International Ministries

Four Days Later: Post Hurricane Odile

September 18, 2014 Journal
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Four Days Later

It has been four days.  Now on U.S. assignment and 3000 miles away from Baja, we are just beginning to hear from our friends – brothers and sisters in Christ from La Paz, San Jose, and Los Cabos.  Some are getting power back.  Many are still waiting. Food and water are in short supply and many have damaged homes, or have lost their homes entirely.  We are still waiting to hear about certain churches in San Jose—if they are even still standing.  We have been searching the internet for clues and have been stunned by what we have seen.  We have been to what are now unrecognizable areas.  We know these people.  We know the edge of life many held onto, and how fragile it was before the hurricane.  The pictures and videos we see tell us that their fragile life has been blown apart, and washed away.  Many will be starting over, from scratch.

Reports from our Mexican Partners

We have received an email from Aaron Ramirez, the president of the convention of Mexican Baptist Churches in Southern Baja, with whom we have partnered for the last 15 years.  He said the storm was the worst they have ever experienced.  He shared that Los Cabos and Los Barriles were hit 3 or 4 times worse than La Paz and he has not yet received personal reports from these cities south of La Paz.  There are churches (North of La Paz) in Loreto, Mulege, and Santa Rosalia we have not heard from either.  But the pictures tell us of overwhelming damages and need.  Aaron said that for the last three days in La Paz they have been without power, water, telephone, cell phones, or internet.  He shared that many homes, especially the most vulnerable, have suffered great damage or are completely gone. 

Love Awakened

But Aaron also reported, “The people are out cleaning up and there is a sense of joyful relief that the damages have mostly been material and not in loss of life.   It is becoming a great occasion of awakening for the city.  The hurricane has awakened a sense of helping each other in love.”  Sigfredo Varela, a deacon at the First Baptist Church of La Paz said on his Facebook page, “There is great material need, but the greater need is spiritual.  We are sharing what we have, in particular, the love of Jesus.”

Refugees Pouring Into La Paz

We read today that at least 50,000 people are refugees. Their homes are gone.  They have left San Jose and Cabo San Lucas and are moving to La Paz looking for food and water and shelter.  It tells us the situation has overwhelmed the government and social systems and it will be a while before they catch up.  The churches in La Paz will need to strategize how to assist these refugees.

Making the Kingdom Real

It reminds us that this is the kind of situation where God’s love is most needed, and can have the greatest impact.  It is now when people being Jesus makes God’s kingdom very, very real.  It is now that these people need us to shower compassion and meet this need as best we can.  Aaron shared on behalf of the Mexican Baptist Churches that they welcome our help with gratitude.  He said he will send a more detailed report in the coming days and share of their greatest needs.

How You Can Help

Churches can send gifts through the One Great Hour of Sharing marked "Mexico Relief.”   Please make sure it says “Mexico Relief.” 

Individuals can write a check out to  “International Ministries” and indicate OGHS: Mexico Relief in the memo line.  The address to send checks is:  International Ministries, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA  19482-0851.

A method to give on-line will be available as soon as we receive word from our partners about their specific needs, both short-term and long-term.

David and Joyce