Yesterday (Saturday, December 18, 2010) Guatemala's president, President Colom, declared a 30-day state of siege in the region of Alta Verapaz. This is the region which borders the Chiapas area of Mexico. Large and powerful Mexican drug cartels are using this region of Guatemala as a gateway through a more and more porous border between the Chiapas area of Mexico and Guatemala. The drug lords and gangs have been gaining ground, and the Guatemalan government is beginning to fight back.
This happens to be the area of Guatemala where we have been ministering for the last five years. We have a children's home in the city of Coban, a city specifically mentioned in the official notice prepared by the US Embassy in Guatemala City shown below. We also are training pastors in six villages in the rural areas surrounding Chisec. The following video of actual footage from our previous ministry trips to these areas now under siege. We have taken ministry teams into this area with medical treatment, sanitation efforts, building materials, bibles newly translated into their native tongue, and training for pastors in each village.
I've roughed out a map below noting where the city of Coban is located in relation to the Mexican border as well as a small town called Chisec, which we use as a hub between villages as well as in/out of the area. There is a hotel there we stay in often. Imagine a dormitory, and that's more like this "hotel" than the actual word hotel, but it's a bed and four walls and food that's sanitary.
View State of Siege in a larger map
We have a couple scheduled to make a trip in January during the time of the state of siege, and another larger group planned to go in March 2011.
The American Embassy has issued the following:
Please pray for the safety of our full-time minister running the children's home and all those vulnerable in both cities as well as those exposed in the remote villages.
Another point of prayer is the pastors planning in the US for upcoming ministry during this time of violence and place of danger.