The Fuentes Family is the first Guatemalan family that Missy and I met and the experience changed our lives forever. If you have had the opportunity to hear our initial ministry presentation, then you have heard about Yanira, the oldest girl of the family. We met the family during our first trip to Guatemala in 2011. Servants had started helping the family a bit before then and Trent, the founder of Servants, took us one day to buy some food for the family and visit them.
The family’s problems started when their house burnt down. The government helped them out by giving them a tiny piece of land to live on while they rebuilt their home. It is during this time that their mother, Modesta, was diagnosed with terminal kidney disease. The family had little to no income. While the hospital offered free dialysis for Modesta, she still needed to find a way to make it to the hospital 2-3 times a week. They have no car and for them it was expensive to pay for a taxi to take her back and forth. This resulted in Modesta missing her treatments and she often found herself in the hospital for weeks at a time because she would become gravely ill. Meanwhile, the three children: Yanira, Dincy, and Jairo were left all alone at home.
Servants began serving this family by providing for taxi fare for Modesta so she could get regular dialysis treatments at the hospital. They also helped by providing some food and clothes as Modesta could no longer work and at the time, Yanira was too young to work. Servants also helped by fixing up the front gate you see above that was falling apart and not very secure. Eventually, Modesta was able to receive supplies to her home in order to perform dialysis here and Servants helped by building a small area to store her medical supplies.
When Yanira turned 13, she began to work small jobs as possible to help raise some money to feed her siblings. We received reports that she started having fainting spells. Servants raised the money for her to have some medical tests done, all of which came back negative and it was discovered that she was going 2-3 days without eating because they didn’t have enough food for the whole family and she skipped meals so Jairo and Dincy could eat. Servants tried to continue raising funds to supplement their income and not too long after this transpired, Modesta passed away around Christmas of 2011.
As we continued to raise support and tell our story to churches in the U.S., this part of our presentation became increasingly difficult because we knew that Yanira, Jairo, and Dincy were all alone without parents to provide for or care for them here in Guatemala. We learned that their older brother, Walter, who had been living elsewhere decided to move back home to try to support his younger siblings. We also learned that neighbors began taking care of them in any way they could. Mrs. Ilsa and Mr. Ricardo across the street ran their garden hose to the house so they could have running water as the property did not have plumbing.
Walter has been having a hard time making enough money to provide for his younger siblings, so Mrs. Ilsa and Mr. Ricardo have since taken them into their home to continue raising the children. They have been working extremely hard to not only provide for these children, but also make sure they continue going to school. Even though they do not have children of their own, supporting these three children has been a struggle for Ilsa and Ricardo.
The main need for this family is continuing their education. Jon, the Guatemalan missionary that works with us here, visits them weekly and helps them with their studies. Jairo had a difficult time learning this year and also had some struggles with behavior. However, as this family continues to love and support these children, he has shown some signs of improvement. Mrs. Ilsa makes sure they make it to church at least once, if not twice a week. In just 2 weeks, we get to go to Yanira’s graduation from 6th grade! In Guatemala this is a big accomplishment. She plans on attending high school next year but this step means a greater financial commitment for Mrs. Ilsa and Ricardo. Yanira’s schooling has been supplemented over these years from sponsors through the Serving At-Risk Families ministry at Servants.
If you are interested in helping these children receive their education to break the cycle of poverty, click here to contact Servants or download and send in this form now! As little as $25/month will make a huge impact on this family and give them an opportunity they would otherwise not have. As little as $100 a year will cover Dincy or Jairo’s tuition and the rest will go towards making sure that they receive the necessary food and supplies to grow and become effective contributors to the society of Guatemala. Please consider being a blessing for these children for less than $1 a day!