by: Leslie Smith
The latest report from Guatemala from the Area Presidency is that EVERY missionary has been accounted for. They are ALL safe, and those serving in Guatemala City - especially those to the south - have been instructed to stay inside their apartments until the areas have been cleared as safe by their priesthood leaders. All of our missionaries are well and out of any danger. They are using this time as an opportunity to help the people of Guatemala to dig out of the ash that settled on everything.
The following photos were taken at the Guatemala City North Mission Home home by President and Sister Torres.
GUATEMALA CITY - "The Pacaya volcano started erupting lava and rocks on Thursday afternoon, and forcing the closure of the international airport. The Pacaya volcano, which is just south of the capital, started spewing lava and rocks Thursday afternoon, blanketing Guatemala City with ash and forcing the closure of Guatemala City's international airport. Airport official Felipe Castaneda told reporters Saturday that the airport would be closed for the next five days while ash is removed. A TV reporter was killed by a shower of burning rocks. President Alvaro Colom declared a "state of calamity." Three children between the ages of seven and 12 were missing and at least 1,600 people from villages closest to the volcano have been evacuated to shelters."
"The work to remove the ash was going forward, but the rain has complicated it," Castaneda said. The first tropical storm of the 2010 season hit the Pacific coastline of Guatemala and Mexico on Saturday, killing 12 people under landslides and rockfall triggered by torrential rains. Tropical Storm Agatha formed early Saturday in the East Pacific and moved over land in the evening along the Guatemala-Mexico border, said the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. The hurricane center said Agatha had weakened into a tropical depression by late Saturday evening with winds of 35 mph, and was expected to weaken even further as it pushed inland. Forecasters warned, however, that heavy rains could continue to fall, bringing 10 to 20 inches."
"Agatha's rains caused a landslide in a precarious hillside settlement of Guatemala City that killed four people and left 11 missing, Guatemalan disaster relief spokesman David de Leon said. Most of the city was without electricity at nightfall, complicating search efforts.
Four children were killed by another mudslide in the town of Santa Catarina Pinula about six miles outside the Guatemalan capital. And in the department of Quetzaltenango, 125 miles west of Guatemala City, a boulder loosened by rains crushed a house, killing two children and two adults, de Leon said. "
"The storm will start to weaken and we hope that on Sunday it will be just a tropical depression," said Romero Garcia of Guatemala's Meteorological Institute. "That is not to say that there won't be heavy rains."
"Before the rains, Guatemala already was contending with heavy eruptions from its Pacaya volcano that have blanketed the capital in ash and destroyed 800 homes. Officials expressed concerns that Agatha's rains could exacerbate the damages."
Hermana Torres wrote the following today on facebook, "The 1st hurricane of the season decided to visit us along with the volcano. As a result we are expecting heavy rains, strong winds, power outages, road closures, etc. No meetings today in church. Missionaries staying indoors....con su mochila de emergencia! (with their emergency backpacks) Oh esta....todo bien" (everything is fine.)
Tomorrow will be an interesting day for emails from all our missionaries. I have often worried about Jordan's safety from crime or accidents, but never gave the weather or natural disasters a second thought. What a week this has been for them. I can imagine that they have spent many hours with the clean up efforts all over the city. It will be a good time for them to give service and I'm sure many hearts will be softened and doors will be opened for the Lord's work to be done through his servants in white shirts and nametags. Knowing Jordan, he is excited about all of the crazy adventures he's had. He's definitely never seen anything like this before. I'm thankful for the peace in my heart that my Heavenly Father has blessed me with. I'm a worrier by nature, and though I'll always be a mom, I know that putting my son in the Lord's tender care is the best place he could be. Our love and prayers are with all the people in Guatemala especially those who have suffered so much loss this week. May we unite our prayers, our faith and our efforts for their comfort and well being. May God be with them and may our missionaries be instruments in His hands more than ever.
Forget Me Nots
5 years ago