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  • Jeff Harvey

A 7 year-old's harrowing journey from Guatemala to the Mexican Border

Updated: Jan 17


Óseas is a handsome, intelligent 13-year old boy from Guatemala. Sometime in 2012, when Óseas was 7 years old, he and his parents jumped on top of a freight train, infamously called Death Trains or La Bestia (“The Beast”) to attempt the harrowing journey from Guatemala to the Mexican border.

Óseas’ father was killed during the course of the nightmare trip. Upon arrival to Piedras Negras, Óseas and his mother were led to our friend Pastor Luis Torres who gave them housing in his mission. Óseas’ mother had become gravely ill during their journey, and the combined sadness and pressure of losing her husband was taking a toll. Members of our home church in Piedras Negras took her to a government clinic where she was diagnosed with full-blown AIDS. Óseas’ mother passed away within a few weeks of her diagnosis.


Just before her death, Óseas’ mother asked Pastor Luis to take care of her son. “Don’t send him back to Guatemala,” she pleaded. Her doctor helped her to sign a power of attorney letter, granting Pastor Luis custody of Óseas. Luis tried diligently to locate family in Guatemala with no results. He did eventually find an uncle who told him no one wanted Óseas.


Óseas' mother signing a power of attorney shortly before her passing



Pastor Luis & Óseas


Luis & Óseas have been together ever since. We are amazed at how well they’ve adjusted to each other. Óseas is very attentive to Luis’ needs and serves the sojourners at the refuge with joy and energy.

The continuing challenge now is to secure a birth certificate for Óseas. For whatever reason, his mother never registered his birth in Guatemala, and now in Mexico, Óseas is a non-national. Simply put, Óseas has no legal identity. Luis has consulted with several attorneys and for a long time there was no progress. But we praise God as the process is now moving forward, however slowly.


Óseas did remarkably well in elementary school but he has not been able to move forward into secondary school without birth documents. However, he and Luis are not dissuaded by the situation. Luis reminds us that God brought Óseas to Mexico for a reason, and nothing is impossible for our God... and if we have faith even as small as a mustard seed, He is faithful and just, and He will do it!!

Óseas received an achievement award in 5th grade and got to spend a day in city government. He is currently unable to attend school.

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