When ‘complicated’ becomes ‘critical’
It’s a beautiful thing to see firsthand: Even when other people can’t or won’t help, God gives us exactly what we need – when we need it.
Olivia is a shining example of how God provides, working through the compassion of others.
Olivia lives in Guatemala and was pregnant with her fifth daughter when her husband abandoned the family. He’d been physically abusive during their marriage. Even when he was living with them, he didn’t always prioritize providing for Olivia and their girls. But when he left, the family’s already complicated economic situation became much more critical.
This mother of four – and soon to be five – had nowhere to turn. No siblings, no parents … no support. “I simply could not provide for my daughters,” she says today, looking back.
- A lack of food of any kind, especially nutritious food, meant the girls weren’t growing as they should. Her children were malnourished and underweight.
- Even if she’d been able to find a job, women who live in Guatemala and work in the fields are paid far less than men for the same work.
- Prenatal care during pregnancy was not available at any price.
“I had nothing to give them. I could do nothing but cry out to God.”
She did, and God heard Olivia.
An answer to prayer
Olivia was grateful when Food for the Hungry (FH) came to her community offering the type of help she needed, with food support from the International Food Relief Partnership (IFRP), a program of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
FH Guatemala staff had the privilege of walking alongside Olivia and her girls, offering physical, emotional, and spiritual support, including:
- Providing lentils and fortified food to provide nutritious meals the girls and Nutributter vitamin paste for the baby.
- Training in good practices in children’s health and how to prevent malnutrition.
- Talks about violence prevention that helped Olivia and other members of the community understand how to better care of their families.
- Chickens and the training she needed to successfully care for them. Their eggs provide essential protein for the family, of course, but Olivia is now also able to sell chicks for a reliable, ongoing source of income.
“I lived with violence for many years, and I didn’t know it was bad that I let my husband beat me. Sometimes he didn’t give me money, and I didn’t have enough to feed my daughters. They went to sleep with nothing in their stomachs.
“But one day, I woke up, thanks to the FH training. They taught me that we must take care of ourselves and feed our children. I also learned that women can get ahead. Before learning that, I felt sad, because I had no one to encourage me. But they talked to me, prayed for me, and told me that nothing is impossible for God. I just had to have patience and courage.”
Hope for what lies ahead
Olivia now looks toward the future with hope and strength.
“When FH was not there, we felt alone, as if you could die and nobody would care,” she remembers. But today, Olivia, her daughters, and her neighbors know that God gives us what we need. They know that He cares for them, and they are not alone.