The Father’s Love

You helped a suffering man in Guatemala experience the love of our Heavenly Father.

It was the worst birthday ever.

When José turned five, his parents took him and his siblings to a restaurant for dinner. It soon became clear that this wasn’t a joyous celebration for little José.

It was the last time his family would share a meal together.

José's parents had decided to separate. Now José and his siblings had a heartbreaking choice to make: would they live with their mother or with their father? “Who are you leaving with?” the parents asked their children at the end of the dinner.

José suffered deeply as a child.

When José picks up the broken pieces of his childhood, he sees that fateful birthday dinner as the moment that everything in his life started to unravel.

“It marks the start of a tragic story,” he says. “In the wake of my parents’ separation, a series of sexual abuses began against myself.”

When José was at his most vulnerable, a close relative started abusing him. The assaults continued for many years. One day, when he was 12 years old, José stood up to his abuser.

“I decided to defend myself,” he says, “to never allow such a thing to happen to me again.”

But five years later, his abuser found a new way to hurt José.

“When I was 17, they detected HIV in my blood,” José explains. “When I found out, I just wanted to die. I locked myself in grief and denial.”

José felt like God had abandoned him.

In his anguish, José cried out to his heavenly Father. “I spent many years asking God, ‘Why?’ and ‘What did this happen for?’” he says. “I didn’t get an answer.” The silence pained José.

“I saw God as a father who failed to take care of me,” he admits. “I started to blame God in the same way I blamed my parents.”

José attempted to end his life by swallowing a handful of pills. Thankfully, his sister found him and rushed him to the hospital.

José survived. But pain and confusion continued to consume him.

You helped him experience God’s healing love.

This is where you entered José’s story. Your prayers and support brought American Bible Society’s Bible-based trauma healing ministry to his local church.

Bible-based trauma healing brings together proven mental health practices and Scripture engagement to help people heal from abuse, violence, and disasters.

In small healing groups, participants read the Bible to discover how a good God responds to our suffering. They learn about the journey of healing made possible by Jesus. They learn to forgive those who hurt them.

“When we learned about why people suffer, God opened my eyes and allowed me to heal my heart,” José says, reflecting on God's intimate love for his children, even in the midst of deep pain and suffering.

In God’s Word, José rediscovered his heavenly Father's unbreakable love—a love that culminated in the death of Jesus on the cross.

“There are many parts in the Bible in which God suffers with those who suffer. He wishes to heal them,” José says. “I learned to see him again as the good Father that he is.”

Now José is sharing God’s hope with others.

Today, José shares the Father’s love with suffering people in his community. “God healed me so that I could help others heal!” he says.

As a pastor, José and his wife lead Bible-based trauma healing groups at their church in Guatemala. Through your support, the healing power of God’s Word is multiplying in their community.

“Many young people come to me and my wife to talk about their traumatic experiences,

he says. “Many of them have experienced physical and sexual abuse. I share my story with pleasure, because I know that someone who is listening might be going through something similar.”

Friends, through your generous support and fervent prayers, José and so many like him now know that absolutely nothing can separate us from the perfect love of our heavenly Father. Thank you for bringing them hope in their darkest hour.

“If God gave me hope,” says José, “then he can give hope to everyone else!”

Thank you from José and his church in Guatemala

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  • Use Scripture to pray for the suffering and brokenhearted:

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