Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Erupting Volcanoes and Crashing Waves

Hello Friends and Family,

The past few weeks have been quite interesting for us down here in Guatemala.  James and I have been continuing language studies five days a week at a nearby language school.  I attend school in the mornings while James watches Riley, and over our lunch break we swap so James can attend school in the afternoons.  Learning a language definitely seems to be a never-ending process, but at least speaking and finding patterns that aid in learning are coming easier to us.

Normal activity of Fuego (far left) that
can be seen from our church parking lot.
This past weekend, however, was quite an interesting one.  Saturday, we went to the local market and did our grocery shopping, which we usually do on the weekends.  When we got home, we noticed that it was quickly starting to get cloudy outside, which was odd for such a clear dry day here.  We didn't think much of it, however, until later when we received news that one of the volcanoes surrounding the town we live in had become unusually active.  The volcano, called "Fuego," can be seen venting smoke on most ordinary days, and occasionally produces tremors that can be felt in the city we live in.  Saturday, however, it decided to act a little more crazy than usual.

Fuego's activity last Saturday.
Photo credit
: https://twitter.com/juanflores18/status/564518503110438912/photo/1
 When we went outside to our roof to see what was going on, we found a hazy smokiness all around us.  The volcano which is usually visible from our rooftop could not be seen nor the hills and other volcanoes that surround us.  We could feel tiny bits of ash and rubble falling from the sky, and could hear it hitting the ground around us almost like snow.  We were not in any danger, but had to stay indoors as the ash irritated our throats to breathe, and we did not want Riley to breathe it in.  The city in which we live remained safe, but one pueblo much closer to Fuego had to evacuate about one hundred residents.  The main airport in Guatemala City was also reportedly shut down until the next day, when the ash could be removed from the runways and such.

The amount of ash that covered the windshield of our car
the first few hours after the volcanic activity.
We learned that the ash would probably fall over Antigua, where we live for the next several days, so Sunday, we decided to go for a drive to get out of our house and get some fresh air.  We decided to drive to the Pacific Coast which is about two hours from where we lived.  Due to the amount of volcanoes and volcanic activity in Guatemala, the beaches that make up Guatemala's Pacific Coast are largely black-sand beaches.  This was Riley's first trip to the beach, and James' first trip to the the Pacific, so it was a lot of fun.  Riley did not enjoy getting her feet wet one bit, but she loved watching the waves crash onto the beach.  When she gets older, we definitely look forward to making more trips to the coast.

Riley's first trip to the beach

Back in Antigua this week, the air is still dusty and smoky, as business owners continue to wash the sidewalks in front of "tiendas" and other businesses.  Cars are still covered in a thin layer of ash, but life is back to what we are coming to know is normal.  Through all these experiences, we are also learning about many local customs, and why things are the way they are here in Guatemala.  We still have a lot of learning to do.

We are still working towards getting our residencies (which is like a more permanent visa) as a family here in Guatemala, which is a slow, slow process, as are most things down here, comparatively speaking.  We are also preparing for the next team that will come down and work with Engadi next month.  We hope all is well back in the states.  We would love to hear from our family and friends via email (jandecarr@gmail.com) or Skype (jandecarr).  We like keeping in touch with you and what is going on in your lives.  Let us know if there's something we can be praying for you as well.

Until next time,
The Carrs

Brilliant unfiltered sunset over Monterrico's black-sand beach and the Pacific Ocean
"From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, the Lord's name is to be praised!"
Psalm 133:3

JamesandEllie / Author & Editor

James and Ellie Carr have been missionaries in Gautemala since 2014 and write to share their feelings and how they have experienced God's goodness and mercy on the mission field.


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