It is hard to believe that we have been here for only 3 days and God has given us the privilege of witnessing so many different things. On Tuesday, we went to two different locations where the earthquake and the tsunami hit. I have seen a lot of pictures on the internet but there is something different about seeing it firsthand. It broke my heart to see the reality of devastation.
As we visited two cities, we got an inside looked at the devastation. It was hard to believe that the disaster happened 8 months ago because there was still a lot of destruction and rebuilding that needed to take place. Constitucion was the first city that we visited. This was the place where the tsunami killed hundreds of people and left a path of destruction. Then we headed out to Cauquenes, where the earthquake literally ripped buildings in half. It is estimated that half of all the buildings in this town were completely flattened. We were told that even though progress has been made, there is still a lot of work to be done.
Throughout the four hour drive from Santiago to these cities, God reminded me of 3 things:
2) God’s Compassion. Christ-followers are truly the hands and feet of Jesus. So often people come to understand God’s love and compassion through the grace and love that is shown through His followers. I am constantly amazed at how God’s people are able to love unconditionally and passionately in the midst of tragedy. By witnessing God’s compassion in action, it reminded me of the power of God’s grace. We need more people who are able to display God’s compassion to others. This is really a great evangelistic tool. God’s love is best experienced through people who have experienced God’s love freely and then who share God’s love freely with others..
3) God’s Church. No matter what size or style, God is passionate about His Church. The church that we are working with here in Chile is powerfully reaching out to the Santiago and beyond to other cities throughout Chile. They have a vision to plant more life-giving churches throughout this great nation. Even when we visited a church in the earthquake affected area, we were encouraged to see their love and passion for Jesus. God never forgets about some of the small churches around the world. Whenever “foreigners” visit their churches, it is a visible reminder for the members that God hasn’t forgotten about them.
Here is a video update from all three of us:
Here are some pictures of our trip so far
The Center City of Santiago
The whole city is surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountains
One of the universities in the city of Santiago
Makeshift outhouses for a camp which had about 400 people affected by the tsunami
A Catholic Church devastated by the earthquake
This is where the tsunami entered into the city of Constitucion and killed hundreds
A damaged home from the tsunami
A whole street of houses were eliminated because of the tsunami
Some temporary houses for people who lost everything
Some of the Chilean pastors that we have been meeting in the last 2 days
You cannot be a vegetarian and minister in Chile 🙂 This is the famous Chilean BBQ!