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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