Valparaiso is a beautiful city.
Volunteers Moises Cruces, Lord Merino, and Hugo Fuentes traveled to Valparaiso to ask how we can help.
The fires swept clean the hills of Valparaiso.
Two disasters slammed Chile in April.
- An 8.2 earthquake in northern Chile on April 1 left more than 2,500 homes destroyed.
- Then around April 12 forest fires on the outskirts of Valparaiso invaded the city and destroyed over 2,000 homes.
Our convention sent offerings to help the earthquake victims in the north. Government resources for rebuilding are being distributed relatively quickly.
One of our largest churches is in Antofagasta, close enough to the epicenter to send some help. Because of the great distance and the overall efficiency of the government´s response, our convention decided to focus our relief efforts on Valparaiso.
How Can We Help Valparaiso Families Rebuild?
The devastation left by the Valparaiso fires is something within our reach. Last week we sent a team of three men to Valparaiso to assess the situation. Moises Cruces, national coordinator of the convention´s volunteers, along with Pastors Lord Merino and Hugo Fuentes, met with the mayor and asked how and where our volunteers could help the most. He said that the government can provide most of the materials for temporary shelter and reconstruction. What they will need is manpower.
Chilean Baptist Volunteers Go To Valparaiso to Rebuild
The week of June 1 fifteen to twenty Baptist men will help install insulation materials in the emergency shelters (mediaguas). They will also do electrical installations, and distribute food kits.
See A Video Of How One Church Is Helping
One of our churches in Santiago is already there. See this video for a glimpse of conditions in Valparaiso. www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bLN1_XdBQg
Chilean Baptists and American Baptists Raise An Offering
Chilean Baptist churches in our partner convention have raised nearly $3,000 and American Baptists (your One Great Hour of Sharing offerings) have donated $2,000.
Families in Valparaiso Are Still Vulnerable
Valparaiso is a seaport city, declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Built on forty-two hills, stretched out like an amphitheater, steep streets filled with bright-colored houses, Valparaiso is something to see.
The homes destroyed were on the outer fringes of the city, next to forests. Many of the home sites were not registered, nor did the people hold titles to the property. The city is not willing to displace them, so even after rebuilding they will be vulnerable.
Chilean Baptists Discover Their Capacity For Mission
After the earthquake and tsunami in 2010 that left over 40,000 homeless, our churches discovered that they can effectively meet human needs after a disaster. God raised up an Emergency Volunteer Relief Network that provided food kits, and made the emergency shelters more livable by installing windows and insulation.
One new mission, in Tubul, resulted from that movement.
It could happen again on one of Valparaiso´s forty-two hills where God´s grace is shared.
Is this how a mission movement gets started?
I know God´s call is in this, because Valparaiso is where our volunteers´ deep gladness in serving in Jesus´ name will be met by some of Chile´s deepest human needs. (to paraphrase F. Buechner´s definition of vocation)