On Tuesday, October 6, at approximately 7:15 pm, the San Marcos La Laguna community in Solola, Guatemala heard loud noises. They didn’t realize that this was being caused by a rockslide at the top of the mountain. After several days of heavy rains, these rocks broke off and fell at high speed causing the death of 4 persons and the destruction of 5 houses as well as damaging other buildings, including a Church of the Nazarene in the community.

“Everything happened in the blink of an eye,” the residents said. Some were eating dinner with their families and others were preparing to attend a meeting at the Church of the Nazarene scheduled for 7:30 pm.

As the rocks fell at high speed, they passed destroying everything in their path including trees and houses. When the rockslide ended, there were about 5 houses in the community that were completely destroyed. Four persons died and 10 others were injured and taken to the nearest hospital. During the night and the day after, the authorities evacuated about 60 families.

The infrastructure of some houses suffered significant damage including the sanctuary of the Church of the Nazarene. However, the pastor and his family are doing well and did not sustain any injuries. “A large boulder came through a wall of the sanctuary and bounced about twice until it fell and destroyed another wall, then stopped right on the sidewalk before reaching the manse,” said Damaris Kellogg, Nazarene Compassion Ministries (NCM) coordinator, who came to the site the next day. “God’s protective power stopped that boulder from rolling away and falling into the manse”, he added.

He also thanked the Lord for taking care of the entire congregation since they were to meet at 7:30 that night, minutes after the boulder fell.

Damaris Kellogg accompanied by the Work and Witness Coordinator Roger Kellogg, visited the site to assess the damage and bring immediate assistance to the victims. NCM provided 100 emergency kits and 50 children’s kits which included a snack, a coloring book, crayons, and a small toy. During their visit, some members of the congregation were present and together they took time to thank God for protecting their lives.

The ministries have planned to participate in the cleaning and rebuilding of the sanctuary but for now, the area has been marked by the authorities as a red zone or dangerous. “We pray that there will be no more landslides in this area. We are also praying for the families who lost their loved ones and for the other families who have suffered a nervous breakdown because of what occurred”, Kellogg said.

Source: Damaris Kellogg, Northcentral Area NCM Coordinator