Day 5 (Aaron)

Posted in Uncategorized on September 5, 2014 by clayrozell

Today was our third training day.  It started as every other day has with one surprise; Jairo & Ninoshka treated us to a Guatemalan breakfast of Pache.  What is Pache you say?  Think of a sandwich-sized tamale made of potatoes and spices with chicken in the middle.  Trust me, it tasted even better than it sounds.  Our commute today took us out into the countryside of Guatemala.  We scrambled around the van to take pictures of the scenic views and enjoyed a traffic-free morning.  Our travels today took us to Station 24 in Cuilapa.  Men and women numbering 18 and representing 6 different fire companies piled into a small class room.  As we have each day, we began with one of our group giving their testimony. Julian gave his. The training sessions went smoothly, and everyone caught on quickly.  During our lunch break, RV commented that with the language barrier it’s difficult to know if the material is relevant to these firefighters.  Our interpreter overheard this and piped up telling us he’s overheard multiple conversation of how excited these firefighters are to have this equipment and training.  After our training sessions, we stayed around and talked with several of the firefighters.  One of these firefighters told us he’s been on the department for 44 years!  He let out a small chuckle as he watched our jaws drop to the floor.  His secret? Lifting weights.  We all laughed at this and were awed at this firefighter who showed no signs of even slowing down.  They are all so appreciative of our coming to share with (and learn from) them. With handshakes and hugs we headed back to Station 69.  The 45-minute ride home gave me some time to reflect on the trip and the opportunities thus far.  We haven’t had any open statements of salvation; we have however, taken every opportunity to plant the seeds of the Gospel.  Prayerfully we hope the time, energy and resources of this trip will germinate into a blossoming of salvation for the men and women we are serving.


Day 4 (Julian)

Posted in Uncategorized on September 5, 2014 by clayrozell

Our Thursday started out just like many other mornings in Guatemala City with the beautiful sounds of jake brakes, horns, and the buzzing of cars driving down the El Salvador Hwy just 15 feet from our windows. The weather is perfect here just as I remember, comfortable during the day and cool at night. It rains throughout the afternoon, but this year most of our training takes place indoors so with the exception of the basketball game we’ve stayed pretty dry this year. After everyone rolled out of bed we ate a quick breakfast, made a quick starbucks run to keep with tradition, and headed to station 31 in San Lucas. This year we have been able to be very mobile: Tuesday at Fundaninos, Wednesday in Guatemala City, Thursday in San Lucas, Friday Barberina(?), and Saturday at Central Station. The drive to San Lucas is a traffic nightmare. Normally a 45 minute drive takes twice as long during rush hour. Felt like being at home with the construction up and down 35 in North Texas. The only difference is instead of using cones when a car broke down you’ll see limbs laying in the road as a warning. We arrived in San Lucas at station 31 and quickly set up for training. We came to find out that station 31 is the former home of many of the top officials in the Guatemala Fire Department including our very good friend Pepe. The class size was similar to the first day with about 20 people there. We started with brief introduction and Aaron gave his testimony. Each day we begin in this way not only to inform the class of who we are and why we are here but also to remind ourselves. Just as Corey said yesterday we were able to bring webbing and carabineers for the class to keep and so our training centers on different techniques they can be helpful for in rescue, firefighting, and extrication scenarios. Class participation is great and very active. In fact at the end of the day we were informed by one of the ranking officers that one of the extrication techniques we showed them would have been very helpful with a wreck they had the night before. We are blown away by the kindness and generosity of our hosts here in Guatemala as they presented us with gifts and expressed their gratitude. After a quick meal at the station we headed back through rush hour to station 69. We took the scenic route so as to avoid traffic but it took just as long. We got to see part of the city we hadn’t seen before. After a quick rest at the station we went to dinner at a delicious restaurant in the city. Those from past trips will remember this place well. After a time of fellowship we headed back to the station and ended our day


This trip has served to remind me personally of the blessing of trusting in and allowing God to be in control in our lives. We must let go of control and allow the Lord to be in charge in our lives. In every moment of our trip God has proven faithful in providing just what we needed and more.


For pictures of the trip and more check out our facebook group Guatemala bomberos trip 2014.

Guatemala Trip 2014

Posted in Uncategorized on September 4, 2014 by clayrozell

Guatemala Bomberos Trip 2014


Day 1 (written by RV)


Five of us flew out of  DFW at 4:45 pm. 

  1. Lan Leavell (Pastor, Chaplain DentonFD)
  2. Julian Arriaga (Denton FD)
  3. Corey Byrom (North Richland Hills FD)
  4. Aaron Bruce (Dallas FD)
  5. Robert Vaughan (Denton FD)


Arrived in Guatemala safely and built some great relationships with people on the plane who live near Guatemala City.  We were welcomed at Station 69 with the lights and sirens of all the apparatus sounding.  This is a great honor, and they only do it on special occasions.  We did a little training preparation, caught up with the locals and off to bed we went.


Day 2 (written by RV)


We were invited to a health club called SPORTA, from one of the chiefs, whose name is Pepe.  The alarm went off at 5:45 am to hit the gym for a little light morning workout, so we thought.   It turned out to be 45 min of weights, and then we were walked to the CrossFit gym to do another 45 min.  Let’s just say, we worked some legs, and pushed some 45 pound weights around on the floor.  None of the people spoke English in the gym at that time, so we wanted to prove that we are tough.  Well, let’s just say it will be a few days before we sit without pain.  So someone else will have to come and prove that people from the US are tough.  Haha


We returned from the gym, and the bomberos on duty cooked us a great breakfast.  (Lan made coffee!) Then we were off to Fundaninos,  the orphanage that we visit every year.  We were able to play with the kids and eat lunch with them.  It always such a blessing to see these kids play and smile, even though they have been through so much.  The rest of the day was filled with prep for training.


Day 3 (written by Corey)


We rose around seven A.M. for the last minute training preparations (most of us stood up while RV crawled out of bed). After the training preparations were complete, we returned the favor by cooking the Bomberos breakfast.


After breakfast we moved right into the first training class of the trip. We opened the training session by me giving my testimony. In the training class we handed out a 15 foot piece of webbing and a carabineer to everyone in attendance. [Our training equipment expenses were funded by the Denton Firefighters Association. We are extremely grateful for their support!] The class covered some uses of webbing, including knots, harnesses, and a few other uses. By the grace of God all of our last minute planning and preparations paid off and the training session went smoothly.


After class fifteen of the boys from Fundaninos came to the station. The time with the children was started by a brief discussion about Jesus given by one of the female Bomberos. After the short stint of talking the children were taken into the apparatus bay and showed the Medics and the Engines. After the kids were through looking at the trucks, they were given a real treat, a ride around the block while sitting in the hose bed! [And you’re right—this would have never happened in the States!] Three of us rode on the tailboard, too! Upon arriving back at the station, the kids were given Junior Bomberos helmets and some snacks for the road.


The rest of our day was spent playing a cross between basketball and soccer in the pouring rain. Followed up by an awesome dinner of chicken fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans prepared by Aaron.




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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