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Life on Hold

Picture of relif team throwing emergency supplies across river in Guatemala
Getting to Palo Verde is no longer easy (we had to leap between the closest two rocks to get ourselves across, and thankfully no one from our team ended up in the water). In the background a canyon wall of about 12-15 feet of recently-deposited ash can be seen to the left of the river.

Life on Hold

Jeff’s second blog from Guatemala

Dear Family,

Suddenly you are cut off from the world. That’s how the 14 families of Palo Verde feel.

In my first blog from Guatemala I wrote about how the volcano wiped out whole towns, killing many—probably thousands, despite official estimates—and rained sand-like ash for miles in every direction. On Monday we drove a long, bumpy ride to Palo Verde with food and encouragement. But to deliver both we needed to get across a river.

Before the volcano erupted, crossing the river was simple in an SUV or other high-clearance vehicle (we had already crossed about 8 smaller rivers and streams with little effort in our Toyota Hilux to get to this one).

But after the ash fell seasonal heavy rains came, swelling rivers and washing ash downstream. Several feet of it were deposited in many places as the waters subsided (see photo above). Crossing the river now has to be done—with no small effort or risk—on foot (and it hadn’t rained recently, when even that is not possible).

That’s made it very difficult for the people of Palo Verde, as they live between two joining rivers and must cross one of them to get to the only road to the rest of the world. Life, in many ways, feels like it’s on hold for these families. So that’s why we paid them a visit, bringing some much-needed food, medical supplies (and check-ups) and, perhaps most importantly, a reminder that they are loved and cared for by those who follow Jesus.

Picture of men taking tractor ride to Palo Verde with emergency supplies
Riding into Palo Verde in a trailer behind the community’s only tractor was a lot easier than hiking the mile or so from the river crossing carrying those heavy boxes of food

One of the most important purposes of my trip was to find a way to help those people who have lost everything, including the land they lived on (which now lies unusable beneath several feet of ash). To my disappointment it seems the door to helping them is currently shut. That’s because the government moved hundreds to temporary shelters we couldn’t access, with the promise of free land on which to rebuild. That promise remains unfulfilled, however, mired in bureaucratic mud. Life for them feels like it’s on hold, too.

So we wait and pray for that door of opportunity to open. Our desire is to return as many families as we can to normal life. A simple one-family home costs about $3000, so we currently have the funds to build 4 of them. I’ll let you know when that changes.

Thanks for joining me on this trip. It’s always a blessing to touch the lives of others on your behalf. Below I’ve included some additional photos from my trip I think will put a smile on your face!

In obedience to Him,

Signature of the Director of the Disaster Relief Ministry

Jeff Trotter
Director, Disaster Relief Ministry

PARTING SHOTS

Picture of little boy with horse in Guatemala
A boy walks his horse (at least that’s what his grandfather wants him to think!) in Palo Verde, a farming community

Picture of children in Guatemala with disabilities
Above and below, some of the precious disabled children that our Heaven’s Family partner cares for in his ministry (below right, this girl was posing for a portrait that will be used by the Education Ministry to find sponsors to help her and others get an education by teachers trained to work with their disabilities)

Picture of two Guatemalan children with disabilities

Picture of men taking tractor ride to Palo Verde with emergency supplies
Some humorous T-shirts, and a dog waiting, it seemed, for the return of its master (by the way, the man wearing the shirt at left had plenty of hair!)

Picture of cute children in Palo Verde
Some of the cute kids of Palo Verde

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