“My mother is still in there”
The first of Jeff’s two trip blogs from Guatemala
He walked alone with a shovel.
While taking photos of the devastation caused by the volcano Fuego, a man (pictured above) came walking by me with a shovel. Seeing my questioning eyes, perhaps, he stopped to explain his mission. He didn’t speak English and I don’t know much Spanish, but we didn’t need words for me to understand that he’d come in search of the remains of his mother. Words escaped me anyhow, even in English. He did allow me to pray for him, and then we parted. I hope he finds peace. I hope he knows Jesus.
I’m in Guatemala, where that volcano, appropriately named Fuego (Spanish for fire), erupted violently in early June. Heaven’s Family’s Disaster Relief Ministry responded promptly, sending funds to a trusted partner who lives only 6 miles from the volcano (and whom I’m visiting this week). Daryl Fulp heads a ministry here to the poor, especially those who are disabled. With his medical background he was able to purchase medical supplies, among other relief supplies, and treat survivors. Most suffered from respiratory and intestinal injuries from ingesting volcanic dust—extremely abrasive, microscopic particles of solidified lava—from the air or water supplies. Such injuries quickly cause infections. He also used our funds to purchase water filters that helped prevent further injuries for thousands living in the shadow of Fuego.
Yesterday we visited the town of El Ceylan, a town of about 7,500 that sits on the slopes of Fuego. The pyroclastic flow (a massive volume of superheated gas and ash that rushed down one side of the volcano at 400 mph, wiping out everything in its path) missed that town, but still filled the air with deadly dust and rained a few inches of sand-like black ash onto their lives that day. And everyone in El Ceylan now fears the possibility of another eruption soon—and wonder if they’ll be so lucky next time.
There’s a beacon of light in El Ceylan, however, and her name is Felina. We dropped off more medical supplies and some fortified food supplements yesterday, and I quickly realized I was in the blessed presence of one of those followers of Jesus who will do anything to help others. Felina uses some basic medical training and her love for the Lord to help fill the gap caused by the absence of a resident doctor in town.
Thanks so much to all of you who’ve helped us show Jesus’ love in the wake of this disaster. It’s always a privilege to serve you as well as those who are in need. I’ll be sending another blog later this week, so I hope you’ll join me again from Guatemala!
Here on your behalf,
Director, Disaster Relief Ministry