Chile (MNN) — The massive Valparaiso fire continues to rage in Chile. Tomorrow marks a week since flames first erupted in a ravine and quickly swept through the port city, destroying nearly 3,000 homes.
ReachGlobal Crisis Response has staff on-the-ground, helping a partner church recover.
Several families in the Igelesia Union Cristiana church have been burned out of their homes. For 70-year-old Pastor Enrique and his wife, this was their second dance with a Valparaiso fire.
“The first time their church got saved,” shares the ReachGlobal team in a recent report.
“But this second time…they now find themselves sleeping in a little tent over the foundation of the former church building. It has been overwhelming for them, really a test of faith. But they still believe that somehow God is in control and that He will take care of them.”
The faith of Pastor Enrique and his wife must stretch beyond what they see around them. Right now, 7 of the 41 hills surrounding Valparaiso are almost completely burned down to ashes. Homes, churches, schools, community centers, and businesses– all the structures that make up this community–are gone.
As ReachGlobal staff and their ministry partners visit families in the disaster zone, one description keeps coming up: “It looks like a bombs have gone off over the whole community.”
Nearly a dozen helicopters, 6 planes, and thousands of police officers, firefighters, and soldiers are battling the blaze. Some officials are warning that it could be another two days before they succeed in quenching the flames; other authorities estimate weeks.
Due to the extent of this crisis, there are plenty of prayer needs.
First of all, pray for Pastor Enrique, his wife, and the 11,000 other Valparaiso residents who are starting over from scratch. Pray for churches as they coordinate efforts to bring Christ’s compassion and love to hurting people. Finally, ask the Lord to give wisdom to ReachGlobal and its partners as they plan a long-term response strategy.