Monday, August 31, 2009


I spoke briefly to the college ministry of Istrouma Sunday about our December mission trip. As I mentioned before, we are thrilled about the possibility of some of these students serving with us in Guatemala. Please join us in praying for them as they try to discern whether or not they are supposed to take this trip.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Malnutrition in Guatemala


"IT IS hardly one of Latin America’s poorest countries, but according to Unicef almost half of Guatemala’s children are chronically malnourished—the sixth-worst performance in the world. In parts of rural Guatemala, where the population is overwhelmingly of Mayan descent, the incidence of child malnutrition reaches 80%. A diet of little more than tortillas does permanent damage.
This chronic problem has become acute. Higher world prices for food have coincided with a recession-induced fall in money sent back from Guatemalans working in the United States (remittances equal 12% of Guatemala’s GDP). Drought in eastern Guatemala has made things worse still. Many families can scarcely afford beans, an important source of protein, and must sell eggs from their hens rather than feed them to their children.
The government and aid donors are providing emergency food supplies for 300,000 people scattered in some 700 villages. Up to 400,000 more may need help. In Jocotán, in the east, rehabilitation centres have admitted dozens of children who are so malnourished that their black hair has turned blond, their faces are chubby from fluid build-up as their organs fail, the veins in their legs become a visible black spider-web and their face muscles are too weak to smile.
What makes this even more distressing is that Guatemala is rich enough to prevent it. Other Latin American countries, such as Bolivia, Peru and Brazil, have reduced child hunger. Yet according to Unicef, the incidence of stunting—a common indicator of chronic malnutrition—in Guatemala is twice what it is in Haiti, where income per head is only a quarter as high. Stunting is not genetic: a study by the World Bank found that Mayans in southern Mexico are taller than those over the border.
That points to a failure of government in Guatemala. The Mayan population were the main victims of a long-running civil war between military dictatorships and left-wing guerrillas. Although democracy came, and eventually peace, social conditions have been slow to improve. Income inequality remains extreme, even by Latin American standards. Two-thirds of the rural population remains poor. Guatemala came second to bottom of a new index measuring inequality of opportunity in Latin America published by the World Bank last year. Whereas Guatemala City has shiny shopping malls, gated mansions and trendy restaurants, many indigenous Guatemalans scratch an inadequate living as sharecropping subsistence farmers. “These people were totally abandoned in the mountains with no infrastructure, no education, no health,” says Rafael Espada, the vice-president.
Much research shows that children who are undernourished tend to suffer from learning difficulties and end up poorer. So proper feeding is the first step in breaking the cycle of poverty. But schooling is vital too. Guatemala lags behind in educating girls in particular. As a result, mothers may not prepare corn-soya feeding supplements correctly, and may share them among all their children rather than favouring the malnourished.
The government fails to collect enough taxes from wealthier Guatemalans to provide good schools and health care for the majority, let alone the kind of targeted cash-transfer programme that has helped to cut poverty in Mexico, Brazil and elsewhere in the region. But urban Guatemalans are more worried about rampant crime, much of it by drug gangs. The government, like its predecessor, is full of good intentions. But several attempts at tax reform over the past decade have foundered in the face of entrenched political resistance. So malnutrition looks set to continue in a country in which it ought to be a cause of national shame."

Sadly, this isn't new news, but I am happy to see it in the press (I am not a fan of the press, but am thankful that this brings much needed attention to this issue). I am disgusted by the fact that UNICEF all of a sudden seems so concerned about the children of Guatemala, but that is a topic for another day (if you do not already know why I do not support UNICEF, feel free to contact me). This article is all over Facebook and several people have already emailed to me. People are seeing it and that is a start. Obviously, Guatemala is nothing like many countries in Africa. Food is readily available. You will not likely come across children that are basically skeletons starving to death on the side of the road (possible, but not common). And chances are, many of the children you come across will not even appear to be malnourished, though they are obviously hungry. It took a while for me to grasp the concept of malnutrition in Guatemala because it is so different than what you see on TV commercials of children in Africa and beyond. But then I returned to Guatemala and watched a group of children eat. It was obvious that some of them had not eaten in days. Then it was confirmed for us that if the children do eat on a daily basis their meal consists of only tortillas, salt and an occasional serving of beans. Eating daily (or a few times a week) does not prevent malnutrition and THAT is the problem so many Guatemalans are facing.

How are we supposed to change this? What can we do to at least try to help this country save the lives of it's children? It starts with one family, one village, one orphanage. It is establishing feeding and vitamin programs that are continuous (even if they are formed slowly). It is educating mothers on how to properly give their children supplements and helping fathers (and mothers if possible) find and maintain employment. It is making sure that every child is able to attend school. It is water filtration and stove projects. It is projects that promote family self-sufficiency and community stability. It is committing to one area (or even just one family...whatever can be reasonably handled) and staying by their sides, doing everything possible to help them help themselves and filling in for them when they can't. It is praying for them and with them, knowing that the God that loves you also loves them and through you and others that He has called to walk with them, He will provide. You do not have to spend your life working in Guatemala or start an organization that works there. You do not even have to spend a large amount of money in financial donations and supplies. Malnutrition across the world is overwhelming, but your small contribution, no matter what it is, can end a child's suffering. Think about it. Tonight when you sit down with your family for dinner, remember these children that are not. As your children leave the table with full bellies, remember the children that may have only eaten a tortilla today. Ask yourself....are you doing all you can to help? If not, there are many ways to be involved. Through AAB, you can purchase food baskets for families or donate vitamins among other things. There are organizations working in countries around the world that we would happily recommend you support. Whether it is through AAB or another organization, we urge you to do something because something truly is better than nothing.

Monday, August 24, 2009

And now....

...back to your regularly scheduled blog posts.

I have to admit that there were a couple of weeks during that breather when I wondered if I would ever be able to think of anything to blog about again. It's pretty hard to keep a blog running when you can't think of anything to say. But we're back and because we are bouncing off of the walls with excitement about our upcoming trip to Guatemala and because so much has been happening lately, I feel like I can actually start writing again.

Where should I begin? We have a lot of updates...this is going to be a doozy!

  1. Plans for the golf tournament are coming together wonderfully. AWESOME prizes have been donated, hole sponsors are increasing and teams of golfers are being confirmed. We are so excited (and a bit nervous, of course) about Sept. 18th!
  2. The night before the tournament, on Thursday, Sept. 17th, we will be announcing an online fundraiser that is HUGE. When I say huge, I do not mean anything else. Seriously, people....this is big!!! Stay do not want to miss this!
  3. Plans for the October trip are going so well that I'm a little speechless about it. Our team is incredible and I could not ask for a better group to travel with us. We will be working on numerous projects while in Guatemala, including the launch of a vitamin program in Pueblo Nuevo, along with de-worming children and adults. In addition to that, we will be working with our partners at Servants 4 Him to hold a dental and medical clinics AND be working with the children's ministry to just pour love and hope into the lives of the children there. As if that isn't enough, we will be working in an orphanage providing a medical and dental clinic while beginning to build relationships there. And of course, we will be distributing all of the supplies that are being sent by YOU!
  4. December's trip has turned into something we did not expect. Istrouma, our church here in Baton Rouge, is encouraging students in the college ministry to travel with us and interest in the trip so far has been great. Istrouma will also be providing assistance with other projects for that trip. We are humbled by the amount of support and love that our church family is giving to us and the people of Guatemala and I cannot wait to spend this time serving with them in December!
  5. We are still collecting supplies for the October and December trips. Shoes and toys are still needed by the beginning of October in order to ship them in time for Christmas and OTC meds, VITAMINS and school and art supplies are still needed for the October trip.
  6. In the next couple of weeks, dates for a spring and summer trip in 2010 will be announced. If you are interested in organizing a church group to travel with AAB, please email me at We are willing to work with groups at any time of the year and would love to reserve a week to lead your group on a mission trip to Guatemala.
  7. Beginning in November, we are available to speak to your groups (churches, small groups, Sunday school classes, civic groups, etc.) about the world's orphan crisis, orphan prevention and ways you can make a difference. We would also love to help you implement an orphan care ministry in your church. For more information, email Details will be posted in November.
  8. On a personal note, today we updated the blog that we used for our son's adoption from Guatemala. We will begin our next adoption in early 2010 and would love for you to join us on our journey as we go through the process to adopt a child from Ghana. You can follow our story at Adoption - The Real Truth.

I could actually go on with even more updates, but I will stop there for now. God's goodness is overflowing and we are in awe of all that He is doing in our lives and with AAB. This is an exciting time for us and while the children and families we are working with in Guatemala do not realize it yet, it is also an exciting time for them.

Monday, August 17, 2009

AAB Golf Tournament - Sept. 18

The AAB golf tournament will be held September 18th at Copper Mill in Zachary, LA. If you would like to put a team together (or sign up as an individual), please click on the form below, print and return your completed registration to us. We are also in need of hole sponsors and prize donors. If you are interested in sponsoring, please email me at

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Stop the World

I have never been the type of person to talk about needing breaks from blogging (I tried to take a break from blogging once during our adoption, but it only lasted a day or so). For the last couple of weeks I’ve been absent from the world of blogging, according to my lovely friends that feel the need to email me whenever I haven’t posted in a while (thanks for checking in with me, by the way).

“Are you OK?” is the question of the week. Yes, I am OK. More than OK. I have stepped back a little the last couple of weeks because sometimes you just have to lay things down and walk away for a bit in order for them to start making sense. And sometimes you have to quiet your own voice in order to hear the Voice of God. When we returned from Guatemala I had a lot of unanswered questions and He was the only one with the answers. I am slowly hearing the answers now and every thing is making a lot more sense than it did a month ago. Until today I did not even realize that I had not posted in nearly three weeks.

Stay with me. I’ll be back to my long winded, wordy, blogging self soon. Until then, I will leave you with the song that I can’t stop singing because it is so true. Sometimes, don’t you just want to stop the noise and escape for a while? And don’t we always want (or in my case, desperately need and long for) a little time with Him?