Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chile Earthquake

Paula (pictured) said, "I go to bed each night exhausted, wondering how I'm going to get through the next day". I heard Paula's story in a displaced people's camp in Chile last week, being led there by the Lord....

Almost a year ago, the coast of Chile was rocked by a powerful 8.8 magnitude earthquake, which thrust an 8 ft high tsunami wave against the coastal areas near Concepcion. The earthquake, though much more powerful than the one that devastated Haiti, did not cause near the mass devastation as in haiti and there was a quick government response. TouchGlobal Crisis Response, in consultaion with Reach Global latin America chose at that time not to respond not to respond to the event, in part because of these above circumstances, but primarily because we did not have missionally aligned partner relationships in the country, missionally aligned to see the great commandment and great commission opportunity that follows crisis.

But God had a better plan. About 30 years ago, he made himself known to a young teen in Talcahuano, Chile, near Concepcion. Over the years God developed a vision in that young man to see a church planting movement in Chile. With the earthquake, that man, Hugo Concha, currently pastor of El Faro Ev Free Church (Lebanon, PA), was compelled to respond to the needs in his hometown. In March, 2010, he took a small team and some relief supplies to do what he could. He left with resolve to come back to make a kingdom difference.

God then connected him with other Ev. Free Churches in PA, and with TouchGlobal Crisis Response and ReachGlobal, to follow the Lord in moving forward with this vision. It was out of that vision anda desire to serve where God is moving, that a small group of us found ourselves in the displaced peoples camp in Chile, listening to Paula. She is the leader of a group of 95 families, amidst several camps with thousands of people who have their homes and most of their posessions. She has 3 kids and cannot leave the camp for work, so she makes and sells empanadas (local dish). She is cold to religion, yet expressed a real hunger, desire for caring relationships. Pray that the Lord would meet Paula's needs, and would bring True Religion, Is 58 style, to Paula and those like her. Pray for caring Christian workers to serve here, and for resources to help Paula and others like her.

That vision also had us meeting with a Chilean couple that is being called to the region to make disciples and plant churches. Pray for Yamil and Mylena, as they seek the Lords direction in multiplying healthy churches among the Chilean people, and for us as we seek to come alongside the doors the Lord is opening.

Yamil and Mylena (on left)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Haiti Blessing

A while back we discovered a small orphanage near our base that had been really ovelooked. It is small and well off the main road. to get to it from our house we walk up a dirt road, turn off onto a path along an irrigation ditch, travel through the woods, cross a creek, up the bank and we're there. Our teams have spent time with the kids in the past and were able to build a small school shelter for them. (Pictured).

They couple running it, a pastor and his wife have 3 of their own kids, are expecting their 4th, and have taken in 10 others. The small school thay have is for the 13 kids in the house, plus several other kids from nearby families. They do not charge for the school and have no uniforms or books. They have no money to pay their teachers, so the teachers have gotten other odd jobs to support themselvs and teach the kids as they can.

The young girls showed us some needle work they had been learning. It was so beautiful, and so encouraging to see them learning a craft along with what other things the teachers managed for instruction. We saw many smiles and stayed until dark this evening enjoying our time with the kids.

As I walked home, I was reminded of how fortunate and blessed I am to be a part of this ministry, and to have such worderful supporters and partners in ministry to be able to make such a tangible difference in the lives of these children. Thanks for your partnership with our family and the ministry of TouchGlobal Crisis Response.

Continue to pray for Haiti and the process of choosing a new president. Things have gotten very complicated this week with the arrival/return of former dictator 'baby doc' Duvallier. In the randomness of the world, I happened to be in the hotel where 'baby doc' was staying the mroning after he arrived. lots of security and reporters....and me. No one asked me for an interview though :) I also saw today an announcement that exiled president Aristede was planning to return to Haiti. A bearded lady and 3 rings and the circus will be complete. The country needs hope and a Godly leader....pray. ml

Monday, January 17, 2011

Back in Haiti

A flood of memories and feelings came back to me yesterday as I returned to Haiti for the first time this year. It was almost exactly a year ago when came for the first time days after the 'quake.

As I landed at the airport, I looked out over grass areas around the runway. What used to be a sea of tents for relief agencies is a field that needs cut.I recalled the days roaming around military and UN tents securing food, water, medicine and fuel. Driving to our home in Gressier I passed the place on the street where I saw my last quake victim piled in a heap.

Some small signs of the continued clean up, a damaged building now removed, another even rebuilt. I saw some areas where streets were reopened as families were no longer living in them. And of course throngs of people everywhere trying to eak out a living in the 'new' Haiti.
The new normal is one of rubble amidst brokenness, and the expanding 'suburb' of tin, tarps, tents and trash growing north of PaP. As I looked out over the hills of homeless, a bit overwhelmed, Ps 121 came to mind. "I lift my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from. My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." And it's in converstaions with kids. At a partner's school today (pictured above), child after child told me about loved ones lost in the quake. Dana, 17, lost her mom while Richard, 8, lost his dad, and another boy his brother.

God, thanks for being the best help for those in need. Give me wisdom as to how to help and vision to see all that You desire for this patch of earth you've made. ml