The Turnaround

A lot has been going on in Nicaragua over the past few months and I have fallen behind on my blog entries! The good news?? I have lots of stories to share!

But where to start?! How about one that will spread a little joy? Good. I’ve got just the one.

Guiselle is one of my favorite kids in the whole country. (Yes – I am allowed to have favorites!) I met her and her sister at a very impressionable and delicate point in their lives. I’m not going to go into their whole background now (you can read the entry yourself here), but there are two things you need to know:

1. Guiselle is incredibly smart
2. Until only a few years ago, she was made to believe she was worthless

Where It All Started

When Guiselle’s was younger, the world was especially rough on her. When I met her she was only 6, her single mother was a prostitute, she was already years behind in school, she was around 15 pounds underweight, and often became sick because of their dire living arrangements.

It was not a pretty picture.

After we became involved in the family, things improved – especially their mental and physical health – and Guiselle enrolled in school. But the teachers and her classmates were cruel – both making fun of her for how far behind she was. It caused anxiety in Guiselle, making her not want to go to school and causing her to feel as though she really was what the mean people around her said: stupid and incapable.

But that was NOT who Guiselle was. Walter, Johana and I could all see the great intelligence she processed, and the tenderness and strength of her heart that made her so unique. So we fought to remind her of what we saw in her – what God saw in her.

Over time she improved in school, but the attitudes of her teachers and her classmates did not. It made for some tough sledding, but then again, the truth is often harder to believe than lies.

Changes

During this time, her mother (the woman in the purple in the picture to the right) made HUGE advances. She found a stable job at a manufacturing center, got more involved in her daughter’s lives, and we watched as each day her heart softened. She was turning into a mother with a deep love for her daughters. And as that grew, so did her love for the Lord as she began her own genuine search for the King. It was beautiful to watch.

Over time we kept speaking truth to Guiselle, but what we didn’t know (or expect!) was that our words were having just as big of an impact on her mother as Guiselle. And after a particularly hard day for Guiselle at school, her mother had had enough. It was time for a change.

All on her own, she began making her way around town looking for a better place for Guiselle to go to school. She found a new school for her to enroll but it was too far for Guiselle to walk alone, so she worked with neighbors and family to figure out a schedule to have someone walk with her to and from school every day.

Starting A New Journey

Guiselle began that school in February and she has…wait for it…FLOURISHED!! She has continuously made improvements in ALL subjects, earned the praise of her teachers, the acceptance of her classmates, and started to even believe in herself!

In fact, every report card, the school announces the student for each grade with the highest average grades. I could not be more proud (and her mother could not be more proud) to say that for the past two report cards Guiselle has been that student. There is literally no one else in her grade level that makes better grades that she! She has even recently been chosen by her class to represent an important cultural figure in a school celebration!

What a turnaround! What a confirmation of what we are fighting for! We fight day in and day out to help inspire change in the hearts of our families that enable them to be even more of what the Lord designed them to be. Some days are hard. We don’t see any change, or worse we see digression.

But then, there are days where we see changes like this one. Where we step back and realize the transforming power of the gospel and the truths within it – that we ARE loved, we ARE valued, and we ARE NOT worthless. That God created us to live rich, deep, love-filled lives and that He rejoices alongside that as we find and live out His design in our lives.

I cannot wait to continue to watching the change in Guiselle and in her mother. God has done such a redemptive work on and within them, and I wait with bated breath to see what else He has in mind!

Thank you to everyone one of you that has prayed for Guiselle, played with her on a trip to see us, or given so that she might have a chance to do all this.

We are eternally grateful.

PS. I have included her report card to the right so you can all LOOK AT THOSE GRADES!!!! Only ONE C all year! And only one B in her last set of grades!! Let’s face it. She is awesome :)

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