Tulsa Churches Lend Helping Hand To Guatemala Volcano Victims

Tuesday, June 5th 2018, 5:39 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Thousands of people in Guatemala are homeless after Sunday's volcano eruption buried their homes in ash and molten rock. Nearly 70 people are confirmed dead.

But with so many people still missing, the volcano most likely killed hundreds.

Rescue crews are searching for survivors, but the ash is still too hot in some places.

Tulsa has a strong tie to Guatemala through church mission groups and some have people there now, helping out.

First Baptist downtown sends groups at least twice a year. Asbury Methodist and several other churches do as well. Several native Tulsans are doing ministry there full time.

The pictures show some of the magnitude of the eruption Sunday and the despair in the days since.

While there are many people displaced, there is also a fear that many more are buried under ash.

Tulsan Andrea Mendez with Ahava Ministries moved to Antigua, Guatemala to work with children.

It's close to the disaster area. So close that she had to start out with a makeshift mask delivering medical supplies.

"We are currently working to get resources and supplies to the victims of the eruption on Sunday,” said Mendez.

South Tulsa Baptist Church supports several missionaries working near the volcano.

“And now they're in the shelters where these families are offering whatever care they can give, whether it's physical or emotional and working with those able to escape the danger that was directly associated with the eruption,” said Eric Costanzo with South Tulsa Baptist Church. 

These families moved from Tulsa and now live close to the volcano.
They're safe but the people they serve are not.

"And there are multiple families who have lost multiple family members and whereas the death toll is slowly climbing, the families all know each other very well and in those communities it's mass devastation," Costanzo said. 

The people of one of the villages by the volcano made a tapestry for the church. And on the ground there, Andrea Mendez said Oklahomans are helping.

"We've felt so much love for us from Tulsa and Oklahoma, your thoughts and prayers mean a lot to us and we've received several donations to help us buy food and water and the essentials for these families," said Mendez. 

There is no drive locally to gather up supplies, rather ministries there are asking for financial help to buy things there.

You can donate to Ahava ministries here