Stormy Times in Central America

André Beitze, Guatemala

The situation isn’t easy, but God is faithful. A field report.

Hurricane Eta wreaked havoc in large parts of Central America. The name that was chosen for it is interesting: namely, that of a terrorist organization. And it lived up to its name; the hurricane was one of the most devastating of recent years. Large parts of cities and farmland were underwater.

A city in an area of the highlands that had been settled by Germans was also badly affected. Ingrid and I visited the city, Cobán, for the first time at the end of 2019. This was after we’d already been here in Guatemala for more than 20 years. When the hurricane hit, if we had been where we were as we enjoyed coffee from a German-born manufacturer, the water would have been over our heads.

In one of the mountain villages not too far from Cobán, there was a landslide that covered large parts of the village with tons of earth and rock. It all happened so quickly that, unfortunately, many people were unable to get to safety.

Here in Guatemala, two branches of the church that we help in the vicinity of the Atlantic coast, were cut off from the outside world because of the large amount of water. The road leading there is damaged and isn’t yet drivable. Aid will be brought there as soon as possible.

From Work
Although not many customers have visited our bookstore in the last few months, we’re grateful for anything that we are able to send out. Many people couldn’t come at all because there was scarcely any transportation available. What little transportation there was came at a significantly higher cost because, due to the risk of infection, fewer passengers are permitted to ride. No more brothers and sisters in the faith are coming from the surrounding countries (Mexico, El Salvador, and Honduras), because border security was tight at first. And now a coronavirus test, which is only valid for 72 hours, must be obtained. At $150-$180, the expense is too high for a trip.  

However, there is also good news in the midst of this situation. These days, the person responsible for three schools in the area of the Petén rainforest got in touch with us and passed on the list of books that the students will need in the coming year. Although the students cannot come to school for the time being, they will take the literature home and work on it there.

We’ve learned from other bookstores that we’re in touch with that they’ve had to lay off some of their employees. One of them, Manuel, went into business for himself. He got books, tracts, and calendars from us, and went home to offer them to various friends and former customers. This helps him earn a bit of income, and it helps us disseminate literature in places we can’t get to ourselves.

One fellow believer, who has contact with a school in the highlands, was looking for devotional books for 300 students for the next year. Through this, we’re able to sow God’s Word in various ways, and help others earn much-needed income to support their families.

Midnight Call - 04/2021

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