Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Feeding the Five Thousand

The pictures tell their own story. Every day since they began last week, the Diocesan earthquake response team has been feeding an average of almost 5,000 people a day.
In every place the team has worked, it's been the first help to arrive.

The Diocese has been joined by volunteers from ASIPO, a service organisation which helps people suffering from AIDS.... social workers, nurses, psychologists.
Together with our Padre Jesus Mejia, the Bishop's chaplain , and Pastor Zevallos, they have been serving hungry people.
The aim is to start up soup kitchens and community help centres which the local people will then run themselves.
These centres are registered with PRONAC and Civil Defence so that they qualify for food distribution.
We are buying and sending kerosene cookers, large pans and cooking utensils for the work.
Transport is expensive and we are hoping to receive food from the organisations that are taking it down in bulk: Caritas, the Salvation Army, PRONAC the government food agency. But as yet these food stores are not available.
Transport without the police or army is dangerous and desperate people are stopping vehicles to take what they are carrying to their families. Inevitably there is racketeering too.

Such has been the response from our friends that we shall be sending a second team to the stricken towns and villages.
All being well this new team will be in operation before the end of the week.
It is our hope to send it up into the mountainous areas of Huacavelica, in land from the epicentre. This is the poorest area of Peru and because of its isolation it is likely that no help has yet reached there.

It has been amazing how many other churches and organisations have been in contact with us and asked to work with us.
I feel humbled by the offers we have received and pray that by God's grace we may be worthy of it.

In Lima we have volunteers working in the hospitals, visiting and caring for those who have been injured and are far from home.
We are caring for their families too with food, clothing, medicines, friendship and lodging.
Ericka Montoya, our social worker who received a grant from USPG for her training, is leading this ministry.

The parable of the sheep and goats is near the top of our minds as we have the privilege of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick...

Once again thank you so much to all our friends who have been so
faithful in their prayers and generous in their giving. May God bless you for your kindness. We are only too aware of the privilege we have of being released to serve in this way and conscious that it is by your giving that this is possible. May God's love be multiplied among us.

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