By Renee Thorwall, Discovery Intern
Recently Guatemala experienced its strongest volcanic eruption since 1929. On June 3rd, 2018, Fuego (Spanish for ‘Fire’) Volcano erupted, leaving at least 133 people dead and 332 missing. Many believe that the number of missing and dead is much higher than the official figures. It was a pyroclastic eruption which sends a hot and toxic combination of ash and gases downward away from the volcano at speeds of over 100km per hour. While House of Healing is only 21 miles away from Fuego, it was largely unaffected due to being upwind and being protected by a nearby mountain range.
House of Healing was rapid in its response to this tragedy. On June 4th, monetary donations were made to help fire departments in rescue and recovery efforts and to purchase cleaning supplies.
The Lord provided additional supplies through the efforts of Kathy Burnette, the founder of AGRA International Inc., a nonprofit ministry that works alongside pastors and missionaries as they need assistance for their projects. Kathy conveyed the urgency, numerous individuals and church groups immediately responded, and she flew to Guatemala on June 29th with 160lbs of supplies!
When the fire chief of Panajachel heard about this donation, he was so moved that he and two other firefighters stopped by Teri’s home to personally thank her. On June 29th, House of Healing had the honor and privilege of hosting firefighters from Panajachel and firefighters in training from San Lucas Toliman for dinner and a presentation of the donated supplies. After dinner Teri, Kathy, and a group from First Presbyterian Church of Brighton laid hands on the firefighters and prayed for God’s blessing on them. The very next day, the firefighters from Panajachel continued their deployment. As time passed their focus changed from rescue to recovery. The work of the firefighters in recovering bodies of the deceased is also of great importance both to provide proof of death and closure to the families.
Please keep the firefighters of Panajachel and their colleagues in your prayers as they continue to help bring about healing after this tragedy. Please also pray for the firefighters in training from San Lucas Toliman as they complete their training and begin to serve their community.