The nation of Guatemala was recently struck by back-to-back disasters. A volcano killed 15 people, and two days later, a tropical storm left 183 dead, 103 missing, and 179,089 displaced. When the Pacaya volcano erupted, it left the surrounding areas covered in several inches of ash and debris. Then on Saturday, 45 mph winds and 17 inches of rain fell on Guatemala City as tropical storm Agatha struck just 18 miles from Pacaya.
One of the areas hardest hit by Agatha is Gualan, where two children from the Resurrection Lutheran Church died, and one congregation member’s home was buried in a mudslide. Pastor Luis Jastino and other members are currently helping to clean the house. Additionally, the walls surrounding the Lutheran school collapsed, and flooding damaged the building’s foundation.
“In times of trouble, it is important to care for the physical needs of people, but also to show hope through Christ,” said Rebeca de Franco, the director of LHM—Guatemala.
In the coming week, LHM staff will travel to Gualan and work with Pastor Jastino and volunteers from the church to begin distributing aid in the form of basic food items. In addition, 20 families that have sought refuge at Resurrection Lutheran Church will receive mattresses. Staff and volunteers will also share booklets entitled “Strength during Difficult Times” and “Where is God?”
Over the last two years, LHM has sent several short-term volunteer teams from congregations in the United States to help share the love of Christ in Gualan. In January of last year, volunteers from Campus Lutheran Church of Columbia, Missouri, worked on a construction project at some of the same buildings that were damaged in the storm.
LHM is also helping Castillo Fuerte (Mighty Fortress) Lutheran Church in Guatemala City with their mission in Amatitlan, where the mission center was hit and covered with stones and sand from the volcano. Dr. Abdiel Orozco, the church pastor, says that they are working to help people affected by that tragedy. Besides helping with food, water, clothing, and other materials, prayers for those in need are very important and much appreciated at this time.
Please pray for the people of Guatemala and for our staff and volunteers working there. If you would like to make a monetary donation to aid victims of Tropical Storm Agatha in Guatemala, please make a contribution online or mail donations to:
Lutheran Hour Ministries
660 Mason Ridge Center Drive
St. Louis, MO 63141
Telephone: 1 800-944-3450