Prayers sought for seriously ill Guatemalan minister (updated)
Roberto Alvarez, a minister and longtime church leader in the Central American nation of Guatemala, has contracted a severe form of dengue fever, according to longtime coworker George Hall.
Alvarez called Hall, a longtime missionary to Central America, this morning from a hospital in Guatemala.
“He could only speak for a moment because of his weakened condition,” Hall said. “His voice was weak as he could only ask for prayers.”
Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease characterized by headache, fever, exhaustion and severe muscle and joint pain. According to Hall, Alvarez has contracted dengue hemorrhagic fever, a severe form of the disease.
“I ask that you and all that you know pray strongly for this godly man,” Hall said. “He is my very close friend, and he is so very important to the work in Guatemala.”
Alvarez is the director of the Guatemala program of the Biblical Institute of Central America. Hall started the institute in El Progreso, Honduras, in 1998. Bobby Ross Jr. reported on the institute in 2005 on a reporting trip to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. He interviewed Alvarez about his life and ministry.
When he was young, Alvarez survived an earthquake that killed nearly 100,000 people in Guatemala. Bobby asked him about the impact the quake had on his faith:
We were spending almost three months living in the streets in the tents because the earthquakes were very frequent. I remember that maybe two or three of my mates in the schools died in this earthquake, so it was a tremendous experience. In fact, my faith was stronger, because at this time we were looking at a lot of suffering around us. But I remember that the church was very active in helping the people. I remember that many, many helpers from the United States were coming to our country.
In 1991 Alvarez helped launch the North Pinares Church of Christ in Guatemala City. The church now has about 600 members and is one of the largest in the country. Last year Alvarez got support from North Pinares and the Cloudcroft, N.M., Church of Christ to plant a new congregation in the heart of downtown Guatemala City.
Update: Sept. 18
I received the following e-mail from Roberto Alvarez:
Dearest Brethren and Friends,
I am so grateful with all those who were praying for my health. Thanks God I am in my home now — out of danger but very weak. God (answered) all the prayers and doctors are surprised about my recovery (since I was in intensive care in hospital).
Now, the doctor’s advice is take rest. My plaquets in blood are in the minimum level but increased.
Again, I appreciate a lot your concern and love for this servant.
Grace and Peace,
FeedbackActually the earthquake of 1976 killed closer to 26,000.KenSeptember, 16 2010Ken: Good catch! Actually, I’m not sure what earthquake Roberto was referring to, but you’re right about the one in 1976. About 26,000 people died in that quake and 76,000 were injured. When added together, those two figures may explain where the 100,000 came from.Erik TryggestadSeptember, 16 2010