Earthquake of Ecuador
Ecuador's Earthquake of 2016
Ecuador suffered an earthquake of 7.8 magnitude on April 16, 2016. Zona Zero is where Hope Response took a team of Hope Responders from May 23- June 8. We lived with them in their homes with walls from rubble, dirt floors and water distribution 2 times a week.
HOPE Responders are those who come in after the First Responders have worked hard to stabalize an area after a disaster. Even the 911 station had been destroyed and there were no counselors to see and churches were heaps by which a pastor stood by to receive any seeking help. The ministry before them was to bring the comfort of knowing Christ at just the time when emotions have the liberty to surface the pain and with it those questions of "why God?" or "Does God really care about me?" We shared how Jesus too asked 'My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me? when He hung on the cross. Not all that we suffer is because we have sinned as seen with Job, Joseph and the blind man of John 9. We let them know they still have a choice in how they respond to their own suffering like 2 Cor. 7:10 which describes a "godly sorrow" that leads to being saved and gives life, but there is also a "worldly sorrow" that leads to death. Psalm 34:18 says "that the Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crusted in spirit" to help us guard against a hard heart that blames God and rejects His comfort and healing. Ever since paradise, were created to be in a personal relationship with Him and often it is exactly that purpose He desires from out of the disasters in our life.
We were able to share this message in homes, schools, beachfronts, and stores after 162 receiving Christ we no longer kept count as it was rolling across the area like a storm of people turning to Christ. We designed tracts with this very message that the churches eagerly joined in being "Hope Responders!" Many pastors planned impromptu events to enable the message to be heard that we were bringing and continued to use our tracts and personal approach for a long time after. Puppet skits were performed in many places that were speaking about the loss, pain and grief to the level of a child's processing but the inner child of every adult responded with heartfelt grieving and praise to the Lord. We were invited into the public schools and for days went from classroom to classroom with the same message since the schools had begun to see so much fall out in grades, violence, teen pregnancy and drug usage. A large conference was held of pastors, teachers, community leaders, social service personnel wherein for 5 hours they diligently took notes as to what the Word of God shared with them on responding to loss, pain and grief with His hope.
Power in Numbers