God’s Word Comforts Young Mothers in Guatemala

Trauma healing program is helping where teen pregnancy is on the rise.

Life in Guatemala is hard. Violence is rampant, gangs rule, and domestic abuse is prevalent.

For 16-year-old Emely*, life became even harder when she gave birth while still in eighth grade. The baby’s father isn’t a part of their life, and she hasn’t been able to return to school. She knows that without an education she will have a difficult time supporting herself and her child.

But with support from our financial partners, the Bible Society is helping young mothers turn to their heavenly Father and find comfort in His Word. They are learning that suffering is not what God intends for them.

The Bible Society started this ministry because teen pregnancy is a growing problem in Guatemala, one that impacts girls as young as 11. Many of these pregnancies are the result of a crime. But in Guatemala, 98 percent of crimes against children — abuse and rape included — are never prosecuted.

Emely still lives with her parents. She wants to raise her child with love, but she — like many young mothers — is still trying to overcome the trauma she experienced. Her childhood is over, and she is facing adult responsibilities. “I was feeling sad and desperate,” she says.

So, when the Bible Society asked her to attend their program for young mothers, she and friends in similar circumstances jumped at the chance. She attends the weekly classes where she is encouraged to raise her child in a cycle of love. The leaders are walking with her as she makes decisions about her new life. And the program is helping local churches provide spiritual support to girls like Emely. All of it, according to Emely, is helping.

“Knowing about characters from the Bible that had difficult times, like me, and came through gives me strength,” she says. When times get tough, she opens her Bible to the book of Psalms. “The thoughts challenged me to be a better person and, soon, a good mother.”

She is grateful for the opportunity to look at life differently. “Thanks to the people who allow me to have these classes with my friends,” she says.

*Name changed for privacy

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