Friday, August 24, 2007

News from the Quake Zone



I just returned from Ica, Peru. Ica is the largest of the cities that fell victim to the August 15th 's magnitude 8 earthquake. In some ways we were pleasantly surprised; but in others, we could only weep with those who wept.


The surprise was how quickly the government had the Pan American Highway up and repaired enough for regular transit. There was this one bridge, though, that we did not relish crossing. On the way back even that bridge had been closed and a by-pass set up; this confirmed our earlier reluctance to cross it.


We arrived in Ica in a relatively short amount of time. There were still plenty of closed roads all over the city, but the main thoroughfares were open and well-transited. Up and down the deserted side streets, one could see house after house, store after store crumbled; it was as though a boy stomped on his sand castle and kicked the pieces all over.


But the government agencies were hard at work, cleaning up the rubble that littered the streets.





Meanwhile, our team was hard at work, readying the damaged church property to serve as our base camp for relief in the Ica area. We had to finish tearing down a damaged wall; we had to tear down the collapsed roofing structure; and we had to clean up pounds of dirt, bricks, and adobe.



Yesterday some of us went out to coordinate our first attempts at food distribution. We walked among shells of adobe houses. The initial panic was over, but the people were still hungry. The Peruvian Government is slowly and systematically delivering primitive stoves and gas bottles, along with a large cook pot. The rice and other goods had already arrived. Their spirits were good. One father and his little boy approached me with a big smile, thankful for our attempts to help them.


No words and no still photos can truly capture the essence of what we saw and experienced in the past week. We need your continued prayers. We need your prayers for lives to be radically changed in Peru. Of the nearly 30 million who live in Peru, close to 27 million live a Christ-less life. We need Jesus to make a difference.

2 comments:

Anne said...

Kevin, as I've read all the posts for the past few days, I'm saddened of course by the devastation but encouraged by your reports of the faithful.
I am reminded of one days entry on a devotional calendar on my desk this week " If God calls you to be a missionary, don't stoop to be a King" (Jordan Grooms) Scripture:They are representatives of the churches and an honor to Christ. 2 Corinthians 8:23 NIV
Prayerfully, I thank God for your family's faithfulness to serve Him. Blessings to you.
Anne

Kevin, Somewhere in South America said...

Anne,

Thank you for your encouragement. The team is working hard and moving forward. There are, indeed, a number of faithful in the quake zone who have demonstrated a strong faith in the Lord. We are praying for that number to increase as a response to God's mercy in allowing them to live.