Final Post

Posted in Uncategorized on September 12, 2013 by clayrozell

Yeah, I know this is later than I’d thought it would be, but I’ve been letting the trip marinate a bit since we got back….

We know that our trip was bathed in prayer, from within and without the crew that went. Because of that, we shouldn’t be surprised at what took place: protection during the travel, training, and the earthquake as well as the middle of the night runs, not to mention the 20 shootings in the city Saturday night that four of the guys ran on.

The hospitality of everyone at Station 69 and Casa de Libertad is second to none (Jairo and company, Hector and Magali, Francisco and Carol, and the staff at Casa). As for Vera, she’s in a class by herself—in more ways than one!

We were humbled to get to worship again with the precious people at Iglesia de Dios, where a faithful pastor and congregation serve our Lord and the people of a poor village. It was a privilege to testify, preach, and minister in prayer over and with that church. We have already begun talking about how we might serve them in a more tangible way next year.

We rejoice with Casa de Libertad as they celebrate their 6th anniversary next month. I am grateful to Pastor Francisco for sharing his pulpit with me. I don’t take that lightly! The staff and congregation were both receptive and encouraging. One staff member came up behind me in the early service and prayed and prophesied over me. Thank you.

As for the guys, we had three “rookies” and one from the original trip four years ago. These renegades served with professionalism and grace, a combination that is far too uncommon. They take their jobs seriously and are good at what they do. The Guatemalan people will be better served because of their efforts. I hold their friendship and my association with them in the highest esteem.

We are thankful for all of the God-sightings, Gospel conversations, and the “friending” that took place, not in the FaceBook sense, but in the you-matter-to-me sense. To be spiritually, vocationally, and relationally connected with the men and women of the Bomberos Voluntarios de Guatemala is an incredible blessing.

All of us had and made memories that we’ll have forever. As I laid down the first night back and the next morning as I hit the road to get a sweat on, my mind kept looping the song from Sunday morning: Santo, Santo, Santo. Yo quiero verte.” “Holy, Holy, Holy. I want to see You.” If that’s all the espanol I ever learn, that’s enough!

For those of you that supported the trip financially and in prayer, we are collectively grateful more than you will ever know. We are already thinking, brainstorming, and praying about next year’s trip. Will you join us in that prayer?


Lan Leavell, Th.D.

Associate Home Groups Pastor, The Village Church, Denton

Chaplain, Denton Fire Department

Day 7

Posted in Uncategorized on September 10, 2013 by clayrozell

Monday Day 7

Woke this morning to the bells ringing on the square in Antigua. We were all looking forward to a day to relax and reflect on the week. After eating breakfast together in the courtyard of our hotel we split up with a group heading to check out some ruins in the city and the rest of us going to the market to test our haggling skills. We met back for lunch, a table full of nachos, which was perfect, and in no time we managed to eat it clean. The guys had decided that they wanted to go check out a zip line on the side of the mountain but since we did it last year, I decided to stay and hang around the square to soak in some of the culture. Antigua was founded in 1524 and it has a lively city center. There always seems to be a band playing and families just hanging out together….come to think of it….reminds me a lot of Denton, only a little more crowded. When the group got back we grabbed some coffee and headed back to Guatemala City to check into our hotel. We’ve just finished dinner and now it’s off to bed. We’re all looking forward to getting home to our families tomorrow. It’s been another outstanding trip. Thanks to all those who’ve supported this us, thanks to our families for holding the fort down, and thanks to our Guatemalan brothers and sisters for being such wonderful hosts. We love you all.

This life is sweet, and God is GOOD!

Chad Neely, Denton

Pictures from Day 6

Posted in Uncategorized on September 8, 2013 by clayrozell

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Pictures from Day 6

Posted in Uncategorized on September 8, 2013 by clayrozell

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Day 6

Posted in Uncategorized on September 8, 2013 by clayrozell

Waking up to scramble eggs with cheese in them is always a great way to start the day.  I’m not sure who the cook is because they are waking up before me, but they deserve some credit for some well prepared huevos.  After a good start to the day, we set out for the church property we are using as a training ground.

Today we had a great class of volunteers.  Every class has started with the scripture reading and handing out of Bibles that Mitch has ran point on.  It has been a great way to share the Gospel with our fellow firefighters.  The responses we have got to the word of God from the bomberos in class has been stronger every day.  One bombero told us that he was tempted to skip the training several times today but felt compelled to show up anyways.  Another stated that it was her first day to return to volunteering after several years off.  She said she knew it was no coincidence that she was here to hear the Word shared and that it was God working to make it so.  It was encouraging to us to hear these words and to see the response to the Gospel shared.

While the classroom part of training was taking place several of us went to work on the training props outside.  Getting the props ready, I realized I really enjoy and am encouraged by these guys on the mission trip who have a strong love for the Lord as well as our profession we were called to do.  We went back to station 69 for lunch that ran a little long because of a rain storm.  Hearing the bomberos talk at mealtime about their jobs and the sacrifice they make to serve their country is humbling.

The afternoon training session was great.  Chris, Hayden and myself ran one training station in the rotation that was meant to simulate forcing an inward swinging door with a single firefighter and a halligan bar.  Since it was the last day we let them really get after the doors we had set up and we hosted a sledge hammer contest at the end as well. We had a great time teaching again and the Guatemalans did learning.  At the end one of them asked to pray over us, pretty cool.

Dinner was at Vera’s sisters house with her family and consisted of traditional Guatemalan food.   It was a great time of fellowship and a lot of laughter, we thank them for bringing us in.

This is my first year to come down here and I see why these guys love it and come back.  These men and women do the same job under trying circumstances and still love to help their neighbor in need.

Kevin Tarlton FWFD

Day 5

Posted in Uncategorized on September 7, 2013 by clayrozell

Well, we’ve had another wonderful day here in Guatemala.  This is an absolutely beautiful country, not just the landscape, but the people as well.  One of the great things about coming down here to firehouse 69 every year is that we have gotten to build wonderful relationships with these firefighters.  They have been such gracious host, providing us a bed to sleep in, food, and allowing us to make some runs with them.  The other interesting aspect of us coming to firehouse 69 every year is that these guys understand that we are committed to the friendships and relationships that we have built with them, and also that we are here as representatives of Christ.

Today we spent sometime doing activities other than training.  This morning we went to the central firehouse in downtown Guatemala, and took a tour of their headquarters, which is always a great experience, especially for the first time guys.  After touring headquarters we went and had lunch at Fundaninos, which is a local orphanage that Casa De Liberta partners with.  What a wonderful, yet heart breaking experience, to get to spend time with children that have either been abandoned or abused by their families.  With that being said, these children are starving for attention from adults, and it was such a joy to get to play and interact with children on a personal level.  It truly was heart breaking to hear some of these kid’s stories, and to realize the trauma that they have had to endure.

So after we went to the orphanage we went and played softball and a beautiful private school in the mountains with some of the locals.  They were pretty good, but we were reminded by Chad Neely that there was no way were allowed to lose at one of Americas favorite past times, so we stepped up our game and wound up winning 14-8.  During our game something happened that none of had experienced before, the Texans anyway, there was an earthquake, and yes we all survived.  The epicenter of the earthquake was reported on the Guatemala-Mexico border, about eight hours away, and it was recorded as a 6.5 on the rector scale.  This was an experience we will never forget.  What an incredible feeling to have the earth moving beneath your feet.  This was an incredible reminder for me of the power of God, and a reminder of the fact that he has complete power of the universe that we live within.

As you can imagine, one of the greatest needs for the firefighters of Guatemala is the need for bunker gear.  So this year we were fortunate to acquire 35 sets of bunker gear from the Coppell Fire Department, thanks to Brian Stacy.  We also received an assortment of firefighting gloves and hoods, thanks to DFW Airport Fire/EMS and Mitch Grey .  This gear will be distributed throughout the entire country of Guatemala to the firefighters who need it the most.  Presenting these guys this gear tonight gave us a special opportunity to reiterate our purpose for coming to Guatemala, to remind them that we are not only here to provide them with training and gear, but also to let them know that our allegiance is to Christ.  This was a special time for us to get to go a little deeper with our friends.


Hayden Mooney- Lewisville FD

Pictures from Day 5

Posted in Uncategorized on September 7, 2013 by clayrozell

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