News on Juanita

Beloved friends in Christ,

I am writing to share some unexpected news on Juanita Pascual, who has been studying in medical school in Huehuetenango, Guatemala, for the past two and a half years. Many of you have been inspired by Juanita’s desire to serve as an indigenous medical doctor among her own people in Guatemala. Most of you also have heard that Juanita and are are engaged to be married later this year. We are so grateful for your continuing prayers as we look forward to a lifetime of missionary service in Guatemala.

Juanita, taking census results in a small village as part of a public health practicum at her university

Juanita, taking census results in a small village as part of a public health practicum at her university

This past week, Juanita was in a car accident with three other students from her university. Please know: Juanita is okay! She is in a hospital in Huehuetenango receiving good care for her injuries. I happened to be in Huehuetenango when the accident occurred and was able to go to the ER right away. When I approached Juanita’s bed, she immediately recognized my voice and said “te amo” (I love you). In that moment, I breathed a sigh of relief because I knew she was fully aware of her surroundings. As doctors and nurses continued to treat her, Juanita spoke with them and responded to everything that was happening. I remained with Juanita the entire time she was in the ER to make sure that she was able to get all the diagnostic tests she needed for the doctors to rule out serious internal injuries. Thanks be to God, none of Juanita’s injuries are permanent: she has lots of cuts, bruises, and a few broken bones—but nothing that cannot heal.

Juanita now is in the regular medical unit at the hospital. I have been able to visit with her and sit beside her hospital bed, trying to encourage her as she begins the healing process. I am in touch with the doctors at the hospital, who give me updates in person and by phone. They all are very glad that Juanita is on a good track towards full recovery. Juanita’s parents and two of her sisters also are here in Huehuetenango. Since Juanita is in an all-female medical unit, I am not allowed to remain with her continually. So her two sisters have been taking turns sitting beside Juanita all day and night.

Juanita’s injuries are significant enough that she will be out of classes for at least a week and possibly longer. We will be in touch with her university to make sure that that this unforeseen event does not set her back in her studies more than absolutely necessary. The faculty of the university have been incredibly supportive and are visiting the hospital on a daily basis to ensure that Jaunita is okay. Her fellow students also have been visiting Juanita and raising funds to fully cover her medical expenses.

Please keep Juanita in your prayers, asking God for a speedy recovery. Please also pray for the other students who were in the accident. Tragically, one of the other students passed away in the crash, and his family needs our prayers as they grieve this terrible loss. The other two students in the accident are okay; both have already been discharged from the hospital. Please pray for everyone involved in this incident, including all of the students at Juanita’s university who are still in shock.

Holding hands at the hospital in Huehuetenango. Thank you for your prayers!

Holding hands at the hospital in Huehuetenango. Thank you for your prayers!

Life is so precious and we never know what each day will bring. Over the past years, I have often thought to myself “I should visit some of the hospitals and clinics in Huehuetenango to get a sense of what medical care is like in the capital city of our province of Guatemala.” Never did I imagine that I would soon see Huehuetenango’s largest hospital from the inside, advocating for the woman that I love and sitting in prayer beside her hospital bed.

Thank you once again for your support and prayers. God willing, Juanita will heal quickly and be able to return to classes without too much delay. Thanks be to God that she is okay!

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!