Standing there among the piles of trash, I wasn’t sure what twenty-year old Marlon could tell me that would bring a hope to my heart. The smell was horrific as the birds swarmed overhead.
The situation seemed helpless.
Marlon’s father passed away when he was six. He was left to care for his family, which meant he began working, digging, scavenging in the city dump. At the age of 6, he was the sole provider for his family.
Today, Marlon still works at the city dump. It is long hours. He arrives early in hopes of finding the best treasures and often he witnesses fights breaking out. He works tirelessly for 12 or more hours.
While he spoke and told his story, he exhibited a strong attitude and work ethic. He shared dreams he had for himself and his family. He was most concerned for those working in the city dump and asked for prayers only for them.
As he stood there beside his sister and spoke so matter-of-factly about his life, I thought how loved his sister must feel. To know her brother at age 6 took on the role of a dad to provide for her.
Marlon worked tirelessly to provide so his younger sister could attend The Potter’s House. There she would receive food and education. Marlon received meals and resources, as well, that helped him escape the hard life of drugs and alcohol. All of which were greatly associated with those working in the dump.
In the heart of Guatemala City is the largest dump in Latin America. More than 11,000 people live and work in and near the dump, and nearly 6,500 of them are children. Even by other Guatemalans, they are treated as little better than the garbage that shapes their existence, which in turn leads them to believe that they are the refuse of the world. Potter’s House Association is a Christian non-profit organization that exists to change the living situation for these thousands, because they are human beings, beloved children of the one true God, worthy of respect and dignity.
As we left the dump site, Marlon’s sister Katherine assured us (as she stood so proudly beside her brother) that she’d share her testimony too.
When hope steps in the door.
Sitting in a small conference room at the Potter’s House, Katherine began to share. My heart began to come alive again realizing there was help — there was hope.
Please view this short video of Kat’s testimony. You will see the dump and community where she grew up and still lives today. She tells the story better than I could ever retell it for you.
If you can not view the video, click here.
There was hope. Katherine speaks great English and is now awaiting news of a scholarship to a US college. The Potter’s House reaches thousands of children each year just like Kat.
All the sudden my feelings of inadequacy were replaced with “Yes, there is one thing I can do!” I could sponsor a child and, better yet, I could help spread the word about their ministry.
When you don’t know.
I’ve always joked that being clueless was an awesome place to be. But this trip has proved otherwise. I didn’t know or understand the extreme poverty in Guatemala. And once I witnessed it I didn’t know there was already help on the ground.
The situation wasn’t dire as I thought. The situation was ripe for me to partner with. I asked the staff at Potter’s House, “Why haven’t I heard of you? Why don’t you advertise your needs?”
Once again, the response touched my heart. They don’t care to grow a huge agency that is bogged down with building and staffing fees. They want all of the resources and funds to pour straight into this community built among the dump yard.
Now that you know.
Will you partner with the Potter’s House and bless the children that live among the dump? While the world calls these children scavengers, the Potter’s House refers to them as Treasures!
Here are two ways you can help.
1. You can sponsor a child for about $35/month. Click here for more sponsorship information.
2. You can provide one time gifts such as: special daily devotional and small group opportunities for one child $15, bag of groceries for one family of 5 for one week $20, or even a month of nutritious lunches for one child $60.
Marlon and Katherine’s story certainly shocked me. It was a story I had never heard before. One I can barely envision even though I’ve been there, walked among the Treasure community, and met them.
Will you join me in supporting this ministry, the Potter’s House, in whatever way you can. We can help instill in these children that God loves them and they truly are treasures.
I can’t wait to introduce you to a cute little Treasure that touched my heart!