Wednesday, Sept. 5th, 2012

Today began with wake up tones at 0600 (water gong type bells throughout the station). The group that went running yesterday (6 strong) dwindled this morning to a mere 3. The rest of us elected to take the time the Lord had granted us to gather ourselves slowly from bed, some slower than others, and into the shower. Construction to improve Station 69 has just been completed to include new dormitories, bathrooms with showers, a large living area, a larger apparatus bay and a pole. The accommodations here are very nice; brand-new beds with sheets and pillows, plenty of space and plenty of calls to run. The downside to showers is that we do not have hot water, which means that the firefighters who live and work here never have hot water (makes one appreciate little things we take for granted). However, hot or cold, it seems you always feel better after a shower.

By the time the 8 of us that elected not to run were up and showered the 3 runners returned. A few guys began fixing a great breakfast of bacon and eggs, 3 lbs and 45 respectively. While breakfast was being prepared others went to work with the firefighters here; it never fails, you can take a firefighter out of his department, but a firefighter cannot let brother firefighters work solo, even if you don’t speak the same language. There had been a motorcycle accident during the night and the interior of the ambulance needed a thorough cleaning on top of the morning chores; each apparatus needs cleaning, dishes from the previous day need putting away (after drying all night), towels need washing, floors need sweeping and mopping and with 11 firefighters plus those on duty we were able to knock it out by the time breakfast was ready.

Around the time we had finished cleaning up from breakfast the chief of the crew came out of the watch office asking me franticly where our van driver was. Chad Neely has been an excellent driver for us during the trip. Chief Jairo (Hy-row) informed me that there was an extrication call that we needed to respond to. The ambulance had left the station minutes before and had informed Jairo that extrication was needed at their MVA scene. Since Jairo was the only other firefighter at the station I assumed he wanted Chad to drive the engine to the call. Neither Chad nor I realized in that moment that we had parked the van in front of the engine bay… Chad hops in the driver seat of the engine and Jairo yells “No, Chad, the van!” Needless to say we got the van moved. Of course firemen can’t miss this opportunity, to ride tailboard on an old Mack Fire truck! Well, as you can imagine, everyone was holding on with one hand and holding their phone in the other hand! You can view the video compilation on our Facebook pages and we will try to post it here on the blog. We arrived to find a black SUV resting on its hood. The occupant had exited the vehicle prior to our arrival but we still found an excuse to use the jaws. We flipped the vehicle back onto its wheels and then pushed it with brute force into a single lane of traffic so a second could get through. This was a chance for us to utilize our training and problem solving skills in a way that we normally don’t get to in the states. The same call back home would’ve ended with a wrecker flipping and towing the vehicle and we would’ve simply applied kitty litter to absorb leaking fluids.

While some of us were on the extrication having fun, the others went on to the fire academy and began teaching for the day. The day of teaching was filled with power point presentations but the real fun started after lunch. We split the class into four engine companies and utilized an Internet application that gives a close-to-real-life simulation of burning buildings. The four engine companies were tasked with formulating a “size-up”, or as the Guatemalans say “Inspeciones”. This is something that is new to the Guatemala Fire Department (Bomberos Voluntarios). It was very beneficial since most fires are treated as investigations rather than serious and only an Ambulance is initially dispatched. Most firefighters who ride the ambulance are fairly inexperienced in fire related operations since 90% of the calls are medical and the chiefs ride the fire apparatus, which means the inexperienced firefighters are the first to arrive at an incident. Giving them this opportunity for training and feedback from not only us, but from their officers was very great experience for all.

We finished up the day of teaching and returned to station 69. A few guys fixed chicken spaghetti while the rest relaxed and continued to build relationships with the firefighters of the station. Dinner was a success with lots of leftovers! We geared up and headed out right after dinner for some good old fashion American football! It was fun had by all and even some Guatemalans who had never played caught and threw some touchdowns! We loaded up from that adventure and headed to Starbucks, our little piece of home in Guatemala, and were able to catch the last 10 minutes of the Cowboy game! We arrived home to 69 cia (Station 69) late and showered up.

Lan Leavell, our trip pastor, has been providing much needed devotionals during our trip. Lan is a very wise and gifted pastor who has been keeping us grounded in the Word during our journey and a constant reminder of the purpose of this trip. Sharing the Gospel is what we as believers are about and the fact that He has allowed us to be firemen has opened up an avenue for us to spread the Gospel, right here, right now. And the language barrier that exists between the Guatemalans and us has purpose; that we do not share the Gospel by word alone but through our actions. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has transformed us, has marked us such that these firemen here can tell we are different; and that alone is enough to start a conversation, enough to have those who are bilingual translate for those who aren’t. The Gospel is being shared!

I’d like to leave you with some wise words from Lan. Last night we talked about a guy named Nathan from the Old Testament. Nathan was a man who was integral to King David. We throw the word “Accountability” around quite a bit in our community. The word “Accountability” is an accounting term that is used when dealing with money. When you keep an account of something you are keeping a record; a record that points out the negatives of a transaction. Lan created a new word that really struck a cord with me; “Edit-ability”. All great leaders, writers, athletes and pastors have always had editors around them. An editor is someone who cares deeply for you and wants to bring out the best in you. An editor is someone who is looking to improve the way you look to others and to yourself. Nathan was an editor. 1 Corinthians 13:5 says “…[Love] keeps no RECORD of wrongs.” An editor is someone who loves you; who wants only the best for you, and THAT is the driving force behind their “editing”. An editor could be a parent, a boss, a teacher, a pastor, a friend. An editor is someone who will not point out your faults and where you fall short, but will help you realize those faults for yourself. A “Nathan” has the ability to convict you without simply pointing out where you have failed, but by pointing out where you could have succeeded. Nathan wasn’t afraid to call King David on his adulterous and murderous relationship with Bathsheba, but he helped David realize where he had fallen short of Gods Glory and then advised him on the right course of action; instead of simply saying “your wrong”. We all need an “edit-ability” person; we all need a Nathan. Who is the Nathan in your life?

God Bless,

Ross Andrew

 

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3 Responses to “Wednesday, Sept. 5th, 2012”

  1. Brenda Foster Says:

    Blessings to you gentleman. You are an amazing group of fellas doing an awesome work for our God. Praying for you as you teach, build relationships for eternity and bless Guatamala.

  2. Thank you for your responsiveness in posting the requested pics.

  3. cindy andrew Says:

    awesome, blog!! Cudo’s for including even embarassing stuff, ie van in front of engine…lol very humble!!! So proud of you all!!

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