Last week there was a fire in a residential area of San Pedro on Abergris Caye. Six homes burned completely to the ground and 18 people are now without a place to live. The homes were primarily wooden. Some were two-story but most were a single level. The only remnants left are the outside walls of one or two that were cement blocks and a cement staircase that now rises to nowhere.
The church in Belize had some food storage available for emergencies so the elders on the island arranged with the mayor to donate what we had. The company that owns the water taxi to the Cayes transported the cases of food at no charge which was greatly appreciated.
Elder Tague and I flew over on Saturday, July 12, 2014 to assist in the distribution of the food. The area of the fire has still not been completely cleared. Some of the families had relatives or friends that have been able to take them in but some are still living in what is left of the remaining buildings among the rubble. They are completely destitute.
Here are some pictures of the area with the elders bringing in the food.
This family is living in the shack in the background.
No member families were involved in this tragedy but one family had been working with the missionaries, investigating the church. We will be keeping in touch with the missionaries to know how the families are doing and if we can assist further.
On a brighter note, the next day, Sunday, July 13, was our 46th anniversary. We took the picture at the top to commemorate the day. We attended the branch where I again spoke and translated for myself. It gets a little confusing when you start out saying a few sentences in one language and then stop and translate what you just said into another language. It cuts into your train of thought. But it went well. Of course, Elder Tague was the main speaker. These branches are always excited to hear from the visiting "authorities". It's also a little weird to realize that we are those authorities.
There was another baptism after church. Saturday, Elder Tague had the priviledge of interviewing the mother who was going to be baptised. She is of pure Mayan descent. Her family traces back through many generations of Mayans. She was baptised along with her daughter. It was a wonderful experience.
The branch is growing and there is a really sweet spirit there. There were about 75 in attendance at the meetings that day. The attendance can vary considerably since San Pedro is such a tourist town. There were several people vacationing from the states there on Sunday. It's always kind of an adventure to go to the island.