This morning we stayed home to clean the apartment and about 11:30 the doorbell rang. It was Gabriel Gledhill and his sister Andrea, who are here with a humanitarian group to give away an enormous number of shoes to the people of Guatemala. His group was in Antigua the day the volcano erupted. He said as they were driving down the road they noticed cars pulling over to the side of the road and when they had time to process what was happening, they saw the first plumes of ash pouring out of the volcano.
At first they didn't know how much danger they were in and he described it as pretty creepy. They could smell and feel the ash in the air.
Gabriel was Mike's trainer in the mission (former financial secretary). He returned home a couple of months ago and has returned to school at BYU. His dream is to start a Latin American foundation similar to the business his dad runs in Honduras. He has an enormously big heart.
We are so grateful the eruption didn't cause more damage or loss of life than it did. There will undoubtedly be a loss of crops, though, which will hurt the area residents financially. This was the first major eruption of this active volcano in about 35 years.
Before he left, Gabe told us about their deliveries of shoes in Chichicastenango, the area where he served as a missionary before his release. They were in the outlying area of Chichi and Gabe wanted to take shoes to a woman he had recently baptized. They were running late and their driver didn't want to take the time to walk down the dirt road to this woman's home. Gabe persisted. The house was not visible from the roadway, due to the rows of corn obscuring it. As they walked down the path toward the house, they could hear singing and realized the missionaries were visiting the woman's family;she is a single mom with two small children. Gabe and his group arrived in time for the closing prayer, having left the bag of shoes outside the house. After the prayer, the woman tearfully told them she could no longer manage the walk to church, as her children had no shoes and it was too far for her to carry both of them. The walk without shoes made their feet bloody and sore. The shoes Gabe brought were a perfect fit for the children and a perfect answer to a mother's prayers.