(CNSAM Ecuador) The church is saddened by the devastating earthquake of 7.8 magnitude that occurred in Ecuador last Saturday afternoon near the Pacific coast, which was also felt around the Andean nation and its neighboring countries. The registered number of deaths on Sunday was of 246, but there are still many that are trapped under rubble.
The towns along the coast are the most affected and the churches were contacted, so far only reported minor damages in the facilities. Still, the access to affected areas is difficult because of blocked roads and so communication with the people in these communities is limited.
Among the most affected areas are Pedernales, Portoviejo and Guayaquil where there are about 80 Nazarene congregations between missions and organized churches. Rev. Dwight Rich, Field Strategy Coordinator for the Andean area said, “We praise the Lord for his protection and ask your prayers for the families who have lost relatives, neighbors and loved ones. We know that a young Nazarene, a mother and her baby died. Our churches are working together to help neighbors and family in Christ. Many people have contacted us to help and tell us they are praying for us and we appreciate the words of encouragement.”
Together with church leaders in the affected areas, Nazarene Compassionate Ministries is coordinating the aid to be given to these communities. At the moment, a team has been formed to coordinate the response and some churches have risen to serve as reference points for donations which includes nonperishable food items, drinking water, clothing, cleaning equipment, awnings and tents for distribution for those affected. In the second stage, within these same days, the church will provide medical assistance, counseling and psychological care to advance towards the third stage which is more complex and longer, that is rebuilding. Also an effort has been made to evaluate and consider the needs of the different locations. Similarly, other ministries like Heart-to-Heart International and Extreme Nazarene Ministries are mobilizing to assist in the immediate relief efforts.
The Church of the Nazarene officially entered Ecuador in 1972. There are currently more than 220 Nazarene churches in Ecuador, with approximately 16,000 members.
To join the efforts of Nazarene churches in South America in reaching their communities and also meet the needs caused by a disaster of this magnitude, visit the global website of Nazarene Compassionate Ministries:https://give.nazarene.org/donate/f/126156.
Donations within the region may also be made through offerings raised in local churches and sent to districts with the description: “Ecuador Earthquake Relief #126156”
Source: Rev. Dwight Rich / Rev. Tabita Gonzalez
Translation: Liliana Reza