Monday

Monday July 25

 

Waking up in Antiqua, getting to sleep a bit late (and in a double bed), followed by custom omelettes was a wonderful thing for the team after dorm life at the academy. It was a holiday for Antigua, so the day began with canon fire, fireworks, and a pretty big parade. We had scoped out the market Sunday afternoon and took off today to undertake our personal stimulus efforts for the Guatemalan economy. Taking our bucks and bartering skills, we had a great time buying (incredibly expensive) gifts for family, friends, and supporters.

Pepe and Javier were meeting us for lunch. Not having a lot of time, we stumbled into an outstanding little place and wore out some Mexican food a la Guatemala. There is a large, 696 acre coffee plantation in Antigua that also has a zip line! So Canyon Express sent a military style, Mercedes truck to pick us up. We drove to the plantation and then way up a stone road to the zip line, ascending to about 6500 feet. All of us were blown away by the experience. There were two separate “zips” we did, and they were legit! And, it was quite cool up there so we tried to hold onto that, knowing that we were soon headed back to the exhaust fan of North Texas.

Trucking back to the downtown area by late afternoon, we did some final walking around the square, getting regular sales pitches from young and old alike. We saw the beauty queen and were treated to another parade by the Bombaros of Antiqua before dark. We had a good last supper before heading back to our hotel for our final meeting to debrief. Neither time nor space permit even an insufficient recap, but the bottom line was: God Won!

To a man (and Vera too), this trip was far beyond us. Sure there was good preparation and superb leadership by Clay and Chase, the only lettermen from last year, but we were in one accord as to Who got the credit and glory for what happened. We talked about how gracious God was at every point: from the providential picking of the team, the fact that we never met together as a group until we left DFW, American Airlines (Shout-out here) shipping all of the donated gear and supplies for free, the Guatemalan authorities not charging us any taxes upon arrival for all that gear, having a group of firefighters together for a week in close quarters and no “situations” erupt, and on and on.

God granted tremendous favor by literally quadrupling the reach of the team from last year-from training 30 at station 69 last year-to over 120 this year representing, the whole country at the Academy. Some of them drove five hours to be there! Not only did we get to meet the Chief at the Central Station, but he and two of the top four firefighting officials in Guatemala spent time with us during the training. Pepe is the Chief of Personnel for both paid and volunteer (85%) bombaros and heads up training. We spent every day with him, and he came to Antiqua to spend the whole day with us Monday.

The relationships established last year were a segue to this year, and they continued to blossom and expand. The ongoing commitment of The Village Church to this country as well as the practical aspect of ministering to Firefighters to help them be better at what they do every day in service to their country makes this work so important. To those who have supported in prayer and in finances, we have heart-felt gratitude to our Lord for you. As a team, with 80% of us being trip rookies, God miraculously grafted our gifts together, meshed our minds, and cumulatively blew up our hearts for the firefighters, Casa de Libertad, the orphans at Fundaninos, and the people of Guatemala.

Pray for the country of Guatemala, for the Bombaros and the government. There are tremendous challenges in the midst of staggering contrasts: From the up and out at the “FloMo, Guatemala” Starbucks to the down and out with pull-carts and outdoor washaterias.  Particularly for the poor, we can’t imagine the lives they live each day. Intercede for and with them. Ask the Father what He would have you do. The Guatemala III trip is coming to a close, but the work entrusted to us and committed to by us as a church family continues. Muchas gracias for the privilege of representing you all.

Lan Leavell

Care and Connections Pastor, TVC, Denton

Chaplain, Denton Fire Department

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One Response to “Monday”

  1. Lars Moklebust Says:

    Thanks for the time we spent for training.
    The training was wonderful new techniques and most important in making new friends outside our borders.
    the incentive to move forward and that God always before us who can be against us.

    Congratulations.

    Lars J. Moklebust T.
    BOCA DEL MONTE 88 company.

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