Mexico (MNN) — Mexican officials
in Oaxaca fear hundreds of people may have been killed after a hillside
collapsed on about 300 homes in southern Mexico.
Jim Loker is a partner of Audio Scripture
Ministries through Missionary Ventures. He says, "The town
of Tlahuitoltepec is on a hillside. Because of all the extensive rains, there
were landslides. In the middle of the night, a stretch 100-200 meters wide let
go. They're speculating that between 100 and 300 houses were lost. The people in those homes were probably
Rescue crews are digging through
debris, in search of survivors. Up to 1000 people are feared dead. The landslide was blamed on prolonged rains
from Tropical Storm Matthew, which hovered over Central America and southern
Mexico over the weekend.
Loker says they've heard that roads
are impassible, which means their audio Scripture project is on hold for now. It's
disastrous for another reason. "The New
Testament has been in print for a long time, but we have been no readers. God finally provided a reader for us, and we
recorded the four Gospels just recently. So we're just agonizing over the fact that many people have probably
died without knowing Christ."
The translated New Testament was finally
being recorded for the Mixe people of Tlauhui, essentially an unreached
people group. Loker adds that the village has not had a
history of being friendly to the Gospel. "The town itself did not allow Christians to
get together and have services. Many of the Christians, over the years, have
been asked to leave the town."
Without a Christian presence,
thoughts could turn another direction. "I'm
just hoping that the people in the village aren't going to blame God for
something that happened here," Loker says, adding that "the Lord knows. He's in
control. I believe some good can come out of this and that people can turn to Christ
and hear the Gospel–some of them for the first time."
In spite of the concerns, Loker says
the last time believers responded as Christ, they were the catalyst for change. "This
is a time for ministry. It was like 1976
in Guatemala when the Christians quit talking and started acting, and we could
see a turnaround because of this."
Another area ASM works in was hit hard by the rains. The Mixe region of Atitlan is where several teams have ministered in recent years with medical outreaches, showing the "JESUS" film, and Megavoice Digital Scripture distribution.
Loker thinks they are cut off from help as well. Food supplies are an issue. The only way to get supplies in is to air drop them in.
According to his information, the Mexican arm of Mission Aviation Fellowship, Alas de Socorro (Wings of Help), can't get clearance to fly right now. Please pray that officials would restore their papers so that they can respond to those in need.
Pray fervently for the families that have been most directly affected by the landslides. "They don't have homes. Probably all of their
belongings were lost, too, and I'm assuming that they've lost members of their family.
Pray for openings for Christians in the area to share the Gospel and the love