In response to Hurricane Irma, East-West sent staff members to assess the damage and partner with local churches in Latin America to serve their communities with Christ-like compassion following the storm’s destruction. The story below is from their time on the field.
On our first day of ministry, we saw miles of stripped jungles where trees were uprooted or completely stripped of their leaves. Roofs and rooms of entire houses were missing.
We watched as one family tried to gather all of their possessions, walls, and ceilings that were slewed all over the place. They moved boards and looked for anything that could be salvaged. Their area was one of the poorest communities and the hardest hit. We were told by Roberto*, an East-West national partner, they would not have the resources to rebuild.
We stopped the vehicle and asked the family to come near the van so we could offer money to help. But they wouldn't take it. They were embarrassed, but were willing to accept some of the food and goods we had with us—enough to last a couple of days.
They were very grateful and touched by our care. For over two weeks, no one had stopped to help them. We shared the gospel and left them with tracts.
When we got back to our host church, we reported what we witnessed to the pastor. Until this point, the church had been denied access to this particular community. But they were now in need, and the church was ready to respond. The next day they sent members back with more food and necessities.
Please pray for this local church as they use this opportunity to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of their neighbors. Pray that in the midst of the devastation from Hurricane Irma, people would be open to the gospel and church planting work would begin in these previously closed areas.
*name changed for security reasons