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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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Report from Ricardo and Beth Gomez Update #2

  -February 27th, 2010 @ 8:57 pm

Chile thanks you for your concern and prayers! Please keep praying! After shocks have continued all day – some of them quite strong but almost always there is a rocking sensation. We wanted to give you some updates.

Casa Grande has significant damage and so Pastor Luis Alberto and family and Dra. Teresa are staying in our home. Current plans are to go back and have a service in the yard tomorrow – or in the nearby plaza. According to the radio news, more than 1.5 million homes in Chile have been destroyed by this catastrophe. The death toll at this time is 214 people.

School was supposed to start next week but the President has postponed all schools until at least March 8. We are also going to postpone the Biblical Institute until we know that the building (Casa Grande) is structurally safe. Other churches and pastoral homes have structural problems. Please be praying for wisdom to know what houses/churches are safe for living/services and how to make proper repairs.

By the way, we learned that the earthquake actually lasted 3 minutes. They were LONG minutes. We praise God that our neighbors family has been located and is fine.

As the kids keep repeating from their Vacation Bible School a few week ago, “God is always with us; Fear NOT!” We rest in His presence tonight (and hope to get a good night of much needed sleep) — as the floor rocks beneath me. We are actually feeling sea sick!

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Report from Ricardo and Beth Gomez Update #1

  -February 27th, 2010 @ 10:53 am

We were shaken awake at 3:40 this morning by an earthquake. We rushed upstairs, grabbed the kids, and prayed together in a doorway for what seemed like 5 minutes (but later learned it was only about 45 seconds). After we rushed outside, Jonathan asked if this was like the earthquake in Haiti. When I said “yes,” he replied, “then people in other countries are praying for us.” That was a great comfort! While we have just now gotten communication back – we see that we have already received many messages from you, telling us that you are praying. Thank you. We are thankful to report that we are fine. Fellow missionaries: Kay Stotts and family, Pastor Luis Alberto and family (Colombia) and Dra. Teresa (Bolivia) are safe. All of the FM pastors in the city are also safe and we have received reports that many of the other pastors in Chile are too. Please pray for our neighbor, Exequiel, whose parents and niece are on vacation near the epicenter. He still hasn’t been able to reach them. The current death toll stands at 122 but that is expected to keep rising.

The only real damage to our home is a few broken dishes/vases and an office in complete disrepair. Santiago seems to be pretty well prepared for an earthquake although several bridges fell, some new buildings have collapsed and there are problems with fires and destruction, particularly in the industrial part of town. The airport is closed indefinitely due to damage to the building – not the runways. Recent reports (now that it is daytime) say that damages downtown are quite extensive. Casa Grande seems to have a lot of cracked walls – and neighbors thought it would fall based on the way it shook. Luis and Daisy and Teresa (who live there) are not sure that it is safe to live in. The epicenter of the quake was about 200 miles south – and there is much more destruction there. It really seems to have affected all of this long country with its 8.3 force.

We are still experiencing quite a few, very strong, after shocks – many in the time that it has taken me to write this report. The kids are prepared – with their play tent and life jackets.

The government is asking everyone to stay put today so that the safety of buildings, bridges, etc. can be assessed in addition to helping those in need. President Bachelet has declared a state of catastrophe but fortunately all of tsunami warnings are expired for the Chilean coast. Please keep Chile in your prayers as we all work together to assess damage and help those in need.

We will report back to you as we know specific details.

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