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Chile Trip Report From Bishop David Roller

  -March 11th, 2010 @ 6:02 pm

The fifth largest earthquake recorded since 1900, the 8.8 Chilean earthquake occurred on 2/27/10. The epicenter was just north of Concepción, the 2nd largest city of Chile. There are approximately 10 FM churches within an hour of the epicenter, another cluster of churches within 2 hours.The earthquake was followed by a Tsunami which was followed by two days of lawlessness and looting in the effected zone. Residents report that the latter two events were actually worse than the earthquake.

Damage Report:

  • No FM pastors or members died.
  • A few casual attenders died, but no regular attenders.
  • No ICCM children died.
  • No FM churches collapsed.
  • The damage in and around Concepcion is significant, major buildings toppled or destroyed. Roads and bridges shifted and/or fell. Even as far away as Santiago, the new airport was significantly damaged and is mostly unusable right now. They’ve set up tents on the tarmac to process passengers.
  • The FM church in Talcahuano urgently needs repair-some of the rafters have separated from their supporting wall. A wall fell on the pastor’s car and it required repair but is now usable.
  • The FM church in Coronel was in pretty bad shape anyway and the earthquake put it over the edge…one of its walls has been temporarily braced so it won’t fall on the neighbor’s house.
  • The FM church in Lota received some damage but probably just needs to have the firewall replaced (it separates the 2nd floor from the neighbor’s).
  • In Talcahuano and Lota many members and 2 pastors are living in tents because their houses have been condemned.
  • The pastor’s house (rented) in Los Angeles is condemned.
  • Some damage was sustained by Casa Grande (owned by Chilean FMC) in Santiago but it wasn’t condemned. It needs repair to the roof and chimney, at the very least.

Finances

The Bishops’ Famine & Relief Fund has sent $19,000 to Chile. The first $9,000 was used to purchase emergency food and supplies and has been well distributed among those effected.The final $10,000 is just being received. The funds have been gratefully received.

The “donor fatigue” from Haiti and the extreme loss of life in Haiti make it difficult for donors to give to Chile right now. Some churches/individuals with strong ties to Chile will want to assist.

Response Priorities
I met with the 5 member Emergency Team of the Chilean FMC and we developed the following list of most-needed responses. If any promotion of these needs can be made I imagine that some churches/persons would like to respond.

  1. 1000 back-to-school kits (notebooks, pencils, pens, colored pencils, erasers, compass, pencil sharpener, etc). The exact composition of the kits varies by school grade. Average cost per kit is $10.00. The articles are available in Chile and can be purchased, assembled into kits, and distributed by the Chilean FMC. School classes were scheduled to start in early March but have been postponed by the government until April.
  2. A debriefing/emotional retreat for pastoral families. Pastors are carrying the burden of their own families’ needs, plus the needs of the larger church family. They will battle fatigue and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). We can assist them by providing a 3-day retreat for pastoral families at a center near Chillán. This will be a significant source of encouragement: a chance to process and heal. The cost will be about $5,000, including bus travel for the families.
  3. Rebuilding priorities:
    1. Talcahuano FMC – no financial estimate yet.
    2. Coronel (villa mora) FMC – no financial estimate yet
    3. 6 pre-fabricated houses for those who’ve lost homes and have a parcel of ground. These houses are commonly used in Chile. They cost $5,200 USD and include installation and fixtures. We would call them cabins but they are often used as long-term residences.
    4. Two months of rent for pastor Alex in Los Angeles so he can move into another rental property (total cost $580.USD)

Thank you for your interest and care for the Chilean people by our response.

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Update from Bishop David Roller

  -March 8th, 2010 @ 10:20 pm

from Bishop David Rollers blog

I take a quick trip to Chile, leaving this afternoon, to encourage them in the relief effort and to find how we can better help.

I know of at least two of our pastors who lost their houses (Alex & Nelson). The quake area was very near the center of our churches in Chile and the Chilean FMC has been a first responder.

The Chileans haven’t received much notice on the international scene because people are “tired” of earthquake news…after the Haitian quake.

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Chile – Update from Ricardo and Beth Gomez

  -March 5th, 2010 @ 3:49 pm

4 March 2010




They (relief team of three, including Ricardo) arrived home at 1:15 a.m. after 20 hours of travel. In that time, they got a small taste of the harsh reality rich, poor, young and old are experiencing down south. The majority do not have food or water; many don’t have homes; most don’t have hope. Few have escaped the tragedy. Pray the relief efforts will be multiplied! Pray people will find hope in Jesus who is able to do more than we can ever dream!

As they approached the cities of Talcahuano and Concepcion, they saw three large government relief trucks – still full – protected by military. The military was trying to figure out how to safely distribute relief without creating chaos.

As our team entered Talcahuano, they saw desperation. Long lines of people were waiting for water and for gasoline. A long line of people, protected by the military, were waiting to enter the grocery store that had not yet been looted – only five people were admitted at a time. Fishing boats were in the middle of the streets. They saw a man with a machete steal a grocery cart full of empty bottles from an old lady so that he could get water, leaving her without. They saw groups of people with only one or two small bottles of water between them. They didn’t even see the worst of it; they didn’t see what it must be like in the poorest areas of town.

They offloaded the truck secretively – backing it up to the house and using the doors as a barrier – in order to protect the people who live in the home from looting. This home will be the distribution center for the supplies.

They experienced another strong aftershock and saw people panic, running for the hills in fear of another tsunami. They got out of town before curfew was reinforced at 6 p.m.

They continued on to Concepcion, the second largest city in Chile. Again, the catastrophe did not distinguish between rich, poor, young or old. They saw buildings split in two. Vehicles in unmoving traffic jams were trying to cross the only standing bridge to the neighboring city, Lota, where a Free Methodist pastor lives in a tent because his home was destroyed.

In Concepcion they were able to “rescue” the other rescue team which, en route to Lota, experienced car troubles. They helped fix the car and took the supplies loaded in it back to Chillan for later distribution. (They could not continue to Lota due to the curfew.)

Meanwhile, La Gran Comission FM Church in Santiago, under Pastor Eduardo’s leadership, was organizing a relief drive. As church members and neighbors dropped off clothes, they were washed, ironed, folded and sorted by size. All of the Santiago churches continue collecting goods. The next truck will leave on Monday, hopefully with Bishop Roller on board.

On one news report a man said, “If I had 200,00 pesos ($400) it wouldn’t do me any good. There is nothing to buy and nowhere to buy it. Paper does me absolutely no good!” Your gifts through Help Chile Heal will be used to turn that paper into much needed food and supplies. We encourage you give generously as you feel led, and pray continuously!

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More from Chile Earthquake

  -March 2nd, 2010 @ 4:15 pm

Tomorrow (Wed., March 3) before dawn, Chilean pastors Karim and Sumi, along with Ricardo Gomez will leave Santiago for Chillan, the worst hit earthquake area. They will drive a truck loaded with food and supplies, as well as clothing and blankets donated by Santiago churches.
Superintendent Sergio Loyola has an emergency team in place there to help with distributions. In addition to distributing supplies, the trip will help determine road conditions and assess needs for future trips. A second, larger truck with many more supplies is scheduled to leave Santiago Fri., March 5. Funds from Help Chile Heal will help pay for these supplies.

From Brazilian Bishop Jose Ildo Swartele de Mello: Following Saturday’s massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake, Pastors Sergio and Mari Loyola were able to reach Talcahuano, near the epicenter. With tears they report that 90% of the town is seriously affected. Many houses collapsed due to the earthquake, especially in the area where the Central FMC is located. And then the tsunami hit. Chaos. Pain. Says Loyola: “We will return to Talcahuano with food, kids’ clothes, water …”

From Kay Stotts Godoy and Ricardo and Beth Gomez Families: Profound thanks for all the prayers on our behalf and for the ongoing encouragement and support the Chilean FM family has received in these 72 hours since the catastrophic earthquake. Help has not yet arrived for our suffering brothers and sisters in highly affected areas, where they have been and are still without food, water, electricity and shelter. Tomorrow, Wednesday, teams from our Santiago and Chillan churches will take supplies to Talcahuano, hit by a tsunami 30 minutes after the earthquake, and other devastated areas. People are desperate and in need of not only food and water, but hope as well. Our church is stepping up to the task at hand and your prayers and support are vital. Please continue! Thank you.

Bishop David Roller and Brazilian Bishop Jose Ildo Swartele de Mello will travel to Chile, Mon., March 8.

Continue to pray for all of our brothers and sisters in Chile as they face this tragedy.

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Bishop David Roller – Chile Earthquake

  -March 2nd, 2010 @ 3:51 pm

From Bishop David Rollers blog:

So here I am in Haiti…writing about the situation in Chile!

We have many churches in the affected area. This part of Chile is the birthplace of the FMC in Haiti. Early this morning 3 separate relief parties (1 truck each) set out from Santiago, each one with a specific destination city. They are carrying food, clothes, and supplies.

The Bishops Famine and Relief fund yesterday sent funds and then again this morning we’re sending more money.

I will be traveling to Chile on Monday, the 8th for a quick evaluation visit, along with bishop Jose Ildo from Brazil.

As many know, we lived in Chile for 10 years and so have many personal ties there. We are very eager to help in every way possible.

Perhaps the most helpful, immediate information I can share is the following note I received this morning from Free Methodist missionary Beth Gomez:

“Please keep the people informed. We have pastors and lots of other people living in tents or worse because their homes have been destroyed. Some people are completely out of touch with family members. Others, as you know, have passed away. Lots of people are without water and any kind of food. Supt. Sergio said he saw many are without clothing. What little people do have, others are stealing.Parts of Chile got hit with a 1-2 punch; earthquake and then tsunami. The few minutes that we had enough electricity to watch news last night, we heard that there is so much lawlessness now that some people say it is worse than the earthquake itself. We saw men guarding their homes with guns – in other videos neighbors were forming “armies” using rakes and hoes, brooms, whatever they had to try and protect their areas from the lawless. There is story after story to be told. It may be far away but it is very real. Please help the people see that and encourage them to keep praying!”

Thank you for all you’re doing for our Chilean church.

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