Bolivia (MNN) — Bolivia was hit with the worst flooding in 25 years. 350,000 people were displaced. Crops were destroyed. And nearly one month after the flooding took place, people are still struggling.
World Gospel Mission is just one of the organizations helping people rebuild their lives. Jim Newman serves with WGM's Wings of Peace airplane ministry. He says, "The waters are receding slightly, but this is such a low-lying flat area it's going to take quite a while for it to get down to a reasonable level. Most of the houses in these areas are at least a foot to two feet below water."
According to Newman, thousands of people continue to be displaced because of the disaster.
Wings of Peace flights have typically been in support of church planting efforts. Newman says that's changed. "Because of this flooding, we have been much more involved in relief efforts. (We've) been trying get into some isolated areas to take in food supplies and bring people out of areas that are completely flooded. But even some of our efforts have been hindered because some of the landing strips that were used have been affected by the flooding."
WGM continues to provide food, bedding, clothing, mosquito netting, water, and basic health and medical needs.
Newman says this new opportunity for outreach is giving them opportunities to share the Gospel. "We don't want people thinking that we are their savior. We're wanting to point them to the true Savior. So it has given us a lot of opportunities to share the Gospel, to give the people a little hope."
While World Gospel Mission has planted 17 churches, the flooding may open even more doors. Newman says, "We're working in areas where we do not have churches located at this time. So this will hopefully open doors to come back into the communities to set up a church or begin a congregation in some of these areas."