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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Agatha and Pagaya Rain Down Mud on fragile Tin Roofs

abc3+ with Kimberly and Beverly at clinic by El Salitre

When I slept, Rev. Carlos Hernandez wrote of up reflections from our first day in Guatemala and about the people we met and sights we saw. I offer his comments below. We should have more later today or early tomorrow morning.


Reflections by Pastor Carlos Hernandez, Director, Districts and Congregations, LCMS World Relief and Human Care. 

Agatha and Pagaya Rain Down
Mud on fragile Tin Roofs

June 7, 2010, Amatitlan, Guatemala. -  Dr. Elry Orozco is the Treasurer of the Aministrative Council of the Lutheran Church in Guatemala and the President of  "Castillo Fuerte" ('A Mighty fortress') Lutheran church in Guatemala City. But the 'hat' he wears with exuberant joy is running the Medical Clinic housed at a Mission of "Castillo Fuerte," "Santa Cruz" ('Holy Cross') Lutheran Church in Amatitlan, about a half hour from Guatemala City.

This was the first church we visited today after Dr. Albert Collver and I arrived in Guatemala City as an Assessment/Pastoral Care Team in response to an invitation by President Ignacio Chan to come to his country and assist the Guatemalan Church respond to the needs of the victims of Hurricane Agatha and the eruption of the volcano known as 'Pagaya.'

"The Church in Guatemala needs to attend to people's medical needs as well as their spiritual needs," explains Dr. Orozco, "because along with the extreme poverty you see here around the Mission, come many illnesses as well."

Dr. Orozco fears that because of the many exposed homes in the "El Salitre" shanty town across from "Santa Cruz" congregation, due to the rain and ash that sank many of the fragile tin roofs, children will soon be suffering from bronchial pneumonia.

Infant mortality and the death of children from disease is such a present reality that on the Saturday Christian education classes in Santa Cruz, children are taught this song that we in the United States is not age appropriate. “Jesus Loves Me This Is True, He Cares For Me In His Goodness, When I DIE This I Know Well, I WILL LIVE THERE WITH HIM.”

The rain and ash that came down as heavy mud destroyed many roofs and even complete homes.

Our time here is to help the Guatemalan Church assess the damages suffered by members of their congregations as well as disaster victims in their neighborhoods.

 Everywhere we go we see evidence of the rain and volcanic ash that together weighed down and sank roofs as heavy mud.

Our day concluded with a meeting with President Ignacio Chan and some of the members of his Administrative Council. We had an uplifting time of prayer and encouragement as we discussed plans on assessment of needs tomorrow at Chiquimula (Pastor Tiburcio Giron) and Gualan (Pastor Luis Jascinto).

Pastor Hernandez may be reached at 314-956-2005 or at

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