Throughout the ups and downs of her life, Maria Guallpa has illustrated both the heavy weight of poverty as well as the surpassing grace of God. As she contended with single motherhood, inadequate living conditions, and challenging interpersonal relationships, she was able to find aid and encouragement from God through Pan de Vida.
When Maria first came to Pan de Vida in 2014, she was selling trash bags on the side of the road for a few dollars a day in order to support her four young children and her mother. The family lived in an unsanitary and insecure home in a dangerous neighborhood fraught with violence, crime and drug use. Maria was depressed and without hope, struggling to feed her children, and unable to rest in a safe home at night.
We got to know Maria’s story as her young children, Joel, Jhonatan, Lady, and Leslie, attended summer camps and Christmas programs at Pan de Vida. Growing up in a dangerous context has exposed Maria’s children to hardships that are insurmountable without faith, hope, and forgiveness in Christ. As she attended various events, Maria sought spiritual and emotional counseling and group therapy at Pan de Vida in order to grow in faith and repair her life with God’s help. Pan de Vida was able to meet her immediate needs by consistently providing healthy groceries, purchasing school supplies for her children, assisting her in refinishing the roof of her home, and providing much needed medical attention for her children and herself.
Maria endeavored to break the cycle of generational poverty in her family by participating in Pan de Vida’s Micro-Entrepreneurship Program. The Lord provided a portable food cart, which has empowered her to earn a more stable and self-directed income. Just hours after receiving the cart, Maria began selling salchipapas (sausages and french fries) to generate an income for herself with the goal of being no longer dependent on food donations.
Maria and her family have been bathed in prayer and reminded of the love of God since coming to Pan de Vida. Even through the struggles this pandemic has brought, her children are able to study, her family is healthy, and she will be able to gain financial independence through her food cart and the Micro-Entrepreneurship Program.
We are grateful for the support which allows Pan de Vida to show Ecuadorian families, like Maria’s, the love of Christ by empowering them to reclaim their lives and grow in faith.