The better part of our Saturday consisted of driving further south in Chile, a nation with a ribbon-like shape that is 2,700 miles long and averages about 100 miles in width. Our destination was the city of Valdivia, where James and Pablo know some pastors. We arrived in the afternoon to gratefully learn that our hotel had warm water, something we did without during our two-day stay at Concepción. (Incidentally, I learned that the earthquake moved the entire city of Concepción ten feet to the west.)
We enjoyed a lovely dinner that evening with the pastors of our host church, Grace and Peace Fellowship. Enrique Rofas and Maritza Balas have planted sixteen churches in Chile over the last nine years and they are big fans of The Disciple-Making Minister (my kind of people). We joined their congregation of 1,300 on Sunday morning. James Jones preached the primary sermon, and I must say that his anointing increased exponentially with a suit and tie—judging from the applause, amens and standing ovations garnered during his message. It was probably the best sermon I never heard (as it was in Spanish).
Earlier in the service, a single mother shared an amazing testimony relative to the earthquake and tsunami. I’m saving her story for our May magazine, so I can’t share the details here. But her children were swept out to sea by the tsunami, and then swept back inland, to be found eight days later, alive. Heaven’s Family is now helping to rebuild their damaged house.
After church, I had the blessing of meeting the Herrara family, pictured above, whose fifteen-story apartment building toppled and snapped in half during the early morning hours of the February 27 earthquake. (I had taken photos of their building just a few day earlier, of which one is below.) The Herraras lived on the twelfth floor. They were awakened by the violent shaking and started praying and crying out to God. Although most of their furniture slid across the floor and crashed into the walls as the building fell over, none of the Herraras were touched or hurt. As the building lay on its side, they crawled out a window and started helping others.
Sunday evening we attended an earthquake benefit concert organized by Grace and Peace Church. The highlight for me was some traditional flamenco dancers who were one of several groups who volunteered their talents to raise funds for earthquake survivors. Below is a photo I snapped that reflects the intensity of the dancers.
Tomorrow we start our long journey back north to Santiago, a ten-hour drive. Then on Tuesday I start my longer journey back to the U.S., a twenty-four hour trip. I’m ready for home.
All together we’ve assisted about thirty Christian families or individuals who lost just about everything because of Chile’s earthquake, sharing close to $10,000, so it has been a fruitful week of service. Thanks for joining me via our blog. — David