Westmont Magazine A Hurricane of Activity
An e-mail from Iva Ann Yarnell Ruis ’54
We just finished a three-month volunteer assignment in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Central America. My husband, Robert, filled in for a pastor who was on home assignment. I played the piano and helped as pastor’s wives do.
While there we both contracted Dengue Fever, my husband’s mother died, and hurricane Mitch hit with a vengeance. We were not personally harmed by Mitch, just inconvenienced, but many Hondurans are totally devastated.
We worked with just one small church in the colonia of San Jose de la Vega. The night of the flood, 135 people were sleeping or trying to sleep in the church. During the following weeks, we were able to get food to them. The numbers went down to 70 and finally 35.
God provided a natural spring at the corner of the church property. We dug a hole and put in a sump pump so anyone who needed the water could get it. When there was no electricity, they dipped the water into their containers. Posters with verses about the “living water” were posted on fences at the site.
The pastor’s home was under 10 to 12 feet of water. After the flood receded, it left two feet of mud all over everything. He lost all his books, marriage certificates, pictures, birth certificates—you name it, and it was gone.
The combined efforts of teams from the U.S. and the hard work of the Honduran people cleaned up the area, and, after three weeks, the people were back in their homes. Many still lacked furniture, etc., but they were back home.
The village areas and other places where the water has not receded were not so fortunate. The “good” things that come out of something like Mitch are seeing people of the world come and help, and contacts for this church. Five of the families that lived in the church, but were not part of the congregation, are attending now. The pastor has said he has so many contacts he’s not sure he can get to all of them. When the teams were cleaning his home, they also cleaned other homes in the row of housing. They did this in the name and the love of Jesus.
A bright point of our stay there was meeting three Westmont students at a Thanksgiving dinner. These students are studying in Honduras for a semester in an off-campus program.