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Missionaries stranded, church members lose homes after floods in Central America

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — Gray clouds hang in the skies, obscuring the mountains that surround this Central American capital. Rain falls during the humid afternoons, and patches of mist keep the ground moist throughout the day.
Rainy weather is typical for this time of year, says Carlos Ulate, a Costa Rican minister, as he and his wife, Roxanna, sit on a veranda outside the Gran Hotel.
But the tropical storms that assailed Central America — from here north to Guatemala — just days ago were not.
Floodwaters robbed the Ulates of their home. A river behind their house reached record levels and eroded the soil, damaging the foundation. The family and their neighbors had to evacuate.
The Ulates, now renting a house in another part of San Jose, consider themselves blessed. None of the fellow members of their congregation, the Heredia Church of Christ, lost their homes. 
“It’s just a tragedy, from one day to the next,” Roxanna Ulate said of the floods across Central America.
Churches of Christ across the region are coping with the effects of the record rainfall.
“Today the sun is shining for the first time in 10 days,” Jarrod Brown wrote in a recent report to supporters of Mission Lazarus, a ministry in Honduras. “The waters that had forcefully invaded the homes of thousands in the Choluteca region like an unwanted intruder have slowly begun to return to the holds of the river banks that they escaped from.”
Choluteca, in southern Honduras, was particularly hard-hit by the rainfall, which overwhelmed the banks of rivers and stranded missionary families, including Seth and Rebekah Daggett, in their homes. The couple works with Mission Lazarus.
As the waters receded, the couple distributed food to more than 100 families in the Honduran town of Jayacayan.
“Some hiked two to three hours to be able to find food for their families,” the Daggetts posted on their blog.
In the city of San Marcos, Honduras, “Mission Lazarus is opening up schools, churches and homes to house flood victims,” said Meredith Jones, the ministry’s director of health services.
In Honduras, “the response from across the U.S. has been wonderful,” Brown said. “We have been able to buy thousands of pounds of food … and our teams on the ground in Honduras have been working long hours to make sure that food gets into the hands of the folks who need it most.”
The Christian Chronicle has received additional reports of severe flooding and church members in need in Guatemala and El Salvador.
In Costa Rica, more than 100 church members from the U.S. and Latin America have gathered for the 48th annual Pan American Lectureship. Bart and Melissa Dodson, missionary apprentices in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, were unable to buy bus tickets to the event, since roads in southern Honduras were washed out. The couple traveled by plane instead.
Carlos Ulate spoke at a Sunday service, attended by lectureship participants and members of three Costa Rican churches.
Later, while visiting the lectureship attendees at the Gran Hotel, he and his wife say they are thankful for the support they received to relocate until the government determines whether or not they can return to their home.
The minister says he is encouraged by Central American churches that minister to their communities’ physical needs. He also prays that churches actively will address the spiritual needs that surround them.
“My dream is that churches will learn to minister to the needs of the people — watch society and see what society’s problems are,” he says. “The greatest institutions of our society are failing. … My dream is that we could have churches see themselves as God’s instruments to heal marriages and families.”
MISSION LAZARUS is collecting funds for flood relief. See the ministry’s website, missionlazarus.org, for more details.

  • Feedback
    I am writing in regards to the article that appeared November 2011, entitled Missionaries stranded, churches in need after flooding in Central America. My church is highly involved in Mission Lazarus, and we are consistent in sending mission teams to Choluteca, Honduras. I am part of a mission team that is going to Choluteca during December. And until reading this article I was unaware of how devastating the flooding was. The article gave me more of an idea of what I’ll be doing when I am there with my team. Thank you for raising awareness for the issue.
    Fourth Avenue Church of Christ
    Franklin, TN
    November, 11 2011

    Jesus said,’with God,all things are possible'(matt.19:26).It may not be easy,immediately,or painless,but those willing to step faith,forthose bold enough to trust God to do the impossible,the reward will always be greater than the investment.As paul said…Now to himwho is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine,according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in christ jesus throughout all generations!Amen.(Ephesians 3:20-21).
    Ernest Achuti Mogambi.
    Nairobi church of christ
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Kenya(East Africa)
    November, 7 2011

Filed under: International

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