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A Ray of Hope in Their Darkest Hours

Field Report by Dina Sleiman

GUATEMALA – Late one evening while everyone slept, Arturo’s family faced one of their darkest hours ever. Arturo heard the sounds of the earth shaking. He called to his wife Fabiana, “Let’s get outside to save our lives!”

They grabbed their two young children, Dalila and Cristopher. Then they dashed out of the house into the dark night of their Guatemalan village. Huddling together, they listened as sounds of destruction continued around them. Later when they went back into the house to investigate, they found a wall had fallen on their beds. They had made it to safety just in time.

Arturo's two children.

As it turned out, an 8.1-magnitude earthquake had struck parts of Mexico and Guatemala, killing and injuring many. Arturo’s house was one of the hardest hit in the area, but they had nowhere else to go. They would have to make do despite the devastation.

Operation Blessing Rushes in with Disaster Relief

Thanks to the faithful support of friends like you, Operation Blessing rushed to the scene with disaster aid in both Mexico and Guatemala. You helped provide food, safe water, hygiene supplies, solar lights, and medical care for disaster victims.

Arturo and others receive disaster relief after earthquake.

We met Arturo and his family in one of the first villages we visited in Guatemala. His brother Alfredo, along with Alfredo’s wife and children, were hard hit by the earthquake as well. Learning that the families had nowhere to sleep and were running short on food, we brought new mattresses along with huge bags of corn and beans. Both families were full of smiles that day.

However, Arturo’s house still wasn’t safe. The government declared that it needed to be torn down because of the danger it posed. But the family didn’t have the financial resources to move to a different home or build a new place to live. The house was all they had.

So Arturo would often sit awake at night watching over his two precious children and his wife, who was expecting their third child, concerned for their safety.

A band from the Guatemalan ministry of defense.

Then Operation Blessing made an alliance with the Ministry of National Defense in Guatemala. Together we made plans to carry out the construction of several houses to support low-income families who lost their homes in the earthquake. Including Arturo’s!

Rebuilding After the Earthquake

Arturo remembers well the day he learned the good news. “My wife and I were very happy. We were filled with peace,” he said.

Director of OB Peru hands Arturo the keys to his new home.

Operation Blessing provided all the supplies and the Ministry of National Defense provided labor as we got to work building the family a new home—a place where Arturo, Fabiana and their children could be safe together once again. When the home was ready — complete with new beds and a brand new stove — Operation Blessing held a celebration. Geraldina Motta, director of OB Guatemala, gave Arturo the keys to his sturdy new home.

Just a few days after they received the new house, Arturo and Fabiana were blessed by the birth of their new baby boy, Harrison. “I cannot stop thanking God!” Fabiana said.

Arturo and family in front of the new home they received from Operation Blessing after an earthquake.

Thank you so much for making amazing projects like this possible. You came during this family’s darkest hours and offered a ray of hope. Their great tragedy has now turned into a great blessing all because of you.

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