To the Dump!

We woke up this morning after a very short night of sleep.

First-things-first, Carey & April Alexander helped us unload and organize the contents of about 10 large totes filled with all sorts of goodies.

  • Some of it was for children at a VBS event we will help with. (Thank you, Lesley Emerson, for donating some items!).
  • Other items were for the pastors I will work with beginning tomorrow.
  • Etc., etc., etc.

After this, we migrated outside where some of our group mingled with some Guatemalan youth and adults. Sean enjoyed kicking a soccer ball (futbol) with some of the guys.

Then, we came inside and began stuffing bags of food for men and women, boys and girls that we visited at the dump soon after this.

We emptied massive bags of rice, sugar, black beans, and corn into individual bags to hand out.

Some of the local ladies came in to graciously help us. They probably trimmed about an hour or two of work off of our total time.

Then, we broke for lunch. The fried chicken was delicious!

But, before we ate and even though we didn’t understand his language, Pastor Filberto prayed over the food (red shirt in the bottom left of the following picture).

After a satisfying lunch, we relaxed … and then headed to a place that no one can adequately prepare for – the city dump (a place that many Jalapans call ‘home’).

I’m about to show you some pictures and videos. They don’t do this place justice. The stench, the sadness, the hopelessness, the heavy feeling of injustice just can’t be conveyed in the following media.

And the birds you see flying around are vultures. There were at lest 15-20 of them.

In the following picture, you’ll see ‘tents’ that people have set up. The dump is their home. The stench is so putrid that it almost triggers one’s gag reflexes. And I talked with a gentleman today who said he had lived at the dump for 12 years.

12 years!

A young lady was noticed as she sat among some old tires with flies buzzing around her. Someone inquired and found out that she had a horrible rash breaking out all over her body. She had no hope … until Pastor Gustavo and our group spoke with her. Gustavo determined to send her to get some medical care. The tears in that young lady’s eyes revealed (what I suspect was) a grateful heart amidst such tragedy that went so far as to rob her of her humanity. I’ll never forget the moment as April Alexander led our group in prayer over that young lady before she got the needed care.

After our time at the dump, we went to one of the missions started by Pastor Gustavo. We walked the dirt streets inviting children to the Vacation Bible School that will happen in their neighborhood tomorrow.

Here is the building that houses the church mission and clinic. Justin Burcham worked on this building last summer.

Here, my group is talking to a homeowner about letting her children attend VBC tomorrow.

As we were walking, I snapped this picture … just because.

Now, we’re about to eat supper and call it a day. We’ve got a full day tomorrow!

Posted by

I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

4 thoughts on “To the Dump!

  1. Matt, thank you so much for this posting…brought back lots of memories…so wish I could be with you…praying for you and the team!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are welcome, Gary. Carey shared with me how profound an impact the dump had on you. It’s no wonder that you led your Sunday School class to sponsor a bunch of children to get them out of that place.


    1. I took video because I thought it would make it a little more real than pictures. Yet, even a video cannot capture the stench nor the overwhelming atmosphere of hopelessness and injustice that humans are allowed to live this way.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s