Monday, May 31, 2010

Emergency Relief Needed for Pueblo Nuevo (Guatemala)

After the eruption of Pacaya and the wrath of Tropical Storm Agatha, the country of Guatemala has been devastated, once again, by disaster. There is not a lot of media coverage about this and most media outlets are minimizing this country's distress and focusing only on the relatively low death count. (Low in comparison to hundreds and thousands sometimes killed in other disasters.) You can read one of the short reports below. Note that we were just in Chimaltenango a month ago and this department is very close to Pueblo Nuevo.

Fox News report

Make no mistake, regardless of the lack of media coverage, the involvement of other countries and the lack of celebrities hosting telethons. This disaster could have been much worse (and it will get worse before it gets better), but Guatemala has been hit hard by this and is in desperate need for help.

The village of Pueblo Nuevo is not an exception. For days I have prayed not to receive the news I received tonight. I prayed for all of Guatemala because I love the country as a whole and all that live there, but of course I prayed through all of the bad news we were hearing that this village would be spared. It was not.

Homes have been lost and severely damaged. Most personal belongings, which is usually only basic necessities, have been ruined by water and mud. Because of the destruction, most families lost what little food they had, have no water and are in need of shelter (or more stable shelter). The risk of mudslides continues. Even though Agatha has moved out, it is rainy season and the chance of rain is always there. Because every thing has been ruined, families now more than ever lack clothing, shoes, what is needed to care for their children and themselves. They are living in extremely dangerous homes that were already not stable, but now are even weaker, on the side of a mountain as they watch the ground wash out from underneath them.

I think I have made it very clear that we love these families in Guatemala as if they are our own families. In fact I do consider them to be our families. Over the last year this has grown into something that is far beyond myself. We may not have been prepared for this, but we knew that it was inevitable. For now we must look outside of our mission of orphan prevention through family outreach (poverty alleviation) and focus on relief.

Rarely have I openly asked for monetary donations. I have asked for donations and then said that if you do not want to support AAB then please support another organization. I still say that. No matter who you support, just do something. But for the first time I am pleading with you to please donate to AAB today. We know the families that are struggling. Help us feed them. Help us provide water for them. Help us help them rebuild or repair their homes. This isn't about asking for donations for something that may be done next year. It isn't about long term relief projects. That is important...imperative...but for now, this is about survival. I am asking for donations that you will see used in the coming weeks. You may not be able to physically distribute food and other supplies and do construction, but you will see exactly how your donations are being used here through frequent updates and photos. Please donate today!

We cannot ship large boxes of clothing and shoes right now, but we can buy them there. We cannot bring large quantities of food from the U.S. right now, but we can buy it there. I know that you want to see your physical donations being distributed, but it is better for the people of Guatemala that we continue to purchase what we can there ensuring that more maintain their incomes. To donate, please click on the donate button on the top of the sidebar.

Other ways you can help:

Spread the word. Donate your statuses to Guatemala updates every day for a while. Blog about it. Make sure people know the real extent of what is happening there.

Fundraise. Hold a bake sale. Yard sale. Car wash. Anything you can to raise even the smallest amount of money and then donate it to a charity that is providing emergency relief in Guatemala. Of course we would love to use whatever you are able to raise to help the people of Pueblo Nuevo, but if you would like a list of other organizations providing relief, I will be happy to email them to you.

Make the decision to join a team. We will be traveling to Guatemala in the coming weeks for our first emergency relief mission trip. I will announce the dates of that trip hopefully by the end of the week. During this trip we will distribute basic necessities including food and water and begin to make a plan for rebuilding. If you have ever wanted to travel on a mission trip, now would be a great time to go. The need is huge and we cannot do this alone. If you are interested in traveling on an upcoming relief trip, please email

Pray. Continue to pray for safety for the people of Guatemala. And pray for us as we seek out the best way to handle the devastation in Pueblo Nuevo.

On behalf of families in Pueblo Nuevo that I am told are praying for help and have no idea what else to do, thank you for your support!

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