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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 #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-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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