Costa Rica (MNN) — Relief work continues in Costa Rica after an earthquake claimed at least 15 lives on January 8. The count of displaced people is up to 3,700, and 23 remain missing.
The needs in Costa Rica remain great, as total damages are estimated at about $100 million USD. Current needs include personal hygiene items, water purification, and sanitary equipment. Relief workers also continue to search through debris from this magnitude 6.2 earthquake, but road damage has made these sites difficult to reach. Some areas have lost three to four miles of road, which will be extremely difficult to repair due to the mountainous terrain.
The Association of Baptists for World Evangelism has been helping with relief work since Day One of this natural disaster. ABWE missionary Ryan Rought, who has a history in the military and law enforcement, has been helping to search through debris for victims and set up shelter points.
"It is extremely damaged out there," says Rought. "Houses are completely gone and washed out in landslides; families have lost animals that were on their farms. Basically everything was swallowed up and buried in these landslides."
Rought's family was not directly affected by the earthquake, but he has since encountered hundreds that were. As is the case following disasters, many who are directly or indirectly affected by the earthquake are especially open to the Gospel.
"I think in times like that, background doesn't matter: even if people have rejected the Gospel for many, many years, they are definitely open because death has knocked on their door."
Some missionaries in the area have been able to visit the relief camps and offer hope there. Since Rought's regular ministry is in law enforcement in Costa Rica, he
has had countless opportunities to share the hope of Jesus Christ with
the actual relief workers.
"I was dealing almost solely with the rescue workers. The questions they brought up, the concerns that they have, the needs that they have, are universal. So, based on my background in law enforcement and in the military, God sovereignly put me right in the spot where I would be most effective to share His Gospel."
Rought's work in Costa Rica is far from over. He continues to go out in the field to offer support in any way he can.
Rought asks you to pray for those affected by the earthquake. Pray also for continued opportunities for missionaries in Costa Rica to share Christ.
"Pray that we would be able to focus our efforts on the people: not to throw a bunch of supplies at their problem, but to take the Word of God to them. That is what is essential."