"I told my wife to take the kids and go,” said Emanuel. “But she said our family of four must stay together.”
Emanuel described what was one of the darkest days in his Guatemalan village: the eruption of Pacaya Volcano in April 2021. “The volcano started throwing lava. Not only out of the top of it, but also it opened wide in some of its sides, and lava started throwing from there.”
In just one day, the village’s landscape looked drastically different. Lava and ash covered most everything in sight. Their once fruitful farms were decimated. Many ran for their lives. But not everyone could get out — or even wanted to leave.
“At that moment, the whole community was so very, very worried because they didn’t know what to do, where to go, or if they had to move. They were so very scared,” Emanuel said.
As a father, Emanuel was constantly concerned about the welfare of his family. And as a small church pastor, he knew he needed to stay and lead the hundreds of people in his village looking to him for guidance.
“Little did I know, Convoy of Hope’s disaster training program that I went through in 2019 was my lifeline,” Emanuel said. “I learned we had to make specific groups of women, of the handicapped, of men — and actually, the men had to go last in case they were having to go out of the village.”
That training became the bedrock for Emanuel’s community amid disaster. Teams from Convoy of Hope also provided people in Emanuel’s community with meals. He said, “At exactly the time that we were desperate, Convoy of Hope started giving us food.”
Because of the generosity of Convoy’s many partners and donors, lives are being changed in Emanuel’s village.
“Convoy has been a huge blessing for us. It’s not just a blessing for our church, but it has been a blessing for the whole community.”