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Updates from Kay Stotts Godoy #3

  -March 12th, 2010 @ 4:25 pm

March 11

As I write you today, the front door is intentionally left open and pictures are swinging broadly left and right across the wall in front of me. Santiago experienced a tremendous 7.2 aftershock this morning with a few other strong ones to follow and now minor ones keeping us on our toes. Our FM missionary and Chilean families are fine as far as we know, thanks to the Lord for His protection. Just last night Leo and I were commenting how life was getting back to normal a bit, with less fear up here in our apartment. Then came today’s surprises! Truly, Jesus is our only source of peace and tranquility, our only unmovable rock on which we stand. Each shake, rattle and roll makes us lean in closer to Him. And that is a good thing.

I have a beautiful story to share with you! Your giving to Help Chile Heal is making an impact not only on our Free Methodist community, but beyond. Superintendent Sergio just told me of a lovely moment in Talcahuano recently, while he was headed to deliver food and water supplies to our pastors in the most distraught areas. Along the road, Superintendent Sergio and his team noticed an elderly man seated on the sidewalk curb, head hung in despair and hopelessness. A teen on the truck called out, “Sir! Please come over here!” The gentleman slowly lifted his head with a blank stare. No reaction. The teen shouted again, “Sir! Please come!” The man slowly rose to his feet and hesitantly walked in silence toward the vehicle. The teen handed him a large grocery bag and said, “Here, this is for you!” The elderly man peeked into the bag stuffed with food and water, and a huge smile came across his face. “Margarita!” he called loudly. “GOD sent us food! We have food!” From the old, now mostly-destroyed, house appeared his wife. As she took in what was happening, she joyously made motions of great thanks and gratitude. The team continued on their way to a part of the city called Centinela Hill, where a church is being planted. I imagine the team will be back to visit that dear couple and make sure they’ve had a chance to know the Bread of Life and Living Water.

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Updates from Kay Stotts Godoy # 2

  -March 12th, 2010 @ 4:17 pm

March 9
A Miracle! See What’s Happening with Your Giving

Pastora Naty, a district leader’s wife from Coronel, was on the hunt for food for her family. She walked a long distance to the grocery and waited for hours in line just to enter. There were so many people in front of her that she despaired of reaching the store in time, wondering if there would be anything left to buy. Such is the plight of many of our Free Methodists in central-southern Chile, post-earthquake. Suddenly, Naty sensed very strongly that the Lord was telling her to turn around and go home! It didn’t make sense. She had waited this long already, and besides her family would be hungry. Again, she sensed God’s voice telling her to return immediately to their house, that their family would not go without food. She arrived home, explaining to her husband why she came back empty-handed. They knelt together and prayed the Lord would somehow provide for their needs. Five minutes later, a truck pulled up to their house and out jumped a friend from Lota. Loaded with bags of groceries, he came up the walk overjoyed to announce that help had come from afar. People in the U.S., as well as fellow Chileans from Santiago and Chillan, have been giving to Help Chile Heal … and to help families such as Naty’s survive. Thank you for giving in Jesus’ name. He is multiplying your two loaves and five fishes!

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Updates from Kay Stotts Godoy #1

  -March 12th, 2010 @ 4:11 pm

March 5

Tales from the Twentieth Floor …

The past week has seemed like ten; we’ve slept little and have experienced wide ranges of emotions. Our 20th floor apartment, with its spectacular view of the Andes, now feels way too high above the earth far below!

At 3:34 a.m. on Saturday, February 27, we were jolted awake by tremendous shaking and rocking as if on a fast rumbling roller coaster ride. Chile is known for its frequent tremors, but right away we recognized that this one was very different. Bolting out of bed, we found we were unable to even stand up in the hallway as Leo and I got thrown back and forth against the walls. We ran to grab Sofia out of her crib and made it back out to the entryway, trying to avoid falling bookcases, wall pictures, etc. We could hear glass breaking in the kitchen and later found that a loud noise in the bedroom was the closet being ripped off its track and 5 shelves worth of clothing, supplies and odds and ends spewing across the floor.

There came a slight lull in the movement, and we hoped the quake might be subsiding, but within seconds it struck with more force than ever. Death seemed absolutely imminent. We are ready to meet our Maker, but in that moment we just wanted to survive! Sinking to the carpet in a tight huddle around her, Leo and I cried out to God for His mercy, pleading with Him to stretch out His powerful hand and miraculously calm the earth beneath us. Sofia clung on with white fingertips and eyes wide as saucers. I was frozen in fear on the floor, but Leo began to work on getting us out. He quickly grabbed formula, water, a bottle and a blanket and then I ran to find my glasses. They had fallen off the night stand. As I frantically searched in the dark under the bed, the Lord seemed to place them into my hand!

We now know you need to open the main door immediately when an earthquake occurs. Ours was jammed shut by the time we tried to leave. Leo pulled and pulled. Finally it opened! The long trek down 20 floors of stairs, baby in tow, seemed unending. But we made it, emerging to find hundreds of others already in the lobby and outside the apartment. Our pastors Karim and Carmen, who live on the 8th floor, came running up with life-grateful hugs! We located friends and neighbors among the crowd and waited through the remaining hours of darkness … filled with great relief at having survived so far, still filled with fear as aftershocks continued rocking the ground beneath us, filled with assurance that God in His sovereignty is in control and filled with hope that He will help each and every person in their plight.

The earthquake is, of course, the number one topic of conversation now. And many people are much more open to spiritual things. Please pray for us, as we have many opportunities to introduce people to the God who saved them and who wants them to know Him personally.

And Now Almost One Week Later …

Santiago, 200 miles from the epicenter, suffered damage to buildings, some highways are out, water and electricity have come and gone, but overall weathered well for having experienced an 8.3 earthquake that lasted a full three minutes just six days ago. All eight of our Free Methodist pastors and families in Santiago are safe. Our fellow missionaries, the Gomez, are fine, as are Leo, Sofia and myself. We praise God! Our apartment building was declared “safe” by several engineers, so we moved back in on Monday after having stayed with my in-laws over the weekend. Frequent aftershocks keep us ready to depart again at a moment’s notice.

As you know from TV/internet news and mission updates, the situation is very grave to the south, closer to the epicenter, where the bulk of our FM churches are located. For that reason, Supt. Sergio Loyola immediately set up an emergency response team to coordinate help efforts. Our Chilean FM church is among the first to respond with basic necessities of water, food, gas, and clothing. I am so proud of the way our Chilean church less affected by the earthquake has generously given goods, time, use of vehicles to those in great need! Yesterday, my friend Isabel used the money she had set aside for a much needed haircut to buy water for those without.

Specific Prayer Requests

  • Help for those who are still without water, food, adequate shelter and other basic necessities … that assistance will arrive soon.
  • Safety for those distributing relief supplies … there are still strong aftershocks, looters on the loose, curfews, bridges out and other dangers to deal with.
  • Wisdom for Superintendent Sergio Loyola and his emergency response team.
  • For people of all ages under tremendous stress and suffering from trauma, especially for the children.
  • That people will draw close to God and find Him as their only source of hope and salvation in this world.

Be encouraged along with us! God is at work bringing light to the darkness and helping in supernatural ways. Please keep reading below for examples of His mighty love and power in the last couple of days …

God Coordinating His Own Relief Efforts as We Pray!

In the first 24 hours after the 8.8 earthquake hit Chile, many of you began praying fervently for God’s provision, protection and peace. And how He responded! Before our FM church could get to hard hit areas with basic supplies, before the government started sending in relief, even before TV crews could reach people with needs fast becoming desperate, God Himself began showing His loving kindness in extraordinary ways. Pastora Carmen’s family in hard hit Lota/Concepcion experienced just that …

Carmen’s sister, Susana, and her husband had left their son Cristobal with his grandparents in Lota. The original plan was to leave Cristobal there overnight while running errands in Concepcion (which turned out to be the epicenter). They finished their work in Concepcion and rather than travel to their home in Coronel (later hard hit as well), they made a quick last minute unexplainable decision to return for Cristobal in Lota. Praise the Lord He nudged them in that direction! That very night at 3:34 a.m. the earthquake struck south central Chile, sending people on the coasts escaping to higher ground. Such was the case in Lota. If it were not for Susana and her husband returning to Lota that night, the family would not have had a vehicle to make it up the steep hill to safety. Susana’s husband, not yet a believer, declared, “There is no way that was just luck!”

Carmen’s parents decided to spend the night with friends near her father’s small hardware shop in Lota. Upon hearing noises like someone breaking into a storage unit next door, her father, Pablo, quickly went to check things out. It was not a thief at all, but rather the owner of the storage unit moving stock for his minimarket to another location. The owner invited Carmen’s father in and welcomed him to anything the family would be needing in the next days and weeks! What a surprise for Carmen’s mother and the whole family when Pablo returned with much needed water, milk, huge sacks of flour and many other goods for the days ahead.

Meanwhile, Carmen’s brother, also named Pablo, and family escaped from the eighth floor of their apartment building in Concepcion (the epicenter). They went to stay at a one floor house they own. In the morning, they heard many voices outside. One of the neighbors, who works in construction, just happened to have brought his huge water truck home the night before and parked in front of his house! The truck survived the earthquake and there was the neighbor with the big hose, inviting all the neighbors to bring bottles and jugs for filling. The construction water truck became an oasis in the midst of destruction where no water/electricity/telephone was to be found.

As we team up with God, and our brothers and sisters in Chile, great things happen. Please pray without ceasing. Please keep giving. I’ll keep the stories coming as we see God’s footprints.

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Chile – Update from Ricardo and Beth Gomez

  -March 12th, 2010 @ 4:10 pm

11 March 2010

Well, Chile perhaps made it back into the news again today. We just had three very strong aftershocks, one of them measuring 7.2 about one hour south of Santiago. There are tsunami warnings along the coast. Please keep praying for Chile! Of course, we have not contacted everyone yet, but …

sorry had to pause for yet another aftershock …

… we know that Pastor Luis Alberto and family, and fellow missionary Kay Stotts and family are fine. We have also communicated with other Santiago pastors.

After being postponed by the Feb. 27 earthquake, schools in Santiago are beginning their school year this week. Juliana started first grade on Monday, and Jonathan’s first day of Pre-Kinder was on Tuesday. Today, we took the kids to school at 8 a.m. and then went downtown (a 20 to 30 minute drive) to run an errand … We stopped in a coffee shop, about two blocks from the kids’ school, to finish planning for tomorrow night’s first session of Alpha for Couples (the marriage course that we will start leading at Casa Grande tomorrow night).

When the ground started shaking we decided to quickly go outside (and everyone else followed us). From there, we had a perfect view of street lights swaying as if they were held up by only a twig. After the movement stopped, we quickly paid the bill and headed to the school. We felt another strong quake (6.9) while driving the two blocks to school and a third (6.0) as we walked up to the school gate.

We were among the first parents to arrive – but were joined by many others. The headmistress of the school came out to the fence to assure everyone that we were more worried than the kids. They decided to release the pre-school kids a few minutes early and said that we could sign out the older children if we wanted, but they didn’t recommend it. After some discussion, Ricardo and I decided it was better not to scare Juliana more by taking her out of school. We’ll go back and pick her up at the end of the day (4 p.m.) unless something shakes (I mean, changes).

Just wanted to give you a glimpse of life in the shake zone and let you know we are fine – in case you’ve seen or heard anything on the news.

We’ve received another touching email from Pastor Nelson. He continues living in a tent and is very thankful for the assistance that the FM church has provided with food and water, etc. He said what they need most (apart from food, water and a safe place to live) is rest and encouragement. He is physically and emotionally tired from caring for his church members while trying to survive himself, living literally on the streets of Lota. Pray for him, and pray that we and others can effectively provide the support he (and others like him) need!

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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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Earthquake in Chile-Ricardo and Beth Gomez Update #6

  -March 8th, 2010 @ 10:10 pm

6 March 2010

1 week and perhaps 1,000s of aftershocks later, life in Santiago begins to resemble some normalcy. Pastor Luis Alberto and family moved back into Casa Grande last night after it was deemed “safe” by an engineer. The Santiago FM pastors had their monthly prayer (and now relief planning) breakfast today. Church services will be held in their normal locations tomorrow. School starts on Monday as do the Seminary extension classes. Alpha for Couples will begin on Friday. This normalcy, in the midst of continuing relief efforts and frequent shaking.

Unfortunately normalcy is far from the reality down south! A 6.6 aftershock yesterday brought with it more tragedy. Pastor Sergio reports that one of the children who attends Sunday School at the church in Talcahuano was killed when a wall fell on him. Please pray for comfort for his family and that of his church family.

We just received a message from Pastor Nelson Concha, of the Free Methodist Church in Lota. We are translating it here for you…

Here We Are.
Now things are calmer, but everything was terrible… from the earthquake to the looting…we protected our lives and then later our belongings. It was incredible to see the true brokenness of human nature after the earthquake.

My family and I are still without water and only have electricity occasionally…. we are sleeping in a tent in the street because our home is in very bad shape. It has be torn now – we hope soon. We have still not seen the government help even though this will be another problem because it isn’t clear how to distribute it and the people of Lota are very violent. Help us pray that all of this calms down. We trust in God and his provision. We don’t want to fight for food.

Our brothers and friends in Chile have helped a lot with food…I know that people everywhere are praying for us and this gives us strength.

God has been our refuge and strength. Little-by-little we are recovering our sleep but the aftershocks continue. This will not be only for a few weeks but rather for many months or years.

We trust in God and in our church. The Lota FM Church is a big family and God knows that we can overcome and help others.

God bless you. “The Lord is our pastor. We shall not want.”

Nelson Concha, Pastor, Free Methodist Church, Lota, Chile

In His presence,
Ricardo and Beth Gomez

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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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It Took an Earthquake

  -March 5th, 2010 @ 3:15 pm

Update from Kay Stotts Godoy

I could tell right from the start that my apartment neighbor, Lupe, is a very proud woman. Her walk, her dress, her mannerisms. It took a lot of perseverance to get more than “hello” out of her as our paths crossed in the lobby or front walkway outside. She always seemed to be in a hurry and above all the humdrum of daily life.

I was more than surprised to find out Lupe had accepted the invitation of a friend to attend a women’s Bible study. I’ll never forget Pastora Carmen telling me later how Lupe had burst out laughing upon hearing the reading of the story of Jonah that day. It was her first time reading the Bible, and the fact that a whale swallowed Jonah who lived to tell about it was more than she could take!

Lupe continued to attend Bible studies during that year and form friendships with women from the church. She even made an appearance at services once or twice. It seemed Lupe was “thawing out” a bit, beginning to smile more and even taking time for small talk. But that’s as far as it went. Even the recent death of her husband and a move to a different city didn’t seem to phase her cold heart. She’d heard the Truth many times and in many ways by now, but was never ready to turn her life over to Jesus. That is … until the earthquake.

Lupe says that right there in the darkness and fear of that dreadful night, it became crystal clear to her that all she had been taught from the Bible was true. It was true! And it was for Lupe! So right there middle of the earthquake, Lupe asked Jesus to be her Savior and Lord. Are good things going to come out of the tragedy and devastation in Chile? Absolutely! Just ask Lupe.

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Earthquake in Chile-Update #4

  -March 2nd, 2010 @ 5:58 pm

From Ricardo and Beth Gomez:



We wanted to give you an update and ask you to pray for tomorrow’s work. Ricardo will leave tomorrow with our friend, Sumi, and a policeman at 5 a.m. They will go to Chillan to drop off some supplies that will be sent to Lota, pick up Superintendent Sergio Loyola and then continue on to Talcahuana where 90% of the city has been destroyed. Due to strict curfews that have been put in place, they cannot arrive before noon and must leave the city by 6 p.m. tomorrow.

We’ve spent the day shopping, making phone calls (the home phone works now as does our electricity since about 4 p.m. today), collecting donations, and filling water jugs to take with them. We’ve just learned that the government is sending its first help to the area tomorrow – so in some ways the Free Methodist Church is among the first responders. Other teams will be going down Thursday, Friday, etc.

This is how the body of Christ is working together in Santiago: some are collecting clothes, some are making bread, others are shopping, all are working together. The Bishop’s Famine and Relief Fund has sent “first response” money. More is expected, thanks to your generosity. We are planning to send a larger truck with more supplies no later than Monday. Based upon what was spent today, we think that it will cost about $20,000 to fill the larger truck.

As we told the bishops this morning, … 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 were hit with a 1-2 punch: earthquake and then tsunami. The few minutes we had enough electricity to watch news last night, we heard 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. Today the military has been sent to help protect the areas most affected. Also, the cities have imposed strict curfews. There is story after story to be told.

The threat of aftershocks continues. We’re just watching a report that says if we have an aftershock of only five, two of the high-rise apartment buildings here in Santiago near us could come down. Almost 900 families live in these two buildings. Fortunately the builders are paying for hotels for the residents.

The earthquake may be far away but it is very real. Please keep praying!

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Help Chile Heal

  -March 2nd, 2010 @ 4:59 pm

On Saturday, February 27, 2010, Chile was hit with a devastating earthquake. As relief efforts begin, Dr. Delia Nüesch-Olver, Latin America Area Director, asks Free Methodists to help our brothers and sisters in Chile who have been devastated by this disaster.

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