The Two Marias of Chuchuca
Dona Maria was a remarkable woman who lived near the village of Chuchuca, high in the Quiche Mountains of Guatemala. At the age of 60, she took on the responsibility of bringing up her granddaughter, also named Maria, when the baby’s father abandoned them and her mother, a young girl of just 16, couldn’t cope. Young Maria has special needs and has never been able to go to school, but her grandmother gave her the best care that she could for over 20 years. This included taking her to the Living Water Adopt-A-Child centre in Chuchuca twice a week, where she received a hot meal and any medical care she needed. Dona Maria had to accompany her granddaughter every time, as she could not go by herself – a two-hour journey on foot each way.
In 2017 Dona Maria, now in her 80s, and her granddaughter had a visit from young Maria’s UK sponsor, who came to their home with Steve McDaniel, the Guatemala Director of Living Water Adopt-A-Child. Steve was translating for them, and at the end of their time together, Dona Maria tentatively made a request that was to bring about a whole new area of service for the ministry.
“I know there are rules which are important, but I am not as young as I used to be and I get very tired walking to the programme with Maria, waiting outside for her and then walking home again. When I come, can you please let me have just one tortilla to eat to give me strength for the walk home?”
Steve had been expecting her to ask for a full meal and her humility spoke to his heart. He immediately thought of Matthew 25:35 and 40: ‘For I was hungry, and you fed me’ and ‘whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
He promised Dona Maria that whenever she came to the programme with her granddaughter, she was not to be given one tortilla but to have a full meal. But more than that, the vision of the ‘M25’ (Matthew 25) outreach programme came to him. Today many elderly, widowed, and vulnerable adults are being supported with food, medical help and pastoral care in both Guatemala and Albania through this project, inspired by Dona Maria, and affectionately known as ‘Adopt-A-Granny’ in the UK.
Dona Maria went home to be with the Lord in 2019, but her legacy lives on through those being helped by the M25 project. And what of young Maria? She is now being cared for by her mother and her new family and is happily settled with them.
Adopt-A-Child is a Christian Sponsorship programme working hand in hand with sponsors worldwide to provide food, medical and dental care, pastoral and practical care, spiritual hope and a future for thousands of underprivileged children and vulnerable adults in Guatemala and Albania.
Sponsorship costs £20 per month and 90% of this goes directly to our programmes. We also have a range of projects which benefit the wider communities.
To donate, sponsor or find out more, please visit: www.livingwateradoptachild.org/uk/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adopt-A-Child, PO Box 5589, Inverness, IV2 7WG.