Thursday, August 16, 2007

Earthquake Devastation - A Letter from Lima

I was in Florida when the earthquake struck and have spent much of the day trying to reach people on the phone and coordinate help from afar. Telephones were down to begin with, but I've just received this prayer letter from Deacon Rachel Hill...

Dear friends,
Thank you for your prayers for protection! We are all well if a little shaken up by last night's earthquake. I was at the cathedral about to teach class, Allen was home with the boys. We cancelled class and everyone left to go home. My usual 7-10 minutes drive took over half an hour as the streets were flooded with people trying to get home. For many of our seminarians it was hours before they could squeeze onto a bus and then make it through the hectic traffic to their families. Thankfully all were well.
Today we have been in touch with all the missions and projects of the diocese and there has been no serious damage or injury that we know of. Tomorrow all our building will be checked by an architect. We are planning to provide emergency relief to meet the needs of those in our communities who did suffer. Miraculously little damage was sustained in the shanty towns, by the grace of God. Sadly, there has been tremendous loss of life and homes further south and we will also be seeking to respond there in collaboration with some major relief agencies which are already in action.
Today I was out all morning and there was a very somber and quiet atmosphere everywhere. By mid-morning I realised that I too felt very shaken emotionally. As the news stations share more of the details we are all praying and waiting to see how we might help. In the San Patricio mission, few of the homes around our mission fell, but all the neighbours went down to the lower ground nearer the sea to help the families there transfer their flooded shacks to higher ground.
Please pray for all those who have lost family members, homes and livelihoods; for those who are injured and suffering; for those who will be spending their second night out of doors in this cold weather. Pray for the government and those responsible for relief and medical work, that their tasks would be done quickly and effectively. Pray also for the ground to settle and for any aftershock to be minimal in effect. Pray for safety for all of us here and for God's peace to flow like a river washing away the residue of fear. That in all of this people would seek God and find him.....

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