, trust, vulnerability, and more.

“I’ve never seen leaders from different churches working together like this before,” said one of the youth leaders.

Working together to overcome the spider web challenge.

Working together to overcome the spider web challenge.

Through applicable teachings and many examples of teambuilding exercise and interactive games, the ORU students taught the youth leaders how they can use new techniques, ideas, and activities to support the heart of the message they are teaching their own youth groups from the Word of God.

At a special Saturday activity, there were 45 participants who came out for a two-hour rally that focused on interactive challenge games and obstacles that they had to overcome together as the unity theme continued through the event.

There was a rope spider web element where participants had to pass their entire team through the web without touching the rope. If they touched the web they had to name the hole after a personal challenge or fear they had and then work together to “overcome” it by getting several team members through without touching.

Following the leader through the trust walk.

Following the leader through the trust walk.

A blindfolded trust walk challenged the leaders of these churches to follow another leader without being able to see why they were being led and built communication between each participant.

 

The three weeks of training in unity, dramas, teachings, and activities, culminates in a youth-focused evangelistic concert that focuses on reaching out beyond the church groups into the community where there are thousands of youth who still need to know Christ for themselves.

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“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Eccl. 4:12 (NLT)

Dirty but unified at the Cords Rally day.

Dirty but unified at the Cords Rally day.