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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 members in the city of Molina.

“People who don’t have food” were part of her petitions to God. “People who don’t have water. They have great need in this moment. Help the Chilenos, Lord.”

Putting such prayers into action, Templo Evangelico’s young people are leading an effort to help other survivors in the hard-hit Molina area in central Chile.

Since the quake, 10 or more young people have been caring for the 60 people in Los Lizamas about 10 miles outside of Molina. Los Lizamas sits between two municipalities, neither of which has stepped forward to aid the community’s 12 families who have lived outside their collapsing homes and struggled with limited resources since the earthquake, existing in a jurisdictional no man’s land, receiving only sporadic, limited help.

Templo Evangelico’s young people have begun to stand in the gap, sending teams to Los Lizamas to distribute food, water and diapers.

The church’s young people have nurtured relationships with the people there, International Mission Board missionary Charles Clark noted while visiting Molina as part of a Baptist quake-relief assessment team. “It’s wonderful to see this many young people and the heart they have.”

They are part of Centro Misionero Jovenel (Center for Young Missionaries), a two-year, on-the-job missions education program at Templo Evangelico and other churches in Chile for training youth in their late teens and early 20s to become missionaries to other parts of the country and into the 10/40 geographical band from North Africa to Southeast Asia where most of the world’s unreached peoples live.

During training, they are living in a facility being constructed behind the church which also serves as the base for mobilizing their ministry projects.

“This is basically a missionary center for young people,” said Clark, who serves as the IMB’s strategy leader for the part of South America that includes Chile. “This is new. They are still building it and trying to outfit it. This earthquake has been further motivation for them.”
Tristan Taylor is an International Mission Board writer in the Americas. Donations to Southern Baptist Chilean relief may be made at http://www.imb.org (click on the Chile quake response graphic).

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  • Tristan Taylor