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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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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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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.

Give Now

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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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