Deliverance in the Midst of Devastation

By Bob and Cheryl Fugate, serving in Chile

As the death toll from the devastating earthquake in Chile continues to rise, we have heard testimonies of the saving grace of God. In the city of Constitution, where damage was heavy, the tsunami waters reached up to the church doors but did not flood the church.

Sergio, a church member, shared that he and his wife cut short their vacation in the south to return to Santiago and lead the Sunday morning service. He praised God for His mercy as he arrived at his home in Santiago only three hours before the quake hit.  Had he not come back early, he and his family would have been in the epicenter of the quake.

Family Spared from Death

Another family from our congregation, Jorge and Carmen Gloria, were vacationing in their beachfront house in Dichato—where the epicenter was—when the mega quake hit, shattering the house. It took them five minutes to work their way free from the rubble and reach their car. Jorge took a door knob off a bathroom door, replaced the broken knob in the only accessible exit door, and was able to get his family out and into their car to head up to the hills behind the house, where they spent the night.

Within 30 minutes, three fast-moving, 30-foot high tsunami waves assaulted the beach behind the house. Jorge and his family watched the 80-foot wide waves from higher ground where they stood guard outside the car as aftershocks rolled through the hillsides.

At first light, they saw the devastation below. Their beach house was lifted off its foundation and had moved into the ocean. Those who did not race to high ground are now among the missing.

The military estimates that the first giant wave hit within 15 minutes after the quake. Government reports say that more than 80 percent of Dichato was completely swept away.

12-Year-Old’s Warning Saves Island Residents

On an island 400 miles off the coast of Chile, a 12 year-old-girl named Martina received a cell phone call from her grandfather that saved hundreds of lives. He warned her to prepare for the worst as a tsunami was coming. At the early morning hour, Martina raised the warning in the central plaza, and the inhabitants fled to high ground. The island was devastated, but most residents survived due to a young girl’s heroic action.

Word is slowly filtering in of damage to Alliance churches and to church members’ homes; in some cases, families living in the epicenter have lost everything. The churches and pastors are struggling to minister to the overwhelming needs as they themselves have lost all they had. The Santiago Alliance churches are mobilizing to send food to the hardest hit areas.

Sherwood Alliance Church members from Iowa have been courageous and faithful; they have encouraged us and have been a balm to us in this time of crisis. The church partners with our congregation, the Church of the Vineyard, and the short-term team members are living out their faith as they share our struggles alongside us.

Compassion and Mercy Associates (CAMA), the Alliance relief and development arm, has set up a Chile Earthquake Relief Fund to meet the needs of survivors.

Please keep Chile in your prayers in the days and weeks ahead.

What You Can Do

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Give to Chile Earthquake relief»

Ten cents of every dollar given to this project will be divided between the CAMA Advance Fund and the Great Commission Fund to cover travel, administrative, and logistical costs of ministering to the needs of those affected by this disaster. As far as possible, the expressed preference of a donor will be respected and followed. In the event that this gift is oversubscribed, any remaining funds will be used for future disaster relief efforts.


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