Juanita's Recovery and Continued Studies

About two months ago, my fiancé Juanita Pascual suffered a serious car accident while returning from a school project in a remote village close to Huehuetenango, Guatemala. I shared news of this accident, asking for prayers for Juanita’s recovery. Now I want to follow up with a joyful update: Juanita has fully recovered and she continues to move forward towards becoming a medical doctor.

Juanita enjoys a visit with fellow classmates from her medical school

Juanita enjoys a visit with fellow classmates from her medical school

As I mentioned back in May, the accident occurred when Juanita was with three classmates from her university in Huehuetenango, where she has been studying medicine for the past two and a half years. Tragically, the student who was driving passed away. Among those who survived, Juanita was the most seriously affected, suffering head trauma, several fractures, and many lacerations to her face and upper body. Fortunately her head trauma had no permanent effects (thank God!) but her injuries were serious enough that she needed to spend a week in the hospital. During that time I remained beside her as much as possible to encourage her and ensure that she received good care.

Juanita left the hospital on May 30th in positive spirits, but she was anxious about her impending final exams for the fifth semester of classes in medical school. She had just one week between her hospital discharge and the beginning of final exams. I thought that Juanita needed to focus on resting because she wasn’t able to walk well or raise herself without help. In light of the circumstances, the university gave Juanita permission to postpone her exams and I encouraged her to take that route.

Nevertheless, Juanita decided that she wanted to take her exams on the normal schedule. She was worried that any delay in her exams could lead to problems enrolling for the next semester. You see, in Guatemala there is no USA-style summer vacation; final exams occur at the end of June and the next semester starts in early July. So if Juanita were to delay her final exams, then she probably would miss her entire sixth semester of medical school. That was unacceptable to her.

Juanita stands in front of gifts of encouragement from friends and family

Juanita stands in front of gifts of encouragement from friends and family

So with dogged determination Juanita began to study for her exams. I read her books out loud so that she could avoid eye strain and mental fatigue, and we did repeated terminology drills together so that she would be ready for all her tests. A part of me could not believe that she was putting herself through this grueling effort just two weeks after barely escaping death! Yet, another part of me knows Juanita too well to be shocked at her persistence in the face of setbacks. She has spent her entire life overcoming the odds—she insisted on finishing high school in an area where many girls become mothers by the age of 14; she applied to college despite ongoing pressures to remain at home; and she has continued fighting for success during medical school because she holds on to her dream of becoming a doctor in order to serve others. There was no way that this accident would deter her.

Now I can share wonderful news: by God’s grace and by the prayers of so many people, Juanita achieved her goal. She passed all her exams! That means that she will face no academic setbacks whatsoever after her accident. Such an amazing triumph confirms that with God all things are possible.

A recent photo of Juanita fully recovered, standing with me and with one of her closest friends (on the far right) and her sister Mati (far left)

A recent photo of Juanita fully recovered, standing with me and with one of her closest friends (on the far right) and her sister Mati (far left)

Juanita is now in her sixth semester of medical school and her new classes are going well. Current courses include: Physiology, Histology II, Applied Clinical Biochemistry, Immunology, and Pharmacology II. She will have one more year of classes in 2020 before beginning practicums in 2021. We will keep you updated on her progress during the coming years.

As Juanita and I look forward to the future, we feel that her miraculous recovery has been a confirmation of God’s plan for us. We will be married in December, God willing, and we plan to spend our lives as coworkers in the Lord’s vineyard in Guatemala. The accident nearly robbed us of that future, but now God has given Juanita new life and we both feel more committed than ever to our shared life of service in this beautiful country.

Thank you so much for your fervent prayers for Juanita over the past two months. You have helped to lift Juanita up and set her back on her feet. Glory be to God!

Please continue to pray for Juanita’s studies and also for both of us as we prepare for marriage. We are entrusting ourselves to God, knowing that a life of service in Guatemala carries its own unique risks and struggles. Yet God is with us! And all of you also are with us in prayer, which gives us courage to push forward!

With joy and gratitude,
Jesse