Ecuadoran churches begin earthquake relief
The earthquake collapsed a bridge in the port city of Guayaquil, Ecuador. (PHOTO BY AGENCIA ANDES, VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Safe — but shaken.
That’s the report from Churches of Christ in the South American nation of Ecuador, where a 7.8-magnitude earthquake claimed at least 350 lives.
The epicenter of the April 16 quake was near the coastal towns of Muisne and Pedernales, but church members across the nation of 15.7 million souls said they felt the earth move.
“Thankfully, to date we have not heard of brethren who have died in this tragedy,” said Joshua Marcum, director of the Quito School of Biblical Studies, a ministry training program in Ecuador’s capital city associated with Churches of Christ, “but there are those whose homes and businesses have suffered severe structural damage.
“It will take a while for these areas to recover completely, but we pray our efforts can help and be done in the name of the Lord. Thank you in advance for your prayers and assistance.”
Following are reports from churches and Christians with connections to Ecuador. The Christian Chronicle will post updates as they become available.
Are you in Ecuador, or do you have connections to Churches of Christ there? Post below or email us.
The earthquake zone (highlighted in red) is near northwestern Ecuador though damage was reported as far south a Guayaquil. (MAP BY ERIK TRYGGESTAD, IMAGE VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
• In Quito, buildings shook, but damage was minimal. Marcum and other church members have contacted Christians who live in quake-affected areas of the country’s coast.
“Telephone lines were down … but have become rehabilitated, and I managed to talk to leaders in Guayaquil, Portoviejo and Esmeraldas,” Marcum said. “It appears that though the quake was quite strong all have come through good.”
Operation Ecuador, a church-supported ministry, is collecting supplies — including water, non-perishables, clothing and diapers — and plans to deliver them to congregations in Portoviejo, Esmeraldas and possibly Chone, Marcum said in a recent social media post.
“We are going directly to the churches so that they can help us have an organized distribution,” he said.
Those wishing to help can donate via PayPal at Operation Ecuador’s website or send checks with “Ecuador Earthquake Relief” in the memo field to the Faith Village Church of Christ in Wichita Falls, Texas.
Members of the Ibarra Church of Christ load relief supplies for earthquake survivors. (PHOTO PROVIDED BY JUAN FLORES)
• In Ibarra, a city in northern Ecuador, church members also were unharmed, minister Juan Flores told the Chronicle. The church is collecting relief supplies for the survivors. “Your prayers and blessings for the future, comprehensive reconstruction of our country are welcome,” Flores said.
Church members in Ibarra, Ecuador, load relief supplies. (PHOTO PROVIDED BY JUAN FLORES)
Dottle’s sister-in-law lives in Pedernales, near the quake’s epicenter. She is “bruised up but is fine,” he said. Many in the region are concerned that they will have no jobs to return to after the damage is cleared, Dottle added.
• In the southern city of Cuenca, a mission team from the Church of Christ Saskatoon in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan was on a mission trip assisting Travis Sass when the earthquake struck. No one was injured, and the team returned safely to Canada.
Church members in Ibarra load relief supplies. (PHOTO PROVIDED BY JUAN FLORES)