November 20, 2020
Today we learned that Casa Heidi has finally been completely submerged under water. While we knew that this was inevitable, it is a painful thing to see and reminds us that the situation on the ground in Campúr is changing and surely has already changed in a dramatic way.
We have been blessed to be able to help our people on the ground with specific items they have requested. Although the many ways in which this area and these people will need help have not presented themselves fully, we know one thing: our people will be there, and we'll be there with them.
Therefore, I am calling on everyone to begin helping us in whatever way you can. Please consider giving to the effort. We do not know where or when the needs will arise, but we're asking you to help support us. We need to stand behind our people on the ground and help tend to their own health, welfare, and stability. They are there, they are actively ministering, and they will be the best way for us to understand what the people of this area need, when they need it, and how best to get it to them. They are our infrastructure and we will stand behind them.
The financial support needed to help these people is not known, but it will be substantial. The multitude of people that will be called upon to help is not known, but it will be substantial.
Please consider helping in whatever way you can. If you have the skills and the willingness to serve, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will call upon you when the time comes.
Be ready everyone, and help us be ready!
November 19, 2020
As expected the rains accelerated the rise in the water level in Campúr. Houses that were once safe from flooding are now threatened and the spread of the area covered by water has expanded as well. A beloved place nestled in the mountains of Guatemala has truly all but vanished under the flood waters of Eta and Iota. The water surrounding Casa Heidi has continue to rise and is now just below the roof line. Our hearts are with the families and great friends that have lost everything they own, their home, and their home town in this incredible tragedy.
Large-scale aid to the area is still a heroic effort by organizations on the ground, both Guatemalan and others, but the situation is still unfolding. We are in contact with other organizations, both faith-based and otherwise to share intel on where the needs are and what sort of efforts and logistics are available to ensure that help is delivered to where it is needed.
We have begun to receive word of specific needs our people have and we have begun to respond to them as our means allow. As we would expect, Raúl, Sarita, Isabela, and Naomi are still ministering to others even though they themselves are among the ones that have been hit the hardest.
- Raúl is actively working as a member of the tireless Red Cross in Cobán and Campúr.
- Sarita has been appointed the medical lead for one of the area albergues (hostels) where the displaced people from the area are living.
- Isabela continues to shepherd her flock. Their church and Casa Heidi remain two of the last few buildings still visible above the water.
- Naomi has remained in Campúr to help contact people who need to be transported across the newly-formed lake though she herself is still struggling with where she will call home next.
We are so proud of everyone with whom we have ministered side-by-side and are heartbroken that they are ensuring this trial. Our prayers and hearts are with them.
November 17, 2020
We are still watching the storm very closely but it appear to be making a straight westerly track through Nicaragua and will not pass directly over north central Guatemala. That spares us from the winds of this powerful storm but unfortunately the thing the area needs the least appears to be unavoidable. Rain.
As Iota weakens into a tropical storm, depression, and rain storm, we can expect the median and outer bands to innudate the area once again. We are praying hard for safety, wisdom, and mercy.
November 15, 2020
We are tracking the progress of Hurricane Iota that is on track to make landfall sometime tomorrow (Monday). It will affect the areas hardest hit already. We have been in regular communication with our close contacts on the ground and have sent what help we can and prayed with them. We ask God to give them wisdom in their preparations and mercy in the path of this new storm.
November 14, 2020
We are continuing to assess the situation on the ground in Campúr and the surrounding areas, making connections with other aid organizations. We are discussing shared intel on what is needed and where, and sharing information about the logistics of getting it there.
We have seen interviews with people on the ground that have confirmed what we expected: that the situation is chaotic and the aid that is being delivered is not covering all of the people affected by this tragedy. This is because some of those accepting aid are not the most in need and those that did lose everything are scattered among at least a dozen communities.
We have provided some initial limited help but are proceeding cautiously with any substantial commitment of resources until we can proceed responsibly.
November 13, 2020
In early November 2020, an incredible amount of rain fell on Central Guatemala as Tropical Storm Eta roared into Central America. The storm made a hairpin turn, resulting in the central and outer bands remaining over Campúr for over 24 hours. The result devastated the area and as of this writing, the water levels are still rising as highland runoff continues to fill the valley basin.
Among the properties inundated and either partially or completely submerged are Casa Heidi, our Compassion Center, our partner church Vida Abundante, and the dining hall, kitchen, men's, and women's dormitories, collectively known as Brazos Abiertos. The devastation is extensive and in some cases, complete.
More than any building, we have built strong relationships with the people of Campúr over the years that will endure these trials. In the service to His kingdom here on earth, we often speak of being in the figurative valley at some points and on the figurative mountaintop at others. In this case, we find ourselves helping our brothers and sisters in Christ climb up from the valley in a very literal sense.
We are committed to pursuing our ministry in Guatemala with the same fervor and dedication we always have. As of this writing, we are in contact with the incredible people on the ground and are assessing the situation as it evolves, their needs, and how we can help. At this point, immediate relief efforts by the government of Guatemala and neighboring countries, the Red Cross, and others are ongoing but we expect to be called upon soon to provide aid in three areas:
- Immediate needs such as food, clean drinking water, clothes, personal hygiene items, and other items related to aid and comfort. We will provide these as requested by those who are delivering them directly to the affected population.
- Medium-term needs such as temporary infrastructure (clinics, sanitation, etc.) and housing.
- Long-term needs that will unfold over months and even years.
Many are still in shock and the full extent of what they need and even to where they have evacuated is still unclear. We will act on those three areas when:
- We know what the population needs.
- We know how we can meet that need and how aide is being delivered.
- We know that our efforts are coordinated and accountable among the various organizations now mobilizing in the same manner in which we are, such as the Red Cross in Cobán and Campúr.
While we are very grateful for our partners in Campúr, they are helping as much as they can while simultaneously needing to find their own bearings. Raul and Sarita from Casa Heidi, Pastora Isabela and everyone at Vida Abundante, Naomi, Pastora Isabel's daughter with whom we have ministered for years, and others have themselves lost everything.
We intend to help them as the family that they are but also want them to be able to focus on their own lives. We are also in contact with other organizations to coordinate our efforts.
We will update this page as the situation unfolds.
Image of the initial basin of the Campúr valley flooding.
An image from the other side of Campúr showing inundation of houses and structures beginning to connect to the flooding in the valley basin.
As water levels continue to rise, this photo captures the final stage of Casa Heidi and Vida Abundante on dry ground.
This image captures the water now completely risen above ground level and flooding Pastora Isabela's house, the ground of Casa Heidi, and the grounds of Vida Abundante.
As the water continues to rise, the front yard of Casa Heidi floods, including the inclined driveway that is completely covered, normally leading down from the raised grounds of Casa Heidi to the parroquia (road) below.
Coming up the hill, you would encounter Pastora Isabela's house first and this photo shows the flood waters nearly halfway up the sides of the house.
The tranquility of calm waters belies the rising water level, now entirely submerging Casa Heidi's first floor, all of the buildings of Brazos Abiertos, and nearly to the second floor of Vida Abundante.
Casa Heidi, center with the water level up to the roof line. Pastor Isabela's garage, lower right has drifted into what was her back yard and the water level is now over the church's third story windows.
Casa Heidi, far left edge, now completely submerged. Water level at Vida Abundante rising to overtake the grand cathedral ceilings in this beautifully renovated church.
A bird's eye view of Campúr showing the effect of the rising water levels on the lateral extent and coverage of this newly-formed body of water.