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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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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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Earthquake in Chile – Update #3

  -March 1st, 2010 @ 5:46 pm

From Ricardo and Beth Gomez:

Please accept our apologies for not keeping you better informed recently. We are doing fine but have been without electricity much of the last 24 hours. We are so thankful for what we do have though – most of all, one another!

Yesterday we held church under a tree. There were 16 people (including the 4 kids) there and it was a good time of sharing our experiences, thanking God and praying for others who are hurting so much more. We think that everyone in our church is safe but have not yet been able to contact everyone due to the fact that we and others don’t have telephones, and cellphones only work randomly. Our superintendent reports that the church families throughout Chile are safe – but not without major need. Some pastoral families are without homes and basic necessities.

Chile is an earthquake zone. It is somewhat prepared. Ricardo went downtown yesterday and was amazed at how “untouched” the city seemed to be – at least from outward appearance of the buildings. But that is not true in the older areas, poorer areas or in the epicenter. Damage down south has been significant! It seems that what the earthquake didn’t get, the tsunami did. Last time we had television, we heard the death toll was over 800.

Superintendent Sergio Loyola was in Talchauno today. He reports that 90% of the city was destroyed – first by the earthquake and then finished off by the tsunami. They’ve lost everything, the people are desperate, and therefore there is chaos. They are without all basic necessities, including clothing – because the sea stole them. The churches in Santiago are working together to collect water, gas, food, clothing, blankets, etc., to send down. Ricardo, Pastor Karim and our friend Sumi are taking a moving truck of supplies down Wednesday morning and may be going down on Friday, as well.

Since we don’t have electricity, you probably know more than we do. Juliana just made me an necklace with a bell on it. As she put it around my neck, she said, “this bell is so that I will always know where you are.” Life has changed. We appreciate your continued prayers!

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