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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