Mexico (MNN)—Relief efforts continue in Mexico which was pummeled with three strong earthquakes last month. The Body of Christ continues to help while they pray, give, and go.
On September 8, an 8.1 magnitude earthquake struck the southern part of Mexico, killing over 100 people. Eleven days later, another earthquake devastated Central Mexico at a strength of 7.1. Just a few days after that, a third earthquake hit in an area between the first two on the 23rd.
The second quake was the deadliest. As of Saturday afternoon, the death toll had reached 360 people. Teams are working on clearing the last few rubble sites. Many of the deaths were reported in Mexico City.
Together the two earthquakes damaged over 150,000 homes and almost half of those were either destroyed or made uninhabitable. Thousands of people have been displaced. About 2,000 historic buildings were damaged, as well.
One organization involved in meeting basic needs is AMG International. Jimmy Myers of AMG says they’ve been in contact with a couple of their missionaries who have been reaching out to neighboring communities that were damaged in the quakes.
Puebla Mexico, where AMG missionaries Ruth and Manual Lopez minister, is about a two-hour drive Southeast of Mexico City. In a message to AMG, Ruth Lopez said that dozens of people had been killed in Puebla in the second quake. Downtown got hit the hardest.
Myers says the ministry site itself sustained little damage: “They were not hit too hard in their local city where they are in Puebla, but they did have some damage. They have a special needs school with special needs children. So they evacuated the building. They had some issues with some stairs and they have a few cracks in some walls.”
As is the case with earthquakes, a major part of recovery includes making sure the building, even though it only sustained light damage, is sound and safe for people to continue using.
Up until the second quake, their church had been collecting aid to send to Oaxaca and Chiapas where the first quake struck. But now, they’re focusing on the communities closer to home.
Immediately after the quake in Central Mexico, Myers says, “the church there that they’re a part of… they loaded up some supplies—food, water, some blankets, and basic items like that—and loaded up a van and they went to… some of the outlying areas, smaller villages.”
The team decided to focus on these smaller areas because so many people had already gone into the city to help. The smaller communities, Myers points out, have fewer resources than the city.
So far, the outpouring of aid has been extremely helpful. But when the immediate aid slinks off, AMG will still be there to help with long-term recovery and basic needs. They will also be assisting their partners in rebuilding and making sure there is access to basic needs like clean water.
“AMG’s role is not to be on the front lines of rescue and disaster functions that those who are much more equipped can do. Ours is much more after the fact where we come alongside those [in] smaller communities, communities that we’re connected to, typically.”
When unspeakable tragedy strikes, people are affected on every level. There is the immediate physical relief to take care of. But people are also grieving the loss of loved ones. They are struggling to figure out what’s next, especially if they’ve lost their home or business. So beyond the physical needs, there is a feeling of loss and despair. This is one reason why it is so important for the Church to step in and help.
Myers says, “You don’t have to read too far into the gospels to find that we are to care for one another, we are to care for brothers and sisters in the faith, and for humanity and to give that cup of cold water and to come alongside people in crisis, [whoever] they are, and show the love of Jesus Christ.”
If you would like to help with this work, consider giving to AMG’s Disaster Relief Fund, here. You can do that, here. But more importantly, Myers invites you to support the Body of Christ in Mexico through prayer.
“Pray for your brothers and sisters. Pray for those who know the Lord, who are walking with the Lord, and are doing everything they can to reach out to people in their time of need because even though they may not have been right in the disaster zone, so many are affected because they’ve lost friends, they’ve lost relatives. No one, in this size of an earthquake, is untouched.”
We can also be praying that God would use these believers to minister to the hearts of others. Will you pray that people would respond to their kindness and want to learn about the hope that comes from knowing Jesus?
“It’s tragic and it’s because we live in a fallen and broken world, and these things happen. But the God who is sovereign and who is full of grace and mercy uses these things to draw people to Himself.”
Myers reminds us that there are many Christians outside of AMG’s organization who are out on the field working right now. He encourages you to put “feet to the prayers” and partner with one of these organizations financially.
Myers leaves us with this prayer:
Lord, you are sovereign. And, in this broken world, we experience much tragedy and pain. But, Father, we are so thankful that you have shown grace and you show mercy and that you have shown so much love to us by sending your Son. And we ask for the people of Mexico that you would meet them at their point of need. Lord, we ask that, for our brothers and sisters there, our brothers and sisters in Christ, that you would use them to share the love of Christ with other folks, whether it’s a cup of cold water and blankets or whatever it might be. And I pray that you would give them boldness to share why they’re helping, and meet them at their points of need as well. And may this word get out in such a way that you touch people’s hearts who hear this and they participate as well in what’s going on. In Jesus’ name. Amen.