International Ministries

Chilean Churches Go to the Epicenter with Relief

March 4, 2010 Journal
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On Friday, March 5, in borrowed trucks, 2,000 kilos of food, flour and water will be taken to earthquake/tsunamai-stricken churches and neighbors in Concepcion and surrounding areas, by the Southern District churches of our partner Baptist convention.

Lord Merino, Director of the Southern District, along with Mario Ramos, President of the National Baptist Convention of Chile (formerly Mision Chilena),  Moises Cruces, coordinator of evangelism, and others will depart at 5 AM and plan to visit, share their solidarity and prayers, and begin damage assessment of the most urgent needs

They will visit the church in Cerro Verde. led by Nidia Alegria (immediate past president of the Baptist Women's Union) and her husband Pastor Luis Alvarado.  Just north of Concepcion, Cerro Verde was hit by the tsunamai.  While Nidia and Luis' house was spared, many of their neighbors and church members lost everything.  Only yesterday convention leadership was able for the first time to communicate by phone or e-mail about the devastation here.

Lord Merino wrote us yesterday, "Hola Dwight, here in Temuco your house has been the center of operations as we met to plan our visit to the churches in Los Angeles, Laja, Concepcion, Coronel, Cerro Verde, and Tome."  Although we cannot be there yet, our house is available for a meeting place.  ( We rent, but have a wonderful landlord who kept the house for us)   Our ten-year old vehicle is being put back into operation by our friend, Moises Cruces.

While this team goes north from Temuco, another team will head south from Santiago.  Pastor Jose Marin of Los Condores de Chile Baptist Church is leading a caravan of pastors and leaders to the churches and neighborhoods in Talca, Linares, Curico and Chillan.  Jose is a fearless, compassionate pastor and his team will also bring pastoral care and food, water, and supplies.  They will also make the first damage assessments.

When both teams return, they will share with us their assessments and lists of the most urgent needs and priorities.  International Ministries has made available $20,000 from One Great Hour of Sharing and Church World Services for immediate relief needs.  We will begin addressing the most urgent needs both now, and upon our return to Chile.

American Baptist churches, friends and supporters are responding magnificently and generously to the Haiti earthquake relief, and we should continue to do that with all our hearts.

Now, the earth has moved again, jolted off its axis.  American Baptists will open their hearts wide, again, and help Chilean Baptists and their neighbors rebuild their homes and provide food, water, shelter, and basic necessities to those who are in distress. 

Gifts may be sent to International Ministries, P. O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA  19482-0851.   Be sure to designate  Chile Earthquake Relief - OGHS.

You may also give online.  On the GIVE tab above, click and a page will appear with tabs for Chile Earthquake Relief, and for Haiti Earthquake Relief, also.

The best of Chile was not represented by the looters, but by the thousands of Chileans who are driving to the affected areas to share what they have with their families.  These two caravans of Chilean Baptist leaders represent our best, also.

Many of these pastors preached from Psalm 46 last Sunday.
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way." 
AMEN.

P.S.  Our return to Chile is now scheduled for March 15.  We were ready to leave March 2 but the flight was canceled due to the Santiago airports' closing.  The airport is re-opening in two phases.

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