Ricardo and Beth Gomez
5 April 2010

In the past five days, we have been awakened twice by very strong aftershocks. The epicenter of last night’s quake was right here in Santiago. Both times, we ran up the stairs toward the kids. The first time, the aftershock stopped before we got all the way up the stairs. The second time, we were standing in the kids’ rooms before it stopped. Juliana woke up and whimpered, “I’m scared,” but after a quick prayer and cuddle, went back to sleep.

These quakes woke us up to several facts.

1. We’re still scared when the earth moves beneath us. We’ve resumed our normal lives. With school, church, seminary classes, teaching a marriage course, Holy Week activities, etc., we are constantly on the go – but strong quakes still stop us in our tracks and send our pulse rates sky high! In times such as those, we remember Juliana and Jonathan’s words of comfort just after the BIG ONE. “Fear not! God is with us!”

2. Despite our return to routine, lots of people, including Free Methodist pastoral families, are in deep need! Superintendent Sergio Loyola just called to check how much money has come in toward Chilean relief efforts because we have another emergency situation. Pastor Alex in Los Angeles, Chile, was told today that he and his family (wife and two young daughters) have two days to evacuate before their rented home is torn down as it has been deemed uninhabitable. Superintendent Sergio says that $8,000 could buy this family a good quality, pre-fabricated home, and he thinks the local government would provide them with land on which to place it! Quick solutions, quick responses are necessary for urgent needs such as this! Can you give today to help Chile heal?

3. What you don’t see can be pretty bad! As time passes (and perhaps with the help of strong aftershocks), more damage is becoming evident in Chile. In the past week several large apartment buildings between our home and our church have been condemned. A tent city has popped up outside with spray painted signs of frustration: “120 families without homes!” “We need help. Honk if you support us,” etc. We’ve even noticed an earthquake-induced crack on our bedroom ceiling. This is only Santiago. This is not where the 8.8 earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit!

People in Concepcion (Chile’s second largest city) and all of its surrounding areas lost not only homes and belongings, but also jobs and a whole way of life. The way the cities look, along with the way they operate, completely changed in a few short minutes. The quake actually moved the city 11 inches. If it was strong enough to do that to the city, imagine what it did to the individuals in the city! They need our prayers. They need our help – not so that they can depend on us but so that they can just get started again.

The Chilean Emergency response team of the Free Methodist Church identified a list of priorities to help get pastors and congregations on their feet again. The total budget comes to $80,000 – well under the original goal of $1 million. At this point, 25% of the money needed has been received.

Breakdown of how the money will be used:

  • 10 pre-fabricated homes to replace destroyed or uninhabitable homes.
  • Structural repair for 7 churches and 4 parsonages.

Autumn has arrived in Chile, which means temperatures are dropping and the rainy season will soon begin. Please help us get our fellow brothers and sister in Christ into safe, dry homes before winter arrives!

Your donations can truly give Free Methodist Pastors and congregations the start that they need – before the rain and winter weather arrives.

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