by Lindsay Elizabeth
On Sunday, a volcanic eruption shook the country of Guatemala, killing 99 while 200 others remain unaccounted for. Three of those killed were pastors, one from a family that lost a total of 18 members.
One evangelical pastor, Camilo Antonio Galicia Pamal from the village of El Rodeo in Esquintla, was found dead in his church clutching the pulpit. He was one of the 18 family members that died from the Fuego volcanic eruption.
His wife, five of his children, and four of his grandchildren also passed away at the Missionary Church as a result of the volcanic eruption.
Marco Antonio Galicia Pamal, Camilo’s brother, did not realize the travesty that had occurred until he arrived at the morgue. When he arrived he was told that a majority of his family had died.
“I came here to find out that almost my whole family had died. I feel like I cannot stand up. I had never felt such pain in my heart,” the man said.
Cash Luna, a Guatemalan pastor, said that Pamal’s body was found in the church, embracing the pulpit.
The evangelical pastor was known for his love for others. Prior to his death Pamal had posted on social media saying: “empathy and love of the people could be seen breaking unnecessary religious barriers put forth by the world.”
One of the pastor’s daughters that survived the eruption, noted that since the eruption on Sunday, she has been taking tranquilizers.
“I was in my house when everything happened, I managed to go out with several of my relatives, but those of other houses could not,” Irma Pamal stated.
BBC News is keeping track of the death toll, which is already nearly to 100, while 200 others are still unaccounted for.
The eruption left villages devastated, some buried completely in ash. The aid process has been difficult, as smaller eruptions and intensely high temperatures take over the small country. A total of 3,000 people have successfully been evacuated, while another 1.7 see the ramifications of the eruption.
Aid groups are already rushing to help, and many Christian groups have sent crisis responses teams. World Help, a large Chrisitan organization, has already sent food, medical supplies, and personal hygiene items to the people of Guatemala.
“Our hearts are broken for the loss of life and for the thousands of families that have lost everything,” Vernon Brewer, the World Help founder stated.
“This is a moment when our kindness and compassion should meet the level of need. We are calling everyone who is able to give to help us provide emergency aid to families that have lost everything, and to give them hope for a better tomorrow,” he added.
International mission groups that were stationed in Guatemala are also seeking help after the eruption. AMG International, a missions group in Guatemala has stated that both their ministry and community were affected by the eruption, and will take upwards of a year to fix things.
“We have communities where we’re working where virtually everybody in the community has lost their total livelihood because all the crops that they have planted have been totally destroyed. It’s going to take about a year’s time for them to get close to back on their feet,” AMG’s Bill Passons stated.
“There [are] lots of agencies, big government-type agencies that are stepping in and we praise the Lord for that. But there [are] needs for food, there is need for medication. Specifically, we have a lot of burn victims,” he added.