“What you have, you need and what you do not have, you do not need.” The Lord spoke those words to me in 1989 as I stood at the border separating Guatemala and Mexico.
My desire and that of my wife was to care for children in Guatemala. But I was frightened and had only $2000. I was no great man of faith. Since that time, the Lord has blessed the children’s home we founded with over 5300 children. Currently there are 460 children, from four-month-olds to young adult university students, living on the Casa Para Niños Aleluya campus in San Bartolomé, Guatemala. We have eight dormitories, a Christian school (Kindergarten through high school), a medical clinic, telemedicine, a dental clinic and a psychology clinic with two full-time psychologists.
In 2008, an eight-year-old girl with kidney failure arrived and, due to the fact she had five sisters here, was able to receive a new kidney. Today she is 18 and in high school, dreaming of a career as a nephrologist, a doctor who specializes in kidney care.
Three months after her surgery, the physician called and asked that I take a four-year-old who was near death and had no opportunity of a transplant since he was simply left at the hospital in critical condition.
My response was to not receive him because the death of a child had always been so traumatic to the other children at Casa. But God said “Do not let him die alone in a hospital and without knowing Me.” I took him in and he lived less than a year. His funeral was the most difficult of all of the funerals we’ve done. A few months later the same nephrologist called and said that another child was dying. He was 10 and there was no opportunity for a transplant. Again I took him in. He also died, as did the next two children we received who had renal failure.
It was at that time the teenagers and staff began to pray and fast for discernment about what God was telling us. We believed He wanted us to provide peritoneal care here on campus and to bring children in need of hemodialysis (kidney treatment) to Guatemala City where Dr. Randal Lou provides treatment through his foundation.
Over the past two years, none of our children have passed away. Three have received transplants and, after a year of recovery, have returned to their families.
Currently there are eight children receiving treatment here on campus. Four young people raised at Casa have graduated and now serve as nurses while two others are dialysis technicians. Five university students live with and care for the children.
God then asked us to trust Him to build a medical facility to provide care for 40 children. As I prayed and considered our current monthly finances for eight children and how caring for 40 children would impact us, I felt the same fear I had experienced at the border.
However, knowing that God had provided the finances for 5300 children and their food, housing, education, clothes and medical needs for all these years, His words again rang in my ears. So, in 2015, I felt it was time to step out and trust Him. We began construction of a three-story building for 40 children that is now over 60% complete.
If these children receive treatment, medication and education through the university level, they can live their own lives outside these walls and provide for their own needs. For those who are not able to have a transplant and are limited to a shortened life, our resolve is that they will not die alone in a hospital without knowing Him.
Mike Clark is the founder of Casa Para Niños Aleluya in San Bartolomé, Guatemala. This story first originally appeared in The Point, August & September 2016 edition, issue 11.