Friday, Sept. 7th, 2012

Family and Friends,

Today was another busy day. For some of us it started with waking up at 5:30am and going to a local crossfit gym for a workout.  It is probably safe to say that I was not the only guy who had second thoughts on the way to the gym (that bed was pretty nice……I should have stayed in it). We have packed more activities into the last four days, then gypsies in a travel trailer. I know that was a weak attempt at a joke, but somehow in my delirium at 1am it struck me as funny. I don’t really even know much about gypsies aside from the fact that they travel in packs, have small hands and typically live in trailers. But with that said, I wanted to try and describe the relational side of things with all the guys. In other words, the lighthearted stuff that goes on throughout the day, everyday. In life we really don’t get the opportunity very often to spend time with the same people non-stop for an extended period of time. Even with our families, work or different activities brings a separation for a time, even if it is a short time. I can honestly say that the 12 of us have not left each other’s sight even for a few minutes for 4 days straight. We work out together in the mornings, we eat breakfast together, we use the communal bathroom together, we pack into the van together to drive to training, we train all day together, we eat dinner and head out for our evening activities together, and eventually find ourselves back at the station around midnight going over, digesting and praying over the experiences of that day. Besides Clay, I really didn’t know any of these guys on much more than a superficial level before this trip. In fact, the majority of the guys I met for the first time in preparation for this trip. But the walls have been broken down quickly, and true deep friendships have grown in a matter of hours. This manifests itself in many different ways. We have already spoken of the amazing experiences that God has allowed us to encounter with both the Guatemalan firefighters and the people of this city. And with these powerful (almost unexplainable) experiences, deep conversation and prayer has ensued among us. But God has also given us the gift of laughter. Just mix in a dose of perfect timing, a sprinkle of pure delirium and you have yourself laughter that will send tears streaming down your face and make your muscles cramp like you just finished a workout. It has been that fun. As I sit here and really think about it, the closest friendships in our lives are where we find our greatest laugher. And with laughter comes joy and with joy comes peace. So while this trip has been jam packed with tons of work and Items to check off the list, it has also brought just as much peace.

So getting back to the activities of the day, the crossfit workout now behind us (starbucks in hand) we headed for training. As we arrived we saw 20 or so firefighters out front 20 minutes early ready to start as soon as possible. I can’t tell you how impressed we have been with their eagerness to learn about their job (more on that later). To kick off the day, Ross without much time to prepare shared his heart with the group of 40 and talked about who we are in Christ. The faces of the firefighters told me that they were really listening and taking the message to heart. He stressed that God has given them this job to bring glory to himself and to use it as a tool to change their hearts and others around them. We then prayed for the guys and headed outside for the scenarios. Scenario number one was a car fire in a large parking garage that eventually escalated to multiple cars involved. We made the distance really far between where the engine could park and the location of the burning cars, Just as it would be in a real situation. This challenged them to put together a hose line that was longer than anything they had preconnected to the engine, as well as challenged them in appropriate attack position and nozzle stream/patterns. And thanks to the hard working guys on scenario #1 they had actual fire and thick black smoke to extinguish when they reached the car. The 2nd scenario was a fire on the fourth floor of a highrise building that had no standpipe. So the guys had to figure out the most efficient way to get water to the fire floor, give an initial size up, carry all tools and hose 4 flights up, put water on the fire and ventilate the floor when the fire was out. One of my favorite lines of the day was when I asked one of the Guatemalan firefighters if there was anything he learned from the high rise fire, he replied with “yeah, I need to quit smoking cigarettes”. So 18 scenarios and 7 hours later we were finished. We were all wet from the rain (it rained hard for 4 hrs) and the sweat, and at that point the two were hard to distinguish from each other. We all definitely got our fill of action. So as we close everyday we ended with a recap. We talked about how thankful we were to have the opportunity to come down and teach them. We talked about how their love for the job inspired us. And whether rain or shine, powerpoint or a sweaty scenario, they always had a smile on their faces. We talked about how even more important than the training we were thankful for the opportunity to talk about our faith with them and the deeper things in life. And just as we were about to close out, a chief who was in the group raised his hand and wanted to speak. This Chief just so happens to be the 4th highest ranking chief in the entire country. He went on to tell us that while Him and his fellow firefighters were extremely grateful for the training, they were even more thankful for the words about our faith. He continued and said that talking about our beliefs and the truths we had shared about Jesus made them take a second look at how they were living there own lives. It made them think about there own relationship with God or lack there of. This was an answer to prayer for all of us. God allowed us to see/hear a visible sign of the workings he was doing beneath the surface. What more can you ask for? So we prayed together and said our goodbyes.

We finished the evening at Jose’s house (station 69 firefighter) with good food and good conversation. Another day in the books and another day that God used us, a bunch of average DFW village firefighters to spread an anything but average Gospel.

 

John

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4 Responses to “Friday, Sept. 7th, 2012”

  1. Wow! You guys are amazing. What an honor it has been to read the stories, watch the videos, laugh with you and pray for you. We do serve an amazing God and I am so thankful God opened doors for you to use your skills and talents to impact the world with the gospel, one Guatemalan at a time. God bless you!

  2. Mary Farrar Says:

    What a great report…not only about your work with those in Guatemala, but the deep relationships being built among you as a team! I felt like I was there as I read this….

  3. Rachel Treadaway Says:

    What an encouraging update! I loved reading this. 🙂 Praying for you guys!

  4. What a gifted piece of story. I both laughed and teared up at this. The way you sprinkled in both humor and gravity reminds me of another writer in your family.

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