Archive for the 2012 Trip Category

Pictures from Saturday, Sept. 8th, 2012

Posted in 2012 Trip on September 9, 2012 by clayrozell

Chase teaching “size-up.” A rescue call is coming in, you can tell the nature of the call by which color light illuminates.

Teaching at Central Station

Teaching Pumping from the street.

 

On the roof top of Central.

Providing feedback after an evolution.

Working in the rain.

Jim working the pump.

The team leader was given a special sized jacket to brave the elements in.

Stream Pattern evolutions.

 

End of the day group photo.

Saturday Sept. 8th, 2012

Posted in 2012 Trip on September 9, 2012 by clayrozell

Hola Niño’s and Nina’s,

It has been a year since I last wrote on a blog. That last blog post was done on this trip last year on the closing Sunday of our trip, which is coincidentally when I was asked to write this post. As I try to find the words to write, I’m reminded of the emotions I was coming off of last year as I wrote and comparing them to the emotions I am coming off of as I write this. Last year I wrote of the very tiring, yet fruitful day we had at an orphanage here called Fundininos. This year I am writing of the very exhausting, yet… well… just exhausting day we had training the Volunteer Firefighters.

Today started out a little earlier than normal because we had to fit 6 hours worth of class time into a few hours in the morning, and a days worth of fire related scenarios into another few hours in the afternoon. Another wrench added was that we had to change the venue of our class and drills to the central fire station here in Guatemala City. Getting there was no easy task due to an 18-wheeler overturning on the road we had to take to get there. This added some time to our trip and forced us to bypass our scheduled coffee stop (coffee to most firefighters is fuel that gets the engine running). Stuck in traffic, tired from training, no coffee, plans not going the way we had planned, and a long day ahead of us… you do the math.

As we arrived at the central fire station, the vocal leaders (Chad Neely and John Farrar) of “B” team went to work to find out how we were going to run the same drill we did at the training facility in a different setting. This was happening as the “A” team went to work teaching the class. As the class portion of the day went on, we on the “B” team decided that the only feasible option was to run one scenario in the afternoon as opposed to the two we had run during the other classes.

“A” team was able to execute minimizing their class, lunch passed, and we began to set up for our standpipe scenario. True to form, the afternoon clouds started to roll in. It was another rainstorm coming in and it was just a matter of time before the skies opened up. About half way into the first of 6 teams going through the drill, the heavens opened and we were all getting soaked. Not only was the rain cold, but it was also those really annoying massive rain drops that are only cool when you’re behind a window or under a roof watching it fFeet wet, shirts soaked, cold, close lightning strikes while on top a roof full of metal just asking to be struck, tired, barely any food in the tank… you do the math. We ended up canceling the rest of the standpipe drill and finishing up a different scenario under the cover of a roof.

**Bare with me. I promise this gets positive soon. Just not right now.**

So as we wrapped up our week of training, the Guatemalan firefighters showed their appreciation for us coming down to train them. We exchanged pleasantries, prayed for them, and we began our journey back to station 69. Traffic on the way home from the central fire station was just as bad as it was going there. I could give you 100 guesses to why traffic was bad and lay down $100 if guessed and you probably wouldn’t guess it. A monster truck rally was causing our back up. A. MONSTER. TRUCK. RALLY…in Guatemala. So we arrived back at Station 69 and my white flag went up. I was a stones throw away from emotionally losing it. All I wanted was a hot shower and a Mooyah burger. Instead I had no warm clothes (due to my packing deficiencies), soggy feet, and an empty belly. A hot shower after a week of freezing showers would have worked just fine, but all of those things crossed my “I want” list.

As the night wound down and we filled our stomachs with pizza and our “face” of the Guatemalan Bomberos, Javier, gave the closing statements to our week. He told us of the work we had done and the impact that we had made with the men and women who so faithfully serve this country and this city. My heart sank as I heard these words and was reminded of how selfish I was being after what had been such a fulfilling week. Philippians 2:14 “Do ALL things without GRUMBLING…” directly hit me in the grief bone with a frozen sledgehammer.

So after I was asked to write this blog, my original answer was no because “I wasn’t in the right spiritual state.” One minute later, conviction of that being a cop-out was all over me. I’m here writing this now because the Lord called me on my selfishness, desire to be in control, and how truly blessed I am. We are here because we are to live out Psalm 57:5, “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth.” My cold wet skin, empty belly, lack of clothing that I didn’t pack, or desire for a burger that is only given because He gives to me is no reason for me to “grumble”.

I have been convicted today, but I have also been sanctified. For it is only by His grace that I have been given this opportunity to come and play in what the Lord is doing in the Bomberos of Guatemala. Many lives were changed this week because of His love. Will I “grumble” again one day? Sure. Today, however, is a day that I will take with me as a reminder of how good He is to me, to those who are on this team, to those reading this blog, and to those in Guatemala despite the circumstances.

My week with this team of men has been so incredibly awesome. I will not soon forget the time we’ve spent together and the journey we have encountered sharing the goodness of our Savior with these men and women.

Thank you for sticking with this incredibly long post.

Kevin Bailey
Lewisville Fire Department

Pictures from Friday, Sept. 7th, 2012

Posted in 2012 Trip on September 8, 2012 by David M. Jackett

Command……Commanding?

Crossfit Cubed

Teaching Pump Ops

Teaching in the rain!

Rooftop View!

Dinner @ Jose’s

Friday, Sept. 7th, 2012

Posted in 2012 Trip on September 8, 2012 by clayrozell

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

Pictures from Thursday, Sept. 6th, 2012

Posted in 2012 Trip on September 7, 2012 by clayrozell

Front of Academy with apparatus. The guys drove in two engines and a tanker truck.
Planning the rooftop scenario
The Academy from the backside, the crews had to advance their lines through the building and hit either the “car” to the left of us in the picture or extend it to the roof.

Lunch was catered every day!
Dinner @ the Rosales’ house!
Kevin sharing his testimony!
Chris did an amazing job of summarizing what it is like being a Christian in the fire service.

Praying with & for the church.

 

 

 

Thursday, Sept. 6th, 2012

Posted in 2012 Trip on September 7, 2012 by clayrozell

9-6-12

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

Today is one of those days that takes you back to that moment when you first found yourself yearning to know the Lord. For some of us this comes about with an excitement that refreshes the spirit within us in a new way. For others it comes about like a weight that makes you feel small and in need of a covering. More about this in a bit.

Today started like most firefighters are accustomed… a loud bell coming way too early. Needless to say that the zeal for running in the morning from the first day has faded today and we all slept in. Just as Ross mentioned yesterday, today our morning started as it does in every fire station back at home. Some cooked, some cleaned, we all were excited about the day ahead. B team (Chad, John, Ross, Kevin, Mitch, Chris) had organized a couple great scenarios for the bomberos that would allow them to demonstrate how they would attack a car fire as well as a fire in a high rise building. This would give an opportunity for us to suggest techniques we use back in the states that have proven effective and for them to show us how they work in these situations with limited resources.

For the first scenario the bomberos were dispatched to a car fire. Our “car” was an excellent prop which included a few barrels, tires, and plenty of brush to burn. True to life the situation would turn out to be more difficult than it may sound as they were unable to stage their engine near the incident. This required them to work as a team to stretch a couple sections of 3 inch hose from the engine to near the scene where they then attached a gated wye and attack line. From here they were able to practice stream patterns for reach and protection while they got in place to put the fire out. The teams did a great job and after each round discussion allowed for learning for all.

The second scenario required the bomberos to work as a team to attack a fire in a high rise building. Unfortunately, there would be no standpipe access. This meant they would have to work together to stretch 3 inch hose in an effective manner to the designated floor, the roof 5 floors up in our scenario, and then deploy an attack line. They then attack the fire utilizing the proper stream patterns and then practiced ventilating smoke from the room through a window using what is called hydraulic ventilation. The teams did great with a few hiccups along the way which only served as learning opportunities for all.

This was our last day of training with this particular group of bomberos so at the end of the day we reflected on the days we had spent training together this week and prayed together as a group. We said our goodbyes and exchanged shirts with one another.

We headed back to the station to take some cold showers and rest for an hour before we went to dinner. We were invited to dinner with a family at their home. This family has a desire to serve their community by bringing missionaries into local churches to encourage the congregation. For most of us this was the first time we had been in a Guatemalan home. The hospitality that was shown to us was amazing and humbling. The grandmother and mother had prepared an incredible dinner complete with chicken, potatoes, beans, salad, and desert that left us all feeling full and thankful. In typical fire station fashion we jumped at the opportunity to clean a few dishes for those who had gone above and beyond to serve us. Of course this meant that we made a mess in the process, but not to worry, that too was cleaned up.

After dinner we then headed to the church, Iglesias de Dios. The church, held in a somewhat smaller building, held about 50 or 60 people who were already gathering prior to our arrival. We found our seats while they keyboardist and drummer began leading the church in worship. Some of the songs we recognized and although we were singing in English while they in Spanish, together we worshipped our Lord. Kevin said it perfectly when he reflected how it reminded him that all around the world we the church are worshipping the same God. It was awesome! We listened, we sang, we clapped, we clapped, and we clapped some more! After a few songs our host from dinner stood to introduce our group to the congregation and invited a few of the guys to give their testimony. Jim kicked it off by telling the people exactly how a bunch of firefighters from different cities came together because of Jesus to come to Guatemala and train the bomberos. Next, Kevin and Chad stood to give their testimonies. Praise the Lord for what He has done to draw those two men, and all of us, to Himself and save us through His grace by sending Jesus to die for our sins. Im excited to continue to hear the testimonies of the other guys on the trip. In a surprise stunt our host then invited Chris to tell the people what it is like to be a Christian firefighter. Chris did a great job on the spot explaining a little bit of the culture of the fire service, and how being a Christian in this environment can at times be challenging, but always a great opportunity to share the gospel. Lan was then invited to speak. Using Luke 15:11-16, the story of the prodigal son, he encouraged us as Christians saved by grace to exercise that same grace and hospitality with all those, saved or not, that we come across in life. This topic hit us all to the core as in our entire trip to Guatemala we have been served by such incredibly hospitable hosts. The pastor of the church then invited the congregation to pray for us and afterwards we were invited to the front to pray for the members of the church as they came forward. The entire congregation stepped forward. For the next 10 or 15 minutes we then prayed for people that we had never met, and really couldn’t communicate with. But they came forward faithfully trusting the Lord. And this brings me back to my initial paragraph.

This entire trip we have come across people in very different situations than we find at home. Everyday we meet firefighters that do the same job that we do back at home, and do it excitedly with much less. And tonight at this church a congregation gathered not because it was the norm in their environment, there were many outside of those doors, but because they believe and trust that the Lord will provide, and they want to know Him. And we were invited by God to be a part of that. So all of us tonight have a stirring in our hearts. It doesn’t matter whether it came in a boost of excitement, or conviction that moves men forward. The Lord is at work in our hearts. And it is great to be loved by God. Please pray with us.

Julian

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

 

Julian Arriaga

Wednesday, Sept. 5th, 2012

Posted in 2012 Trip on September 6, 2012 by clayrozell

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