I am pleased to be sending this update from the great state of Oklahoma! I was able to take some time off and reset over the month of July. It has been such a sweet time so far catching up with family and friends.
The last couple of months have been a whirlwind, like always, but in different ways than normal. As most of you know, on June 3rd, Guatemala experienced a catastrophic volcanic eruption. Volcán de Fuego (Fire Volcano) had its largest eruption in many decades and it basically wiped out the towns sitting along the base of it. In a recent report there are 113 confirmed dead, hundreds injured, and 332 people missing. The reality is that this number is likely off by a large amount and the extent of loss may never be known fully. In addition, many thousands have been displaced and their homes deemed uninhabitable. There are 15 shelters set up with nearly 3,000 living in them. Other refugees have gone to live with family or found housing elsewhere.
What made this eruption so deadly is the type of eruption it was: a pyroclastic flow. To put it into perspective, this is the same type of eruption as Pompeii and Mount St. Helens. These eruptions are very explosive and fast-moving. As Fuego erupted, there was a current of hot gas and volcanic matter that exploded. Ash clouds reached nearly 4 miles in the air and began flowing down the slope of the mountain. It reached speeds of around 400mph and the immense heat was well over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. There was little to no time for people in the nearest communities to escape. What you find now is a grey, dusty wasteland: Homes covered up to the roof in the ash, crops and roads destroyed, and the remains of people who may never be found.
It is a nightmare for this area of Guatemala. There are entire family units that no longer exist. There are many sole survivors – most of whom survived simply because they weren’t home. The volcano made many new orphans and widows. It created a terrifying, hopeless situation. BUT…. what I witnessed in the days and weeks that followed the eruption was incredible. Thousands of Guatemalans and Ex-Patriots immediately came together to do what they could. Many gathered and delivered food, water, clothing, medicine, etc to the shelters and donation centers. Others volunteered at those shelters. And still others went out to Ground Zero to help in the rescue efforts. It was a moving sight to see the country come together in such an amazing, inspiring way and it continues to do so. The need will not go away quickly. While the news has stopped reporting and the fear of danger has died down, we cannot forget that those numbers listed above still exist. Each number represents an individual whose life was turned upside down. These individuals lost loved ones, lost their homes, their possessions, their jobs, and hope. Thousands of survivors are in a state of pause, unsure of where or how to move forward. Please be praying for the groups of people who are focusing their time and efforts to help in this situation.
BuildinGUATE is doing well. The summer is here and with that comes extra busyness. Many groups have been visiting and it’s been a great time to serve together. We continue to provide soup three times a week, Bible classes, and formula to the undernourished and we see growth and improvement in all areas. Continue to lift BuildinGUATE in your prayers.
As some of you were made aware, a few weeks before coming home for my visit I was battling some pretty yucky illness. We couldn’t figure out exactly what it was that had me laid up for so long but I am feeling so much better now. After visiting a doctor here, it appears one very likely culprit is stress. I will be continuing to work through that and find ways to cope in healthier ways. I would appreciate your prayers in that area as well.
One final update that I am really quite excited about is that this fall I am going on a trip to Israel! My local church, Calvary Chapel Antigua, along with a few other Calvary Chapels around the world, will be taking a Biblical Tour of the Holy Land! It will be 12 days long and we will get to be guided through the areas that are found in both the Old and New Testaments. My hope is that this is going to be an amazing opportunity that will increase my faith, nourish my soul, and make the Bible come to life like never before.
I am a little over halfway done with the funding of this trip. I am still in need of about $1500. I am selling 1-pound bags of genuine Guatemalan coffee at a minimum donation of $15 a bag. Currently I have about 10 bags of ground and around 20 bags of whole bean. Please send me a message or leave a comment if you are interested in purchasing some amazing coffee!
A second way I have been raising extra funding is by selling Color Street nails strips. They are 100% nail polish in a strip. There are lots of great colors and designs and is a great alternative to the high costs of a nail salon. It really is a great product and has been so fun to share that with others. I have many ladies (including myself) who now can’t get enough. It’s so easy and the options are endless.
Here are links to find out more about that:
FACEBOOK GROUP: https://www.facebook.com/groups/638496306482208/
THE LORD IS CLEARLY AT WORK WITHIN THIS MINISTRY. I AM HONORED TO BE A PART OF IT. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT BUILDINGUATE, VISIT OUR FACEBOOK PAGE BUILDINGUATE OR OUR WEBSITE AT HTTP://WWW.BUILDINGUATE.COM
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO JOIN MY SUPPORT TEAM AND HELP ME CONTINUE WORK WITH BUILDINGUATE, YOU CAN SEND CONTRIBUTIONS TO:
SOUTH TULSA BAPTIST CHURCH
10310 S SHERIDAN
TULSA, OK 74133
****SPECIFY THAT THE CONTRIBUTION BE ALLOTTED TO THE“GUATEMALA MISSION ASSOCIATE” ***NOT MY NAME
You can send directly via PayPal to PayPal.Me/AnnieThurber.