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CHILD OF CROSSFIREChild of the Crossfire
by Alcyon Ruth Fleck

- Child of the Crossfire is the true story of a young boy who was brainwashed, trained 
in guerrilla warfare, captured at his family's massacre, tortured to reveal war secrets, 
and orphaned - all before he was 10 years old.  Surrounded by his captors, little Oscar was unable to comprehend the horror of the war. Forced to march 24 hours with live bombs strapped to his back, Oscar still would not talk. How long could he resist the army's torture?  Would he tell them where his father was?   His name was changed to Salvador, but his inner hatred and bitterness were not as easy to erase.  How could 
such terrible things happen if God was really love?
  Salvador's quest to find his heavenly Father and earthly father takes many unexpected twists and turns in this heartrending true story of survival and triumph.

     This is a good family read aloud.   It is a true story.  And it is a great family read and discussion book.  It is hard to believe that in the last 20 years a small would have to endure what Oscar did, however, that is not the focus of the book.  The Focus is on 
what Christ did in his heart and how it changed him.  One of the best stories we have read as a family in a long time. To order your copy of this book click here .

Choose from any of the following activities to enhance your reading of this book.


     It is important to ask questions when you read aloud as a family.  Discuss why 
things happened the way they did and the response of different individuals in the 
story.  It is important to think about the things that happen in life and how they impact
us and how powerful God is to take the most awful of situations and bring about much good.  In the story, for years Salvador harbored bitterness and hatred toward those
that hurt his family.  It is really important to note that the harboring of this hate made 
it difficult for him to sleep at night and have peace in his life.  However, once he 
released this to the Lord, the peace that came into his heart and the change wrought there enabled him to sleep peacefully at night and have peace with the Lord about the events in his past that he had no control over.  This is a book that is rich with substance to talk about.  Salvador became a very godly young man.  It should give our children something to aspire to in the strength of God for their high calling in Christ too.

     Locate Guatemala on a map.  This is the area that Salvador grew up.  Draw a map of Guatemala.  List the surrounding countries.  Draw in the mountains, rivers, lakes, 
oceans etc.
     There are four land regions in Guatemala:  1.  The Pacific Coastal Plain, 2. The highlands,  3. The Caribbean lowland,  and 4. The Peten.

     Show where these are located on a map of Guatemala.  Explain the type of weather each area gets.  Is there is difference?  Explain the the Seasons that Guatemala has.  What months cover the different seasons?

     Guatemala is rich in nature and wildlife.  Make a poster, scrapbook or collage of the different types of birds, animals, insects, trees and flowers that live and grow in this 
area of the world?  Draw or find pictures of the different species.  Label each for its 
name and scientific name.

Social Studies:
     Do some research Online or through an encyclopedia.  Find answers to the following questions:

What is the Official name for this country?
What is the Capital of Guatemala?
What is size or area of this country?
What kind of government does this country have?
What is the title of the Head of the government?
What is the National anthem?
What is the Population?
What is the language/languages?
What is the education of the children - are many educated?
Where do the people live?   Mountains?  Near the Ocean?    - What is the difference between the population in different locales?  Why do more people live in certain areas?  What crops do they
grow in the different areas?

What is the decent of the Indians of Guatemala?   Find information on this group of Indians.   These Indians make up more than 50% of the Guatemala population.
What type of homes do the people of Guatemala live in?  Draw or find pictures of their dwellings?

     What is the economy of Guatemala?  What do families in the different regions make a living?
Figure out what the wages compare to what an American doing a similar profession makes?

Find the main crops that grow in Guatemala.  On a map label by picture or words where each crop grows.  Make a graph to show each crop grown and exported and show the difference of each crops value in money made by exportation.  Which crop/crops are most valuable?  Where are the crops exported to?

What other items do the Guatemala people make, raise, or sell?

     What is the history of Guatemala?
     What civil war was taking place in the story of Salvador?
     Is there still unrest in the area?
     Create a timeline to show a brief history of this country.

     The Guatemala people speak Spanish or a dialect of the language.  Find the Spanish words for the following and learn to speak them somewhat fluently.  Write them down and keep them in your journal for this study.
     House                    Rain                 Jungle            Mountain          Land           I Love You
     Hello                     Good-bye        Friend             Mother           Father    Sister      Brother

Find other words of interest to you.


     Create a meal of foods/dishes that Salvador may have eaten.  From the story we already know that he enjoyed Tortillas and beans quite often.    In Guatemala you would eat alot of corn products, beans, vegetables and some fruits.   Below is a fun meal:
Refried Beans - 
 1 chopped onion
 1 or 2 cloves of garlic peeled and mashed
  Sauté the above in a little olive oil or margarine or water till soft.  Then add:
 2 cups of canned refried beans or your own cooked and mashed beans
 Add salt to taste.

The beans can be layered in Taco Shells with chopped lettuce, tomatoes, olives and grated cheese or wrapped in either flour or corn tortillas with some grated cheese, 
olives and tomatoes and lettuce.

There are many other recipes that can be made with corn and bean products.  Try Haystacks - which is beans layered on top of corn chips with some grated cheese, lettuce and tomatoes.  You can also add Guacamole, Salsa and Olives to your haystack.  Look through cookbooks and find other recipes using corn and beans and try them out.  Write out your favorite recipe for your journal.

     Try your hand at some fun crafts like the Mayan Indians would make.  The Indians of Guatemala make beautiful Pottery, Hand-woven Baskets, and embroidered cloth.  The find information on creating your pottery, baskets, cloth or embroidery do a search at
Once at the website  do a search for each craft of interest.


Check out this Maya Adventure site:
     This site is for children to go through a short interactive maze learning a little about the Maya.  The
Maya were not Christians and of course, believed in things that we as Christians do not.  At the end of the
adventure there are links to more Maya Sites.  Worth Checking out!!

Guatemala Volcanoes:

Archaeology Guatemala:

Guatemala Web site (lots of information - mostly travel):

      There are many orphanages in poor countries.  It is amazing how inexpensive it is in our money to sponsor a child in another country.  I heard of a place in India where a family can sponsor a child to go to
school, pay their room and board and upkeep for only $15 a month.  This is incredible.  This is doable for
us.  This may a time consider taking on such a project as a family or to help with a one time donation to a
orphanage.    It might be fun to consider a fundraiser to help support a child or an orphanage facility.  Some fundraising ideas are:
Making and selling bread or muffins or cookies
Making and selling soap or candles
Collecting and turning in soda cans
shoveling driveways or mowing lawns
Doing errands for mother and father or grandparents
Selling craft projects

     We are sure that you can find more ideas.  I have heard of Self Denial boxes - this is just a shoe box or mason jar that a child (and a parent) can place money that they would normally spend on things like candy, soda, snacks and toys.  Yet instead they place the money in the jar till they raise a certain amount to send away to help a child or ministry.   Choose any ministry or the address for ICC is below:

2711 NE 134th St., Vancouver, WA 98686


Hands - on  Latin America:  Art activities for all ages by  Yvonne Merrill
Picture Map geography of Mexico, Central America and the West Indies by Vernon Quinn
Guatemala by Marlene Targ-Brill
Guatemala by Sean Sheehan
Guatemala by Tricia Haynes
Guatemala is my Home by Patricia Lantier
Guatemala in Pictures by Geography Dept of Lerner Publications Co.
Caribbean Lands by John Angelli
Take a trip to Central America by Keith Lye
Central America by Marion Morrison
Ancient Maya by Irene Galvin
Mystery of the Ancient Maya by Carolyn Meyer
Children of Guatemala by Jules Hermes
Guatemala by Ronnie Cummins
Let's Visit Central America by John Caldwell
Revolution in central America by Glenn Cheney
Getting to Know Guatemala and the two Honduras by Grace Halsell
Land and People of Central America by Ruth Karen
Celebrate! in Central America by Joseph Viesta
Song of the Quail, Wondrous World of the Maya by Ruth Karen

Ancient Maya  JWM Productions
Mystery of the Maya by Southeast Productions
Guatemala: Special Report
Lost Kingdom of the Maya by National Geographic

More Free Homeschool Resources