Monday, January 31, 2011

A Close Call!

As we have mentioned in previous posts and in newsletters, Guatemala is one of the most dangerous non conflict countries of the world.  Not a day goes by when  the evidence of this is not clearly seen. Yesterday I opened the newspaper and it said that 17 people had been murdered in the past 24 hours.  While this sounds high, this is the daily average in Guatemala.  The majority of these murders are committed in the capital.  The most dangerous job in Guatemala is being a bus driver.  In 2010 at least 128 bus drivers where killed by local gangs because the bus driver or company failed to pay the extortion fee.  This year some gangs are resorting to terrorist like activities against bus companies who do not pay the extortion or as the gangs prefer to call it the "protection" fee. In January a bomb was planted on one of the bus who did not pay the extortion which killed 5 people of which 2 were children and injured 10.  Other than the gangs which are a major problem, we also have 5 drug cartels vying for control of the country.  Add to the mix corruption in the security forces and government and you have a perfect recipe for disaster and violence.  I often think that in Guatemala we are living like in the time of the Judges when every one does what is right in his own eye.  
Thankfully most missionaries do not live in areas where a lot of this violence goes on, although missionaries are some times targeted.  This past week Lia was a target of violence.  This past Tuesday she had put Tristan in the car was getting ready to leave when two men approached her and told her to not make noise and in English that they wanted the car.  Lia had a split second to react and since she was right by the door of the house with the key almost in the lock she took the chance and opened the door and ran in the house.  She of course was in a panic because Tristan was in the car.  The car was locked with the alarm on so the thieves would not have been able to get in without setting of the alarm.  Some people might be critical of Lia for leaving Tristan in the car, but I think that God gave her the wisdom at that moment to make that decision.  It could have been a lot worse if she would have given the keys and have the thieves drive of with Tristan still in the car.  I am proud of Lia for doing what she did and although she panicked after the fact she was under control when she needed to be.  I am also proud of the fact that Lia felt compassion for these guys even  though they tried to steal from her. We ask that you continue to pray for our safety.  This again was a reminder that although we should not be afraid we need to always be aware of the reality we live in.  We are taking more precautions and are keeping a low profile for a while.  Since I had to be in Cubulco, we decided  that we may as well go as a family and so we took the kids out of school for a couple of days.  We also put pressure on the home owner to install an electric gate which was something that he had agreed to do when we decided to rent the house.  Not having an electric gate always made us feel somewhat vulnerable because we have to get out of our car several times to open and close the gate.  We are thankful that God has protected us and that the negative experiences we have had have not been more than a good scare and loss of  some personal things.

1 comment:

Tim said...

I'll pray for you and your family.

Thank you for serving our Lord Christ in such a difficult situation. I have little ones, and my heart goes out to you raising them in the difficulty of Guatemala.

Grace & Peace,

Tim Gwin