Peru (MNN) — The death toll is still rising from the magnitude 8 earthquake in Peru that devastated coastal towns last week. The Peruvian cities of Ica, Pisco, Chincha and Canete were the most affected by the temblor Wednesday evening.
Hundreds of mud and clay houses were leveled by the quake. Among the other structures that gave way during the quake was a church in Ica. Buried in the rubble were church goers, trapped when the building collapsed during a service.
Buildings fell, major highways to the coast were torn apart and power lines were knocked out by the quake. The breakdown of the infrastructure has forced local officials to issue urgent appeals for help.
Considered one of the worst in decades, Christian Reformed World Relief Committee's Jacob Kramer details their response. "We work then through Luke Society, or the representative of Luke Society who generally forms, at the local level, a group of churches who then collectively respond to the need of the people. That is also what we are doing. Luke Society is also a medical mission, and as such, they can also bring in medicine."
The Luke Society is a Christ-centered ministry of evangelism and discipleship. They support indigenous Christian health professionals who have a vision to reach their own people. At this time, the hospitals and doctors are overwhelmed with wounded and a lack of supplies. Field hospitals have been established in Ica to care for the injured, with medical personnel forced to work in the dark.
Kramer says this is where the team's response reveals a legacy of hope in Christ to the community they're serving. "It's a real testimony, I would say, that churches come together from all sides, and they jointly put their shoulders to helping the people. That is what Christ lived out for us on earth–reaching out–and that is also what these churches will be demonstrating to the people." Pray that God keeps the staff encouraged as they act as the hands and feet of Christ in the disaster zone.