2010: Chile Earthquake Relief

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Shelters for Chilean families yield ‘open door’ for witness

TIRUA, Chile (BP)--Wiping tears from her eyes, the 21-year-old mother thanked Baptists for providing shelter for her family.       "I want to give thanks to everyone for this shelter," Rosa Inostroza de Santibañez said of the 10-by-20-foot structure with wood walls and a tin roof for her family in Tirua, Chile. "We are very thankful. We are going to sleep under a roof tonight and not on the ground."       She and her family had been living in a makeshift lean-to pieced together by her husband Rodrigo after the family had to run for higher ground to escape an earthquake-induced tsunami Feb. 27.       "We didn't know what we would have done if you hadn't come," Rosa said of the Chilean Baptists and volunteers from Second Baptist Church in Russellville, Ark., who delivered the shelter March 24. "We didn't have any other options open to us."       Early in the morning of Feb. 27, an earthquake crumbled their roof. Less than an hour later a tsunami crashed into their Pacific coast town.       Rosa and Rodrigo grabbed their 2-year-old daughter while Rosa's mother, Luz, pushed her 30-year-old wheelchair-bound daughter up a steep hill amid neighbors running and cars racing to escape the wave.       The older daughter is living with other relatives, while Luz stays with Rosa and her family on the hill. They had been sleeping in a tarp-covered enclosure just large enough to hold two twin-sized mattresses pushed together. They've salvaged some of their belongings by making trips on foot up and down the hill to get dishes and blankets.

Quake shifts church’s first mission in Chile

TEMUCO, Chile (BP)--After adopting the Mapuche people group in Chile last fall, Second Baptist Church in Russellville, Ark., was planning to conduct first aid training during its first mission trip to the Mapuche. But following the Feb. 27 earthquake and tsunami, the church shifted gears to help build temporary shelters ...

In Chile, sharing God’s love & a hot meal

TALCA, Chile (BP)--Mercedes Iturra has something she didn't have before Chile's 8.8-magnitude earthquake -- a newfound love of Scripture.       A group of Chilean Baptist volunteers arrived March 10 in Pangue Abajo, a rural community where Iturra lives in a makeshift tent outside her collapsing home.

In Haiti & Chile, vols make a difference

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Southern Baptist volunteers are making a difference in both Haiti and Chile, as they demonstrate the compassion of Christ for survivors of two devastating earthquakes, a key leader of the disaster response effort said. In Haiti, a tent compound will be created at a facility owned by one of the Haitian Baptist conventions […]

Chilean pastor wept after quake, then got to work

CONSTITUCIÓN, Chile (BP)--As the house trembled, Chilean pastor Juan Mauricio Muñoz prayed with his wife, son and a young woman who was staying with them. When the 8.8-magnitude earthquake was over, they were shaken but unharmed.       But the worst was yet to come. Though no tsunami warning was issued, the pastor knew to expect a wave.       "We were always taught from a young age that in any kind of earthquake, you go to high ground," he said.       He rushed his family to the car, headed to his daughter's home at a higher elevation in this seaside city of Constitución, 164 miles south of Santiago.       As they were leaving, the pastor glanced across the Maule River toward an island where approximately 200 Chileans had been enjoying a late-night party. He saw the lights of nearly 30 cell phones waving frantically as partygoers trapped on the island tried to signal for help.       By then the water was rising into the street and around the wheels of his car -- evidence that the 10-foot wave was quickly approaching. Horrified, Muñoz realized it was too late to help the people on the island.       Only three survived.       Just days after the Feb. 27 tragedy, Muñoz, pastor of Iglesia Bautista de Constitución (Constitución Baptist Church), showed the devastation in his neighborhood to a disaster assessment team of Southern Baptist and Chilean Baptist officials. Standing on the concrete slab where his home used to be, he fought back tears and recounted how the wave flattened everything on the waterfront. Like most of his neighbors, he lost a place to live and most of his belongings.       A street block of houses was gone. One of the family's cars was found almost three blocks uphill from his home. In one place, the water had crushed one building into the next.

In Chile, adopt-a-city relief plan begins

TALCA, Chile (BP)--Exhausted from traveling through south-central Chile to assess earthquake damage, a team of Southern Baptist and Chilean Baptist leaders bedded down on the floor of La Iglesia Bautista El Sembrador (Baptist Church of the Sower) in Talca. The next morning they discovered they were in exactly the right place to make significant connections to help with future relief work.

Chile relief focuses on food, shelter

CONCEPCION, Chile (BP)--Southern Baptist disaster relief volunteers are on the ground in Chile, partnering with Chilean Baptists to address critical needs in two areas hit hard by the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the country Feb. 27.

Chilean young people respond to needs

MOLINA, Chile (BP)–At Templo Evangelico Bautista (Evangelical Baptist Temple), members of all ages are turning their hearts toward fellow Chileans whose lives were upended in the Feb. 27 earthquake. “We pray for the people in all places who suffer,” a gray-haired woman prayed tearfully, her voice cracking with emotion, in a small gathering of church […]

In Chile, relief assessment underway

SANTIAGO, Chile (BP)--Despite logistical difficulties, Southern Baptist workers are responding to help those suffering from an 8.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked central Chile early Feb. 27.

8.8-mag quake ‘without parallel’ in Chile’s history

CONCEPCION, Chile (BP)--Southern Baptists have released $50,000 for immediate relief needs in Chile, where the death toll has climbed past 700 in an earthquake disaster described by the country's president as "without parallel in Chile's history."