We awoke this morning to learn that one of our team members, Pablo Juliberto, had been tapped by Chile’s new president to serve as a governor of one of Chile’s forty provinces. Pablo had previously served as the Minister of Finance for that same province. He’s a bright young man who also sits on the board of Chile’s third-largest university. So we’ve had a fun time today joking about how people from whom Pablo asks driving directions don’t know they’re talking to a distinguished governor!
Pastor Pedro, whom we met last evening, and his wife, took us around Concepcion and a nearby town named Dichato all day today visiting believers who have suffered great losses because of the tsunami that followed the earthquake. We were told that the tsunami was not a giant wave, but that the ocean simply lifted 30 to 50 feet and surged inland, then rushed back, pulling everything with it back into the ocean. That happened three times within the space of about fifteen minutes. Huge boats were planted far inland, and homes were washed out to sea. The wake of destruction left behind is hard to describe, and the photos below can only provide a tiny glimpse.
Dichato Tsunami Relief
In any case, about twenty-five Christian families who lost everything in the Dichato tsunami are sending up thanks because Heaven’s Family came to their aid today. Although we are not able to restore all they lost, we were able to help each family with some immediate needs by means of gifts of $200 to $300 each, which is a larger sum in the minds of most Chileans than it is to most North Americans. Below are photos of a few who benefitted. Some of the recipients cried, and they expressed their amazement that we came all the way from the U.S. to help them.
Chile is in a much better position than Haiti to help its citizens, and recovery efforts are well underway on public projects. It remains to be seen what might be done for individuals whose homes are heaps of rubble or have been literally washed away down to the foundations, leaving nothing. — David