Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 3 of Agatha

We have electricity, we have internet...we are doing OK. What we don't have, nor does anyone else around us, is clean water! Our water comes from a well in our back yard. With the fast rise of the water table underground, the well is filling with not only water but also mud. What filters we have can't take care of it. We have some drinkable water, enough if we are careful, but all of the water in the house - the shower, the toilet, the faucets and the washing machine - looks like the water above. Kind of hard to wash clothes in water that is dirtier than the clothes you are washing!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 2 of Agatha

It is 12:30PM, local time, and the rain has stopped for the time being...we even had a little weak sun this morning! So I got out and took photos of the damage from last night:
These first two photos were taken minutes apart. It had been raining all day when we heard what sounded like a truck on the little road between our house and the "hill" next to us. It wasn't a truck, it was the hill coming down.
Minutes later, I snapped this picture
of the hill sliding down even more, taking out a small tree and bending the fence over. Snow is now on a chain because she could get out so easily.

This was the side of the hill overlooking the small soccer field on the lower level. Besides the hill crumbling, this was covered in water last evening and, even now, has inches deep mud that you sink into when you walk on it.

Unfortunately, all of the work that the Wisconsin youth team put in two summers ago got washed down the river. When they return in a few weeks, they may very well get to do it all over again!

A view in the other direction...all of that mud you see is several inches deep and you sink into it when you walk on it.

From atop the hillside next to us, you can see how the land slid. This was a small road that people used to get to a village on the mountain on the other side of the river.

Looking across the river to the municipal soccer field, you see bare places on the mountainside. These were where landslides occurred last night. Most occurred as dusk arrived, along with a heavy rain, and we could only hear them, not see them. It was scary hearing all of that but not being able to tell where it was coming from.
Yes, we had damage...but we are OK. Our house is dry (except for the leaks) and we have food and electricity. The road to Solola and Panajachel is out. And the surrounding villages are calling for help. Many are cut off, mudslides taking out roads, houses and people. Johnny and Esteban (our guard) have gone to help in a village above us where several lost houses. Don't know if there were any deaths or not. Johnny took clothes that were left from teams (see, they came in handy!) to hand out to those who need them. As we find out needs, we will try to help. And, unfortunately, it's not over. The tropical storm continues to pour rain over lower Mexico and Guatemala. The temperature is dropping and the rain will begin again within the next couple of hours. Yes, pray for us, but also pray with us that the Guatemalan churches will look beyond themselves to see the needs around them and be a light in this scary time.
Stay tuned for more news later, as we get it. I hope to have pictures from Johnny from the relief efforts he and Esteban are doing. To see some of the pictures taken and put into the national newspapers, go to the following websites. They are in Spanish, but you can see some of the devestation this seemingly small tropical storm has caused.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

As I mentioned in a post earlier this week, it has been raining here...lots!
We had our quarterly consejo meetings here and stayed wet most of the time. Thankfully, everyone left yesterday about 2:00 PM, before the REAL RAIN started. It has rained solid since about 4 PM yesterday and we have towels all over the house to handle the leaks in the roof!
From the living room window, we could see that the river had risen. It wasn't until Johnny put on his rainsuit and boots, went down into the playground area and took pictures that we saw just how bad it is. And we are expecting rain all weekend from a typhoon off the Pacific coast.

Usually the river is 2 feet below and 3 feet on the outside of the fence. The playground equipment is just to the left of this picture.

Guatemala is expecting flooding and mudslides from all of this rain. And all of this is on top of the volcano, Pacaya, erupting. Keep us in your prayers as we travel, beginning Monday, to pick up work groups (in the capital where the volcano eruption is) through the flooded and mudslide areas between here and there.

Four hours later...

As you can see, the water is encroaching. On the right side of the picture, the fence is giving under the weight of the water. Usually it stands 6-7 feet high...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Pacaya erupts

One of the most active volcanos in Guatemala erupted yesterday about 3 PM. Pacaya is about 20 miles outside of Guatemala City and has affected life in that area. Above is a picture taken from the internet of Pacaya erupting in 2002. We have not seen pictures yet, but they are saying that lava is spewing into the air like it did then.

We have not been affected, as far west as we are, but those in the capital and nearby towns are covered in volcanic "sand". The above picture was taken in a town between Guatemala City and the volcano and was published in a national newspaper today. Friends in Guatemala City say there is about 3 inches of "sand" and ash on everything. The international airport has been closed until at least Saturday. Everyone is doing OK, just staying inside until it passes. As the volcano continues to erupt, that may be awhile...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rainy day

Rain...this morning it started even before I got up. We usually have sun in the mornings...but not today.
Normally it wouldn't bother me so much, but today and tomorrow, we have about 70 pastors and church leaders coming for our quarterly consejo meetings. They insisted on having it here at the Camp this time, even though we have a small meeting room and no dormitories yet. So, they will sleep in the garage tonight and eat out under a canopy in the yard. At least we have bathrooms!

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Sube-baja...that's what they call a see-saw here. Esteban, the guard, built one for the playground area. As you can see, more than just the kids use it! Many of you know these guys...Juan Agosto Saenz (former pastor of the Pana church) on the left and Samuel Can (Camp administrator) on the right.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

God's Grace

What do you do when the roads are blocked? Three minutes before getting on the road to take the guys to the capital, we were informed that the roads were blocked from manifestaciones or demonstrations. This was 9:00 in the morning. When could we hope to get through? Maybe noon, maybe later! It was actually later...5:00 in the afternoon before the traffic started moving again. Thankfully, we had not left yet. We would have been stuck in the truck without lunch, bathrooms or anything to do. So we found something to pass the time! Unfortunately, when we heard the traffic moving again, we jumped and ran, left the game where it was and don't even know who won!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Great Commission 2020

Have you ever felt like you didn't know enough to lead someone to Christ? Do you feel that church needs to be "glamour" and "glitz" to attract people? If you do, check out the simple websites of Global Media Outreach. Most are very simple, without graphics or much else, but they present the Gospel very clearly. At the bottom is a button to indicate if you made a decision or not and if you want follow-up. These websites are in almost any language imaginable! In English, look at:,,, or There are others, but you get the idea. Simple, right?

Now, go to What you will see is a map of the world and indications when someone logs on to one of Global Media Outreach's sites. You will also see if they made a decision. It's humbling to see flags go up literally all over the world. I watched for 20 minutes and saw decisions made in countries such as Iran, China, Peru, United States and India. Pray for this ministry...they are reaching people in countries that we can't enter. As many problems as we may have with the internet, you have to admit that God is using it!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Unique musical group

I am attempting to do something I haven't tried before. Below is a video clip of an unusual musical group we heard recently in one of our local churches. Easter Sunday, during a praise service at that same church, they played and sang again. I was so impressed that I resolved to try to pass this on so you can hear it also! The pipes and flute played are unusual...I haven't heard groups use these before. You will also notice two different types of guitars, besides the more common style. I have heard these played by two different groups in the last few weeks.

I am sorry that it is not the whole song but you will get the idea. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

Next time you see those guys on the streets of Pana selling the pan flutes, just think what you could learn to do!