By Renee Thorwall, Discovery Intern


Ilse is the youngest sister of Nidia, a girl sponsored through the House of Healing. In November of 2017, Nidia’s sponsor came to Tzampetey (a village near San Lucas) and visited with Nidia and her family. Julie, a Discovery Intern serving at House of Healing at the time, went along to interpret. Sitting next to Ilse, Julie was able to hear Ilse’s heart beating and noticed that Ilse could not take more than one or two steps without stopping to breathe.


The staff and volunteers at House of Healing could tell that something was wrong, so they began to help Ilse get the care she needed. She was diagnosed with a large atrial septal defect and a valve that needed repair. Then they began the paperwork to get Ilse a heart operation through a government program. Every step of the way, House of Healing accompanied Ilse’s mother, helping her understand what was happening with her daughter.


Ilse needed to put on weight in order to safely undergo surgery. She was treated at the Hospital for Malnourished Children in December of 2017 and her appointments with the surgeon began in January of 2018. On March 16th, she had her heart surgery in Guatemala City. Her surgery went well and so has her recovery.


By late April of this year, Ilse was able to walk up the hill to see her grandmother, help her mother with small tasks around the house, and play with other children in her village. This was the same girl who was unable to take one or two steps without stopping to breathe just two months earlier. On April 25th, she had an appointment with her heart surgeon and he confirmed that everything is going well. She has one remaining appointment on July 23rd for x-rays.


Before her surgery, Ilse was unable to play with other children so she had very little socialization. However, she is making strides in this respect as well. When the group from First Presbyterian Church in Brighton came, she played catch with Renee, the new discovery intern, and three other small children while other children skipped rope and played soccer in the background. ”


With this transformation in Ilse, the whole village is marveling at what God has done!